Who do you trust the most: the Times or Mr Usmanov?

So it looks like Liverpool are being further financed by Royal Bank of Scotland (who own Nat West) despite protests from Liverpool’s own supporters.

And Mr Usmanov has (according to the Guardian and the Times today) suggested that there should be a £100m rights issue at the Arsenal. The Times says, “Red & White believes that the club’s £350m debts have made the club uncompetitive”

Both these developments seem odd to me. Not that I am some kind of financial know-it-all, but none of it seems to add up.

If we start with Liverpool – the bank seems to be saying that the current American ownership are great guys, and there is no financial crisis, so why shouldn’t they lend the money? The club is financially well-managed and sound.

Well, not really, when it has £350m debt and no way of paying it back. “No prob” says the bank, “they are going to pay it back,” as if saying it makes it so.

But if that is true the only place those repayments are coming from are the pockets of the owners (who have been selling assets, which suggests it could be so) or from selling players (which seems unlikely given that they are still buying). Which means all that’s happened is that, as we guessed a month ago, the owners are now guaranteeing the debt. The debt is still there, and getting worse (Liverpool are still spending and they have no new forms of income) and they can’t build their new stadium.

In fact – Liverpool is as insolvent as ever, only now the banks are protected.

On the Arsenal front if the statement from Red and White is what they said is true, it is most curious. Mr Usmanov might be many things but he is not financially illiterate. He knows that the annual income at Arsenal AFTER the interest payments on the stadium is considerably higher than the income at Highbury, where of course there were no such payments.

So saying “Red & White believes that the club’s £350m debts have made the club uncompetitive” is nonsense – if he ever said it. The club in simple numbers terms is more competitive financially than ever, because the money from TV has gone up, and the gate receipts have gone up. If there is a pressure on Arsenal it is from player salaries – but not from the stadium debts.

If Arsenal are less competitive it is because Manchester IOU and Liverpool Insolvency have gone mad in spending more and more money, while the KGB has taken over Fulham and are quite probably printing their own money. On that front others have raised their game – again it is not the stadium’s fault.

A rights issue would give the club new money, true, and presumably there are not too many clauses in the way to stop Arsenal paying off the debt. So that reduces the repayment costs and makes more money available for the Lord Wenger. But the risk is that the balance of power could change again, and that might not be good for the club.

The problem is that we don’t really know what Mr Usmanov said. If he says what the Times said he said, then I would not trust his motives an inch, because it makes no sense, and he must know that. The Guardian has no quotes from Mr U – so maybe the Times did make it up.

Which then that leaves a question. Who do you trust more to tell the truth? The Times or Mr Usmanov?

(c) Tony Attwood 2009.

36 Replies to “Who do you trust the most: the Times or Mr Usmanov?”

  1. Thought provoking piece. Can’t believe I’d trust Usmanov more than the Times. Do you really think a rights issue would be bad for the club? Sorry, but I don’t really see too much of a change of power with it happening. I’m not really attuned to the how it would work – could you please explain what this would entail & why it would mean a change to the balance of power?

    In other news (sorry this is off-topic) Samir Caruthers an U16 Arsenal player has signed for Villa. Unfortunate, but what struck me was the comment Martin O’Neill made:

    “I think what swung it for us was two things. Firstly, the facilities which are a great pulling factor these days.
    “And the family are also aware that young players are given a chance by Martin if they are good enough.”

    Is the world going utterly stark raving mad?

  2. I read that RBS letter and it was a curious one. The bank was being rather disingenious. They were saying, if my interpretation is correct, that the football club is in a sound financial state. The debt liability that the Auditors warned about are the parent company’s obligations and not the club’s. So in theory, Liverpool can continue to run.

    Well, there are two problems with that.

    First, if RBS stop financing a loan that it’s not clear how they can continue to sustain if they lose £40M a year, then even the football side will go down.

    Second, the footballing side is getting more and more mired in debt. Their debt doubled in one year. There is a tiny chance that the extra debt incurred by the footballing side came from some very brilliant investment that will pay itself back. But the greater probability is that the debt is from mismanagement and spending on buying players.

    So if the parent company is sucking out £40M from the footballing side every year, and the footballing side has seen its debt double to £80M in one year, then it’s very disingenious to imply that Hicks & Gillet’s debt is not a threat.

    But I suppose they’re doing what they have to do. Their best hope of getting their money back might be to preserve the value of the club so that new owners can maybe liquidate G&H’s debt.

  3. Ole gunner,

    I hear what you say, and to be honest I find it difficult to follow exactly what is happening at Liverpool.My understanding that the original loan by Gillette and Hicks was at a fixed 6% and that was rolled over in January for a further six months to July at the same interest rate.This surely increase the debt even more,or have I missed something.

  4. Does anyone know if theres any truth…..

    OOOOOPS I actually replied to this post myself before it was pointed out to me that it was a direct copy of a the same commentary that was posted by GoonerRob on Team Talk We are used to seeing our items appearing on Team Talk, and I am critical of Team Talk for doing nothing about it. So I certainly can’t accept an article that just appeared on Team Talk turning up here.

    Sorry Paresh, but plagiarism is the one thing you can’t do here.


  5. Usmanov has no right being anywhere near this club. He is using Arsenal and the press he receives from it to stay out of jail in the former USSR. I am an arsenal fan and that included enjoying the fact that the club is run correctly, not like some toy. If he comes I hope that proper football fans will look for another club just like I will.

  6. On the transfer front i hear a lot of people shouting out about Ribery are a bit silly – as we are not going to sign him Real are.
    Benzema on the other hand i think is true!!!! In actual fact AW has been interested in Karim Benzema for a while now but the player has been out of reach.

    It has come to my knowledge that AW was not pleased with loosing out on Yaya Toure and let the Chief Exec know his feelings. After which the board were informed and A meeting was held and a decision was made at the meeting to become more accomodating of Usmanov as he is the only one about with real cash.

    Not Kroenke not Fiszman, not nobody. So there you have it. The board are willing to take Usmanovs money in order to reduce the clubs debt but ot for transfers. Another clear indication of how greddy these lot are.

    If the clubs debts are reduced they have more money in their pockets. If 100 mill is injected into transfers, which is what Usmanov wanted to do, it will not directly impact on the board so they ruled that part out. But these are the facts, Usmanov will pump 100 million into the club to help with the debts and will also pledge another 100 mill to be used for transfer targets. Hence the new stories about Ribery and Benzema. However it is the latter AW is wanting to sign in place of Ade. Gallas I understand could be part of the deal to bring Benzema to the Emirates. Seems AW has had enough of the boards unwillingness to spend.

    They always use the tactic of waiting until the last moment to sign a player and when they don’t they blame it on other clubs and lack of time. Hence why Le Boss wants all targets wrapped up by the start of pre-season. Expect big things at Arsenal next season.

  7. To clarify a couple of points:

    Mr Usmanov suggested the rights issue, and said that if it were undersubscribed he would buy up the rights. In essence all shareholders are offered the opportunity to buy the new shares. If the offer is not taken up, he will buy those not sold – which effectively gives him a higher percentage of ownership.

    The board has not said yes to this, but, as is their duty as a plc is considering it. If they did not consider it, they would not be doing their job as the board of the club. Even in my much smaller company, if an offer like this came along, I would have to go through the process of putting it to the board of directors, even if I knew for sure that the board was against it. That is what being a plc means.

    In terms of the stories about Tottenham –

    …below is my original comment in answer to Paresh – which was written before I realised that his/her post was a direct copy of what was printed on another site. I’ll leave my comment in, but I have edited out Paresh’s original as it was plagiarism. Back to the post…

    having done a dodgy deal in the transfer market, my understanding (which may be inaccurate) is that you only lose 10 points by going into administration, not for something like this. A tiny fine or something is more likely.

    I remember many years back that Tottenham got a big points deduction for something, and we all had a laugh, but then they appealed and of course it was all overturned. That was around the year we won the Centenary competition. When was that? We played QPR in the first round on a paddy field type pitch. I remember arriving late and standing in the middle of QPR fans and having to stay very quiet…..


  8. Paresh,

    Let me get this right. Are you saying you will cease to be an Arsenal supporter if Usmanov has more influence at Arsenal? ….


    SuperEssexGooner ON Arsenal Teamtalk Posted 28/06/2009

    “Hulk? Let me get this right. Are you saying you will cease to be an Arsenal supporter if Usmanov has more influence at Arsenal? Is that how committed you are to the club?”

    Now I may have got myself confused here, but it almost looks as if someone with a split-personality is arguing with himself across two sites.

    How extraordinarily odd.


  9. Tony: Personally, I think Liverpool made huge strides last season and are finally coming together as a top class team and they WILL fight for the title.

    However, Arsenal, for me, are a shambles.

    It looks like we’ll have a new defensive partnership next season (which will take time to gel)… our midfield is totally unbalanced… and we have a problem in the centre forward role.

    Signing players generally means they take time to gel, and PROBABLY losing Ade and/or Gallas will hardly help either.

    I could be wrong, but I see HUGE strides next season…. but ultimately it’ll be a transition season as the new players bed in, and our midfield attempts to find a balance that it so painfully lacked all last season.

    Then you have the problem of if and how to fit both Arshavin & RvP in the same team without playing one of them out of position (something we failed to do last season!)

    Then you have the inevitable problem of our young players making mistakes and losing form…

    etc, etc, etc.

    As I said…. a shambles.

    This team, even with re-enforcements WILL NOT fight for the title next season.

    It needs another season (and then the problem of trying to keep Cesc & co. really starts Rolling Eyes )

    I am an optimist though…. honest!

    We could win a cup, though… you don’t have to be the best team to do that so you can’t rule it out.

  10. It’s a complicated situation considering 1)we don’t want a Russian controlling the club,2)we need money to compete with the best around?.Bit of a catch 22.With our present board being reluctant against using there own money to invest on the playing side where is the finance going to come from??ARSENAL have never been a risk taking club and i suppose that is why we never have really dominated the league since the 1930’s but I’m afraid there going to have to.

    You have man shitty throwing money around and with tons more in reserve courtesy of there Arab owner,manure have 80 mil in there pocket and you can guarantee there buy a couple of class players,you also have the yank at villa giving money for transfers so what are our board giving for transfer’s,ZERO!!!!as stated before there non-active and want to sit back and watch there investment grow unless there publicly state our transfer budget.

    In the game today money talks more than ever and with more foreign investors looking at buying english clubs ARSENAL have either take the russian’s option etc or the board are going to using there money to keep us at the top,otherwise we are going to fall further behind manure etc and get caught by man shitty and villa.As i’ve said before we not asking for untold millions to be paid out but enough to purchase 3/4 players to balance the side and so be able to ACTUALLY challenge season after season not as we are doing now.

  11. plus selling to buy can’t be the solution forever though.

    We have to generate enough funds to not be dependant on having to sell players buy decent players.

    I don’t know if we’ve reached that stage yet, but I think there’s a chance we either already have or will do soon.

    if you look at our dealings on the transfer market since last summer we’ve spent 42.8 million on new players and we’ve made 19 million from player sales (we’ve also made an additional 10 or 11 million with sell-on clauses).

    So it seems like we do have money available to spend already. 20 million in a year may not be a lot compared to Man City etc. but it is a lot of money for us, especially since more players are rumoured to come in.

  12. Jeff from Fulham
    June 29th, 2009 at 10:23 am , you are right. I support Arsenal as a football club and as an ideal. I know that football is a business and needs to be run like one. Saying that, Arsenal is run responsibly and is a beacon for other clubs world wide and not just clubs, other businesses. I know that the money I spend on Arsenal goes, in the most, to the right places. If Usmanov takes more control, then it will go to supporting a crook. I have a much higher moral standard than that. Do you not see where I am coming from? Stan is a person who is in it for sport and money, not a way to launder his dirty money. Usmanov OUT!!! He only seems appealing because he had David Dein on his payroll but he doesn’t anymore. So, you tell me, what does he have to bring to the club other than looking like Jabba the Hut? Ivan Gavidis is here because of Stan and not Usmanov.

  13. Paresdh – calm down! Do you know what rights issue is?


    Bit of a problem here because Marquiz_J on Arsenal teamtalk
    Posted 28/06/2009

    “Hulk calm down! Do you know what rights issue is? Usmanov is trying to get the club to issue him more shares in exchange for £100m.”

    Its another copy of someone else’s post. Sorry but all you people who do this copy paste stuff are going to get a visit from Big Brother. Not the TV version, but the original. Actually maybe the TV version is more frightening come to think of it.

    Sorry to regular readers, we have been attacked by a bunch of text editing dodos.


  14. Paresh, I myself have a feeling the Benzema story has grains of truth in it. You on the other hand elaborate, and use terms like ‘has come to my knowledge’. I myself always tell people when I deem to have inside information. How has this information come to you, and what is the realism of the information? For instance, you could tell us how you yourself rate the piece of information. Amongst others you say that Usmanov will blow away our debt with a 100 million, AND invest 100 million in players. That is just not realistic, and you probably know this. Gallas being offered to Lyon, on the other hand, would indeed make quite some sense…. Seeing as how we need Adebayor’s money, and how Milan are slow as snails this summer, we will not wrap the transfer up before the 6th of July, when we are rumoured to start pre-season.

    Has it also come to your knowledge about Felipe Melo, or did the sources say nothing on that?

    Tony: great article, neutral as always, so, I would like an opinion: Do you feel the rights issue thingy is a good idea, or not? More importantly, is it moral? Does it not make us the next KGB Fulham or Man Arab>?

  15. Nothing wrong with a rights issue. The question is why do it. To wipe out our debt? Sure, but we have to make sure we keep the dispersed nature of the club’s shareholding intact.

    We don’t want one single clear owner of the club. The risk is that one person can mismanage the club or start taking money our of the club like the Glazers.

    Do we need £100M to invest in players? I am not sure that we do. We already have a fantastic squad contrary to what Gapuchi here says.

    Strikers: Adebayor, RVP, Eduardo, Bendtner, Vela, Walcott

    Midfield: Rosicky, Arshavin, Fabregas, Nasri, Diaby, Denilson, Song, Ramsey

    Defenders: Gallas, Toure, Djourou, Vermaelen, Clichy, Sagna; Gibbs, Traore

    That’s a fantastic squad. And we Can win the title. We should have won the title last season.

    And another thing, Gapuchi: That’s why we have to keep this squad together! Keep the squad we have and merely add to it.

    That is the point.

  16. Agree with you fully Ole Gunner!

    Tony, thanks for explaining the rights issue. Another question though – what prices would the shares / rights be sold at? Would it be the current face value of the share or some other price fixed by the board?

    Gapuchi, as highlighted by Ole Gunner, I think it’s more important we keep this squad together (maybe just one or two minor changes) instead of going in for a 30mn bid for any single player. That’s just not our style, and for a reason.

    Money ≠ success!

  17. Tony, this blogsite fascinates me. Of all the blogs that I have read, I get the impression that, even though there may be one or two bloggers who are contradictions even to themselves yet, there are quite a few people here who do know what they are talking about analytically. They talk as much from the head as from their hearts in their discussions about Arsenal. I find that fascinating and interesting. Long may it continue.

    Gapuchi, I must admit that you do confuse me a bit. Sometime last week, I read one of your comments where you seem to lament (more like you were upset) Arsenal’s unwillingness to buy players. You seem to propound that Arsenal was “in shambles” because of that. Today, you seem to be pointing out that Arsenal is “in shambles” because they are buying players which you say will make it “a transition season as the new players bed in”. You need to make up your mind 1st and then maybe let the rest of us understand your stand point. If I get you wrong, then I apologise.

    You also seem to be pretty sure that “Liverpool made huge strides last season and are finally coming together as a top class team and they WILL fight for the title.” Isn’t it a bit premature to be making assertions like that? They have flattered to deceive more than once before. I have quite a lot of Liverpool fans as friends. Trust me they are very afraid for their ‘darling’ club.

    Remember when many chelskie fans believe that their club was going to win everything (I even know a few people who defected, most annoyingly, from Arsenal [don’t worry, I hate the lot of them for it; I chuck their names off my Xmas list] and others from manuu & thepool) when Abromameat arrived? Granted they got 2 in a row after 50 YEARS of WAITING. Where are they the last 3 Seasons? Any consistency there?

    We must not be too hasty or too rash. Tony, I honestly do not know which of them deserve any trust, the Usm of KGBland or the Times. I will wait for the outcome of the meeting.

  18. Rights issues – good/bad? Moral?

    Moral yes in the sense that it is perfectly allowable under company rules, and is a well-established way of getting new money into a company to help them develop. But it can be a route towards changing the balance of power in the company.

    If you have people buy the rights issue at the same level as they own now (ie the man who owns 10% of the club buys 10% of the new issue) and everyone signs up, then you get your money and not much changes, except one thing…

    Rights issues are designed as a way of the company making more money, so that the shareholders get more dividends. But Arsenal pay no dividends. So why put even more money into the club?


  19. Arsenal are at a cross roads in their long term future. Do they go with the Uzbek with a dodgy past or do they sit it out with Fisczman and Kroenke who don’t want to spend any money on new players – either way I can only see Arsenal and its fans suffering for it.

  20. Hello fellow goons I have not been present for a while but I have been reading the posts on here never the less when I can. I have been following the little football we get to see in the off season and I have been pleasantly surprised with a few players from the confederations cup. Now I am not going to mention all the players that the pundits do as that would make me look a sheep. I was thinking of players that would strengthen the squad and also those that could develop given time and training with us. Now a player we saw at newcastle that never quite settled but has such impressive presence I would love to see us bring him through and its the big strong USA CB Onywawho (spelling wrong I know) he would cost us peanuts and would definetly be up for the battle of a stoke or bolton. Besides he does look a better prospect than Sendoros in any case. He has height presence in the air and is built like a tank they call him superman because of his awesome bench pressing power. Now you all will no doubt say he is not Arsenal class but Vidic wasnt Utd class when fergie brought him him. Playing around players better than yourself regularly can only be better for you especially if you have the hunger to succeed. Feel free to attack the notion but it would a cheap experiment that could end up being a big success. Just a thought…

    Also I have been watching Gilberto Silva keenly and the guy still oozes class confident in possession and hardly ever wastes a pass. He still has a good engine and reads the game well. Melo is surely the heir to his throne and not Denilson as we were lead to believe years ago but you never know football does see funny things happen. If we could get Melo he would offer a great solution to a problem that has handicapped us for a while and thats a midfielder that offers balance in terms of attacking and defensive presence. He also seems to have good temperment. I think we should do all we can to secure his signature. Also has anyone else heard of Adebayor to Milan? As long as we are greatly compensated and perhaps get first option on Pato I wont be mad. He is probably the only player apart from Pirlo I would like to have from their team. RVP deal still drags on perhaps he is on his bike to and we are preparing for a mass exodus and this time rebuild with a more solid foundation? Who knows. However from the rumour mill I have liked the sound of players we have been linked with and from what I have seen of the CB we got form Ajax he is a brave strong CB who like Gallas can chip in with a few goals so I like the way the summer is going so far. Lets the papers speculate and let the ones who have to leave us go as long as we put together a more formidable squad this season. Pre-season will tell us all we need to know about this season and also Walcott is playing up front later this is his audition to let us know if Ade is really on his way (in my mind at least). Listen gooners can you hear it? Strange things are in the offing lol

  21. First off, AC Milan is only talking up Adebayor because they want to sign Dzeko and have so far been


    kameron on TeamTalk posted this post and then Jinal posted it too –

    First off, AC Milan is only talking up Adebayor because they want to sign Dzeko and have so far been

    Sorry but I really do not like Plagiarism.


  22. No Gapuchi,

    We just want to keep the shareholding structure of the club intact, or at worst make sure the current board keep control of the club.

    we trust them. Arsenal make a profit every year and they don’t claim dividends. All profits are reinvested in the club. They’ve been at the Arsenal for decades, and they bleed red and white. The true red and white.

    Usmanov admitted that he invested in Arsenal to make money. So he will try to do the standard corporate raider thing;

    1. Buy the club.
    2. Find ways to suck out the club’s cash.
    3. Load up the club with debt.
    4. Sell the club or find any way to scoot.

    That’s the last thing we want.

    To be fair, Usmanov will probably say he just wants to maintain Arsenal shares in portfolio, to take advantage of the club’s rising value, so he can sell the shares later.

    But since, there’s a big risk he might be a corporate raider, and brings nothing AT ALL to the table that the current board doesn’t offer, then we just have to resist his taking ownership of the board.

    And at this time I’ve written Arsenal PLC and Arsenal Supporters Club urging them to consider making Arsenal not a PLC but a charity- a non-profit organisation so we are sure that the club can never be run as rich man’s plaything, and all profits (or surpluses as the case would be if we became a charity) would be ALWAYS reinvested in the club.

  23. Have to take your hat off to Gilberto who really is


    GunnerBoy posted a message on TeamTalk today at 15:03 which said,

    “Have to take your hat off to Gilberto who really is the ultimate proffesional. He was unfairly treated I thought when he was with us. First not getting the captaincy and then losing his place after going to the Olympics.”

    One of the cut and paste give aways is the spelling mistake, and that came up both times.

    Actually I agree that Gilberto Silva was a great player and a great pro, but the fact is that I don’t want to run commentaries here that are nicked from elsewhere.


  24. Red & White want a rights issue so that they can buy the shares that existing shareholders either can’t afford or just don’t want to buy. They see this as the only way to get a larger stake in the holding company (unless Stan Kroenke, Danny Fiszmann or the Bracewell-Smith sell up). This is not about enabling the Club to buy big, it’s a power-play. Anyone who thinks this is good for the club, think again. One day Usmanov will come looking for a return on his investment and that can only come from 1) selling his shares at a profit (no problem there) or 2) from paying dividends, ie taking money out of the club instead of re-investing the profits.

  25. I’ve asked this before. If Usmanov is so interested in helping to reduce the clubs debts why doesn’t he buy up a block of the unsold flats? The proceeds could be used to strengthen the squad, pay down debt or a combination of both and Usmanov has an asset that will/should appreciate with time. The only thing that won’t happen in the above scenario is an increase in Usmanova shareholding.

  26. Yeah nice thinking Marc.

    As for the numerous plagiarised comments on this post – do you see what Marc did there? He had an idea of his own and then he posted it.

    I know, I know, it seems radical as a suggestion, but maybe you could try having some thoughts of YOUR own? This site is excellent for insightful comment but you are treating like a toilet and I for one am tired of your tedious bullsh*t poaching.

    As for anyone who is suggesting Arsenal are at a cross roads and being negative about the forthcoming season; I would say we are already in a great position:

    We have kept the team together, we have bolstered our defense, Song will be a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the park and provides further defensive cover, Gibbs will battle Clichy for the left back position, we have not yet seen the best of:Arshavin, Nasri, Bentdner, Diaby, Eduardo, Vela will be even more settled and used to the demands of Premiership life, we have no reason to think the youngsters who came though last season will not continue to improve AND no reason to think they will not be joined by other new young stars in the making (Wislhere, Ramsey, Merida et al)and finally and this canot be overstated we SURELY cannot have as bad a season as we have had with injuries the last two years.

    All of this is true even if we sign no one further.


  27. If you break last season down to the most simple of stats ie goals scored, goals against it is obvious where we came up short. We have strengthened the defence already and Song and Denilson are both much improved from this time last season. If you consider that while our goals for record was equal to ManY and Chelsea’s and then add in the injuries and lack of form from some important players we could easily have scored another 10 – 20 league goals. We are so very close to Arsenal lifting the PL and doing it with a sustainable transfer budget and a youth setup that looks as if it is going to contribute some very special players in the near future.

    How the hell can anyone say the future looks bleak or that Arsenal are at a cross road. We are incredibly lucky to be witness to the birth of an era that will be looked back at with awe, both by Arsenal fans, the media and football fans at large.

  28. Real Mad say they’ve sold 2000 Kaka shirts in one week. At the height of the Kaka hype they’ve sold 2000. If the hype held (it’s very unlikely it will), then they’d sell 100,000 this year. Since They only get like €10 per shirt they’ll make €1 Million from Kaka shirts this year,

    Only 60 years to go to make back the Kaka money!

  29. the biard dont want to spend their own money to help the club advance but instead seat and watch as their share value increases.
    Am sure they will not go with the Russian’s plan because they dont and never have taken risks hence why we are not as big as we may/should be.

  30. we certainly have a decent depth of squad now. even if ade and gallas leave. i would hate to see gallas go, but que sera etc.

    as for the rights option, i’m not that worried about it. it would be a great thing to raise 100 million quid, but have stan and dan got 28 and 16 million quid respetively floating around, have the rest of the friendlies got a million quid to match each percentage they own? jabba has 25 million for sure, he probably has the whole 100 mil. When the board vote on the rights option, assuming they dont want to dilute their shareholding, they will vote according to their willingness to inject cash.
    i dont know how many new shares this would involve, so i cant work out the percentages, but if most of the friendly shareholders bought their options, the few shares that usmanov would mop up would be negligible.
    our debt does not make us less competitive. far from it, the emirates is the magic porrige pot. we have done the hard work, its built. its going to pay for itself in a few short years and then it will be paying the club. there will be millions of extra quid year after year to invest in players and staff.
    we have squeezed through the worst of the inevitable ‘new stadium’ backlash and kept our chins up. not much silverware lately, but we’ve been knocking on the door throughout.
    we are in a much better position than the rest of the clubs in the league and most of the clubs in europe. we are solvent and profitable. we have a youth development programme that despite martin o neills comments is still the envy of every club in the country. we have a great depth of squad which is being added to from two directions. excellent senior signings of class players for fairly low key sums, and graduates from the aforementioned youth development programme.
    oh, and did i forget the training facilities, and, um er oh yeah, the greatest manager this team has seen, in my lifetime at least.

    ps. Tony, I read the nick hornby book last sunday, saw it at the boot fair for 50c. it really puts some of the current whingeing into perspective.

  31. I’ve always believed that no man is above criticism


    This was posted by Wrighty7 who is a good blogger and friend of this site. Not a good idea to copy his post.


  32. You are right Gary. It should be possible to give criticism to AW. After all he is human and we all make mistakes. But I hate some fans who just shout out names of players Arsenal should buy and then blame the manager if the transfer is not done. I think that AW is doing his best to bring the best players the can afford, to the Arsenal. It is never his fault that a players doesn’t come. He could earn more in an other team, maybe he dislikes the Arsenal (how is it possible 😉 ), maybe he dislikes London (how could you 😉 ), and there are many other reasons why a player doesn’t come.

    The player you metioned, the USA CB is named Onyewu and he currently playes in Belgrium for Standard Liège. According to the press in my country, Belgium, he would leave and go to Fenerbahce.
    Must say he played half a season in Newcastle the season before and it wasn’t a big succes. He cam back after half a year if me memory is still good.

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