There are 3 ways of running a top EPL club. (Two don’t always work)

Articles on Untold Arsenal are so good that they also appear on Team Talk. The same is true with much of our correspondence. The name of the “author” is changed on Team Talk.

Team Talk have been told repeatedly, but won’t stop the activity, so, I think we should celebrate this situation. Read it here, and then read it again. (If you have nothing better to do, that is).

3 Ways of Running a Top EPL club

1: The Rich Friend to the club

This is the traditional way of developing a club which dates back over 100 years. The local carpet wholesaler or whatever puts some money into the club, and becomes chairman. Woolwich Arsenal was run like this (although the rich friend wasn’t that rich and ran a gents outfitter in the town.) When he couldn’t raise any more money a rich “friend” appeared in the shape of Henry Norris and he ran it until he was thrown out of football.

But this method of running lesser clubs turned out to be small-fry when it was revolutionised by the then singularly second rate Chelsea. The new “super rich friend” approach and has since been explored by Man City, and up to a point by Fulham.

Portsmouth are trying to go that way too but “rich and proper persons” keeps getting in the way. QPR have done it in the second division and Newcastle have tried it with a man who drinks too much in football grounds. That last case shows what can go wrong.

But in terms of winning the league twice Chelsea has shown that it can work – but also that it is not guaranteed as a route to eternal silver. There was a real thought that they would win the league year after year under Abramovich. But they didn’t.

This lack of guaranteed success reveals a danger. The owner can lose interest, or all his money. And the sort of people who play these games and have this money are not that good at waiting. Tensions can arise. Last season we called the owner at KGB in Fulham, Absent Abromovich. His interest is back, but it can go away.

2: Buy now sell later

The idea is to do a buyout in which all the cost of buying the club are put back into the club itself. Loaded with debt the club will have no chance of escaping from its situation. The club can go on buying new players and attempting to win the league – indeed it can win the league – but that makes no difference to the debt because the ground is already full, and despite the wild talk at Real Mad, shirt sales do not grow exponentially.

The idea is for the owners to find an even richer owner to take over the club and the debt. So the current owners buy the club with the clubs own money, and sell the club and keep all the sale receipts. The club changes ownership, and the people who used the club’s own money to buy the club now walk away with a huge profit.

These people love the club to win trophies, because the more they win, the more the sell-on value of the club increases (as long as the debts are ignored). So they carry on spending more and more money, even if it means they can’t pay interest on the debt, to keep the supposed value of the club rising.

This all goes wrong if the rich kids lose interest in football (ok you get the boardroom fun, but you also get supporters of every other club hurling abuse at you). And it can go even more wrong in a recession when no one will buy because they expect the club to go bust first, and then they can pick up the pieces.

This is the problem facing Manchester U and Liverpool. They have been running up the debts – Liverpool have now been ordered by their bankers to make hefty repayments, and Manchester U have long since stopped paying interest out, rolling the interest into ever greater loans. (A brief pause here to say this article first appeared on Untold Arsenal, even if you are reading it somewhere else – these cut and pasters don’t actually bother to read the articles they pass on).

So the momentum of winning has to be kept up, to keep up the supposed quality of the club in the eyes of a potential buyer, and for that the debts have to rise, until one day either the lenders lose patience and liquidation follows (Leeds is the example here), or the clubs find a buyer.

3: Sustainable development

Arsenal went looking for another route. They needed money to build the new stadium, and knew that if they borrowed money for players at the same time as taking on the stadium mortgage they would end up in one of the two positions above.

So they developed two ideas that were already in the club: World-wide scouting and Youth Development.

Everyone has scouting, and everyone has youth development, but the plan was that the club was already so far ahead of the opposition in terms of both, that it could trade on its reputation. Youngsters and unknowns would come to Arsenal first, because of the reputation the club had in both areas. So when Arsenal bid against Manchester U for Ramsey Arsenal walked in, because of the reputation of not putting big names ahead of the youngsters.

Put the scouting and the youth policy together and you have scouts who, even if they bring in just one brilliant player every five years, save the club £millions against the cost of transfers.

Some of these great finds will be sold on for a profit, and because of this jealous supporters elsewhere renamed Arsenal a “selling club” as if “selling club” was a bad phrase. But in fact Arsenal generally gets the best out of its stars before moving them on. From Vieira to Hleb this has been proven to be true.

So powerful is this model (it saves money, brings in brilliant players, heightens the reputation world-wide, and then brings in money when players are sold on later in their careers), and indeed so spectacular has it become with the current double-winning youth team (most of whom joined the club six years ago) that it is now commonplace for clubs that seek to rise up the league to say that they will “do an Arsenal”.

The fact that no one has done this yet, reveals the danger of this model. It fails when the people at the top are not clever enough to do it. If you bring in second rate players, or can’t spot a Clichy when he is playing for a minor club that has just gone bust, you don’t make it work.

But when you make it work, it can lead to a self-sustaining production line that lasts and lasts – because all the kids want to join. At first it is frustrating – the great youngsters are all too young to play. But if you keep it running for four years, then in the fifth year you get the benefit of the first year – the first crop of brilliant kids are available for the first team.

That is where we are now. After four years of thinking “my God those 13 year olds are ****ing brilliant”, they are now emerging. As Liam Brady said, a lot of them are ready for the first team now.

The model is also unassailable from without. Both Manchesters , Liverpool and Chelsea are all at the mercy of the money men. Arsenal is only at the mercy of its own ability to bring through the talent. With Arsenal every issue is under their control. At Manchester U it is the Glazers and the markets. At the KGB in Fulham it is Mr Abramovich (and his ex-wife who now seems to have half his empire). At Portsmouth it is the rich and proper persons act (sorry “fit” not “rich” – slip of the keyboard).

One reason why people don’t like the new Arsenal approach is that it takes time, and we live in a culture in which success is demanded now. But in fact we’ve been through the hard times. We’ll see one or two youngsters enter the fray this year – and then next year we won’t know where to move for players.

If you want proof of the impact that Arsenal’s approach has had across the world however, take a look at the comment from the gentleman from Russia near the very end of yesterday’s comments section. That tells you the result of what Arsenal are up to.


In the end it is the question of control. Do you want control within the club or do you want control exercised by RBS and Gillet (at Liverpool), by the Glazers and the one company that might just pull the plug and ask for its interest to be paid, or by Mr Abramovich becoming absent once again.

(c) Tony Attwood 2009. Reprinting without acknowledgment is a crime against my pride.

50 Replies to “There are 3 ways of running a top EPL club. (Two don’t always work)”

  1. A poster on here yesterday was moaning about how wenger is begining to worry him, but the way i see it is, you can look at the quotes in 2 ways,

    “We don’t want to have to rebuild again, so I want to keep all the players together for next season. I don’t want to lose anyone. I want to add to the squad and have identified one or two targets. Ideally I would like to bring everybody in before we start back in pre-season training in July. I don’t want to leave it until the end of August.”

    Now to me they are the sort of comments that every Arsenal supporter wants to hear because (a) he’s obviously identified that there are weaknesses in the squad (b) he wants to bring in players to fix those weaknesses and (c) he wants to bring them in quickly to ensure they are given sufficient time to adapt before the new season starts up. It’s a clear sign that Wenger means business this off season and coupled with the very early signing of Thomas Vermaelen bodes very well for the club and the fans.

    Tony with refrence to the lovely article you have written i totally agree – there are people who want immediate gratification & there are those who are prepared to wait…why get oursleves in a financial boil in the first place when we can do it without having to endanger the future of the club…

  2. As suggested, I just read the comment yesterday by our Russian comrade Eskaia. I think it is worth laying out here (see below).

    For me it is a joy to read a point of view which so succinctly captures the feelings of the vast majority of Untold’s faithful army. Well it certainly echoes mine.

    Very well said Eskaia and, by the way, your English puts most UK natives to shame.

    June 24th, 2009 at 5:06 am

    Hello gentlemen. To start please forgive my English as I’m Russian and I do not have the best grasp of English yet, as I only recently moved to the US. I just wanted to comment on this blog, and how very happy and excited I am to find people of a like mind as me. I’ve been an Arsenal supporter for around 11 years, and for the past 4 of them, I have constantly been dissapointed by the impatience and lack of vision, both financially and about the current players on the squad, by Arsenal ’supporters’. So thank you all for giving me faith that all Arsenal fans don’t wish to sacrifice club financial stability in order to win a trophy. I would love for us to win a trophy next year, but not by being another ManU or Chelsea. Responsible running of the club and the beautiful style and flare with which they play means ever so much more to this humble fan. Again, thank you!”

  3. Bare with me on this on….A while ago, I saw a documentary on TV about the well-trodden path of reasons why some black kids turn to crime. One of the reasons was of course “absent fathers”. Another was “no visible role models.” They documentary makers went on to interview this African American chess Grandmaster, originally from the West Indies and now a native New Yorker. He strongly believed that chess should be put on the national curriculum, for all kids to learn. But he thought it would be particularly beneficial to young black males. Why? Because chess teaches you the benefit of long term thinking, as opposed to the here and now, the quick fix, and instant gratification. I think he was probably right. And I am sure we can all see the parallels with how Arsene and the board are working out the Arsenal game-plan. The slow burn, long-term journey has got to be ultimately more rewarding. I propose chess on the curriculum for all Arsenal’s anti-support!

    So while we’re on the subject of cutting and pasting, here is that post from Eskaia, the gentleman from Russia, who I hope doesn’t mind being replicated here…

    Hello gentlemen. To start please forgive my English as I’m Russian and I do not have the best grasp of English yet, as I only recently moved to the US. I just wanted to comment on this blog, and how very happy and excited I am to find people of a like mind as me. I’ve been an Arsenal supporter for around 11 years, and for the past 4 of them, I have constantly been dissapointed by the impatience and lack of vision, both financially and about the current players on the squad, by Arsenal ’supporters’. So thank you all for giving me faith that all Arsenal fans don’t wish to sacrifice club financial stability in order to win a trophy. I would love for us to win a trophy next year, but not by being another ManU or Chelsea. Responsible running of the club and the beautiful style and flare with which they play means ever so much more to this humble fan. Again, thank you!

  4. Excellent as usual Tony. Instant gratification is a late 20th century phenomenon, propagated by modern advertising, acting on behalf of an economy driven by mass consumption. Unlike my parents generation, it is a spend now-save later culture. Inevitably it has been driven to unsustainable levels as our economies are now based on credit rather than production. The lenders are now in control driving credit and interest payments to unsustainable levels (say hello to Liverpool and ManU).
    But too many fans are in denial. They still believe it is the natural order of things to spend BIG to win trophies. The current unraveling of the credit bubble, which is far from over, is proof positive that the good times are over. Every day, it is becoming clearer that Arsenal is in the best shape of the Big-4. I for one am even more confident about our chances to conquer all in the upcoming season and beyond.

  5. rajivinindia
    June 24th, 2009 at 9:55 am; Wenger’s recent comments, both on Bendtner and on needing only one or two new faces at AFC, are laughable, though unsurprising. Anyone would think that we’d just been pipped to the title and that NB had been vying for the Golden Boot. When Wenger opens his gob these days it simply reeks of smugness. And we all know that, in recent years, Le Complacent One has had absolutely nothing to be smug about. Maybe he’s just completely given up on challenging for the title and the possibility of having an attack spearheaded by a clinical, world-class striker. Maybe he’s accepted that fourth is the best we can hope to achieve under him these days and he is therefore reluctant to bring in the amount of new blood we patently need. He’d rather continue to tinker with his kiddies and lightweights. As I said some months ago, it’s gonna take more than a few buys from football’s second, third or fourth tier to overhaul our former rivals. I don’t know why he hasn’t held his hand up, admitted our performances have been nowhere near good enough and far below his (and our) expectations – therefore he’s gonna address it and try to make us a footballing force again. Instead we get a lot of feeble clutching-at-straws nonsense about our impressive run from November and how we just need evolution. I’ve had a gutful of Wenger’s evolution; of watching Diaby, Eboue, Denilson, Song etc etc. We’re a joke in the PL and we’re a joke in the cups. We’re supposed to cheer from the rooftops because we “snapped up” Vermaelen (yeah, right) and nod wisely when Wenger says we only need one or two others. This experiment is a failure and Le Mad Professor should admit it. Instead of ducking and diving every summer he should either stand and deliver or clear off and let a manager with more hunger and ambition do the job. Wenger’s a dead man walking and we need someone who’ll breathe life into our moribund club.

  6. and to top it off read this article from…

    Arsene Wenger: Arsenal Cannot Match Premier League Rivals Financially
    The Gunners boss insists that the lack of big-money signings is not solely down to his policy of promoting from within…
    24 Jun 2009 09:06:36
    Photo GalleryZoomArsenal coach Arsene Wenger watches on in frustration as his team lose to Manchester United in the Champions League
    Related Links
    Arsene Wenger
    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has moved to clear up accusations that he is averse to spending big money on transfer recruits.

    With the Gunners failing to attain any silverware for four years, the French tactician has come in for heavy criticism due to the team’s lack of experienced players.

    The north London club have tended to concentrate on promoting highly-regarded youngsters into the first-team in recent seasons, although they have also acquired the likes of Samir Nasri and Andrei Arshavin.

    They have not competed with their Premier League rivals in the transfer market, but Wenger insists it is not because he is reluctant to do so.

    “I’m fed up with people who think I have £100 million in the bank yet don’t want to spend it,” Wenger told Arsenal’s official magazine.

    “How can people think that?

    “The pride of the club is having moved to a new stadium while maintaining the team at the top level.”

    The Gunners boss is also confident that with a little investment, the current crop have the potential to achieve success.

    “We cannot pump £100m into it, so we must keep faith in what we are doing as I believe this team does a lot of things right,” Wenger added.

    “It does not need to be transformed. When you go on a long unbeaten run in the league and reach two semi-finals as we did last season, common sense tells you that.

    “The future looks bright. But I want to add to the squad and I have identified one or two targets. However identifying players and buying them are two different things.”

    Wenger is wary that the spending power of clubs such as Manchester City will pose a serious threat to the so-called ‘Big Four’.

    “You can expect them to spend a lot of money so they will be going for it too,” Wenger responded when asked whether City might achieve a Champions League qualification position next season.

    “There is no guarantee the top four will remain the same.”

  7. Gapuchi – you’ve made an honest mistake, we won’t hold it against you. You see this is an Arsenal FC supporters blogsite where people who support Arsenal can meet, read excellent, thoughtful articles and comment on them.
    You seem to either know nothing about football, never mind Arsenal, or maybe you could be a supporter of a rival club. The web is full of places where you can meet like ‘minded’ people and share the kind of carefully thought out ‘opinions’ you have expressed above. I wish you good luck in finding a less cerebral site to repeat your received ‘wisdom’.

  8. Tony – If ManU is not meeting its interest payments then the Banks must be forced to capitalize the interest thus increasing the loan balance which, by definition, eventually adds to the interest burden going forward. This is not a happy state of affairs for the bankers; interest accrued in a prior period must be reversed thus reducing their current earnings and they must set aside more capital to support the increased assets on the books. Despite the power of the banks to create money by leveraging their capital, they are limited by their solvency. Hence they cannot be happy with ManU especially since this enterprise could go tits up.
    Who are these creditors is the question.

    PS: This Gapuchi fellow writes and sounds like James Le Beak.

  9. Gapuchi’s comments seem to be based on the notion that we are so far behind other clubs in the top 4 that only a complete change of staff both on and off the pitch are needed.

    The crux of the matter is “how far behind”. It doesn’t have anything to do with today’s article, but it is an interesting point to consider.

    How far is “too far” in this context? Last season we were a long way behind – but did have a good run of games without defeat. Our loss to the KGB was very sad and frustrating but it came at a time when nothing mattered in terms of position in the league.

    If we consider in the past, we lost 6-1 away to Manchester (I think it was 5-1 or so at half time), and that with a team that included Henry and the rest. We came back from that. So individual defeats in the league can’t be taken to mean we are too far behind.

    If we consider the distance in points, the season before last I think we were four points off the top. Which cannot ever be considered to be too far behind.

    In terms of goals scored we were on a par with the league winners, so that can’t be the point. Except that it points towards the key issue. We lost virtually the whole midfield, and then the whole defence for periods last year. This was exceptional – not just one or two players from around the team, but twice we had a load of injuries and they were all together in one department.

    I remember watching many games and thinking as the teams lined up, you might as well call this Arsenal Reserves, there were so many of our first team missing.

    Finally compare the position with other teams. About 3-5 years ago (and I am at working writing this so don’t have my library of reference books to hand) Liverpool had at least two seasons where they ended up nearer to the relegation spots (in points totals) than to winning the league. Once they ended up 5th and the next season they won the Champs League (having fiddled their way in).

    So my point would be, the performance this past season does not dictate how good or bad we will be next season. History shows that clubs can have an off season for many reasons, and come back and win the league with virtually the same team the following year. And we can list all the particular issues that surrounded us last year.

    The argument really doesn’t stand up.

    But I fully expect to read this little piece of mine on another web site as if written by someone else, no later than 3pm UK time.

    OK. No slacking now.


  10. Tony, you are far too good to Gapuchi. You have actually merited his infantile dribblings with an intellectual, coherent response. Like having a pissing contest with a fire-engine, this is a monumental waste of time.

    That said, Gapuchi, I for one am very impressed. Not only have you missed the entire point of the article, and this site, you’ve actually succeeded in achieving something modern science had proclaimed as impossible – you made Ma$on sound intelligent.


  11. Mingus loving the analogy!

    I have an image of LA gangsters driving their SUVs to a meet, it gets heated, guns are pulled, then sense prevails…………”Let’s settle it the old fashioned way with a game of chess”

    All that long term thinking didn’t do Bobby Fischer any good?

  12. For all those who slate Wenger, what has been wrong with the palyers signed over the last 3 years. I’ll give you the free transfer of Bischoff (a punt that clearly failed to play out). Aside from that I see very little wrong with the players we have actually signed. I guess complaints fall into certain categories and I’d be keen to see where some of you put certain failures. Categories are 1) too much money. 2) not good enough. 3) did not need another midfielder/defender etc. 4) bad attitude. 5) not English. You may have other categories as well, but I’d be intersted to see what you think. For the record I think all the signings have been good and worth the money. Diarra was a shame and I wish we had insisted he stay.

  13. Gapuchi, FrankieN10, in the past 2 seasons, the team has not been that far off the pace. Yes in the league we were a way behind, but that showed that our squad did not have the depth (although the number of similar players all with injuries was a factor). We reached the semis of the FA and Champs league, and lost only 1 game in the first half of the 2007/2008 season and second half of 2008/2009. Our worst run was during most of 2008 when we suffered various long term injuries to players who all played in the same positions. We definitely need a DM, but as Wenger says, he is still looking for 1 or 2 players, so isn’t it a bit soon to write him off?

  14. the margin betwwen winning and losing is very small in the Premiership,the gap between Manu,Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal is even smaller.the difference is taking your chances in front of goal!The others did it we didn’t.Why? because the others had strikers who wanted to play for their teams, who were committed every game,who concentrated for the entire game.If the title was awarded for attractive attacking football then Arsenal would have won it!It’s not, it’s on points won and that means Goals and committed players who want to be at Arsenal! we all know who should go Ade is top of the list.Bendtners effort and committent can not be faulted he should be given the chance to play as the main striker with either rvp, eduardo or arsharvin as his partner

  15. Steveryder, Firstly, I hope Ade and Sendy are the only ones to leave. Apparently AW have offered Ade to AC and Inter. I am very happy Wenger has spotted the weaknesses and I dont think any fan will not be happy with his comments. 2 new signings, in the next month and very few players leaving. I believe Wenger is happy with the def now and he will now try to get a Central Midfield by signing 2 cms or sign 1 and then a striker. But it shows he means business and that he really wants to get the squad focused and gelled for next season. I have also heard that AW refused to put Bendter in the offer for Vermaelen which I am happy about. Very few fans from other clubs rate Bendtner at all, but he had a great season and steadily improved. Very poor game v Burnley (CC) and some shockin misses made me hate him, but goals against Kyiv, Chelsea, Bolton and Newcastle, along with so much effort won me over and I now have a soft spot for him. When my mates say how Deni and Diaby are rubbish, i tend not to say anything, and thid was the same about Bendtner but I say something now. I like him alot along with Carlos Vela. We were expecting big things from Walcott this season and he is now a fully fledged Arsenal and England starter. Although Bendtner starts for Denmark, he isnt a starter for us all the time and if Ade leaves and Arsha is preferred on the wing then Bendy has a great chance to stake a claim in the starting line-up. Big Nick is good!

  16. What has happened in football recently and the clamour of fans for “win at all cost” spending (even if that destroys the club) is a reflection of wider society. Over the next few decades UK PLC is going to have to repay a budget deficit comparable to that of after the 2nd World War. Future generations will look back on the period where we allowed this to happen with a mixture of scorn and anger, as they will be the ones picking up the pieces. However as the inability to live within your means is one of our great problems so is the ability to accept blame. It’s strange that the ones calling for huge spending now will claim in the future to have been the ones in favour of moderation and long term planning.

  17. Adebayor really needs to do a case study on one Jose Antonio Reyes! a player who had(has?) more talent and potential than he does.turning down a chance to blossom under the tutorage of Wenger for a few extra grands is not only myopic, its plain stupid to me.wenger has also hinted at a formation change next season.i hope he goes for the 4-3-3, it would best accomodate and harness the existing abandunce of offensive talent at the emerites!

  18. Another excellent article, Mr. Attwood. The financial and football state of Arsenal is in excellent condition, and it is indeed due to patience and vision of Arsene Wenger. I truly feel that most Arsenal supporters simply do not understand how very lucky we are to be part of this period in Arsenal history. Arsenal fans 25-50 years from now will look back on this era at Arsenal FC and thank their lucky stars that we had a manager with the foresight and fortitude to run this club the right way. Again, exceptional work.

  19. I am very interested in the financial affairs Tony. I believe the Highbury Flats project is ring fenced from the football side and that 90% of the flats are either sold or are they just deposits? I ask as i have read conflicting reports.

    Could someone kindly explain this in fuller detail.

  20. Steve Rider, I really must disagree. As I have mentioned before, I am at work, without all my reference books by me, but I am going to stick my neck out and say that Arsenal were within a goal or two of at least two of the other three teams in the top 4 in the EPL

    Maybe someone can check this for me – and if I am horribly wrong I will eat mountains of humble pie. But from memory I am saying that 3 of the top 4 scored around 66 goals in the EPL.

    If I am right, how can you possibly argue…

    “…the gap between Manu,Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal is even smaller.the difference is taking your chances in front of goal!The others did it we didn’t.Why? because the others had strikers who wanted to play for their teams, who were committed every game,who concentrated for the entire game.”


    PS From an earlier post, I saw Bischoff play twice live and thought he was terrific each time. If he is going, I am sorry about that.

  21. But Steve, you achieved fame and success.

    Your email to us was reprinted in full by deanparis on Team Talk at 15.55 just as I suggested at the head of the article today.

    I have given up arguing with Team Talk, but if you want to have a go at Deanparis be my guest.


  22. Manchester 68 For, 24 Against
    Liverpool 77 For, 27 Against
    Chelsea 68 For 24 Against
    Arsenal 68 For 37 Against

    Pretty obvious where the problem lay. Tony, you are correct.

  23. Gapuchi, I empathise with you. However, I been reading blogs on this site for quite some time, but I’ve not commented until now. The way I see this blogsite, true and proper Arsenal-loving fans exchange comments here. They do not engage in berating or dengrating the team and club they love. They discuss possible improvements, yes. They criticise constructively, yes. But they all have one thing in common, Love & Respect for The Arsenal. I think you need to visit as, I guarantee, you will find more sympathy for your views. Mate, love The Arsenal or leave it be.

  24. Once again Tony your patience does you credit. Row these idiots out, they have no arguments, just supposition. Of course when you prove them wrong they whine that statistics don’t count – that we are hiding behind them. It reminds me of Homer Simpson saying “Facts are meaningless, they can be used to prove anything”
    As for Bischoff, he has completed his first season after injury. The jury is surely still out. These people are fools.

  25. The World is full of people who don’t allow facts to get in the way of their opinion / argument. Explains a great deal when you think about it.

  26. Can anyone please comment on Walcott’s fluidity of movement on the left? He seem to have scored most of his great goals from that position.

  27. Dear Tony

    Great article, as usual. A perfect summary of the options that face Arsenal and its supporters.

    Ole gunner: Phil who?

  28. The post by this Steve fellow (Is he Deanparis as well?)had me thinking the lengths to which a certain section of Arsenal support will go to alienate Adebayor from this club. We are speaking about our most productive goal-scorer over the past 2-3 years; 62 in 142 matches with 21 assists, that is almost a goal every 2 matches. Most of my fellow posters from ACLF, who have also migrated to this site, know how strongly I feel about the underlying causes of this irrational behavior, which I have noticed has strayed over to Untold Arsenal.
    Guess it is the curse of modern man – wherever he goes his trash is not too far behind.

  29. Is anyone watching Confed Cup? I know it means little, but Cesc looks excellent through the first 25 mins. Beautiful balls and tackles, and one heck of a work rate so far as well. But, should we expect anything less?

  30. shotta-gunna – the argument against Ade is an interesting one. Certainly the stats show his value but as ever they don’t tell the whole story.

    I am not keen to see him leave as I feel he offers a very different dimension to the other strikers at our disposal.

    The antipathy towards him gathered weight very quickly at the end of last season and, as seems to be the way, the blogs exacerbated this.

    The original source of the dislike is the fact that he hawked himself about to other clubs at the ends of an excellent season. Fans always hate this and, though I accept it is just the way of the modern game to an extent, I do agree that his behaviour was dishonest and two-faced. Nonetheless I was glad he stayed.

    The second issue is he then had a rather poor season in comparison the previous one. It is obvious that some fans think because the club paid more in wages to hold onto him that should guarantee a better return.

    The claim that is being used now is that he doesn’t care, he is a mercenary etc. In fairness I can see why this is said – he doesn’t wear his heart on his sleeve and he does quite often grin having just missed a sitter.

    I guess I can understand why fans get frustrated – I do sometimes wish he would show some real intensity and passion. Nonetheless the fans response has been skewed by the blogs and media painting everything in b&w. His value is undoubtable and to me he is no less or more frustrating or delightful than RVP.

  31. why is it people who voice opinions against arsenal are urged to be thrown out?

    they can have a opinion you know – instead of all the rosy and dreamy stuff they do have certain and valid points

  32. nigel – as Tony keeps saying if only they would actually present their case in a logical way and defend it when it is dismantled. No sorry, what am I saying – this is a blog which supports Arsenal FC, its board, manager and players why on earth would anyone here want to read as you put it “opinions against arsenal”.
    My issue is that the blogosphere is absolutely teeming with anti-Arsenal blogs. Places which ‘kiss the badge’ then stab the players in the back.
    This is a haven of common sense so I fully support banning those who just regurgitate ill chosen anti Arsenal diatribes.

  33. TBH Nigel if you look back through past posts the only reaction against ‘negative opinions’ has been when it has been ranting supposition with no attempt to actually support the opinion.

    We have suffered a few imbecilic ranting trolls and patience towards them may have worn a little thin!

    Though it may sound wanky, but it is nonetheless noticeable and true that the level of discussion on this site is more intellectual than most of the other Arsenal blogs. I would say the regulars on here are all for well-informed and argued opinion but sadly almost all of the negative stuff has been anything but.

    If the points are certain and valid all good and well but it would be helpful if they could at least articulate them as such and enter in discussion rather than venting furiously about how shit wenger is and how the club has gone to hell over the last 4 years.

  34. Someone needs to remind who has done what in the transfer market so far. We have signed two players albeit one being one of our ever present promising young players. Man U have sold two key first team players ,one being their most important individual player. Liverpool have sign a right back to replace a right back who was if anything one of their consistent players anyway. Chelsea have signed Sturridge from Man City on loan. Not sure what Villa have done bar lose their captain and had to retire their best defender. Everton have done nothing to my knowledge, Man City have bought Gareth Barry who is of Europa league standard and whats his name the former chelsea defender and more than likely Rocky four goals Santa Cruz. Have we done so badly so far in this transfer window in comparison to the top half of the table, I don’t thinks so. I simply do not get why some people all be it very few can not wait and see where we go from here. If we get the well wenger said this and that before excuse for the grumpy attitude then people will never be happy. Wenger has made his bed by saying he wants the squad to be settled before pre season training not at the tend of it so he has set the targets himself. Can we not at least stop the monotony of the groaning until then when he will have proved himself right or wrong.

  35. fair enough, but some very very good points raised on both sides of the spectrum

  36. Tony, you make interesting comments. I am still unsure whether our strike force is consistent enough to mount a challenge…I’m not putting on a damper on things but when it came to the crunch last season we failed with flying colours – as always we are let down at the end moment with AW turning around saying – this squad has potential blah blah – I believe this season will finally be the season where he has to deliver – aiming for 4th cannot be our only mission.

    About my post on team talk had prior to coming on here made a complaint about the same issues you were facing but I simply got no response. and when I did I was told there are thousands of users on the forums so they cant block anyone or something along those lines so to be frank im not even bothered by them anymore – I’m not a pro journo so im not losing anything – just your ordinary arsenal supporter.

  37. Jonny Neale at 9:04 pm – Thanks for your thoughtful response to the Ade matter. One thing I picked up from your post is the double standard that Arsenal fans have towards their players. There is an expectation of “loyalty” when you play for the shirt (which IMO is very naive based on the current willingness of professionalfootballers to jump ship to the highest bidder) but, to the contrary, there is an abject lack of empathy for their own players when they have a bad spell especially if they are foreigners. I have digressed though; the facts may be that Ade hawked himself last summer but, unlike Hleb and Flamini, he was willing to negotiate, reportedly could have have had a bigger payday and decided to stay. What else do fans want ffs?
    But of course the scoundrels and poseurs in the Arsenal blogsphere are most willing to play to the underlying antipathy, biases and prejuidices in the Arsenal ranks and to maintain the negativity.
    It is abundantly clear to me it does not benefit the club because if Ade should leave this summer it is a major destabilizing event. Players know they are losing a potential 30-goals per season and they will have one more reason to doubt if we can reclaim the championship next season.

  38. A couple of comments on issues raised, as we get to the end of the day (UK time)…

    Nigel: while I’ve made it clear that I am pro-Wenger, I do welcome other writers, and those that have written here have done a terrific job in opening up new areas for debate.

    I am happy to have you come on and put a contrary of variant point of view. But as others have kindly said, in keeping with the look and feel of the site, the arguments do have to have a certain intellectual logic to them. If you want to comment against the general pro-Wenger approach, you are indeed welcome, and indeed if you want to write an article and take over the blog for a day, just email it to me (Tony at But, you’ll appreciate the readership that is here, is mostly a pro-Wenger readership.

    Adam Smith: (great name, whether it was given by your parents or chosen by you!) I have not read anywhere that the money from the flats is designated for a particular use.

    The developmental costs of the project are, I believe, paid for out of the fund borrowed for the whole Emirates project. The fund covered Highbury, the Emirates, and the redevelopment work. If you are not able to get to the stadium and see for yourself I should add, that apart from the two stadia, Arsenal has done a lot to the local area, and (because of the recession) still owns a number of small factory/workshop units on the Holloway Road side of the ground. These will of course eventually be sold.

    My guess is that there might be an arrangement with the banks to use the income from the Highbury apartments to reduce the mortgage. If that is right (and I would love to know for sure, if anyone can give a definitive here) then although the money won’t go straight into Wenger’s transfer funds, it will help, because it will reduce the level of repayments to the bank each year by 20-25%.

    If I am wrong, then I can’t see where else it can go but into the general funds of the club which are used to pay salaries and to buy in players.

    Finally, thank you to everyone, both contributors and non-contributors alike, for being part of the blog. If you look at those numbers on the right of the screen you’ll see our position continues to rise in terms of popularity.

    It really was a good day’s correspondence. And of course if you are a night owl in Europe, or from another part of the globe where it is not bed time, you can continue to join in. I have something rather different in mind for tomorrow. But first, another chapter or two of CP Snow, and then to sleep.


  39. Tony,
    Thanks for putting out a quality blog. I have appreciated the work that’s gone into producing the content.
    Let’s take a look from a broader perspective than most of us are inclined to take. We have finished in the top four, albeit a little doubtful for time. This is from a team that was arguably underpowered in certain areas of the park. I don’t know about you but I suspect there’re 16 teams below us that would like to be in our position.
    To add to this, there are 3 teams that finished above us, which gets to the point of the blog, that would love to be in our position having players of real quality coming through the ranks.
    I think I understand the frustrations of the ‘fans’ but we need to be realistic in our expectations.

  40. Tony,

    There are reports that say Amaury Bischoff has already left Arsenal as a free agent citing ‘lack of games’. The Arsenal website though, still mentions his name in the list of First Team Players.

  41. This is my first time to visit this blog. Writing from Tanzania (please excuse my english), an arsenal fan for 13 years or more). Got the link from NewsNow (see people here critising it, it may be useful sometimes. Nigel pointed out not all negatives are negatives, they may have some positives in it)
    Tony – Quite a wonderful article plus the comments.
    I wish all the fans could have the same thinking. The only problem I see from the current fans is if they will not be able to withstand another 1, 2 or three years without silverware, and there follows a mass exodus from the tickets and other revenue creating activities by the club, the whole plan by the club i dont think if it will be sustainable.
    I believe we need to be patient, but for most fans how can the current situation guarantee the hope needed to keep them??

  42. @J-Tz
    I feel that the fans inside of the emirates lack passion… Highbury had lower prices and had the North Bank full of passionate supporters who applauded efforts and sang songs that motivates our players… All supporters know we have exceptional talent, however they cannot stand our consistency, which is understandable considering we drew with tottenham 4-4 after being up 4-2 till like the 90th minute, lose to stoke in the next fixture 2-1, then dismantle Man utd 2-1 (with the scoreline failing to express our dominance due to a goal late in the game), then lose consecutive games to Aston Villa (2-0) and Man City (3-0), then beat chelsea… We are a fantastic team andd we would have done better had our team not experienced such a horrible spell of injuries to our stars… We scored those 68 goals with most of our tean out injured… if we turned some of our 4 consecutive nil-nil draws into some points things would have been far different heading into the final 3 months of the season… considering all that happened this season, we did well to hold the fourth spot… Gunners will bring home a trophy next season for sure

  43. Jay P,
    I agree with you that next season we will win something. The new signings plus the tremendous development of the current talent is something to take note of. I believe the majority of the team will not be the same, their age is when they are going to start to shine in a new level in their carreers. Everyday I see Fabregas changing, he has the desire and rage to win. I have heard Diaby is doing some training during this summer instead of resting. From what i see the players have started to grow that passion needed in the best footballers. I do believe the team is going to be better than the 2007/08 season team, which was very good, except that there were no enough replacements in case of injuries. This time the youth team has developed in age and maturity so it will not be a problem to get a youngster to support the team when the time arise as it happened with Gibbs in the just ending season.

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