Arsenal 99% in Europe next season; but a fan on the board is meaningless

By Bulldog Drummond

The problem with writing a preview of a European semi-final second leg is that not much has happened since the first leg.   Arsenal had a fine win over a Newcastle team who spent the match looking over their shoulders, while Villareal beat Getafe 1-0.  And AST have been making a noise.

Meanwhile the amazing happened in the Everton v Arsenal game in the Women’s Superleague – for the first time in nine games the opposition scored against Arsenal.   Arsenal still won 2-1, which means that Manchester United have to win their final match and Arsenal have to lose for Arsenal Women not to be in the Champions League next season.

Oh yes, and Manchester United have to win 13-0 and hope that Arsenal win 14-0 for Man U to make up the goal difference.    In effect Arsenal are going to finish third, probably five points off top position.

Which means it is over to the men tomorrow night to make it two Euro successes this season, by winning against Villareal.  Their 1-0 win in their last game means that

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 34 23 7 4 61 22 +39 76
2 34 22 8 4 58 24 +34 74
3 34 23 5 6 80 33 +47 74
4 34 22 4 8 49 27 +22 70
5 34 14 11 9 51 35 +16 53
6 34 13 13 8 51 38 +13 52
7  Real Betis 14 9 11 43 46 -3 51

In Spain the top four teams in La Liga qualify for the next year’s Champions League.  The next two qualify for the Europa league, although there are of course all the adjustments made in case a Spanish club wins either European competition.

So Villareal will probably get into Europe again without winning the Europa League, not least because Barcelona won the Spanish Cup so that place (reserved for the Europa) will be re-allocated.  Thus unlike the situation with Arsenal this semi-final is not an all or nothing attempt to qualify for Europe next season.

But as we have shown in recent days, clubs do drop out of Europe for a year and come back stronger, having had a season of fewer games to play.  Manchester United were not there for 2014/15 and progressed from seventh the previous season to fourth.

From 2010/11 onward Liverpool had only one appearance in the Champions League across the next seven before getting back in and becoming runners’ up first, and then the winners.

Chelsea missed out in 2016/17 and 2018/19 and each time came back the following season in the Champions League.

So Arsenal having had no seasons in which we have not been in Europe since 1996/7 is unique, and yet again a testimony to the genius of Arsene Wenger.  But a year out of Europe is not the end, providing of course that the club uses the time to rebuild.

The worry for Arsenal is that because of distractions by those people who accuse the board of directors of stealing club money for themselves, and not having the best interests of the club at heart, the one year out of Europe – if that is what happens, won’t be used to our advantage for rebuilding.

The big worry is that it could be used by the same mobs that forced Mr Wenger out to wage war on the board of directors and club owners, and thus distract from developing the new squad that will get back into the Champions League.

This is, at the moment, what looks like happening.  Black Scarf, which calls itself the largest Arsenal supporters group, has a series of demands for what the club should do in the future, but doesn’t seem to have any mechanism for talking with the club.

Arsenal Supporters’ Trust which calls itself the largest Arsenal supporters group, has regularly strongly criticised the board in public, but demands a seat on the board.  And even if it gets it, it will mean nothing.  Observers at board meetings without voting rights have no impact in companies, and the club is fully aware that AST only represents a tiny minority of Arsenal fans.

It is fortunately very unlikely that the Arsenal board will react to the current situation as Manchester United have done with their fans, where demands for more engagement with the club has led to more anti-fan security and the continuation of the holders of the “B” shares to take their millions out of the club each year no matter what the profit or loss.

AST are remembered by many of us as the organisation some of whose members disrupted an event held at the stadium with senior members of the club attempting to address fans.  As a result subsequent events of this kind, which had been held regularly were cancelled.  We all suffered because of them.

Now in return for spoiling an evening out for everyone, AST is asking to sit at the high table.  Personally I hope Arsenal don’t bow to this demand, for to do so will be to reward boorish behaviour and outrageous (and of course utterly unproven) allegations of mismanagement.

A seat at the big table is neither here nor there.  Engagement with the fans is what counts, and although progress has been slow, the club was moving more in this direction until the protests started to break this up.

So we are currently back to the 1927 position when the Hill-Wood group kicked the fan’s representative off the board (Jack Humble).  We need fans to engage seriously with the board in a calm and quiet manner, and for a number of years that has not been AST’s approach.

10 Replies to “Arsenal 99% in Europe next season; but a fan on the board is meaningless”

  1. Personally all I want the owners to do is run the club.

    By that I mean provide every aspect of the club with the tools they need to carry out their job to the absolute best of their ability. From the cleaners, to the ground staff, to the coaches the players and the manager.

    They should constantly be looking to develop, improve and evolve the club in all these aspects, and they should do this with prudence, sound judgement. imagination and foresight.

    And they should do all this within the financial framework of the club. Within the capabilities of it’s business model. They should never put the club into a financially vulnerable situation.

    Although I don’t believe they do all of these things brilliantly I do believe this is a least what they try to do. I don’t doubt for one second that they have the best interests of the club at heart, after all it is to their benefit that they make the club as successful as it can possibly be.

    To do this it will at times require ‘investment’ and that is only normal. But it is not, in my opinion, normal to expect owners to invest in football clubs to the ridiculous levels that we are currently witnessing or witnessed at clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG and the like. That is not business, and I don’t expect, or even want our owners to do it.

    When football becomes simply a billionaires toy or a Nation States marketing tool, operating on unlimited funds, we are going to continue to see discontent amongst the also rans, especially when historically they are not used to being also rans.

    As such, I believe something has to be done to at least level the financial playing field to some degree. Whether it is with a different version of a ‘Super League’ or an alternative version of Financial Fair Play I don’t know, but one thing I am certain of is that it will happen.

  2. @Nitram, but the super League had the same clubs you called Billionaires toys -chelsea and Man city were there. PSG was at least invited to join. Leaked financial documents also showed that these clubs were not going to share the proceeds from the super League equally either, teams like Barca, Madrid and United were going to earn significantly more than teams like Arsenal, athletico, Milan. In other words, the Billionaires still had access to funds from their sugar daddies in addition to super League money. So where’s the leveling of the playing field? The field was only going to come about if the billionaires toys were not part of the super League money. The point wasn’t about levelling the playing field, it was about tilting the field even more against teams not invited to the party

  3. Arome


    But for the teams without sugar daddy money it at least provided a level of security.

    I don’t agree with it. It is elitist and unfair, but as I say, whilst this financial doping continues the other ‘elite’ clubs will continue to look for a way to either level the playing field, which was our clubs preferred option, hence why they supported FFP, or to form a closed shop.

    As I say, this hasn’t gone away.

  4. @Nitram, the way I see it, the scheme was for a club like arsenal and Tottenham not about leveling the playing field with the likes of Man city or Chelsea. But more about securing it’s place with those teams and ensuring that upstarts like Leicester never got to overthrow them. I don’t blame them, the first law of nature is self preservation. Like Vinai said, they knew it was a moving train and were fortunate to be given the opportunity to board. They knew they risked being left behind if they didn’t join

  5. Again possibly but I honestly believe it was more about securing their place with likes of Man City and Chelsea etc. Rather than worry about what Leicester did. That was remarkable and is unlikely to be repeated any time soon, even by themselves, although they do have be congratulated for maintaining their lofty position.

    Now, fearing another team such as Newcastle or Villa or whoever acquiring a billionaire owner and gazzumping them that way may well be something they fear, and who can blame them ? As I’ve said I don’t agree what the likes of City and Chelsea have done so I certainly don’t want us or anyone else to do it.

    But the fact is the way things are I can certainly see other clubs doing it, so no wonder the likes of Arsenal and Spurs have fears when they are trying to be self sustaining, which I believe is not only the ‘right’ way but the ONLY way that ultimately football will survive.

    Others think differently and I may be wrong but that’s how I see it.

  6. And of course if FFP is about levelling the play for us with regards to wealthier teams than us then the same has to be said about teams poorer than us.

    How that equates to us being afraid of the Liecsters, Villas and Newcastle’s of this World I’m not sure when we were such advocates of FFP.

  7. @Nitram, I don’t see the similarity between ffp and the super League. Generally I expect that before you make deductions, you would have laid the foundation with proper predicates. FFP could level the playing field because it restricted clubs to only spending monies gotten by certain means, these means were available to all clubs, so you made only by how well you managed those means available. The super League on the other hand
    1. Did not restrict the billionaire toy teams from participating, so they had the super League money in addition to whatever monies you complain that the sugar daddies could pump in. So in other words when teams like arsenal and Tottenham are struggling with positions 18-20 continuously in the super League, you would still use the excuse of the likes of man city, Chelsea and Man utd being financially better off.
    2. It however restricted the already poorer clubs, not owned by the sugar daddies, from participating. Thus blocking them from access to the extra revenue the super League would bring in. Thus if Man city is financially doped relative to crystal palace for example, with the advent of the super League they’d be 10times more doped.
    In summary I fail to see how the super League was going to level the playing field between the sugar daddy clubs and the ones that are self sustaining as long as the super League welcomed the sugar daddy clubs while not restricting them from recieving sugar daddy monies

  8. Arome

    I don’t ever expect you to agree with anything Untold, Myself or most posters on here ever say.

    If we said the grass was green you’d find a way to argue about.

    Enjoy your weekend.

  9. Lol as usual nitram, leave the debate and attack the person. Arome has given his reasons why he doesn’t think the super League was going to level the playing field, you on the other hand just made the assumption that the super League would have leveled the playing field without telling us how you came to that conclusion. That’s no way to carry on a debate bro

  10. @Nitram, it’s true we don’t always agree. But I’m sure we can agree to disagree bro. No point bringing in sarcasm, that’s beneath you sir. Cheers

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