“4th is not a title”. How Arsenal survived the building of the Emirates

By Tony Attwood

Arsenal built the Emirates Stadium by adopting a four pronged strategy:

a) Borrowing around £390m

b) Selling Highbury and the bits of land around the new stadium they didn’t need

c) Selling the naming rights to the stadium, and arranging other sponsorship deals, so that most of the money was paid up front (rather than year by year), thus enabling the borrowing on the stadium to be reduced

d) Planning to gain extra income by getting into the Champions League every other year.

As a result of adopting this model and putting all available cash into paying off the debt Arsenal as fast as possible, rather famously, didn’t win stuff.  This failure, let us be clear, wasn’t due to mismanagement by Arsene Wenger – indeed as we’ll see in the charts below it was quite the reverse.  This strategy was a stunning success.
If we want to argue about whether this was a good plan or not, the argument is between the fans who believe this was a good idea, giving us a fabulous stadium, and a club that is becoming debt free and now can bid for the best players, and the fans who think that Arsenal should have put everything into winning things every year, and not bothered with the stadium.
The Emirates was opened on 22 July 2006.  Here’s Arsenal’s record around that time and on to the present day.
Lge FA Cup Lge Cup Char Shld Champs Lge Stadium
2004–05 2nd W QF W R16 Highbury
2005–06 4th R4 SF RU RU Highbury
2006–07 4th R5 RU
R16 Ems 
2007–08 3rd R5 SF
QF Ems 
2008–09 4th SF QF
SF Ems
2009–10 3rd R4 QF
QF Ems
2010–11 4th QF RU
R16 Ems
2011–12 3rd R5 QF
R16 Ems
2012–13 4th R5 QF
R16 Ems 
2013–14 4th W R4
R16 Ems
2014–15 R3 W
Now Arsenal’s approach involved some gambles, and if we want to see how well the plan worked we need to look at these gambles.
GAMBLE 1: that we would get into the Champions League.
This gamble worked, which is fortunate because the main thing to note about this gamble is that there really are no alternatives, no fall back.  You can’t fail to get into the Champions League but make up the money elsewhere.
The FA Cup winners earn under £2m.  Coming first rather than fifth in the league earns another £3m in prize money and £7m in TV rights.  But getting to the Round of 16 earns about €18m – so the top four finish and getting through the group stage earns about £35m extra revenue which really can’t be replaced by a League Cup or even FA Cup victory.
In this regard, quite simply, a top four finish is worth far far more than any medal other than getting to the final of the Champions League.  Cups and medals are financially irrelevant.  If you want a new stadium, and want to pay for it yourself, you need top 4.
GAMBLE 2: The world would stay the same
This gamble failed totally, and it is the absolute triumph of Arsenal, its manager and its board, that despite this gamble failing so absolutely, Arsenal survived and flourished.  Under a lesser board and lesser manager we could well have been bust by now, with the Emirates Stadium a deserted monument to Arsenal’s follow.
Arsenal gained planning permission in 2001 and developed their plans for the loan deals and the selling of Highbury and surrounding property.  But this also happened:
June 2003: Abramovich took over Chelsea and changed the ability of a club to buy its way to the top
September 2008: Lehman Brothers bank closed its doors, and the world financial markets fell apart.  Property prices dipped, just at the wrong time, business growth became business recession.
September 2008: Sheikh Mansour stated that he was putting £500m into Man City.
Arsenal thus had to cope with the collapse of the world financial markets and the rise of two oilmen who were willing to put previously unimagined sums into two clubs that had not previously been our rivals.  The days of Manchester United and Arsenal as the dominant force were over.
GAMBLE 3: That the fans would fill the stadium and the executive boxes and Club Level would be packed with people who’d pay incredible prices to have a seven course meal, a lot to drink, and watch Arsenal.
In the build up to the Emirates stadium opening in 2006 Arsenal achieved this…
Season Lge FA Cup Lge Cup
Cha Shld
Cham Lge
2000–01 2nd RU R3
2001–02 1st** W** QF
2002–03 2nd W R3 W GS2
2003–04 1st* SF SF RU QF
2004–05 2nd W QF W R16
2005–06 4th R4 SF RU RU

* Unbeaten

** Double season

The selling was done on the pitch and by reputation. Arsenal has always had a sensational name in football, since it was founded as the club of the men who built the weaponry that protected the Empire.  So the board gambled that not only were the numbers still there for the ordinary folk, but also for the rich – and they were right.

GAMBLE 4: That the club would keep its supporters, despite maybe not being as successful as in period 2000 to 2006.

This really was a leap into the dark.   Arsenal’s crowd has been known to shrink in the past, going right down to the notorious 4000 odd for a game at the end of the Billy Wright era.

But although no one feared that, periods of dullness on the pitch under George Graham had led to crowds in the 20,000s – not even reaching the 30,000 that Highbury considered a normal decent number in the days before all seater.  With prices shooting up, would they actually sell 45,000 season tickets every season?

Yes, of course they did, even though we’ve had many commentaries on here which spoke along the lines of, “I’ve heard they’re offering next season’s tickets at a discount,” and the infamous, “I’ve thrown my season ticket in the bin.”  There’s still a waiting list.

GAMBLE 5: That everything would keep going until the new sponsorship deals started to come in, around 2013.

And yes, this one worked big time.   2013 saw us get Ozil, 2014 brought Alexis, combined with the continuing throughput of young talent (Bellerin, Coquelin) and purchases of young players from elsewhere (Ramsey, Theo, The Ox).

So how did the club do?

As futurologists the board proved to be as naff as most of us, but so stunningly successful has the club been at getting into the Champions League each year, the money did return big time in 2013, and as we’ve so often said, the “Enough is enough” gang, is little more than a noisy gaggle.

There were annoying moments, and significant problems, like the departure of RVP and Fabregas – but then that sort of thing happens to everyone (Ronaldo from Man U to Real Mad shocked many Man U fans, remember).

But as a stunning, audacious gamble, this has worked.  Against all the odds, they got it right from the start to the end (is as much as we have got to the end).

And behind the scenes I think they are still at it – as with the purchase of our own statistical company.  That, in time, could be as significant as any purchase of any player.

In short, watch out, there is more to come.


The books




55 Replies to ““4th is not a title”. How Arsenal survived the building of the Emirates”

  1. A great summary of the history of Arsenal in the last 10 years. Not surprisingly written by the man who does the history blog of course 😉

    What made me connect with the spirit of Untold way back in 2008 was the fact that Tony on Untold seemed to be one of the few people (who wrote blogs) who understood the period we were going through. I felt very much on my own in those days at times wondering why everyone was thinking that the Emirates was given to us by some divine force at no cost at all. That it just was put there overnight and nobody ever had to do anything for it.

    Maybe me having build a new family home a few years earlier, and having to pay for it and knowing that it means you have to hold back on some other things for a certain time made me understand the problems Arsenal had a bit more.
    But now with my mortgage paid off I can relax a bit more and go back a bit to doing things I had to put on hold for a while.

    The board and most of all Wenger deserve all the credit that can be given for daring to do the undoable and for keeping us at a high level all those years.
    The future is bright but it always has been bright from my point of view 😉 But brighter than ever one could say…

  2. First of all hindsight is 20:20 vision so i’m not saying i predicted this or that we weren’t right at the time to build the stadium…but in hindsight it was the right decision at the wrong time.

    We agreed the loan on the stadium then went a couple of years later into a recession, making the Highbury flats harded to sell and if you look at what we sold them for and what we could have sold them for now (out of recession) we missed out on a lot of money, not to mention all the stress when we thought we couldn’t sell them full stop.

    Since that time interest rates have dropped, i think we pay the stadium off in about 2031/32 when realistically even if we had to borrow as much money we would have done it at a much lower rate right now.

    Sponsorship money (for the stadium and the league) has gone up massively. Sp*Rs even though a far less successful club than us will probably get pretty close if not more money for their naming rights than we did. I look at the TV sponsorship money in 2016 and wonder whether getting in the Champions League will mean that much any more other than prestige, £35M alongside Sky’s money doesn’t make a big dent. We could have used this money to bring down the stadium debt required and secured a shorter, more flexible mortgage due to our larger deposit.

    So basically, we bought an area of land that we could have bought 5 years later for a lot less, built a stadium that we could have built for the same price but with more finance, all the while preventing ourselves from winning titles.

    Not wrong, just unlucky.

  3. Good summary of an important period in the club’s history. As with much of history a proper perspective is only fully appreciated with the passing of time. There is one other important factor that should be added to the list of things that could not be foreseen at the time the decision to build the stadium was taken. The Webster ruling led to significant changes in player contract law, introduced in 2005 and reinforced in 2008, which effectively mean that no contract, no matter how many years it was drawn for would last more than 3 years for players under 28 or 2 years when over 28. That meant the money clubs could far more easily entice players away. It was that ruling that made it impossible to keep RvP or Cesc and others. That meant that Abramovich and Mansour could pick off players more or less as they wished until FFP slowly restricts them to using only money they can generate. The last 10 years will be seen in context and much better understood in time.

  4. Fantastic read and no doubt we owe a lot to Arsene, backroom staff and boards .
    The interesting bit for me is now we can compete financially with the EPL money bag teams and buy class players such as Ozil and Alexis, I`m not of the opinion that Arsene can take us any further on the playing side to win the EPL or CL, I just think that there are tactically and technically better footballing coaches out there !.
    Arsene is a great manager, but not a great coach !.

  5. Spot on article.I’m glad I’m not the only one who really appreciates what has happened. We need to highly commend Arsene and the board of directors (past and present) not only for their foresight but by being brave enough to stick to their ideas and principles when large rocks were being thrown at them from all angles. They have seen to it that Arsenal will survive long after the likes of Abravovitch have got fed up with their toys and taken their bottomless pits of money elsewhere. I would think that Arsenal FC is the envy of the footballing world.

  6. An absolutely brilliant article! Encapsulates all I like about Wenger and Arsenal. A lot of people I argue with disregard Wenger’s managerial brilliance against the trophy haul of Ferguson and Mourinho. I keep telling them that Wenger cannot be compared to those two as it was never an equal fight. Ferguson and Mourinho, I must grudgingly admit, are great managers in their own right but could they have done what Wenger managed? I doubt it very much.
    Their other favourite line of argument is Bayern Munich who changed stadiums a year before we did. The two cases are again hugely dissimilar as Bayern’s virtual monopoly of German football offset a lot of potential problems. It would pretty much be the case if Man United had changed stadiums in the late 90s/ early 2000s- their worldwide commercial footprint and their domination of the league would have made things easier.
    The two distinct Wenger eras are remarkable in their own right. It is to Wenger’s credit that Arsenal challenged and, at times, dominated Man United in his first era, and ensured that we tide through a financially difficult time in his second- all the while playing quality football at the very highest level. A successful third era?- the signs look extremely good!

    However, I must add that the timing of Arsenal’s move to the Ems was highly fortuitous. It was done at a time when credit was easily available. Had the proposal to change occurred later or the market crash sooner, the move might have never happened. But that luck is, in some ways, a just reward for Arsenal’s meticulousness.

  7. Great summary of the dedication of Wenger to a cause. He could have left any time but stayed & saw the programme (it was several projects) through with focus, integrity, dedication & honesty. What a man! What a programme! What a club!!! Arsenal!

  8. Thanks Tony: all good and interesting – and well put together as ever. To many Arsenal and Arsene have become synonymous, and it is tempting to see Arsene as standing for the whole, as good an example of sporting metonymy as you will find. But given that he is an employee, albeit a significant one, who do you think is responsible for the grand vision of the move – and who had the executive power to make it happen?

  9. One gamble that was not taken and remains stuck in the craw of a minority of Arsenal supporters is that we DID NOT spend more money on players in the period of 2006-2013. The gamble is that had we spent more on players, we would have not only achieved 4th place but even challenged for the title and perhaps even the CL title, too. Personally, I don’t think we had the money but in truth Arsene Wenger said that we had money to spend (note that he did not state how much) and some took that to mean that we could spend as much as the Oligarch’s children did on Fulham Rd.

    I am glad we didn’t throw that set of dice.

  10. This Arsenal blog is the best..

    Thank you for making it easier in this last decade to cope being surrounded by short visioned and impulsive negativity towards Wenger.

    I’ve been called all sorts of things for believing in Wenger; I became a supporter in 2006.

  11. Great piece gents. I’ve got to say thank God for Untold as the sea of negativity on the web’s drowning out the voice of the ordinary fan. You know, the type that support the club.

  12. Great write up from a logical point of view. Some still wish to discredit AW, I just smile back and know within myself that there is only one Arsene Wenger!

  13. Not only is today Reading versus Bradford (FA Cup, to play us) and Liverpool at Swansea, the U21 are playing Blackburn.


    > Arsenal Under-21s play Blackburn Rovers on Monday. Kick-off is 7pm at Leigh Sports Village and there will be live updates on the @Arsenal Twitter feed from 6.55pm.

    I no longer can connect to twitter, so I won’t be providing updates.

    And some 15 year old was arrested for the racist twit to Welbeck.

  14. @Tony
    Brilliant! It is going to be wasted on some!

    In Arsene Wenger’s BBC interview he clearly stated the he was given the objective of keeping the club in the champions league for x number of years whilst the staying was being built and paid for. I cant recall the number of years he stated but I think it was 5. He exceeded that greatly. Wonderful achievement.

  15. Thank you Mr. Attwood for another ‘master piece’ on Arsenal. I wish Arsenal.com publish this too.

    You masterfully exposed the many lies of those ‘children’ who claimed they were not as much concerned about ‘trawfies’ but just wanted to see Arsenal ‘compete’. Mr Attwood, your table showed an Arsenal team ‘COMPETING’ throughout the period of draught. Maybe ‘compete’ in the ‘childrens” dictionary means ‘winning’.

    Joe, I don’t think anybody predicted or saw the recession, the interest rate fall, entrance of oil money from outside football and TV money (in 2016) as far back as when the building plans started. It may be easier for Spurs to build their stadium now than it was for Arsenal then but ‘how easy’ remained to be seen.

    Cockie Monster, 1. can you please help me with a list of guys out there who are tactically and technically better footballing coaches than AW?
    2. What is the difference between a manager and a coach?

    Don’t mind my very limited football knowledge.

  16. Joe/Hrishi – You can’t both be right… Even if the timing wasn’t perfect, the Board did not have 20/20 foresight – but they still made it happen, clearing every hurdle that was placed in their path.

    Cockie Monster – I completely disagree. Wenger is a brilliant coach in that he is clearly better at developing the players he has than anyone else. He hasn’t had the option to buy “finished articles” – but look at what he has done with (deep breath): Szcz, Kos, Ramsey, Santi, Olivier, the Ox, Coquelin and on and on – not including countless former players who improved under his tutelage.

    He is also an exceptional manager in terms of his skill in the transfer market. To go 8+ years with no net spend is absolutely incredible. Buy cheap, sell dear. This has allowed him to operate within stringent budgets.

    As for spending all available cash in the period 06-13… that was pointless. What is the advantage in finishing 3rd instead of 4th or 2nd instead of 3rd? Any big purchases during that era would have depreciated and would now have little residual value. Instead we saved our money and started spending when we had a realistic chance. Excellent long term strategy.

    Despite the post-World Cup dip, despite the extraordinary number of injuries, we have matched Chelsea’s points haul since early October (we were 9 points behind on 5th October, after 7 games). It looks like we will run out of games this season to reel them in, but I would be optimistic for next season even without any player acquisitions.

  17. GoingGoingGooner

    “Personally, I don’t think we had the money but in truth Arsene Wenger said that we had money to spend (note that he did not state how much) and some took that to mean that we could spend as much as the Oligarch’s children did on Fulham Rd.”

    Spot on.

    Yes, I know it was often stated by Wenger that he had the money. I know the board often came out with the ‘Wenger has money if he wants to spend it’ line.

    But as I’ve said he many times, what the f**k did people expect them to say? Something along the lines of:

    ‘Sorry about this lads but unfortunately building this shinny new Stadium has become a bit trickier than we had hoped. That means no money for transfers, which in turn means it’s highly unlikely we’ll be able to compete for trophies for maybe 8 or 9 years. Oh and the ticket price is going to double. Sorry about that. But it’s not all bad news, the seats are really big. Thanks for your support.’

    That really would of been the final nail in the coffin.

    I know people might not like it, but with the whole future of the Club hanging in the balance, what did people expect them to do.

    A bit mischievous I know, but 100% necessary, and the only thing they could of done.

  18. When one realises the original plan was to gain entry to the CL every other year, the enormity of Arsenal’s achievement of constant qualification really becomes apparent.
    And the domestic, continental and global admiration and support for our great Club is confirmed by the thousands still on the waiting list for season tickets.

  19. So what we are saying is the next 3 years Arsene has a contract for will determine how good a manger he really is in relation to his peers.

    He has the money the stadium and the support to prove he can win titles in this current era or not.

  20. Pete (@4.39pm),

    Insightful point about Chelsea’s points haul being similar to ours since early October. But please don’t say it out loud. Arsenal are supposed to be eternally behind the indomitable Chelsea 🙂

    The truth, as you so rightly pointed out, is that if Chelsea wins the league, they will be doing so due to teams like Arsenal starting the season slowly and Man City’s phenomenal inconsistency. They will not be winning it because they are the gigantic footballing force that the ever myopic and butt-kissing British media have been painting them to be. The so called ‘tactical genius” team has been dumped out of 2 important cup competitions at home by a division 3 team and a 10 man French team. Even more remarkable is the fact that both teams come from behind multiple times to dump out the team managed by the ‘great’ Jose Mourhino on their own turf.

  21. Fortune favors the brave… And brave we were.

    Mr Wenger had money to spend. As stated by the board.

    Well. To me it means, provided Mr Wenger asks for more player acquisition, board would make funds available somehow.
    But its the genius of Mr Wenger that he did not put the clubs limited finances under any pressure. He didn’t ask for more as he thought he didn’t need it at the time.

  22. The only way a direct comparison can be made between Wenger and his peers (by which I assume we mean whoever is managing Man City, Chelsea and Man Utd) is if the net spend levels out.

    Looking at how FFP is panning out this looks highly unlikely to me as the oilers seem to be finding evermore imaginative ways to circumnavigate there impact.

  23. Oh, and just a small point, Man Uniteds net spend over the last 3 years is a mindboggling £230 Million quid, and all resulting in a team that hoofs it up to Fellani!

  24. ARSENAL13/Pete

    Regarding what money was available I think the following from Pete is very pertinent.

    “As for spending all available cash in the period 06-13… that was pointless. What is the advantage in finishing 3rd instead of 4th or 2nd instead of 3rd? Any big purchases during that era would have depreciated and would now have little residual value. Instead we saved our money and started spending when we had a realistic chance. Excellent long term strategy.”

    The point is a gamble on say Rio Ferdinand may, I repeat may of won us a trophy. Conversely a gamble on Torres could of spelt disaster.

    It just wasn’t worth the risk.

    In the great scheme of things what is 9 years.

    Spurs last title? Spurs last Trophy ???

    Liverpool’s last title? Liverpool’s last Trophy ???

    You can be forgiven for not knowing because it doesn’t get rammed down your throat every single day but as I’m sure we all know, Spurs last title was famously in Black and white and Liverpool’s was before the Iraq War.

  25. Tony, well put. The banking collapse was not predicted or expected!

    The fact of the matter is that Edelman, stated that Wenger had £75 millions to spend. NO director bothered to rebut the statement. As David Dein, was angling for a takeover?

    There are 2 loans, one of which will be paid off in 2030.

  26. Brilliant article, certainly one of the best I’ve read here or anywhere else for that matter. I think this is where the majority of the ‘problems with some Arsenal fans’ start; if one understands the gist of this article then one has no problem with the manager and appreciates what’s been achieved in last decade. But if one doesn’t understand this then….you can guess the rest.

  27. Jambug – the FIRST gulf war…

    I have been told by “sources” that Wenger has been frustrated down the years at not having the money to spend that he would like. And to some extent has been hung out to dry by the Board – but he certainly is very clear as to the reality of the situation.

    The money hasn’t been there – if you take a prudent approach (not do a Leeds) – but we have struggled along and still maintained CL.


  28. Good article.

    A magnificent achievement by AW over the years and I do hope he stays as manager beyond his present contract to build the team yet further as funding improves.

    Unfortunately the machinations (via accountancy extraordinaire) of the oilers are such that there will never be a level playing field, but at least the gap should narrow.

  29. A miracle has been worked by wenger. Pete, is it possible there is some NAV stuff going on which would make wenger even more a miracle worker than at first impressions. Am not going to delve too far into this as I cannot prove it, I don’t have a financial background and I may unjustifiably put the owner in not the greatest light ,perhaps unfairly, nothing illegal or immoral or anything like that, just talking standard business practice,but, but some of the recent years accounts could either indicate this NAV thing, or very very extreme prudence. Wenger after the summer of Cesc said he would not abandon the club, what did he mean? Wenger has also said he has been hamstrung over transfers. The owner has not indebted the club, nor does he take significant funds out of it, but he may have another completely legal and legit way of making money from his investment. And I am not talking about a big profit when or if he sells. Whatever the case, wenger comes out rather well. Was there a significant sum he had to build up and keep in the bank, not for today’s pathetic interest rates, but for other reasons, on top of paying for the stadium and competing with oilers and Utd? One day the truth will out about wenger and it may well be mind blowing stuff.
    David Dein ” replacing wenger will not be difficult, it will be impossible”
    We don’t know the half of what wenger has done for this club.

  30. One major point missed at Gamble 2 was the appointment of Riley to chair PGMO. We were already playing on sloping pitches the gradient suddenly got worse. Despite this, to achieve what our club has in the past 10 years is incredible.

    For the simplest explanation of coach – the person who improves players. The manager makes is all possible ensuring the presence of everything that is needed.

  31. @Zoon, yes the expectation of Wenger will increase in proportion to the money he has to spend. I think that’s quite fair seeing as we all agree he has managed to squeeze the best out of some of the limited talent we’ve had since 2005. I’m not sure any other manager could ensure a top four finish with some of the rather ordinary players we’ve had. Would the likes of Everton or Spurs have crept into the top four with the likes of Squillaci or Almunia in their team? One doubts it.

    Now we have a healthy financial platform, nearly 140 million in fact, which we can use to bolster the team, and if we only spend two thirds of that we should be legitimate favourites for the league. We have a very good squad anyway but it needs strengthening to deal with injuries and to improve our CL performances.

  32. Off topic – but I see that Jose’s son has fallen out with the Chelsea fans. Ha! Quite significant I feel. Wheels starting to come off their bus…?

  33. Two further things one might add Tony – all previous movers of stadium had been subsequently relegated (not just slipped a couple of places for unrelated, finacial doping, reasons).
    Secondly those two clubs who were financially doped specifically targetted Arsenal players when they were building their squads. with all that extra money.
    Wengers performance seen in that light is even more extraordinarily good.

  34. “Fellaini, Burgovick, Michu. Get yer money out, buddy”

    Just imagine. The horror. the horror.

    Think I prefer Alexis and Ozil, Cazorla etc. 🙂

    “Wenger knows the market”, said the former owner of Tottenham and celebrity buisnessman. Better then you or I:

    Di Maria, the player the AAA said AFC should’ve signed instead of Ozil, cost about x2 Ozil. Unlike Ozil he won’t be winnning a trophy and the World Cup in his first season in English Football.

    Luke Shaw. Cost about x2 Calum Chambers. Cost about the same as Alexis! Was hauled off recently following thirty minutes of torture after being exposed, twisted, and twined down into the ground by the Oxlade-Chamberlain device, who is in case you were in any doubt England’s best young player. The first player brought into to rebuild the squad after the F Word F’d off…one of those statement of intent thingymajobbies.

    Diego Costalot. Another Mendes Mule, doesn’t bray as loudly as the limping Falcao who I’m sure you all remember first seeing when Porto got tonked 6-0 in N5. Welbeck cost half his value, and when he reaches the same age (thirty nine?) he will be twice the player.

    Yes. Indeed. It’s not hard to understand why the Friends of Mendes Inc., those brave and upstanding hacky slappers and special agents’ orifices have attacked and branded the Arsenal manager and AFC as a scrooge over recent seasons. Who can forget the Bleeb openly attacking AFC for not being friendly with agents as well as deliberately blurring the lines between the owners and the employees. Very strange behaviour if you are unwilling to accept the close relationships between agents and useless hacks and their struggling rags.

    Unfortunately as a result of constant repitition some have fallen for this transparent propaganda, which as we know works through the simple mechanism of repitition. Then there are those that should’ve known better: Not a good look, and I don’t recommend it.

  35. Great job Tony. These are the FACTS of the matter. In support of AKB, would anyone (other than Dein) prefer playing at Wembley rather than the the Emirates? I don’t think so. This is a top, top facility that’s starting to become a fortress for the club. COYG.

  36. My maths isn’t so great finsbury, but I’m pretty sure the 60m United paid for Di Maria isn’t even close to twice the 42m we spent on Ozil. Seems strange to write about propaganda when that could be interpreted as a wilful misinterpretation of the facts to suit a narrative. You’re entirely right about everything else imo (though, Costa IS a quality player imo and if Ozil gets the break he deserves for playing without a winter break, then Costa maybe should too) but I’d let what happened speak for itself, rather than exaggerating.

    Unless you just didn’t check the facts, then pretty much everything I wrote is moot.


    A bus full of Nuns falls of a cliff and they all die. They arrive at the gates of heaven and meet St. Peter. St. Peter says to them “Sisters, welcome to Heaven. In a moment I will let you all though the pearly gates, but before I may do that, I must ask each of you a single question. Please form a single-file line.”
    And they do so. St. Peter turns to the first Nun in the line and asks her “Sister, have you ever touched a penis?” The Sister Responds “Well… there was this one time… that I kinda sorta… touched one with the tip of my pinky finger…” St. Peter says “Alright Sister, now dip the tip of your pinky finger in the Holy Water, and you may be admitted.” and she did so.
    St. Peter now turns to the second nun and says “Sister, have you ever touched a penis?” “Well…. There was this one time… that I held one for a moment…” “Alright Sister, now just wash your hands in the Holy Water, and you may be admitted” and she does so.
    Now at this, there is a noise, a jostling in the line. It seems that one nun is trying to cut in front of another! St. Peter sees this and asks the Nun “Sister Susan, what is this? There is no rush!”
    Sister Susan responds “Well if I’m going to have to gargle this stuff, I’d rather do it before Sister Mary sticks her ass in it!”

  38. And when the chips…sorry zip is down…

    Harry and his wife are having hard financial times, so they decide that she’ll become a hooker. She’s not quite sure what to do, so Harry says, “Stand in front of that bar and pick up a guy. Tell him that you charge a hundred bucks. If you got a question, I’ll be parked around the corner.”
    She’s standing there for 5 minutes when a guy pulls up and asks, “How much?” She says, “A hundred dollars.” He says, “All I got is thirty”.
    She says, “Hold on,” and runs back to Harry and asks, “What can he get for thirty?”
    “A hand job”, is Harry’s reply. She runs back and tells the guy all he gets for thirty dollar is a hand job. He agrees. She gets in the car. He unzips his pants, and out pops this HUGE… She stares at it for a minute, and then says, “I’ll be right back.”
    She runs back to Harry, and asks, “Can you loan this guy seventy bucks?”

  39. Lost in translation – the prescription is to ….

    A big city doctor visits a tribe full of men, he asks “How do you guys relieve your sexual tension?” “Simple, just come down to the river tomorrow and we’ll show you.”
    The next day the doctor shows up and sees a group of men near a donkey. One man says “Since you’re our guest you get to go first.”
    The doctor not wanting to go against custom starts to kiss, then proceeds to have sex with the donkey.
    Then a man in the group asks “Are you almost done Doc?” “We need the donkey to cross the river in order to get to the tribe of women.”

  40. Say what ?

    The head nun tells the two new nuns that they have to paint their room without getting any paint on their clothes.
    So the one nun says to the other, “Hey, let’s take all our clothes off, fold them up, and lock the door.” So they do this, and begin painting their room.
    Soon they hear a knock at the door. They ask, “Who is it?”
    “Blind man!”
    The nuns look at each other, then one nun says, “He’s blind, he can’t see. What could it hurt.” They let him in.
    The blind man walks in and says, “Hey, nice tits. Where do you want me to hang the blinds?”

  41. A friend sent me those jokes ,and after reading some really stupid and snide comments which was not only unwarranted for such a fine and well intended article ; I feel each of the tales above would remind the regulars of these low lives- including the muppet and the buy -low-sell-high-mantra -investment guru !

    Before I bid you goodnight , here’s an old muppet joke.
    Q . What is green and smells of ham ?
    A. Kermit’s finger !

  42. The nuns at the local convent had their daily announcement session.
    The mother superior walked out in front of the 100 nuns with a very serious frown on her face. She began to speak…

    Mother Superior: There had been a sinful deed committed here, yesterday.
    99 nuns: Oh, no!
    1 nun: Hee, hee, hee.

    Mother Superior: Today I found a pair a men’s underwear.
    99 nuns: Oh, no!
    1 nun: Hee, hee, hee.

    Mother Superior: And I also found a condom.
    99 nuns: Oh, no!
    1 nun: Hee, hee, hee.

    Mother Superior: And it has been used!
    99 nuns: Oh, no!
    1 nun: Hee, hee, hee.

    Mother Superior: And there was a hole in it!
    1 nun: Oh, No!
    99 nuns: Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee, hee!…..

  43. Great piece and one that I read and think how do people not get this… A remarkable feat and hopefully all starting to come to fruition.

  44. That basically sum up what happened.

    Could the team and Arsene do better? Yes.

    Have they already done a lot? Absolutely

    Would some one else do as great a job? May be but seems few manager with a reputation would try today.

    I think they made it through a very difficult task although they pass not by a big margin.

Comments are closed.