Apologies from Arsenal, but not everyone is saying sorry.

By Tony Attwood

“How can we ever work with these people again? They’ve spent years telling us barefaced lies,” was just one comment in the last day or two.   And yet nothing is new; we have had problems with untruths in football since the start of football.

As I have quoted a number of times (because it was Untold that unravelled the story) when Arsenal wanted to buy Suarez from Liverpool, and the Liverpool owner told lie after lie to the media claiming there was no £40m buyout clause, the media lapped it up, while making fun of Mr Wenger for thinking there was a clause in the player’s contract saying the player had to be offered the chance to leave if there were a bid over £40m. 

Arsenal put in that bid and even when John Henry admitted he had lied constantly, the UK media refused to run that story, because, of course, it made them look pretty stupid in not bothering to do any investigating of Henry’s claim at the time.  It was little Untold Arsenal that got the story.

(If you missed that you can read it in “Liverpool owner admits he lied about Suarez’ buy out clause”and the follow up piece “What are they smoking at Anfield?” John Henry’s jibe against Arsenal comes back to haunt him…”)

The fact is that Henry, the man who openly boasted of his ability to throw off the English media by the simple technique of lying, is still there, still running his club, still signing up for things like the Super League.  He’s just issued a video of himself.

Arsenal have however apologised profusely and more completely than I had imagined they would do.  In case you have missed it I’ll reprint the apology at the end of this little piece.  

Manchester United however did not make people happy with a brusque 52 word notice saying they would not be taking part.  Gary Neville described it as ‘quite possibly the worst communication’ ever.  

Manchester City may have apologised but I haven’t seen it.  But Man City like to demand apologies themselves, as when Pep Guardiola says Man C deserved an apology after the club successfully overturned their ban from European club on the technicality of Uefa being too slow to present its case against Man City, and thus effectively running out of time.  I would have liked a Uefa apology too – but not to Man City.  I’d have liked an apology to all the clubs obeying the FFP rules over Uefa’s gross incompetence at not bringing the case forward quickly enough.

Chelsea are normally quite good on apologies, and they get a lot of practice, for in the past they have apologised for historical child sexual abuse (6 August 2019), crimes by former youth coach (18 March 2021), Kennedy’s offensive instagram posts (July 2017),  and paying Gary Johnson £50,000 to keep quiet about sex abuse.   There’s more, but that gives you the flavour.

Tottenham have said, “We regret the anxiety and upset caused by the ESL proposal. We felt it was important that our club participated in the development of a possible new structure that sought to better ensure financial fair play and financial sustainability whilst delivering significantly increased support for the wider football pyramid.

“We believe that we should never stand still and that the sport should constantly review competitions and governance to ensure the game we all love continues to evolve and excite fans around the world. We should like to thank all those supporters who presented their considered opinions.”

So apologies from most quarters, and yes apologies are better than no apologies, but I still think Arsenal did it best.  Here’s what they said…

The Arsenal apology.

The last few days have shown us yet again the depth of feeling our supporters around the world have for this great club and the game we love.

We needed no reminding of this but the response from supporters in recent days has given us time for further reflection and deep thought.

It was never our intention to cause such distress, however when the invitation to join the Super League came, while knowing there were no guarantees, we did not want to be left behind to ensure we protected Arsenal and its future.

As a result of listening to you and the wider football community over recent days we are withdrawing from the proposed Super League. We made a mistake, and we apologise for it.

We know it will take time to restore your faith in what we are trying to achieve here at Arsenal but let us be clear that the decision to be part of the Super League was driven by our desire to protect Arsenal, the club you love, and to support the game you love through greater solidarity and financial stability.

Stability is essential for the game to prosper and we will continue to strive to bring the security the game needs to move forward.

The system needs to be fixed. We must work together to find solutions which protect the future of the game and harness the extraordinary power football has to get us on the edge of our seats.

Finally, we know this has been hugely unsettling at the end of what has been an incredibly difficult year for us all.

Our aim is always to make the right decisions for this great football club, to protect it for the future and to take us forward. We didn’t make the right decision here, which we fully accept.

We have heard you.

The Arsenal Board

That is a proper apology.  Thank you Arsenal.  You might also enjoy

‘Fair play to Arsenal’: Some Spurs fans respond in wake of European Super League fiasco

12 Replies to “Apologies from Arsenal, but not everyone is saying sorry.”

  1. I guess the Arsenal Board made a very good apology while at the same time showing a little of the justification (in their eyes) of the motivation to join / be a force behind the ESL concept to start with. It did smack a little of covering Kroenke’s backside but as you say, better than nowt.
    Talking of nowt, that’s what Spurs’ “apology” was. Whereas Arsenal Board said sorry for what they did, Spurs said that they regret the fans feel like that – kind of making Spurs to be the victim because the fans didn’t react the way they should’ve (in Spurs’ view).

    This thing hasn’t gone away – you are totally correct in that EUFA bear some of the responsibility for what has happened. If EUFA don’t also learn from this it will not be too far down the road that this will resurface in a different guise.

  2. Philip

    I agree.

    I thought from the first this was more about securing a leveller financial playing field and not greed.

    As I said in the other article Arsenal have been thwarted at every turn in their attempts to make their self sustaining model work and they have been thwarted by Billionaires owner who are determined to do exactly what they want. They bent the rules to breaking point and they opposed every attempt to administer at least a modicum of financial restraint, doing so by threatening to bankrupt anyone who opposes them.

    As you and Tony suggest EUFA are utterly to blame for this by allowing this ridiculous situation to occur. And you are right, this hasn’t gone away.

  3. Next change ?

    An American decided to write a book about famous churches around the world.

    So, he bought a plane ticket and took a trip to Orlando, thinking that he would start by working his way across the USA from North to South.

    On his first day, he was inside a church taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read.
    ‘$10,000 per call’.

    The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by what the telephone was used for.

    The priest replied.
    “That is a direct line to Heaven and for $10,000 you can talk to God”.

    The American thanked the priest and went along his way.

    Next stop was in Atlanta.
    There, in a very large cathedral, he saw another golden telephone, with the same sign under it.

    He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in Orlando and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was.

    She told him.
    “That is a direct line to Heaven and for $10,000 you can talk to God”.

    “OK, thank you,”
    said the American.

    He then travelled all across America, then onto Europe, England, Japan, and New Zealand.

    In every church he saw an identical golden telephone with the same.
    ‘$10,000 per call’
    sign under it.

    The American decided to travel to China, to see if China had the same phone.

    After he landed in China, he went into the first church he found.
    There was the golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read.
    ’40 Cents per call.’

    The American was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign.

    “Father, I’ve travelled all over the world and I’ve seen this same golden telephone in many churches.
    I’m told that it is a direct line to Heaven, but in all of them the price was $10,000 per call”.

    “Why is it so cheap here?”

    The priest smiled and answered.
    “You’re in China now son…….”


    “so it’s a local call’.

  4. I would like see a timeline of negotiations between the Super League clubs. Both the Spuds and Arsenal claim that, in essence, they had no choice and joined up to avoid being left behind. I even heard rumours that Arsenal were not part of the initial discussions. It would also be nice to hear who in the Arsenal hierarchy was calling he shots…Stan, Josh or Chips.

  5. There’s failures down the line for decades in this situation but the hard kernel remains at the centre and cannot be broken down – the fans were not consulted.

    Stan, Josh, Chips, all the Chips in a line – the only people taking decisions regarding the clubs were the owners.

    The reality of Arsenal Football Club, the reality of any football club – in Bradford 56 deaths at a football ground & lives transfigured forever – was not deemed to require the consent of the community of that football club.

    When push came to shove – Arsenal being left behind – the people who own Arsenal Football Club chased the money. How do we deal with that?

  6. The Super League Came about because of spirling costs of transfers and players wages. These need to be curtailed or we will be back to square one. The way I see to curtail these costs are:
    Allowing Only One International Transfer per years, 2 national Transfers a years per team.
    So Money spent can be gathered from sales by the club and sponsorship.
    In Addition allowing only 8 loan moves no more than 4 overseas.
    This means teams have a fairer chance to compete and improve training of local footballers.

    Please Comment: Be positive, and think up your own ideas for this.

  7. Raj Shah

    I agree completely as to why this came about.

    I don’t believe we were chasing the money per se, it was more about seeking a level, or at least leveller playing field financially.

    For well over a decade now Arsenal, as well as everyone else in the PL, have been faced with trying to compete with 2 clubs with unlimited funds as well as the richest club on the planet.

    As everyone knows AFC’s chosen route for our club is a self sustaining model, a model I am absolutely in agreement with. But with that agreement I also understand whilst the financial situation in the PL remains as it is now competing for the title on an on going basis is going to prove very challenging, although as Leicester City showed not impossible task, but I think we all agree that was a freak and is extremely unlikely to happen again any time soon.

    Now as I say, every club in the PL has the same problem as us but only ourselves and Liverpool are actually ‘expected’ to compete with them for the title and if we don’t, as we all know, we get mercilessly criticised, not only by the media but many of our own fans.

    So what to do?

    Well it seems to me with have/had 4 options or chances:

    1: FFP.

    2: Get our own owner who is prepared to put up similar amounts of money as Roman and the Mansours.

    3: Get a miracle worker as a manager.

    4: produce our own superstars.

    1: is dead in the water.

    3:Yes miracles are possible but not really a sound business model.

    4: Yes that would be nice but let’s be honest it’s really just another version of number 3.

    So that leaves us 2 and it ain’t going to happen and I for 1 don’t want it to. So given those rather stark choices I think the board simply saw this as the only way to put us on a more equal footing with those 3 clubs. I honestly think they thought they were doing what was best for Arsenal on a business level but the problem is despite football being a business, which it is, fans simply don’t see it as a business. It’s a passion.

    As such it was a plan that was never going to work, but let’s not fool ourselves something has to change to stop the Billionaires running the game for themselves or we will continue to flounder as I believe eventually, so will the game itself.

  8. @ Nitram – For number 2 , can I suggest a name that may turn out to be very comfortable with most parties ?

    Mathieu Flamini .

    Whether he wants to get involved in this is another question , but he checks out quite a few boxes. Which would be agreeable to most .

  9. Tony thanks for posting the link to your article on the “supposed” lie by the Liverpool owners. However I must make a few observations on this another one of your repetitions
    1. You didn’t post any link on the article to the original quote. In other words, you simply tell us Mr Henry said xyz and expect us to take your word for it. that’d be a naive thing to do, knowing how vehemently you can push narratives
    2. Even if Mr Henry said what you claim he said, he would still be expressing an opinion. What is important is that the issue went before a panel who agreed with Liverpool’s position on the interpretation of the clause.
    3. If Mr Henry is a confirmed liar as you say, how come you are basing the truth of the Suarez contract situation on his speech? He might as well have been lying to make a point at the seminar in Massachusetts. That leads us back to my 2nd point, the contract situation was reviewed by the arbitrating authorities and thathas to be accepted as the true position of the contract for now.
    I know it won’t stop your repetition of the matter, but I can at least try. By the way I enjoyed reading the open comments

  10. @Ben thanks for the links. I also noticed that in the 3rd link you sent, arsenal’s own chief negotiator Dick Law is quoted as saying this “We got information that showed us what was negotiated between Liverpool and the player and our internal conversations decided that the clause was meaningless, that it was not a buy-out and it didn’t obligate Liverpool to do anything apart from have a conversation,”

    I think we can just forget about what Dick law or Henry or any other person says. That contract was looked at by the PFA, the player’s Union and the verdict was “no buy out clause” simple

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