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August 2021

Mr Usmanov’s dramatic change of direction, and the implications for Arsenal

By Walter Broeckx

This site has never made it a secret that we are part of the AKB-brigade. For those just arriving from Mars: the Arsène Knows Best-brigade. In fact it is the reason why Tony started this blog all those years ago. To counter the stream of negativity that was not only around Arsenal but also aimed at Wenger.

Of course a part of the fanbase who only want success now and today is not satisfied. And if you only want to look at trophies on the field and are not interested in looking at the bigger picture at all then I can understand some not being happy. But on Untold we try to look further at what prevented us from winning things. A lack of money, a lack of good enough referees, our greediest players being attracted to much more money than Arsenal could offer at the time. It didn’t help Mr Wenger at all.

And because of the board and Arsène Wenger both being of the same idea the hatred dished out towards them is very high in some circles. Stan Kroenke (it is suggested) has to go as he doesn’t put his own money in the club. (Not really the best thing to do when in principle you are an firm believer in FFP of course.)   Ivan Gazidis got a lot of stick for what was called doing nothing. And Arsène Wenger for not delivering on the field. All had to be fired, thrown out, or preferably executed at dawn (legal difficulties over this course of action not withstanding).

And people called for that other big shareholder to enter the stage and to fulfil their dreams of Arsenal winning trophies. Their dreams of Arsenal buying each and every big name in the globe. “Bring in Usmanov,” was the word on the block.  It could even be written on Untold by the people who wanted everyone else out with Mr Usmanov being shipped in as the top man.    The man who would clean up the Arsenal. And he would throw that French ……………… (I’m leaving a few blank spaces for the usual abuse you can find in some quarters of our fan base) out.

For those who want Arsène Wenger out and who are waiting for Usmanov to execute their deepest wish it seems that there are bad times ahead. Because in an interview that can be seen here the first sentences spoken by Usmanov must be a big blow for them.

The first words Usmanov said and I quote: “My point of view is that Arsène knows best.”   Words that went down well at the Untold Farmhouse (Arsenal Towers being under reconstruction) you can imagine. And I can imagine also that these words must make the Wenger-out boys throw themselves off a cliff (or our under repair tower block) in despair. Because it seems that nobody understands their brilliant point of view.

The majority share holder Kroenke is an AKB, Gazidis has said that Arsenal is going to offer Wenger a new contract. And the other big shareholder Usmanov declares being an AKB. So even if Usmanov  suddenly bought all the shares from Kroenke it looks that it will not change the position of Mr Wenger at all. I think most of the WOB have to let that sink in and I can imagine some of them not really knowing what to think of all this.

Usmanov, who was their saver, suddenly turning out to be an AKB. I must say that if they had read a bit more carefully the last years that it was already more than clear to me that Usmanov has now and has always had a big trust in our Arsène. He called for more spending money and offered a (for him) rather beneficial way of bringing in more money. But never did he call for the head of Wenger as far as I know. I think that was some hopeful wishing from the WOB part. And they believed themselves when they started saying it for the umpteenth time: If Usmanov were in charge he would throw them all out, including that French ……… (insert your own abuse).

But what might be also interesting is that Usmanov didn’t only back Wenger but that he also gave some credit to the way Arsenal has been run the last years and in a way he honoured the work of not only silent Stan but even more the work of Ivan Gazidis.  You know the other person that the WOB has been wanted out. The GOB we could call them. But most of the time they are just the same as the WOB (which is a variant on the AAA).

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Because Usmanov said and I quote again from the interview:  “The club is progressing in a commercial sense. They have signed a few commercial deals. I would say the one with Puma is absolutely outstanding and unprecedented.”  So it seems not only are we entering the last year of the low but pre-paid Nike shirt deal but we are having one of the best shirt deals in the PL. And that is the work of the department of Gazidis.  The one whom the WOB said that he is just filling his pockets and does nothing to earn his money.  All their arguments are being brushed aside by the words of Usmanov.

Ivan Gazidis is doing a good job it seems (we can’t really tell as their has been no official announcement made yet because of the running contracts) and so is Wenger. If we can believe Usmanov. And the WOB has been hanging on his lips for a few years now.

Overall I’ve got the feeling that Usmanov is turning his ship a bit. In past seasons he was trying to undermine the work of Gazidis (not of Wenger as I said and if they would have paid attention) and the current board. A board he wants to enter. He tried to split the fans and tried to force Kroenke out. Most of the fans didn’t really like his attempts to destabilize the club. And I wonder if Usmanov has understood that message?

I think Usmanov realises that Kroenke is not just here to “fill his pockets”. If that were the case he would have sold his shared to Usmanov by now and taken the biggest profit of his life. So Usmanov realises that Silent Stan has made it clear (as he said in the AGM of 2011) he is here to stay. And as a sensible businessman Usmanov has changed his strategy. The only way he could get onto the board is by joining them in their strategy. The strategy of a club making its own money. The strategy of a club only spending what it has.

It must have been a bad week for the Wenger Out Brigade. And of course you can understand that the words said by Usmanov are words that are welcomed in the Untold Farmhouse. We don’t love Kroenke. We don’t love Usmanov. We love The Arsenal. And we want Arsenal to be a place that we know we can support even long after we have ended our life on this planet. We want Arsenal to be there for our children and grand children and beyond. And I think that with the current manager, board and now seemingly all the major share holders, looking in the same direction the future of Arsenal looks brighter than it has looked in a long time.

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42 comments to Mr Usmanov’s dramatic change of direction, and the implications for Arsenal

  • Razor

    I really enjoyed reading this article as I’ve been an Arsenal supporter since 1989. I do agree that as Arsenal fans we want to get the experienced top top talented players at Arsenal but at the same time, not to rock the boat. The immense financial difficulty moving from Highbury to Emirates and yet still qualifying for Champions League is a truly remarkable achievement considering we couldn’t replace players we sold like for like. Sorry for rambling on. Keep up the good work. Gunner for Life!

  • Zé Günner

    Maybe a case of you catch more flies with honey? A big fan of ignoring what they say and watching what they do…jury’s still out…

  • Dominic

    Don’t forget to add the misfortune of having 3 players seriously injured (including one who was lucky not to lose his foot) due to the Jonsey attitude (they don’t like it up them Captain Mainwaring) of many clubs.
    Eduardo was injured at a time when we were challenging for the title and he was running into form. I remember the match against Everton which we could easily have lost. An Eduardo hat trick ensured 3 points against the better team.
    A few more goals from him that season and we might have been champions.
    To add insult to injury in each case the pundits trotted out the old, “He’s not that kind of player” to excuse the assault.

  • Stefan

    I think it’s a shame that you come out and say you’re part of the AKB-brigade.

    Isn’t it healthier to decide from facts, facts that can change over time, what your opinions are? State that you have a concrete position on something that by inference isn’t going to change and you’ll typically find that those people grasp for any and all facts that support that position whilst dismissing out of hand those that don’t.

    Much better to consider the facts backing or attacking a point of view with no preconceptions rather than coming with a standpoint that you’re not going to move on.

    Changing your mind, if the facts warrant it is more of an intellectual challenge, and actually a braver thing to do.

    I was totally behind Arsene, then moved over time to wanting him out because I didn’t think he could move the club forward any more, especially with his coaching methods and recruitment policy.

    Although still largely of that opinion, change might be afoot this transfer window so let’s see. Still, he has a lot of work to do to show he can mould any squad in to real fighters/real contenders.

    Our Arsene has some virtues but lots of weaknesses too. I just wish we could discuss them honestly, rather than support everything he does without question or indeed the reverse.

    I’ve come to this website ocassionally so haven’t read everything posted. If I’ve missed more critical stuff on Arsene, I apologise in advance, but honestly, the AKB term is terrible. We’ve all got our weaknesses, and that includes our manager.

    Blindly following Arsene without question is just as bad as the Wenger out vitriol that so annoys you.

  • bjtgooner

    Walter, an interesting article. I note you use the phrase “change of direction” in the title, wisely you did not use the alternative “change of heart”.

    I suspect the change of direction is nothing more than a tactic to further his ambition, to initially get on the board (move over Tony Adams) and later buy out Kroenke.

    If Jabba’s published history is even half true, the board would do well to keep him at a distance.

  • Dieter

    I fully agree that AW has led the club through a tough time etc. and I suppose it is/was unreasonable to expect ‘him’ to also challenge for trophies (although how we lost to Birmingham remains a mystery to me!) so well done but…..he has been somewhat conservative in the transfer market and does not appear to understand the term ‘defence’! and does not appear, at least lately, to have a plan B. Arsenal goals against (apart from last year) has always been the major difference between (potentially) winning the EPL or being 1st/2nd or 3rd of the Losers. Ferguson’s strength was managing team change, AW’s seems to be managing Ground change. Hopefully this season won’t be more of the same and AW can regain the support of his many critics…by at least winning something!

  • Jed

    Usmanov has been consistently pro-Wenger. Wenger plus Usmanov’s billions might well have meant more success for AFC over the last few years.

    His change of direction looks to be about tactics. Borrowing from the parable of the wind and the sun, he’s given up blowing hard and is now playing the little sunbeam.

    He’s still the same oligarch underneath.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Change in strategy. Well I dont mind him (or his reps) being in the board. I dont care who is in there as long as they work collectively towards the betterment of our ARSENAL.

    But buying out ARSENAL is not easy. Kronke is the major shareholder. Unless he decides to sell, you cant reduce his share margin can you?? Now Kronkes investment, yes he is a businessman, looks more like a profile enhancer than a profit enhancer.

  • zdzis

    The fact that a person says “I support x” doesn’t necessarily mean they do.
    As far as I recall, Usmanov made a virtue of hailing Wenger while lambasting the club’s strategy that Wenger publicly endorsed. In other words, what he said was, in effect, “Wenger is a great manager, but he’s completely clueless.” How’s that for support?
    The interesting point is the one about Gazidis and our new commercial deals. A part of Usmanov’s critique was about our commercial revenue, which was way too low for a club of this size. He obviously expected us to complete some new deals soon, so he tried hard to exploit the inopportune conjuncture while it lasted. Now that we know it’s almost gone, he can no longer trot the same old line. That’s the lesson for those who bought Usmanov’s gibberish wholesale: you been took!
    As for Usmanov’s billions helping Arsenal: First, that would very likely mean Wenger would resign. Second, look at Dinamo Moscow. Usmanov sits on their board and sponsors the club (indirectly). The best result they got with him was 3rd place in the league, in his first season on the club board. No trophy, lots of instability. Sure, he might change his ways if he gets a chance from Arsenal, but I don’t think it’s a good idea to give him it. The benefit of not relying on a sugar daddy is that you can keep your direction even if someone on your board wants to change the tune.

  • shane

    but why shuold arsenal fans pay the highest prices!!!!!
    I say finish fourth charge 4 th highest prices, i bet your bottom dollar that happens they will try to win shit

  • Talking about coaches, why did Chelsea chase Mourinho instead of Dortmund’s Klopp? The ‘special’ one was clearly outfoxed by the German tactician. Also, why is Real Madrid eager to Clinch Carlo Ancelloti instead of Jupp Heynckes? Heynckes should have won the champions league last year. And he literally demolished Madrid’s bitter rivals on the way to clinching the greatest prize in club football. It seems as if Guardiola wouldn’t have been considered for the post if he hadn’t already signed for it. But maybe the departure of Pep from Barca led to their fiasco against Bayern. Guardiola had previously outclassed the Bavarians. Also, he may have helped Heynckes in strategizing against his former club. This suggests that when it comes to coaching, the difference between success and failure is a very thin line.

  • Bootoomee


    I’m with you on Usmanov and his antics. Although Walter’s article is aimed at those who assumed that having a sugar daddy guarantees sacking of the manager, buying of ‘world class’ players and consequently: trophies. I refuse to use the word success here because Arsenal has been very successful over the last 8 years. Besides, all the whinging, animosity and name-calling are born out of the near junkie-like craving of some fans for trophies.

    – What do we want?

    – TROPHIES!!!

    – When do we want it?

    – Eight years ago!

    I like your perspective on Dinamo Moscow, in a league that is nowhere near the EPL. If he could not propel Dinamo to trophies in Russia, how is he going to influence Arsenal in the EPL?

    Another example is Man City. Huge investment over last 5 years and all they have is an FA cup and EPL on goal difference. They have also failed to get out of the group stages in 2 attempts. Compare them with AW’s achievement before the stadium project and the arrival of Abramovich, and ever since. The Wenger haters seem to have collective lobotomy that has removed these facts from their brains.

    We have also come close on a few occasions with ill-luck doing us in. There are time that I joked that we used up our luck in the 2005 FA cup final:)

    I hope Wenger retires here. He has sacrificed so much in terms of personal glory for the good of the club, it is about time he starts reaping his rewards.

  • Rufusstan

    Its all PR/politics.

    Kronke is securely in control, appears to not want to leave, and Usmanov is in a position where nothing he does can directly change that. His options are simply to sell up or play the long game, by manipulating opinion and make the current leadership untenable.

    The current statement does not represent any change in policy, just another part of the strategy. Things are going well, so he has to associate himself as strongly to them as he can. At the same time, they can throw in the Rooney stuff, which is a Win/Win: we sign him, and its his idea, we don’t and its ammunition to use against the board.

    I’m not sure if his endgame is realistic, but the guy clearly believes he can build enough pressure to at least get a seat on the board, and from there…..

  • Rupert Cook

    I think Wenger wants to win trophies too Bootoome. I’m sure he believes he has a squad capable of winning something. And yes it probably could win a domestic cup. I doubt any manager would be happy with finishing fourth every season and winning nothing unless they’re managing a club the size of Stoke.

    I’m also not sure what Wenger’s sacrificed for Arsenal. Sure he might have gone to a bigger club in Spain or Germany but perhaps he wouldn’t have access to the power he has at Arsenal. Perhaps he’s quite happy living in London and doesn’t want to uproot his family. Perhaps he loves Arsenal most. Who knows? If he ever writes his memoirs we might learn if he did have regrets about staying at Arsenal but I suspect he’s happy where he is. But as I say, who knows?

  • Gerry Lennon

    To use a well worn cliche, at the end of the day what Usmanov wants a dividend being paid to shareholders. Where will that money paid out come from? The future transfer budget.

    Whatever Silent Stan’s motives are for buying into Arsenal, it has not to date to make himself richer, other than owning shares in a club that is progressing towards a brighter future. The same cannot be said for the Gazprom Git?

    Stefan – You have a point. AKB was the name given to those that supported AW through the tough times, by thier opposite numbers. So to I suggest that Walter and Tony are happy to be allied to the AKB, but without ever taking the semantic view you have? Supportive, yes. Blinkered, no.

    To use the exact words above ‘… we are a part of the AKB-brigade’. Nothing more.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Rufusstan, agree.

    If Usmanov loved Arsenal so much why doesn’t he just donate 100 million to the transfer kitty?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Whatever hot air is forthcoming from the Grande Turd probably is to re-inflate his own sagging ambitions and an attempt to lift his profile. I for one am not buying into his words and would be more than happy if he was kept well clear of the board .
    Just came to my mind the image of said Uzbek at the bow of the good ship SS Arsenal bellowing ,”I’ m the king world!”
    Followed soon by ,” I’ve lead you to the promised land of honey and … ? ICE ? Iceberg ? Iceberg ! Abandon ship! And me’s the first onto the lifeboats !”
    And the band (AAA) played on !

    ” We cannot change the direction of the wind , but we can always adjust the sails .”

  • Bootoomee


    I like it when people ask questions and answer it themselves in their next sentence:

    “I’m also not sure what Wenger’s sacrificed for Arsenal. Sure he might have gone to a bigger club in Spain or Germany but perhaps he wouldn’t have access to the power he has at Arsenal.”

    You write as if Arsenal was winning everything before Arsene, he came in, took over power by hypnotising the board and then messed it up because he wanted ‘freedom’ to do whatever he wants apart from winning trophies! Considering that you and I, crazy about Arsenal as we may be, cannot put the team’s trophies on our CV, your questioning of what the manager has sacrificed over the course of the last 8 years is obtuse and sound more like a wind-up, especially when you answer your own question. What do you think Arsene would have achieve if he were in charge of Man City these past 4/5 years?

  • americangooner

    According to rules, if Usmanov reaches 30% of Arsenal Shares, he becomes a board member. Currently he is at 29.99%. He needs only one share to make it 30%. What is holding back Usmanov, one of the richest billionaires, from getting that magic number and hence the coveted seat in the board?
    Besides why did he side with vP last year in lambasting the board for lack of ambition but slow in getting admission into the board? a weird political game by an uzbek.

  • Bootoomee


    The only few people who are still supporting Usmanov are only doing so to spite Arsene and the board. The man has no credential to back up his ambition.

  • Slysoulman

    You really think Usmanov has seen the light, Walter? Maybe, but I prefer to be cautious; I see a realization that his methods are counterproductive, hence the necessity of a tactical shift. Can he be trusted to stick with Arsene if (God forbid!) he were to assume majority ownership of The Arsenal? Consider the man’s antecedents in business and answer.

  • MarkyH

    The problem with both camps is (as I think Stefan says) the blinkered insistence that either AW is all-knowing and always correct… or all madness and always wrong. The problem with this post and some of the sycophants that commented on it is a complete lack of understanding on how poorly our club has been run.

    One of my biggest problems has always been the flat wage structure (no, i’m not talking about not spending more than we could afford at the high end, i’m talking about the ridiculously high wages for a number of very average players who were signed up on big wages, found to be wanting, cast aside, but continued to cost the club a fortune. Wenger is at fault twice here a) for buying terrible players and b) for sancitioning such stupid wages.

    I’m talking of course about some combination of Chamakh, Park, Bendtner, Djourou, Squillaci, Santos, Denilson, laterally Arshavin, and actually I would throw Diaby in there for the persistence with a crock. Thats £50k-£70k a week x9 = about £500,000 A WEEK. We could always afford to pay our best 3 or so players £150k a week if we have structured this nonsense properly.

    Separately I blame Wenger for not stepping up and spending the money he had available. And he did – especially the last 2-3 years – have money available. Maybe if we’d replaced Cesc and Nasri at the time rather than a year later (Cazorla) it might have been possible to keep van Persie. Perhaps if we’d replaced van Persie at the time rather than a year later (pls god may Higuan happen), instead of sticking the 24m in the bank we wouldnt have been scraping 4th place.

    I could go on but I won’t. We have slipped further and further from being challengers each year recently and now serious investment is needed to plug the glaring holes. We need Higuan, Fellaini, a winger (Nani?, Payet?) another centre back and a proper goalie at the minimum. For those who claim I just want to play fantasy football I point out that this is a CUMULATIVE hole that has built over the last several years. We should never have let our lack of depth and quality get this bad and for that, given AW’s power, I have to blame the manager.

    To bring balance to this rant, I think he is a tremendously talented coach and moulder of talent. I think was a revolution when he arrived and I will thank him forever for some of the highs (2004 being my personal favourite) and he has kept us (somewhat) competitive on a shoe string through the stadium build which was genius. However, i think he has failed to adapt/accept the need for change/spend the money at his disposal WISELY the last 3 years, both in terms of using up valuable resources on that list of overpaid wannabes, some of whom were never fit to wear the shirt, and also in terms of failing to invest properly in the playing squad before and at the tme of some major departures. I’ve said this before… but this summer really is his last chance to save his ‘legacy’.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Bootoome, I think you misunderstand me, possibly in your hurry to defend Wenger at all costs.

    I said that I’m sure Wenger wants to win trophies. He did that before and I don’t recall him claiming he disliked winning them.

    I didn’t ask a question, if so I would have put a question mark afterwards. I merely wondered what Wenger has sacrificed seeing as none of us know exactly how he feels about managing in Spain, Germany or wherever. If he’s happy in his current job I fail to see what sacrifices our involved. And if he’s not happy, well I suspect he can change his life accordingly.

    As far as I know Wenger has not been approached by Man City, As to what he may have achieved I have no idea but as I thought he was against financially doped clubs I think it would be somewhat hypocritical if he left Arsenal to manage a Chelsea or a City type club.

  • Rupert Cook

    “are involved”, pardon my error.

  • Rupert Cook

    “are involved”, pardon my error.


    what a load of crap on These so called Blogs are being written articles and replies. me as an older fan i went to Arsenal to watch a Football game win or lose of course i wanted Arsenal to win but if they lost it was not the end of the world.all this talk about titles ok it has been awhile dont worry it will happen again also this is not the first time Arsenal have gone afew years without winning a title.think on what Arsenal have achieved this last ten years such as one of the best Stadiums around.whishing all you true fans all the best.john now in Germany 81 years old.

  • jambug

    ‘Sacrifice’ is possibly the wrong word, but there is no doubt Wenger ‘CHOSE’ the long term betterment of ARSENAL FC over short term glory for himself. This was first signified by what he did with the massive profit he made from his buying and selling of Anelka. As I understand it a vast majority,if not all of the profits from that particular piece of genius went into financeing our state of the art training and medical centre. Could you imagine Jose or Harry, or anyone else for that matter, doing that? Neither can I. Wenger could quite happily of re invested that in players and stayed at Highbury wheeling and dealing and probably winning a couple of extra trophies, right up until Madrid/Barca came calling and voom, he could of been gone like a rat out of an Aquaduct. But no, he chose to forgo short term glory for himself and chose long term stability for US !!! Yes US !! The fans. Just imagine the shit we would be in now if we was still stuck in 38,000 seater Highbury trying to compete with the 3 finacial juganaughts. It’s hard enough now !! Yet despite those choices (sacrifices) he made for the long term future of the club we love some still cant see it. Not only can’t see it but actually think he is a selfish egotistical fool for doing what he did. I honestly despair at the short sighted fools who fall for all the media bile spouted about Wenger. He has steered us, steedfastly and brilliantly to the dawn of a fantastic new era for our beloved club. We owe our future to Mr Wenger and for that we should be forever grateful. I know I am. AKB !!!!

  • Bootoomee


    With that logic, how can the man possibly win with you? If you admit that he likes winning (from your double negatives), then having to go 8 years without a trophy is a sacrifice that he has made for Arsenal. I know that some of our fans think he is getting paid like a bandit but same fans rationalise the departure of players (who also get paid in the same region) as leaving to win trophies. Arsene is a very loyal person and that is why he has decided to stay with the team that he won several trophies with during a time that he knew and told us will be tough. You call it nothing, I call it sacrifice. I suspect we will never agree on that and it’s fine by me.

    My Man City question is hypothetical and you were being disingenuous by acting like it isn’t. I ask you again: what do you think Arsene Wenger would have achieved with Man City in the last 4 to 5 years? Speak your mind if you think he would have failed but don’t pretend like you don’t understand the question for what it is.

  • Bootoomee


    That is sacrifice!

    Merriam Webster: Sacrifice – “…..surrender of something for the sake of something else”

    I put it as: surrender of trophies for the sake of a new stadium and long term security and greatness of Arsenal FC!

    I agree with you on everything else but that word is appropriate for what Arsene has done for Arsenal. Especially in the context of the insults and character assassination that he has suffered over the period.

    Please, let us all AKBs tell it like it is about this selfless man!

  • Rufusstan

    Americangooner — As far as I know, Usmanov has no incentive to get to 30%. It certainly does not entitle him to a board seat, in fact I don’t think it offers him anything.

    There used to be PL rules that at 30% he got inside access to the finances et al, but they changes the rules last year.

  • John, you are of course always welcome to read Untold, and you are welcome to call it crap, but I can’t quite make out the phrase “so called Blogs”. I call it a blog, because it is a… well, Blog. It is not a plate of fish and chips. It is not a television. It is not a basketball. It is not a pair of trainers which in our youth, you and I called plimsolls. It is a Blog. What should I call it if not a Blog?

  • Matt Clarke

    I’ve been reading for a couple of years thinking it WAS a plate of fish and chips, so imagine MY chagrin.

    Still, fish and chips for tea, so it’s not all bad.

    Ignore me, I’ll go away.

  • Adam

    Nice read, but I will never trust a man who ran the bank for the Russian arms industry.

  • Stuart

    Americangooner @ 2.14

    The 30% marker is a standard rule that can be opted out of, something which Arsenal have done so Usmanov will not automatically qualify for a seat on the board. This is one of Red & Whites complaints

  • Rupert Cook

    @Bootoome, I actually don’t think Wenger was sacrificing trophies, I believe he thought he could win some. After all we did have a good chance of winning the League Cup against Birmingham. In the last two seasons I imagine he might have thought differently but I’m sure he has faith in his team being able to win something.

    What would he have achieved at City? I would have thought he’d have won a trophy or two. Any decent manager should be able to do that. Look at Chelsea, how many different managers have won trophies there? An abundance of money usually guarantees some success.

  • Bootoomee


    Thanks for acknowledging that financial constraints and (to some extent) ill-luck are responsible for Arsenal’s lack of trophies. Now can you lay off the manager? He is doing his best based on his circumstances. If he had jumped ship like some of the players, he would have won a few trophies too.

    If he could have left for another rich club to win trophies but chose to stay instead, in spite of the financial constraints, abuse, insults and ridicule for being a failure, then that is sacrifice in my book.

  • jambug


    I’m quite happy with ‘Sacrifice’. I just thought some found it a bit OTT but no Sacrifice is fine by me.

    A point also made was that as much as it turned out Wenger actually sacrificed winning anything I too don’t believe he thought for one minute it would end up with nothing for eight years. He knew it would be tough but NOTHING. I doubt he expected that.

    But I doubt he expected 2 Billionaires to turn up, bank roll there clubs to the infinite degree and systematically ‘rape’ us of our top players.

    I doubt even he forsaw the ressession.

    And I certainly doubt he forsaw us blowing 3 or 4 Cup Finals, but hey maybe the players minds where somewhere else !!

    But one things for sure, despite all the abuse, from enemies and supposed friends and fans, he’s stuck with us. And thank God he did.

    Arsenes mission statement when we commited to the Stadium would of been something like this

    “Monies gonna be tight, very tight. We need you to break even on transfers as all other revenue streams will be used to pay off the Stadium debt. We must at all costs mantain CL status. We don’t care how you do just do it or we are in the crap”

    Wenger and only Wenger knows how the hell he did it. Genius. AKB

  • Pat

    Jambug – yes – in a nutshell!

  • Rupert Cook

    As none of us know what money has been available to Wenger it’s difficult to claim anything, let alone a genius tag. If he now has money available which exceeds previous seasons he has every chance to fulfill his ambitions. Or at least more of a chance.

    And only Wenger knows if he’s made a sacrifice.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard, are you still available for a meet up tomorrow?

  • Linz

    Look,in 1998,Wenger threatened to leave unless the club agreed to give him full control of all footballing matters,which they duly did.He is a firm believer that a manager should have total control.Now he is not an idiot,and all those clubs that have offered him a job DO NOT give the manager full control.The players are scouted and bought by the Director of Football,sometimes even the President in the case of Real Madrid,and the manager just coaches and picks the team.Moreover,success is mandatory,and a trophyless season more often than not results in the boot.Hell,at Madrid you can win La Liga and even the CL and STILL get the sack.Bayern have dumped their treble winning manager in order to bring in the younger,cooler Guardiola, in an attempt to turn Bayern into a cultured pass and move team ala Barca.Wenger also gets a buzz out of developing young players,which is hard to do at places like Madrid where even a Draw is regarded as a disaster.Look,i’m not saying Arsene doesn’t love Arsenal,i’m sure he does,but it suits him being here.The days of managers being at a club for years appears to be over,and at Arsenes age,why would he want to change? As for Usmanov putting in 100 mil,i thought owners couldn’t put money in according to FFP regulations,and any alternative such as a rights issue would need the agreement of all shareholders, because of the dilution in the value of the shares. Also,Stan is not some benevolent Yank who has bought shares to help out his UK buddies;he is a businessman whose eventual aim will be to sell up when the time is right to make a killing.Now that appears to be some way off in the future,but Arsenal fans must be aware that if anything happens to Stan,there is no guarantee that his son will take over.History has shown that in similar circumstances the family tend to sell the shareholding;not always(see Southampton) but usually.

  • Nelson Wong

    “I think Usmanov realises that Kroenke is not just here to “fill his pockets”. If that were the case he would have sold his shared to Usmanov by now and taken the biggest profit of his life. So Usmanov realises that Silent Stan has made it clear (as he said in the AGM of 2011) he is here to stay. And as a sensible businessman Usmanov has changed his strategy. The only way he could get onto the board is by joining them in their strategy. The strategy of a club making its own money. The strategy of a club only spending what it has.”

    Looking back at Usmanov’s past statements, I come up with two opposite purposes which I cannot distinguish.
    1) he underminds the board and ruin the short term value of the club publically. The stock price drops and he can buy the cub with a cheaper price.

    But then, in any case, it won’t be a cheap buy and I wonder how much cheaper can he get by employing these tactics. So I come up with the other reason.

    2) Usmanov is not happy with how the club is running and he thinks that he can get far more value from the stock he has. So he is really forcing the person in charge to do a better job so the value of his ~30% share will go up! Its a major investment of Usmanov and he wants return from share price going up and dividend. Remember that he demanded dividend payment? One can argue that he is still buying lose shares from the market but those are too small to be decisive and that can never overthrow Stan. Its his tactic to put pressure on Stan to run the club better and earn more profit.

    If Stan manages the team well, the price of the club will shoot up and that only make it much more costly for Usmanov to buy the 60+ % of Stan and that does not make any sense to me. But if Usmanov looks to sell one day or another, it makes perfect sense.

    So the question is how we see those tactics from Usmanov.

    He is not exactly a person we like but he knows what he is doing. He is probably more intelligent than Abramovich.