What do you want for Arsenal? What do you believe in?

By Tony Attwood

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So, the good guys are talking to Mr Ek (to whose business I pay a monthly fee – just wanted you to know that Mr Ek when it comes to seats for fans on the board).    Which is undoubtedly helping the value of Arsenal to continue rising, as it has been for many a year.  And that of course is what the current ownership want.   Indeed that value will presumably continue to rise in value as long as the very rich and the multi-nationals want to buy football clubs.

This rise in value will end when either football becomes toxic (think of the way the game was presented by the media in the 1970s), or else something else comes along which stops us thinking about football (like a variation of the virus that by-passes all the vaccination programmes).

Indeed that’s the point: the value of clubs is affected by their profits, other people wanting to buy clubs, and a healthy population. Remove one or two of those factors, and the value falls.

So in the meanwhile what do us regular supporters actually want?

Most of the people I speak to want our club to win things, because that makes us feel happy.  Ideally I want Arsenal to win things like Mr Wenger and Herbert Chapman did, rather than as Mr Graham or Mr Mee did, simply because I like lots of goals and consistency.  But if the early Mee or Graham approach is what’s on offer and it works, OK, that’s better than not winning anything.

And by and large I’d support any owner who gives us trophies while not causing people to die or exacerbating mass poverty.  And if he or she not only gives us trophies but also gives us attractive zippy football in the style of two doubles and an unbeaten season, well, even better.

Interestingly none of this has me talking about either Arsenal’s DNA (which I have never understood) nor Arsenal’s ownership.   In the end, leaving aside a variety of appalling dictators I don’t really mind who owns the club.  Put another way, if Thierry and Dennis are part of the club and we are performing like Mee’s team of the mid to late 1970s I’d be inclined to ask them to move on.   If we have the current owner and we’re in the top four each season, as we were for so long under Mr Wenger, then that’s great.

Now of course I haven’t talked to thousands of people or run a survey, but generally my football friends go along with winning stuff to be the main point.

Second, if we can win stuff with flair, style and lots of goals, doubleplus good.

Third, if we can win stuff with flair, style and lots of goals, and help end famines and push the world further towards peace, doubleplus good with bells on.

Fourth, if we can do all the things in point three, with the fans owning the club, better again.  And although that is just not at all likely in my lifetime, I mention it because this is how we started out – as a club not owned by a firm or a church as all the others were, but a club owned by the fans.

That was so long ago of course it is all forgotten now, but it is interesting that the local business chieftains in Plumstead and Woolwich thought that the whole idea of a fans’ owned Arsenal was an outrage, and they tried to push the club into bankruptcy.   The club survived, but later, when it did get into financial hardship, an outsider was brought in to pay off all the debts (Henry Norris), and he then spent 17 years (give or take a world war) selling the club back to the fans by way of shares.

That was still seen as a very radical and dangerous approach, so the Hill-Wood family, having ditched their own club, took over Arsenal and kicked Norris out.  (And if you still believe that it was Norris that was the crook, please do read Henry Norris at the Arsenal.  It’s very long and involved, but it tells you what really happened.)

So no, I’m not over excited by Mr Ek, even though I’m a Spotify subscriber.  I want owners who somehow, without breaking the law or destroying a third world country, gives us more trophies just as Mr Wenger did.   Not every year like Bayern Munich, as that would be just too boring, but very regularly.

Oh yes, and I’d like those people who led the Wenger-out campaign, and accused the Arsenal board of stealing money from the club rather than spending it on transfers, to go and support some other club.  They could do quite a good job at Tottenham – or maybe hold a few pitch invasions at Very Old Trafford.

Just stay out of this one could you?   Nothing you’ve done so far has helped.  Quite the opposite in fact.  Anyway Mr Ek, thank you and your company for introducing me to a rather fine rendition of one of my favourite songs.

5 Replies to “What do you want for Arsenal? What do you believe in?”

  1. It’s May Tony, a bit early (or late) for your Santa Clause letter. But as we’re at it,
    One – Nil to the Arsenal on Thursday night followed by another against the Glaziers in Gdańsk would do nicely.
    Then we can work on a lifelong unbreakable contract plus the armband for KT3 and 15 year deals for the youngsters Martinelli, Saka and Smith Rowe.

  2. OT this may not be anything to do with our club but it has links to our beloved game. Dalian Atkinson was killed in 2016 in an unsavoury incident that seems to have taken a lifetime to surface to face justice. Please God and all honesty Justice is served and Dalien’s fans and family can rest in peace.

  3. Sorry to double post but I meant to make this comment here:

    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.

  4. @ Nitram – I agree a 100% with your feelings and aspirations. I had hoped that the Arsenal would rise on its own strengths and in its fairness in all affairs.

    I was one of those foolish enough to believe that the UEFA FFP regulations would finally some form of parity to the EPL , and that Arsenal would benefit from it because we did it the right and proper way.

    Now , while I do hope that we achieve success by being fair, I am open to the idea that if we can , we should explore avenues where we can get any measure of advancement , we should. Be that financially , or by other means , but still not breaking the rules.

    A new owner , more investments , more sources of revenue, etc,are all acceptable. Even getting fans to buy into the club , to show their intent. Put your money where your mouth is.

    A local person , or a well loved ex-player would be the ideal , who could unite the fans to support the idea .

    I still remember Derek Dougan ( Wolves ) and Frannie Lee ( Man City ) rallying to come in to save their beloved clubs back in the seventies. As well as Jack Walker at Blackburn, later on.

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