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Be careful when a possible new owner promises heaven on earth

By Walter Broeckx

In Antwerp (my home town) some 30 years ago we had 3 teams in the top division. Antwerp (the oldest club in Belgium), Beerschot (the second club one could say) and Berchem (the small sympathetic club – the one that still is my local club as I lived near the ground that is situated in between the two “big” clubs).  Tony has seen the grounds with his own eyes in fact. It is the former Olympic stadium ground, Tony. The one between the houses.

Some 15 years ago Beerschot went bankrupt. But thanks to a merger with Germinal Ekeren and Beerschot they could rescue themselves. Germinal  Ekeren was a club that made a quick rise in the Belgium football world and was a rather fresh first division club from a town that was merged with Antwerp (the city – not the club). But by going bankrupt the old club Beerschot lost their original registration number so in a way Beerschot was no more. The club Germinal Beerschot Ekeren was the club that brought a few important players that we know. Vermaelen is one of them of course and also Vertonghen and Alderweireld were once part of this club before moving on to Ajax.

The person who saved the name “Beerschot” was the president of Germinal Ekeren a businessman who made his money in the building industry, named Verhaegen. He remained president of the club that won the Belgian cup a few years ago. But a few seasons ago president Verhaegen said that money was tight at GBA (as it was named by most – except the old Beerschot fans) and that they needed to balance the books.

And if they couldn’t do it, he said, they could risk a new bankruptcy. But that plan wasn’t to the liking of some other people on the board. They wanted to spend and throw money around and move forward. Verhaegen (having saved the club first) was considered too prudent with the money, and not up to the task of taking the club forwards.  (“Take us to the next level” is the English equivalent).

So a new boy came in the spotlight. Named Van Noppen. He bought the shares from Verhaegen and threw the rest of the Verhaegen-clan out of the board.   If you want to compare it with Arsenal then Van Noppen is Usmanov who wants to buy the shares of Verhaegen (who would be Kroenke in this scenario).

Talk of a new stadium was launched by Van Noppen. A magnificent stadium with one stand hanging over the river Scheldt. Money was no problem. The sky was the limit and it wouldn’t be long before they would be in the CL.

This season they started with the aim to get in to playoff 1. (by being in the top 6 teams after the regular competition of 30 games). And they were in the play offs, but the wrong group.  They were in Playoff 3. The play off to avoid relegation as they ended in 15th place. They lost that playoff against the team that finished in 16th place and were relegated to the 2nd division.

But worse was to come. All kind of talks about the club being in trouble surfaced in recent months. And when they had to apply to get a professional license they failed to prove they could pay all their debts. And thus they have to start in the 3rd division as the rules are like that in Belgium.

But now today the court has said that Germinal Beerschot has to be declared bankrupt. This means that the club no longer exists. There is no more Germinal Beerschot Ekeren, no more Germinal Beerschot and no more Beerschot (for the second time) as the club’s name changed in the course of the last years.

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So what Verhaegen had saved some 15 years ago, what he had build with patience and on a tight budget was thrown away by one person who thought that money was no issue at all.

The total debt for Beerschot was around 18M euro. A drop of water in the total PL debt of some clubs but you know in other countries we don’t ignore debt as easily as some (by no means all, but some) do in English football. Too much debt in the Belgian league and you are no longer allowed to play along with the big boys.

Once again I see this as a warning sign. Verhaegen (the careful Kroenke type of owner) was thrown out by the vultures who wanted to spend big. And my god did they spend big. I’ve read somewhere that over 30 players in a season were bought and sold.  Then they bought some more, sold some more… and the end was a nightmare scenario for the loyal fan.  Van Noppen (the Usmanov type of owner) who wanted to throw money around got the club in his hands and completely murdered it.

So be careful what you wish for I would say. I would rather have the careful approach and the long term security at my club than the builders of day dreams, the sellers of fried air, the owners who throw money around that isn’t theirs.  I think most Beerschot supporters would loved to go back in time and prevent Van Noppen to overtake their club and destroy it in some 2 years time. But most believed him when he predicted a golden future 2 years ago and they supported him when the bought the shares of the old rescuer of the club.

Really be very careful what you wish for….very very careful. Once it is bankrupt there is no way back.

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59 comments to Be careful when a possible new owner promises heaven on earth

  • Leon

    Hilarious – Arsenal’s two main summer targets Higuain and Jovetic have rejected Arsenal as both would prefer to play in Italy – There goes our summer transfer plans already. No one actually believed that a feeder club with no ambition at all could attact even half decent players could they ? Watch and see as Spurs, who are not even in the Champions League show more ambition than Arsenal this summer. I don’t even know why we bother to get our hopes up with Arsenal any more..

  • Tom

    That’s a heart breaking story, unfortunately it has very little parallels with Arsenal who are on a solid ground financially and didn’t avoid bankruptcy fifteen years ago like the club you talked about. Further more, I don’t know many Arsenal fans who want Usmanov for owner. They just want Kroenke to spend more money Arsenal themselves generate and stop selling their best players every year. And finally , I don’t know the Van Noppen guy, but I doubt he is one of the richest men in the world whereas Usmanov is, and were he to become the majority owner of Arsenal , I suspect our club would go the Chelsea way rather than Beerschot.

  • The transfers has started and our team who made a lot of noise £70m ready to spend if wenger needs, please wenger pay this money, the sales of his jessy will cover the money, come on gunner activate this money quickly. We lost Mata to chelsea, and he paid chelsea back, what did gervihno, chamake, squallica has to offer us.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Apparently Leon you did believe it… and if you didn’t then what is the problem?

  • maverick

    @leon, who said they were our targets? The media and ‘in the knows’ i don’t remember anyone at Arsenal saying we were after Jovetic or Higuian, and no bids were ever made by Arsenal nor was there any contact. Lets see what happens before calling for peoples heads or getting upset. The media and ‘ITK’ link us to about 250 players each summer and we cant sign them all. What do you mean spuds show more ambition. We got Giroud Podolski and Cazorla and who did the spuds get…………the best player they got was Vertonghen and he decided to go there instead of to us because he lacked ambition and rather have started for spuds than to fight for his place at Arsenal.

  • Shard

    Spurs also sold Modric, Van Der Vaart, Pienaar, Kranjcar, Corluka, among others. Now I don’t know how important these players were to them, but certainly all of them weren’t ‘deadwood’.

    Who did they get in? Dempsey and Dembele. Instead of Van der Vaart and Modric. How ambitious.

  • Stroller

    Mr Usmanov is top of the rich list and worth more than Abramovich. He is many times richer than Stan Kroenke. So I can’t really understand is why he doesn’t just go ahead and make an offer that can’t be refused out of the billions he owns. Does he really want to own the club, and if so why this prolonged attritional approach?

    He hints that the current (cautious in the article) approach to running the club would change and is critical of selling our best players. The implication is that he would make more money available (but not necessarily his own) for transfers and wages. But this is really just a promise of jam tomorrow.

    Whether or not he could take us down the path to bancruptcy is an open question. But presumably it would change the way the club is run to more like Chelski or Man City.

    With the current split of share ownership there are only two power players, Kroenke and Usmanov. If rumours are to be be believed they don’t even speak let along agree on how the club should be run. This can’t be a good thing is the long run.

  • Bootoomee

    Posts like Leon’s above is the reason why I totally hate the transfer speculation games. I find those who indulge in it as been addicted to punishment. You always end up disappointed! As I have always told my cousin (a fellow gooner who enjoys the game), it is not my job to suggest players to the club, some highly qualified people are already being paid huge salaries to do this. My only duty as an Arsenal fan is to support the team and whoever wears the shirt.

    It is always the same pattern every 6 months: Names of some players are peddled about the tabloids and the Internet, football fans start salivating and urging their club’s management to get them. Eventually nothing happens because the whole thing was made up to begin with. And then disappointed fans start posting diatribes like Leon’s above about their club’s management.

    It’s like the movie: ‘Grounhog Day’!

  • Mandy Dodd

    every year for Spurs…eh Leon?

  • bob

    “My only duty as an Arsenal fan is to support the team and whoever wears the shirt.”
    Bootoomee,
    As foolish and deluded Leon’s posting and outlook may be, I must say that you express a very limited sense of what being a true fan is. Imo, you’re both at extreme ends, and sound analysis and constructive advocacy always ought to be honored and practiced by fans who love their teams.

  • Rocket

    When is everyone going to understand Kroenke will not spend any money I live in the USA ex PAT he never spends money on the sports team he owns as long as they are profitable he is happy he doesent give a shit about were Arsenal finish in the table if he does it is only because of the amount of money he will get from the league it is a buisness for him period he has no love or passion for this team success to him is measured in dollars not trophys in the cabinet.
    Usmanov is a fan he loves the team we would be much better of we would have signed the striker we wanted by now no question about it. Usmanov is the way forward and mark me words there will be trophys in the cabinet as soon as he takes over and we won’t be selling our best players every year.

  • Lanz

    Poor Leon! I don’t understand why or how people can get really negative about theirs. The manager is bad, the players are crap, etc. One of Leon’s kind pointed at Newcastle at the beginning of the season as a club that were smarter and more ambitious than us. “We keep saying, no money; see how Newcastle got all the best deals?”, he asked me. I hope he now knows better. Last season, these same people beloved that none of our players could be first in the pecking order in their various positions were they at Manure. Robin went there and proved that he is better than Rooney. Let us give all the support. AW will soon produce a new Fabregas and a new vanPersie. Leon, try and change your attitude. Next season is our season. Believe.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Another thing Leon, looks like spurs number one target moutinho about to sign for Monaco.

  • Mandy Dodd

    This article raises a really valid point for clubs such as ours. I have a few concerns about stan, mainly a concern he may be a fast buck merchant, also a bit worried about what some fans of his US teams think, but he certainly has done nothing wrong so far. He does not invest in the team itself but we do have money in the bank and lots more coming in, so in reality, why would he? Usmanov is a completely unknown quantity, he may be fantastic for us, he may not, but as we are, do we really need to take that risk? Our majority owner is called silent stan, but he is nowhere near as silent as Mr Usmanovs right hand man, of for that matter the owners of spurs or Utd. We are moving in the right way, maybe a tad too slowly for some Gooners I grant you. There is not much wrong at this club that will not soon be fixed if we continue on our path, just as long as nobody does anything stupid.

  • Stroller

    @bob,
    I think it’s a bit presumtuous to be defining what a ‘true’ fan is. There are many fans (even maybe a majority) who live for games but not doing much analysing or advocating about how the team or the club is performing. Not everybody is scanning the media or on the internet all day debating aspects to the level we do here. Going back only a couple of decades there was very limited interaction between matchdays anayway – just what was printed in newspapers and what might be discussed over beers in a pub.

    I certainly know fans who ‘live’ the club to varying intensities. Thing thing that unites them is exactly what Bootoomee says ‘supporting the team and the shirt’. And they do that with passion. Beyond that how much analysis and advocacy you take on is purely optional.

  • FunGunner

    Walter, quite right. It’s easy to promise the earth, not so easy to deliver it.

    Nobody outside a small circle in the club knows who our top transfer targets are unless AW tells us. The media/blogs are just guessing because they need names in headlines to generate the clicks from which they derive their income.

    @ Bootoomee
    May 23, 2013 at 3:30 pm
    Spot on.

  • A. Stewart

    Usmanov (as I guess is being inferred) has promised heaven on earth? How exactly so?

    Also there no parallels between Berschot 15 years ago, and Arsenal today (or even 15 years ago).

    Just like there is no chance of Arsenal “doing a Leeds, Portsmouth etc” and going bankrupt or having to choose between relegation and a trophy when minimizing Birmingham and even recently Wigan’s cups with the usual silliness when people talk about us not winning trophies contained in dismissive phrases such as “ask Brum and Wigan how they feel about those cups now….or would you rather we win a trophy and get relegated?”..as though there is some real logical choice between the two given our standing.

    These comparisons have little basis in reality, as though you can just ignore any myriad of economic, revenue, fan base, locational, historic, size, wealth etc etc etc differences between Arsenal and those clubs, and simply and exactly equate their situations without context or weighting and seamlessly apply them to us if we doing the forbidden (i.e. invest more).

    Hyperbolic fear mongering about bankruptcy and using examples to draw parallels between situations that have none, to justify whatever course of preference is just silly.

  • A. Stewart

    Not to mention there are NO AFC fans (or a very insignificant minority) even the ones that you may class as AAA, that want the club to go on any City/Chelsea-esque spending spree, rather most just want us to invest more within our capabilities, utilize available resources (that the club and manager has been saying for years are available), use resources more efficiently (wages per contribution etc).

    I just don’t understand the need just because some question recent and current direction of the club, to mischaracterize their position and wishes as things that they are not, and to suggest that their ideas are so reckless that they will bring bankruptcy, and notwithstanding the falseness of those claims, to further suggest they don’t care if the club goes bankrupt.

    I really don’t see what is so hard in accepting others have different opinions, that can be discussed and disagreed with, without having to paint them as some kind of moral enemy who hate the club.

    Whoopteedoo, not everyone in a business, country, family, boardroom, team, marriage whatever agrees on the best way forward..it doesn’t make them any less true to the same cause, i.e. betterment of the entity they are a part of, rather it just makes them individuals with different ideas of how to achieve shared goals. Welcome to life.

  • Domhuail

    This debate has been raging (or maybe percolating?) since 2005 and doesn’t look like ending anytime soon….unless we win some silverware but even then there will be dissatisfaction. It seems to be the Arsenal way.
    Kroenke is a known,if dispassionate owner and definitely NOT a Football fan. Usmanov, on the other hand is a complete un known and also NOT a Football fan, since his first love is………..fencing. He is the current president of the FIF and watches football as a rather secondary interest acoording to his own admissions.
    Is this a case of better the devil you know than the devil you don’t? All the ITK pretenders quoting 70M sterling as a transfer kitty here and Higuain/Jovetic as sure targets there, are simply venting excess gas….no substance and definitely NO credibility.
    I am happy to leave it to Wenger,Gazidis and the Board to manage the Club’s affairs, since I know FOR A FACT that they are professionals and everyone else writing on this blog are amateurs!

  • @A.Stewart. Regarding your post @ 9.28, as you are well aware, if you have a point of view which does not fit Untold’s you are branded as an AAA.

  • bob

    Stroller,
    Presumptuous, ok, I’ll accept that. Then let’s all stop the non-stop game played out here where “the true fan” is constantly being defined hereabouts and what doesn’t fit is labeled AAA or doom and gloomer or whatever else stands for “not true fan.” We don’t love each other, mate, but surely we can both agree not to indulge in the “true fan” presumption. I will if you will. Okay?

  • bob

    p.s. in fact Stroller, if you read my posting, I felt that Boomster was defining what a true fan is and commenting about his definition, not my own. I like the analytic/advocacy type for sure and find the badge-kisser who says that’s it, all or nothing, take it or leave it, closed-minded to discussion; as you, given a long and distinguished career of commentary hereabouts, clearly are not. That you find such charity in your heart to validate the Boomster is, imo, a smokescreen for getting one in over me. Well, maybe that’s presumptuous too; but, as FunGunner recently put it (she who also sees fit to validate the Boomster), in the end we’re all just fans havin’ a go at, right? Yeah, that’ll do. Mother Nature surely couldn’t care less about our opining. Then again, perhaps we should care a bit more about her. (Yep, call me a tree hugger.)

  • bob

    gouresh, A. Stewart,
    You’re a breath of fresh air, right about now.
    It’s transfer time and there’s the rumour of money which all the vault keepers love to protect like it’s their piggy bank, and those who dare to dream aloud and big – that is, bigger than fourth place and want the club to be accountable to its recent words that fourth place won’t do – have to run the gauntlet of passing the purity test. Why not debate the merits of say, Higuain vs. Giroud, or Jovetic vs. Podolski, or who you’d really love to see in our colors and what we might do to sign him? Yes, yes, we’ve been linked with 250 players by now. But who do we really want? We here at UA. Let’s just dream out loud and analyze and advocate. That’s what fans do. But do that with a passion and you get cursed with the curse of curses as “Amateurs”!!! Well, yeah. So, that means “Silence”!!! You never ran a pro football team so how presumptuous of you to advocate this or analyze that with no insider information. Yep, and the inside likes and keeps it that way. So, then, it’s up to the amateurs to unite and keep on being amateurs. You see the word does means lovers of ______ (fill in the blank). So, rather than silence, or yes Tony, you’re so right, or yes Walter, I couldn’t agree more, let’s just keep it interesting. Silence (or its yes-man equivalent) is hardly becoming for (dare I say it, Stroller) a real fan. 🙂

  • americangooner

    Everyone should be allowed to write what they feel they think a certain event, situation or activities looks like to them. There should not be a obstruction or “name-calling” to put forward one’s own view in a public forum rather the view should be debunked, if there is a presence of fabrication. If someone feels that there are doomers one is free to express but the ones opposing it should debunk it in a covincing manner to the reader.
    the often quoted 70m figure,, which hasn’t been refuted by Arsenal, was concluded by AST as well as Swiss Ramble. So the thinking goes, the passivity to debunk this figure from Arsenal as well as any other debunker, if there are any, means that the 70m is regarded to be the truth. All this transfer “Jokes” started from this 70m figure. and most discussions seems to be centerd around ’70M’.

  • bob

    As for specifics, here’s a gritty discussion topic for some of us: How do we become more clinical in the last third? Now surely to have said discussion we’d have to admit that all the stats about the total goals being awright have not as yet delved into the shots:goals ratio. Surely this is an accessible stat that remains rather Untold. No? And, further, what is this stat is for each of our offensive weapons. (Yes, I know it’s only his first year in the EPL. But…) Could we not, just to dream, do with a genuine poacher once again? And mightn’t we identify a few names, advocate for fewer than those, and (do we dare) encourage the vault keepers to splash for it?

    Well, here’s where we get a bit nervous, some of us. But not asking and opining and advocating on this not-insubstantial matter is just, well, playing it nice. Never get out in front of the club. Since, of course, we can’t know how much we really have; and because to say aloud that it’s 70M (and point to, hey, look at the massive TV deal just about to materialize) is to be forced to admit that it’s de medja and not de Klub; then we’re just not supposed to dream out loud or we’d be very naughty indeed.

    Don, you were so right a few weeks back in slating Football for its far worse than mere craven materialism. Why then today is it that when the Amateurs jump in and try to have their say there’s the Thunderbolt from on high about us being “Amateurs!!!!” Well, on that note, Don, let’s lighten up and ask: who would you like really like to see in the last third; in our red and white, with the game on the line, and no room for ye piss-poor shots:goals ratio? C’mon mate. Can we talk? Is silence that golden?

  • bob

    americangooner,
    Yes! Would you put some sizable portion of that 70M (let’s agree to say until refuted) toward actual clinicality in the last third? (There’s a hardball down the middle of the plate. C’mon dude, knock it or me out of the park. Watcha think?)

  • Shard

    A. Stewart

    Usmanov has not DIRECTLY promised anything. In fact, he’s said virtually the same things that those in charge of Arsenal say about the way to run the club. He’s made references to FFP. He’s called for increasing commercial income. Except, he’s obviously done it in a way to criticise the board. He’s also never said he’ll pump in his own money into the club. (in fact, he’s demanded money be paid out)Yet, there are a lot of Arsenal fans out there, even among those who don’twant Usmanov in control, who completely believe that he stands for the Abramovich model of ownership. Why so? Because Usmanov, doesn’t say anything, but handles his PR in a way to give that same message.

    The relegation bit is quit an exaggeration. I grant you that. Going bankrupt is less of an exaggeration, but still is one. However, I feel it is proportional to some of the criticism and abuse the club have faced. By your own admission, the circumstances are different between Wigan and ourselves. Those same circumstances are also different with ManU, Chelsea and City. You wouldn’t think people would be so upset if they were a little more in touch with the reality of the situation.

    A more comparable situation exists between us and Liverpool, as well as Spurs. They have some temporary advantages over us in terms of sponsorship money, and not paying for a stadium. This makes them closer to us on the pitch than they should be. But that is exactly where Arsenal deserve credit. As a club, we have moved much further from them. We’d be in Liverpool’s place without the new stadium, despite the hardships that has entailed. And yes, that would probably include a few cups like Liverpool have won. But for those cups, would you exchange places with Liverpool? I wouldn’t. And I bet Liverpool would love to be in our position. And why would that be? Because we are better placed to win trophies than either Liverpool or Spurs.

    For us, falling out of a CL spot IS relegation. Would I have taken an FA Cup win with finishing 5th? I’m not so sure. I mean it would be fun to celebrate a trophy. But what next? Do we have 5 more years of getting by as a result of the setback? Maybe not. But that again is only because the board have handled our finances the way they have. So even your criticism of the board implies some praise of their actions.

  • Shard

    Also, regarding the stadium move, it has to be pointed out that the move actually began in 2001. All the finances were being arranged, planning was being done, while we were winning trophies. But all along, we were preparing to move. It’s been over a decade that we’ve planned this. Not all of it has gone to plan. Including the rise of the oiler clubs. Not winning a few trophies also was not part pf the plan. But all the best laid plans and all that…. At least we’ve not had a major disaster or setback, except the manufactured one of trophies being the only measure of success for a club without an eye on their specific situation. In the past decade, we’ve won more trophies than ManCity. We’ve built a stadium in that time, and not had it gifted to us, we’ve paid off loans and had to increase wages due to the inflation caused in no small part by clubs like City themselves. We’ve not gone bankrupt like Chelsea had (and now are morally bankrupt), we’ve not gone into administration like Liverpool and dropped out of the CL. If our transition wasn’t managed as smoothly as it’s been, more people would respect the sheer enormity of the task and how well it’s been done.

  • Arun

    @bob
    Juventus’ income for the year 2011-12 was 195.4m euros which is 95m euros less than Arsenal.
    Honestly, if we are outbid by them for either Jovetic or Higuain, the board has to take the blame.

  • bob

    Arun,
    Thanks: it’s good to have these comparative numbers going into the window. My further question would be if either of the two players are strong enough. Have you seen them play over time? Is either clinical/poacher in the last third (among my main criteria)?

  • Arun

    bob
    I have never seen Jovetic. Even his stats don’t look that impressive. But I have seen Higuain and he has looked good to me. I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t sign him. He is the poacher that we badly need in the final third.
    According to the stats by @Orbinho, he has a 38% conversion rate in the last 2 seasons. RVP is at 20% while Giroud is at 14%. Remember that this 14% is including his last season at montpellier. Average EPL striker conversion rate is 16%.
    Untold praises Giroud for scoring 11 goals in his debut season in the league (forgetting that Benteke scored 19 and Michu 18), but given the chances that we create, he could and should have scored much more.

  • Shard

    Arun

    It isn’t always about money. Higuain might prefer to live in Italy, or play for Juventus.

  • Shard

    And income figures lie in both cases. Our income came from player sales, without which we would have made a loss. Our income is depleted due to loan payments. Juventus have a big business family backing them, and as such I’m not sure their income is a true reflection of their financial might. Although they have mentioned they won’t have a big budget for next years’ signings.

  • marcus

    And as Tony points out, the hidden agenda has previous.

    There are numerous occasions where a violent assault has taken place which the referee has not witnessed, e.g the Stoke game where Adebayor amongst others was attacked, and the Sunderland game where RVP was punched, and the FA?PGMOL has not taken retrospective action.

    So the argument about undermining the ref is pure pigswill.

    As we all know, the EPL is rigged.

    SAF has retired to make way for Jose. Chelsea will win the next two Premierships. They will also recruit Ronaldo.
    Yawn. The suspense is killing me.

    Money talks.

    Buy into a club, move to Germany.

  • Rupert Cook

    A.Stewart has pretty much said what I was going to say.

    I’ve no idea who we are targeting and as Shard said players may not want to come for any number of reasons. I quite fancy this Bony fellow for striker but what do I know?

  • marcus

    I assume he would work well in a skeleton team

  • marcus

    Wenger is loathe to make big money signings, because once he puts his team in the Alpha Plus category, then he is expected to win major trophies. If we assume the EPL is rigged, (99.95% likely), and if we assume that AW has worked that out, (100% likely, he lives and breathes it), then it is safe to say he is not stupid enough to waste a lot of money chasing the end of the rainbow.

    I.E. He is not going to buy superstars knowing AFC will not be allowed to win the EPL, (with the direct consequence that he will also lose his job…..)

    Just sayin’…

  • Mandy Dodd

    as for targets, this summer is going to be difficult. As Wenger says, a lot of money, not so much talent. As many have highlighted, the real top strikers – Falcao, Cavani, even Suarez, should we want him are beyond our reach, others are on long contracts and will not be joining us – eg RVP, Ibrahimovich, there is Rooney – great player but a near 28 year old who would cost a fortune…and has not looked after himself, then, there are the over priced prospects….Benteke, maybe Jovetic? David Villa – getting on….has been injured, great predator, but does not track back. Torres? Remember we are competing with the Petro dollar boys, teams with much greater resources, teams from principalities who do not tax, and not forgetting the Great Bayern Buy Out, ruling out anyone who is anyone in Germany. Thay does not leave many top names. Bony does look interesting, if unproven in a top league. Remy….well. Not many left with strikers, so would be go for a prospect forward and a goal scoring MF? Maybe more option here. Keep hearing Ashley Williams is almost done which will mean TV departing to cement his world cup place. Only a rumour, but a shame if true. TV was asked to play a high line, alongside a much slower player with a MF less helpful to the defence in the first half of the season. TV is a good player undone py team orders and patterns, which have now changed. He appear to love the club and would be a loss. IF he does go, does this mean a very different pattern of play for this team in the future….and new signings fitted in accordingly?

  • Gooner S

    @Leon

    You really have to learn to take all of this with a pinch of salt. How do you know it was true that we wanted these players? How do you know it’s true that they don’t want to come? You don’t! I don’t! There is so much rumour flying around you have to question why it is there in the first place.

    I can get excited by the prospect of certain players pitching up at Arsenal. Don’t get me wrong Higuain at Arsenal would be great but not all the rumours can be true…can they? And that is just what they are rumours.

    So I try not to jump to conclusions either way and at the end of the day if Higuain (for example) does want to go to Italy…..then he does. That’s not Arsenal’s fault.

  • Stroller

    @bob
    This is just for you, in response to your earlier postings today. I fully agree that the true-fan topic can be quickly closed out. But I am disappointed by your presumption that I am trying to ‘get one over on you’ by entering the debate, despite any evidence to support it. I guess there is nothing more to be said if the mildest of contributions is seen as having personal undertones.

  • Bootoomee

    @Bob,

    This is a rather late response to your diatribe against me and those who dared to defend my position. (Sorry but I don’t live on Internet sites fighting those who don’t share my ideology). You are what is wrong with decorum in the society: You want your voice heard but only yours and those that echo it!

    I read and reread my post to see where your bile is coming and I could not. My guess is that you either suck at reading comprehension or you have become blinded by your obsession. Here is my post again verbatim:

    “Posts like Leon’s above is the reason why I totally hate the transfer speculation game. I find those who indulge in it as been addicted to punishment. You always end up disappointed! As I have always told my cousin (a fellow gooner who enjoys the game), it is not my job to suggest players to the club, some highly qualified people are already being paid huge salaries to do this. My only duty as an Arsenal fan is to support the team and whoever wears the shirt.”

    “It is always the same pattern every 6 months: Names of some players are peddled about the tabloids and the Internet, football fans start salivating and urging their club’s management to get them. Eventually nothing happens because the whole thing was made up to begin with. And then disappointed fans start posting diatribes like Leon’s above about their club’s management.”

    “It’s like the movie: ‘Grounhog Day’!”

    Bob (see, its easy to type people’s names correctly), I understand your objection to MY idea of what a fan should be but you LIED when you claim that I DEFINED what a TRUE fan is. Look, ramble on about analysis and what-not but unless AW or Gazidis take advice or orders from you, then you are nothing but a yammering Internet tiger! You only serve the unflattering purpose of annoying and depressing other fans. I wonder why you would want to do that but I don’t think it makes you any less of a fan. I do think it makes you a silly and irritating one.

    Enjoy your silly game of transfer speculation and team analysis, just don’t come whining to others if your fantasies turn out be exactly what they are.

  • FunGunner

    @ Shard
    Bang on as usual.

    @ Bootoomee
    Top comments.

  • bob

    Stroller,
    To revisit the matter. Here’s the interchange:
    Bootoomee writes to Leon to rebut Leon’s extreme posting:
    “…it is not my job to suggest players to the club, some highly qualified people are already being paid huge salaries to do this. My only duty as an Arsenal fan is to support the team and whoever wears the shirt.”

    Rejecting Bootoomee’s characterization of the true Arsenal fan, I write:
    “I must say that you express a very limited sense of what being a true fan is. Imo, you’re both [he and Leon are] at extreme ends, and sound analysis and constructive advocacy always ought to be honored and practiced by fans who love their teams.”

    So you jump in and start your “mildest of contributions” with “@bob, I think it’s a bit presumptuous to be defining what a ‘true’ fan is.” It’s a fair reading that you are saying it’s presumptuous of me to prescribe what a true fan is when I actually objected (1) to Bootoomee’s doing just that and (2) defend free speech, analysis and expression against fans, like Bootoomee, who seem to me to be saying leave the thinking to the professionals, zip it, and love whoever wears the badge, end of story. Stroller, I’m for keeping this a free speech zone; not a tribalist zip-it zone. That’s where I’m coming from. If I was unclear, then mea culpa. I’m trying to be clearer now. In this context, I read your “mildest of contributions” – that is, slating me as “presumptuous” for supposedly prescribing what a true fan is (a) really not mild and (b) turning my objection to someone (Bootoomee) asserting what a (true) fan’s “obligation” is into my being presumptuous for asserting what a true fan is. To me, then, there is/was a personal undertone to your way of missing what (I thought) I was saying (or trying to say). So, that’s my explanation. As we’ve been at loggerheads before, I took it to be another round, not your “mildest of contributions.”

    It’s all a tempest in a teapot, but for the pittance that this is worth, it’s how I understood your “presumptuous” tag, as well, a brickbat. Anyway, if we can both agree on the substance – that is, not legislating what a true fan is – then that’s more to the point, and we can both move on to what’s substantial.

  • bob

    Bootoomee,
    Ok, do we need a clinical poacher? which one should we purchase?

  • bob

    FunGunner,
    Pass the tea please.

  • bob

    Bootoomee,
    Wow, I (capitals) lied. Ok, then can we each agree to be our individual brand of fan. I’ll enjoy dreaming out loud, be me, the silly irritant, and (in fact do) expect most of what you call my “fantasies” to come to nothing. And you’ll wait for the club to announce whatever it will or won’t, and applaud the outcome. Sorry to depress you or anyone, but I can’t and wouldn’t control your reaction to my silly irritations. Actually, I think it’s best we spoke about the actual weather, a not so silly irritant. Short of that, I’m leaning toward our considering Benteke’s broad hint that we rescue him from Villa. If you’d be willing to break your vow of silence (silly, irritating joke), I’d be most interested in your take on that.

  • bob

    Arun,
    What to make of Benteke’s appeal to Arsenal to rescue him. I mean he’s all of 22 years old with 19 goals in the first season, right? Would he compare favorably to your valuations of Higuain?

  • Bootoomee

    Bob,

    Thanks for writing my name correctly. It’s a little thing but I appreciate it. My intention is not to pick fights and I mean this very much. I agree with you that we support the team differently, I just object to your ascribing to me what I never said. I have no idea who a true fan is because I am not a mind reader. But I am pretty confident that all a fan can do is support his team. When fans cross over to the territory of suggesting and insisting on players that should be signed, they start opening themselves up for disappointment. I see no reason why anyone would keep hammering on issues that that they have no influence on.

    I want the board to sign: Bale, Messi, Hart, Mata, Villa, Lewandowski, Lahm, Yaya Toure, Higuain etc. I will also be happy to see Fabregas and RvP return. These are my wishes but I know that is all they are: wishes! And if there is anything that is well known about AW’s signings, it is the fact that they are always outside-the-box signings: Sagna, Koscielny, Carzola etc. This is why I see the whole speculation game as a waste of time and just a mere opportunity to be able to blame and insult the management when they don’t pan out.

    Please accept my plea for a truce and we can all just support the team as we best can. Thank you.

  • bob

    Bootoomee,
    yes, my ego is a silly irritant to me, and I warmly accept our truce, and move forward supporting our side. Cheers 🙂

  • bob

    Bootoomee,
    I’m trying to warmly accept our truce, but my comment is sitting in moderation. Oh the irony! 🙂

  • Stroller

    @bob,
    Well I see my post has now escalated from ‘trying to get one over on you’ to ‘slating’ you. I am even described as ‘jumping in’ by daring to disagree in an open forum. But you’ll be pleased to know that I’m not taking any of this personally, or feel that we are or have been at loggerheads.

    Given that Bootoomee has also addressed the same issues as me with your post and you have made a truce with him I suggest that we do likewise and leave it that.

  • Arun

    bob
    I haven’t seen much of Benteke. His stats show that he does have potential. His stats against the top sides don’t tell me much as Villa were very poor side and wouldn’t have created good goal scoring chances against the top teams. I believe that he will be an improvement over Gervinho.
    On the other hand, Higuain is the world class striker that we need for the next season. He can help us challenge for the league title next season. Higuain is just 25 and will be hitting his peak soon. While Benteke is a good prospect for the future, he is far from a finished article.
    As far as the next season, Higuain is the ideal striker for us. IMO, if he joins us, he will be my bet for the golden boot.

  • Arun

    Shard
    The figures reported are around the 20m pounds mark. That is not a big amount for a world class talent like him.
    Higuain wants first team football before the world cup next year and I see no reason why he can’t get that at Arsenal.

  • Stuart

    Rocket
    How do you know Usmanov is a fan? I say he is purely interested for the investment, that’s all I can see. If he really was a fan he would have bought the club surely.

  • bob

    Stroller,
    I can’t keep up with the micro-measurement of each of my short-hand slangy descriptions;, other than they all seem to mean escalations. I’ll work on being more precise going forward so they don’t mean that. And going forward, yes, I’m happy to totally de-escalate and resume with our clean slate, and to champion our gunners. Cheers, mate. 🙂

  • bob

    Arun,
    I’m on side with you about Higuain. One last point of comparison: how do you see Higuain v. David Villa?

  • bob

    Stroller,
    To be honest, I think the loggerheads remark came from a confusion of your with some previous exchanges of mine with another poster. My face is beet red just writing this. (And to keep the gathering peace I’ll leave that unsaid!) Better lager heads than loggerheads anyway. 🙂

  • Grayfox001

    @Stuart @Rocket I’m surprised more people haven’t mentioned that.

    There’s been loads of discussions about ownership models/who you prefer etc. Not even gonna try and repeat what’s already been said more eloquently but I keep hearing this nonsense that Usmanov is a fan and can only assume people that believe that work for him.

    @Stuart says if he was a fan he would buy the club. I’d go further and say if he was a fan he’d publicly offer to pay off the stadium and maybe chuck a couple of 100 million into our transfer pot without worrying/caring about a seat on the board or owning the club.

    I’m a fan. That’s what I’d do if I had £13 billion and the cost of the stadium was lying around down the back of my sofa. I wouldn’t be buying up shares at inflated prices, wanting a place on the board, talking about dividends or sending out press releases at tricky times of the season. I’d just want the club to do well.

    He doesn’t do this because he’s a (successful) businessman first and foremost and if he puts his hand in his pocket, like most businessmen he wants something in return.

    None of us know what that something is but only a fool would suggest handing over ‘our’ club to him without at least trying to figure out what he wants.

    PS.For the record don’t want Kroneke either

  • Steve

    Red & White holdings are just not Usmaniov, perhaps this fact is the draw back to why the current board will not allow them in to the board room. For a group who say they love the club they are very silent on their plans for the club.

    Looking at the club from a business point of view only what has Stan done wrong?

    http://positivelyarsenal.com/2013/05/13/silent-stan/