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May 2021

The limit beyond which I cannot go in offering Arsenal my support.

By Tony Attwood

It’s been a little while since I looked at the table we drew up near the season’s start, showing how much money clubs had spent (less the money received) both over five years and over last summer.

It became clear very early on that the suggestions made in Untold that buying players doesn’t actually relate to position in the league table, either on a summer transfer basis or across five years was right.  There is precious little link between the money spent and the resultant position in the league.

Pos Team 5 yr cost Net Summer 2015
1 Manchester City £322m  £124m
2 Manchester Utd £300m  £33m
3 Chelsea £224m £32m
4 Liverpool! £163m £10m
5 Arsenal £99m  £8m
6 West Ham United £93m £27m
7 Newcastle United £68m £46m
8 Sunderland  £59m £22m
9 Crystal Palace £51m £21m
10 West Bromwich Albion £51m £27m
11 Leicester City £46m £20m
12 Norwich £43m £10m

Interestingly we are above the four teams who spent more than us over the past five years, in the current league table.

Of course some doubts have been thrown into the mix, because of the big question marks now sitting alongside Tottenham’s dealings with Real Madrid and certain Spanish banks that are currently forbidden by Spanish and European law from being involved in football transfer transactions, and we await the outcome of these enquiries.  But the figures are fairly reliable for all the other clubs in the league I think.

But leaving that club out of the mix we can still see that the level of transfer activity doesn’t have that much to do with position in the league.

Of course one obvious reason for this is that bringing players through from the youth team can affect the costings considerably.  If Arsenal had had to buy Iwobi, Coquelin and Bellerin, then the costs would have been much higher.  If Arsenal had not found Elneny by themselves and thus been able to buy him without competition from Man C, Man U, Chelsea and others all desperate to get their hands on new players, the price would have been much, much higher.

Chelsea, for example, with its failure to bring through anyone from the youth teams since J Terry, show why they have to have the oil billions.

We may therefore turn our attention to the other issue that always excites people who love a life of change and uncertainty: the manager.

During 2015/16 various Premier League managers have moved on, starting on 4th October when Dick Advocaat and Brendan Rodgers wandered away, Advocaat because he had had enough, walking away without any question of compensation.  Liverpool! however not for the first time had to pay out the cash to get rid of the man.

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Tim Sherwood went on 25 October followed by Garry Monk and Jose Mourinho.  Chelsea have pulled themselves together a bit, but are still not back to where they were last season. Villa remain where Sherwood left them.

So does changing the manager help?   If we go back to 2012/2013 and see who is doing better following the sacking

  1. Roberto Di Matteo – Chelsea (sacked) – better eventually, but had two more sackings since and still can’t find the right man.
  2. Mark Hughes – Queens Park Rangers (sacked) – still meandering.
  3. Nigel Adkins – Southampton (sacked) – yes, an improvement
  4. Brian McDermott – Reading (sacked) – 17th in the Championship
  5. Martin O’Neil – Sunderland (Sacked) – struggling again
  6. Roberto Mancini – Manchester City (sacked) – won the league cup this season, but well off the pace in the league
  7. Sir Alex Ferguson – Manchester United (retired) – on their second manager, and many want him out too.
  8. David Moyes – Everton (left to join Man Utd) – a disaster at Man U, out of work after overseas ventures, making a prat of himself on TV
  9. Rafa Benitez – Chelsea (interim contract not renewed) – went to Real Mad, sacked, now at Newcastle.

Out of those nine, I’d say one club is better off today, having sacked a manager.

2013/2014 Season

  1. Paolo Di Canio – Sunderland (sacked) – still ready for relegation
  2. Ian Holloway – Crystal Palace (sacked) – an improvement for a while, now 16th
  3. Martin Jol – Fulham (sacked) – 21st in championship
  4. Steve Clarke – West Brom (sacked) – 11th in league
  5. Andre Villas-Boas – Tottenham (sacked) – yes an improvement
  6. Malky Mackay – Cardiff City (sacked) – 7th in Championship, not threatening to get back to PL
  7. Michael Laudrup – Swansea City (sacked) – 15th in the PL
  8. Rene Meulensteen – Fulham (sacked) – 21st in championship
  9. Chris Hughton – Norwich City (sacked) – 17th in PL and thanking the gods for the existence of Villa etc
  10. David Moyes – Manchester United (sacked) – still trying to get back in top four
  11. Pepe Mel – West Bromwich Albion (mutual consent) 11th
  12. Tim Sherwood – Tottenham (sacked) – yes an improvement
  13. Mauricio Pochettino – Southampton (resigned) – he was doing well, as did the next guy

Interestingly when we look at the 2014/15 sackings in the PL it is the same clubs doing the sacking over and over and over again.

  • Neil Warnock – Crystal Palace (sacked)
  • Alan Irvine – WBA (sacked)
  • Alan Pardew – Newcastle (sacked)
  • Arry Redknapp – QPR (resigned due to ill health!!!!!)
  • Paul Lambert – Aston Villa (sacked)
  • Gus Poyet – Sunderland (sacked)
  • Sam Allerdyce – WHU end of contract

So the truth remains, neither buying lots of players nor sacking managers gives a club success, but most clubs continue to believe the opposite.

Anyway to finish off, I noted that there was some criticism of our list of who we might have as our next manager when Mr W retires, which certainly won’t be this summer.  So here are some more names to play with and some we had before.

Now it is a funny ol’ list but I took it from a bookies site – and it is in the order of odds, with the bottom few being on 100/1.  But the list doesn’t end there – it goes on with the chance to put money on the likes of Tony Adams and David O’Leary at around 150 to 1.

  1. Joachim Low
  2. Ronald Koeman
  3. Dennis Bergkamp
  4. Quique Flores
  5. Patrick Vieira
  6. Thierry Henry
  7. Manuel Pellegrini
  8. Diego Simeone
  9. Dragan Stojkovic
  10. Thomas Tuchel
  11. Brendan Rodgers
  12. Jose Mourinho
  13. Michael Laudrup
  14. Roberto Martinez
  15. Jorge Sampaoli
  16. Slaven Bilic
  17. Frank de Boer
  18. Garry Monk
  19. Phillip Cocu
  20. Steve Bould
  21. Roberto Mancini
  22. Vincenzo Montella
  23. Laurent Blanc
  24. Mauricio Pochettino
  25. Boro Primorac
  26. Guus Hiddink
  27. Didier Deschamps
  28. Andre Villas-Boas
  29. Marco van Basten
  30. Frank Rijkaard
  31. Marcello Lippi
  32. Dick Advocaat
  33. Mikel Arteta
  34. Jurgen Klopp
  35. Pep Guardiola
  36. Gary Neville
  37. Carlo Ancelotti
  38. Jurgen Klinsmann
  39. Paul Clement
  40. Jean Tigana
  41. Remi Garde
  42. Ralf Rangnick
  43. Sven Goran Eriksson
  44. Alex Ferguson
  45. Fabio Capello
  46. Luis Felipe Scolari
  47. Alan Pardew
  48. Steve McClaren
  49. Rafa Benitez
  50. Roy Hodgson

Having got to fifty I am breaking in because some of the names around here are so wonderful.   Would we for example have Pardew?   Or Gary Neville?  And what about the Alex Ferguson at 44?   Or in the remaining nine…Hoddle, Graham, Redknapp, Moyes and oh my look at the very last player on the list.

  1. Glenn Hoddle
  2. Martin O’Neill
  3. George Graham
  4. Louis Van Gaal
  5. Harry Redknapp
  6. Ruud Gullit
  7. Martin Jol
  8. David Moyes
  9. Sam Allardyce

Yet people are offering odds on Allardyce to be the next Arsenal manager.  And you know that guy who was going off to support Leicester because we didn’t win a specific game… well if we did put the extremely large Sam in charge, I would go back to Poole Town and Torquay United.  I would still support Arsenal, but not the board that installed The Very Large one.

So I have just proved to myself that yes, there is somewhere out there, a limit beyond which I could not go in giving my support.

Untold Books

Danny Karbassiyoon’s book “The Arsenal Yankee” with a foreword by Arsene Wenger will be published on Tuesday 29 March.   You can buy the book…

  • On line here for £14.95, plus delivery
  • Or by phone on 01536 399 011 using a credit card.
  • Or by Pay Pal to  Don’t forget to enter the title of the book and your delivery address on the Pay Pal site, and calculate the full amount including delivery, see below.
  • Or by post to Hamilton House Mailings Ltd., Earlstrees Ct., Earlstrees Rd., Corby, Northants NN17 4HH with a cheque.

The cost of packing and delivery is UK £3.95, EU £4.95, Rest of world: £5.95, and that applies irrespective of the number of books ordered.   The book is also available on Kindle.

77 comments to The limit beyond which I cannot go in offering Arsenal my support.

  • nicky

    In the present climate of obscene escalation in players transfer fees, money spent on signing players can bear little resemblance to true value.
    Nevertheless, unless clubs fail to ignore interim conditions and spend reasonably freely, they will be left behind in the race for success. 😉

  • rich

    I think the answer on this one is a bit more complicated. To me it’s about how much you are spending relative to rivals and for how long.

    For instance, if PSG had only gone crazy for one Summer, that might not have been enough to secure dominance of the French league. There’d very likely have been a few misses with whatever hits they got, and even if they did extraordinarily well you probably wouldn’t be able to secure enough top players in one year to dominate the league for years to come.

    However, if you massively outspend your rivals for three or four years on the spin, that should, unless you have recruited implausibly badly, put you at the top of the pile.

    Of course, though, it varies from country to country, because it matters what other clubs in your league are spending. Also, it matters what other clubs in other leagues are spending.

    If you’re the only club in your league or in Europe spending, say, 100 million in a year, that is an entirely different proposition than if there are another 5 or 6 clubs who can do the same.

    Things change quickly, and City have certainly found this since their golden summer of Toure, Aguero and Silva.

    80 or a hundred million or whatever it was would now buy about half those three (as they were at the time) and the competition for the signature of players of that stature is now a lot more intense.

    So, if ffp was done and dead, and if City said to hell with it we will spend absolutely anything no matter how obscene, and then found fellow giants were willing to deal with them, it would not be impossible for them to go and have a 300-500 million splurge- say, Pogba, Varane, Reus, Neur, Aubameyang, Bale, Krychowiak.

    That or similar would give a near guarantee of the league. Fact is, the current balance of power would make that tremendously difficult to accomplish. The occasional superstar might just give up their inevitable preference of Bayern, Real, Barca for the promise of an extra 50% or so in wages, but most won’t, and the megaclubs are wealthy enough to resist even the most outlandish offers.

    However, I would expect a similar thing to be achieved if they ‘just’ throw 100-200 million at it every year.

    I might not have done a good job here of expressing my scepticism that there is little link between money spent and league position, but I’m sure there’s a good argument to be made against it.

    What exactly accounts for Chelsea and City’s rise, otherwise, not to forget Utd spent pretty heavily to keep themselves up there? And PSG?!

    The deeply interesting figures in the table point for me to it being the case that the relationship between money and success is not as straightforward as many suggest, and that the premier league is currently a bit of a basket case.

    Predicting the immediate future of this league/patient seems very difficult to me, but i find it hard to believe it will continue to buck the trend of large spending (consistently, for years) ensuring you spend most of your time near the top or securing outright domination.

    Things are bound to be different here, with two owner-funded cash giants, one commercial behemoth, and all clubs now enjoying access to unprecedented levels of cash via the tv deal.

    We should find out a bit more about how different the league is this summer.

    Historically, what happens when a team upsets the league as Leicester and Spurs are doing is that richer clubs should swoop in and break up the team. I doubt that’ll happen here, for now.

    I see things as being roughly how they’ve been in the last few years for us: it would be ridiculous to try spend as the richest do, as we are not as rich as them; but we should also be prepared to push ourselves close to our limits if appropriate, and we do have to try calculate the risks of one or more of the richest actually getting it right with their inevitable outsize spending

    Thankfully, we have a large squad now, with a lot of talented players. With the composition of the squad, I feel like,say, 60-70 million well spent this summer could leave us in a better position than rivals who spend double that.

    My sense is that we are in a good position, with the right manager, to make that happen.

    I find it hard to imagine feeling optimistic though in any scenario where we spend very little and a number of the main rivals spend huge amounts again. I don’t think they can all keep doing as poorly as they’ve been indefinitely, and don’t think we are yet in near perfect shape.

  • Nonny

    What a shocking list of Managers on offer. To be frank only about a handful of this list will cross the board mind and how many can we really say have a tendency to be more successful than AW, maybe 1 or 2.

    Just like you, I have a limit. Been a Nigerian, Kanu’s exploits (hattrick againt Chelsea) brought me to Arsenal. Love for the style and what the club stands for has kept me all this while.

    Mourinho or his like will push me away. Meanwhile don’t expect anyone more than 50 yrs to be the next manager.

    Remembering all those who are suffering terrorism attack. Terrorists will never succeed
    #prayforbrussels #Nototerrorism

  • Lies, damn lies and statistics. While spending and sacking does quarantee success, not spending and failing to address underperformance will surely quarantee failure. Man city and Chelsea have demonstrated that spending and sacking can bring success. How long would Barcelona be the top team in the world if they did not spend heavily on players, despite their academy? I do believe keeping Wenger was the best quarantee of success in a scenario of limited spending, but if more had been invested in the squad, eg if Suarez had been bought and Van Persie not sold, then the pl would have been won by now (probably)

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I think the issue of who will manage Arsenal next after the Boss has left will depend on 1st, will Arsenal fail to win the title this season? And 2ndly, would the Boss survive the mounting pressure by a vocal section of the Arsenal fans, largely of the AOBs who have been putting pressure on him to leave if Arsenal fail to win the title this season, and will he still continue to be the Arsenal manager next season if Arsenal finaly to win the title this season?

    These 2 questions have no easy answers to them. But should Arsenal win the title this season afterall, the answers to the 2 questions will become simple to answer as the Boss will have his current deal extented by another 3 years. And Ozil will continue to remain at Arsenal if his comments in the Arsenal magazine are to be taken with any seriousness.

    A peaceful departure of the Boss from Arsenal in 2020 could lead to Steve Bould succeeding him at the helm of affairs at Arsenal if transition at Arsenal is to be orderly.

  • Missed the “not” in second line!

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I think the issue of who will manage Arsenal next after the Boss has left will depend on 1st, will Arsenal fail to win the title this season? And 2ndly, would the Boss survived the mounting pressure by a vocal section of the Arsenal fans, largely of the AOBs who have been putting pressure on him to leave if Arsenal fail to win the title this season, and will he still continue to be the Arsenal manager next season if Arsenal finaly to win the title this season?

    These 2 questions have no easy answers to them. But should Arsenal win the title this season afterall, the answers to the 2 questions will become simple to answer as the Boss will have his current deal extented by another 3 years. And Ozil will continue to remain at Arsenal if his comments in the Arsenal magazine are to be taken with any seriousness.

    A peaceful departure of the Boss from Arsenal in 2020 could lead to Steve Bould succeeding him at the helm of affairs at Arsenal if transition at Arsenal is to be orderly.

  • Andy Mack

    Whilst I basically agree with your comment “That or similar would give a near guarantee of the league” in relation to $iteh, I would add that it wouldn’t guarantee success in the same season. As has been said many times, many players take a season to ‘bed in. What’s more this would only work because they have a squad with some real depth in it already. Many forget that both the Chavs and $iteh had a few years of serious spending before the Russian and Arab money appeared and allowed them to spend without thought.

  • Andy Mack

    Luscious lisa, I trust you appreciate when you say “if Suarez had been bought” that we tried that but the player declined. That’s not the fault of AFC.

  • upp

    Tnx Tony for showing that our failure to win the league these years has little to do with the money spent by our rivals. I trust in future I won’t have to trudge through articles on this site claiming money was the reason

  • upp

    @andy, my personal opinion is arsenal offered £1 above the “clause”. Barcelona offered about £35m above that amount. Therefore if we say arsenal tried, we’ll need to create a new word to describe what barca did

  • Pat


    Have you forgotten, the owner and manager of Liverpool lied and told Arsenal that the figure was not in Suarez’s contract when it was. Then quite a while later the owner admitted it was in the contract. Only he didn’t exactly ‘admit’ it, he declared it with pride. Pleased to pronounce himself a liar and a cheat.

    It is quite hard to do business with people like that.

    That’s why some of Arsenal’s finest signings have been done under the radar. Good thing our manager and our scouts are so good.

  • upp

    @pat, I’m sorry I don’t quite get your point

  • insideright

    Tony- as well as Elneny costing a great deal more in a competitive market I wonder how much Campbell would now be worth? All in all Wenger has established (or re-established) seven ‘new’ players into the first team squad in the last fifteen months (Cech, Bellerin, Gabriel Coquelin, Elneny, Iwobi and Campbell) at a total transfer market cost of a little more than £40m. There’s not a bad player amongst them and, in fact, they could all play in the same first eleven and all more than look the part.
    Rosicky, Arteta and Flamini have already been effectively replaced. And yet our manager is criticised for not planning ahead enough and not being brave enough to make changes. Stuck in his ways they say. What planet do these people inhabit?

  • upp

    Besides I don’t see the big deal. I stand to be corrected but a release clause doesn’t automatically activate a sale. If Liverpool felt their player based on the season he had was now worth more than the release clause I think it just means your negotiating team has a job to do, one for which they are paid. Arsenal felt adding £1 was a smart negotiation move, barca decided to add much more. I think the barca strategy worked out better

  • Gunner6

    Your argument seems to show as long as we offered serious money we would have bought the player. Ever thought about whether Suarez wanted to come at all? Or whether Liverpool would sell to a fellow competitor in the same league?
    Championship manager awaits……

  • finsbury

    , we’ll need to create a new word to describe what barca did

    Fraud and Taxevasion are already on the the dictionary old bean. Catch up.

    If you learn to pay attention you might even hear the term RICO Enterprise. You can do a web search to look that one up. Good luck.

    Otherwise if you want to attack AFC you could a) be honest and then b) chunder over to Le Racist Le Groan. Tooddle toot.

  • upp

    No. All I’m implying is that when the issue is looked at objectively you’d have to say the team that paid £75m tried much harder than the one that offered £4om +£1

  • upp

    You might want to relate your post to the debate, except you’re saying barca paid even more than £75m for suarez and has declared just the £75m so as to evade tax on the extra cost. In that case it would mean barca tried even harder than I have given them credit for

  • Gord

    I gather that Iwobi told The FA that he wasn’t interested. But, news is reporting that Iwobi is currently in the hospital for food poisoning (in Nigeria?). Did the FA send some bad food down there, because he spited them? Did they send 😈 Mike Riley down there to cook for him?

    Limits? If Arsenal hires Moaninho, I don’t think I could stay.

  • upp

    And why this obsession with the idea that AFC is being attacked? Even Tony in his “vapour transfer” theory believes arsenal wasn’t interested in getting suarez, it doesn’t have to be an attack on the club, just his view point. Anyway if you wanna act like a donald trump supporter@ his rally, be my guest and throw a trumpertantrum

  • finsbury

    “Barca tried even harder”

    It’s a hilarious troll.

    Barcelona? Oh dear you’re getting your federal districts mixed up agin aren’t you? Says here that the Qatari (independence from the square mile was apparently given in 1971 but that giant tower The Shard and the balance of London’s real estate might have something to say about that) Investment Fund “invests for growth” so there it is wasnt hard to find was it?
    If you are that desperate to give praise to Barcelona on an Arsenal blog then perhaps it would be helpful for your fellow Groaner if you pointed a dim light out of the sewer pipe and in the right direction? 2022!

  • upp

    I’m sorry Bro but I don’t have the faintest idea what your last post was about

  • finsbury

    Just how funny were the strange people who chose to buy into the trolling from the daily star?

    Almost as funny as the troll above.

  • Jerry

    I can handle Big Sam, but would a lot more irritated if it was Mourinho!

    You can not be serious with your 858 post. If you are, what is the point in having a release clause, if the team can just renegotiate a higher fee. Here is a better definition from a source (football manager) many of the people who keep saying spend spend spend will understand:

    The key sentences from that: “If a club bid’s the minimum fee set in a player’s contract in an initial payment, the player’s club cannot block the bid and must allow the bidder to talk to the player. Players with a minimum fee release clause can still be sold for less that the set fee, at the club’s discretion.”

    So why would any club bid higher than the release clause? And you conveniently forgot to mention, that Liverpool negotiated a new contract with Suarez the December after failing to comply with their legal obligations with Arsenal activating the release clause. Obviously they increased the release clause in the new contract which Barca had to match the next summer.

  • upp

    2 things
    1. I remember stating that I stand to be corrected as regards my views on the release clause. I’ll read your link now and find out what it says
    2. I’m aware suarez’s contract was renegotiated. However I don’t know the details of the new deal. I however doubt the new release clause was up to £75m. The point I made was the fee barca paid eventually was much higher than arsenal offered, I think that shows they tried harder for their man
    Now I’m off to read your link

  • upp

    At jerry I read your link, it didn’t help me much. So I went researching myself and found this. According to the PFA which mediated in the matter, the clause in suarez contract was a “good faith” type as against an “automatic” release clause. The difference between the two being that the good faith type doesn’t automatically initiate sales talks.

  • Jerry

    Apparently looking at it, Suarez’s camp even thought they had a release clause:

    “Suarez was considering submitting a formal transfer request and also the possibility of court action if the dispute was not resolved as he believed the second bid triggered a clause in his contract that allowed him to leave the Anfield club.”

    The PFA and PL had to side with Liverpool due to the slimey language they used in the release clause.

  • Jerry

    To add even more confusion to the situation, the Liverpool owner, Henry, admitted there was a 40 million clause in his contract:

    “Luis Suarez is the top scorer in the English Premier League, which is arguably the top soccer league in the world,” Henry is reported to have said. “He had a buyout clause of £40m. Arsenal, one of our prime rivals, offered £40m plus £1. What we’ve found … is that contracts don’t seem to mean a lot in England – actually, in world football.

    But more importantly, Luis Suarez wanted to go to Spain since his wife’s family is in Spain (actually Barcelona) so looks like it was more about family than money that made him move.

  • upp

    There’s no debate that there was a clause. However the PFA which I have to believe was impartial, found that to be a good faith type. I’m not an expert on such issues (and neither are you) so I’ll have to defer to the judgement of the experts. I don’t remember arsenal contesting the matter either

  • Jerry


    Yes the PFA stated it was a good faith clause rather than an actual release clause. The link I posted showed that the Suarez camp (Suarez, his agent Pere Guadiola, and a Spanish lawyer) believed he had a release clause and were all upset with it and also claimed the manager gave him a verbal agreement to allow him to leave if they didn’t qualify for Champions League. Even experts in contracts (such as his agent and lawyer) were tricked by sleazy language used.

    A release clause does automatically give permission for the club to negotiate with the player. No agent would negotiate for a “good faith” clause because it is legally and financially useless for the player and the agent. Liverpool were able to take advantage of Suarez’s agent probably due to a language barrier. But either way, still sleazy.

    So with a clause that amounts to meaning literally nothing, no reason for Arsenal to contest the matter. What also can’t be debated is that Suarez wanted to move to Barcelona also for reasons outside of football. At the time of his transfer he said:

    “This club did all they could to get me to stay, but playing and living in Spain, where my wife’s family live, is a lifelong dream and ambition. I believe now the timing is right.”

    So upping the bid, probably would not have made a difference. Liverpool also had Barcelona bent over since that was right before their transfer ban was to kick in.

  • Polo

    Suarez wanted to go to Barca, it’s well known that was his ambition, so even if Arsenal bid above Barca he would still choose Barca. I’m sure if there was a chance to sign Suarez, the Arsenal negotiator would do all they can to secure it, look at Ozil and Sanchez.

    It’s ridiculous the WOBs still bring up the Suarez situation to beat up AW.

  • ARSENAL 13

    I wonder if there is ever a thought process when they pick the candidates for the next manager after the board sacks (hahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahahahahhahahahahhaha…..pfffff) Mr Wenger at the end of this season.

    Henry!! seriously??? Last time I checked, he got his A license recently. And has zero experience in top level managing. So people wanting instant success do the math.

    BTW, I think therz atleast one more contract extension for Mr Wenger, if not 2.

  • Gord

    Nice comment Arsenal 13. I thought you were just good at cheering for the team during games. I have no idea how you got a dislike on that. My browser still doesn’t grok those likes/dislikes.

    Henry has less than zero experience. He has been doing muppet for TV. Look at Neville.

  • upp

    I believe we only began to hear about suarez wanting to go to barca in the transfer window after the one where we failed to get him. What we knew before then was that he wanted to go to a champions league team. So I believe we could have gotten him if we were willing to do the business. Probably as a stepping stone to his actual ambition of the big teams (barca/Madrid) as Liverpool was to him

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I really cannot stand the following , and will chose not to be anywhere around them.

    1. Zombies

    2. Vampires

    3. Them

    4. Mallites ( You know those weird and creepy people that hang out at malls .)

    5. Mimes

    Will add to list later.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Gord, thats me using the pot above the shoulders. Once a while…..

    Arsene Wenger is one of the best managers in world football. I just don’t understand how sacking (laughs…..) can bring about any instant success. Of course by hiring Henry (double laughs,…) who has zero experience at top level management. As Neville brothers prove the point everyday….

    Now if we had signed Suarez that summer and then sold him to Barca the next…..wonder what people would’ve talked, about our ambitions. Forgot Cesc-Barca saga everyone!!!!…

    Critics talk here about the possibilities and sundry. But what these people forget is that ARSENAL is not some amateur Sunday league team, Where bunch of ‘I know alls’ take decisions for it.
    Every detail is studied and scrutinized. Pros and cons looked at. PROFESSIONALLY.

  • Josif

    Weidenfeller-Bennett, Terry, Shawcross, Evra-Barton, Drinkwater-Robben, Vardy, Diego Costa, Arnautovic/Suarez. Manager: Jose Mourinho.

    Say no to racism.

    Say no to thugs in football.

    Say no to cowards.

    Say no to disgraceful human beings who give football a bad name.

    Oh, and poor Weidenfeller is here just because he is crap as a goalkeeper.

  • Menace

    upp – you are sooooo clever. I think Tony missed you off the list of potential managers.

  • Polo

    Not sure what else Arsenal can do to sign Suarez.

    ‘Suarez has been the subject of two bids from Premier League rivals Arsenal, with the second an eye-catching £40,000,0001.

    Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said both bids had been rejected and the club would not welcome any further offers for the 26-year-old.

    “It has never been our intention to sell Luis,” Ayre told reporters in Bangkok on Friday.

    “As has been widely reported in the media, we’ve received two separate offers from Arsenal for the player and we’ve rejected both offers.’

    If Liverpool didn’t want to sell how can Arsenal buy Suarez?

  • Jambug


    I agree entirely.

    “I think the answer on this one is a bit more complicated. To me it’s about how much you are spending relative to rivals and for how long.”


    Anomalies will happen. But the fact is the only 3 Clubs to win the PL since Arsenal’s last triumph are…….you guessed it, Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea. Funnily enough the 3, by far, biggest spenders over that same period.

    “I might not have done a good job here of expressing my scepticism that there is little link between money spent and league position, but I’m sure there’s a good argument to be made against it.

    What exactly accounts for Chelsea and City’s rise, otherwise, not to forget Utd spent pretty heavily to keep themselves up there? And PSG?!”

    You have, I understand and agree with exactly what you are saying.

    Okay other factors can have an effect, even a dramatic effect, especially in the short term, but as a rule the money will out.

    Take the changing of manager.

    At Chelsea over the years the changing of manager has made very little difference. Managers come, managers go, but by and large Chelsea have maintained there lofty status. This year though it seems it has affected them more. But this is just one season. Would anyone suggest that given a new manger and another spending splurge next Summer wont see them back in contention for the title? I have no doubt that even the current manager and a splurge would do the trick.

    City have had a managerial merry go round but maintained there status also. Again, maybe this time all the managerial upheaval has affected them, but who would bet a penny against them being back in the mix next season?

    Now we come to United. They have spent bucket loads but are still struggling to adapt to the loss of Fergie.

    I think what Uniteds case proves is that, although money is a massive part of success, it is not EVERYTHING. If you spend almost all your money on average players you end up with an average side.

    One of the reasons this may of happened is because, whether they like it or not, United have fallen down the pecking order when it comes to choice of destination for top top players, as it has for managers it would seem.

    Also, more controversially maybe, I feel United are still coming to terms with the loss of ‘Fergie time’. I think there is no doubt they are not getting the favours they once where.

    But, they will get the players right eventually, and of course, if they acquire the odious one, expect ‘fergie time’ to return with a vengeance. The fact is if they keep spending like they have been they will return to being title challengers, no matter whos in charge.

    If these 3 giants spend like they usually do this coming Summer, they will, in my opinion, dominate the Premiership next season.

    Leicester will be nowhere near the top.

    If Arsenal strengthen they could be in the mix, depending on who they acquire.

    Spurs will be pushing for top 4.

    Liverpool, depending on how much they spend and who THEY can acquire will be top 4 contenders.

    Who, in there right mind would bet against this for next season:

    Man City, Chelsea and Man City challenging for the title.

    Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs challenging for the top 4, possibly pushing for the title.

    Very boring I know, but the 3 richest Clubs are still the 3 richest Clubs and all three will flex there financial muscle this summer.

    The second 3 richest Clubs are still that, and will maintain the status that that brings.

    I’m sorry, but if anyone thinks that a Club outside those will win the PL next season you are kidding yourself.

    Leicester City is a 5000 to 1 anomaly that is very very unlikely to happen again, and if anyone wants a we wager feel free to make an offer.

  • Jambug

    Sorry I meant, Man City Chelsea and Man Utd Challenging for the Premiership….but then again with the amount of money City have available maybe I was right in the first place 🙂

  • Andy Mack

    upp, you’re 12 months out on the Suarez/Arsenal/Barca situation.
    The clause was 40m.
    Suarez could have made it happen but didn’t for 2 reasons.
    1) He wanted to get his loyalty bonus which wouldn’t have happened if he’d put his transfer request in.
    2) as has been well documented, after talking to Gerrard where he said his dream was to play for Barca or Real Mad he decided to stay for a year at Liverpoo because everyone was certain Barca and RM would come for him in the near future (and 12 months later Barca did).

  • Hi Berry

    Interestingly, Leicester have spent £50m less than Arsenal over a five year period, but appear to be eleven points ahead of us.

  • thierryhenry22

    Wait, no Owen Coyle?

  • Hi Berry, exactly the point we’ve been making all season. Neither the transfer money spent nor the willingness to sack a manager has any relationship with the position in the league. It is far, far more complex than that.

  • Andy Mack

    Hi Berry, That is an interesting point. Do you think it would have been the same if they’d been in the CL and hadn’t had the benefit of some very odd decisions by officials though?

  • Jambug

    Billy The Dog

    “…..It is far, far more complex than that”.

    Is it?

    Over the last 12 years Man City Chelsea and Man Utd have been by far the Biggest spenders and are the only 3 sides to have won the PL in that period.

    Cup competitions are notoriously fickled beasts, subject as they are to ‘the luck of the draw’ as well as other mitigating factors at any particular time, ie a bunch of injuries the day you get a tough away draw for example, yet they have also, a couple of anomalies accepted, been won by the big three.

    And it is no coincidence that as soon as we up our spending we win 2 FA Cups.

    Doesn’t seem very complex to me.

    I agree that this season breaks all the usual rules, but by anyone’s standard this is a ‘freak’ season.

    Do you really believe that normal service will not be resumed next season?

  • rich


    Good points. I somehow forgot to leave out of my post that the last 12 titles or whatever it is have been won by the three clubs who have spent by far the most on fees and wages.

    It’ll be a remarkable thing if, or more like when, that stranglehold is broken this year, but it’d only say so much about the impact of money.

    In one sense, it wouldn’t really be that different from a club outside those biggest spenders winning it at the start of a 13 year sequence, or in the middle- i.e the situation would still be 1/13 for it happening, but of course it is very unlikely to be interpreted that way.

    Sadly, as we know, it will be used as the latest and greatest stick to try bash the club around the head with : ‘oh, so it was money that stopped you winning the title, was it; well, what do you say now? Proof, proof, I tell you!’

    Thing is, I believe Wenger and plenty of fans never thought or said it was impossible through all these years, only that it would be very difficult, i.e that it was not as likely as it had been in the past.

    I specifically remember you made that sort of point on a number of occasions (probably when Dortmund and A Madrid were being held up as proof we are underperforming).

    Anyway, it looks like this will be a bad year for money, and that sets the stage for it to be a bit more likely again than usual for the same to happen next year.

    But still, I don’t think the rules have been upended that if you spend much more than the rest of the league, year after year, you will almost certainly be at the top of the league.

    The year after year bit is the bitch: one year you can get it wrong, two, maybe even three, but sooner or later it tells. It’s not like each year is discrete either. This year City’s 150 million hasn’t paid off but that doesn’t mean the likes of De Bruyne, Stirling and Otamendi won’t end up doing a lot for them; same with Utd and Shaw, Martial.

    Leicester’s emergence is freakish, Spurs,too to a lesser degree, but it has only really been possible because of the freakish event of City, Utd and Chelsea all underperforming with their spending at the same time for 2 or 3 years.

    You might have guessed, but I’m convinced we need to go for it a bit this summer.

    Totally with you on Utd and the refs. I saw it happen clearly that they were lost without their usual treatment in the first year after Ferguson. They looked confused and as though they didn’t know how to cope. Took away about 10-20% of their game.

    I think the football world was lucky that United genuinely believed their own lies and propaganda- that they were a good honest team as opposed to, well, what they were. Otherwise they would have gone for Mourinho right away and he would most likely have slotted right in to their real traditions.

    Unfortunately, even with the three year gap it seems quite possible that will happen next year. Really not looking forward to it as I feel genuine revulsion every time I see Mourinho’s mug.

  • Jambug


    If Mourinho does go to United, as I also believe he will, I dread to think what is going to happen.

    It’s like the perfect storm.

    Pep at City and Moureen at United.

    It’s the medias wet dream.

    Everything and everyone else will just be a side show to the main event.

    Depending on whom Chelsea put in place even they might have to settle for a bit part.

    To be honest I’m dreading it.

  • Mick

    I am sure you would agree that over the last twelve years if we had had anything like a fair crack of the refereeing whip we would have won at least two premier league titles, of that I am convinced. Arsenal FC have been well and truly robbed.

  • Hi Berry

    Sorry, Billy the Dog but I don’t understand ‘nor the willingness to sack the manager’ part of your response. It seems to me that those who support the current regime (and that includes the board as well as the manager) have used the ‘cannot compete with petro-dollars’ argument to justify Arsene’s inability to sustain a serious title/CL challenge over the past ten years…an argument that Leicester and Tottenham have blown asunder this season, as Athletico Madrid did in Spain a couple of years back. Yes, they might be ‘blips’ in the grand scheme of things relating to the Premier League, but going back through history you can find plenty of other ‘blips’ where an outstanding manager has propelled what, on the face of it, is an ordinary team to great heights….Ipswich in the early sixties under Ramsey, Forest and Derby under Clough are the obvious examples that spring to mind – minnows at the time compared to the resources of the traditionally elite teams in England. Even Liverpool in the early to mid-sixties were nothing more than also-rans until Shankley transformed them. Your acceptance that transfer money spent has no relationship on league positions rather flies in the face of the way things have gone since the Premier League started and also rather weakens the position many supporters of the current manager take in arguing that initially the stadium debt and latterly the inability to compete financially with Utd, City and Chelsea has hampered the ability of the team to win the title. Last time I looked Leicester City’s first team was assembled for rather less than the money paid for Ozil.

  • It’s really very simple Hi Berry. Sacking a manager and replacing him with another is not a guarantee of future success. Indeed the figures suggest that most of the time it results in more failure. Likewise buying expensive players as shown in the analysis we published some months back, only results in improvements 25% of the time in the first year of the player being at the club.

  • Hi Berry

    Andy Mack, impossible to say in the case of Leicester as it is complete conjecture to come down one way or the other. Their lightened fixture list as a result of not competing in the CL (six games minimum) could well have had a positive effect upon them, but again, last time I looked Spurs were involved in the Europa League until recently and their five year transfer spend doesn’t even register in the top twelve examples cited in the above article. What they do have, though, is a young, dynamic manager who has put his faith in many of his young players. When Arsenal tried ‘Project Youth’ it didn’t deliver quite the same outcome.

  • Polo

    @ Hi Berry, just a thought, if Man City, Man United, and Arsenal didn’t have long term injuries to key players this season and Chelsea didn’t have the team revolt, do you still think Leicester and Spurs would be where they are? How many key players of Leicester and Spurs have long terms injuries? In addition, had Man City didn’t sign or announce that Pep was replacing Pellegrini mid season, would Man City have this slump?

    This is a rare season and I doubt it will occur again for a very long time.

  • jamiestunner

    One point about the spend over the last 5 years:
    The conclusion you drew is quite wrong. For a chart on spend over the last 5 years, you should compare the money spent with the average league position over the same 5 year span.

    This is quite a unique season, and unless you think Leicester will win the league again next year, then you realise that one season can’t be used to draw conclusions on matters such as net spend/league position comparisons.

    But go ahead, whatever suits your agenda

  • jamiestunner

    If buying expensive players is a practice that mostly results in failure, then why do you claim that the stadium related austerity period meant we couldn’t compete with richer teams?

    If the expensive players had no impact on those teams, shouldn’t we have been beating them roundly?

    Obviously your argument falls down because you’re using stats in a vacuum, and ignoring the fact that if team A sign an expensive player, they might improve, but other teams in the league will also improve. That team A may also lose another key player in another position to injury, and any improvement that the expensive player facilitates, will be negated by other factors going against them.

    The article by Rev Kev about the correlation between possession and fouls has smart logic behind it (unfortunately, he got his numbers mixed up, but if the numbers had been right, it would have been a good example of how to draw conclusions from stats). This one, and the one you referenced that compares signing expensive players to league position are good examples of how to use stats to support an agenda – the same thing you accuse the aaaa of doing.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Ponder upon this –

    ” If the woman is right , and a man is always wrong , then , if a man tells a woman that she’s right … the man right or wrong ? ”

    Then using the same yardstick for ‘them’ and us AKBs ………?
    Nah !
    I say we just use that yardstick to knock some sense into them ! A tough call but I/we may even get to enjoy it !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ” Positive thinkers have a solution for every problem . Negative thinkers have a problem for every solution . ”
    Steven Aitchison.

  • Jamiestunner here is a thought:

    You said, “If the expensive players had no impact on those teams, shouldn’t we have been beating them roundly?”

    One does not follow the other, a) because it is not always true, and b) because many other factors are involved.

  • Jamiestunner, you are right, you cannot draw conclusions from one season.

  • Hi Berry, but Arsenal’s “project youth” coincided with the paying for the stadium. Tottenham haven’t started paying yet, and as another writer said here you can’t judge anything by one season.

  • Hi Berry

    @Tony, so your argument is to never change the manager on the assumption there is no guarantee that another one will do a better job? What on earth will happen to Arsenal if Wenger stays ad infinitum and is then carried out in a box?
    @Polo….so many ifs and buts and variable ponderables that no-one can draw a conclusion on what might have happened…but as Jamiestunner says above ‘if it fits the agenda’ so be it.

  • Hi Berry,

    One of the points that is regularly made on Untold is that arguments against Arsenal often involve taking a comment, and then deliberately or mistakenly generalising out from it, in the way that was never implied or suggested in the article.

    You give a perfect example here

    “@Tony, so your argument is to never change the manager on the assumption there is no guarantee that another one will do a better job?”

    It is difficult to see where that view could come from, either from within the article, or from other articles, or indeed from the fact that I run the AISA Arsenal History Society, which has published over 1000 articles on Arsenal’s history, including the definitive list of Arsenal managers, that is now used by most writers when considering Arsenal’s managerial history (earlier versions before the AHS came along had one manager omitted completely, and another given the wrong name – Andy Kelly found both of those errors).

    I personally think that such a comment as you have made is rather unhelpful to any discussion or debate but sadly has become quite a common why of replying to commentaries.

  • rich


    Tempted to say definitely to your question, but in truth it’s a mind scrambler for me to try think about what would have been with normal refereeing.

    If I isolate one year I can almost do it, but that ignores the impact previous year’s nonsense has had on us. With normal refereeing we might well have avoided all the major injuries- Diaby, ramsey, Eduardo, Wilshere (last year)- what sort of effects would that have had?

    Just Diaby. What could he have been for us.

    Don’t think Chelsea, Utd, City, Liverpool or Spurs lost a single player to a serious injury from an awful foul in that period. Other teams weren’t encouraged by our entire football culture to smash the players of those teams and referees did a reasonable job of discouraging anyone who might have the idea to do so.

    Less obviously, I think most of the players would have developed at least a little differently, mostly for the better, under normal conditions.

    The difference between being relatively safe out there, knowing you’ve a good chance of getting the decisions you should, being used to getting penalties most of the time when you should, etc, and what our players have experienced over the years must have had a massive effect on them.

    It certainly won’t have helped for player retainment or recruitment. In that alternate world where refs haven’t been screwing us for over a decade, I can’t even guess how things would have gone. But, yes, every year we would certainly have been better off and very likely there’d have been a title or two.

  • Jambug

    Hi Berry

    “What they do have, though, is a young, dynamic manager who has put his faith in many of his young players. When Arsenal tried ‘Project Youth’ it didn’t deliver quite the same outcome.”

    What exactly have Spurs won? Do you remember that ‘stick’?

    I will take your admiration of Pochettino a bit more seriously when he repeats this seasons feats next season, and the season after, and the season after and the season after…you get the point.

    And as a foot note, to maintain there title push Pochettino openly sacrificed the CC, FA Cup and Europa League, something Wenger would of been slaughtered for.

    They have also, relative to Arsenal, had a decent time of it with injuries.

    We win our game in hand and that idiot, useless clueless, Wenger will be just 3 points behind the genius Pochettino.

    Look, I’m not saying he hasn’t done well or he doesn’t look like a good manager, but jeeeez, some perspective please, he’s won NOTHING yet and it’s one season and a freak one at that.

  • upp

    I’m surprised you feel the statement by Ian ayre is evidence that Liverpool wasn’t willing to sell. So how come arsene said the same about fabregas, nasri, RVP etc and they were still sold?

  • upp

    I’m sure he forgot. But I’m willing to bet he won’t be forgetting the headlines “upp who?” When I land the jackpot

  • Hi Berry

    Sorry Tony, but your reply at 8.49am states quite categorically: ‘Sacking a manager and replacing him with another is not a guarantee of future success. Indeed the figures suggest that most of the time it results in more failure.’ Surely this extrapolates to changing a manager under any circumstances – there is no guarantee that anyone following Wenger will do better or worse. What I think is odd is what appears to me to be your default position in which you advocate staying with Wenger presumably because you are convinced that any change will automatically result in a downturn in the team’s fortunes. Who knows, a replacement may be one of the 25% that bring further success?
    Forgive me for being dense but the main thrust of the article was to show that:
    a) spending huge amounts doesn’t bring success, and
    b) changing the manager doesn’t necessarily result in success.
    The points I made were that Leicester spent much less than Arsenal but are eleven points clear – the lack of money due to the stadium spend and then petro-dollars being the cornerstone of the excuses for Arsenal not competing with the super-rich clubs….though this argument conveniently doesn’t apply to Leicester for some reason or other. One could also throw into the argument that Leicester changed manager in the summer and have been spurred onto greater success, as have Tottenham under Pochettino who, I notice, do not even register in your table of the top twelve five-year spends.
    You attempt to demean my post by referring to it as a ‘generalisation’, but as far as I can see the points I made related specifically to the article above, though I understand they may not concur with your view . What I can’t control, however, is your inability to believe that upsetting the status quo will result in anything but a three in four chance (according to your statistics) of failure for a new manager. If you are happy for Arsenal to make token attempts to win the title and CL in the future then that is fine with me, it just doesn’t concur with my view.

  • Hi Berry

    @ Jambug …and where exactly in my post did I say that Wenger was useless and clueless, or that Pochettino is a genius?

  • Hi Berry, this is surely a futile debate.

    You have said here

    “What I think is odd is what appears to me to be your default position in which you advocate staying with Wenger presumably because you are convinced that any change will automatically result in a downturn in the team’s fortunes. ”

    I don’t believe that I have ever argued that “any change will automatically result in a downturn”. On the contrary in fact. If you think that is what I have written, then ok, believe that is what I have written. I don’t believe that. If you think that is what I believe I can tell you that this is not what I believe.

    So I think that just about clears that up.

  • ob1977

    There are some really picky people on here today, I would guess rather than missing the points they are simply being deliberately facetious…

  • Menace

    Headlines? ‘upp yours’ a more common statement. Jackpot? looks like you’re there already. Probably the closest to a trophy you’ll ever get. Or should that be pot?

    Berry – if you are taking Leicester as a yardstick, please include their last season so the the median can be observed. One swallow does not make a summer. I find it quite amusing that you think Wenger has not been trying to compete in all that we play in. Competition does not result in victory for everyone. Only one team can win each competition each year. Arsenal have been consistent & successful in winning large volumes of money without winning the ultimate. That does not mean that Wenger is not capable of winning, just that his teams have been unfortunate. In my view there are reasons that create the hindrence. Those will eventually come to the fore. Both Ranieri & Pochetino are good coaches. Neither are economists or managers & do not have track records of having built teams from scratch. They have been fortunate to have got most of the team prior to getting the job as coach. They have also been fortunate in having minimal hinderence from the ‘organising committee’.

  • upp

    Same with you. I’m sure you’ve reached your refereeing zenith. I’m sure the FA would look at your referee critique and recommend your appointment as head of pgmol very soon

  • Hi Berry

    @Tony…sorry, but I am confused…no, you didn’t specifically write ‘any change will automatically result in a downturn’, that was me paraphrasing…. but your article, as far as I can deduce, lays out the perils of sacking a manager and replacing with another. To my mind that indicates you have a considered position on the matter, namely that statistically the chances of success in changing the manager are not proven to be good – if your view is ‘On the contrary, in fact’ then why write the article in the first place? Things might be a little less confusing for people of sub-par intellect like myself if you specified whether you think Wenger should go or stay.

    With regards to ‘Project Youth’ there is a big difference between what is happening at Tottenham and what happened at Arsenal. Pochettino has looked at his young players and decided to show faith in them by selecting them for the first team. His managerial and coaching skills have moulded them into a formidable team. You state that ‘Tottenham haven’t started paying yet’ (for the stadium), but I fail to see what relevance this has when Pochettino is playing them out of choice than necessity. On the other side of the coin, Arsenal (Board and manager) used the ‘lack of funds due to the stadium build’ argument to justify the sales of a number of high profile (and worth) players and replacing on the cheap…a policy that kept Arsenal treading water (as they still appear to be doing with regard to the PL and CL), but, in hindsight, although this may be conjecture on my part, also appeared to have its roots in Wenger’s belief and possibly his ego that he could make it work.

    @ Menace…’Arsenal have been consistent & successful in winning large volumes of money without winning the ultimate.’ If you think that is the yardstick of a successful team I feel sorry for you. Sorry to pull you up on another couple of points, but last time I looked I wasn’t aware that a football coach/manager had to have a qualification in Business Studies on his CV. Are you also saying that Wenger has a track record of building teams from scratch and has not been as fortunate in inheriting a team ‘prior to getting the job as coach’? I seem to recall Wenger inheriting what was arguably the greatest back four/five in footballing history. As for building teams from scratch one could argue that his only truly outstanding team was the 2004 ‘Invincibles’ although Cole came through the youth ranks and Bergkamp was bought by Rioch.

    @ Jambug….further point on your reply to my earlier post – I don’t think you understand many Arsenal fans’ position….it’s not about winning everything all the time – it’s about making a serious challenge for the greater prizes by preparing the team in the correct way and plugging the obvious positional gaps that we appear to have at the beginning of every season. Theo Walcott is a prime example of this….yes, he has had his moments for the club and scored some important goals, but even the most myopic of us can see that he consistently falls short in his contribution to the team, but instead of being shipped out he is rewarded with a new, improved (and ridiculously high, in my opinion) contract.

    Many of the replies to my posts have included lots of ‘what ifs’ in their responses…well, here is a ‘what if’ from me….if Arsene Wenger had been appointed manager of Leicester in the summer does anyone seriously think they would be on the verge of winning the title?

  • Hi Berry, I have done my best to explain my thoughts to you, but obviously I have failed completely. By no means is it the first time in my years as a writer that I have failed to put my ideas across to a person, but I have learned that if I fail after a couple of times, it is best to stop trying to explain myself. Those who don’t get what I am saying can still read my books and articles or can (more likely) turn away and look elsewhere. Or indeed write their own articles and books.

    Fortunately for me, enough people do seem to grasp what I am trying to say, and some even go out and buy my books, so I guess I’ve achieved the most I can – being able to converse meaningfully with some people, having them understand my point of view, while I am able to understand theirs.