“We care do you”: an investigation into what that document actually meant

by Tony Attwood

As you may recall, a number of blogs and a couple of Arsenal related organisations recently got together and produced a document called “We care do you?”

It was a fairly challenging and contentious title – suggesting as it does that caring could be defined primarily by agreement with certain visions and ideas.  And that of course leads to the question: whose ideas and visions define caring?  How do you measure caring?  And to get into detail, would holding up cards saying “Wenger Out” be an expression of caring, or perhaps the opposite – a highly disruptive influence perhaps?

And so, now with the dust settling a little, I do think it might be time to look a little deeper into the demands and assumptions within the document to see how well it holds up, or whether it is just a bit of moaning in order to get publicity.

For some of us writing for Untold our first inclination at this point was indeed to look at an associated issue – the £40m or £45m claim because the originators of this “We care” document were in part the same people who have for five years been claiming Arsenal either only had a budget of £40 million to spend on transfers, or (occasionally) that Arsenal had £42m or so in cash and was deliberately hiding it away and not spending it.

The latest manifestation of that particular claim was blown away at the recent meeting between members of supporters groups and members of the Arsenal board, where Arsenal directors confirmed that they had no idea where the £45m claim came from and that it was totally untrue.  We’ve been able to tell them.   It all came from the AST.

So given that this is from an associated source, it is (in my view) worthwhile looking at the We Care Do You document in a little more detail than might have been the case thus far, again to see if there are any other assumptions lurking underneath.

The We Care Do You document starts with the claim that Arsenal’s performance has declined in the past decade, and so, on the basis of starting at the beginning, this is good place for us to start looking.

In terms of the average number of points gained in the Premier League by Arsenal in the last 10 years, this was 71.9 points.  Last season we got 70 points, we can say yes, we were two points below the Arsenal average.  The worst season was 2017/18 wherein we got 63 points.  The best was 2013/14 wherein we got 79 points.   The mid-point is 71 points and so on 70 points we were, indeed a little below our mid-point and below our average, but a fair improvement on the year before.  Not as good as anyone of us would have liked, but still a real improvement.  Travel in the right direction we might say.

Thus last season might be called fair to middling, in this comparison across ten years, and back to the level of 2000/1 when with the same number of points we came second.

But in terms of position, the last three years were clearly our worst since the start of the Wegner era: being 5th twice and 6th once.  What this suggests is that while Arsenal has stayed around its normal points total, some of the other clubs at the top have improved considerably of late.

Indeed the key point here is that the league itself has changed. 70 points took us to second one season as we noted.  In 2013, Tottenham came third in the league with 70 points.  The season before Man U came in 4th again with 70 points – enough of course for a Champions League position.  In 2012 Arsenal got 70 and we came in 3rd.  In 2011 we came in fourth with just 68 points.

What actually changed last season was that the top two gained 195 points between them – an utterly unprecedented total.  And perhaps we should remember that in the unbeaten season we came in with 90 points – our highest ever total.  In 2011 Man U won the league with just 80 points.

So what we have seen here is not best described as Arsenal slipping behind, for that would be a total misunderstanding of the situation.   Rather Arsenal have been at around their average mark for recent seasons while two clubs have soared ahead, leaving the rest behind.

And we should add this last season we were just two points and two goals away from coming third – but even though that would have delivered a Champions League place for 2019/20, it would not have taken us anywhere near the top two but rather left us 16 points behind instead of 18. 

Now of course these issues can be dismissed as technicalities by those who like simple sloganizing, but they are key points.  Never before have two clubs soared away so far above the rest.  Although Liverpool in fourth were a massive 30 points behind Arsenal in the Unbeaten Season, Chelsea in third were 15 points behind us.  We were way out in front but not this far out front.

Thus my point is that the last two years have been exceptional.  As yet we don’t know if this is the start of a new era in which two teams soar above all the rest, creating a two club version of the  Manchester United dominance of 1993 to 2013, or the Liverpool dominance of 1976 to 1990, or whether this is a blip.  

Given that both clubs appear to be able to spend whatever they want without interference from the regulators it certainly could be the start of a period of dominance – but Uefa are investigating Manchester City, and the Liverpool chairman being a notorious boaster who as before might yet let some indelicate details slip, to his own disadvantage.  

As you may know, in the 1930s, when Arsenal won the league five times in eight seasons, we were known as the “Bank of England club” because of the money available to spend on buying players.  That money came totally from gate receipts – thanks to the foresight of Henry Norris in moving the club to Highbury and later bringing in Herbert Chapman. 

So these periods of dominance can happen, and history shows that it can be very hard for other clubs to muscle in.  We can of course all agree that we were a long way behind the top two, but if  forget we were only a couple of points behind the third and fourth place clubs last time then we could be in danger of throwing away the improvements of last season and the hope for this coming campaign.  Thus it is perfectly reasonable to argue that with this summer’s transfers we are set fair to return to the top four – a view that makes the We Care document look singularly inappropriate.

I see real progress this summer after a year of settling in by Mr Emery, and I cannot for the life of me see what the point is of trying to rock the boat now.  Unless of course one is still seduced by the fairy story of the £45m max transfer fund for Arsenal that AST has propagated.  

But if that was the motivating factor for AST and other groups to put together WeCareDoYou then they do have only themselves to blame for believing their own propaganda.  All they had to do was to ponder whether their own economics expert who accused Arsenal of sitting on a pile of cash and refusing to spend it in the Gazidis era, should have been given the job of leading another charge against the club this summer by suggesting that we had only £45m to spend.

There is plenty more in WeCareDoYou that deserves examination in detail, and I will be having a further look at it shortly.  Meanwhile I know that our old chum Sir Hardly Anyone has been down the Toppled Bollard attempting to discuss the document with the journalists who so readily lapped “We Care Do You” up, and his report will appear anon.

But some further analysis at the slightly more serious end of the spectrum is also worthwhile I believe.  So, more from me shortly.

 

9 Replies to ““We care do you”: an investigation into what that document actually meant”

  1. ‘Arsenal have been at around their usual mark for recent seasons while two clubs have soared ahead leaving the rest behind’
    I must confess that I am enthralled by the positive ring of comments in UNTOLD. Some blogs get so nasty I wonder if they are really Arsenal fan. However we should guard against getting complacent when we over simplify our problems which these other blogs do not hesitate to point out.
    In this light, I suggest that your quote above maybe an over simplification. We may have garnered an average of as many points as we usually do over the last 10 seasons, BUT WE HAVE SLID BEHIND THE TWO TEAMS WHO SOATED AWAY because we have failed to keep up with them in the changing world of premier league football. This I believe, constitutes the Crux of the matter with those who signed that petition.
    I respect and agree that moaning about what you cannot change is pointless but surely they are allowed to try to pressure the owners to change their minds about boosting the amounts available for transfers with their own funds; can’t they?

  2. Don’t worry.
    Help is at hand.
    From the Gruardian

    Bipartisan bill seeks New Start extension– the last formal restraint on the world’s major arsenals

  3. They don’t care, they just want attention. They have proven, time and time again, that they are not deserving of it.

  4. Yes! To me, Arsenal are yet to be where they should be in terms of first team squad strengthening during this summer transfer window. Therefore, I hope the club hierarchy chiefs will not be carried away in the euphoria that greeted their announcement of signing Nicholas Pepe from Lille today for a club record breaking £72m this summer window.

    A tree cannot make a forest. Make a forest in the sense that Pepe’s effort for Arsenal alone cannot make them to get a Premier League top-four place finish next season if the club don’t backup his signing with two or three more top quality signings this summer. Which if Arsenal do, they can even challenge to win the PL title itself next season, but not just limit themselves to just get a top-four place finish.

    In the light of Arsenal successfully challenging to win the coveted Premier League title next season. It has become pertinent for the club to still further strengthen this summer, by upgrading the quality of playing in their left wing, left back and centreback areas in their team squad by doing 1 top quality signing each for the 3 positions in the regular first team squad of the club to enabled it vying for the PL title win next season.

    2 possible player names of Everton Soares, a top quality left winger and Kieran Tierney, a top quality left-back have all been mentioned and linked with Arsenal for signings this summer. If I were Arsenal, I’ll go ahead and sign up these duo but not linger anymore on their signing them up. As for a new top quality centreback signing, Arsenal should make the decision if the club they’ll keep Koscielny and Mustafi this summer or sell them. If they decide to sell them, then of course they have to sign a new centreback before or on the transfer deadline day. But who will be the new centreback that Arsenal should sign this summer if it comes to that. I can’t name one for the transfer market. But I am sure Arsenal can identify one top quality centreback in the market for signing this summer if they want to do it or they are compelled to sign.

    Arsenal should next season aim to win the PL title by acquiring all the necessary tools to do it. But peradventure in the process of doing the job to win the PL title next season, Arsenal fail to win it (God forbids) they won’t miss on getting one of the top-four places in the PL next season because of the top quality in the first team squad they put in place will see them get it.

  5. Pepe signs. Brilliant.

    That made my day.

    Thanks again for this place. It really can’t be said enough.

  6. Tony,

    Just taking the empathetic viewpoint here,Your observations of Arsenal being in the 70 point zone in the last decade is I guess the real reason for the fan unrest.
    What has compounded the fact is that our great neighbours have in the past 5 years punched so much above their weight with the resources they have had compared to Arsenal.
    There is also the point that apart from the main sponsorship deals, Arsenal’s commercial income has also stagnated leaving people wondering if the club had become too comfortable and was it really making any progress?
    Lastly, if you observe our last 7 seasons in the Champions League, we never made it beyond the Round of 16 and finally dropped to the Europa League.

    Moving to the dark side, there is the reality of the times. We are in an era of instant gratification and despite the fact that we have won 3 FA Cups and were in the reckoning for 2 more trophies in the last 5 years, its just not enough.
    This “just not enough” mindset is actually a reflection of society where from workplace to homes, the expectations have simply amplified and some of this combined rage is spilling over into fan’s reactions to the easiest available target – Arsenal of course.
    You would notice this everywhere – the collective demise of centrism. The world is becoming bi-polar and I fear how that cycle will play out before we start becoming rational again.

    It’s a losing fight Tony but having been reading your posts from the beginning of your blog, please do continue to fight the good fight.

  7. # WE BELIEVE IN THE ARSENAL !
    Enough said .
    I don’t care two hoots for those fair weather morons who claim to care . They don’t ! What I find crazy is people actually pay dues so that these clowns ,can jerk them around and piss on them. Suggest that they do the decent thing and ARSEXIT now !

    As for the faithful is an Untold Arsenal banner now due in support of the manager and the club ?
    Up the Gunners !

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