THE 10 COMMANDMENTS: how to run a football club.

Apologies for the problems in reading Untold this morning on some computers.  It was a tech fault which I think has now been fully resolved.   This morning’s article is of course still available – there is a link to it at the foot of the page.


Many of us supporters forget that AFC is NOT just a sports venture but also an entertainment business and a commercial, for profit enterprise. Those who still cry for exaggerated spending and knee-jerk panic buying are ignorant of the fact that any business that employed them (if they even have a job) and that followed their advice, would go bankrupt in short order.

Sports businesses, like AFC, MUST take their fan base into account, because it is the attendance at their home ground that helps the club financially. However to take this fact past any credible limit is ridiculous. Wenger, the Board, the owner and Ivan NEVER posit their decisions on a handful of spoilt, whiny, ignorant aaa moppets holding up banners and flying planes….what type of management would that be?

IMHO here are some basic management essentials that any good business MUST apply;

1) Your client is always right, unless they’re wrong so give good advice, not what they want to hear. In fact, any top class entertainment business like AFC provides a spectacle that is easily assessed for its worth. Empty stadiums speak volumes, but the Emirates seems to be entertaining very well!

2) There is NEVER just one factor to be considered in making business decisions. Whether it is transfers in or out, infrastructure investments, management changes, or whatever the goal is to improve the situation, not exacerbate it so taking calculated risks is fine BUT irrational, fear-based actions are not.

3) Never pay more than you can afford, regardless of what others are doing. Any fool can claim that they know how much a player is worth, based on You-Tube or FIFA 16 or media BS but the reality is much more complicated, (AFC have the experts who know how to calculate value for money, but aaa plastic fan boys don’t.)

4) Treat the business’ finances as you’d treat your own, carefully and prudently. Unless, like the oil kings or Russian Mafioso, you have unlimited resources, then taking a rational and calculated approach to buying is a de facto requirement for intelligent decision-making. If AFC pay 46Million for LaCazette, it is a calculated and well-researched risk they know can likely bear significant fruit.

5) Shop around before you buy and start comparative shopping well in advance of any purchases. AFC never panic buy….they have always begun months ahead to review, assess, negotiate, budget for and plan for their acquisitions. They know, as well as anyone in this business, that intangibles and unpredictability plaque any deals, they have decades of expertise and experience doing this….the aaa have none.

6) Calculate any major business changes carefully and well in advance, as they have a major impact on the morale, efficiency and motivation of your current staff. When the aaa scream for bringing in new players and rooting out the ¨dead-wood¨, they don’t care about what impact this can have on our players. When AFC bid for Suarez, Wenger knew that this guy could cause a lot of trouble in the dressing room but he also knew that he could control this player well enough to avoid major disruptions. That is what we call man-management and Wenger is a master at it, among other things.

7) Seek professional and internal opinions and advice before making a major investment or sea change to your organization. Wenger’s relationship with Ivan, the Board and the owner is very solid. He also has an excellent relationship with his staff and the players. He is known to consult regularly with the major sources in the club before making any crucial decisions that can alter the chemistry or functioning of the Arsenal.

8) Plan for the future in terms of your staff, yourself and the Board/ownership and have a clear plan in place which is completely shared by your organization. If there is any club in the EPL that follows a clear mission and business plan, it is Arsenal. We all know what that is: Spend what you can afford, develop players internally as well and train the team to play beautiful Football, as the entertainment side is crucial to the success of the Club. Winning things is also important but NOT at the cost of the Club’s soul.

9) Learn from your competitors but don’t blindly react to their strategies, you are unique and should never panic when making business decisions, regardless of what some people say. AFC are known to be innovators since the time of Chapman. Wenger’s mastery of the tactical and strategic aspects of the game has been proven time and again, despite what the media and aaa claim. He is also a master of business economics and as applied to Football, a skilled manager of his people and resources.

10) Treat your people well, with respect and like they are members of your family, since they usually respond in kind and will be your best advertising. This is the core strength of the Arsenal and has been since Wenger’s arrival. This engenders loyalty and pride to play for the club and a certain devotion to the manager that a lot of other EPL teams envy. Pochettino at WHL seems to have discovered this as well, but it is difficult to find the right mix of firmness and kindness ….. Arsene has.

There are many more wise business paradigms to mention but this sums up what the Arsenal do well, and partially explains why the Club is a financial and Football success in the eyes of most football lovers worldwide. Arsenal love great football first and everything else second.

In case you missed it this morning…

15 Replies to “THE 10 COMMANDMENTS: how to run a football club.”

  1. Don McMahon

    “He is known to consult regularly with the major sources in the club before making any crucial decisions that can alter the chemistry or functioning of the Arsenal.”

    This is a point that the aaa seem to vehemently contest. I have often read terms such as ‘dictator’ and ‘arrogant’ banded about by them, when criticising what they seem to see as Wenger’s autocratic management style.

    They may well ask you for ‘evidence’ to support your notion that “He is known to consult regularly with the major sources in the club before making any crucial decisions….)”.

    I’m only asking because that would be my ‘guess’ as to how he works, but I wouldn’t be so bold as to say ‘I know’ that’s how he works.

    How do you know this?

  2. Custodianship is the key principle. Adhering to it ensures the sustainability and consistency that every business demands.

  3. Don McMahon

    Sorry, other than that question I thought it was a very good article.

    The problem is, what undermines all your explanations for a lot of people, before you even start, is that they have great difficulty in even accepting that Arsenal Football Club, is in fact a business, in the first place.

    If doesn’t even accept that then all sense of reason and reality can to go straight out of the window.

  4. Don, let me first acknowledge the intelligent comments posting of Sam Sayyed and that of Nitram in the last article posting before this one that’s now threading. But don’t they think if Le Prof gamble on Man City getting slammed with a 2 year transfer ban from next season and thus refuse to sell Sanchez to a direct rival club Man City this summer for a possible £80m reap, that decision has the potential danger in it which could backfire if that envisaged MC transfer ban did not happen after all?

    And Don you sounded a person that knows much about how transfer business should be conducted to make a good profit at the end. My Kudos to you.

    However, I think you have over dressed down the Arsenal aaa in my opinion. Being part and parcels of the Arsenal fan base family whose unrelenting agitation and protests for 2 consecutive seasons have forced the hands of Le Prof and the Arsenal board to come out from their not investing properly in the Arsenal squad as should be done to see Arsenal win the PL again after missing out on it for unbearable long spells? Don’t you think the Arsenal aaa will do with some showing them a little regard a times if not acolades? And you also wrote that Le Prof don’t panic buy, but don’t you think as a last resort when Lacazette transfer to Arsenal last season did not workout, the transfer of Lucas Perez to Arsenal that followed was a panic buy?

    You also wrote again that Le Prof is not running an autocratic regime at Arsenal but he’s very democratic in his transfer decision making by alleging that he consults far and wide first before taking a decision to sign. Are you sure? But Le Prof did reject the Arsenal board attempt to appoint a football director at Arsenal as from this summer widow, didn’t he?

  5. SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I was already going to say that without these aaas, bbbs or what ever they are called, Arsenal would soon start to falter, and you said it.

    Critic is always needed to gauge your performances.

    But it is hard to guage between the critic dripping with honey and the critic that tastes like sour milk.

    Both are dangerous if their intent is to deceive and disrupt, as we well know.

  6. Nitram….there are two solid sources I can present as evidence (actually 3 IF you accept Wenger’s word as well) for my claim:

    a)Ivan Gazidis has been directly quoted on numerous occasions saying that Wenger consults with the board, the owner and his staff (medical, training, scouting and financial management) before taking a major decision.

    b)The Arsenal website has numerous interviews with former and current staff and players who consistently state that they were always consulted in depth before any decision about them or related to them was made by Wenger.

    c)There is the evidence of actual behaviour because Wenger actively relies on his scouts, his aides de camp, his technical specialists (trainers,medical staff etc.)and the GM…..all this has been written up in the media as a reason he is so slow in his deliberations.

    The aaa and the media can’t have it both ways, either they criticize him for dithering OR they lament his ¨panic buying¨!

  7. omgarsenal

    Thanks for that.

    As you say, often as not he cant win. When he acts fast in the transfer market it’s a panic buy, when he gets it over the line at the last minute he’s been dithering.

    I really asked the question in anticipation of what might of been asked knowing what those pesky aaa’s are like.

    I’m glad you’ve saved them the bother.

  8. There is a slight misrepresentation of the process. Wenger requests & Gazidis or some other implements the decision. Wenger is obviously portrayed as the decision maker but I believe he is the creative thinker & the decisions are made in line with his thinking.

  9. Menace….I agree that Wenger cannot unilaterally make decisions without consulting the Board etc. but the issue is whether he actually consults anyone before requesting the support he needs. I understand from articles oin UA,Wenger and other’s commentary and from the website that he has a great deal of latitude and power in the decision-making process as well.

  10. Mistake management –

    Man :” Guru , how do I learn about my mistakes ?”
    Guru :” Identify one mistake in your wife and tell her to correct it. In response she will help identify all of your mistakes along with that of your family’s , and your friends as well.”

    Its that easy !

  11. Think before speaking –

    Wife : ” I have a bag full of used clothes that I’d like to donate.”

    Fool ,..sorry, Husband : ” Why not just throw it in the trash .That’s much easier .”

    Wife : ” But there are poor starving people who could really use all these clothes .”

    Husband : Honey ,anyone who fits into your clothes is definitely not starving.”

    Now the husband is staving .

  12. Thought of the day –

    The best thing about having a penis is sharing it with people who don’t have it.


  13. Taking revenge –

    Tommy discovered that his wife was cheating on him with another guy, so he went to the guy’s wife and told her about it .
    ” I know what we will do , ” she said, “let’s take revenge on him .”

    So together they went to a motel and had ‘revenge’.

    After 10 minutes , she said , “Let’s have more revenge .” And they took revenge again .

    After 5 minutes , Tommy was lying spent , and she said , “Let’s take revenge again !”

    Tommy said , ” Let’s forgive them …I have no more hard feeling left !”

  14. The fear factor –

    A bachelor boy told his father : ” I don’t want to marry. I’m scared of all women .”

    Father : ” Get married , son . Then you will be scared of only one woman, and will then start liking all other women! “

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