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.
THE 10 COMMANDMENTS- Don McMahon
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.
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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.