By Tony Attwood
In the modern blogging world, exploring the issue of cause and effect is sometimes known as moaning – and “moaning” of course is a pejorative word. No one likes a moaner.
So what is a moaner? Generally, a person who is given to excessive complaints and crying and whining.
In a situation where something is not right just complaining, crying and whining is therefore moaning. What a moaner doesn’t do is suggest a) an analysis of what is wrong, b) the cause of what is wrong and c) how to put it right.
I would imagine most people who have watched Arsenal this century will consider that compared with the early days of the century things are not going as well as they were in the past, and I’ve been trying to argue that some of the reasons for this are because of events within Arsenal over which the club has control, and some are due to events outside the club’s control.
That is not moaning, at least not by any normal definition.
The club, of course, has control over its investments and its appointments, its playing and coaching staff etc, but not over the behaviour of other clubs, the FA, the media, referees etc. The club also has control over the behaviour of its fans on the club’s premises, but only to a limited degree, and a heavy-handed approach to supporters at a game can stop unwanted behaviour, but can also result in bad publicity and a fan revolt.
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The problem is that trying to untangle this web of activity is difficult, because the borderlands between analysis and moaning, whinging and whining are not always clear, any more than they are in many other debates. It is always easier to describe commentary that is not welcomed or against one’s own point of view as moaning, rather than trying to analyse the ins and outs of the situation.
Where the sensitivity appears to be occurring in this situation is with the view that some supporters are to blame in part for the current position of Arsenal both in terms of results and in terms of finances. Obviously we all know about our position in the Europa and the Premier League but the financial position is only now becoming clear.
The recently issued set of accounts to 31 May 2019 show Arsenal made a £27.1m loss in the last financial year that has been reported, and obviously the defeat to Olympiakos will in the future put more pressure on the club which will show up in the 2019/20 accounts. The loss of £27.1m compares with a profit of £56.5m in 2018.
Turnover at the club has continued to rise – it went up about six and a half million pounds from one year to the next, the source being commercial activity, although rather annoyingly the accounts do show outgoings in terms of “transaction advisory costs incurred by the company in relation to KSE UK Inc becoming the group’s sole shareholder,” which effectively means that club is paying for itself being sold to its new owner.
These figures also show a profit on sales, because they do not include the huge expenditure in the summer 2019 transfer window. There is actually a profit on player sales in this set of accounts of £120m as it includes the release into the wild of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott. In the next set of accounts there is going to be a whacking great loss in this section, because of the summer spending in 2019.
Anyway, this loss that has just been reported, was the first loss made by since 2002. As the people who chanted “spend some fucking money” possibly knew, during the Wenger years by and large the club made a profit.
Now to return to the moaning theme. Given the way some commentators are writing to Untold at the moment, mentioning these accounts, (which I’d call analysis), might well be called moaning. Suggesting that times are going to get tougher will almost certainly be called moaning.
To overcome that one needs to propose a solution – a route that the club could take which will avoid the owners from entering a phase of cutting back.
When Mr Wenger was our manager I constantly put forward the view that holding onto him and his team was our best way forward, and that record run (for a British club) in the Champions League was (for me if not for a lot of other people) proof that the approach worked.
Now we don’t have the Wenger Effect any more. So what can the club do to avoid an era of financial cut-backs? Quite honestly I don’t know, which is why I have spent time looking back to the cause of the current circumstance – on the grounds that if one can find a cause of the current problems the club might be able to eradicate it, and this could help us find a way forwards.
That’s not to say that anything is down to me – whether I can see some possible solution to Arsenal’s issues is absolutely neither here nor there; I’m self evidently just a guy who writes a blog. I spent something like 11 years trying to suggest that keeping Mr Wenger was the best thing the club could do, but obviously that strategy is over.
What we need is a new strategy and I guess because I can’t see one, I’m called a moaner, which in the end is a trifle ironic. I was criticised like mad when I endlessly supported the Wenger approach, and now that he’s gone I’m criticised because I can’t see an alternative approach that will work.
Ah well. So it goes.