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What is the most effective way to bring about change at Arsenal?

By Tony Attwood

Life always feels a little better after a win, and life can also feel a little better after the confirmation of the inevitable.  The win you probably saw – Very Large Sam (we are not allowed to use his former nickname for political reasons) sat and sulked in his seat, unwilling or unable to direct his team, as ungracious as ever, and his side dutifully went down.

For Arsenal, the kiddies did their thing and offered us hope for the future.  Meanwhile the women’s match was a goalless draw, enough to ensure that they play in the Champions League next season, although starting the prior-pre-preliminary-early extra additional round.  As we noted before the third placed teams from France, Germany, Spain, England, Sweden, and the Czech Republic, and the runners-up Denmark, Netherlands, Italy, Kazakhstan, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Scotland, Russia, Belarus will enter in Round 1 of the “league path” in the Champions League.  I’m glad that’s resolved.

But what of the men’s team, and our season without Europe, of which the media is making so much?   As we noted in an earlier article it has happened to all our main rivals in the Premier League, so now it is our turn – we are the last to fall, the team with the longest continual run in Europe of any English team, and the second longest in Europe – although the media won’t tell you that.

Of course there was a time when no English teams played in Europe, because of the activities of Liverpool supporters, but that is now put away and forgotten.  It doesn’t quite fit the image.

But here’s the key thing.  Over the last 20 years there have been 14 different teams which have finished in the top four in Spain, 13 in Germany, 12 in Italy but only 10 in England.  So yes, although we don’t have that monotonous tedium of the same team winning the league year on year as they have had in Germany, Italy, and France of late, (although Italy has just had a hiccup) or the duopoly that have run football in Spain, there is a certain lack of chance for mould breaking.

Since 2004 the only teams to have won the Premier League are Chelsea (5 times), Manchester United (5 times), Manchester City (4 times), Leicester (once) and Liverpool (once).

Can anything be changed?

The answer is yes of course, because change happens, and indeed we are seeing it in the Championship.  For a while there was only one model for what to do if you came up to the Premier League, and that was to spend everything you have, and then a load more, on staying up.  Aston Villa and Brighton have done that recently, and it has worked.  Just.

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The problem is, if it doesn’t work, you don’t have much left thereafter.  Clubs like Huddersfield, Stoke, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hull, QPR, reading, Wigan, Bolton, Blackburn, Blackpool, Birmingham, Portsmouth, Derby, Charlton, Ipswich, Coventry… etc etc have had their day and sunk back.  Probably for a long time.  Possibly forever.

But compare that with Norwich, now promoted for the third time in seven seasons who have a different model – they simply haven’t gone mad and spent everything and more on staying up because that would mean they would have to sell everyone if they went down.

That’s good management.  Against that we have the uncontrolled wealth of Manchester City and Chelsea which will continue short of a coup in the home country of the former or the arrest or death of the owner of the latter (and I am not advocating either).

Arsenal’s two great runs of success (the first from 1930 to 1938, and the second from 1998 and 2005) were built on the club’s own income and the brilliance of the managers.

But now the clubs with the most money can just go on buying more and more players (which not only helps them but also hinders the opposition) and then quite possibly throw in a few dirty tricks along the way, such as Chelsea’s and Liverpool’s notorious youth policy.

However the redistribution of football finance is not a debating point – despite the fact that it would make football more open to the type of managerial genius that Arsenal benefited from in the early Wenger years.

And even when something odd does turn up, the media is now so much in awe of the big clubs and PGMO, it won’t cover the story.   Take this little table

Season Percent home wins Percent draws Percent away wins
2020/21 37% 23% 40%
2019/20 45% 24% 31%
2018/19 48% 19% 34%

That sort of change has never happened before in the history of football in England.  So it might be interesting to ask “why?”   I mean really, when something odd happens one should ask why.  It is the whole basis of our civilisation.

And yet not only is the media not asking why, having been through a period of not mentioning it at all, they most recently entered a period of denying it has even happened (on the grounds that if they don’t show the stats the stupid football fans are far too lazy to work it out for themselves).

The answer, as we have shown via experimentation undertaken by those who are interested, is referee bias caused by the home crowd.   That finding is probably the biggest story of all from the last two years.  But you don’t get it in the media.

So what can Arsenal do?  Our owners are not going to spend like the owners of Man C and Chelsea, and hopefully are never going to behave towards young players as Liverpool and Chelsea have, so that means the club needs to maximise its income from football and be more alert.  Which means having better marketing, better awareness of what referees are up to, and a team of support staff who can attract and develop more young players like Smith Rowe and Saka.   That’s about the only options we’ve got.

But maybe we should note this headline: “Manchester United lose £200m training kit deal over fans’ anti-Glazers campaign.”  If the sponsors don’t like it, they can always pull out.  That won’t affect Chelsea and Man C, but it can have an impact elsewhere.

The video collection series

Gaslighting: how refereeing in the Premier League is manipulated, and why the media never speak about it.

8 comments to What is the most effective way to bring about change at Arsenal?

  • hans andersson

    Some say old kronk is in no hurry selling AFC. But in fact he is. He is 73 and looks like he were ten years older. He’s aging very quickly. He look as fragil as Joe Biden, who hardly can walk. If kronk is interested in his after D reputation he shall sell Arsenal now. If he does, he will make millions of gooners all over the world happy, and at the same time earn som nice hard spotify cash.
    To me it sounds like a clear win-win. Maybe, maybe he sometime in the future then will be remembered as Good Old Stan, instead of beeing talked about as that ugly thing the cat dragged in. And with a new owner, who cares and know the game, we can get a real coach, like Ralf Rangnick or Diego Simeone. Arteta was Peps handyman with no qualifications at all for the job. In sports there are no such thing as “great by association”.

  • Maybe Hans, but I am not sure, as his son seems quite to like the job, and if the old man wants to start selling he’s got lots of other properties he can divest himself of.

  • Walter Broeckx

    The most effective way to bring change is to bring in more of our young talents. Saka and ESR are the first but there are others who can do a job I think. Willock if given chances will score goals and bring goals to a team, Balogun and Azeez look promising. They should get chances from next season on. We need a coach that is willing to give those youngsters chances. A type of Wenger guy….

  • Barry Byrne

    Think we are stuck with Stan & Son. Don’t think he cares about his reputation and his attention is on completing the Sofi Stadium in LA as entertainment campus and more importantly NFL HQ on west coast. They have run into financial overruns but the overall goal will still make him tons and that’s the only legacy he is interested in sadly. Pity he saw sports as the path to accumulate wealth for sports fans here and in the States. If they only were interested in creating a football exec team with ambition and intelligence and let them run the club even on a limited budget we might see intelligent recruitment. Dream of a Rangnick leading such a team. No guarantee of success with him but his track record is good in the coaches and setups he has worked in. He has had the knack or talent to ensue he worked in good setups at clubs in his career. If the Kroenkes just let intelligent people run the club. Alas one can dream. Anyway at least for now can enjoy watching Saka,ESR and maybe we see another Hale Ender make a breakthrough next season.

  • Agree with you Walter – particularly hope we retain Willock next season, he’s really come on at Newcastle

  • Zedsaunt

    The Kroenkes are associated with supermarket chains – Walmart, ASDA. It’s a certain grade. The ASDA chain described itself – good enough, cheap enough. Drink with the salesmen who built the ASDA chain in the 1970s & 80s you get a sense of the late night boozing, clubs, that sustained the expansion into a well-defined market. It didn’t innovate and it didn’t force the boundaries between the supermarkets to coil up and get reshaped. The boundaries were sustained.You can’t expect Kroenke & son to take many risks. Not their style.

    The banner ””I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art.” A Wenger ” isn’t going to be found in a supermarket. It will be the rallying cry for anyone on Spotify. Long chains of bands and their publicists and their fans will line up to raise a cheer for that. Can the club handle that image/PR/self-promotion vortex that Mr Ek triggers?

    From Untold Dylan to Untold Spotify in five seasons.

  • Goonergerry

    Comments re Kroenke’s are way wide of the mark. They are not the reason we have under performed this year. It’s not lack of money last year- it’s about our coaching game management and performance including decisions made by the present manager.
    I don’t especially like the owners but they are not to blame for why we are where we are. They facilitated a significant spend last summer but it’s not their fault that some of these players have not delivered.
    I have to say I thought we’d do better than we have .
    We are 9th at present and I think we need to face up to that being where we are .at present.
    If Arteta can’t do better with the players we have perhaps he should move on.
    I think he shows promise as a coach but perhaps is not. a great manager.

  • Zedsaunt

    The problem with moving Mr Arteta on and getting another one is that you can be moving the next one on, and the one after, and the one after that, an endless number of coaches/managers without, over ten years, much better results or, even worse, very little difference in the results. So it’s a quandary.

    It’s made more of a quandary when you get a site such as this which keeps records of the stats. This site will give you all the stats, manager by manager. You are no longer arguing on your gut feeling, on what the geezer said in the pub, what the guy from the Mirror wrote – you can read the history of the breakdown in goal scoring chances for yourself. That’s an end of story. Stats are like a brick wall. Drive down a cul-de-sac at 90 miles and hour and the wall is still there when you hit it.

    In order to keep things going I’m thinking to myself I’ve seen, on a couple of occasions with Mr Arteta at the helm, all-out attacking play from Arsenal involving the younger guys going for it, and getting there. That’s enough for me for awhile. The imbalance between attack and defence is so starkly obvious something will get resolved.

    There are problems in the setup. Cutting down on your coaching staff is like blowing your head off. That doesn’t inspire confidence. The Board and senior echelons allowing the PGMO gang to fuck around with games, the safety of players, application of the rules of the game, allowing the refs to piss on the spirit of fair play and not say a word in public, that is contempt for the fans, the game, the players. Sheep at least look lovely.