What exactly do we need in order to win the League again?

By Tony Attwood

When Arsenal moved to the new Arsenal Stadium and increased their capacity from around 38,000 to over 60,000 they also doubled their match day revenue overnight.  And it has continued to rise thereafter.

But of course the stadium had to be paid for, and that drain on the club’s finances was managed by Arsene Wenger, who despite the expectations and lack of money available for transfers, kept the club in the top four, and took Arsenal on to become the most successful team in the history of the FA Cup.

Now that the stadium is more or less paid for there has been an expectation among some that the successes of the early Wenger years can be revisited with a click of the fingers, but of course other clubs have caught up, with new stadia of their own (such as that at Manchester City paid for by the tax payers and rented a ludicrously low rates by the City of Manchester council to the club) or by a copy of Arsenal’s approach (as in the case of Tottenham Hotspur.

But undoubtedly the club that got the biggest gift of all was West Ham United who were awarded the London Olympic stadium at such a low rent that it is losing London money for the term of the entire lease (which is getting on for 100 years).

When Arsenal left Highbury I don’t think there was any talk of taking the club to the next level, because that is what Mr Wenger had already done: taken Arsenal to a place that none of us watching the club play had seen in our lifetimes.

Here’s what happened…

Season Stadium P W D
F A Pts Lge FAC
1997–98 Highbury 38 23 9 6 68 33 78 1 W
1998–99 38 22 12 4 59 17 78 2 SF
1999–2000 38 22 7 9 73 43 73 2
2000–01 38 20 10 8 63 38 70 2 RU
2001–02 38 26 9 3 79 36 87 1 W
2002–03 38 23 9 6 85 42 78 2 W
2003–04 38 26 12 0 73 26 90 1 SF
2004–05 38 25 8 5 87 36 83 2 W
2005–06 38 20 7 11 68 31 67 4
2006–07 Arsenal stadium 38 19 11 8 63 35 68 4
2007–08 38 24 11 3 74 31 83 3
2008–09 38 20 12 6 68 37 72 4 SF
2009–10 38 23 6 9 83 41 75 3
2010–11 38 19 11 8 72 43 68 4
2011–12 38 21 7 10 74 49 70 3
2012–13 38 21 10 7 72 37 73 4
2013–14 38 24 7 7 68 41 79 4 W
2014–15 38 22 9 7 71 36 75 3 W
2015–16 38 20 11 7 65 36 71 2
2016–17 38 23 6 9 77 44 75 5 W
2017–18 38 19 6 13 74 51 63 6
2018–19 38 21 7 10 73 51 70 5

Arsenal sold out the naming rights to its stadium to an airline representing a country without most of the human rights that we take for granted, and although we did refer to it by its official new name for a while, and even used the airline once, in dismay Untold ultimately went across to the name that Uefa use for the ground: Arsenal Stadium.

Comparing this with West Ham we see an interesting comparison.  They gave themselves a ground name as pretentious as it was possible to find: the London Stadium, but the reality was that London tax payers were left footing the bill for the next 99 years as WHU negotiated a deal so ludicrous for London tax payers that the “TaxPayers Stadium” was the only name that could be given to the place.

Season Stadium P W D L F A Pts Pos FAC Europe
2012–13 Upton Park 38 12 10 16 45 53 46 10th R3
2013–14 38 11 7 20 40 51 40 13th R3
2014–15 38 12 11 15 44 47 47 12th R5
2015–16 38 16 14 8 65 51 62 7th QF Europa
2016–17 Tax payers 38 12 9 17 47 64 45 11th R3 Europa
2017–18 38 10 12 16 48 68 42 13th R4
2018–19 38 15 7 16 52 55 52 10th R4

Leaving aside Arsenal’s FA Cup successes neither club has flourished in its new home and this year looks like being the year of decline for both clubs – although of course there is still time for either club to pull itself around.

But the fact is that for neither club has the stadium proved itself to be the magic success tree.   Other factors have come into play, such as the debt Arsenal had to pay off, and the fact that the one way to take a team up to the top has changed and seems to be to have vast amounts of money which can then be thrown at the club in terms of buying players for ever and ever until it works, or the owner is debarred from doing business in the UK.

There are some similarities between Arsenal and WHU now.  For example, both clubs have supporters who moan about others who don’t turn up for the games – although West Ham also seem to have a problem in that their board forgot to engage with the fans to create a singing section, which was a bit dumb really.  At least Arsenal engaged with Red Action – and still recognise them as an entity even when Red Action turned on Arsenal and joined the WeCareDoYou movement.

Of course one of the big problems WHU have is that there is a huge distance from the stands to the pitch – it is the old Soviet-style running track problem.  They also tried a very cheeky trick of setting up their own officially recognised supporters’ club, and not recognising the long-standing groups.  I might criticise what the AST says about Arsenal and its directors – the allegations about the directors illegally removing money from the club for their own purposes could have resulted in a court case, but even then the club held back and continued to recognise AST – although the club is pulling back now from all the fans groups.

So West Ham fans protest: the golden age has not come.  And for Arsenal to: we should have had the next golden age by now, now the stadium is paid for, but it hasn’t come either.  During the Era of Debt we did win the FA Cup three times and stayed in the top four.  Now, almost certain this will be our fourth season outside the top four.

Ah, new stadia!  I turns out they can be a bit of a bugger really.   What you really need is a country.   Or a billionaire who doesn’t get banned from doing business in the UK and who likes sloshing money around.

If only there was one of those who also had a positive feeling for human rights.  Then we’d have everything.

10 Replies to “What exactly do we need in order to win the League again?”

  1. Hey the stadium is not actually paid for, I thought it was also but Tim Stillman I believe proved that otherwise and if you look into it you will see Arsenal still has many years of paying on the stadium

  2. Phil F I have seen this story around, although not from Tim Stillman as a source, but I can find no evidence at all that this is true.
    All the mainstream media coverage shows that the payments for the stadium have been made, and there is nothing showing on Arsenal’s accounts that I have seen that indicate a debt in terms of the stadium.
    What is still outstanding is the repayment for the bonds that were issued when Arsenal was rebuilding the north bank at Highbury, but that has nothing to do with the stadium. Those repayments are due because that’s how the bonds were set up as a very long term loan.
    Apart from the fact that I can’t find any information on this, what makes me a little suspicious is that everyone who has written to Untold claiming that the stadium has has not been paid for, has simply stated it as a fact, but not been able to refer me to a valid source of information confirming this. As a plc Arsenal has had to make comprehensive financial returns to Revenue and Customs each year, returns which have been made public, and I can’t see where within these returns the debt on the stadium is still showing.
    So I am tending to disbelieve this at least for now, because it has all the hallmarks of an invented story which is picked up and passed on – such stories generally never cite a source which one can go to, to validate the facts, and this is exactly what happens here.
    If it is true, it should be a matter of minutes for anyone to find it, as it clearly would have been on the books of the club before Kroenke took it over. And if it is true, it would suggest (unless I am completely misreading the accounts) that Arsenal are guilty of attempting to defraud Revenue and Customs, which I think is very unlikely.

  3. OT: Bournemouth 0 0 Chel$ea 17m

    Marriner is the twit for PGMO. The first foul of the game is at 17m, and it results in a yellow to Chel$ea.

  4. OT: Bournemouth 1 1 Chel$ea 54m

    Bournemouth tied the game up on 54m. At that point, shots on target were 2:4, and off target are 2:2. Bournemouth was offside once, and the fouls were 2:2. Only the one yellow card.

    OT: Bournemouth 2 2 Chel$ea FT

    Fouls are 7:5, yellows are 2:2. Bournemouth require a treatment on 90m, and Sargeant Marriner Schultz sees NOTHING!

  5. There are lots of people looking for statistics. And then when you go looking, you find that not everyone is storing the same data. I could have weather data for all football games, and call it football statistics. Another thing which comes up, is that some places with statistics; make it hard to actually do any serious work. If you want to look up one thing, that it easy. Trying to prove PGMO are slime, that it not so easy.

    Some stats sites:
    EPL Stat Centre (PremierLeague.com ?)
    Bundesliga ha similar for their league
    WorldFootball.net (supposedly now has 150 years of statistics).
    RotoWire (subscription)
    OptaSport (subscription)

    Lots of others. If there are N places with statistics, something like N/3 of them will claim they are the biggest, best or similar.


    There are some kinds of statistics that players find important, because they summarise “self”. Goals, cards, assists, shots, passes, tackles, blocks, clearances, headed clearances, interceptions, aerial battles won/lost crosses, minutes played, times they hit the frame of goal, through balls, saves, punches, goals conceded.

    A couple of those statistics, involve the PGMO: goals, cards, assists, saves, goals conceded. Other statistics which involve PGMO are: yellow cards, red cards, fouls, offsides, penalties conceeded.

    Goals are important, and players have an organization which oversees who is credited with goals. And occasionally deliberations make it into the public. But, this is a type of data that involves PGMO, as PGMO has to _rule_ that it is (or isn’t) a goal.

    Take the Bournemouth Chel$ea game. First foul was a yellow card at 17m.

    The total number of fouls in the game was 12, which is 7.5m per foul. Those two numbers (one foul in 17m, 7.5m per foul) are not very close to each other.

    From Tony’s article of a few days ago, he says that there are 1.65 tackles per foul. If a person was to look up the tackles from the first 17m, there was only 1.65 tackles? Really?

    Another number from Tony’s article, is 6.04 fouls per yellow. So, when that first yellow was handed out on 17m, it is likely that 6.04 fouls had occurred, but PGMO only called one. Why didn’t they call the other 5.04 fouls? Going back to the tackles, at 17m there should have been (almost) 10 tackles made. Any bet if we pulled the player stats of that game up to the 17m mark, we will find a number of tackles close to 10?

    97% accuracy of the PGMO is a pipe dream. One foul out of 6 is 17% accuracy.

    I think it is via player stats like tackles aerial battles, that we will find some data which more easily show that PGMO is being very selective in what it is calling and not calling.

  6. 1.65 tackles per foul. Invert that, and you get 0.6060…. fouls per tackle. About 61% of tackles are fouls.

    If a tackle happens, it is because the defender has already been beat; and has to cheat to try and remedy the situation.

    I wouldn’t have thought the cheating was quite that prevalent, but maybe it is.

  7. OT: Watford 3 0 LiVARpool! Say what?!?

    Oliver is the twit for PGMO. Fouls are 4:8, and no yellows. Shots on target were 5:1, and off target were 5:5. Watford only had 30% possession. Corners were 3:5, and offsides were 5:1.

    Watford require a treatment on 33m, and after 4m off field is substituted. Sargeant Oliver Schultz sees NOTHING!

    Who bet that a team in danger of relegation would end LiVARpool!’s run? I wonder if any referees had a big bet on Watford winning?

  8. OT: StateAid 3 1 Southampton

    Taylor is the PGMO twit for this game. Fouls are 8:12 and cards are 1:1.

    At 2m, StateAid inflict a treatment on Southampton. Sargeant Taylor Schultz sees NOTHING! At 58m, StateAid do it again, and it is not obvious that Sargeant Schulz has seen anything.

Comments are closed.