The Untold report: The Arsenal Holdings Plc AGM Thursday 15 October 2015

by Andrew Crawshaw


The AGM is a shareholder’s meeting required by law to be held each year so that the Board of Directors can be seen to be accountable to the company shareholders.


OK so who are the shareholders and how many shares do they each have?


To answer this question I refer to a piece posted by “angryofislington” on the14th October titled “Who owns Arsenal”. In brief there are 62,217 tradeable shares, 41,698 (67%) are owned by KSE wholly owned by Mr Kronke.  The next largest block is 18,695 (30%) held by Red and White Holdings jointly owned by Mr Usamov and Farhad Moshiri.  These two blocks of shares come to 60,393 or 97.07% of the total.  The residual 1,824 shares are owned by small shareholders with individual holdings of between 1 and 116 shares.  There are still a few hundred small shareholders many of whom are pretty hardcore supporters, I attend as a representative of one of them.  Interestingly there are some 14 share owners with 120 shares that are currently untraced.  At a share value of £15-16k each there are some people sitting on unexpected nest eggs (if anyone has a relative or friend who thinks they or their father, grandfather etc. used to own shares it is worth getting them to check through their old paperwork for evidence).


It is a given that once Mr Kronke puts his hand up to support a vote then it is carried irrespective of the wishes of any other shareholder. He has to listen to the small shareholders but doesn’t have to agree with them.


The Arsenal Board is made up of the following


Chairman – Sir Chips Keswick

Chief Executive – Ivan Gazidis

Directors – Ken Friar, Lord Harris of Peckham, Stan Kroenke, Josh Kroenke


There is a section of the website that relates to the Arsenal Board and has more details of the members and holdings of both KSE and Red and White Securities Ltd.


The meeting falls into three separate parts, The formal business of the Company, approval of accounts, Auditors report etc; addresses by Ivan Gazedis and Arsène Wenger; and questions from shareholders firstly submitted in writing in advance of the meeting and secondly (if time and the Chairman permits) from the floor.


Once the meeting is over Ivan Gazidis and Arsène Wenger are usually available for informal meet and greet opportunities but these are quite brief, a handshake and photo is about the most that one can get.


Formal Business


As expected the formal parts of the agenda were all passed. There was a significant level of discussion in the room concerning the 3million payment to KSE for the second year running.  The initial response by Sir Chips to the three questions raised regarding this payment were met with considerable derision from some sections of the audience.


The initial response was that the payments were made to cover and all pieces of advice given to the Arsenal Board by KSL and had been specifically approved by Sir Chips and that he was not prepared to discuss the matter further. One of the three authors of written questions on the matter was not at all satisfied by the answer and demanded a fuller response.  Sir Chips agreed to return to the matter later in the meeting.


Ivan’s Address


Mr Gazedis started by giving a clear statement on the club’s vision.


A Club competing to win trophies at the highest level both at home and in Europe.

A Club that believes in playing attractive attacking football

A Club that believes in producing our own resources (acknowledging that we do not have unlimited financial resources to compete with some of our direct competitors)

A Club that will only spend our own resources


He outlined what he called a ‘virtuous circle’ to enable this to be achieved. Investment in the team leading to More on field success leading to Increased fan base involvement leading to Increased revenue leading back to further Investment in the team.


He outlined the three main revenue streams – Matchday Revenues (basically flat since 2010/11), Broadcasting (rising but because of the relatively even distribution between all league clubs it won’t make much of a difference to Arsenal compared to the other clubs) and Commercial Revenue (specific to Arsenal and has doubled in the last two years)


Overall our revenues have risen about 80million per year in the last two years and are now standing at approximately 340million. He explained that this represents a precious resource and one which must not be squandered.  It is available but must be used wisely.


He outlined the very large investments being made at Colney and Hale End to improve the facilities and return both centres back to being class leading. He also hinted at a new and bespoke home for Arsenal Ladies so we will have to watch out for further announcements on that one.


He then covered the three threads of our approach to squad improvement :-


Youth Development – We cannot afford to buy in all of the players we will need in the future and will have to continue to produce our own players so are continuing to invest heavily in scouting to find the right talents, coaching staff and facilities to develop them and playing opportunities to enable them to become the finished article.


External Recruitment – this will be the exception rather than the norm for squad players. Exceptional talents will continue to be identified and recruited when they are available.  Again with our resources being finite these may well not happen every season (my words but in line with his tone).  We won’t spend money on players for the sake of it or to appease commentators.


Player Retention – we are currently in a good place with a relatively young squad most of whom are on long term contracts. Our wage bill is now at 192 million up from 164million last year.


Arsène’s Address

He started by saying that when he arrived there were 80 people at the club and the share price was 400; today those figures are 550 staff and he doesn’t know the share price as he doesn’t own any (the answer is somewhere between 15 and 16,000).  Furthermore he doesn’t want to own any.


He described his period as falling into three distinct phases – the first being relatively easy as we were always challenging for honours and this lasted till 2005 (ish). the second phase covered the period of building the Emirates and was far more difficult, his objectives being to keep the club in the Champions League to help pay for the stadium.  He compared our record of 18 successive CL appearances as second only to Real Madrid who are one ahead but accepted that by itself that isn’t enough.  The third phase he says started two and a half years ago and puts us in a position to again challenge for trophies.


He now has 20 people feeding him information, statistics and advice on a daily basis where 18 years ago he only had his own eyes. His main issue now is to decide how much of the advice he needs to act on that day..


Will we win the Premier League this year? he asked. His answer was that we will certainly be in the fight for it.  He also re-iterated that he isn’t afraid to spend money (despite his reputation) and that he is more motivated and committed to his job than ever.



Questions to the Board


These went on for far longer than usual and I have a lot of work to do to present both questions and answers. I will do this in a follow up article over the next few days.

39 Replies to “The Untold report: The Arsenal Holdings Plc AGM Thursday 15 October 2015”

  1. Amy Lawrence claims that Chips Keswick threatened to stop the AGM over questions of the 3 million pound payment…none of the other newspapers says the same. I wasn’t at the meeting…did she invent it? It would be sad if she did as she pretends to be an Arsenal supporter.

  2. Thanks Andrew for the summary of the AGM. I waiting for any trusted Arsenal blogs like Untold Arsenal or Arseblog to give a clear report of the AGM unlike the English media who are spouting nonsense again over Arsenal’s ticket prices.

  3. I don’t like the response of the Chairman over the £3m payment to KSE.
    First of all, the very payment for “advice” smacks of jiggery pokery behind the scenes by the dominant shareholder, keen to receive some largesse without having to sell his shares.
    Then the allegedeaction by the Chair

  4. the alleged threat from the Chair to stop the AGM seems to be to be based on a weak and guilty position.
    Time will tell.

  5. Thanks for the story so far… Very excited to hear about the promised investment in a home for Arsenal Ladies. Did he also mention training facilities for them?

  6. Regarding the media outcry over our ticket prices (again), could somebody from the Untolds ‘brains trust’ please put together some kind of definitive explanation/breakdown of our ticket prices and how they compare with other Clubs.

    Why I ask this is because I read something along these lines on here a long time ago, that showed how, once you dig a little deeper, our prices, whilst a lot of money, are nothing like as bad as they are portrayed in the press.

    The reason I need this is because I get stick about this at work and from family, and I insist it’s not as bad as it seems, but I haven’t got enough knowledge (Basically I’m too stupid to remember all that I’ve read) to back myself up so I just have to swallow it.

    If I had something in black and white that would be a great help.

    Can anyone put up an article breaking it all down and showing how we compare in reality rather than just having to rely on the Medias take on it?

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  7. There was something of a row in the room over the payment to My Kroenke’s company and yes at one point the chairman did threaten to stop the meeting if questions persisted over the matter. There is absolutely no way of getting any detailed information regarding the payment or if it in any way represents ‘value for money’. The chairman did intimate that there is no written contract covering the work which is entirely ad-hoc. Mhilst £3m is a lot of money it does represent less than 1% of turnover abs so, in the global scheme of things, it is a relatively small sum. The whole thing did leave a sour taste in the mouth and threatened to spoil an otherwise enjoyable occasion. In my opinion neither the Club, Chairman or Mr Kroenke come out of it with any credit. The whole matter needs to be dealt with in a far more transparent matter should it arise again.

  8. I think we would all welcome the developement of a ladies facility to keep us up at the top of the game. We have had a lot of success in the brief history (comparitively) of the team. It is certainly very noteworthy that a spud I know is livid that they do not have a women’s team. She even attempted to raise it at an AGM but was greeted with humour which implied they were not interested in having anything to do with the idea. Great to have something to wind up a spud, absolutely great.

  9. Why is there a fuss over the £3m to KSE? Ivan takes £2m, did anyone question the value in that?

  10. 1. I see nothing wrong with the owner of a company taking some dividends out of the company within reason. Given the size of Arsenal, 3 million quid is reasonable. I suspect that it is labelled as a fee for services to avoid giving dividends to Mr. Usmanov.

    2. EVERYTHING is more expensive in London so it would make sense that ticket prices would be, too. The business about our ticket prices being particularly expensive is just another stick to hit Arsenal with. Whether we have the most expensive tickets or the 5th most expensive though, is somewhat irrelevant – they are expensive by any metric. The club pays crazy wages and the transfer market is dominated by teams underwritten by nation-states so it tries to generate the funds needed. I Don’t particularly like the cost of tickets but I understand why. I particularly object to people saying that Arsenal must Splash the Cash and on the other hand want Arsenal to have lower ticket prices…We can’t have it both ways.

  11. And regarding this rather contentious issue:

    “There was a significant level of discussion in the room concerning the £3 million payment to KSE for the second year running. The initial response by Sir Chips to the three questions raised regarding this payment were met with considerable derision from some sections of the audience.”

    My question is. What is the point?

    According to Forbes Kroenke’s personal wealth is estimated at some 7.6 Billion Dollars.

    Even if the payment of £3 million is all valid and above board.

    Even if KSL do do enough ‘work’ to justify billing the Club £3 million for it, why bother?

    It causes more trouble than it’s worth. All it does it create bad feeling.

    I mean, even if the £3 Million this year, and the £3 Million last year, went towards creating the £160 Million increase in revenues, and was therefore money well earned, is it really worth taking it.

    Seems to me whatever it’s for, justified or not, it’s nothing more than a public relations own goal.

    We have a tough enough time with the media and certain sections of our own fans, including shareholders, without self inflicted damage.

    As I say, what is the point?

  12. I don’t think there is anything wrong with KSE taking money out of the club. Arsenal are a corporation after all and KSE own two thirds. As far as I can see, the £3m is KSE’s sole source of income from the club. The share price appreciation can only be realised if they sell some of it. However, Sir Chips should have been more forthcoming in his response to legitimate questions raised on this matter- why dress it all up with a vague “wide range of services”…

    The living wage issue should have been handled better as well. “That one again..” was an utterly irresponsible comment to make. I understand that the issue is not the club’s fault entirely- with the stewards being sub-contracted and therefore not being directly employed by Arsenal (though I would be happier with the club doing its very best to ensure that they do in fact get the living wage). When you have all those reasonable arguments to make, why would you say something as insensitive as that and paint the club as the villain?

    Yup, I was confused by Amy Lawrence’s article as well. Nothing in the body of the article suggested that he threatened to end the meeting. According to the following article in the Express, (,
    he apparently said “That is my last answer on the question, thank you ladies and gentleman. Please, no more or I shall have to close the meeting.”

  13. Jambug – completely agree re £3m. Just pointlessly provocative.

    Re ticket prices. Arsenal’s season tickets are spread over 26 games, of which only 19 are League. Therefore price should be multiplied by 19/26. Further the cup games have, for the last 15 years, all been either CL or FA Cup. No mention of LC games being sold at £20/£10.

  14. If we want to see payments made for outside services, I recommend that we employ a better public relations office that might be able to deflect the bad press we get from many angles.

  15. If we are to see payments made for outside services, I recommend that we employ a better public relations office that might be able to deflect the bad press we get from many angles.

  16. I think Sir Chips Keswick has something to hide from the Arsenal’s AGM participants. Otherwise, why did he threatened to end the meeting if the participants will not stop asking him the shady £3m paid to KSE( Stan Kroenke). Kroenke took £2m from AFC last year under false pretences and repeated same again under a different disguise, to make it a total of £5m he has trickly took from the club aided and abetted by Sir Chips Keswick I must say. Despite his weekly wages and that of his Son which are good, Stan Kroenke still have the audacity to be siphoning money away from Arsenal account under dubious means. I think those 2 payments paid to him should be investigated by the financial crime commission in England to ascertain the genuineness of those payments. Who knows, we could have another case of disloyal payments on our hands. If Mr Kroenke wants to take money away from Arsenal, let him do it through the accepted nouns of transparency.

  17. Many thanks for the report.

    I think the most interesting bit is what Arsene Wenger said. His figures comparing how many people work at Arsenal compared with when he started, and how many people assist him, are astonishing.

    I suppose this must also be true of other big premier league clubs. It shows how big top football has become. No wonder people who are rich on a world scale like Kroenke are now attracted to it.

    I’m glad Arsene Wenger said he wouldn’t want shares. To him Arsenal is almost a mission, certainly not a business. His interview on talking about team spirit and comparing it to a flower – what other manager would say anything like that?

  18. I will return to the £3m payment in a follow up article in the next few days. It will take a good few hours for me to write up all of my notes relating to the questions and present everything in a sensible format and I’m afraid my time constraints mean that it will be Sunday before I can realistically promise to get it done. More next week on this subject.

    For what it’s worth I also can’t see that the value of the payment is worth the hassle but we will never have the full facts to decide one way or another.

  19. Thanks for the informative article, Andrew. Ok, KSE might have taken whatever they took, but it their source of income and small change in the grand scheme of things. How much are the glazers taking out of United? Compare the two figures and amount of publicity they each got…, very disproportionate.

  20. 3 million….not much in the scheme of things….but clearly a source of annoyance, as we do not know exactly what it is for.
    It seems our data analysis, training and fitness regimes are being massively revamped, Wenger says he has 20 people feeding him data….strange as the aaa have him down as some dinosaur Luddite. Is this three mil just a dividend type payment, or are stans people using US sports expertise to recruit these behind the scenes people….and if so , does it cost three million. We will probably never know., but my sleep will not be lost over it despite having some concerns.
    Hear Wenger and Gazidis were pretty impressive.
    Just hope reports …sorry interpretations of Wenger hinting he will not sign a new contract are greatly exaggerated as we enter a bright new era , one that he has done so much to bring about

  21. It may not be a vast sum but it’s not trifling either and it seems that last years payment has set a precedent which will be repeated until somebody actually gives the full details of what it’s for.

  22. Got to be honest I don’t worry too much about Kroenke in general, or this 3 mill payment.

    My take is, if Kroenke’s a bad ‘un, either : (A) Wenger sees, but doesn’t care; (B) Wenger has misjudged what type of person he is ; (C) Wenger sees, but thinks he’s not too much of a bad ‘un (not as billionaires go, anyway); (D) Wenger sees, but has invested too much emotionally to do anything (and the only thing he could do if he thought Kroenke would,eventually, take the piss somehow, is leave) about it.

    In other words, my faith in Wenger as an intelligent principled person with a great love of Arsenal football club makes me think Kroenke must be a decent enough owner.

    Might Kroenke sell up a few years down the line for a vast profit to someone like the Glazers, or worse? Possibly.

    But If Wenger’s as good a man as most of us think he is, then he, with access to immensely superior information than anyone outside the small inner circle, presumably thinks that probably won’t happen. That’s enough for me.

    The 3 million payment is painful to me only in the hassle it brings, mostly from those who now clearly have a pathological determination to find fault.

    I’d prefer to have 3 million extra in the coffers, or an owner you could trust 100% to only ever act in the club’s best interests, but it feels like cause for gratitude every last day we are not owned by someone who has done what the Glazers did, or someone whose wealth was earned even more dubiously.

    2015. Billionaires. The top end of the Premier league. Not too bad might be as good as it gets.

  23. I dont think taking dividends out of he club is a bad thing, provided the finances are healthy and the dividends are reasonable enough.

    Now if KSE gets paid dividends masked as payments for services, its wrong isnt it. Morally wrong. All the other share holders should get the same.

    BUT if its really for payment for advisory services, why not be transparent about the nature of services availed. Its not some xyz asking you. Its one of the shareholders.

    about the AGM in general,

    Mr Wenger believes this season is ours. From the twitter feed that I kept tabs on, Mr Wenger is optimistic about our chances for the title this season. And when he believes………should there be any doubts???…

    Go Gunners..

  24. Taken from another site a very important answer from Ivan Gazidis in which he clearly has a somewhat hidden message:

    Q: What are the club’s plans for the incoming cash influx of the new TV rights deal?

    IG: Collective responsibility for Premier League to ensure that it’s a league that fans all over the world want to watch, that means investing in facilities for fans, investing in players, better referees. For Arsenal, it means investment across the club to ensure that we compete.

    Those words investing in better referees….. It seems someone is reading Untold…. 😉

  25. Walter – Unfortunately “investing in better referees” could have unpleasant connotations as well! But I sincerely hope not – and really don’t believe Arsenal would stoop into the gutter. But financing a “golden goodbye” for Riley would be worth every penny!!

  26. I think Gazidis was referring to what should be done with the PL money in general and hinted at the same time that the referee standard is not what it should be. Having a dig at Riley one could say… hope it doesn’t backfire…

  27. It’s easy to immediately jump to the worst conclusions; its understandable that some might suggest something dodgy going on. However, its entirely possible that this money is for legitimate services rendered, that we don’t want to reveal publicly for competitive reasons. Given the amount is so little in relative terms, I’m tempted to think there is a legitimate reason for the payments.

  28. Al

    “How much are the glazers taking out of United? Compare the two figures and amount of publicity they each got…, very disproportionate.”

    Very good point.


    “my faith in Wenger as an intelligent principled person with a great love of Arsenal football club makes me think Kroenke must be a decent enough owner”

    Basically that’s my take on it. Starting from the premise that I ‘Trust’ Wenger, and believe he has the long term good of the Club at the heart of everything he does, even if everything he does isn’t perfect, I cannot see him working comfortably along side people he thought where doing things detrimental to the Clubs long term well being.

    “The 3 million payment is painful to me only in the hassle it brings, mostly from those who now clearly have a pathological determination to find fault.”

    Similarly here. As Andrew points out, the money we are talking about is as little as just 1% of Arsenals turnover. So financially, whilst being a fortune to you and me, it is really just a spit in the ocean for AFC as a business, as I’m sure it is for KSE. So again, why bother? It’s just not worth all the hassle.

    On a broader level sometimes Arsenals PR does leave a lot to be desired.

    In the Summer we have Wenger getting battered from all sides to ‘Spend the f***ing money’. Now personally I have no doubt Wenger was looking, but nobody was available at the right price. Benzema said he didn’t want to move. His Club said he wasn’t going anywhere. BUT, I believe had Wenger offered £75 Million, and £200K a week, we would of got him.

    Everybody has a price. But is he worth that? NO. But it doesn’t make life easy for Wenger when right in the middle of all this the CEO starts bragging about £200 Million available to spend. I doubt (but don’t know) that is even true, but it has become a fact whether it is or isn’t.

    A massive PR own goal.

    And now at the AGM we have this £3 Million and the evasive way it is being explained, or not as the case may be.

    As well as the dismissive, disrespectful, and frankly ‘just not good enough’ response to the question of the Minimum wage issue relating to our catering sub contractors.

    Personally I think we really do have to take a long hard look at the way we project ourselves in the broader sense. From these ‘own goals’ to allowing the media to print and say things that are either massively distorted, half truths, or worse lies, without ever challenging them.

    AFC need to get there PR act together because as Rich says there a lot of folk out there with a “pathological determination to find fault” in everything we do.

  29. Jambug

    On that last point. Think I mentioned a few times before that in the days before finding this site my destination for Arsenal debate tended to be comments sections of newspapers (mainly Guardian but also Mail). Anyway, caught up this week with someone I used to interact with quite a lot there and once had some common ground with. Or so I thought.

    Their take, at tail end of 2013/14 was that Wenger had, sadly, lost it. Sad was the main point- it made this person sad because they respected him, thought he was great once and, if I remember right, they thought he was a very good man, perhaps too good for modern football.

    If I remember right, they also thought the main cause of us going form title winners/ strong contenders to not winning trophies was,well, what we tend to think here : restricted finances for us, tremendous finances for rivals. They may even have, also like us, believed our task was made even harder than it should be by bad refereeing and a complicit media.

    So, i believed I had some common ground with this person, and ended up ,in one of our last conversations, saying ‘we’re less than a year into better finances; I fully believe we will improve even if it takes a little time; and if we don’t improve, let alone if we get worse (as they prophesized) Wenger will go’

    Their reply was basically that I’m wrong, oh but how they wished I was right, but just wait and see. The suggestion was that they were, not long ago, where I am (and most of our conversations took place after the horrible Chelsea and Liverpool defeats that year!) : disturbed by a few things but, after shaking themselves down, re-asserting the belief that, hang on, given the finances and whatnot, the case is not there that another manager would have done better, nor is the case there that any manager will do better from now.

    Anyway, all this to get to the point of my tale : I happened to make a comment again in the Guardian (about looking forward to seeing how the Arsenal lads do at under 17 world cup) and they happened to reply. Remembering the name, I went and looked at their comment history.

    So what has happened to this person who claimed : to respect Wenger and be sad about him, in their opinion, no longer being the right man; that the club would not improve while he was the boss? What has happened when- hurrah- they’ve been proved wrong and we have won trophies again and clearly improved? Well, they’ve become much much more negative about our performance and our manager. They are critical about every last thing he and the club do, believing we are doing wrong form youth level up. Doom, doom, doom, is there take.

    It’s my best clue yet that once someone has decided something is seriously wrong with club or manager, too often there is absolutely no way back. The evidence does not matter. If they are proved wrong- we can’t win trophies; we do win trophies- the goalposts then have to be moved.

    Outlandish as it seems, these people tend to operate as though the club doing well is actually bad news for them and their ego. They can’t handle it. So even though they probably do still want us to succeed each game, their behaviour reveals it is almost a relief when we don’t. Doesn’t matter if we’d been on a good run beforehand, or won a trophy in each of the previous two games, bam, a poor result is seized upon, the negativity hose is turned on full blast again.

    Some, and perhaps ole Piers is one, will have no real problem should their doom predictions be proved spectacularly wrong; they’ll want to jump right in and claim their share of joy, ignoring the fact they insisted it couldn’t happen, probably while repeatedly denigrating and insulting Wenger in the process. Others, I suspect, will have a harder time of it, maybe only privately but that still leaks through.

    On the line for them is their football judgement and their wider judgement also, and it’s not just about feeling foolish if they are proved wrong, there’s also the matter of a guilty conscience.

    I’ve never understood how you could justify insulting and abusing Wenger even if you believed he was no longer a great manager, but those who do so always claim their core motivation is love of the club- they love the club, he is hurting the club; it makes them angry, they have a right to display that anger- so what happens if, against their proclamations/predictions, we improve, trophies return, our squad improves, we start doing much better in big games, we stop losing our best players, we make a few stellar signings?

    What happens? Well, judging by this old pal of mine, many people are in a fight to the death to justify their previous position.

    Only the league title will do, basically, and even then there will be plenty who talk immediately about the champions league, or only 1 league title in over a decade!

    It’s massively irritating and, I think, adds unnecessary tension for all of us and actually hinders Wenger’s work a little, but we’re all pretty battle-hardened in it by now.

    We’ve had a great chance to learn some interesting things about the psychological make-ups of fellow supporters, which we never would have if the great times had kept rolling smoothly, and we’ve some bloody good players to watch this season and beyond.

    Plus, it’s still very much alive, that dream of getting to see us win a title under Wenger again.

  30. Let us just be glad that the 3 million is openly taken for services. Elsewhere, 11+ million was taken in stealth & exposed by an inquiry.

    A majority shareholder in a company can pass payments within reason & could be taken to task if any shareholder has evidence of fraud. However, making a whole load of noise is not going to do the company any good.

    My view is that the company is being held on an even keel & steered for the benefit of all involved, including the fans.

  31. Rich

    ‘Irritating’ beyond belief in fact.

    Out of all of it, this is the sort of thing I find the most irritating:

    -If only Wenger had spent a bit more money we would of one the PL by now.

    Then in the next breath.

    -Blaming our lack of trophies on the oil money is just an excuse.

    So in other words, Wenger spending just a little bit more money (the tight git) would of made all the difference, whilst City and Chelsea spending £100’s of Millions is neither here nor there.

    I agree entirely with what I believe is the crux of your post, in that they’ve dug themselves into such a hole that they just cant find a way to dig themselves out of it without losing face.

  32. ‘Out of all of it, this is the sort of thing I find the most irritating:

    -If only Wenger had spent a bit more money we would of one the PL by now.

    Then in the next breath.

    -Blaming our lack of trophies on the oil money is just an excuse.’

    In the end, everything really comes down to that, doesn’t it.

    If people are willing to show any honesty plus intelligence in debating those years, in order to hammer Wenger they have to either : claim money isn’t that big an issue in determining success; claim the gap in our finances with the biggest spenders wasn’t that huge; claim we had much more money available than we spent; or, and perhaps best of all, the one you mention, where they admit money is of gargantuan importance, and we had quite a lot less…but then make comments or a series of comments which can only stand if you ignore the issue of money.

    It’s enough to leave a person feeling smug, for a second or two-because you’ve simply got to be a dope to believe any of those things I outlined above- but that soon passes when you remember how little that truth counts for in terms of all the damn noise and nonsense, from amateurs and professionals alike, in the great football debate.

    You’re right to say irritating, even ‘massively irritating’, is far too mild a term for it.

    If we can triumph over teams who have spent 100s of millions more than us, it will be a sensational feat; if we even get close, it represents good work. I guess it’ll have to be enough to know that personally and know there are others who feel the same.

  33. Rich

    It seems to me that for many, the only way to resolve this conundrum is to claim that Wenger actually DID have the money all along, he just chose not to spend it.

    By doing so they can somehow reconcile there muddled thesis, by on the one hand claiming that the lack of spending by Wenger is the reason for Arsenals failure, and yet on the other hand, claiming that the spending of vast amounts of money by city and Chelsea is somehow irrelevant to there success.

    Double talk if ever I heard it.

  34. Jambug

    You’ve nicely nailed about half of my old nemesis Durham’s schtick with that one. When he even tries for logical consistency in his evaluation of the Wenger years, that claim – he had plenty of money all along- is absolutely essential.

    He can’t go into too much detail of course, because it doesn’t add up- the facts of what was spent, or the facts of what the clubs income was- but ,for a man of his integrity, looking honestly at all the details is not anything like the aim. The cash reserves are of course an absolute Godsend for such an operator. 200 million. 200 million!

    Not coincidentally, the harshest Wenger critics on this site are also utterly reliant on that premise. If you admit money is pretty damn important, and we had three rivals with absolutely incredible wealth, in order to say we underperformed the only option is to say we had lots more money available to spend than we did spend.

    Any doubts I have about those cash reserves- and I’ll admit I don’t fully understand that figure, nope- disappear when I look at our earnings next to Utd’s (Chelsea’s and City’s are just pretend ones in my book).

    Utd are on course to earn something like 100 million more than us every year for the foreseeable future. That’s a lot, and it’s structural. Any time we’re in a fight, and indirectly we always are, with them on wages or transfer fees, they have an almighty advantage. Year after year it barely matters if their mega-spending of the year before hasn’t gone brilliantly, they just have another crack.

    Don’t know if you remember but I mentioned Martial a few days before they went for him and got him. I’d seen a few glimpses and thought ‘whoa, now that could be a Wenger signing’. So it stung pretty good when he went there, because it clarified so well for me that for some time to come we are unlikely to win the race for players who fit that bill.

    If someone emerges who looks like they have a great chance of being a superstar, Utd and of course City can pay fees which make sense for them but don’t for us. We could not commit 80 million for Martial, no fricking way, even if we thought there was an excellent chance that in a few years he could well be worth that. Even if we were almost certain, still we couldn’t do it.

    That transfer summed up the situation very nicely for me. We’re in a much better place now, but it is an absolute nonsense to suggest we are even close to parity financially.

    However, while we’ve the man in charge who got Sanchez for 35 million there’s plenty of hope.

    There’s a lot riding on these next couple of years- we do great, Utd do poorly, and we can close some of that structural gap.

    Fingers crossed, and the absolute ideal is to do it while integrating another Coquelin or Bellerin from within. Doing that while Utd join City and Chelsea in spend, spend,spend would be pretty damn delightful.

    Now that’s me done for the weekend, cos each time I realise how happy and optimistic I’m feeling about the team , I remember tomorrow’s game and get this weird feeling!

  35. Rich

    Re: Martial

    Indeed I do recall his name being mentioned as a potential Wenger target, closely followed by the revelation that United where on his trail, leading to the inevitable conclusion of, ‘well that’s us out of the race for him then’.

    Once United where in for him, or if City or Chelsea had been, we had no chance, and you sum that situation up perfectly, thus:

    “That transfer summed up the situation very nicely for me. We’re in a much better place now, but it is an absolute nonsense to suggest we are even close to parity financially.”

    A similar scenario with Benzema as I suggested earlier. I think we could possibly of got him if money was no option. Martials Club didn’t want to sell him but have said something along the lines of ‘when someone offers stupid money like that we had to take it’ or words to that effect. As I suggested if we’d offered £75 Million and £200K a week wages we may of got Benzema. No? Well how about £90 Million/£250K ? No? Well how about….. ? Well that’s enough, but you get my point. When money is no object you more often than not, get what you want.

    As you say, for us, money certainly is an object and anyone who suggests that for one second we are in a similar position financially to the oilers are living in Cuckoo land.

  36. Andrew Cranshaw:
    Very informative!
    I agree with you about the KSE money. Transparency is the key issue.
    We know Kroenke is not a Glazer, but he has admired their way of running Manure publicly.
    If the KSE money is not such a big deal, just say clearly what it is, “deflate” the issue.

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