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Football management: that most exquisite affair that can make tears fall

By Tony Attwood

Sometimes in football I cry.  Not very often – but I did when the whistle went at the end of Arsenal 2 Leicester 1 on May 15, 2004.  I tried to cover my tears at first, but then I realised the guy in front on me was crying even more, and I just let it happen.

It wasn’t just that it (you must know what I mean by “it”) had happened, but the fact that I was there, in the stadium, to witness “it”.  It is not as great a memory as witnessing the birth of my children, but it comes in top of the sporting moments.

But sometimes I almost cry with laughter.  Like when I read this…

Red Star Belgrade players have been warned to stop eating meat pies for breakfast, drinking beer after practice and enjoying wild nights out in the Serbian capital.

Well yes, having been to Serbia, I can see the problem.

Mostly however I just marvel at the oddness of football.   I mean, can you imagine what the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal would have made of Mr Wenger and co if we had played in the Premier League Asian Tourney or whatever it was called.

Take a look, for example, at the pitch…

  1. Manchester City v Sunderland in Asia Trophy final

The event took place in Hong Kong and the Guardian from which I took the picture printed this wonderful comment…

“While Scudamore conceded that pitch condition and location were among lessons to be learned…”

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Oh yes I nearly cried.  “Among lessons  to be learned”.  Oh for goodness sake.  Even my beloved Torquay United don’t play on that sort of pitch [Torquay are my second club for family reasons, and don’t tell me you can’t support two clubs, we’ve had that debate before].

So, it rains in South China eh?  My goodness.  What a turn up.  Even I knew that and I don’t earn the billions that the combined intelligence (I use the word lightly) of the Premier League and the clubs they managed to persuade to head for Hong Kong, seemingly don’t know.   Tell you want guys, take a trip with Jules Verne.  Their pre-holiday notes might help.  They told me to take a raincoat.

The Scud went on, “If we were to expand it [the money making Tourney], there would be more venues rather than more teams.”  Oh that’s all right then.  The EPL cocked up big time, so there are “lessons to be learned”.  Do you know, if I cocked up on a billionth of the scale of the Scudamore/Premier League cock up over China, I’d be living in the two bedroom flat in South Tottenham where I was when I started as a writer about two million years ago.

Anyway since I have their picture on the site, here’s a link to the whole Guardian article from which this wonderful Skudism comes…

Interesting pieces also about Manchester Untidy and their chasing of Cesc F.   At the moment looks like a lost cause, not least because Barce-loan-us know that if they accept a Manchester U offer they have to go to Arsenal and offer the player to Arsenal for the same price.  And Manchester United know that too.

And since Arsenal get a cash-back on any sale of Mr Fab, Barcelona will get far less money than they want, given the parlous state of their (and every other Spanish club’s) finances.

(Remember this is the club that said, after they failed to pay their players’ salaries a couple of summers back, “We have a plan, we are going to stop using the colour photocopier.”   OK my quote is not accurate, that  is what it amounted to.)

Now my credibility is of course somewhat south of zero at the moment (following the Higuain fiasco – and note that he is not given his accent any more, now that he didn’t sign for us) but what I have heard from before the transfer window, is that Cesc is coming to us next summer.  So expect a signing yesterday (oh Doctor Who where are you when I need you).

Meanwhile there is Newcastle and Wonga.  I thought Cisse was really good, honest and brave at not giving in to Wonga, since I deplore what they are and what they do (and no, I don’t pay interest on credit cards – the only thing I ever borrowed was money for my mortgage and the overdraft facility used by my company), and both through the regular run of the mill places.   Of course it is not fully confirmed, but it is said that Cisse likes the casinos.  Hey ho.

To be clear, everyone has the right to gamble in the UK since it is legal.  Wonga is legal too.  I just don’t like gambling or borrowing Wonga-style.  Just me, I mention it today but don’t preach it.  I’m not a member of any religion that says it is wrong to lend money for profit.  In fact being an atheist does make life easier sometimes.

Back to the starting point.  What else amuses me?  “Pepe Reina has written a goodbye letter to Liverpool fans in which he has claimed it was not his decision to leave the club. The goalkeeper has joined Napoli on a season-long loan but says he wanted to extend his contract at Anfield.”  But that story has changed as well, so probably isn’t true either.

And then there is this from the Independent in Ireland:

“BRENDAN RODGERS has warned Luis Suarez that he will be making a massive mistake if he joins Arsenal – because Liverpool are a far bigger club.   The Liverpool manager said Suarez’s desire to move to Arsenal “does not add up,” even though the Gunners can offer Champions League football next season.”

I don’t want to argue about Liverpool – they had a magnificent run in the 80s and have won the league and Euro Cup five times more than Arsenal.   Superb, I’d love Arsenal to have that record.  But Suarez is not interested in that.  He’s interested in now.

This from Liverpool’s own web site…

Liverpool FC’s 2011/12 accounts show (and the quote is from their web site) “Liverpool ranked ninth in Deloitte’s latest Football Money League table. The table, which is published in January, ranks the world’s top 20 teams in terms of annual cash flow.

“Liverpool placed fifth among Premier League teams, behind Manchester United (£320.3  million), Chelsea (£261 million), Arsenal (£234.9 million), and last season’s league champions, Manchester City (£231.1 million).”

Liverpool had a £188.7m turnover according to Deloites, which took into account a change of accounting date and adjusted for that.

So historically Liverpool have won more than Arsenal.  But they have two current day negatives.  No Champions League, and being £46,200,000 behind Arsenal in annual turnover, and without a new or upgraded stadium, which has yet to be financed, let alone built.

As I said, sometimes I cry with sheer utter pleasure.  Sometimes I just smile a bit.

Here’s a final thought.  Did you know that the Emirates tourney this weekend is fully sold out?   So that AAA guy who came on here saying that if Arsenal don’t sign the players he wants he is throwing his season ticket in the bin.  He won’t give it to anyone.  He won’t try and sell it.  He will just throw it away.

Bit of a shame for all those people who are coming to see the friendlies and can’t get tickets for the league matches.

Anyway, we’re almost there for the start of things – and just in case you think it is all terrible and fraught in supporting Arsenal, just let me quote you what the Guardian says today about Torquay United.

“The elastic band seems to be stretched to snapping point.”

Drew and I hope to go and see a few non-league and perhaps lower league games this season, and bring back detailed reports of the beer, the pies and the elastic bands.  Meanwhile, if you haven’t see it, please do take a look at Drew’s article

In Danskin’s footsteps: revisiting the sites of the early Arsenal

just to remind us all where it all came from.

Arsenal anniversaries 1 August

The books…

The sites from the same team…



24 comments to Football management: that most exquisite affair that can make tears fall

  • Bill

    Mr Attwood you are an out and out tosser of the first order. You derive pleasure from the fact Arseall have a bigger turnover than Liverpool. I would suggest you find something better to do with your hands, you could stroke your dog.

  • Marvin

    Why are we so quick to buy and pay average players, but we take time to mull over no-brainer deals for players that would very palpably improve our team? Cesar at 2m is a steal, especially considering that we can expect good, committed performances from him with his home WC coming up. Sakho/Williams, Fellaini/Gustavo and a striker in addition to that would see me very content. Of course, an additional creative winger or AM would make me blush.. a bit! But we need to start doing something. Time’s running out. We can’t waste too much time with Suarez. Some interpretations of his contractual clause say that the 40m stipulation applies to teams in the CL and, technically, we’re not there yet. So I don’t see that deal happening at least until we tie up CL qualification… and that’s IF it ever were going to happen!o whilst the spuds have almost sealed another striker the lunatic at helm is more concerned about getting gunnersaraus fit for the new season. Why are we talking about pitches and referees?

  • nicky

    After reading your excellent post as I do nearly every morning, I thought “Hallo, there’s something different here”.
    After 10 minutes minutely examining your blog, I shouted
    “Eureka! There’s no accent on Higuain. That’ll teach him”.
    On the subject of Wonga, I go along entirely with Justin Welby (newly signed from Durham as a defensive m/f by Arsenal and known part-time as Archie, Bishop of Canterbury).

  • Giddy

    Fans of AFC unless they are share holders don’t get dividend or by extension any other form of reward but can only be rewarded by the club if it wins a trophy! Without turning a blind eye on all we already have like big and state of the art playing field, the next big target should be the trophy. While its possible to brag about our increased revenue streams and Annual cash flows, it adds nothing to an ordinary fan. I say let the manager and the board do the signing to improve the team. Arsenal is today in a crisis because we have a board and a manager who have refused to change their management strategies to fit the current happenings the industry.

  • Mick

    I was just starting to think that you were giving a sensible, reasonable opinion even though not agreeing with it all. Predictably you then went and spoilt it with the ‘lunatic at the helm’ bit and revealed your true type. Why was that necessary?

  • Matt

    Really? You can tickets on the web-site for anywhere in the ground.


    Well said that man.

  • Mick

    ‘Arsenal is today in a crisis’
    Don’t be so ridiculous. I bet there are hundreds of other clubs who would give their right arms to be in a similar crisis. And do you really believe that the club start the season not targeting trophies? Grow up.
    Giddy by name and Giddy by nature.

  • nicky

    The last sentence of your comment displays a somewhat naïve outlook on the transfer system.
    It is easy to demand that a club “do the signing to improve the team”.
    What you don’t do is explain how the selling club can be persuaded to agree the value of the player. And also persuade the player, his wife and his agent to agree personal terms.
    It all sounds so easy until the nitty gritty is reached.
    Suarez is a case in point.

  • colario

    @Giddy. Unless there has been a change in policy Arsenal directors do not get a dividend. They only make money on their shares if they sell them at a profit – which is taxable.

    If you mean by ”change their stragegies” the board bring in a billionaire and let the club be his ”toy” then name your man/woman. We do not know what such a person will do for the club. At the moment it seems to be working chelski but who knows what change tomorrow may bring.

    Yes its frustrating no silerware for 8 years that is a downer and there is no denying that. However we dont have to build a new stadium we have the finest training and medical facilities in the country. Above all the club is on a solid financial foundation and can face the future with confidence even if the billionaire owners set up a league of their own that excludes Arsenal. Arsenal will not go under.

    I personally dont think the FFA or whatever its called will be effective on the billionaire clubs so we will play against the odds. This will mean transfers will be astronomical and only possible for the billionaire clubs and the same for player salaries. But not possible for Arsenal but out siders become winnners. Thats the joy of football and club loyalty.

    If you dont like what Arsenal has well there is always Portsmouth, Wigan and dare I mention Birmingham. They were outsiders who won silverware and in one case it hurts. it would hurt even more if like them we had won a cup and be in the no mans land a lower division.

    Giddy if you dont like it as it is at Arsenal than you have a choice You can pledge your loyalty to a billionaire club or a little club. Which ever club you decide to support do something you dont seem to do here : check your facts before you start whinging about Arsenal.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Giddy……..ARSENAL dont pay dividends to their shareholders.

    Annual turnover, revenue stream and other financial stuff should be of an interest for an average fan. Those figures will tell him where his club stands financially.

    And of all the talk of money available, lets not forget Gazidis also uttered a word “front loading”.
    So if you look with your eyes open, you will know that the money from deals are not yet available.

  • Marvin

    Mick, I am interested in your reply please proceed.

  • Mick

    Proceed with what? I thought my comment was self explanatory.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    Here’s something I just posted on Positively Arsenal:

    “But I was more often than not frustrated. I tried to sign Frank Arnesen, Michel Platini, Preben Elkjaer and even Diego Maradona, and a lot of work went into them, but in the end they came to nothing.” Terry Neil (

    Now that is a very interesting quote from a past manager of Arsenal. I wonder what the armchair warriors and brilliant businessmen have to say about that?

  • Dec

    So you think fans can be rewarded bybacclub only by it winning a trophy?
    You obviously have no appreciation of what supporting a football club involves and provides. I’ve enjoyed supporting Arsenal for over 40 years. There have been tears of joy, tears of heartache and times of huge frustration. There have also been times of sheer excitement and hope (sometimes well founded other times more like wishful thinking) but always enjoyable. The one consistent ‘reward’ I’ve received from every minute of being a Gooner, is the enormous pride in my club and the knowledge that despite whatever fads or fly by night characters that might come and go within football, Arsenal will always do things the right way.
    I look forward to the coming season with great hope and enthusiasm, just like every other season I can remember ( including the last 8). You obviously wouldn’t have survived the seventies/eighties.
    If we win a tin pot, brilliant, if not, I’ll enjoy the attempt and move on.
    Get some priorities and life will seem better.
    Allez les Gunners

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    @Dec at 1:27 pm

    Top post my friend. I gave a similar response to a certain ‘Sperez’ a few days ago after he/she posted that he/she knew of disgruntled Gooners in London ready to forgo their season tickets….

  • Stuart

    I have documented proof that during the SAF tenure at Man UTD, their annual target was top 3. I do love it when people come on to blogs claiming otherwise as though they know.

  • Stuart

    Re : Why are we talking about pitches and referees?

    Because we want to, you don’t have to, you can go elsewhere if you don’t like it. Simples!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Getting it right -a part of this article -funny as hell!

    When you go out and about day drinking, you need to be aware of your surroundings. Like, just because someone said that the bathroom at The Square Grouper is uni-sex doesn’t mean that it actually is. So you probably should put your penis and/or vagina away until we at least figure out if this is the mens room and/or ladies room. Hmmm, let’s see. Are there urinals on the wall or tampon dispensers? That’s usually a dead giveaway as to which gender bathroom you’re in. What is the color scheme? Ladies bathrooms usually have couches and baby changing tables in them and they have a nice decor, at least according to all of the spy-cam toilet videos that I watched in preparation for this post. I’m very thorough in my writing, as I consider myself to be a bit of a perfectionist. It’s a curse, and quite possibly a crime as well. A mens room is usually dirtier and has drawings of dicks along with graphic hand written reviews of your mothers wealth/lack of fellatio skills. At least according to every single bathroom I’ve ever been in during my entire forty-two years of existence on this earth, including my own. I’ve peed in a lot of different places in my life. I’m not trying to brag, I’m sure you’ve peed in a bunch of places too. Just ask yourself this question: When you were standing in line, were the other people in the line male or female? That is always one of the best ways to determine whose bathroom you are currently about to throw up in.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I’m sure I ‘ll get a million ‘LIKES’ for this !

  • blacksheep63


    why do you bother making an abuse comment like that? Are you Liverpool – if so Tony was actually quite respectful of your club? Are you Arsenal – in which case Tony merely pointed out that we make more money than pool, would you prefer if it we made less?
    set up your own blog, write your pieces and ask for your own comments.

  • uk

    wow, im sure suarez is impressed by the amount of money we’ve got. i guess he thinks we’ll let him bite some pounds

  • Adam

    @Georgaki-Pyrovolitis, Sperez as far as he/she has told me lives in Brazil and is a graduate of Journalism, yet cannot research or think for her/himself.

    I have tried to get him/her to see sense but have just ended up getting wound up myself.