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April 2021

Difficult times

By Tony Attwood

Ever since the Unbeaten Season and the end of the 49 the media and their troll allies have been saying Arsenal are not good enough.   Indeed some of them claimed the team of the Unbeaten Season wasn’t really that good – going out of the FA Cup, the League Cup and the Champions League.  Reading some of their comments it felt more like failure than success.

The AAA trolls have been arguing ever since we beat Man U on penalties to win Wenger his fourth FA Cup, that the quality of play was not good enough.  The knives have been out and the counting of the number of years since we won a trophy  started.

Now as Arsenal have their best chance of winning the FA Cup since that defeat of Man U the argument changes again, and the winning of a trophy is suddenly is not after all the issue.  The issue now is that being beaten by a big score is not acceptable.

Recognition of how things were done in the past is irrelevant for most people, and all that matters is the present.  And so we reach a point when there seems to be quite a chance that Mr Wenger will refrain from signing a new contract this summer.  We ignore the facts, and instead abuse and sneering becomes the prime method of communication.

Of course no one alive today recalls the days of Herbert Chapman, but we still revere him as the greatest manager we had, before Wenger, who has achieved much more.  And if we do look back we find certain interesting moments…

The 1933 defeat to Walsall, the 5-1 thrashing by Villa in 1931, the fact that by throwing everything at winning his one and only FA Cup in 1930, Herbert Chapman took Arsenal close to relegation for a while, the 7-0 drubbings by West Ham and Newcastle….  it was all part of the Chapman era.

Inevitably these things are forgotten – as if the fact that Chapman and his teams were regularly abused by the Highbury crowd.  Indeed Chapman railed against what were then called the boo-boys, in his newspaper column.  And it didn’t stop with the championships won by Joe Shaw and then George Allison.  By 1953 when Arsenal won the league under Tom Whittaker the situation was so bad that members of the team spoke out publicly, saying that they were ashamed of the Arsenal fans who they called the worst in the country.   It was a statement made over and over; no club has support as bad as Arsenal’s.

Herbert Chapman and Tom Whittaker both died while managers of Arsenal, and given that Mr Wenger knows his Arsenal history inside out it is quite possible that he has decided he doesn’t want the same fate and will go before the stresses of managing to the accompaniment of the commentaries from the modern boo-boys takes him to an early grave too.  I fear he may have had enough of the mindless abuse and he might well just walk.

If he does, he will do so at a moment when his teams are getting a higher percentage win rate than ever before.   But the problem is that if Mr Wenger does decide to leave, there is absolutely no guarantee that any of the top names touted as a successor will come to Arsenal.   What the media and their trolls always refuse to acknowledge is that Mr Wenger is held in the highest possible regard outside of the UK, and the sight of a top club’s camp followers abusing such a manager appals many senior people who follow football across Europe.

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We are talking of course of managers who have the pick of the clubs,  and who can through their influence have the pick of the players across Europe.  And they look at what the media, the trolls and the AAA together have achieved and ask, “do I want that?” and they think no, they don’t.

It is a similar situation with players.   There is a widespread recognition of what the AAA did to Gervinho, and again the question is being asked, “do I want to subject myself to that?”  Only the power of Wenger persuaded Ozil to come to Arsenal, and now he sees the way he and his boss have been treated in the media and blogs, he probably wishes he had not left.

So the problems combine.  Managers of repute don’t really want to come to Arsenal and get the level of abuse.   Meanwhile there is a certain reluctance among some managers to manage in England because of what the English like to describe as the “robust” nature of the press, which others call “intrusive”.

There is then the refusal of the legal authorities, and the Premier League to deal with in ground abuse.  Mr Wenger famously saw off the press on his first day in office when they talked to him about “the rumours”.   The slimy toads who were there that day have never dared print a word of that event, but up and down the country supporters of teams reprocess in their songs the abuse that the press so were desperate to print, and apart from a few bleats from Sir Alex F no one has done much to stop this.

Managers also don’t want to suffer abuse from their own club’s fans, and nor do they want to have to waste time trying to persuade players that “it’s not that bad with Arsenal really” when everyone knows how the media and the trolls behave towards Arsenal.

Indeed the only positive thing that can be said in this situation is that at least the players who are at Arsenal stick with the manager, which is more than can be said at Man U where David Moyes appears now to be under criticism from his own team.

However given that the owners just see Man U as a cash cow, and not as a football club, nothing much is likely to happen until such time as Old Trafford stops selling out.   But then, if  Man U get rid of Moyes they are going to have as big a problem as Arsenal in replacing their manager.

The fact is that most of the criticism made by the players of Moyes at Man U is nonsense.  It gets run by the press and into the blogs because they’ll publish anything, like RVPs comments when he tried to argue that players were “occupying the spaces I want to play in”.  An analysis of the game showed it was gibberish, but who cares about analysis when there is a chance of abusing someone.
The final element in the mix is of course the critical ex-players.   We are used to that with Arsenal – Frank McLintock being one who is putting the knife in regularly, hoping I guess that we don’t ever dare mention his one win in 26 matches as a manager for Leicester (ooops sorry Frank, but you started it).
Paul Scholes is meanwhile using his position as the golden boy of analysis to have a dig at Moyes.  There has even been a bit of a fracas as the anti-Moyes mob (the AMM I guess) tried to storm part of the Stretford End and remove a pro-Moyesian banner.
So where does it all end?   If  Mr Wenger does go, it is not just going to be a problem getting a new manager of quality, and persuading players to come and face the AAA, the trolls and the media, but it is also going to be a problem keeping players who came to Arsenal because of Mr Wenger.  Ramsey, Özil, Koscielny, Theo… these are all players who credit Wenger either with their decision to come to Arsenal or the growth in their ability.
The AAA who have always hated Ramsey, and now have turned on Özil will wave goodbye happily, and if Wenger goes certainly others will follow, and the quality we will get in as replacements won’t be as high because no one at the top will fancy it.

Which is all so sad as Arsenal does have an incredibly good squad, although now decimated by injuries to Özil, Ramsey, Theo, Jack, Koscielny…   Ferguson left Man U having brought in RVP on a ludicrous long term contract, while not refreshing parts of the team that needed attention.  Wenger on the other hand has built the squad that is ready to take off.  It would be a tragedy if it all fell apart before it has time to mature.

Indeed if Wenger does leave and some players follow, and Arsenal have trouble recruiting a new manager of quality, and the new manager has trouble recruiting players, it will be the biggest victory for the trolls and their friends in the press, of all time.

They won’t stick with Arsenal as the quality goes down, but at least they will have won in their ambition of getting Wenger out.

332 comments to Difficult times

  • Pete

    Once again, hear, hear!

    Wenger leaving really is the nightmare scenario.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    hear hear too! sums up things up…

  • Madhu

    All this is fine, but how no one including Wenger has explained the reasons for

    1. repeatedly failing to turn up for big matches and not doing basics right. Come on it cannot get bigger than 1000 in Mou’s den with all his abuse to Arsenal. If the players really cared about Arsene they should have been seething, won against Chelsea and should have given back to Mou. Instead we have a howler. Are the players bothered about Wenger? We are talking about professionals and not kids who make the same mistakes always.
    2. Lack of tactical awareness, thinking on the feet and reaction to happenings. Can a top team get defeated the same way. Cannot a top team regroup after the first goal and take corrective actions. Cannot a manager initiate this? Isnt naive to carry on the same way and get humiliated 6-0? Where is the accountability?
    3. Why in many games the team gets back and score gaols quickly gain lead and then slack off and stop playing. It happened against Swans and team forot to play after the second gaol. With 3 Defensive minded MF we let a player easy on goal and concede a goal.

    All these doesn’t need money but methodical planning and execution. Maximising your resources which Wenger is supposed to be a master. Keeping us in ACL for 9 years with low budgets. There is no explanation form Wenger for these, but syass it was an accident against Chelsea.

  • Stuart

    Arsene has dignity, most of the time, and he is well loved at home and abroad. He will leave at some point though, he is 65 this year.

    The club have to plan for his successor, it’s quite simple, and of course there is no guarantee that targets will accept the role but that’s life. We can’t be scared of change, it’s inevitable.

    We’d all love Arsene to walk out with another title plus the Champs League under his arm, but unfortunately it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen that way.

  • Shard

    The only way to combat the negativity towards the manager is by showing him that by walking out now, he would be disappointing so many of us.

    I believe Wenger will stay. He knows himself, and he knows the job. Nobody can truly argue against this being a season of progress, though some do. I just hope we can win the FA cup so that they will not have the ‘no trophy’ line to peddle. Not that that’s the only reason I hope we can win. But it would be freaking sweet if some these people would just shut up.

  • bjtgooner

    Agreed Tony, very well put.

    The media & AAA backstabbing clamor while appearing illogical and thoughtless at times does have direction and purpose – their desire to remove AW is only part of an overall scheme that has a change of ownership as the final objective. The intended new owner while appearing to be a benefactor would in fact be just the opposite. Those who are organizing this anti-Arsenal campaign, with the anti-Wenger campaign as the first stage, are quite prepared to damage the club severely, without any remorse, to achieve their evil objective.

    The media and hard core sinister AAA, who together are responsible for most of the clamor are assisted intentionally or unintentionally by the brain dead AAA and trolls some of whom appear all too frequently on blog-sphere, including this site, trying to impress the world with their rather limited ability to reason.

  • Pat

    The situation is still that we are six points behind the leaders with seven games to go.

    Let’s keep positive. The man who achieved the impossible season after season isn’t going to give up now.

  • SurferX

    You are talking in extremes Tony. The ‘AAA’ (which frankly is teflon-hat paranoia at its finest) is a broad-stereotype used on here to drown-out any criticism of the club. What you are dealing with is a disenchanted fanbase that have grown tired of the false-dawns and broken promises. We’ll build a new stadium to compete has regressed into the 4th place trophy. Since the financial shackles have begun to loosen, AW has continually under-invested in the squad at a time when it is well-publicised how much cash the club has. And great job in squeezing out a 3% ticket rise of fans paying the most for their season tickets in the EPL.

    “The issue now is that being beaten by a big score is not acceptable. Recognition of how things were done in the past is irrelevant for most people, and all that matters is the present.”

    Firstly, no that is not the issue. The issue is the lack of progression and competitiveness of the team. The failings are familiar; we have reached another circular groundhog day moment where the club bombs out of a title challenge. The lessons remain unlearnt- 8-2 v Man U, the Pool and Chelski games were all groundhog moments. A good manager would not allow that to happen twice under his stewardship- let alone 3 times (and Im being charitable with the Citeh score as that could of ended 6-6). The injury record is appalling- a top manager would not let that continue and would look to rectify it (at its simplest by building a squad to he didn’t have to flog players into the ground into the inevitably get injured). The tactical failings continue to underpin performance. We are out-fought, out-thought and ultimately out-classed against top-quality opposition time and time again.

    You bring up the past- but it is your blinkered misty-eyed staring into the past that clouds your judgement of the present. Arsenal is a club that is in dire need of modernising from a management perspective. Which is as equally sad and ironic given that was the status-quo that AW found all those years ago. The problems at Man U has not been from a succession of management- it has been from a poor succession of management. The two are not synonymous- history books tell us that. I refuse to submit to the view that things must get worse because he leaves. Why?

    I rarely contribute here because I find it as pointless rationalising with the blindly-loyal as I do with the blindly dis-loyal. Where objectivity departs so too does credibility. This article is another tirade against those that dare to criticise the manager- rather than dealing with any of the issues it looks to stereotype and badge those making the criticisms. It offers nothing constructive or insightful; it just seeks to reinforce this sites whole modus-operandi- defending Wenger.

    One article I have never read is this; “At what point would I sack AW?” What is your threshold for saying enough-is-enough? What about a 5th placed finish? 3 consecutive 5th place finishes? No trophy for 10 years? 15 years? 20 years? Relegation? At what point do you concede that its not good enough Tony? Or will that destroy too much intellectual-capital that you now have invested in AW?

    Here’s another article I have never read here: “We will win the EPL in the next 3 years under AW. Here’s why & how”. Again, that would be moving away too much from defending mediocrity- an admission of failure. No, far better to defend repeated failure- perhaps rebranding it as partial-success.

    I see the same state of affairs now as I did with George Graham all those years ago. I had grown up though the 70’s watching limited success (granted, it was a trophy-fest compared to the last 9 years) and the guy came into the club like a breath of fresh air. He made the club competitive again- before the game caught up with him as his ideas stagnated. I felt that we’d never get another manager as good as George and was proven very wrong. The question is no longer *if* Wenger goes its when. The club is at a crossroads- he has led us into the promised land (as far as financing is concerned)- can he deliver a team to compete over the next decade? I don’t think so.

    That is all. No ‘AAA’. No undermining of the club. No pride in the decision. Just a simple belief that AW has run his course. The club needs to move forward as it has done throughout its proud history- now is the time. My biggest hope for the coming season is that he can hold onto 4th, win the FA Cup and then depart on his own terms with that as an epitaph.

  • bob

    “There is a widespread recognition of what the AAA did to Gervinho”
    This is opportunistic statement. The same toxic media that screams for Arsene’s scalp is (as part of that) an echo chamber to trumpet Gervinho’s non-stop blaming AFC for his own chronic poor performances whilst here. Fact is Gervinho was much more often that not a choker at the last third whilst here. Gervinho left us with the image of dribbling brilliantly but into cul de sacs; and spurning many goal-mouth opportunities. Good for him that he’s flourishing with a coach who brought out the best in him before and now. But is that turn-around performance (in that league) really down to the jackal-like doings of the AAA and the press? Doesn’t that player bear any responsibility for choking? I think so, and do not think it serves our purposes in keeping AW on board to toss in Gervinho as a way to score points against the AAA/media tandem. His example doesn’t advance this cause.

  • para

    Hope that time does not come too abruptly, they should get a young one and train him the Arsenal way. No that probably won’t happen, but any new manager when AW leaves, will be essentially a similar type of person, concerning his values and ethics i would think.
    But who ever he is, he will be a different type of manager with his own ways, and he will only get the job if those ways fit in with Arsenal’s plan anyway.
    So i won’t worry too much about WHO, rather more about WHEN. We do not need that type of disruption right now in any way.
    Of course Arsenal may now start to use it’s money now to start to compete more with those “money bags” in it’s next phase of evolution.
    We just do not know what is in store for us in summer, but i think that what ever happens, Arsenal is changing rapidly and may well become unrecognisable to some, but as this site so vehemently defends and projects, the personages will come and go, some of them becoming legends, some forgotten, BUT Arsenal the club will be there, so get behind the club.

    Now we need a famous run to the end of the season.
    I want to beat ManC, i know it is going to be tough, very tough with our injuries, but this is football. One more boost to take us to the finishing line now lads.

  • Jim Harbaugh

    Oh dear Tony…

    Your article is trying so hard to convert the uncoverted. Now is not the time to do so. If the unconverted are anti-Arsene then they will remain so; and even a win in the FA CUP will not work for them. The yearn for the Halcyon days of 1998-2004. Past is past.

    Madhu makes some remarkable points that simply cannot be answered by any of us…it would only be suppostion. But his passion is drawn out of love for AFC.

    Finally @Tony. Players are professionals. They should act and perform as a then. You suggest the likes of Ozil will “wave us bye bye”..that is pure assumption.

    All the best; see some of you on Saturday.

  • bob

    Speaking of difficult times:
    The Guardian is abuzz with Oiler Shitty’s offering the moon to Bac:
    Will we spend to keep this quality loyal servant, or not? Will you/UA advocate to keep him, or not?

    This man deserves his pay day and we can afford a show of loyalty that we demand of our players. If he’s not kept, what message does that send to the rest of the team, and to players we want to come here and serve us? I

    s he affordable? Well we can’t ever know. But he can be high- quality for 2 more seasons, a capable back-up for a 3rd; and a mentor for the young for the rest, if not a potential defensive assistant. The man has nous, stamina and has endured broken legs for this cause. Nor does he quit during games. It would be heart-breaking to witness his success against us. Keep Bac, CYOG.

  • jambug

    Surfer X

    Did you sleep through Chelsea and City spending Billions of un earned money on players?

    Did you think for one second committing £500 Million on a new stadium during a recession, and at the same time the ‘Oil money’ arrived, wasn’t going to have at least a little impact on our ability to compete at the very top?

    As for what Arsenal, Wenger and us fans wish and hope for. What do you want them/us to say?

    Theres no hope?

    Lets all throw in the towel?

    Don’t be so ridiculous.

    Of course we all want to win EVERYTHING. I’m sure that’s the intention at the start of every season.

    That’s also the intention of City. Chelsea. Man Utd. Liverpool. Even Spurs.

    BUT, and it’s a big BUT.

    We are competing against the BIGGEST Club in the World in Man Utd, and 2 Clubs in City and Chelsea with UNLIMITED budgets.

    Do you not get that. I’ll say it again. UNLIMITED budgets.

    If you cannot grasp the enormity of trying to compete against Clubs operating under such conditions that is sad.

    No one says Wenger is perfect. I certainly do not. But nor was Fergie. Nor is Jose. Nobody is.

    But I do not judge Arsenal, Wenger, United, Fergie, Chelsea, Jose, etc. etc. on individual decisions, games, even seasons, but on the ‘bigger picture’.

    And the ‘bigger picture’ is competing with oil rich Clubs with un limited budgets is an impossibility.

    You can point to errors, poor tactics, bad buys, anything you want (All are true with regards to all managers since football began) but it doesn’t change the fact that my mum could take a football club to the PL title with an unlimited budget.

    If you think otherwise then that’s up to you.

  • nicky

    You are quite right, Tony, to invite attention to Arsenal’s history of the most bizarre results imaginable.
    As someone who barely remembers the later Chapman years, but certainly recalls all the years since, I have always preached the philosophy that we true Gooners will always have to accept Arsenal snatching defeat from the jaws of victory and vice versa. It’s our destiny from way back.
    The Flamini OG on Tuesday was nothing new. Other teams would have conceded a straightforward equalising goal from Swansea BUT NOT ARSENAL. Our opponents were gifted a goal in the most ludicrous fashion possible.
    The way forward now is to soldier on regardless, trusting in some traditional Arsenal luck (older fans will recall the days of Lucky Arsenal!) to give us 4th place or better in the EPL and some silverware via the FA Cup (if we win, we will not have played outside London and that’s a bit of luck already).
    Both achievements I feel will result in Arsene extending his contract and this, plus some judicious buying in the Summer Window will guarantee a bright future for Arsenal next season.

  • andy1886

    I can think of many reasons why Arsenal would be a very attractive proposition for any manager. In no particular order there is the £7.5m a year, the reputation AFC have for sticking with a manager, there is the record of CL qualification (yes, I know it’s all down to AW), there is the large transfer pot, the state of the art facilities, the fact that we are one of only four or five who can realistically challenge for the league, the history and global appeal, and others I’m sure. The fact is that any manager that is so weak as to be worried by a bit of moaning if things get a bit sticky isn’t one I would want to be our manager – we need someone with balls of steel, not some chicken livered coward.

  • Tasos

    The debate on Arsene Wenger’s tenure has been going on for years. I can remember some Arsenal fans informing Me that Arsene Wenger had taken the club as far as can and its time for a change. That was back in 1999. How wrong could you possibly be.

    We must keep things in perspective.

    According to the unbiased bookmaking fraternity, Arsenal have a 75% probability of gaining Champions League football once again next season. They also believe Arsenal have a 66% probability of winning the FA Cup.

    Lets not let the doubters take away from the real focus this season. Let’s not forget there’s still so much to play for.

  • Shard


    I love Sagna, his attitude and his loyalty, and I want him to stay. But it is near impossible for us to evaluate the variables involved in calculating whether it is better to keep him at x cost, or buy someone else.

    The variables as I see them are,

    your assertion that he can be high-quality for 2 more seasons. (I think that one is likely, but can equally be suspect. The manager usually gets those calls right) Who else we can get, which although likely to cost more could be a longer term investment, and even an upgrade. How soon are Jenkinson/Bellerin likely to be deemed ready to be first choice. Any longer than the answer to ‘how long Sagna is high quality?’ and we’re probably better off getting in someone else.

    There is also a possibility to consider that the reluctance to sign the deal may not come just from Arsenal. Sagna himself might want to move for any reason (more money/longer term comfort/easier lifestyle/coasting to a trophy/etc etc)

    There is a logic to not giving Sagna whatever he wants, and a fairly good one. Without all the facts, and with his track record of knowing when to let a player go, I think trusting Wenger in this regard is the right thing to do.

    I do however agree with you that there will also be a loss in the intangibles of experience and his role as a mentor. Again, that has to be balanced with what we potentially might gain from someone coming in.

    I personally think Wenger will stay, Sagna will go, and Arsenal will spend bigger than ever before to flesh out an already good squad, with players that’ll add both quality and depth.

  • Rupert Cook

    Brilliant posts from bob and Surfer X.

    Banging on about the AAA and blaming all our troubles on them is a cop out. And I’m sure players haven’t a clue who this AAA is, just as I hadn’t, despite my support of Arsenal since 1971, until I found this blog.

    As for those thrashings you mention well games were higher scoring in those days, here’s some of our wins under Chapman 6-1 Burnley and 8-1 Sheffield Utd. In the same year we also had a remarkable 6-6 draw with Leicester. This was in the 1929/30 season when we finished fourteenth yet we could still thrash a few teams. And we won the cup that year.

    The following season we beat Grimsby 9-1, Blackpool 7-1, Leicester 7-2, Derby 6-3 as well as scoring five goals on multiple occasions.

    Other results during Chapman’s reign include these wins : Leicester 8-2, Wolves 7-1, Sheffield Utd. 9-2, Blackburn 8-0, Bury 7-1.

    What you conclude from that is that if you go to an Arsenal Leicester game you’d be guaranteed plenty of goals.

    Also our goal tally for some of those seasons include 90, 118, 127 and 82, the latter was in a year when we finished fourteenth.

  • SurferX

    March 27, 2014 at 10:12 am
    Surfer X

    Well, Liverpool have progressed this season- that’s for sure. They are not doing a bad job of competing without CL money- let alone oil-money. No guarantee that they’ll be able to build on it next season- but I wouldn’t bet against it. And Ferguson managed to a pretty decent job of fighting the oil-money didn’t he?

    And you mention how hard it is for us to compete. It would be a decent start for us to try to compete- having the amount of resources we have sat as cash with the same recurring problems is negligence. Failure is not the issue- failure to try is. People point to Ozil. A great player, but was spending £40m on another creative midfielder precisely what the club needed to progress? Management of any description is about getting the best out of your available resources. Has AW done that? No- simple as that.

    The bigger picture is this: we have the same failings now as we did 5 years ago. Some of the players may have changed- but the failing-ideology and problems are not. AW is proud that his approach hasn’t changed in 15 years. He has gone from visionary to dinosaur in management style. His competitive edge when he arrived- style of football, approach to transfers, approach to fitness, approach to training, etc, is now his Achilles heel. The world has moved on- it is time we did.

    If you think otherwise then that’s up to you.

  • Rupert Cook

    Oh and if Liverpool win the league we’ll no longer have to hear the excuse of competing with oil rich/oligarch clubs as an impossibility.

  • jambug

    Rupert Cook

    “..despite my support of arsenal since 1971 ….”

    The irony of it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Alfygun

    Respect is due for past achievements but they are just that, in the past.
    We have to look forward now, none of us like change but it is essential for any sort of progression and whatever sort of spin we put on it Arsenal have not progressed football wise in the last five or so years.
    I think Mourihno is a classless and arrogant c…., but it is hard to argue with the fact that he would have been sacked with any of the clubs he was employed by. I am not saying Wenger should be sacked but I am sick of listening to all the “who would replace him” shit we have been going round and round in circles while other teams are evolving. There are plenty of young and energetic managers out there, it might not happen overnight but it must happen, that is life, things change and move on and until ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB do we will hear the same old excuses ” it was an accident” , ” can’t compete financially”, “bad luck with injuries” , “we must respond to this bad result” and so on and on and on…
    I challenge any of you to go to work and not reach your targets, not prepare properly, not address any short comings, not take responsibility for your mistakes, and just give out the same old excuses when things go wrong time after time, see what happens to you when you mess up big time and you answer is ” I did not turn up today it was an early start, I am tired I had to work midweek too, blah blah blah.
    I AM NOT ONE OF THOSE DOOMERS OR BRAINWASHED BY THE MEDIA (far from it) BUT WAKE UP!!!! Mr Wenger is not the only man capable of running this club !!!

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    bob, if the story is in fact true about City offering that.It sure helps to kick the Arse when its down or already sore,especially before Sat.Dont forget the British media is mostly fiction,(Manchester Guardian!) as UA has proved many a time with regards to transfers.But I would like to see us offer him a longer contract if possible.
    I think the Sagna/City situ( if true) sums up what Jambugs posting concerning unlimited budgets.
    Surfer X, I think its wrong to assume that everyone’s blindly loyal to Wenger at Untold,Im also not sure that the whole fan base is a disenchanted fan base,I scour blogs and media all the time and theres still a hell of alot of support for Wenger,–yes a few changes here and there,fair enough, so imo thats a poor observance, with all due respect.I think to counter your points Pete and Uncle Mike have also summed things up, as you have.

  • jambug

    Rupert Cook.

    And if Liverpool don’t win the PL will there fans turn on them for the abject failure of a trophy less season and extending their Title drought to 25 years !!!!!!!!!

  • Porter

    Both Madhu and Surfer x make valid points. There is nothing wrong with the stance that you take supporting the club and manager . You are a little paranoid about criticism but in fairness a little from you would carry more weight than the cacophony that comes from people that you criticise. Wenger’s problem is that he has gone stale and needs to be encouraged to revamp his thoughts on how certain things are done . It’s that simple.

  • Rupert Cook

    @jambug, actually I doubt they will. They’ll have CL football and a great chance to invest in better players specifically to tighten up that leaky defence of theirs I suspect.

  • andy1886

    Jambug – I doubt it. Since our last FA Cup win they have won the Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, European Super Cup, and the Charity Shield.

    If that’s abject failure then what have we been doing for the last nine years?

  • andy1886

    I also suspect that might tell you that moving up from seventh to second/third while spending less than we have this season is a pretty good season too.

    Try to at least make any argument a sensible one please.

  • Porter

    Nicky :- Someone who has supported the club for as long as you purport to have would never actually call himself a Gooner unless of course you ran with the crowd in the 70’s and 80’s. Stick with Gunner it’s much nicer.

  • SurferX

    Kenneth Widmerpool
    March 27, 2014 at 10:33 am

    Surfer X, I think its wrong to assume that everyone’s blindly loyal to Wenger at Untold.

    The commentators may not be. But if you care to point me towards a link on this site to any article that has criticised AW or the club in any way then I’d be delighted to be proven wrong.

    I still support him. I want to see him leave on a high. I don’t want it to end the way it did with George. I want him to ride off into the sunset with old-big ears on the table and the 4th place trophy that he covets. He is an undeniably a proud man- I want him to be able to retain that with his head held high.

    Equally, I am not frightened by the future without AW- in fact its because of his work that my optimism for the future is so high. The club is is a fantastic position compared to when he arrived: historians will look to his spending (surplus) in the transfer market and the Emirates Stadium build as one of the defining moments in our history. Ultimately, people will look back on his time as a success. However, his success from the last half has been off the pitch: for the future, we need someone with the vision to realise success on it.

  • bjtgooner

    Looks like you have hit a nerve or two today Tony, the sinister AAA and the brain dead AAA (neither of whom admit their own existence) are both well represented.

  • Shard

    Liverpool winning the title or not is irrelevant to the discussion on oil money. People tend to mistake the one-offs with the longer term. Tottenham were in the CL a couple of seasons ago. They are not really much further along as a club, nor have they replicated that result.

    Even the Arsenal of the late 90s and early 2000s was an underdog compared to ManU’s spending potential. It is the reason we decided to switch stadiums in the first place. Because we could not have competed REGULARLY with the top clubs in Europe if we stayed as we were. Having a generation like that was a one-off and the board and manager were thinking ahead. Pity most fans seem to think that having 4-5 of the best players in the world in our team at the same time is something that just happens. Our financial restrictions came at the same time as the biggest infusion of money to players and agents that has ever taken place and it is a miracle we have still stayed consistent.

    Yes, some of you might prefer Liverpool’s situation of challenging for the title, going bankrupt, throwing money into a wasted project for their new stadium, winning a few cups and ‘challenging’ for a title. Maybe winning it. I can see the temptation of that for a fan. Especially because there is no monotony. But as a club, Arsenal will be challenging for titles, and winning them, with far more regularity than Liverpool over the next decade, precisely because of the sacrifice we have made in the last decade and because of the monotony (consistency) of top 4.

    Liverpool cannot hope to compete with oil money for too long, as they are right now. Pretty soon you’ll have their players being offered more money to move, players being loaned to their rivals in the hope they take points of them, and who knows, maybe even the targeting of their players by referees.

  • Tasos

    If Liverpool gain Champions league football via a 3rd/4th place finish, Brendan Rodgers and his liverpool team will rightly regarded that as success.

    But that will only be the first hurdle safely overcome. Europe’s superpowers now have both Suarez and Sturridge on their radar, knowing that Liverpool FC have recorded a major financial deficit for the last two seasons.

    John Henry might have considered he was being clever when he admitted Luis Suarez did have a $40m buy out clause last summer but I’m not so sure Suarez himself, or his agent would’ve been too pleased with the owners smug remarks. Time will tell.

  • Mike T

    Surfer X


    I have said before be careful what you wish for but that applies to both sides of your argument.

    At SB on Saturday one of the chant from our supporters was AW we want you to stay. I think from a non Arsenal perspective that says it all from how other supporters not the media) view things.


    My Dad used to always talk about the good old days.

    Days when there was this mad German lobbing bombs over, no food etc but hey they were good because you could leave your back door unlocked and no one would pinch your belongings. Try doing it now because it was ok in the past.
    Alas time and tide waits for no man

  • Madhu

    I don’t know if see another pattern in Kos getting injured mid game against big teams Man City and Chelsea. Twice in one season, too much of a coincidence or some more analysis is needed. I may be wrong.

  • jambug


    Yes Liverpool have progressed this season.

    But lets not forget they have not had any CL fixtures to contend with and a pretty good run with injuries.

    Lets also not forget that far from being frugal they have, in the pursuit of the top, pushed there Club dangerously close to the edge financial, with a strategy of spending money they never had to the tune of an average net LOSS of 26 Million pounds PER SEASON for period 20001 – 2012.

    So lets not pretend they’ve been operating under anything like the financial restraints we have.

    Lets also not forget they are desperate to build a mew Stadium and have been for a while now. BUT THEY HAVE NOT EVEN STARTED YET.

    Why do think that is. I mean they’ve been trying to, and have succeeded in many cases, to force locals out of there properties around the ground. Go and dig around for some info on what they’ve been doing up there. It’s not good. But hay this is the wonderful Liverpool ‘it’s never our fault’ FC

    Also lets not forget they’ve won NOTHING yet.

    And as I said to Rupert, if they come up short yet again will there fans turn on them for another title less season ?

    You may of missed it because they don’t ram it down our throats every time the name Liverpool is mentioned, but I think that makes a shameful 25 years+ without a title.

    Some might say that’s pretty disgraceful. But not our Liverpool loving media it seems, or indeed you surfer X.

    No you save all your vitriol for Wenger don’t you !!!

    And one more point.

    Even if we did have £100 Million pounds or so stashed away as you suggest, that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of what the oil clubs have.

    Perhaps you need reminding again.


  • SurferX

    March 27, 2014 at 10:54 am
    Looks like you have hit a nerve or two today Tony, the sinister AAA and the brain dead AAA (neither of whom admit their own existence) are both well represented.

    So which am I bjtgooner? Am I sinister or brain dead?

    Or, is the ‘AAA’ a lazy stereotype that’s used for branding people who have an opinion different to your own? It is Untold’s very own version of Godwin’s Law.

  • Kos

    There is a lot of fans out there who are scared of change.What they have to remember though is we are Arsenal FC not Arsene FC. I remember when graham got booted out everyone was holding their breath but we got through it and the same will happen again. Wenger has been brilliant for the club but its an end of an era like it was for Fergie, Paisley and Clough except they won the European Cup. But hey he has transformed our club and is the most Successful manager in our history and if he wins the FA cup it will be a great way to go.

  • SurferX

    March 27, 2014 at 11:00 am

    I have no vitriol for Wenger. I have nothing other than admiration and gratitude for what he has done for my club (*not his*).

    I fully understand the reasons as to why Liverpool have had an advantage this year. I completely understand that they have flown as close to the wind as they could to try to be competitive. Have we? And the money that we have invested over the past 5 years.. Bendtner, Diaby, Djourou, Denilson, Squid, Santos, Park, etc, etc, etc. Have we invested it well?

  • Rupert Cook

    @Shard much of what you say is true but it’s pure supposition to suggest we’ll be winning more titles than Liverpool in the next decade. We might, we might not, nobody knows. Presently with our business model you’d bet on us coming out on top but nobody knows.

  • Rupert Cook

    @Surfer X, Don’t waste your time on bjt gooner, he’s a passive aggressive clown. I don’t think he’s actually posted anything of any value ever. He’s a WUM.

  • nicky

    In my 91st year, I think I might be excused for using the name “Gooner” purely to assist the younger element to understand the history of our great Club.

  • Pete

    In addition to not being in the CL, Liverpool were also knocked out of both domestic cups pretty early (you may remember one of them). They are nowhere close to having a squad capable of challenging on many fronts. They are also dangerously dependent on one player – look at what happened to Spurs…

    Graham left because of off field issues. But on field things were an awful lot worse than they are today!

  • jambug

    Shard and Tasos.

    Very good points you make, especially regarding the potential raiding of Liverpools assets and by assets I mean players.

    That’s another issue regarding the oil money.

    Not only can they pay WHATEVER transfer fee they need to in order to attain the best players in the World.

    Not only can they pay WHATEVER wages that player demands.

    They can do that to YOUR players.

    Lets see how Liverpool cope when the oil money comes calling.

    I am no Spurs apologist but one of the reasons they have not progressed these last few years is down to asset stripping.

    Although, unlike with us, the media hardly make a big thing of it, over the last 3 years Spurs have sold there best player each season. Berbatov, Modric and Bale. Ok, of course we here about it but it’s never embroidered with the same negativity as it is when we do it. But basically the same thing has happened to Spurs as has happened to us, with the same result. You stand still.

    It’s the plain, simple, unavoidable result of the oil money.

    You people who dismiss this oil money problem as some kind of smoke screen are simply failing to see the enormity of the problems it has caused.

  • Rupert Cook

    @jambug, your points about Liverpool are fair enough. I’m not sure how they’ll do long term seeing as they will have to play in the CL and that takes its toll as the season progresses. A lot depends on whether they hang on to Suarez.

    Unlimited funds City and Chelsea may have but they can’t buy everybody and we need to stop purchasing players who just don’t cut it. If we start buying players of the calibre of Ozil then fine. And we have plenty of money, certainly enough to buy two world class players.

  • Kos

    Wenger is no longer a modern day manager, hes stuck in in the 90’s and early 00’s with his tactics, as in only having one style of play for every match, we need someone who is up to date with the role of the modern manager someone like Klopp, Martinez and Diego Simeone, All these guys have transformed their clubs by playing free style football in most games but also adjusting their tactics when it comes to the big games. Wenger does not do this and as a result the only results we get are from the smaller clubs mainly because their players aren’t as good as ours,but when it comes to the bigger clubs we get absolute hammerings and it must stop now before it gets any worse.

  • bjtgooner

    @Surfer X

    Why do you think you are representing the AAA?

    Oh – and don’t go too much be the rupert’s description of me; I am really a pussycat, the trouble is …. he is …a sewer rat!

  • Edu

    your article has hints of ‘afraid of the unknown’ syndrome..your afraid of change.if the arsenal board really cares about the club as a whole above individuals i.e the club comes first,then they should start making preparations for wengers exit.

  • Singapore Gunner

    Very well said, Surfer X.

  • jambug

    By the way, when I say ‘Oil Money’ I lump in the fraudulent money bestowed on the 2 Spanish giants by discredited banks and local government deals that are still hanging in the air.

    Will anything be done. Nope.

    Just like the FFP. Toothless in the face of the Billions of pounds sloshing about in the ‘back hander’ trough waiting for whichever ‘official’ feels inclined stick his snout in and find reason to do absolutely nothing !!

  • Shard


    Actually they can buy pretty much everyone. They can certainly manipulate other squads. As Chelsea have been doing. Lukaku isn’t at Everton without reason. How much did they buy him for some years ago? 18m? They have an 18m pound man out on loan so that he can take some points off their rivals. Why isn’t Ba on loan to us? Because they can afford to have a player on big wages hardly ever playing.

    Why did they sell Mata to ManU? 37m is a lot of money, but also because ManU still had to play their rivals in the league and could take points off them. At teh same time,
    They wanted Rooney and to keep him ManU ultimately paid him 300k.

    They signed Willian because they didn’t want Spurs to be strengthened. They bought Salah when he was on his way to Liverpool because they realised that Liverpool are a rival after all (when they had earlier loaned them Moses)

    Ozil signed for us because of Wenger’s reputation and the ‘project’ he had in mind for the club. There will be players who will not be tempted by the money unless it is crazy money even by the oilers’ standards. But the oil money corrupts the marketplace and makes a mockery of competition. Even if the squad limits are set at 25.

  • SurferX


    I think everyone is aware of the oil money issue. I laughed when the sceptic-Mourinho called his team a little horse. A little horse built funding of 750m over the past 10 years.

    None of that excuses a lack on intent. I would rather try and fail than fail to try. None of that excuses poor management of available resources. Big contracts for failing / unproven players that we can’t get off the payroll have held us back. This season, they have spent a similar amount to us. Who do their transfer dealings look in comparison to us? Tactically, we have the same failings as we did 5 years ago. What steps are being taken to rectify that? We consistently win the injuries league year after year. Why? In terms of squad make-up, why do we always risk leaving ourselves short in key positions?

    In short- what is the plan for the future AW? Keep going until the same ideas finally work? Simply because they did back in 98, so they must do again?

  • SurferX


    It was rhetorcial statement. I frankly don’t give a monkies what you badge me as. My point was to ridicule people that throw the term ‘AAA’ in a debate. Godwin’s Law pal.

  • Nelson Wong

    This season and many others are just like a matches that we consider “screw ups” that we see far too often.

    They parepared a good pitch. There are good fans coming into the stadium. The players are great and they play good football.

    They have 70% possession and the ball is flowing.


    Then they score.



    They did things well except they cannot win.

    I do not know what is wrong.

    Sometimes I suspect it has to do with psychology. They team + Wenger are just too used to shooting their own foot and not winning trophies.

    Hanging on to top 4 is good work just like having 70% possession but it is VERY VERY IMPORTANT to win.

    Arsenal wants to win with class. That is good but still you have to win. It means Arsenal agress to take extra duty to win a game rather than taking up duty but then losing.

    Only when the team starts winning, then people will appreciate the team having something special. Otherwise it is just seen as excuse.

    Have class, you lose
    No class, you lose

    How could anyone know when the team can win in a classy way? No one.

    We all want media and ref to be fair but be realistic, you’ll never get it. The best way to make them fair is to start winning.

    When Arsenal wins, people will look at the refs. The public will get behind the team. Opponents will respect the team. Its psychological. When the team is a winner, doors open for it.

    The players, Wenger and many in the team should start to think that all the hard work they do are just rubbish if they cannot win trophies.

    I do not propose “buying” success. I do not propose “parking the bus” in 50% of the games.

    I want the team to perform after all the things they have done.

  • Kos

    Just a quick question, where does this notion come from that: “No other manager could keep us in top four under the same financial constraints as Wenger.” And how does one know that? The answer is, they don’t. Some may refer to David Moyes at Everton but we all know how poor Moyesy is. Anyway, the point is maybe let Wenger go and let another manager deal with those ‘restrictions’ if there any at all? And if the top managers don’t want to come, then fair enough but until you try, you can never know.

  • Kos

    Suffer x @ 945 am brilliantwritt en

  • Shard

    Surfer X

    Just because it’s an oft repeated mantra that Wenger does the same thing again and again, doesn’t make it true. Yes, he is his own man, has his philosophy and doesn’t buckle under pressure to change it. It doesn’t mean he’s unresponsive to events in football matters.

    If nothing else, consider that in 98-2004, Wenger suffered the allegation that he doesn’t give youth enough of a chance. This accusation was levelled at him by Liam Brady himself who wanted more chances be given to the youth to make a name for himself.

    Which seems strange when you consider that up until last season the accusation against Wenger was that he doesn’t want to buy experienced players because they are too expensive, or are too ego-driven etc.

    You see..Wenger changed when circumstances changed, and his detractors are either inable or unwilling to acknowledge that. Along with the fact, that Arsenal’s circumstances have changed again. We won’t be losing our best players and can hope to buy players of the calibre of Ozil. That doesn’t mean it’ll all be a cakewalk from now, but circumstances have changed and Wenger will adapt to it. Like he’s always done.

  • Soooo… i guess all football experts, ex arsenal players and pundits are all anti arsenal too then???

  • Shard


    name for himself = name for themselves..

  • M.Valerio

    The OIlers can spend what they want – and the money that should be spent on the people of Russia and Quatar is being spent to pay for David Silva’s jacuzz! I’m glad that Arsenal are not like that.

  • jambug

    Rupert Cook

    That’s fair enough as well, but the point is we still basically, to use playground talk, have ‘second dibs’ (I love that phrase) when it comes to buying players.

    We still have the problem of being asset stripped.

    It’s a catch 22. The better we do, the better our players perform, the more attractive they are to the oilers.

    No matter how much we EARN the oilers will ALWAYS HAVE MORE.

    No matter how close we seem to be getting our players are not blind and can still see what’s going on over the fence.

    They know what these players earn. It will always be a draw. It’s human nature.

    Unless we have a ‘sugar daddy’ like theirs we will always be in this quandary.

    Personally I don’t want a ‘sugar daddy’. To me it discredits everything you achieve.

    I said it earlier. Give Crystal Palace ONE BILLION pounds to spend on players and I guarantee they will win the PL in 3, 5, 7 years. However long, but they will win it.

    I have no problems with money, lots of it, or winning things by spending lots of it, I just don’t want to do it that way.

    I want to earn it.

    Maybe that’s just me.

    It’s no coincidence that the only 3 teams we finish behind are Man Utd, Chelsea and City, with the occasional appearance of Liverpool. But as previously stated they are in fact the 4th biggest net spenders behind those 3 so they don’t exactly change anything regarding the fact that it’s all down to MONEY MONEY MONEY.

    It’s also no coincidence that we all, including us loyal Untolders, think we are now in a much better position to get a bit closer.

    And why is that?

    because we have more MONEY MONEY MONEY to spend on players.

    But given the unlimited funds (oh there I go again) available to others will it be enough.

    I don’t know, but I’m going to stick around to find out, and what’s more I’ll do it without constantly moaning and bitching every bloody day.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I am pretty sure wenger will stay, but starting to see possible scenarios whereby he could leave, maybe the same with some players. But I think he will win the cup, get into the CL and this will convince him
    We have the most angst ridden fans on the planet.
    You are correct to mention the issue of replacements, who and where are they.? All these fancy names the aaa come up with. Some of them really seem to believe we can get Pep. Some of them would have settled for Moyes, coyly or Martin oneill!
    One of the problems we have been through painful years, in relative terms of course.
    A new manager is no guarantee of anything as we can all see in varying degrees. The critics are also unhappy with the board, Ivan Gazidis what the fuck do you do…..a distant owner who cares only about money etc…if the board are so useless and unambitious, why are they now trusted to replace the greatest manager we ever had? Maybe wenger does all he can to counter problems at board level…..not saying this is true, just throwing it out there.The club clearly has a few issues that need putting right, is wenger at fault for all these issues?
    Wenger will surely stay. Hopefully, we will be a bit quicker to get in what we need, maybe look , as promised, at the injury situation and make changes if needed, they are already making changes at youth level, look in depth at our scouting process, maybe play a bit smarter against certain teams, and move forward with a manager who has earned the right to take us into a less challenging era.
    I would not pay much attention to the trolls, half of them don’t even support Arsenal. The UK sports media will always be fcukwits, it is in their DNA.

  • andy1886

    “Why did they sell Mata to ManU? 37m is a lot of money, but also because ManU still had to play their rivals in the league and could take points off them.”

    Lol, I think that you are taking the conspiracy theories a bit too far with that one. It may have been a small bonus but the real answer is that Maureen didn’t fancy him, he didn’t fit his style of play so he sold him and bought players that did, and incidently made a profit in the last window too (funny as there were no good players available according to some). As you may have noticed, Chelsea have improved following those changes, whereas we did nothing and have gone backwards (the results are there to see unless of course you’re in the lalalalala I’m not listening brigade).

  • SurferX


    Seperate the off-field for a second. Forget the financing- just look at the performances of the team. That hasn’t changed, either in style of results. Could another manager improve upon that? I think Fergie would of, surely no doubt. I think Mourinho would of (not that I’d want him within a million miles of the club). The others? Im not so sure. But look at the manager’s from outside the established elite: Klopp, De Boer, Simone, Garcia. Im not king-marker, I don’t get to sit with them and look at their vision for the club: but never forget, AW arrived with a nothing CV in those terms- just a vision of how to progress. And it worked spectacularly well. Why fear the future? Ive said before, the next man could turn out to be a Bruce Rioch or it could be an AW. You simply do not know- but the day is going to come soon.

    The guy is pushing 65. His philosophies have got the club to where it is (a position of competitive strength). I want to see the vision for the next 10 years- I have lost confidence that AW is the man to deliver that either in terms of ability or longevity. I believe that now is the best time for that change to happen.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Edu, don’t want to answer for Tony, but I can assure you the club are making plans for wengers exit…after two more seasons. With increasing money coming in, on our model, it is vital to stay near the top for the next couple of years , that means the CL at all costs. There is also enhancements on sponsorship deals to stay in the CL. Even if you don’t like wenger, surely you can see losing him now would be a huge risk, and arsenal plc are not ones for huge risks.
    Wenger will stay, be tasked with putting a few things right, and keeping us near the top at ALL costs, and that I itself may pay a few unexpected dido ends for fans. I believe the only reason he may walk is if he finds his new terms terms and pressures unacceptable.
    The stakes are to high to play fast and loose with new managers now, the club know that, Utd will only have confirmed that view, like it or not

  • Mandy Dodd

    Above….unexpected dividends, no reference to a crap female dirge singer intended

  • andy1886

    Mandy, do I trust Ivan and Co. to find the best replacement? Not really, but sooner or later they will have to, Arsene cannot go on forever even if some would like him too. I don’t recall anyone in the last three or four years calling for O’Neil for example, but obviously there are managers out there who could take us forwards. If winning the league is impossible due to oil money then we may as well all pack it in. I don’t believe that though, I’m not that negative, just realistic. Change will happen, like it or not, it’s just a matter of when. We are hardly a basket case, this is a club that has huge potential, a top ten richest club with a fantastic stadium and huge worldwide fan base. Are we happy to settle for being nearly men (and women!) or are we brave enough to take a risk and shoot for the top?

  • Shard

    Surfer X

    That is a reasonable opinion and I am ok with you having that opinion. I just disagree with it because I think we have seen Wenger bring us glory when we had money to spare, and we’ve seen Wenger when he’s had financial restrictions (which came exactly at a time when the oilers changed the scenario).

    IN both I think he’s done well.

    I think he deserves a chance to show what he can do with increased funding again, like prior to the stadium move, despite it not being 98 now and more clubs with more money competing for players and league positions. The evidence to suggest that he is past it is flimsy at best considering it’s only now that the fruits of our labour (and Wenger’s labour) are being realised.

    Style of play has changed too. I thought that was a criticism of the manager for moving from Vieira and Petit to Arteta and Ramsey? Regardless, those are issues that are opinionated rather than factual so let that go. Wenger won’t be staying for 10 more years. He should stay for 2 or 3 to start with so he sees THIS team through, and then let’s evaluate. (While preparing for his departure)

  • SurferX


    Utd will only have confirmed that view

    No- what that has confirmed (ratified is perhaps the better term as it has happened time and time again) is never let the outgoing boss become king-maker. The age of the autocrat-manager that oversees everything is gone. Thats what ManU had and we have got. Moyes was not right either in terms of tactically (too defensive and one-dimensional for united), gravitas (in terms of success and reputation) or forward-thinking. The thinking was right- back a manager with a vision for the long-term; it was just their decision making that was wrong.

    My fear for Arsenal is that so much needs to change after AW’d departure. Management teams are key.. a succession of modern managers have proven that. But I do not fear the change itself.

  • Porter

    Nicky I am not trying to be disparaging but if you wish to educate the younger set about the fan bases’ history . explain to them exactly what a Gooner is and how the term became in common usage. I am sure that with the way P.C has permeated society that many that use the term might think twice before using it again.

  • SurferX


    Completely understand and respect your pov. Strange as it probably sounds, my biggest hope would that be that you were proven right and I was wrong. Time will tell.

  • Shard


    Chelsea have no need to sell anybody. They can keep them benched and not let them train in the first team if it came to it. They don’t need the money, and they have no need to sell within the league especially. Are you saying that they sold him right after they played ManU for the final time has no bearing, and the fact that strengthening ManU against Chelsea’s rivals wasn’t even a consideration? Fine.. Brush off everything that doesn’t fit with criticising Arsenal as a conspiracy theory.

  • Well gooney if you had read Untold you’d know we have regularly praised Charlie Nicholas for one who has stood out against the general movement. So no, your guess is wrong. But really, the answer was here on these pages

  • Shard

    Yes Surfer X. Agree on that.

    You might also be correct that the era of a manager running a club has gone. Like in American sports, an owner deciding the funding, a GM handling player acquisitions and contract renewals, a coach training the team.

    But that is a slightly different setting where contracts must be honoured, and so is possible for a club to build for the longer term (In fact it is almost necessary to do so because the penalties for short term gain is invariably long term pain) In a situation such as football, it is a lot more fluid, and you need the manager to have more of a say in other aspects to get the best results on the field.

    However, there has to be a structure whereby these things are done and in that I agree with you. (Although that is not to say that there is no such structure at Arsenal. It’s overstated how Wenger rules over Arsenal,in my opinion.)

  • andy1886

    Shard, keep an unhappy player who could be disruptive? Why? Arsene has sold players in similar circumstances, to rivals too. You can’t just brush FFP under the carpet either, Chelsea and even City have to be seen to at least try and comply, unless you missed it you will know that many clubs are under investigation re compliance right now. You also conveniently skip over my other reasons and also fail to acknowledge that Maureen’s transfer dealings have improved their results and performances. Is this just a bye product of his wish to disadvantage his rivals by selling Mata? I doubt it.

    “Fine.. Brush off everything that doesn’t fit with criticising Arsenal as a conspiracy theory.”

    Sorry, I don’t see the relevance of that statement, we were discussing Maureen’s reasoning for selling Mata which you claim was to disadvantage their rivals. I don’t see any criticism of Arsenal in this discussion, this is merely a debate about why Chelsea sold Mata when they did and to whom they did.

  • Shard

    We were actually discussing the debilitating effect of oil money on the league.I never said that was the ONLY reason they sold Mata to ManU..One of the considerations? More than likely.. An outcome that affects the league? Definitely.

    Keep an unhappy player and not let him train with the first team. Arsenal can’t do that because Arsenal can’t pay players to only sit in the reserves.. Chelsea can pay players to sit on other teams benches and reserves. Therein lies the difference and is what the original discussion was about. Rupert Cook said they can’t just buy everyone.. And while that is true, Chelsea are buying players they don’t need and using the transfer market and loan system to gain an advantage by disadvantaging others.

  • SurferX


    Your analogy of the American-sports system is a good one: though I think its the wrong areas. I don’t think a Director of Football is particularly one that works well in football- I think you have to back the manager with the players he wants. Where I think AW sets himself at a disadvantage is the ‘I know best’ belief. The areas of a team should be looked after by specialists. Who is tasked with ensuring the fitness of our players? The should be the work of a specialist- we have had Tony Colbert for 13 years- where is his accountability? Transfers and scouting. Our record has been poor in recent times. Coaching. Our goalkeepers haven’t improved. Gerry Peynton has questions to answer: as to the medical team. The defence shows a repetitive ability to get dragged all over the shop. And so on.

    I think the modern manager manages these specialists. At Arsenal, everything is Arsene. Noone can be a specialist in every discipline of a team anymore- Arsene still thinks you can.

  • andy1886

    Fair enough, we might disagree about the weight of consideration given to all the factors in this sale but even if we accept fully your argument then the basic fact remains that Maureen did nothing wrong. In fact why would he not use every advantage he could? That’s just good management. It still does not change the fact that Chelsea, as much as I despise them, improved their squad at a profit (an important point you have to acknowledge) and we failed to address any of our obvious weaknesses during the same period. If we make every effort but fall short I and just about everyone else wouldn’t complain, in fact I would be fully supportive. The trouble is, as in the past, we tried to ‘make do’ and now we are suffering the consequences.

  • Shard

    Surfer X

    Sorry but I don’t think there’s much evidence of any of that. I know it’s almost accepted as the truth but only the people at the training ground know what happens there and only Arsene knows what he thinks. THat is speculation.

    Payton, Colbert etc are all accountable to the club. Why do you think they are not? As is Arsene. Just because you perceive a problem doesn’t mean a) that a problem exists, and b) that it is because there is someone to ‘blame’. Identifying the cause of a problem is a lot tougher in a real world scenario than fixing it, and until a cause can be found, how do you know what remedial measures to take. If at all it is felt that Colbert needs to go to improve the fitness of the players, he will go. As per the evidence of the changes made behind the scenes, I feel that it is the medical procedures that were identified as a bigger concern what with new physios and doctors and the new medical centre being invested in.

    As to transfers and scouting, tell me who does better? That is something which is a falsehood saying our scouting is poor. We’ve done well in transfers. Examples of players who failed are just that..examples.. in terms of policy we have signed players like Arteta, Per, Monreal, Ox, Flamini, Ozil, Giroud and Kos in the last 3 years. WHile having near net zero spend. And these players form the core of our current team. That doesn’t just happen. I think you are confusing ability to seal a transfer with the scouting system. And that, once again, almost invariably comes down to money.

  • Shard


    You are missing the point. The point isn’t about breaking rules or Mourinho being magic boy.. The issue under discussion was the reality of the effect oil money has had on the league.

    You seem keen to point out what we need to do, what mistakes we made etc but those are once again missing the woods for the trees. You focus on the trees of buying this player or that..but the issue is the woods of oil money and its effects. Individual examples don’t change the overall conclusion.

  • Edu

    Monday Dodd,
    i wouldn’t approve of any plans to bundle wenger out (if i had the power),his exit must be orchestrated carefully so as to not rock the boat,and also to carefully consider the next manager. UTD trusted sir. alex too much to leave the decision of choosing the next manager,this is a case of an individual being viewed as bigger than the club..arsenal should take lessons from this…in two years if wenger stays i hope arsenal will be an attractive place for the likes of guardiola,simione and the likes to want to come and take over from wenger.

  • Tasos

    Chelseas initially bought Matic for £1.5m, loaned him out to Vitesse one year later before deciding him surplus to requirements and discarded him to Benfica as part of the David Luiz deal.

    They failed to develop the talent of Matic because they didn’t need to. Chelsea don’t care too much for development, D Sturridge another case in point, as long as the oil money keeps flooding in Chelsea go out and buy the ready made player at any financial eventuality.

    In this particular case Chelsea have wasted around £20m on a player they once had at the club but who cares when balancing the books means nothing.

    And had Arsene Wenger sold a player before buying him back in a like for like situation I’d bet my bottom dollar he’d come in for dogs abuse from some on here today.

  • Shard


    Exactly.. This is what people don’t realise.. Chelsea can just spend whatever on a player.. if it doesn’t work out..start again..

    Arsenal can’t do that. If Arsenal make an expensive signing, it can’t be a gamble..They have to be almost certain that it’ll work out..Because unlike Chelsea we can’t just forget about our mistakes and go out and spend money to try and make up for it.. Hence teh club is rightly cautious with it’s spending.

    We can now afford a little less caution, and hopefully that will be the case, but in no way is Chelsea’s way of doing business something to be aspired to. It would ruin Arsenal.

  • Shard

    And that’s because Chelsea isn’t a business of course.

  • SurferX

    We disagree on this then Shard: I think he has gone on record many times that he has the final say on every aspect of the club. He runs every coaching session. He orders an investigation into the medical situation (3 years too late, but nevermind).

    My point was these people should be accountable to the club- not AW. A problem clearly exists in the areas I mentioned; unless you believe there isn’t one with injuries, defensive stability, goal-keeping performance, etc. If we keep repeating the same mistakes and have the same problems I fail to see how that can be painted as anything other than failure.

    The signings you mention are OK (though Id contend who out of them gets into a EPL 11? If that is the best you can come up with- I think that may well be central to our difference of opinion). That aside, alongside those there have been far too many duds in recent times. At the start of the summer, he identified a striker as key. We didnt get one, putting all our eggs in one basket. That was a critical managerial mistake- not rectified in the winter either. You say who has done better- I think thats a crazy statement. Chelsea have been hugely successful this years in terms of their transfer dealings. I dont buy into the money argument- the resources have been there. Ehat it more clear is that AW has the final say and frequently pulls out when a player goes beyond his perceived worth. Which is fine if you have lots of success with the players you do get.. but we haven’t.

    The point being that the one certain thing we do know is that AW has accountability for everything. I dont think that works anymore. He should definitely have a voice on everything- but those areas should be accountable at a club level not individual.

  • wenger wont leave,

    My big hope is that he stays for 3 more years, then we replace him with Pep,

    Actually id have wenger for another 10 years, IF he just started to be a little more realistic about what it takes squad wise to compete for the league

  • jambug


    That’s what I keep trying to say.

    ‘Wood from the Trees’ or ‘The Bigger Picture’

    It’s not about individual transfers, tactical knowledge etc. because they are but trivialities in comparison to the main issue which is the unlimited spending power of certain Clubs as afforded by the oil money.

    A simple question:

    What would Wenger of won given an annual net spend(loss)of say, £25 Million PER SEASON over the last 10 years? That’s the same as Liverpool and HALF the oilers by the way.

    Considering Wenger has been working on an annual net spend of just ONE MILLION I think we all know the answer to that. So all this talk about tactics and injuries would be rendered totally irrelevant.

    But Wenger made the choice to build us a nice new shinny Stadium that will see us set fair for the next 50 years or more.

    Nasty old self serving Wenger !!!!!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    We have 7-9 games left. We are down to the bare bones.
    I do hope that the team rally and do the utmost till the final whistle is blown.
    Then allow the chips to fall as they may.
    I would love to see AW go out on a high note and at his own time . When would that be ? I know not and will not care to speculate ,but I’ m sure we’ll get ample notice .
    In the meantime I will support the club with all my heart.
    Up the Gunners !

  • andy1886

    There isn’t any argument that the ‘oil money’ has made things very difficult, but it isn’t impossible otherwise as I already said, we may as well all pack up and go home. What we can do is make the most of what we have and give it our best shot. That’s the problem, we haven’t done that this season. As for who makes these decisions we can debate that too, but someone or maybe many people at the club have decided to play it safe and settle for what we have and that’s no way to make progress.

  • SurferX


    Over the past three years he could of invested that much and then some. He didn’t. His choice. He is accountable.

  • jambug


    You argue round in circles.

    You concede the oil money has an effect (I would contest an ENORMOUS effect) then in the next breath infer that it should make no difference.

    Well it does, and that’s why we are in 4th spot and not top. Simple.

  • Shard

    Chelsea require hardly any scouting SurferX. What level of scouting is really required when you pay whatever it takes for players who are generally in demand, and when you can just pick off other teams transfer targets?

    “the one certain thing we do know is that AW has accountability for everything”

    Not true.. He says he is ultimately responsible for the football side of the business but he’s many times referred to following the advice of the medical people since they are experts.. He doesn’t do the negotiating for transfers either.

    Yes. He has overall say. On some things more than others. For example, if it were up to him, the team would train in the Alps rather than tour Asia. And yes, we won’t sign someone without Wenger giving the green light. Didn’t you just say the manager needs to have control over which players come in.

    Imagine a scenario..cos this is how I would look at buying players. I need a striker and a winger. (eg) My top choices are Balotelli and Draxler because I think they’ll compliment each other and the team. So my club bids for Draxler and the best price they can get for him is 40m. Ok..I have 60m to problem..Can I get Balotelli for 20m? No..he’ll take 35m at least..unless Chelsea come in for him, then the price might go up..

    Hmmm. Ok. I would prefer that we get Balotelli now and get Griezmann with him because those two could play together too even if Draxler were better. But Griezzman is not for sale/wants to go to PSG etc..

    In that case I’d prefer we sign Suarez since he can play both roles..

    Do you get the point? Buying players isn’t just a case of handing over a list. Not unless you think of players as simply positions. Plus their values aren’t stable and in such a scenario, a manager needs to be kept involved with changing situations.

    Listen I think you are reasonable.. I just make less assumptions about Wenger or the club and my starting point is assuming that they know what they are doing and are very good at their job. I need more than suppositions to say that they are doing something wrong. Secondly, I think while watching we form certain impressions about our team. We all do this, and they are not often right when seen factually. So I have learnt to not simply say that a problem exists just because I perceive it. I need more evidence. Do we have a defensive problem. Yes and no. We self destructed thrice this season, but have been solid in most games. We’ve improved on set piece defending. Sczczesny has been one of the best keepers in the league. etc etc.. Still perceptions. Still potentially false. So I’m not saying you are wrong. I’m just saying I haven’t seen enough to agree with you and I think you’re being hasty in judging the situation and making assunptions about culpability and lack of accountability.

  • jambug

    They’ve invested £500 Million EACH.

    City spent over £100 Million last summer alone.

    Sorry but You are talking rubbish.

  • Daniel L

    I tried posting it in a previous article the other day and notice it again here. I would love to see some more discussion by the writers and their apparently extremely ardent supporters on this (I have quoted SurferX below – I made similar point a few days ago):

    One article I have never read is this; “At what point would I sack AW?” What is your threshold for saying enough-is-enough? What about a 5th placed finish? 3 consecutive 5th place finishes? No trophy for 10 years? 15 years? 20 years? Relegation?

    Any non-aggressive thoughts welcomed!

  • Shard


    Yes. We are saying the same things.. You just say them a lot better and using much less words 🙂

  • Edu

    you talking about’I would love to see AW go out on a high note’ things must be really bad for the monsiuer..

  • Edu

    surfer x,
    interesting note the about Godwin’s Law..that mentality has been fanned here plenty..

  • SurferX


    OK. This year we have spent £34m Net. Chelsea £50m Net. The difference is not a sum of money we couldn;t afford- especially considering transfer fees are amortised over the 4 years of an (average) player’s contract. We could debate wages- but given our cash position and the FFP requirement, it would be fair to see that we could of competed for any of the players they signed and vica-versa. Who has had the best transfer dealings in 2013/14?

    AFC (In)
    Ozil 44m
    Flamini Free
    Sanogo Free

    Chamakh 1m
    Gervinho 7m
    Mannone 2m

    Chekski (In)
    Zouma 13m
    Sala 12m
    Matic 22m
    Atsu 4m
    Eto Free
    Willian 31m
    Perica 2m
    Cuevas 2m
    Schwarzer Free
    van Ginkel 8m
    Schurrle 19m

    Mata 39m
    de Bruyne 15m

    That tells its own story. We could of competed for any of those players- he chose not too. No financial constraint. No overspending. No sending the club into a Leeds-sytle downward spiral. The fact is, Chelski recruited well to supplement a good (albeit ageing) squad. We recruited poorly to supplement a squad that looked light in both numbers and experience before the season started. To restate.. failure is not the issue: failure to try is.

    But, where I do agree with you is that much of this is subjective and open to debate. And I both thank and applaud you for doing so without ramming AAA down my neck- which is why I felt compelled to post on this site in the first instance. The article is too far removed from reality- pointing the finger at the fans loyalty without ever discussing any of the issues that are open to debate.

  • Porter

    If it’s all about the money and we are unable to match the artificial clubs ( which we probably are not )then the only way to defeat them is to improve the coaching and the tactics of the players we have. This should enable us to take points off of our immediate competitors and as apart from the occasional wobble where we cock up against lower teams any points from United , Liverpool, Chelsea and City would help us in our quest for the title. That is where I believe the management and coaching staff have become stale and where fresh ideas would be of great benefit.

  • SurferX

    March 27, 2014 at 1:51 pm

    interesting note the about Godwin’s Law..that mentality has been fanned here plenty..

    Listen, that rationale p*sses me off from both sides of the divide. I hear plenty that AW has achieved nothing in 10 years and has done no good. If you dare to suggest that he has done anything good, by definition you are an AKB. AAA/AKB is school-yard name-calling and all it does is suppresses reasoned thought and debate.

    I’ve come to my own conclusion’s as Im sure many have. I have a lot of respect for others- heck, they even influence my own. But when I see those terms being trotted out as rationale for whatever opinions are being expressed- any credibility is shot as far as Im concerned. Godwin’s Law.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    “When truth is blurred by lies and misinformation, perception becomes reality and all is lost.”

    What people perceive is usually what they believe, and this is based on what they hear, see and think. Most of the time we cannot control what happens but we can always control our reactions.

    Or think for ourselves !

  • Kos

    However lets not forget that AFC was leading EPL in 07/08 and 10/11 and then collapsed in Feb (sounds familiar !!) and hence there was a good nucleus of players there.. i mean in season 10/11 WHO did Man utd have except for Rooney?..maybe Barbatov and Nani were in good form at that time.. look it up.. while we had RVP, Cesc, Wilshire, Theo and Nasri .. u can argue that we lost Cesc and Nasri in 2011 … Well UTD lost Tevez and C. Ronaldo in 2009 without major replacements (until they got RVP last year) and they were still competitive and won 2 EPLs… SO I guess the main point of the post is that AW did have funds (spent 173 Million in the past 4 years) but instead of focusing these funds on 1 or 2 star players that will ELEVATE the team he ends up spending it on 5-6 below average or so called potential players (except Ozil)… and after all this expenditure the squad is so thin that team went to Munich with 6 subs instead of 7 and u only have 1 AVERAGE striker to face the elite of domestic and European football.. This is negligence and not befitting an institution of AFC’s stature

  • Edu

    self-righteous folks often believe their own hype..

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Dare to be different in a nice way. Take the risk, play the game but be serious about it, persevere to be prayerful and accept difficulties calmly.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Some points to ponder . Goodnight, guys !

    Some people are born with a slightly different character and style and some people like to be different. The second category does so to attract the attention of others and get noticed. It is not surprising that the world looks at the people who are different, who have set their own pace and path. Chidinima said, “always show the you in you that makes you the you that you are”. Though all of us belong to the big human race, everyone is unique in the sense; there is a certain degree of uniqueness that makes us different from one another. If this is well nourished in the positive way, it will be useful to the society as a whole.
    Dave Thomas says, “If there are things you don’t like in this world you grew up in, make your own life different”. The whole automatically looks up those who
    are different. Try to be unique and different from others and you will earn respect and distinguished look.

  • Edu

    Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

  • Edu

    Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress.

  • Tasos


    Try telling that to Man Utd fan.

  • Edu

    Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.Mahatma Gandhi

  • Edu

    We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.
    C. S. Lewis

  • Tasos

    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”

    Winston Churchill

  • mark

    This is excellent, the eight million a year man has finally been found out. Even the great wenger lovers like arseblog are turning on him, fans are turning on him and the media are on it to hoound this dictator out.
    Gooners, we must endure the short term pain to gain. The end is neigh. Come saturday city iwill put these poofs to the sword and wenger can run into the stadium. I predict 7 0. Mininum win by four goals to city.

  • mark

    Tony and gang are in tears. Their leader has unwittingly conned the fans but the bsm have woken up. The knives are out and there is no hope for survival on the wenger sinking ship. And its good night from him. Thanks for the early memories but please close the door on your way out. GET OUT

  • Edu

    look i like wenger,he’s a gentleman, but if one honestly assesses his performance in the recent past without being sentimental,you’d come to the conclusion that he stuck to his principal even when he needed to change tact.doing things differently or the attempt to do so should atleast bear some fruits and in the event that it it isn’t corrective measures should be taken.this has been his achilles heel..{not taking corrective measures}.
    its not all lost though he can have a last hurrah by giving us some much need signings.

  • Late to the thread but great insight and historical context Tony. Kudos.

    Whatever the circumstances I stand firmly by my team and our manager.

  • mark

    Bottomboy…)You standing by what exactly? The eight years of failure? Or the absolute shambles of this season?

  • AL

    In Wenger I trust. Mark, do you even have a job? By the amount of time you spend trolling blogs (and copying and pasting) I doubt that. Yet you want to sound like you know what success is. I feel sorry for you.

  • Mike T

    Surfer X

    Whilst the sums you quote in relation to transfer fees paid by Chelsea in the season are just about right the sums received into the transfer account is at least £10 million more than you suggest.

    Made up as follows

    £2.596 Bruma to PSV

    £3.8 million loan fee paid by Everton in respect of Lukaka

    £1 million Courtois. As above but paid by Ath Madrid

    Moses £1.56. As above paid by Liverpool

    Wallace £1.32. As above million paid by Inter

    Romeu £0.8 million. As above paid by Valencia

    With the exception of the players at Vitesse the suggestion is that Chelsea are receiving loan fees which at least match the amortised cost of the player to Chelsea. Also Chelsea are inserting buy back clauses when they sale players like Matic Bruma etc

    Put that together and transfer fees paid = £104million transfer income = £64 million it seems that we were due a % of the transfer profit made by Benfica re Matic.

  • AL,

    I guess mark is so upset because Arsenal haven’t given him anything to add to his CV in 9 years. The moron can’t even count.

  • Gambon

    Bottomboy only cares about what is best for Wenger, he doesn’t care about what’s best for Arsenal (how to move our club forward). We have been stagnant for years now.

  • WalterBroeckx

    is Le Grove website down again?

  • Mike T


    Perhaps feel reaching the CL final in 2005/6 is something that AW can justifiably put on his CV.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Isnt it time the ref pulled out a few red cards… as GOKs when bedtime is these days…?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Surfer, agree on your Utd take, but who is to say it would be any different at arsenal? I don’t doubt Ivan and co are smart guys with the clubs interest at heart, but can they really pick out the next wenger? I do wonder if wenger will have a say in his successor….know he thinks a lot of Remy garde, and that Serbian?? guy he knows from Japan. The club may take the apparent safe option, and go for Bould plus an ex legend or two…..might sound good, but not a lot of experience in EPL management if they take that route…not saying they will, but it is a possibility
    Andy and Surfer, I do not fear change either, just the potential,timing, I think this summer is not the right time. Of course others think different, and maybe wenger has decided to go himself ….who knows, but I read the club are pretty terrified of him going, if true, they must have their reasons. A cynic or even a realist may say it is just about the money, or perhaps the oft mentioned Moyes scenario?I do not want us to be nearly men and women, but what this club and manager have faced in recent years, there are perhaps worse places to have been.
    CL money will double after next season. TV rights going through the roof. New power groups made up of the top clubs will emerge, if some are to be believed a de facto European league. Clubs left behind may never come back.Not sure I like the concept of all these things, but let’s at the very least keep ourselves at the top table for the next two vital seasons, Wenger has a proven track record on this, likely more so than anyone else we could bring in. If reports of a two year extension are correct, there may be more to this timing than meets the eye?
    Quite apart from all this, to be honest I just think a lot of Wenger , and want him to stay and get further success and recognition that he deserves

  • WalterBroeckx

    Excellent article Tony.
    Fact (should I write it FACT?) is that some hate Wenger that much that they even want him out even if we would win the double this season, stay unbeaten the next and win the league, FA cup and CL.

    It is funny just like I wrote a few days ago that they have changed their tune completely. Last year saying: we don’t want to win it but I would like us to compete. A FA cum semi final and 6 points (2 wins) behind the league leaders at the end of March is still a bit competing in my book. So they can’t use the ‘I just want us to compete excuse’ for the moment.

    And so now they have changed their tune saying that if we don’t win the double this season it is a complete disaster. We could win the FA cup. That would be a trophy but they have already said that winning the FA cup is not a real trophy so it doesn’t count. Any more. It did was a trophy before for them but now they brush that aside as if it would mean nothing.

    Mind you I think some are very worried about the prospect of Arsenal winning the FA cup. A lot of the trolls on here have said that we would nothing ever again as long as Wenger was here. So the thought of Wenger winning something (it is not a given thing I know) sends them in to complete meltdown even before it can happen.

    So they desperately are trying to get him sacked before we play the Fa cup semi or FA cup final. And if we would win it then they could say: see you I told you we would win nothing with Wenger around. And they will give full credit to whoever is our manager at that moment.

    Not that the board will sack Wenger because they ask the board to do it of course. I think the board has better things to do than to listen to them….

  • Ugandan Goon

    Prem net spend in last 5 years. MCFC way out in front, Chelsea 2nd. MUFC, L'pool and Stoke in top 5. @giggs_boson— Colin Millar (@Millar_Colin) March 27, 2014

    We are about to relegated from the spending league!

  • bjtgooner

    Possible bad news, have the AAA (who don’t exist) spread to Sweden?

  • Shard

    The only way in which Wenger isn’t good for Arsenal is because of the incessant abuse directed towards him and hence the club, which tends to make people lose perspective about things. Arsenal a club in crisis, Liverpool a club who are having a brilliant season. Last season that was Tottenham. ANyway, the point is Wenger might decide to leave because he thinks that the spotlight will reduce on the club if he left. And he’ll leave behind a club in much better shape than Ferguson left ManU in. A team which Moyes is struggling to improve since their true level for the past 3 years is starting to show.

    Some people are wrongly dubbed AAA sometimes. Personally I don’t like generalisations about what are disparate opinions. But the nature and sheer volume of the anti-Wenger tirade and ‘his day is done’ type nonsense forces me to agree with bjtgooner who says this is a coordinated campaign to bring about a change in ownership.

    “Conspiracy theory!!” the usual suspects may scream, but hostile takeovers in the corporate world involve sabotaging the prospects of the company in question, filling newspapers and shareholders with appearance of turmoil and meltdown through negative publicity and slander pieces, and generally creating a scenario where selling the company becomes more viable than owning it. Arsenal is a multi-million pound corporate entity which is actually in the top end of a fast growing multi-billion dollar industry. Would a hostile corporate takeover really rank as a ‘conspiracy theory’?

  • andy1886

    Shard – Yes it would! 😉

  • Florian

    I one cannot help noticing how many pundits have a strong anti-Wenger opinion, while it is clear that they have no experience managing or coaching a football team, or elementary notions of not economy, but keeping within a budget. Nobody asks you to be a doctor in International Economy, but when a subject matter expert has an opinion, chances are it is more educated, hence more credible and with less random leeway. Yet, the pundits claim they know better. It’s unbelievable.

  • M.Valerio

    I don’t usually comment on this blog, but just want to do it to drown out the negative anti-wengerians. It’s funny cause it’s almost as if a lot of people are WAITING for Arsenal to FAIL so they can come on and post s***. I can’t believe it. Wenger has just come out of a period where Arsenal financed the stadium – now they can compete again – and they are – Wenger is the best option and deserves to show what he can do with the extra money that is starting to flow.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Looks like the official site think wenger is staying

    See second paragraph , wengers side will play NYRBs…in the summer…do they know something we don’t, or just wishful thinking on their behalf?

  • pete

    Mark – You are not an Arsenal supporter in the literal sense of the word. You may feel some connection with Arsenal but do not ever call yourself a supporter after those comments.

    As for alternative managers. Klopp’s team is riddled with injuries and they are circa 20 points behind their League leaders… (not that I don’t think he is a good manager). But just saying. I wonder if there is a section of Dortmund fans who want him out?

    Daniel L – A good question (under what circumstances should Wenger lose his job). I would have to think about it – there would be a threshold. But he is so far in credit it is unlikely – although not impossible – that he would reach that point any time soon.

  • Florian

    Mandy, I think I know where my next summer’s flight destination is;)

  • Ugandan Goon

    Someone was admonishing Tony for using the phrase AAA, i’d say Mark was a typical example. There is an agenda, and they’ll stick to it. Don’t rise to it, instead reinforce the more positive voices on here and hopefully we can create a safe and pleasant environment for DIEHARD fans of our Great club.

  • andy1886

    Ugandan, sure there are some people who love nothing more than winding people up and kicking people when they are down. Equally there are people who have a different opinion as to what is best for Arsenal (not necessarily Arsene) and give a reasoned argument of why they believe that. The key is to differentiate between the two and save any abuse for the former while responding with a valid counter-argument to the latter. Sometimes any view not wholely aligned with the mainstream on here is just met with insults and abuse, which is no way for grown ups to conduct themselves. I’m not refering to you, but it’s certainly true that there are idiots on both sides of the argument.

  • Florian


    The presence of idiots on both sides is actually a second-grade argument. This site is declaratively pro-Wenger, so the AAA posts are automatically categorized as noise. There has been plenty of noise generators here lately, who posted a humongous amount of antagonistic content, which is leading to nothing but wasted time and energy because we have to counter these posts. In my country of origin, we have a saying: “A fool throws a stone in the lake, and 10 clever guys can’t get it out”. This is a way of saying that it’s easy to destroy, and much harder to be constructive. By polluting the site with **** comments, the AAA are demonstrating they are nothing but a destructive force, since their posts only target their agenda, which comes in flagrant opposition with the Club’s vision and with what this site in particular promotes. Now, how long are we supposed to bear these guys – among which you clearly belong, even if your posts seem to contain a trace of reasoning?

  • bjtgooner


    Very very well put.

    Recently we have had a series of anti Wenger “contributors” who pretend to be reasonable or concerned fans in order to cunningly move each of the debates to an anti Wenger agenda. They revert to this tactic from time to time in the hope that it will be more effective than direct confrontation. I can’t be entirely sure but I don’t think it is accidental to have this tactic regularly repeated.

    The fact that the depressives insist on spilling their bile on a pro Wenger site is very revealing.

  • andy1886

    Florian, that’s a fair argument, though the tag line at the top of the site states ‘supporting the club, the players and the manager’ rather than the old supporting the Lord Wenger, coach of the decade stuff. So taking that at face value what happens if you believe that the interests of the club and the manager no longer coincide? Surely the interests of the club have to take presedence? How could you in all faith be a true supporter if you held that honest belief but said nothing?

    Rebuilding can of course also be constructive – it’s a risk certainly. Walter liked to draw an analogy from the 70’s the other day so here’s another one to ponder. When Bill Shankly retired in 1974 Liverpool fans must have feared the worst – their greatest manager had gone. Who could replace Shanks? Ultimately the seeming irreplaceable Shankly WAS replaced by the unheralded Bob Paisley who surpassed his achievements and became a legend. Nothing is certain in football.

    Sure there are many antagonistic posts, equally there are many who put across a good case. I don’t see this site as like one of those happy clappy sects where conformity is mandatory and reason and debate has to be abandoned at the door.


    On the basis that the term AAA only exists on this site I think it’s unlikely to have come to attention of players – your obsession with Wenger is really unbalanced and clouds your view entirely when it comes to issues which affect ARSENAL F.C as a whole .

  • andy1886

    Bjt – if you think everyone who disagrees with you has some cunning ulterior motive or are merely pretending to be reasonable then I feel sorry for you.

    I only post what I believe, without resorting to abuse or insults (which if you question my integrity is exactly what you are doing). I’ve supported this club through thick and thin for more than forty years, my loyalty will always be to the club, not any particular employee be they player, manager or tea lady. If you don’t like what I post then feel free to ignore it. Last time I checked this was a free and democratic country, not a relic of some communist state.

  • bjtgooner


    So you post without resorting to abuse or insults, lets have a wee reminder: –

    March 23, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    “Oh God please dont let it be true”

    Terminal disease? Wife run away with your teenage nephew? Are we about to see WW3 start in Ukraine? What is it man??

    Oh, a football manager might be retiring. Get a grip.”

    Was that not a sarcastic insult?

  • Singapore Gunner

    Wenger should leave after winning the FA Cup 2014. More failures next season will see the crowd boo him incessantly which is sad. He has taken Arsenal as far as he can.

  • Micheal Ram

    You ungrateful fellas,

    You are kidding yourselves. Arsene Wenger will never walk out on the players like the way you are planning to walk out on him. He will keep the promise he made with Ozil unlike the F-Word scum and his shit monkey. Shame on you. If you think the whole world evolves around people like you, you are hilariously mistaken. All hail Arsene Wenger and in him I trust.

  • Florian

    Thanks bjt. I can hardly keep myself from throwing f-words to the noise-producers, but I would be no better than them had I done that. I had my lessons some time ago.


    You talk about the interests of the Club. Who are you to know them so well? Unless you’re a Board member (which in all fairness if it were true it would be nothing short of a treason), you only exhibit hollowness and inability to see beyond what the media brainwashed you with. You and so many others. Maybe it’s not your fault that you ingest that crap every day, but at least make an effort to either use your own mind, or listen to those who do.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Are you guys serious?
    The first thing Manure, $hitty and Maureen will do next is try to get Draxler, so Arsenal does not get him. Ozil landing at AFC was a shock to Maureen, he never thought it would happen; anecdotal fact: after Ozil offered his jersey to Maureen, Chelsea had a bad period; let us imagine the Boss telling Mesut: “give the jersey to the moaner, it will be an anti-talisman” or somthing like that.
    I am shocked that alternatives to the Boss are contemplated so casually; Moyes has proven to be not as good as previously thought, Martinez is doing OK because he has Lukaku and Deulofeu on loan, and they have played less games, Maureen would be never selected by the AFC board as he will emortgage the Ems. So, the choice may be Guardiola when the Germans grow tired of him (Bayern has changed managers quite often) or Remi Garde at the other end of the spectrum (but this very unlikely). In the middle, people are considering Klopp, de Boer / Bergkamp. All of it is speculation. I expect the Boss to stay, win a couple of trophies (including the Premiership) then retire to a media job, and be replaced by no less than Guardiola or some other big name.
    Back to more serious issues; when the Boss said that he could go a full complete premier league undefeated, he attracted a lot of ridicule. Guess who ate their hats at the end of the 2003 to 2004 season? When the Boss wins the title in the next two or three seasons, it will be even more remarkable, as he will have beaten three teams with far bigger financial resources.
    Some may say that it is all wishful thinking, but we only need some adjustments so the squad can win despite the expected loads of injuries allowed week in week out.
    As to the naysayers (what AAA? that stands for American Automobile Association, of which I am a member) they can state their opinions, and we can state ours, but politely please. No personal attacks between the pro-Boss and anti-Boss factions should occur, and no personal attacks against the Boss should ever be layed out, only constructive criticism. I will start with mine: I miss the offensive fluency that we had under Cesc, and I hope that the Boss will regain it.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    The media have an anti-Arsenal agenda, for a few exceptions. Just quantify it when a team loses: Arsenal loss: 30 vociferous articles; Maureen loss: 10 stern articles; Manure loss: articles about Moyes only and not his squad or red nose’s legacy; Shitty loss: 5 neutral articles. Yes, the media marches to the tune of a select few; if you do not know who they are, just do some research.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I ignore the communist-style (or Nazi-style) media if they attack us nor when they try to say nice things. It is all part of THEIR narrative.

    I am out to hire myself none other than Oliver Stone for a film on the consequences of Arsenal going undefeated a whole premier league season.

  • Florian

    Well Ray, I’m sure Tony will be happy to write the screenplay;)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ bjtgooner – Interesting article , do hope that the Swedes destroy all them vermin before they get the chance to swim over over.
    In fact the Swedes could make a bundle by skinning and selling them to countries these are a considered a delicacy ,ala ” gourmet ratatouille ” !
    Thank you again ,for your relenting fight to keep out all manner of rats .I do sleep easy knowing that you are watching over us !Keep up the good work .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Ray – I would love to provide the humourous bits in that movie. Free of course!
    I would run wild with those AAAA type characters ,bungling referees , hapless Spuds , incredulous ManUre fans , the spluttering ,red faced,neck veins bulging SAF , Liverpuddle’s Spanish waiter schtick .
    Ah ,it would be like Keystone cops meet the 3 stooges meet dumb and dumber.
    Okay am on it right now !

  • Florian

    And of course, I will be Arsene Wenger:)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I would not mind ‘acting’ as the typical Asian AAAA – I’ve got the required features, and have their manner of ‘loyal support’ and antics down pat !
    All free of course !
    Do write in the ‘Running man’ , too .He’s an icon.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    This sad story seems so apt here .It brought a tear or two to mine eyes .

    Happily Ever After?

    Cinderella was now 75 years old. After a fulfilling life with the now dead Prince, she happily sat upon her rocking chair, watching the world go by from her front porch, with a cat called Alan for companionship.

    One sunny afternoon, out of nowhere, appeared the Fairy Godmother. Cinderella said “Fairy Godmother, what are you doing here after all these years?”

    The Fairy Godmother replied, “Well, Cinderella, since you have lived a good, wholesome life since we last met, I have decided to grant you three wishes. Is there anything for which your heart still yearns?”

    Cinderella is overjoyed, and after some thoughtful consideration and almost under her breath she uttered her first wish:

    “I wish I was wealthy beyond comprehension.” Instantly, her rocking chair was turned into solid gold. Cinderella was stunned. Alan, her old faithful cat, jumped off her lap and scampered to the edge of the porch, quivering with fear.

    Cinderella said, “Oh thank you, Fairy Godmother!”

    The Fairy Godmother replied, “It’s the least I can do. What does your heart wish for your second wish?”

    Cinderella looked down at her frail body, and said, “I wish I were young and full of the beauty of youth again.” At once, her wish became reality, and her beautiful youthful visage returned.

    Cinderella felt stirrings inside her that had been dormant for years and long forgotten vigor and vitality began to course through her very soul.

    Then the Fairy Godmother again spoke. “You have one more wish, what willyou have?” Cinderella looked over to the frightened cat in the corner and said, “I wish you to transform Alan my old cat into a beautiful and handsome young man.”

    Magically, Alan suddenly underwent so fundamental a change in his biological make-up, that when complete he stood before her, a boy, so beautiful the like of which she nor the world had ever seen, so fair indeed that birds begun to fall from the sky at his feet.

    The Fairy Godmother again spoke. “Congratulations, Cinderella. Enjoy your new life!” And, with a blazing shock of bright blue electricity, she was gone.

    For a few eerie moments, Alan and Cinderella looked into each others’ eyes. Cinderella sat, breathless, gazing at the most stunningly perfect boy she had ever seen.

    Then Alan walked over to Cinderella, who sat transfixed in her rocking chair, and held her close in his young, muscular arms.

    He leaned in close to her ear, whispered, blowing her golden hair with his warm breath, “I bet you regret having me neutered now, don’t you?”

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I can play the role of Houiller. Same looks, same accent, and managed to be AW’s distant friend.

  • andy1886

    Bjt – Thanks for the quote – That was at Nicky who I thought was being a bit over dramatic at the time. Actually I did apologise to him over on ACLF the next day, if you don’t believe me feel free to ask him. Shame that you guys feel it’s okay to compare us so called AAA to rats (not very original or imaginative but there you go) but don’t feel the need to apologise in the least. I guess some of us have some decency and others have lost their ‘moral compass’ whatever that is.


    “You talk about the interests of the Club. Who are you to know them so well? Unless you’re a Board member (which in all fairness if it were true it would be nothing short of a treason), you only exhibit hollowness and inability to see beyond what the media brainwashed you with. You and so many others. Maybe it’s not your fault that you ingest that crap every day, but at least make an effort to either use your own mind, or listen to those who do.”

    I know them as much as you do – I guess that you’re not a board member either so we are both just forming our own opinion based on the evidence we have. Neither of us have a crystal ball so my interpretation is equally as valid as yours and we can come back at some future date and see who was correct. At least I try to use reasoning rather than resorting to insult – let’s see we have ‘treason’, ‘hollowness’, brainwashed’ ‘use your own mind’ all in one paragraph, but not one single logical argument put forward.

    Keep up the childish name calling if you want, I prefer rational argument.

  • Florian

    Hm, rational argument? Bjt listed a few counterexamples of your own. But, the thinking pattern that I see here is probably best displayed by “if you believe that the interests of the club and the manager no longer coincide”. It is nothing more that a possibility which has no fact to back it up, and which forms the base of your entire thought chain. At that moment, you stopped keeping the faith.

  • Gunner6

    Firstly, I respect both sides of the argument. I do have swings from “he is the man for the job” to “why did he do that?” and back to “silly me, he got ir right” to “i can’t believe he did that” and so on and so forth.

    It is however, a roller coaster ride I don’t want to replace. I enjoy it, and maybe a self punishment some would say. But that is what supoorting the club is about.

    Wenger is the current manager, and the club has not said anything to the contrary. So my support is absolute i.e. no booing and all that. The players are as culpable in a loss as the manager. Likewise, a win.

    I read this side religiously, not because I am a Wenger apologist or hater (don’t mean to demean, but I can’t think of another word at the moment) of those who want Wenger out. I find the articles well articulated and reasoned with facts. Right or wrong, is another matter. At least the writers try to use the facts and reasoned argument.

    However, there is one very important question which the Wenger out brigade have not provided their views on. They have their say on wanting Wenger out. The next question which they need to answer is: how long will they give the next manager before they return to their “want him/her out” campaign?

    6 months? 1 season? 2 seasons?

    I ask this because it is important. If they feel the next manager is better than Wenger, what if he falls short? Say we get Martinez. What if we fall out of CL? Or let’s say we continue in CL, but keep ending up fourth? How long will you give him before you start saying “nothing has changed, next!”? What if we keep finishing 2nd time and again?

    What if we get Bergkamp/Henry/Klopp and end up on the same footing?

    Of course, my question is hypothetical. But a possible scenario. There is nothing to add if we win the EPL or CL.

    These are hard questions which they need to ask themselves, possible even those who want Wenger to stay too. What if our next manager gets us 2nd every season, would the change be better?

    Therein lies the issue. We don’t know what the next manager will bring us. Change can be good, but it can just be as bad. We have to appreciate what we have now in the present, and when the time comes, embrace that change.

    After every natch, win, lose, satisfying/demoralising draws or trashing, I switch off and focus on my family. I leave it the Board to take care of the club. They have for so many years, and especially in the past few so-called trophyless years (which the media gleefully keep reminding us). So when I finally turn my children in Gooners, it is still there challenging both on and off the field. Not hoping some rich investor will come in and keep the club afloat.

    That is my 2 cents.

  • andy1886

    Florian, he listed one which I explained. See above.

    There are plenty of facts – it’s how you interpret them. You talk of ‘faith’, I’m more of a science/logic man myself. I’m glad that you noticed where my argument comes from though, and it’s not an irrational hatred of AW, it’s purely based my wanting to see AFC be the best it can. We can differ on how that might be achieved.

    Thanks for skipping the unpleasant stuff btw.

  • andy1886

    ‘6’ It’s different for all of us I guess, but a minimum of 3 years would be my answer. That’s the minimum needed to adapt the squad and give a few new players a chance to bed in. If we didn’t make the CL for a year or two, or even all three of those then fair enough. I’d expect to see signs of progress in the third year though. As I’ve said before I’d swap years of consistant 4th places for a more inconsistant period where we occasionally won the league.

  • andy1886

    If you want an example try the CL. If ManU don’t make the CL this year then we will be the only team to consistantly qualify. But would you rather have our record or Liverpool’s? A no brainer for me, they may fail to qualify most years but they have actually won the thing. Consistancy is over rated.

  • WalterBroeckx

    consistency is needed if you want us to overcome the gigantic investment of building the Emirates.
    No CL money will mean a big whole in the bank account. One year we could cover it. Two probably. But from the third on it will become a big problem.
    And this will be the same for the next 10 years or so. Only then the burden of the Emirates will be completely behind us.

    Think again why they are holding a big amount of money as a backup.

    In a way you could say that the first £25M player we buy goes in to the bank. And that has been going on for the last trophyless years in fact. Without the loans we might have been spending that money on a player each year. Now the first 25M has to go to paying back the debts.

    You might argue: we shouldn’t have build it then. Well the fact is then we wouldn’t have that £25M either. Not now and never would have. But once the debt is cleared we will have that extra 25M a year available to buy players. Still compared to Chelsea and City it is only peanuts of course…

  • Pete

    On a related point, while I have no time (at all) for Fat Sam it is interesting watching the dissent saga at West Ham. Players have come out openly and said that booing is a hindrance to the team. The same must apply at Arsenal.

    The players will be nervous and apprehensive before the Man City game. We need to support them more than ever.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Andy, I understand and feel similar to your frustrations with the CL, but by not qualifying it would mean that you would have to endure finishing out of the top four in certain seasons,(fallow years?)in the PL…think of the consequences for the club then and the “disenchanted fan base”…
    To me every year you qualify of the CL means more money the potential to lure in new players( I dont think Mesut would have come if we werent in the CL)and of course, like all cup runs a chance to win something,every year is a hope,even if that percentage is small.
    I understand all the counter polemics on this point though.But I personally would rather keep in the CL and keep building from there than risk fallow years.
    All in mo of course.

  • Pete

    Off topic, but just seen this on the BBC:

    “Manchester United’s poor season has potentially damaging consequences for the worldwide appeal of the Premier League, according to the league’s chief executive Richard Scudamore.
    He says the global popularity of English football will decline if United do not recover. “When your most popular club isn’t doing as well, that costs you interest and audience in some places,” Scudamore tells Bloomberg.

    “There’s lots of fans around the world who wish Manchester United were winning it again, but you have to balance that off against, generally, we’re in the business of putting on a competition and competition means people can compete.” United, the reigning champions, are seventh in the table, 18 points behind leaders Chelsea.”

    Hmmm. I am adding 2+2 together and hoping I am not making 4…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting Pete…..perhaps a reason why Utd have been wrapped in cotton wool like the most delicate of protected species over the years….maybe he is implying they might be again?

  • andy1886

    Walter, thanks for your reply which I wouldn’t argue with. It was really an answer to a hypothetical question, but yes, three years of no CL would probably be one too far. It’s never that black and white though, who would have thought that Liverpool would have won their CL title based on their league performances? Twenty four years this year since their last title (sandwiched between two of ours). Consistancy certainly has many merits, but surprises can still happen.

  • andy1886

    Pete, I’m not usually one for conspiracy theories but in this case I think Scudamore has overstepped the mark. He shouldn’t be commenting on the fortunes of any one club in respect of the fortunes of the PL. Then again he really isn’t someone I have much time for, I wouldn’t trust him and his money grabbing organisation any further than I can throw them (just off to get some physio on my injured shoulder, I kid you not!).

  • WalterBroeckx

    As you know I have my ‘links’ behind the scenes in the referee world. And I will never mention his name but a name hat has been mentioned in this thread has been named to me by several sources as the one who is pulling the string of puppet Riley.

    And then to read some statement on another website…. aha….

    For me things are falling together now. Anyone still want to buy me a tin foil hat…. 😉

    This brings our referee reviews up to the next level I would say….Amazing isn’t it?

  • Tasos


    Mr Scudamore has added fuel to the fire that Man Utd have received preferential treatment, a helping hand towards many a title winning season.

    His (Scudamore) remarks should come as no great surprise to many on here though, however what I do find disturbing is the sheer arrogance of the man.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Well, we have been saying for years the see Utd as the flagship for the league, they also saw the treat wenger provided a few years back

  • WalterBroeckx

    And of course Riley hates Arsenal as he has shown in his referee career all too often. But when I attack him for his incompetence I in fact attack the person who has put him there.

    OMG I feel an article coming up but that might get us in trouble. Some persons are rather quick on going to court. As you can expect from a person that has studied laws….

    But he now is uncovering himself one might say… showing the hidden agenda that has been there all these years….

    Thanks for that comment Pete. ON topic, ON topic…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Sorry, meant to say threat, not sure they regarded wenger as a treat, tho the aaa will say otherwise.
    One nil to untold

  • WalterBroeckx

    F*ck me, remember me saying that it needed someone with refereeing skills as well as the other skills to know what and how to do it???? check it out in his personal life….

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    I thought that everyone at Untold were just paranoid about refs…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Pete could you post a link to this article?

  • WalterBroeckx

    Yes Kenneth. All these years we were moaning about the refs and people coming on here told us we should moan about the real issues: Wenger out.

    Now finally the masks are coming down. And it shows that we at Untold were right all these years. Not winning the league was not down to Wenger losing it. Oil money and the PGMOL has made sure we didn’t win.

  • Mike T

    @ Walter

    I think you seriously underestimate the impact of just one year outside CL football would have. Timing is ever thing and for Arsenal CL participation based on how the cub run their finances, is possibly far more important than most if no all the clubs that are in the top 6 of the EPL

    The money Arsenal have in the bank has already featured in the P&L account so should Arsenal spend, spend , spend even if they didn’t borrow would have a negative impact in terms of pushing up the amortised sums reflected in the accounts. This is a major flaw in how FFP is structured.

  • bjtgooner

    @andy @ 7.08 am

    I note that you agree that you did indeed make an insulting comment. It does not matter that you directed it at nicky – who incidentally is a true gentleman – if there is one person on this site who never deserves to be insulted it is nicky – anyway the point I was making is that you aimed an insult at someone on this site while claiming that you don’t do such things and that everyone should restrict themselves to logical debate.

    Logical debate is fine and I agree that is how everyone should function – in an ideal world. My view is the fans back the team and manager – in difficult times this is all the more important. I don’t have much time for the spineless backstabbers of this world.

    Further, this is a pro-Wenger site – but it is deliberately targeted by the anti-Wenger brigade as a medium to vent. Most of the persons who do this have already been subject to logical counter debate – without the slightest change in their attitude. My view is that debate with such persons is a total waste of time and energy – so as an alternative I do insult some from time to time (without apology) when it seems appropriate. The people who clamor most about this are usually those who themselves happily insult Mr Wenger! Hypocrites?

    So andy, if you feel you are not an AAA type fine – lets see how we get on & lets see if you use this pro Wenger site to attack Mr Wenger.

  • andy1886

    I don’t think anyone would disagree that ManU in particular get most of the decisions in their favour, Rafa’s rant was just making public exactly what most of us already knew. I can immediately think of the end of our 49 game run – Rooney diving and I think it was Freddie being fouled when clean through but not even a yellow. Then there was Sol being sent off at Highbury for allegedly elbowing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and effectively costing us the league, the brawl at OT, I could go on. Where we might disagree is that I believe that there is a hierachy in the head of refs which they don’t like to disturb. We get poor treatment against certain sides in the North West, but I think that it’s fair to say that some of the smaller sides can get a rough deal at the Ems too. Either way it’s time that someone analysed all referee performances and collated the stats to help weed out the worst offenders who just don’t seem to have the will or ability to be impartial.

  • bjtgooner


    Scudamore, Riley & Red Nose?

    Can anyone complete a jigsaw?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Think this is the article pete refers to Walter

    Shame mr scudamore put all his energy into a certain club rather than his beloved team in bristol

  • andy1886

    Bjt – that’s fine pull me up on any insults as you wish, just in return don’t insult me merely because my opinion differs from yours. You consider yourself pro-Wenger, I don’t have a problem with anyone who that applies to. In turn I consider myself pro-Arsenal first and foremost, a subtle distinction but a valid one nonetheless.

  • bjtgooner


    Link for Pete’s comment: –

  • Tasos


    Without the help Man Utd have dropped like a stone this season.

    Question is why have they stopped receiving the help?

    Financially the club are in a lot healthier situation. The EPL champioships have helped maintain a prominent position, increased the global brand, and thus sponsorship, massive sponsorship, has now reduced the enormous debt that the Glazer’s heaped upon the club.

    It is plausible to believe that without this help Richard Scudamore’s most popular club could’ve been placed in a very embarrassing financial predicament. Likewise Scudamore’s EPL product would’ve also come under severe scrutiny.

    This is all just supposition on My part.

  • bjtgooner


    Sorry – I was still checking out the BBC website when your post came through.

  • Phil

    Just for arguments sake, what if something is to happen to Arsene today and he is unable to coach. Naturally a new coach would be appointed. He would also go through adaptation, monetary constraints, etc issues. Will he by any means get the same backing from this site or for that matter any AFC supporters as Arsene did or would he be fired within 2 – 3 seasons for not performing? I love Arsenal, I love Arsene but for anyone looking at all the facts, and not allow him/herself to get emotional regarding the whole AAA or not AAA situation, is there concrete proof that our team’s performance, injury concerns, scouting network, youth system, contract management, competitor analysis and game plan adaptation are actually improving? This according to me is the only rational which should be employed when a team or manager is judged. To do otherwise is to invite incompetence, misery and long term stagnation.

  • bjtgooner


    I didn’t try to insult you “merely because my opinion differs from yours.” To suggest that I would do so is an insult? 🙂

    Anyway, lets see how we get on.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Andy if your pro AFC first then why the suggestion of some fallow years-not too pro AFC!?
    Im only joking, I know you are pro AFC, and 40 years etc.But jokes aside Bayern Munich would never think about going backwards to go forwards.
    Anyway our rivals are enjoying every second of watching a disgruntled fan-base and the affect it has on the players…

  • andy1886

    Kenneth – I’m in it for the long term, no short term fixes for me! 😉

    Anyway, apparently LadyArse seem convinced AW will stay:

  • Shard

    I was going to just bring attention to those Scudamore quotes.

    My contention at the end of last season was that since Ferguson stepped down, and people were beginning to notice how ManU were getting favours, this year they would take a break from helping them and help Mourinho instead.

    Next year, I fully expect ManU to be back in favour, the only question being whether that’ll be with Moyes (making Ferguson right about Moyes after all) , or they’ve made Moyes a patsy.

    The interests of the PL have coincided with ManU’s interests almost from the start. I accept that ManU have won many trophies, but in 1996, when English football was just starting to be broadcast in India, why were ManU THE flagship brand? They hadn’t won all that much then had they? Yet they were depicted as the greatest team ever. I mean even Liverpool wasn’t mentioned in the same vein. And the reason is probably Sky considering they had a stake in ManU.

    Also, ManU were a good team. THey really were. It wasn’t for nothing that we enjoyed the contests with them. But they were still allowed to kick Arsenal off the park in 2004 by Mike Riley, and I believe the level of refereeing influence on the results stepped up a notch once Arsenal moved to the new stadium and Chelsea got an oil backer. Suddenly ManU weren’t the richest club around, nor the one with growing infrastructure and a reputation for fast flowing football. Their brand needed titles more than ever. The PL needs their brand.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thanks for the links Untolders.

    I hope to bring it all together in the coming days

  • jambug

    ‘Over the last 8 years Wenger has been a failure’

    It’s this statement I just cant get my head around and it’s this statement that lies at the heart of so much of the anti Wenger angst.

    But what is failure?

    Is Wenger a failure?

    Lets have a look.

    So, what is failure? Well first of all lets agree before we start that it is subjective, so nobody’s right or wrong, it is just opinion, and this is mine.

    Not only is failure ‘subjective’ but it is also ‘relative’.

    Lets explore ‘relative’ because I believe this is massively important and key to how we should judge Arsenal, and more specifically, Wengers recent history:

    If Everton qualify for the CL is that a ‘relative’ success?

    If Southampton qualified for the Europa cup is that a ‘relative’ success?

    If Crystal Palace avoid relegation is that a ‘relative’ success?

    I would suggest, that even though none of those Clubs actually WON A THING, every one of them would see a season such as that as a ‘success’.

    Lets explore ‘relative’ failure:

    If Manchester City only won the C1C, is that a ‘relative’ failure? (it certainly seems the media are setting up a potential Arsenal FA Cup win as a ‘failure’)

    If Bayern Munich failed to retain the CL would they deem that as ‘relative’ failure, even though they walked the German Championship?

    If Real or Barca won the ‘Cupa Del Rey’ but missed out on ‘La Liga’ would that be a ‘relative’ failure?

    I would suggest that even though all of those Clubs actually DID WIN SOMETHING they would all consider there seasons to be a ‘relative’ failure. In some cases, a terrible failure!!

    So I truly believe ‘success’ and ‘failure’ are indeed ‘relative’.

    Therefore I believe ‘success’ or ‘failure’ is in no way entirely dependent on the acquisition of trophies alone.

    It can and should be measured against a myriad of other things, such as size of Club, recent and long term history, expectations, luck, and last but by no means least, finances.

    All kinds of circumstances can influence a Clubs goals and ambitions at any particular period in that Clubs lifetime.

    As much as the examples I have given above relate to short term ‘relative’ success or failure I believe these basic rules can, and should, also be applied long term.

    A couple of examples would be how Charlton’s extended stay in the PL under Curbishly is seen as a ‘successful’ period although they won nothing. Pulis is seen as a ‘success’ at Stoke simply for keeping them in the PL for such a long period.

    It’s all ‘relative’


    Over the last 10 years we have seen the face of football, not only in England but the World, change enormously.

    Most obviously, for better or worse, we’ve seen the arrival of the Billionaire Club owners.
    Not every one has one. Not everyone wants one. A lot of people, myself included, think it is a long term recipe for disaster. A lot of people, like me, are glad that Arsenal have decided not to follow the Billionaire owner route. But that being said it is clear the ones that have are working at a massive advantage, and are by and large, mopping up all the silverware throughout the Globe.

    It is, the odd anomaly accepted, virtually impossible for a ‘non sponsored’ team to compete.

    Arsenal are a ‘non sponsored’ team. The fact is we are struggling to compete. Just like the rest of the ‘non sponsored’ teams around the World.

    A question I have asked on here a few times is, given these circumstances, under what premise can anyone EXPECT Arsenal to out perform these ‘Sponsored’ teams?

    Nobody ever gives a straight answer.

    Our direct rivals have been given over £500 Million each.

    Arsenal have committed over £500 Million towards a new stadium over the same duration.

    That is a disparity in available money to spend on players of ONE BILLION pounds. That is a mind boggling sum !!

    In conclusion:

    Does Wenger make mistakes? Of course he does.

    Is Wenger perfect? Of course he isn’t.

    Is Wenger a failure?

    In my opinion, definitely not. I contest, to even be in the same ball park as these guys is not only a ‘relative’ success but indeed a ‘relative’ miracle !!!!

  • Micko

    The hierarchy at the club have to take some of the blame for the mess we are in with the media and sections of the fans turning against us. If the media were attacking say, Chelsea or Man City (or Manu with Fergie still there) like this, day after day, they would be doing something about it. I think since we lost David Dein off the board we have lost strong leadership (not saying we should get him back mind, after what he did) in that area. Why not fight back with media black-outs and banning orders etc.
    Wenger appears to be too much of a gentleman to be able to do battle with a frothing media.
    Surely the club has some power that they can wield over the media to stop the never-ending negativity aimed in their direction (even if it is potentially stemming from one of their own shareholders). I’m sure that if the fans see the club fighting back against the onslaught then some would follow their lead and get more behind the club (backs to the wall and all that). But instead that lack of leadership is complementing the press’s agenda.
    What a lot of these fans calling for Wenger’s head now don’t realise is that once the press have accomplished the end of Wenger’s Arsenal reign, it is these same fans who will be ridiculed by that same press as the idiot’s who were clamouring for his removal. After all this is nothing to do with them. This is Arsenal fans thinking for themselves. They are being setup as the patsy’s and will be laughed at by other teams fans and press alike.

  • andy1886

    Good Afternoon Jambug (yes me again 😉 )

    That’s a good well put piece that you’ve written there, nice to see a discussion being sought. Absolutely right on the ‘relativity’ of success, good examples (I think Bayern losing to ManU in the CL would be utter failure, but to RM or perhaps Barca in the final maybe not).

    On Arsenal and Arsene I agree it’s very difficult to compete, not impossible though. With the fine margins there are at the top one season where we make mostly the right decisions and they make one or two bad ones there would be a possibility. If money always told then Mancini would still be in a job at City, United wouldn’t have won last year with a pretty average squad and Liverpool would be miles off the pace this season. So I wouldn’t necessarily expect us to compete every season, but I do find the vibe from the club (whoever it comes from) that fourth is ‘success’ a bit underwhelming.

    Is Wenger a failure? No, I wouldn’t say that. Is he a big success (recently)? I wouldn’t say that either. Given our financial resources and the stability over recent years what we have achieved is about par for the course. I would struggle to think of who has been better placed to to challenge us for our CL place over the last two or three years.

    I’ve said this before (and you’re probably tired of hearing it as I’m sure you’ll confirm) but I felt this year with all of the top clubs in transition was a great opportunity which we have not made the most of. Next year will be harder with Maureen entrenched and Pellegrini adapted to our league, even Moyes must improve on his dismal performance next year. Nothing we can do now but cross fingers and hope for a true miracle.

  • M.Valerio

    right on the money!

    Also, to expect the PL to be free from corruption of some sorts – is naive. When you look at the owners of some of these PL clubs, just do a quick wiki of Roman, the fact they are allowed to run fotball clubs speaks for itself.

    Wenger is respected and loved by many of us fotball supporters and long may it continue.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    While some pseudo-supporters shout “Wenger out” no matter what happens, four executives from the other usual top four group were meeting quietly.
    Executive 1: I can’t believe we will allow it to happen; these guys must not win the title.
    Executive 2: The pig-mole assured us they will ramp up their help, and we can expect several of their players to get fouled to the point that they will be a small step from long term injury.
    Executive 3: Would you for once allow us to win the title? How about starting the next game by an offside goal against them? After all, they had several goals disallowed against one of you, and a penalty not awarded in the 0-0 at the Ems.
    Executive 4: All of this is small potatoes; we have been promised that, no matter how healthy their finances are, we will receive tons more, prevent from acquiring their top targets, and continue on as FFP is neutered by the FA / UEFA.

  • SurferX


    10 Years! 10 Years!!! If he is still managing in 20 years time, will you still be discounting the mistakes he makes in the next 10 against the stadium build? When will you stop staring back into the past and start assessing him on the present?

    The facts are these. In the past 5 years, he has managed to get the club to squirrel away £191m of profit before tax. Of that, around £100m has been realised as additional cash now sat in the bank. Thats c.£140m before tax that he could of used to invest in the squad. For what exactly? A rainy bloody day? Go outside- its pouring mate: 9 years without a trophy for a club like Arsenal- its tipping down. The excuse for sitting on that sort of resource and not using it is gone. FFP has kicked it (from an assessment perspective, if not appraisal)- so the market is likely to be a depressed as its going to get. So its a managerial failure to let those resources go untapped and STILL be repeating the same mistakes that have dragged the club down for at least 5 years.

    But, no. Maybe I’m not as clever as him. Maybe its all part of a cunning plan that I simply don;t get (after all, I have managed zero games- I shouldn’t get an opinion. £1000 per year for a ticket and a lifetime of support doesn’t buy me one apparently). So lets measure him on what he has done rather than what he could of done. 5 years ago, he handed out the first cash to a large number of players from project youth- spending big money on contracts for the future. How has that turned out for Denilson, Bendtner, Djourou, Diaby, etc, etc. OK- we’ll ignore project youth- how has he done since the profits rolled in? We’ll he’s lost key players, but at least he’s replaced them with quality. We’ll actually he hasn’t. 3 years ago he lost Cesc and Nasri. In came Arteta and Gervinho. Not quite the same calibre.. but thats OK, he brought in Carzola and Podolski the year after. Getting closer. But, oh dear, we lost RVP and brought in Giroud. But thats ok, this year he brought in Sanogo. And on it goes…

    OK- we’ll ignore squad building, Im sure that will come good. At least he’s managed to sort out the recurring problems we’ve had in that time. The defensive frailty, the inability to play well against the top-teams, the recurring injury-problems, the ability to collapse like a deck of cards, the lack of leadership and fight within the team. Actually, lets ignore those to- he’ll get round to them at some point in the next 10 years.

    Face it- the ONLY way which AW can be classified as any sort of success is off-the-field. On it, it has been an absolute categorical failure. 4th has NEVER BEEN a trophy to anyone other than the owners of the club. I think a few years without CL football would be preferential to this garbage of mediocrity that you are asking me to accept as a relative success. Yes, I really do mean that. We all laugh at the spuds for getting it wrong over and over again- but let me be clear, at least they have the balls to try.

  • SurferX


    And, for the record- I dont want him sacked. I want him to finish 4th, win the FA Cup and walk-away. He has used up my bank of patience and trust- I would like him to leave with both dignity in tact and some respect for doing the right thing.

  • jambug



    What I tried to do with my article was encompass virtually a whole decade, and draw an overall conclusion as to whether it has been a ‘relative’ success or failure.

    My conclusion was, although actually not winning a trophy, building a brand new training complex and a Stadium at a cost of over £600 Million, whilst at the same time having to compete with Clubs ‘sponsored’ to in excess of £500 Million each, it has indeed been a ‘relatively’ successful period.

    That doesn’t mean that within that period there has not been individual failures. Losing to Birmingham in the Cup final. Losing to Blackpool, Bradford amongst others where days on which Wenger and Arsenal failed. But all Teams/Clubs have those days. But it isn’t those individual days that define whether a Club or manager have been a success or failure over a long term.

    What defines that is where you are now, taking into account all the good and bad days, all the ups and downs and all the other myriad of circumstances that affect that longer period of time.

    And to me, given all the circumstances mentioned above, and where we are now, with the New facilities, our financial stability and the fact we are standing, hopefully, on the brink of a new, financially less restricted era, yes, the last 8/10 years have been a RELATIVE success. Indeed as I suggested earlier, I think it’s actually been a RELATIVE miracle.

    And given this, I believe the least Wenger deserves is our un wavering support for the next couple of years. Support that will allow him to enjoy the fruits if his labour and we can enjoy the fruits of our suffering. If, and it’s a big if, we don’t see us challenging more vigorously and more regularly for the Championship etc. THEN, and only then may be the time to ask questions.

  • Macduff


    Great post, you hit the nail on the head. Wengers statement this morning on people who have never managed having opinions on football totally demonstrates his superiority complex and his ingrained arrogance. Isn’t that something for someone who has specialised in failure on the pitch for the last decade.

    I do think Arsene Wenger is a great manager, just not a great football manager but he turns a profit and I am sure he gets on famously with the owner and all the ex bankers that sit on the Board.

    It will be interesting when Arsenal Football Club remember they are a football club and need a football manager.

  • jambug


    Anyone who cites Spurs as an example to admire loses any credibility they may or may not of had in an instant.

  • SurferX


    I can think of no better manager to have overseen us in the period 2002-2009: that period in our history could of so easily go completely differently and ended very badly. My frustration comes on judging his performance since then. As far as Im concerned- he’s had 5 years of my faith and patience since. No more.

  • SurferX


    Nice way to dodge the key point. You could always call me an AAA while your at it- I believe that is the usual way of issue-avoidance at Untold?

    Do me a favour though- quote me where I said they were to be admired?

  • Macduff


    Do you think it was right to dismantle the invincible squad within two seasons without retaining the services of any of the senior players in any role at the club?

  • Tasos

    Suffer x

    I’d take issue with here.

    A categorical failure on the pitch?

    No I can’t agree.

    For starters, within the last “10 years” I have had the opportunity to visit to some of the finest stadiums in Europe to watch us play some of the best teams on the planet, and I’ve watched Arsenal win in almost every one of those stadiums thanks to Arsene Wenger and his teams.

    Those are memories mate, good memories regardless of some silver object being displayed as if its the only viable form of proof that the club I support is successful or not.

    As for transfers, well Arsenal have been quite well down the metaphorical queue when it comes to acquiring the top talent. PSG, Monaco, R Madrid, Barcelona, Man City, Chelsea and Munich have been or are now all ahead of us in that queue for signatures.

    Also Wenger himself has stated that he needed to make £30m a season to sustain the clubs debts. £30m x 5 years = £150m.
    Thats funds he has made for the club but hasn’t been able to spend on player acquisitions.

    BTW Spurs couldn’t spend £100m quick enough, they completely panicked pre-season.

    I certainly wouldn’t classify wasting that amount of cash as “having the balls to try”.

  • finsbury

    Hopefully the quotes from the Level 5 ref. won’t distract you all from the Demons!
    Which demons do we think Marriner is referring to here?

    The Demons upon his shoulders? Riley & Scudamore?
    The Oxlade-Chamberlain/Gibbs Demons that chase him from the shadows? 😉

    So: After a blatent bungle not involving Arsenal we see an official apology to West Brom. I’m sure the Baggies would’ve preferred the three points, but credit to the PGMOB for being so nice, I suppose.

    Now, after an obviously disingenious use of the radio equipment to send off the wrong player when no one should’ve been sent off becasue the officials were bungling their way along, we see for possibly the first time a referee giving a statment to the press about a recent performance.

    Then there were the Demons in the Liverpool Sunderland game that bedazzled everyone in the ground and somehow kept Sunderland with eleven men in the first half.

    Petro-Demons? Raising pillars of tar for the faitfull to quench their thirst.

  • finsbury

    The thing with the groaning trolls (like Macduff), is that on Twitter the chief groaners have been asked if they have any associations with R&W Holdings (Usmanov).

    They avoid the question.

  • finsbury


    What wit! The infants in Ambler Road Primary School would be impressed. Or maybe not…

  • bjtgooner

    I thought Mr Wenger’s statement this morning was quite a fair one, especially given the number of self appointed experts trying to appear important by criticizing without having an adequate knowledge base on which to base that criticism.

    SurferX – are you qualified to assess Mr Wenger’s statement and deduce it reveals a superiority complex and if so would you like to share the deduction process with us?

  • Gunner6

    @Surfer X

    You seem to think the monies flooding into our direct competitors doesn’t play a part in how Arsenal function as a proper institution. I say institution because it is no longer possible to separate between how the club is conducted on and off the field.

    The inflated prices of players and unlimited flow of monies into our direct competitors means our risk have to be a calculated one. We can’t buy and try and sell at a loss like some others do.

    Every acquisition is a risk big or small fee. The bigger the fee, the greater the risk. If the player fails to perform or gets a long term injury, there goes a big chunk of our limited resources. Let’s not forget the exorbitant wages and all.

    Also, banks demand a guarantee for financing huge projects including having a cash balance. Since things can change easily in football, I would reason that the banks would want Arsenal to have higher than normal cash reserves in the bank to cover for instances like missing out on the CL, inability to attract big name players, loss in revenue due to drop in attendance as a result, and on and on.

    Of course he won’t say it (though I think he did implied recently in a recent interview) but is it a surprise we sold key players for exorbitant prices to break even and finance the stadium?

    As for player by player comparison, is Giroud any worse than RvP? Giroud has been present for far more than RvP. I believe (from a post by one of the Untold regulars here) that Giroud’s stats are comparable to RvP.

    And finally your statement about Totts having the balls to try. Try what? Change managers when things aren’t going your way? Try for 4th place? You are using them as a benchmark for us? Are you kidding yourself?

    I won’t use Man C or Chelsea as benchmarks either simply because they were not even close without the money. If they were so good, what took them so long. The only benchmark is probably Man U. I don’t like Alex F, but he did string together a winning side. Dubious decisions aside.

    Few years without CL better than what we have currently? Did you ever think about the financial ramifications? Back to my earlier question, how long will you give the next manager before stamping your feet again? Have you ever thought about how you will feel if we end up becoming a mid table club?

    The financial shackles appear to be off. Wenger guided us through continuous CL attendance which have allowed us to function well within our means. If you are willing to give the new manager X number of seasons to try, why don’t you give Wenger that X number of seasons now we have moved to the next phase?

    The change is not drastic, it is measured and comes with the lowest risk. For once, we have a settled squad, and ability to bring in new faces. Forget what has happened, this is a new chapter. We were 20 or more points behind last season, now we are currently only 6. Maybe you think it will be 9 after tomorrow. Depends on how you see the glass. I see 3. What do you see?

  • finsbury

    Remember the witch hunt with teh aid of certain media to get rid of Benitez the last time Liverpool looked like challenging?

    The next manager then came in and spent £30M on Andy Carroll.

    Ladeeeez & Gentlmen. I rest my case.

  • SurferX


    Your another one. ‘I’ll judge him on 10 years’. Why? We in the past 5 years we have accrued in cash that level of money you say he had to save. You are judging him on a mandate that is at least 10 years past its sell-by.

    And visiting some of the finest stadiums on the planet? That constitutes success to you? Really?

    I would gladly accept another 5 years of barren years if I felt that the club would progress; that the club was moving forward and becoming more competitive. All I see is stagnation and the circular-repetition of previous failure. I stand by my point with the spuds. They have ambition and they continue to pursue it. They have been let down badly by massive mis-management from Levy and some horrendous decision-making with regard to manager choice and player-recruitment. The mitagtion for AW always seems to be well, it could be worse- we could be the Spuds, Leeds, Liverpool or (now) Man U. I don’t give a crap about those clubs- Im judging AW solely on his recent performance as a manager. The one thing those clubs have in common is they certainly wouldn’t of tolerated it for this long.

  • SurferX


    Its all fear though isn’t it. We can’t get rid of AW cos the next manager will buy Andy Carroll. We can’t get rid of AW cos the spuds are a shambles. We can’t get rid of AW because we won’t win the title for 25 years like Liverpool. We can’t get rid of AW because we’ll collapse like Leeds. Everyone one here is crippled by the fear of what could happen.

    You just don’t get it. AW has placed us in a position where we are financially one of the power-houses of word-football. It has come when FFP is looking to reinforce the established cartel. We pay the manager one of the highest salaries in world football; have established ourselves as a world-brand (urgh!) and have freed ourselves or most of the long-term commercial deals that where shackling our financial performance (albeit, born out of a necessity to fund the Emirates). The club is & has been in a position to take off. Is AW the man that can make that happen? All the available evidence over the past 5 years says not.

  • Gunner6

    @Surfer X

    In your response to Finsbury, you judged Wenger when the shackles were on i.e. evidence over the past 5 years. To be precise, 4 shackled and 1 (this season) unshackled.

    Is this season better than the last 4? Currently, it looks like it. If he has guided us through “successfully” (inverted commas because everyone has their interpretation of it) over the last shackled years, why don’t you trust him a few years more to guide us through the unshackled years?

  • Macduff


    Is that the best you can come up with, calling me a troll?

    For the record I have nothing to do with Red and White holdings and I wouldn’t like to see Jabba as our chairman. What I do want is to see the club I love use the resources available. I had hoped that AW would be the one to do it but he has proved consistently now that he either cannot or will not.

    If a troll is someone who wants a club to use the resources available generated by the fans to reach its potential, then yes, I am a troll

  • finsbury

    You chose to ignore that Rodgers first act was to sign off the £15m loss on Carroll. By your increibly reliable figures – I’m sure you have access to the accounts, just like your mate Usmanov does (not) – and your insistance that Arsenal could carry such a loss is so disingenious that it does not deserve a reply. Also you choose to ignore any logical reason why any buissness that has made itself some money should give any money to such obvious crooks. You continue to ignore the reason why our old friend GG was sacked and why AW was appointed in the first place. Clearly you are no Expert on Arsenal becasue you are ignoring the values of the club that were behind those decisions in the past and in the present. In short, you have nothing of use to say at all. You are not the weakest link but you are weak enough. Goodbye.

  • SurferX

    March 28, 2014 at 1:47 pm
    I thought Mr Wenger’s statement this morning was quite a fair one, especially given the number of self appointed experts trying to appear important by criticizing without having an adequate knowledge base on which to base that criticism. SurferX – are you qualified to assess Mr Wenger’s statement and deduce it reveals a superiority complex and if so would you like to share the deduction process with us?

    I never said he had a superiority complex. What I do think is that some of the comments he makes are hugely arrogant- and that in itself is one of the reasons he continues to under-perform. He is talking about a player that player in midfield and won more trophies than he has as a manager. Whether or not Scholes has managed, or is qualified to manage, isn’t the issue. The issue is in what he was saying- our midfield were yet again pulled all over the place by a top team. Yet AW (like so many on here) dodges the point- and make the issue one of whether he is qualified to say it. Its all spin.

    Answer the point AW- why was the midfield so brittle yet again? Chelsea’s gameplan was hardly revolutionary. Hell, its worked pretty successfully since Fergie used it in the ’50th’ game back in 2004.

  • finsbury

    Considering your failed attempt to troll the ref preview it is fair to conclude you were attempting (please note the use of the word attempt) to troll. It was what it was. Statiscally spealking.

  • Tasos

    Suffer x

    You wrote “categorical failure”. I didn’t agree.

    I gave an example of what Arsenal FC, in these so called barren years, has meant to Me. Trophies are not the only barometer to success or failure.

    And I think you have vastly over-estimated Tottenham’s perceived ambitions.

  • SurferX


    4 shackled?

    Profit Before Tax
    2008 37m
    2009 46m
    2010 56m
    2011 15m
    2012 37m

    Wahes & Salaries Increase

    2008 12m
    2009 3m
    2010 7m
    2011 14m
    2012 19m

    The facts are the only shackling has been self-imposed. Since 2008, when the club financially restructured post-Emirates move, he has continued to invest in the existing playing staff- following a strategy of awarding long-term contracts. This mis-appropriation of resources is one of the shackles that has held us back- paying far too much for unproven players that have (with hindsight) been seen as significant errors in judgement. However, he has also shacked himself by not utilising the resources at his disposal- £150m of Pre-tax profits that could of strengthened the squad.

  • SurferX


    Fine. Your barometer for success is visits to nice stadiums. Mine is competitiveness of the club.

    Tottenham’s ambition is to get we are. As is Liverpool. Chelski, Citeh & Man U have the ambition to win things. They use all the resources they have at their disposal to try and achieve that. AW doesn’t- to him 4th place and a strong financial performance is preferential to trying to win by utilising all resources at his disposal and failing.

  • Tasos

    Suffer X


    Tottenhams ambition is to get where we are at.

    Nail on the head.

  • SurferX


    I missed your dig about Usmanov (again- attack the author rather than address the points. Im getting the hang of this Untold lark). For absolute clarity, I would rather have Jimmy Saville baby-sitting my kids for the night than have him in charge of the club. I do not and have never believed that we should go down the benefactor route; nor do I feel that is particularly relevant once European football becomes a closed shop (post FFP).

    I did however like your Anne Robinson put-down. That was very clever. Well done.

  • bjtgooner


    The comment previously addressed to you should have been addressed to Macduff.

    But, which of AW’s comments are hugely arrogant and further, do any of your comments suggest arrogance?

    Oh – Mourinho & Red Nose – do you consider them arrogant and if so could you explain why?

  • SurferX


    And say that get there Tasos? Or Liverpool. What do you think their ambition would then become? To come 4th every year whilst developing a strong balance sheet?

    I want to know what we should do with this balance sheet anyhow. Its not much good for football, maybe we should float a Visa alternative in Russia or something?

  • Tasos

    Suffer X

    Liverpools ambition has always been top 4.

    You’ve spent plenty of time slagging the club off and somehow praising Spurs only to conclude they have spent £100m trying (and failing) to get where Arsenal are at.

    And the next step for Liverpool will be trying to fend off the superpowers from pillaging their best players. Or looking at other ways of improving income, like building a new stadium maybe?

  • Gunner6

    I think it is better looking at profit after tax. Let’s just use 20% (a very generous number) and reduce your figures.

    30m, 37m, 45m, 12m and 30m.

    Back to my point again, banks usually (and I don’t see why it should be any different here) require certain amount of cash to be kept uninvested as terms of financing. So our spending power has decreased even further.

    I will summise what I wrote above but hope you have had the decency to read it as I have read yours. With limited funds, means calculated risk, means taking smaller gambles. What are your thoughts on Ozil – failure or developing?

    I feel he could take the risk on Ozil because for once he has a stable squad. If the squad remains wholly unchanged, I am sure another £40m acquisition is on the cards this summer.

    As for increase in wages, it was evidently clear we couldn’t outbid and outwage for very good players. So we had to reward existing and potential players. Nothing wrong with that. A calculated risk. These players know the system, Wenger sees them in training.

    By the way, does anyone know what the increase relates to i.e. improved contracts for players, which players? A general question so we can debate this better. I don’t know so would be grateful if someone already have that information.

  • SurferX


    No- your light years away Gunner5. If we had made zero profit, we would of paid zero tax- its that simple. The bank mandate with regard to surplus is quite clear- a certain proportion of funding had to be kept in surplus to cover the immediate short-term liabilities of the club. That short-term liability is now much smaller (in real-terms) due to the huge revenue increase post-Emirates. In addition, I understand the mandate is in absolute terms. We have been nowhere near breaking the banking covenants since 2007 (from memory) when we had to extend a short-term loan facility by a year. Since then, our cash resourcing has grown (in football terms) to an unbelievably high amount: at the end of 2012 we had combined cash balances of c150m. In context, the rest of the EPL combines only had £184m.

    So your assumption is wrong. Over the past 5 years we could of comfortably afforded to invest an additional £25m per season (given the amortisastion and cash impacts of transfers- we would still be making a profit today if that had occurred).

  • SurferX


    When will you address the point? Yes, we agree: Liverpool might be getting close. Amusingly the spuds keep managing to shoot themselves in the foot (that never gets old). They are both trying everything they can to better themselves. Are we? No- we are hoarding resources and stagnating in the process.

  • SurferX


    Ozil great player. I don’t buy into the argument that he has been a flop either- he has been badly let down by the lack of runners in the team. We have no pace, no power and he has been run into the ground being asked to do a job that he has never done before and I don’t think he is equipped to do anyway. He looked better when he had Ramsey and Walcott in the side because they are really the only players in the squad that regularly look to get beyond Giroud (a problem in istelf). And who’s fault is that?

    Stick Ozil in the Liverpool at the moment and he would be flying.

  • Tasos

    Suffer X

    Liverpool have reported major losses in recent seasons. John Henry has bailed the club out but he won’t continue with that process.

    I think Liverpool and Henry will have their nerve tested this summer when the offers come in for Suarez. It’s a sad state of affairs really and I don’t mean to belittle Liverpool by stating that.

  • SurferX


    They haven’t had huge losses by any stretch. Combined losses over 2 years were £90m. A proportion of that will be discounted (for FFP) for infrastruture projects (their stadium). I agree that part of their challenge will be to stop their best-players being cherry picked; but they have factors that are key: firstly their salary base starts from a much lower position than ours (about 25m pa). Secondly, their commercials are actually in advance of ours (mainly because of the long-term deals they had to take). Finally, the cost of stadium development in Merseyside is slightly cheaper than N1 (meaning its *only* a 260m bill compared to 500m). Given the increase in revenues in the EPL, that sum of money relative to income is far lower than we were dealing with 10 years ago.

    It wouldn’t suprise me to see Suarez go. But equally, I wouldn’t expect those funds to go into the bank or get syphoned off to the stadium build either way- it is worth far more to them to try to consolidate their position in the Top 4. And thats the thing- you presume that once they are there, they’ll be happy to stay there. They won’t- they’ll be investing to get to the next level if they can. They’ll try.

  • Macduff


    SurferX is right, attack the author rather than address the points- it demonstrates your lack of intelligence and maturity. I’d say your 12

  • Macduff

    finsbury at 2:17 pm

    “I’m sure you have access to the accounts, just like your mate Usmanov does (not)”.

    Will somebody please tell Einstein about the account and give him a link

  • Pete

    Surfer X. But we HAVE progressed! The simplest measure of all – points in a season.

    10/11: 68
    11/12: 70
    12/13: 73
    13/14: 63 (with 7 games to play).

    Now that we are finally able to retain our players AND net spend on new high level ones things can only continue to progress.

  • Tasos

    Surfer X

    I’m not sure how Liverpool can possibly hope to balance their books without player sales.

    Whatever. From this point on, Liverpool and Tottenham’s progression or non progression over the coming seasons will be interesting to compare with Arsenal’s perceived failings.

    I appreciate the debate. I hope you continue to post on here.

  • M.Valerio

    also last calender year, arsenal picked up the most of all teams…there is progress, and there is potential in this team.

  • Pete

    As for Scudamore’s comments – thanks to my friends for posting links. Work intruded…

    Walter – you imply that certain persons can be litigious. Is there any evidence of this? Wouldn’t going after a blogger just succeed in drawing attention to the allegations? Although completely agree that it is not a risk you would want to take.

    Would be a great libel trial though! You would be able to wreak destruction on the powers that be…

  • Mike T

    Surfer X

    I do enjoy your posts they are well scripted and objective

    As for Liverpool there are a couple of points I would add.

    First the £50 million new stadium investment, I suspect you are referring to, was expended pre the current owners . All that happened in the last 12 months is that they have written off that “investment” I haven’t as yet seen an experts view as to f this £50 will be deducted there has to date been a suggestion that it may not be deductible

    Also unless their owners turned their loans into equity ,which I don’t think happened, then the lower level of losses 5 million euros applies.

  • andy1886

    It’s worth remembering that Liverpool’s investment in the playing side has now yielded a £30m increase in income next season for playing in the CL, plus increased commercial revenues as a participation yields increases in their value to sponsors.

    They have gambled and it seems it has paid off. It increases their chances of keeping Suarez and Co. too. Spurs gambled, they lost. Liverpool gambled, they won. Just the way it goes of course. By contrast we have played it safe. You takes your choice….

  • SurferX

    Pete- well, I can’t argue with those numbers. But, I do contest the conclusion: an increase of 5 points over 3 seasons isn’t evidence of progress- certainly not any of any statistical significance. I would say they bear out my point more- one of stagnation. AW is not taking us backwards: thats not my point. It’s he isn’t taking us forward. I don’t see him as the man for the future- I see no reason beyond misty-eyed sentimentality to keep going down the same path.

    But, I thank you for putting forward a reason for keeping him. All I genuinely see on here is fear, finger-pointing at issues that are (at best) incidental and, at worst, complete paranoia. Why be fearful? He has put us in a great position for the future whether its now or in 2/3 years- I think the time has come for him to step-down and let us pursue it.

  • SurferX

    Its a good point Mike- in truth, I don’t know (no-one does). What we do know is that if they qualify for the CL (which they will), they wont be assessed on those accounts- they’ll be assessed at the end of next season (over what you expect to be the 3 year period). They are allowed losses over that period of E45m (the owners have invested the capital in a parent I believe which has loaned the money- though I could be wrong. Either way, a debt for equity shop would be on the cards if it came down to it). However, they would also get a significant boost in revenues too so you wouldn’t expect their losses to escalate further. Then, how much will they be able to deduct for the wage exclusion period (players signed before June 2010), as well as any stadium investment? Furthermore, they will also have the benefit of hindsight of seeing what UEFA do with the first-time overspenders this season: if it amounts to a slap on the wrist and a warning over a future conduct- I dont think they’ll be too fearful.

    Lets be honest; when you have PSG and Citeh massively flouting the rules- others clubs like Chelski doing their best to circumnavigate them- I don’t think Liverpool will be at the top of the agenda if they miss the 3 year period by 20-30m. It will be interesting to see for sure.

  • Mike T

    Surfer X

    FFP is a total mess.

    My club Chelsea are pushing things to the limit in truth why wouldn’t they? Its not as if they, up to thus, have broken any of the rules they are just exploiting many of the flaws contained within the regulations. Chelsea come in for major criticism for having so many players on loan but this approach is driven due to the opportunity to get the accounting benefits that come about from selling players on. At a humane level its wrong be that in respect of one, ten or twenty players and let face it many clubs have turned a profit when selling players on.
    One thing I watch with interest is the wage restrictions that will come into play as part of the EPLs own version of FFP.

    If UEFA wanted to deal with the accumulation of debt there were simpler ways of legislating for that but no, they tried to accommodate every

  • Mike T

    club who wanted to retain their place amongst the elite and at the same time deny access to the top table!

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Surfer X,you have now written and debated for several days that you dont see Wenger as the man for the future, who do you think it should be then? Im not actually making a joke here I’m really interested…

  • jambug

    I see all this talk about finances and to be fair a lot of it I don’t understand , also to be fair, even those of you that do seem to understand it seem to cherry pick, or at least interpret, as suits, so I’m none the wiser.

    All I do know is the ‘oilers’ have donated £100’s of Millions to certain Clubs and we have spent £100’s of Millions on facilities.

    On that very simple, very basic level, nobody has ever explained to me under what premise we should EVER be able to compete with them.

    I here things like, we have this in the bank, we have that in the bank. I don’t really see it, but even if we did, the numbers being mentioned are but an irrelevance because there budgets are UNLIMITED.

    I’ll say that again because it either seems to not register or gets ignored as if some kind of irrelevance.


    In my book, whether you are frugal or spendthrift makes no difference, if you are up against limitless you have no chance !!!

  • SurferX

    Kenneth Widmerpool
    March 28, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    I find that a very difficult question to answer in truth Kenneth. I employee people all the time in my line of work: the CV gets the foot in the door but invariably its what they say when you meet that carries so much. Lets face it- AW would never of got the job if it just came down to CV- he had a vision for the club that has proved so good: of its time. So the best I can say is the type of manager I would be looking for. They would need to share some of the values that AW has- be able to carry themselves with dignity (yep, Im a snob- I believe AFC has always had that class- no Mourinho for me). They would need to believe in attacking football rather than grinding out victories (sorry Mancini, dont bother applying). They should have experience beyond EPL- its a global game and the players come from a global market (Martinez, maybe in a few years pal). Above all, they should have a long-term, modern-management vision for the club that I can buy into: I dont mind rocky years- I would gladly sacrifice that for change- but I the KSP for me is where is the person going to take us. And how?

    I would be looking to interview Klopp, De Boer, Garcia. People that have had success, but want the opportunity to better themselves at what could become a European super-club. Definitely not Stojkovic- as the Who said, Meet The new Boss: Same As the Old Boss. But I would look to football people outside of the those at the club for names to add. But as to who- Id need to know more? If AFC want I’ll gladly lead the head-hunting, but, I’m sure Ivan G has it covered 🙂

  • SurferX


    On that very simple, very basic level, nobody has ever explained to me under what premise we should EVER be able to compete with them.

    And you have never explained why AW hasn’t tried. £150m sat doing nothing. And don’t tell me he has tried- that makes his performance worse in my book. The injuries, the tactical indiscipline the glaring squad deficiencies. Blah blah blah. Just like watching ruruns of the past 5 seasons, debating with you is like groundhog day- all the issues ignored while the same excuses are trotted out. 4th place trophy. Relative Success. Can’t compete. Forget everything else jambug- you explain to my why you think he has made the best of the resources at his disposal. You explain to me how he has learned from his mistakes and tried to rectify them. I see no evidence. Explain that and we can move forward.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Come on Jambug do what surfer X has told today and we will win the league tomorrow 😉

    Surfer X: we will maybe move forward. Alas our internet contributions will not move the club forward at all 😉

    blimey… sorry but this is the truth. Although we as a blog have made a few things happening out there… 🙂

  • jambug


    Others have explained the £150 Million you speak of.

    But that’s by the by, even if it did exist, purely as a transfer/wage budget, how does that counter the money that Chelsea and city have spent?

    How does that even scratch the surface of the kind of money they have been splashing about?

    Also you don’t seem to comprehend the difference between spending money under a budget as opposed to spending money without one.

    Every time Wenger spends money he has to assess potential, age, sell on value, character, will he settle in London, wages, etc. etc. There is a massive amount of considerations he has to take into account before splashing out on anyone.

    Whether it be £100 Million or 150 Million, HE HAS A BUDGET.

    When City or Chelsea spend money, what considerations do they have?

    Well, you tell me. As far as I can see it’s nothing other than, is he a good player? Tick.
    Is he worth a go? Tick. End of.


    I can just imagine the outcry if Wenger had ‘pushed the boat out’ and bought Torres at £50 Million.

    He’s not the only one. There’s many other big money signings at both City and Chelsea that have been, shall we say, less than value for money, but does it matter? Does it f**k !! They just write it off and move on.


    Wenger could, and did, make cock ups in the transfer market, but he certainly couldn’t make ‘monumental’ cock ups like that.


    Wenger has to consider EVERY penny he spends, and personally I’m glad he does. Others may differ.

    City spent £100 Million last summer and nobody even blinked an eye !!!

  • SurferX


    So there we have it. Your whole argument in a nutshell is we should accept the inevitable, fail to compete, keep hoarding cash and hope football doesn;t change. Because it hasn’t changed a bit in 10 years. Celebrate a lifetime of mediocrity on the basis that its futile doing anything else. My god, you must struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

    Also, the accounts are published- they are not secret. You can download them directly from the Arsenal site. The profit isn’t in dispute. Here is one such analysis at SwissRamble:

    Not that any of that matters. Trying to compete is futile. Solving problems is not part of management. Trying the same things over and over again is the way to go.

  • Tom

    Mike T
    “My club Chelsea are pushing things to the limit in truth why wouldn’t they?”

    Do words ‘fair play’ mean anything to you?

    A lot has has been said about Wenger wanting to play and win ‘his way’ or the ‘right way’ and many have criticized his ,sometimes naive approach to big games, as being to open and not tactical enough but one thing no one can ever say about Wenger is that he tries to game the system ,unlike you guys do at Chelsea.

    If Mourinho is such a master tactician and expert at winning, why not let Lukaku play against Chelsea for Everton. Surely Mourinho’s tactical brilliance would be enough to neutralize him , wouldn’t it?
    Wenger has always allowed his loaned out players play against Arsenal.

    Why does Mourinho feel the need to put his arm around fourth officials and pretend he holds them in such high regard when everybody knows he looks down on them and holds them in contempt .

    I’m not naive to the ways of big money football and business in general but I rather like Wenger’s approach to the aforementioned things as opposed to Chelsea’s.

  • jambug


    So you still haven’t answered the question.

    £500+ Million Given to City and Chelsea.

    £500+ spent by Arsenal on facilities.


    Why do you EXPECT us to exceed there achievements?

    £100/£150 million in the bank. Pretty irrelevant really isn’t it ??

  • SurferX

    If Mourinho is such a master tactician and expert at winning, why not let Lukaku play against Chelsea for Everton. Wenger has always allowed his loaned out players play against Arsenal.

    Wrong: its been against PL rules for a number of years now (for a player on load from a club to play against the club he is contracted to). Its not at the discretion of the clubs.

  • bjtgooner


    SurferX does seem to have the ability to wriggle like an eel; but I also sense deception and duplicity within him, I am not sure he is worth the effort – but up to you.

  • SurferX

    Why do you EXPECT us to exceed there achievements?

    I didn’t: quote me exactly when I said that.

    I have said (repetitively so now) that I expect us to maximise the use of our available resources. And no, its not pretty irrelevant- its a huge sum of money that could be the difference between success and failure. £30m well spent by a good manager last year secured the title. But forget the money he could of spent- the money he has spent has been spent badly. And the problems he has tactically, organisationally and from a fitness and injury perspective have not improved.

    I believe they are the issues you have been avoiding consistently.

  • SurferX

    March 28, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Go on- call me an AAA. You know you want to 😉

    Or, go and read why Mike Dean is going to be the reason why our midfield and defence goes missing tomorrow. Either way, Im not sure that you have added any value whatsoever here- but thanks for turning up.

  • Tom

    Thanks. I didn’t realize that rule was changed.
    I stand corrected.

  • bjtgooner


    Now that I have your attention perhaps you will answer the questions that I asked you at 2.42pm.

  • andy1886

    jambug – At the start of the last transfer window, January 1st, the league positions looked like this:

    1 Arsenal 20 14 3 3 39 18 7 2 1 18 6 7 1 2 21 12 +21 45
    2 Manchester City 20 14 2 4 57 23 10 0 0 38 6 4 2 4 19 17 +34 44
    3 Chelsea 20 13 4 3 38 19 9 1 0 22 8 4 3 3 16 11 +19 43
    4 Liverpool 20 12 3 5 46 23 9 0 1 27 6 3 3 4 19 17 +23 39

    Thus we led City by a point, Chelsea by two, and Liverpool by six points. It would be fair to say we had matched them, indeed more than matched them.

    You cannot fail to have noticed that there were calls for us to strengthen to see the job through to the end. Injuries to Giroud, shortly followed by Bendtner and then Theo in the first week of January added to the need to strengthen, Ramsey as we know was already sidelined for some weeks too.

    Arsene thought that his squad was strong enough.

    Look at the table now, does this suggest that he was right?

    So, why didn’t we strengthen when the need was obvious? We know Theo was out for the season after the FA Cup against the Spuds. We know that AW does not rate Bendtner – we would rather have an ineligible player (Ryo) in Munich than take NB52. We know that Sanogo was still injured at the point, had played zero games, and scored zero goals at PL level.

    Could it be because we could not compete with big spending Chelsea or Man City? The first of whom actually made a profit in the January window and at the same time improved their squad? Note that, they spent NO MONEY, in fact they made a profit on transfers. The latter (City) didn’t spend anything at all.

    So, we did not take an opportunity that presented itself. We stuck with what we had. If we then lose the league by say 5 or 6 points who can say that making a couple of sensible signings in January might not have made the difference? I wasn’t calling for a superstar striker, just someone to take some of the load off OG, maybe to offer a bit of competition for the spot up front.

    Now you can say that anyone we bought may not have made the difference, fair enough, but at least we would have tried and as I fan I cannot ask for more than that. Money doesn’t come into that decision, we have more than enough funds to plug those gaps. There is a difference between not being able to compete and making a conscious decision NOT to utilise available resources. We chose the latter, and the result is another year of fighting for fourth place (bar some miracle).

  • SurferX


    The sceptic-Mourinho is undoubtedly arrogant, to go alongside many other qualities that I dislike about the man. He also is a very good manager, that surrounds himself with the best backroom team he can wherever he goes. I wouldn’t say Ferguson was arrogant- but he was absolutely unequivocal in his defence of anything Man U.

    Wenger is arrogant to a fault. He deals with issues and criticsms much as jambug does- by avoiding the issues presented and maintaining that no-one else knows better than him. So Scholes questions the teams midfield shape- Scholes isnt qualified. The fans criticise the club- they never managed. Its the same response with a different twist every time.

  • SurferX

    March 28, 2014 at 8:09 pm
    I didn’t realize that rule was changed.

    Where you undeniably have a point is the long system is wrong. Chelski have 28 players on load right now- and they can basically choose who they do / do not play for. That is manipulation of a free market (as they continue to buy players so the opposition can’t). But that’s not Chelsea’s fault- its the authorities for allowing them to do so.

    And before someone jumps on this- no that doesn’t exempt AW from 5 years of stagnation: his mistakes are all his. No-one knows better than him- ergo he is culpable for his own mis-management.

  • jambug


    Even if every thing you say is true, which I doubt, I see no reason to doubt Wengers long term strategy.

    But this is where we differ. For reasons I have previously explained I see what Arsenal have achieved over the last 8 years as a success. For reasons you have previously explained you see it as a failure.

    I respect, but disagree vehemently with what you say. That’s life I suppose.

  • andy1886

    True Jambug, it is. I just see it as taking your chances, or at least trying to. You are correct that AW may have a longer term vision that involves making sacrifices now for a better chance in the future. I just cannot see what that vision might be, and as a club we don’t tend to share our vision with the fan base which makes it difficult to buy into it.

  • bjtgooner


    I am glad we agree in part about Mourinho, although I feel he has a number of additional character shortcomings. But I asked the question based on your comment at 2.18 pm, i.e.

    “What I do think is that some of the comments he makes are hugely arrogant- and that in itself is one of the reasons he continues to under-perform.”

    You have not substantiated what if any comments make AW hugely arrogant – but for the purpose of discussion lets consider your statement is correct. You imply that arrogance itself detracts from AW’s managerial performance. That is why I asked you about Mourinho and Red Nose – both appear extremely arrogant, but successful – although some of their reasons for their success may be debatable.

    Therefore is arrogance a reason to under-perform? (Do remember that I have yet to see your proof that AW is arrogant).

    Then lets look at your later qualification: –

    “Wenger is arrogant to a fault. He deals with issues and criticsms much as jambug does- by avoiding the issues presented and maintaining that no-one else knows better than him.”

    Arrogance is not in itself the avoidance of an issue or criticism. So your qualification is in itself not logical.

    But what about your own arrogance – you dodged the question on that one. No self analysis? One could review some of your comments and easily conclude that you are a fairly arrogant individual – therefore by your logic (not mine) you would not be a successful football manager and consequently not qualified to repeatedly post derisory comments about the Arsenal manger.

    Finally – jambug can well speak for himself – but your throw away comment about him was rather snide .. and…arrogant?

  • pete

    Surfer – Re. points each season. Football is a zero sum game. Therefore to remain on an identical points tally season by season means you are doing better than approximately half of the other clubs. To increase points moderately season-on-season means you are doing better than most of the other clubs. I would hope and expect this trend to continue now that we are into positive net spend territory. Perhaps next season we will be challenging until April? The season after May, and the season after that… I can dream?

    In terms of hoarding cash, I actually think that is quite a good strategy! If FFP does bite then we can start to spend our stash and improve relative to the oilers. Rather come 4, 4, 4, 1 than 2, 2, 2, 2. If it doesn’t then we are no worse off. Where I think we differ is that I do not believe the title is realistically within range for another couple of seasons – although if we fly out of the block and have better fortune with injuries, who knows? But I am confident the long term trend is favourable – especially so if FFP has any real impact.

    I believe Wenger has outperformed median expectations over the last few years – and continues to do so. We are slowly getting closer to the Oilers – but will never match them without FFP – and I would back Wenger to bridge that gap more than just about anyone. It is just that it is too much of a stretch right now.

    Andy – I agree with you up to a point. As I have said repeatedly, my one big criticism of Wenger is his injury management. He does seem an over-optimistic kind of guy, and the injury situation is not getting better (here we do have stagnation – no positive trend). Having said that, did any of us predict that we would be hit in the creative attacking midfield area so badly? You talk about a striker – fair enough – but we are really missing Ozil and Wilshere now who were not injured on 31 Jan (accept that Ramsey was – but it wasn’t supposed to be for long…).

    Mike T – I really enjoy your posts. It is great to read rational contributions from someone on the outside looking in. I don’t always agree with you – but please keep coming back.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Andy @ 8.18, think we could have done with a striker in the sitution in we were in , in fairness, it is widely reported wenger tried for at least morata and Kalou, though with the latter, TBH quite glad we did not get him. I am a bit surprised we did not bring in summer target, and according to my Geordie relatives, done deal loic Remy, though not sure of his contract situation in jan. A shame about bendtner, could have been a contender, but seems hell bent on self destruction and proving those who give him a chance wrong. Hope he sorts himself out, there is a player in there.
    Having only one trusted striker over a season is not satisfactory for a club like Arsenal, and it is an experience I hope is not repeated, have a feeling it will not be.

  • jambug


    Thanks for your defence.

    The fact is, we all get a bit frustrated at times. Every now and then I throw in a ‘wobbley’ and as a rule immediately regret it. Except of course if it involves Rupert, Sperez, or Hissy Fit :smile:.

    I think for the most part we all have Arsenals best interests at heart, the trouble is so many of us are coming at it from so many different angles.

    Debate with the likes of andy1886 does make you think. Looking at different angles does ask questions.

    Has it changed my point of view? Well not yet.

    Have I changed other peoples points of view? I very much doubt it.

    But we all try.

    Football is like religion and politics.

    You grow up with your faith, or without it. You grow up Red or Blue.

    There are very few who will ever change there views once they are set.

    And Football is much the same. You are either a believer, or you are not, and very little I, or anyone else for that matter, can say, is going to change that !!

  • andy1886

    Let’s hope so Mandy, re Remy he can only be signed to two clubs in a single season (PL rules) and as he had already been contracted first to QPR and then on loan to Newcastle he couldn’t be transferred in January (although he could in theory be called back to QPR if Newcastle agreed to cancel the loan).

    Pete, I’m not sure of the details on FFP, I know that it dictates that we cannot make a loss over and above a certain amount over a (I think) a three year period. The questions is, is this a loss in terms of purely income compared to outgoings over that period, in which case if we spend cash reserves we are actually exceeding our income and therefore if we spend too much we fail the FFP test. If it is that we cannot make a loss per se then spending of reserves may be allowed. Perhaps someone can fill in the details (or I guess I will have to look it up!).

  • pete

    Andy – Fair point – I don’t know. But if you’re right you could have the situation where a club with significant (fairly earned) cash in the bank is unable to spend it! Which surely can’t be right?

    Is it correct that player purchase fees are amortised over the duration over the contract (i.e. treated as assets rather than current expenditure in an accounting sense)?

  • andy1886

    Yes that’s correct, a player is also an asset so his value as determined by his transfer fee is split evenly over the period of his contract. Swiss Ramble gives a good explanation of these things (google him) and is very Arsenal orientated too.

  • Mandy Dodd

    think you are right on Remy, not for us in Jan. Not sure he would be my first choice this summer, should it happen, others will get better,but he has improved
    Have also read things that back up your point that accumulated reserves hold no sway with FFP, but on this subject, who knows! not sure even Platini and co are fully aware of what they have created at times.
    Just have a feeling FFP will be enforced on the obscure while the big boys thrive on doing what they want, just seems the way of the world …..but hope I am wrong!

  • bjtgooner


    Your comments are great, keep them coming, don’t let anyone put you off.

  • andy1886

    I think that you’re right Mandy, the day that Platini sanctions PSG, Barca, Madrid or ManU will be the day that Mourinho is revealed as the love child of Mother Theresa and Ghandi.

  • Mike T


    I try to be fair minded and I would be staggered if you agreed with all my thoughts football is about opinions .The hard bit is to respect other rights to their opinions no matter how it goes against the grain.

    I smile when I hear it said that Arsenal cant compete with the likes of Chelsea & Man City but the reality is Arsenal could but they choose not to even try to.

    The trouble to me seems to be that when selling a player Arsenal want to squeeze every penny they can out of other clubs but when the shoe is on the other foot we hear that there is no value in the market. Of course there isn’t value there rarely ever is.

  • Mike T

    @andy 1886

    Re your earlier post
    I’m not sure of the details on FFP, I know that it dictates that we cannot make a loss over and above a certain amount over a (I think) a three year period. The questions is, is this a loss in terms of purely income compared to outgoings over that period, in which case if we spend cash reserves we are actually exceeding our income and therefore if we spend too much we fail the FFP test. If it is that we cannot make a loss per se then spending of reserves may be allowed. Perhaps someone can fill in the details (or I guess I will have to look it up!).

    Yep that’s right spend from your reserves and quite possibly you could fail FFP

  • SurferX

    Mike T
    March 28, 2014 at 11:40 pm
    “I’m not sure of the details on FFP, I know that it dictates that we cannot make a loss over and above a certain amount over a (I think) a three year period.”

    Not quite. FFP covers assessment periods. Each period is usually of 3 years duration: the first period is of two years (2011-2013). A very brief rundown of the procedure is this;

    Clubs submit their accounts as usual (this has already been completed for the first two years)
    UEFA review them (thats where we are now)
    UEFA announce initial findings (late April). This will be announcing who have a case to answer (and need to submit further information), who have passed, and who have minor sanctions against them
    UEFA announce final decisions & punishments (June).

    “is this a loss in terms of purely income compared to outgoings over that period, in which case if we spend cash reserves we are actually exceeding our income and therefore if we spend too much we fail the FFP test.”

    Not so simple unfortunately (when is it ever?). Part of the assessment involves UEFA coming to an adjusted profit figure. This adds back (ie to profit) for certain transactions that they have deemed Exclusions, and discounts transactions that they deem outside of FFP. In brief;

    Youth & Community development
    Infrastructure financing (ie stadium)
    Wages (players signed before the start of 2010 can have their wages excluded for the first year of assessment only- 2011/12- its a one-off).
    Capital injections (upto E45m in total for the 2 years)

    Transactions Discounted / reassessed
    Related party transactions & fair value. You could write a book on this- it is not a concept unique to FFP; moreover it is a commonly used accounting principle used in all manner of legislation. Simplistically, they look for significant transactions that have a relationship tracing back to the owners (a related party- so think PSG sponsorship deal with Qatar tourism, Citeh sale of image rights in the last accounts, sponsorship deal with Eithad, etc). For each of those they then assess whether it is at fair-value (ie whether the sum they were given was at market value). If not, the assess it at fair value and make the adjustment to profit.

    In answer to your question regarding AFC- we have a huge amount of headroom relating to the adjusted profit figure. Financing on the stadium alone adds back 20m pa. The add back the cost of ‘Arsenalisation’ (urgh!). Wages exclusion- who knows? Liverpool estimated at £50m- Citehs undoubtedly higher. Then the add on the PBT made to start with. In all probabilitly, if say our cash reserves (154m) less the banking covenant (24m)- say £125m to be prudent- then it is highly probably our adjusted profit figure is at least that- probably more. So in answer to your question, yes we could spend of spent all the cash reserves and still be *inside* FFP rules. Especially when you consider transfer fees are subject to the amortisation principle (so we only get a proportion of the fees charges to each announting period relative the players contract.. so Ozil signed for £43m fee over a 5 year period amounting to a P&L charge of £8.5m pa. So next year, that transfer will only amount to £8.5m in the books of Arsenal AFC.)

    Much more here:

  • SurferX

    March 28, 2014 at 10:46 pm
    I think that you’re right Mandy, the day that Platini sanctions PSG, Barca, Madrid or ManU will be the day that Mourinho is revealed as the love child of Mother Theresa and Ghandi.

    Understandable sentiment- but actually this looks like one area where UEFA have actually constructed things correctly (at least on the face of it). UEFA have established the CFCB adjudicatory chamber with senior legal individuals (headed by two former European Court of Justice – the top court in Europe). UEFA are not able to tell the panel how to act or indeed what punishments to apply- they have written the rulebook and it is down to this panel to apply them. This is key; ensuring that punishments are made at arms-length to UEFA is an important mechanism for shielding themseles from possible legal action.

    The interesting thing is the punishment side: I find some of the potential punishments amusing: withholding revenues from UEFA competitions and fines don’t really seem to be getting addressing the problem- to say the least. UEFA announed a further punishment quite late to the process; the restriction on the number of players a club may register for UEFA competition. The thinking is this is the most likely path in the first phase. Interpretation of the rule is somewhat subjective- but a club can register 25 players, If (say) Citeh are assessed as overspending by £100m, then they will need to register £100m worth of wages and salaries from this band of 25. The rationale is, a outright ban in phase 1 could lead to a legal challenge now or in the future (loss of earnings), whereas a less punitive action that still allows them to compete but with warning to future conduct would not be a tort (damage) should any legal challenge to FFP be made.

    The end of the season will show whether FFP is a toothless-tiger or has some bite. People that say its a mess or it doesn’t work are missing the point; its not a mess (yet) because the first phase has not yet been completed. We’ll know in June.

  • SurferX

    March 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm
    “Surfer – Re. points each season. Football is a zero sum game. Therefore to remain on an identical points tally season by season means you are doing better than approximately half of the other clubs.”

    Eh? So if we get 40 points each season every season we are doing better than half of the other clubs. Really? (Besides- the point is flawed even if you didnt really mean what you said; 2 points awarded for a draw- one for each team- 3 points for a win means the total number of points in a season fluctuates with the number of draws).

    “To increase points moderately season-on-season means you are doing better than most of the other clubs.”

    I agree. But as with any statistical based analysis, a degree of statistical significance applies. 5 points in 3 seasons is not statistically significant enough to be looked upon as any sort of trend (up down). At best you could surmise that it indicates a very slight improvement; more likely you could surmise that it demonstrates a flatline in performance.

    “In terms of hoarding cash, I actually think that is quite a good strategy! If FFP does bite then we can start to spend our stash and improve relative to the oilers.”

    Me too. But their will never be an optimal time beyond the furst-assessment period- Chelski have been relatively restrained across that period. Man Utd too. Liverpool have shown that it is entirely possible for a club to push the boat out (a bid to get there).

    All of which is somewhat incidental to the point I have been banging on about since my first post here. People are quick to excuse AW for a multitude of different reasons- can’t compete, AAA, injuries, referees are mean. Whatever. Just judge his performance as a manager. Ongoing problems do not get resolved. Performance remains stagnant. Resources are not used. Resources are invested poorly. And so on. One of the highest paid managers in world football has got you all believing that he should not be judged on performance- he should be judged on the excuses.

  • SurferX

    A final note from me.. there is only so long you can keep banging your head against a wall of denial. AW has always has the dignity to honour his contract. He has always said he would stay as long as he felt wanted- I think he realises that its only a die(denial?)-hard people that fell he should absolutely continue: the vast majority I speak to are either torn on the issue (lets say neutral)- or simply want rid. I sincerely hope he leaves with his head held high- you may all turn out to be right; the bricks might come crumbling down once he departs. But instead of living in fear, think about the uncertainty when he arrived; ‘Arsene Who?’. If anything, he has shown that the is no reason to live in fear of the future- we are at an point in our history where we have the opportunity to take a huge step forward.

    There are encouraging signs that he might understand that too;

    “I have told you many times we have had no time to sit down and do it. But I want to have a feeling coming out of the season that I have done the maximum for the club. Let’s see when the season is over.” Asked whether he would play any role in the selection of Arsenal’s next manager, Wenger said: “I always said, and you can check that, everybody [has] his job. My job is to do well for the team, not to do anything else.” Wenger admits he has made mistakes this season and, with Olivier Giroud running out of steam, it seems obvious that the Arsenal manager should have bought another striker during the January transfer window. He added: “If I ask the question for someone to look back one year and would they have done something different and they say no, I say this guy is a complete lunatic. Do you ask me have I made zero mistakes in the last year? I am not stupid enough to say yes.”

    I read a lot of self-appraisal in that statement. I actually believe (hope?) he may do the right thing and step-down. If he does, I’ll be more excited about the forth-coming season than I have been for years: that in-itself says much.

  • pete

    Surfer – I did not mean we would be doing better than half the clubs I meant that our trend would be better than half the clubs. In absolute terms we are currently doing better than all but three clubs! In terms of improving/declining in the sense of points gained, we are improving. I acknowledge not hugely – but why should we since it wasn’t until last summer that we finally started to spend money? It is too early to judge this season – the team could kick on and get 15/16 more points or struggle and only get 8/9.

    I accept some of your criticisms of Wenger but I believe his extraordinary abilities as a developmental coach trump his failings. As a result, I think he has outperformed over the last 10 years to keep us where we are and I am confident that he will now improve us relative to the opposition. Can we overhaul Chelsea and Man City? A lot depends on FFP – and I appreciate the expositions above – but I would hope we would be a lot closer, at least. But if Chelsea and Man City continue with limitless budgets then our only chance is if we have a far superior manager. I think Wenger is superior to nearly all other managers but Pellegrini and Mourinho are a lot better than Mark Hughes and Avram Grant for example! MC and Chelsea still have a margin whatever we do – unless FFP really bites.

  • pete

    Surfer – Thanks for the quotes. That is very encouraging. If he acknowledges he has made mistakes then there is more chance of fixing them! I believe he has already fixed several prior problems – defensive solidity (with 3 exceptions this season), ability to hold on to a lead (in only 4 games have we not won having been leading) etc.

    That leaves injuries as the major outstanding issue, and also the struggles against the direct domestic competition – away from home at least.

    We may even win a trophy this season…!

  • Rupert Cook

    One of the highest paid managers in world football has got you all believing that he should not be judged on performance- he should be judged on the excuses. Surfer X quote. Rather like that.

    @Pete, we can’t say whether we’ve improved until the end of the season but what if we finish fifth but have more points than last season? Is that an improvement?

    The fact that we’ve been thrashed in the league three times seems like a regression. Has that ever happened in one season under Wenger?

    I feel we are standing still but if we get fourth, probably the highest placing we can achieve, and win the FA Cup I’ll take that as a slight improvement.

    I only hope we can stop the City goal machine today and pull out a great win.

  • SurferX

    A new Wengerism.. to go alongside the 4th place trophy, relative-success and all the other nonsense, do we now have a relative-draw?

    “The only game for me where we were really beaten was at Liverpool. The rest is a bit more coincidence going negatively together. At Chelsea the game was over after ten minutes. At Liverpool were were outplayed on the day and there’s not a lot to say.”

    So, Im concluding that if the wheels fall off after 10 minutes this afternoon, it actually doesn’t count. £7.5m a year to find a reason to absolve him and the team of responsibility for that farce. Instead of addressing the reason why it keeps happening year after year. If only he could manipulate the way points are awarded in the same way he does you lot- we’d of won the title every year!

  • SurferX


    Just so that I acknowledge your comment- I understand & respect your pov. I disagree with your conclusions entirely however; but you probably know that by now so I shan’t debate it further. A trophy would be great.. a real tonic and a great (potential) epitaph to his reign. Unfortunately, I still do not believe he is the man best for our immediate future.. but you no know as well- so I won’t ram that down your throat anymore. Cheers for the debate though- genuinely enjoyed it.

  • Mike T

    Sufer X

    I was probably too simplistic in my earlier response apologies.

    As for what happens in the April / May in terms of sanctions will be interesting but I really am not holding my breath for already UEFA are way off their rules in that Liverpool should be applying for a UEFA licences and within it requires FFP compliance yet UEFA say that Liverpool wont be subjected to the various tests till next season.

    Also the very first phase of FFP is all about sanctions if you don’t pay your taxes etc on time. There is nothing in there about meeting that criteria if you have agreed a payment plan to clear any such debts yet clubs in Spain like Ath Madrid have still been allowed to play in the CL.

    Was aware of all the exclusions and there is one that possibly will cause Arsenal problems and that is property dealings. Having said that the huge jump in TV revenue alone for every EPL ( unless they step spending up to an even higher level)

    To put in perspective the vast uplift in TV revenue.Last season Man utd earned about £60 million when they won the league, this season the league winner will receive an estimated £100 million with the club finishing bottom earning a sum equivalent to that paid to Man Utd in 2012/13

  • SurferX


    Also the very first phase of FFP is all about sanctions if you don’t pay your taxes etc on time. There is nothing in there about meeting that criteria if you have agreed a payment plan to clear any such debts yet clubs in Spain like Ath Madrid have still been allowed to play in the CL.

    Dont know where you have got that wrong- there is nothing in the FFP assessment timetable regarding balance sheet accounting- it is solely profit and loss driven. You are confusing it with the rule (regarding late payment of players and taxes) for which Malaga got a ban at the end of 2012. This is not a phase of the assessment process of which we have been discussing- it is entirely separate and distinct. In regard to Atletico, the fact that they came to agreement to repay creditors means that they are not in default (as opposed to Malaga- who did). That is a big difference as it is incumbent upon the creditors to accept a revised contractual arrangement- which they did.

    Arsenal property dealings are highly unlikely to be excluded on the basis that all the property development has occurred as a consequence of the development of the Emirates. The rules are clear hear- revenue not connected with operating activities of the football business is excluded. However, all the property was acquired or existed as a result of the move from Highbury- an infrastructure project. If the club begun buying property to redevelop separately- that would be excluded. Put another way, they have made clear exclusions with regard to expenses incurred in relation to infrastructure projects (ie being outside FFP assessment). Expenses (in this sense) encompasses both revenue and cost streams.

    Either way, the debate is moot: whilst the cash consideration of these projects is large (£20m over two years), the profit is likely to be slim (as it would be offset by the disposal of the fixed asset in the accounts- whatever those sites were valued at in last accounts). The profit on disposal is therefore what would be under consideration- rather than the sale price.

  • pete

    If we finished 5th with more points than last season it would be a surprise. A good question though. Better over the whole season, but lacking the mental strength to get over the line. I am virtually certain that Wenger would consider it a catastrophic failure though.

    The thrashed three times stat keeps being quoted. I doubt it has happened before, at least not to the same extent. I don’t consider the Man City game a thrashing by the way – more a robbery! But acknowledge dreadful defending in all 3 games.

    The thing is there are loads of other things that Wenger has been repeatedly criticised for that HAVE largely been put right. For example the defence is far more resilient (three games excepted), we can hold on to leads, being clinical against bottom half teams.

    That is why I try to look at the whole picture. It is pretty dull – Arsenal continue slight improvement from season to season – but it is the objective truth. It is grossly unfair to beat up Wenger for one big negative – without ignoring all the positives.

  • SurferX

    Mike T
    March 29, 2014 at 8:12 am

    As for what happens in the April / May in terms of sanctions will be interesting but I really am not holding my breath for already UEFA are way off their rules in that Liverpool should be applying for a UEFA licences and within it requires FFP compliance yet UEFA say that Liverpool wont be subjected to the various tests till next season.

    No- this isn’t Liverpool breaking a rule, this is how the process works (rightly or wrongly). Liverpool need to apply for a license at the end of this season (they are not in Europe this year). This means that have to ensure FFP compliance- but the compliance process is backward-looking (as it has to be.. you cant file accounts for a future year!). The final deadline for submission was 17th March for teams issued a license at the start of this season. So Liverpool will be assessed over a 3 year period next season (presumably- though that haven’t categorically stated I dont believe). I fail to see how it could work any other way- unless you want any team that *could* be issued a UEFA license to be assessed- in which case, every club in England would need to apply (due to entry arising from the FA Cup). The assessment process couldn’t be completed in 10 years let alone 1!

    This article looks at some of the problems with the assessment process itself;

    FFP is a fiscal and regulatory collar. It may well be that it is possible to bypass or gain advantage in a single one-off monitoring period- but ultumately the collar *should* tighten with each passing year. So Liverpool may get through their first assessment next year. However, that does not mean that they can repeat the same trick every year- quite the opposite- manipulation of number in 1 year makes it harder to do it the following year (so examine some of Chelsea’s balance sheet transactions at the end of 2011/12 that saw a slight profit). Its a one-off card trick that becomes increasingly harder to repeat.

  • pete

    Surfer – Likewise! At least you have a very well worked-through argument, which I respect, although obviously disagree.

    Time will tell – it is a pity that we can’t proceed forward in parallel universes – and then compare and contrast in 5 or so years!

  • SurferX


    “It is grossly unfair to beat up Wenger for one big negative – without ignoring all the positives.”

    You perceive one-big negative and many positives. I see many negatives and far fewer positives. I have stated what they are repeatedly.. the point being that where we differ is your assessment of his performance in the first place (rather than, as you state, how we beat him up). So its not unfair at all- you are going him credit for improvements that don’t exist (imho), and are absolving him for excuses that are at best incidental. Its not unfair- its a difference in standards & expectations (yours being lower than mine).

  • pete

    Surfer – I have backed up most of my arguments (not just on this thread) with hard numbers. I am confident that I am right objectively speaking. Your expectations are clearly higher than mine – I just think that your’s are unrealistic…

    If Wenger did leave us this summer my best guess is that we would have about a 20% chance of improvement in the medium to long term. The remaining scenarios range from continuing at about much the same level, but after spending precious money on the inevitable player churn when a new manager comes in, to the Man Utd experience – or worse.

    We have absolutely no right to finish in the top four – we have to prove it on the field every season – and, despite the mockery, it really is a huge achievement when set against the wealth of our rivals.

  • andy1886

    “Its not unfair- its a difference in standards & expectations (yours being lower than mine).”

    Lol, very good Surfer.

    And thanks for the detailed explanation of FFP – I’m sure that we can now have a more enlightened debate on the subject rather than make ill educated statements that don’t hold water.

    Pete, always good to hear from a moderate voice, however regards your comment “we can hold on to leads, being clinical against bottom half teams” are just asking for me to refer you to our last game…. 😉

  • SurferX

    Just as aside (I alluded to this earlier one), would anyone care to state where their threshold for failure lies? Quoting myself (bad form I know), but;

    “One article I have never read is this; “At what point would I sack AW?” What is your threshold for saying enough-is-enough? What about a 5th placed finish? 3 consecutive 5th place finishes? No trophy for 10 years? 15 years? 20 years? Relegation? At what point do you concede that its not good enough Tony? Or will that destroy too much intellectual-capital that you now have invested in AW?”

    It strikes me that this is central to the problem. If you have no targets, you have no accountability. If you have no benchmark, you never have failure. Examine Moyes this year: ManU will be surely saying- OK that wasn’t good. You need to improve;

    1. Style of play
    2. Squad building
    3. League position
    4. Trophies

    Next season, if he finishes 4th and wins a pot- you could argue that he has succeeded in 2 of those: progression. Now assess AW against whatever benchmarks you’d of given for him 5 years ago. 4 years ago. 3 years ago. etc. I don’t see progression- but equally I don’t see accountability. That’s why he gets away with ridiculous statements like the one we got yesterday (Chelsea didn’t really beat us). He sets his own targets, he decides whether he has been successful, he moves the goalposts according to performance.

  • andy1886


    “If Wenger did leave us this summer my best guess is that we would have about a 20% chance of improvement in the medium to long term. The remaining scenarios range from continuing at about much the same level, but after spending precious money on the inevitable player churn when a new manager comes in, to the Man Utd experience – or worse.”

    The same could have been said when we replaced Rioch with Wenger – had you even heard of AW at that point? It’s just guesswork, and I have to say without any evidence your figure of 20% is just plucked out of the air. Feel free to share your thought process though.

    “We have absolutely no right to finish in the top four – we have to prove it on the field every season – and, despite the mockery, it really is a huge achievement when set against the wealth of our rivals.”

    Not really true, fourth is actually exactly where we should finish based on our financial position relative to other clubs in this league. We have City, Chelsea and ManU who have more funds than we do, then we have everyone else who’s income and profitability are considerably lower than ours. Fourth really is par for the course I’m afraid.

  • SurferX

    March 29, 2014 at 9:08 am
    We have absolutely no right to finish in the top four – we have to prove it on the field every season – and, despite the mockery, it really is a huge achievement when set against the wealth of our rivals.

    But pete- strictly speaking this isnt true. We have (by some distance) the 4th largest wage-bill. Liverpool and the spuds are some distance from us (more than the distance from us to all but Citeh). We have every right to expect to finish in the top-4; it is precisely where you would expect us to finish with an average manager.

    Conversely, Man U had no right to win the title last year. Citeh spent 25% more than them- but they won. We can conclude that Fergie over-performed against expectations.

    We dont pay the salary of an average manager- so why should we settle for the performance of one?

  • Mike T

    Surfer X

    The link between FFP and a the relevant UEFA licence is included in here.
    It states that all clubs that qualify for a UEFA completion have to be granted a licence. The only exception is that if a club qualifies for a UEFA competition from a league below the top division .

    The trouble I have in reading UEFAs regulations is that they tend to jump all over the place . For instance in my mind Articles 57 & 58 are pretty clear but I have no doubt that somewhere else there are contradicted.

    My reading is that the license is an annual requirement, that clubs in the top division as a matter of course apply. Those that may

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    I think Surfer X you should define what you actually mean by average. I think that few people would say that( backed up with stats) that Wenger was an average manager.I think its important to not get carried away, even if you are enjoying yourself!

  • andy1886

    Surfer, it seems clear to me that the board set the minimal target (i.e. fourth place and CL football) but there seems to be no long term ambition over and above what seem like hollow words from Ivan and Co. (compete with Bayern my foot!). So, if Arsene has lost the drive to win (compete is a nice word but is suitably vague enough, all teams compete of course), and the board and more interested on financial issues than success on the field, then it’s hardly surprising that we are where we are. Clearly we have unused resources that fans might point to, but we’re just white noise as far as they are concerned.

  • Tasos

    Surfer X

    “If only he could manipulate the way points are awarded in the same way he does you lot- we’d of won the title every year!”

    You’re clearly well informed, financially, on Arsenal and FFP and for the most part the debate has been healthy but there’s no need to patronise people with such remarks, I’m sure you’re better than that.

  • Shard

    Haven’t read through all teh comments but here’s what I get from Surfer X and his responses to others.

    Wenger isn’t the best manager to take Arsenal forward.. (Just his point of view – acceptable)

    Wenger doesn’t try to suceed because there are 150m pounds in teh bank (I believe last accounts it was 123m apart from the bank guarantees, so again factually correct)

    City and Chelsea’s 500m bounty is irrelevant and to talk about that and mention the reality that no matter what Arsenal do, they are unlikely to be able to compete by simply trying to outspend them, is excuse-making.

    Surfer x
    How do you think Arsenal have 120m available to spend now? Because Wenger didn’t spend let’s say 15m every season for the past 8 years to buy the flavours of the month like oh I don’t know, Lorik Cana, Christopher Samba, or countless other examples. He however did try to buy Mario Gotze, Eden Hazard, Phil Jones, and Pepe Reina. That he couldn’t is down to a few factors like Club not willing to sell (Liverpool), Other clubs offering more money (Hazard) or player wanting to move elsewhere (Gotze and Jones) etc.

    You see, competing to the max doesn’t mean just throwing money about. The calculation that needs to be made is how best to spend our resources, including the variable of TIME, which you ignore. Would we be better served buying a 15m pound player to add ‘something’ to the squad? Only if he would have pushed us to the title. Or, if that is unlikely to happen, it’s better to save the 15m and buy a 30m pound player next season who really can push us a level up. Those are calculations Wenger has to do because he has a limited budget.

    Prior to last season, averaged over three years, Chelsea and City had outspent Arsenal on transfers and wages something like 108m and 120m PER SEASON! No matter the big sponsorship deals we have coming, we cannot hope to ever compete with that…

    EXCEPT…if we don’t play by their rules. We earn and money (and spend big once we’re assured of future income – which is what we’ve done buy buying 40m pound Ozil), AND we have a philosophy beyond the transfer market. Which is where the players like Arteta, Mertesacker etc come in, the young players like Ox and Jenkinson come in, and our youth system comes in through players like Gibbs, Gnabry, etc. and playing a system that everyone is familiar with and just needs to be tweaked or players added to is important.

    In the past, we couldn’t make the signings like Ozil. Prime age range, name player, top of his game. We STILL can’t if clubs like City and Chelsea are involved because we can’t outspend them. We can however do it occasionally, and all the while, we can take more risks on the 20m range players and hope to compete with even City and Chelsea here because we can match their mid-range spending. This is what has changed only since the new sponsorship deals were signed.

    It is not insanity to work towards a plan, and what you call doing the same thing over and over is actually how a plan works. That plan is coming to fruition, and the fact that you’d look to the next season with more excitement if Wenger isn’t there is a result of Wenger sticking to that plan. Without that ‘stubbornness’ we wouldn’t have the 150m in the bank that you seem to use to castigate Wenger and the club, and without the CL money, we wouldn’t even have the ability to hold on to our players.

    So really, advocating spending money as being ambitious or showing a will to try etc is actually ignoring the realities as they were, ignoring the plan which got in the money in the first place, and is simply playing into Chelsea and City’s hands because if you make it simply a battle of the wallet, they will win it, hands down.

  • Shard

    Oh and as regards the argument of wage bill… We have a high wage bill because we have been in the CL consistently. Think of it like relegation because it is, in monetary terms (and can be argued in terms of prestige too) A 17th place PL team will have a much higher wage bill than a championship winning team that comes into the league. Until they get to the PL and then spend more. That’s what the CL is like. If you get there and stay there consistently, you have to pay your players more, or they depart to other clubs who want ‘proven’ CL players.

  • SurferX

    Mike T
    March 29, 2014 at 9:34 am

    “My reading is that the license is an annual requirement, that clubs in the top division as a matter of course apply. Those that may”

    From your source;

    Article 14 (Who Needs to Apply)
    Clubs which qualify for the UEFA club competitions on sporting merit or through the UEFA fair play rankings must obtain a licence issued by their licensor according to the national licensing regulations

    Article 43: (Their commitment)
    f) It will abide by and observe the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations

    Articles 53-68 cover the Financial Fair Play Regulations themselves.

    54 (The Monitoring Process)
    The monitoring process starts on submission by the licensor of the list of licensing decisions to the UEFA administration and ends at the end of the licence season.

    I’m not sure where the confusion comes from to be honest Mike: they need to apply when the qualify- not on the basis that they might qualify. Part of that means signing upto FFP. FFP (as a process) is assessed retrospectively. So next season they will need to submit information relating the the 3 year assessment period to keep their license (presumiung the accept punishments, where relevant). I can only assume that its becuase the vast majority of people dont have either the desire or ability to work out what the regulations all mean (and that’s not aimed at you- you are obviously well informed- more the ‘surpise’ that has been suggested that Liverpool will ‘get away with it’: neither of which is the case).

    You seem to be suggesting that everyone who potentially could need a license is assessed. That is not the case- and indeed, would be impossible to administer. As a club with a financial year end prior to June, they need to submit this information by October. The assessment, enquiry and punishment process then takes a further 6 months (initially), whereupon findings announced in April.

  • SurferX

    Kenneth Widmerpool
    I think Surfer X you should define what you actually mean by average. I think that few people would say that( backed up with stats) that Wenger was an average manager.I think its important to not get carried away, even if you are enjoying yourself!

    Was or is? Again, assessed over the past 5 years his performance has been no better than average. Ive quoted stats throughout. Here is the first one I googled..

    Somewhat out of date, but neither the performance or salary levels have changed much beyond that point. We have the 3rd highest turnover in the league. 4th highest wages. Yet every year he scrapes 4th. Bang average since 2008 in my book. We have the same problems we have had tactically, injuries, organisationally for 5 years (/broken record). Bang average.

    Im not getting carried away- I’m completely objective about this. Id LOVE to be proven wrong (starting this afternoon would be nice). Show me stats that demonstrate why you think his performance in that time is better than average.

  • SurferX

    March 29, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Prior to last season, averaged over three years, Chelsea and City had outspent Arsenal on transfers and wages something like 108m and 120m PER SEASON! No matter the big sponsorship deals we have coming, we cannot hope to ever compete with that…

    United did- spectacularly so. But they had a manager at the top of his game. Liverpool are doing so this season. Lets see how they get on next. You may never hope to compete- I hope that we begin trying to. While AW continues to fail and not spend, you can always hide behind the fact he has been outspent. 150m is a big pile of money to hide behind. It allows him the room to come up with the excuses and spin. B

    ut, as Ive said countless times now- judge him on what he has spent and the recurring issues we have. Its not pretty whichever way you look at it.

  • Shard

    United didn’t have years of having to sell their players and hence a constant rebuild. And hence can even get away with spending less in the transfer market. I mean that should be clear right?

    A 150m pile is only there because it has grown. It wasn’t 150m when it started out and it wouldn’t have bought Ozil (or allowed to even dream of it) if the pile were smaller. Your contention seems to be that if we’d spent that money consistently we’d have won, but considering you use lack of spending as Wenger hiding behind an excuse, that ‘excuse’ wouldn’t have been taken away even by spending what is peanuts compared to the other clubs, and you’d still be calling for his head, with the added problem that we wouldn’t have that big pile of money now. So decide what your problem is..Not spending the money that the model itself and Wenger himself has brought in. Or that the model in the reality of the past decade was unlikely to result in anything but it has on the positive side.

    For a greater idea, read here. SOme of the statistics are above my understanding, and it is about 2 years old, but read it and weep because Wenger actually gains Arsenal points through his management. Sure, it is just statistical, but you brought up stats to make an argument. I guarantee these stats outweigh your stats, especially when put into context.

    Apparently over the course of his career, Wenger adds 16 points to Arsenal, 14 in the later years (might be lower now, but he still gains points) simply by being Wenger (over and above what can be expected on the basis of a team’s worth), and there was a 75% chance of Arsenal dropping out of the top 4.

  • Kenneth Widmperool

    Surfer X,yes all apologies for my grammatical error.And it seems my mathematical error.
    What an average manger he is!

  • SurferX


    So, I started reading that article (which is, as you say, 2 years out of date. actually, looking at the data- it is three years out of date as it only includes data upto the end of 2011). So the figures you quote may actually be much lower- once you take out the performance we have had in the 5 years Im assessing him on. And then finally, I get to this;

    “Indeed, it appears the wage data used in Soccernomics is of the highest quality. I retract my earlier comment questioning its quality. At the same time, I would stand by the CTPP database being the most accurate of its kind for transfers. Stefan was quite complimentary of the overall post and its predecessor deconstructing his work at my blog, for which I am very grateful. Ultimately, he and I would agree on the wage data being a better predictor given its higher R2 value for the same reasons I gave at the conclusion of my post. I hope that Paul and I can engage Stefan in future analysis of the CTPP database and continue to shed light on the impact of finances on the result on the pitch.”

    So actually, much of his analysis is at best questionable and out of date; at worst flawed and not the most reliable predictor to use in the first place (which is wage data). Disappointing. So no, a discredited and outdated piece of analysis is not something that changes my pov.

  • SurferX

    March 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    Reading my last comment sounded disingenuous. When I have more time Im going to sit and have a more thorough read (from a methodology, its very close to what I do for a living). So as flawed as it may be, thank you for posting that (I hadnt read it before, and I genuinely find it interesting all the same).

  • Shard

    Surfer X

    Where did you find that quote?

  • Shard

    And by the way, having certain incorrect figures doesn’t discredit a model…

  • SurferX

    The article you posted wasnt a piece of analysis of itself. It was a piece of analysis drawn from someone else’s work. The author does acknowledge and credit it him in the article;

    “I know a guy named Zach Slaton who writes for various publications including where Stefan Szymanski is also a contributor. Zach is probably a genius. He’s also a Gooner. And like all really bright people can’t read a book like Soccernomics without challenging some of their conclusions.”

    He explains Zach’s basis for analysis;

    “His first bombshell post on the topic was provocatively titled “Soccernomics Was Wrong: Why Transfer Expenditures Matter, and How They Can Predict Table Position”. In that article, Zach pieced together data that showed Premier League teams were using fewer and fewer academy players (down from 24% in 1992 to just 8% in 2010) which meant that they were more reliant on transfers to fill the slots on the field. Then, using the inflation adjusted transfer fees from the book and web site Pay as You Play he created a model which accounted for every team’s transfers in the Premier League era, and using the average of each year’s dataset showed that team success was correlated to how much their players were worth in terms of transfer fees paid. Teams worth the average amount finished mid table, teams that were worth higher multiples (2, 3, or even 4 times the average) finished higher up the table.”

    If you follow the link in that paragraph, you will get the authors actual work. At the bottom of that link, the author retracts some of his work (in terms of relevance) yielding to the fact that;

    a) its not as reliable an indicator as wages (given the results are not audited and are unknown in many cases)
    b) doesn’t provide as much statistical correlation as wages in any regard (the ‘R2’ value)

    So if its good enough for the author to say that maybe its not the best way of looking at things- its good enough for me.

  • SurferX

    And again, reading through the detail.. much of the detail is drawn upto the 2010 season ‘so far’. So 4 years out of date to be precise.

  • Shard

    Surfer X

    Nope… Incorrect and misleading

    He retracts the doubts he threw upon the wage data he used from Soccernomics. If anything the data becomes more solid as a result of his retraction.

    It was in response to “You question the quality of the wage data but I’m not sure that’s right- this is audited data from the company accounts published annually – not a guess like you see in Forbes. Its one weakness is that it is total payroll data, not just players- but players account for 90% plus of payroll normally. It must be much better quality than transfer fee data which is not audited and represents figures mentioned in the newspapers- the clubs never reveal the actual transaction value, and I’m told there are a lot of inaccuracies. Without getting confirmation directly from the clubs, there is no way to check this.”” by the author of Soccernomics.

    He never claimed that transfer fees were more significant than wages. He merely claimed that transfers too have an impact on a team’s ‘value’. And his model shows how, even if there are some doubts about how it exactly works, and can be tweaked, it still works.

    Actually, it’s weird that you’d disagree with that because then asking for more transfers becomes strange. You should be asking for Wilshere and Diaby to be paid more if you disagree with there being any correlation between transfers and success.

  • Shard

    Surfer X

    The data might be out of date.. I defy you to show that the trend is much different since then.

  • SurferX


    “He never claimed that transfer fees were more significant than wages. He merely claimed that transfers too have an impact on a team’s ‘value’. And his model shows how, even if there are some doubts about how it exactly works, and can be tweaked, it still works.”

    Lol.. you are now spinning flawed analysis. Flawed by the author himself!

    “The quote at the outset of this post noted that the Soccernomics wage model accounted for 89% of the variation between wages and finish position, while the MSq£ model accounts for nearly 70% of the variation between MSq£ and finish position. A stronger relationship to wages makes sense.”

    “Ultimately, he and I would agree on the wage data being a better predictor given its higher R2 value for the same reasons I gave at the conclusion of my post.”

    His words not mine.

    And you don’t think wages to performance indicator has decreased between 2005-2010 (when we were building the stadium), and 2008-2013 (my assessment period post financial restructuring)? Come on.. you must realise how ridiculous that sounds. Only Citeh’s wages have grown at a faster rate in that time.

    Scroll down to ‘Wages Growth’.

  • Shard

    Hang on…One thing at a time.. I believe you are obfuscating that statistical model.. What do you claim his ‘retraction’ is supposed to have done?

  • SurferX

    Suggested that (Sorry, requoting myself again).

    a) its not as reliable an indicator as wages (given the results are not audited and are unknown in many cases)
    b) doesn’t provide as much statistical correlation as wages in any regard (the ‘R2′ value)

    Furthermore- the analysis was drawn from a period of time I have never been debating. My hypotheses is that he is an average-performing manager now. Not 4-9 years ago.

    So what we can conclude;

    a) Its unreliable to use transfer figures as a statistical basis for analysis
    b) That even when doing so, the results are not a statistically significant as using wages
    c) That you have not presented any statistical analysis that covers a timeframe which is relevant to the debate

    Furthermore, if we throw out all those concerns above, where does the Transfer Analysis take into account resources at his disposal unused? By your definition of management, Id be brilliant. I wouldn’t buy any players, sell 1 every year for top-dollar and hope that my results don’t worsen (all the while
    generating high and higher cash / profit). Because it would look great on the analysis. Wait- who does that remind me of? 🙂

  • Shard

    Surfer X

    apart from c) which you unilaterally set as a terms of debate, on both a) and b) you are correct. However… You are also incorrect, in that though this predictive model is not as reliable as a correlation to wages, it is still indicative of something which is not covered by simply looking at a wage bill. And hence, is significant. I’ll explain why I feel so.

    So, what makes a wage bill a better guide? The implication behind a higher wage bill is that you are supposedly paying more to better players. Correct?

    But that ignores other factors that go into making a team successful. As I pointed out to you, a higher wage bill for Arsenal as opposed to Spurs or Liverpool (though they exceeded us for a bit it seems) is a function of our constantly being in the CL) Do you deny that this should have any significance? I mean just because you have been paying 30m more than Spurs doesn’t mean you are assured of finishing in front of them. Correct?

    By that same token, you might add, Arsenal should be able to finish above ManU too since their wage bill was about 30m more than ours. Fair enough. We should.

    But what is a variable here? Transfer fees and stability of squad. Is it your contention that spending on transfers or having a stable squad should have no bearing on what is expected of a squad just as long as a wage bill is high? You do realise that even an aging squad members can contribute to a high wage bill? Right? Which would suggest that a squad needs to be built on. In Arsenal’s case, it has had to be rebuilt rather than built upon (and part of the high wage bill is that buying new players to replace someone usually leads to a higher wage spend as well)

    Which is why a transfer value based index (not replacing, but taken in conjunction with a wage bill index) adds value to the understanding of how a team is built. So even if you say that Wenger should be finishing exactly where he does (which isn’t entirely accurate either but close enough) on the basis of wage spend, you are entirely discounting the effect of transfers. Both in or out. This metric covers that. Should it replace the wage bill as a consideration. No.. Is this less efficient as a predictive model? Yes.. Does it have less value in explaining certain circumstances. No.

  • Shard

    Surfer X

    You also never replied to my explanations of how spending also has to be seen in the variable of time… buying a 15m player now or a 45m player 2 years later, and the expected gain/loss from such an approach.

    You also have not said how spending could be guaranteed even at that level since our income wasn’t assured. Now it is with new deals signed and hence we can spend with more certainty of where we stand.

    Thirdly, you haven’t clarified the paradox in your root cause of discontent. Not spending the money ‘to even try’. The money being there as a result of the model which essentially prevented it being spent till a certain point (new deals signed), or the model itself which if it weren’t there probably the money wouldn’t be there in the first place.

  • Shard


    there is another factor which absolute numbers of both wages and transfer fees can’t really explain. The higher ‘money value’ of a point near the top of the table.

    What I mean is it is easier to bridge a gap from 12th to 8th, than it is to do from 4th to 1st. I mean we do see that time and again anyway as regards the former, but much more rarely in the latter.

    In which case, a 30m pound gap from Arsenal to Liverpool is more easily bridgable than a 30m gap from Arsenal to ManU. Not making excuses here. It’s just how things work.. Why? Because players who can make a difference at key times are limited in number and very expensive to get.

    In fact, this gives some teeth to the statement that Arsenal are not interested in winning. Because the added investment to get from 4th or 3rd to 1st is very very high. With Chelsea and City having inflated the market, it is probably higher than the rewards it provides. And if that were the case, I would be unhappy with the club too.

    However, as of now, I feel the other factors that I have mentioned, and the possible thinking of the club, is correct and so I support them. We’ll know in a few years time whether Arsenal intend to be ‘also-rans’ or to go the extra mile to ‘compete’. Ironically, the only reason I believe we will look to push further is because Wenger is there. He might have overseen the club through an ‘also-ran’ period (even though we competed), but I don’t peg him as being content with that. I believe he wants to win, now knows that we can go for it in a much more intense way, and that he will not stand for the club pushing for status quo. I would be much more worried about a ‘yes man’ as manager if Wenger went, especially since then the club could simply sack him and get someone else in for not winning.

  • Mike T

    Surfer X

    To take part in a UEFA completion you have to have a licence in place. Without one in place you cant take part

    Its perhaps clearer in the FAs guidance

    Look in particular at 2.2 2.5 2.8 12.1 15.1 16.1

  • SurferX

    Mike T
    March 29, 2014 at 2:00 pm
    Surfer X

    To take part in a UEFA completion you have to have a licence in place. Without one in place you cant take part

    From your source;

    An application for a UEFA Club Licence may be made by any Club which has qualified for, or anticipates qualifying for, a UEFA Club Competition on sporting
    merit or via the UEFA Fair Play competition.

    You apply for the license once you qualify. The license only applies for the season of participation (it is not indefinite). Once you have the license (and only then) the monitoring period starts. Not sure it could be any clearer? Its by the book Mike- which part in particular are you struggling with?

  • SurferX


    With the greatest of respect, Im done here with this. We came in at this point;

    “For a greater idea, read here. SOme of the statistics are above my understanding, and it is about 2 years old, but read it and weep because Wenger actually gains Arsenal points through his management. Sure, it is just statistical, but you brought up stats to make an argument. I guarantee these stats outweigh your stats, especially when put into context.

    Apparently over the course of his career, Wenger adds 16 points to Arsenal, 14 in the later years (might be lower now, but he still gains points) simply by being Wenger (over and above what can be expected on the basis of a team’s worth), and there was a 75% chance of Arsenal dropping out of the top 4.”

    There is a big cloud of doubt on;

    1) The analysis
    2) The conclusions
    3) The relevance to the period.

    If you are still debating those facts- so be it. There is nothing to be gained (by me) in going round that circle any longer. In truth, I knew that rationalising at Untold is akin to walking into a church of Jehovah’s Witnesses and trying to explain why the earth is more than 4000 years old. They have their belief (sorry, that should read faith), and any amount of overwhelming observable evidence will not shake them from the facts.

    Hopefully the rest of the day will bring some good news back for us gooners. If not, I shan’t be back here regardless as I see no pleasure in gloating about something that leaves me entirely deflated. I sincerely hope you turn out to be right, and I am wrong. Either way, Im done.

  • Mike T

    Surfer X

    I think to a degree we are talking at cross purposes.

    I agree with your point about when monitoring starts but my point is that the license has to be in place to take part.And the application is determined before you know if you have or haven’t qualified

    Rewind 12 months Liverpool on the 1st March 2013 would have applied for a license to compete in UEFA competitions for the 2013/14. They weren’t out of the race for EL places.

    The FA would have to grant or not a licence(its them that grant the license and not UEFA) by the date in April when Liverpool still would have been in contention. That would mean a licence would have been granted.

    Ok Liverpool didn’t in the end qualify but it not a given, far from it, that a team can withdraw its application once the process has been completed. Its at the discretion of the FA.

  • SurferX


    “And the application is determined before you know if you have or haven’t qualified.”

    Yes- but that’s irrelevant. The application is made before they know know: but ONLY THOSE WHO QUALIFY ARE SUBJECT TO MONITORING. Effectively, if you apply and don’t qualify the process is finished. The existing of a license or not is completely irrelevant.

    Further, a Club or club that has qualified for a UEFA Club Competition must comply with the financial monitoring requirements set out in the UEFA Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play Regulations 2012 (unless it falls within one of the exceptions listed within those Regulations – see Article 57 thereof).

    If ManU fail to qualify for Europe this year, they will still be assessed in this round as it is backward looking (if they are in breach, they would still be punished irrespective of whether they are in Europe next season). The season after (2014/15), they will not be assessed- unless one of their punishments mandates as much. The season after that (2015/16) if they qualify, they will have to submit all the relevant information to be assessed across the historical 3 year period- including the missing year (so season’s 2012/13, 2013/14, 2014/15).

  • Mike T

    Surfer X

    As I said elsewhere you read in one part o the regulations and come to the conclusion it means this or that only to read something else that contradicts what you previously understood.

    The fact that UEFA continue to give briefings during which they have clariy how they will roll FFP out, which often is not how experts and indeed many of the clubs expected only adds to the confusion.

  • SurferX

    Mike T
    March 30, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    With all due respect, I don’t think I have ever come across a piece of financial legislation that was anything other than confusing to a layman; sometimes to the experts too (go and ask any accounting department you can find for the ‘Red Book’ for a complete brain-f*ck and instant insomnia cure into the bargain).

    UEFA will obviously need to continue to give briefings as (unlike Financial legislation) there are an awful lot of non-financial people that care about this stuff. But be clear on this; there is nothing contradictory in anything I have read or that you have posted- more that it is difficult for a layman to interpret (including journalists, football managers, and so on).

    If you are looking for a criticism, I would be looking more towards the punitive side of FFP where there is no clear guidance on the crime v punishment aspect. They have outlined the crimes, they have outlined how they will assess the crimes- AND they have outlined the punishments. All that is well-documented and understood (even in raising the difficulties that they will have when applying some of the standard accounting concepts- such as evaluation of fair-value). What is completely lacking is which crime befits which punishment? Indeed, Im not sure that UEFA have control over this aspect any longer- they transferred all power and control to the independent CFCB (Club Financial Control Board). They are judge and jury here (a legislative problem in-itself should a legal challenge arise).

    This is where the next 3 months become so interesting as the first monitoring phase winds down. Everyone inside the clubs understands the process (granted much of the media does not from what I have seen and read). They also understand both the potential punishments, and some of the tricks than can be used to manipulate the system- at least in the short-term (note Chelsea’s £1.4m profit in 2011/12 of which there was a somewhat dubious- in FFP terms- £20m cancellation of preference shares: and dont take that as a criticism as I thought it was pretty clever even if it is discounted). But, all of that will not matter one iota if all the CFCB do is hand out fines to transgressors (I read someone describe it as akin to handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500). Proof of the pudding is in the eating; the next 3 months we finally eat- and that will show if we have a toothless-tiger or one that bites.