Arsène’s Success – Fact or Fiction?

By dandan

Well what a frantic day you guys had on Tuesday chewing over Rasp’s super article. Sorry I missed it.

I will start by stating the blindingly obvious. I am an Arsenal supporter first, a Wenger fan second but do not believe in recent years the first would have been half as enjoyable without the super skills of the  second. I am not blind and am happy to concede he, like all of us, has faults

But having read the comments again on Wednesday including those questioning  Wengers integrity,  I thought a  view from a different perspective  might provide a cold shower of reality .


What then is Arsenal FC? It was a works football team that has grown into a multinational, multi million pound business, that manages and markets football teams of the same name, the most well known and important of which plays in the English Premier league, at a purpose built stadium in North London, but many other teams of all ages from 10 to 18, including the most successful woman’s team in the country play in the Arsenal shirt.

Arsène Wenger is employed to manage the playing side of the company under a contract agreed with the board of the Holding company. His brief, as with all senior managers of large companies, is to manage the budget agreed with and approved by the board and to meet the targets laid down by the same board. His remuneration in all probability is a basic salary, with bonuses for meeting the above criteria. Arsenal FC is first and last a business.

The above is not the fans view of Arsenal, too most of them it is not just a football club; it is their football club and in many cases the single most important thing in their life. They buy their expensive season tickets and believe this gives them a say in the running of the club The whole idea of business and profit is an anathema to them, compared to the real business of winning not just football matches, but trophies. Trophies have become the Holy Grail for these fans who see the club almost in terms of a religion and thus the Emirates as a Cathedral.

Like all companies, Arsenal FC’s board have a duty to their shareholders to maximise the return on capital and drive the share price, for this reason from time to time statements are made or issued by management or through marketing. It may well be that these are more a statement of intent than fact. Their purpose is to enhance the profile of the club and protect the share price. This does not make anyone a liar, intentions change as markets change.

They have no obligation whatsoever to inform the fans, unless they are shareholders, of the state of the budget and what is available for transfers, in fact from a business viewpoint it makes no sense at all to tell your potential suppliers the thickness of your wallet.

Of course fans, certainly corporate fans are very important to clubs as they provide the base to support the marketing efforts, buying products, shirts, programmes or hospitality often on Arsenal branded credit cards an increasingly important way of generating profit for clubs.

Fans are customers, whether they like it or not. Bums on seats. No different to a ticket holder at the cinema or theatre, they are there to watch an entertainment. The vast majority of fans have not and will not, ever visit the Stadium, but their spend is enormous. They are the future. The world-wide potential that is driven by television  is mind-blowing and makes the Arsenal season ticket holder pale into insignificance. Of course all that cash from 60 thousand fans every week is important and the atmosphere itself is a part of the package sold to TV.

So Wenger or No Wenger, you will be told what the club wants you to know or what the board feels is in the best interest of the share price. Don’t shoot the messenger, he is doing what is right for the Company, as well as producing some very attractive Product

62 Responses to Arsène’s Success – Fact or Fiction?

  1. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Well crafted explanation of The Arsenal, 2010 Version dandan. But like I say to my beloved RFC who push membership with various knick knack give aways, the best way to increase membership and/or the share price is to win Cups.

  2. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    ……..well a well rounded balance sheet would help increase the share price too.

    As an Arsenal fan, 2010 Version, I would like my Cups to runth over, starting with the Carling Cup 2011. Get cracking Arsene, merci

  3. chaf says:

    Good read DD.

    Surely ‘sport’ comes into it, as although its a product we all buy, its an unknown product, not like going to the theatre, or buying a tube of toothpaste, when you know what you are getting.

    You buy your ticket and sit down, then its down to sport? Whatever way you play.

  4. GunnerPete says:

    Gnarley who hell are RFC?

  5. dandan says:

    Chaf…… uncertainty is part of the package you buy if you were certain to win every game what would be the point.

  6. chippy says:

    Fans are customers, whether they like it or not. Bums on seats. No different to a ticket holder at the cinema or theatre, they are there to watch an entertainment. The vast majority of fans have not and will not, ever visit the Stadium, but their spend is enormous. They are the future. The world-wide potential that is driven by television is mind-blowing and makes the Arsenal season ticket holder pale into insignificance. Of course all that cash from 60 thousand fans every week is important and the atmosphere itself is a part of the package sold to TV.

    Good Article,And that is the crux of the matter, If You treat Fans as Customers they will act as such and that is what is happening at the moment the club cannot have it both ways, At this present time they treat you like Customers but want you to act like Fans, Also all what you say is true regarding Image rights but without Fans it becomes a not so sellable assett and as more and more turn there backs on modern day Fotball the less the TV rights will be worth,

    English Football will eventually go the same way as the Italian league ie be the biggest and shiniest with all the best stadia and the most Tv revenues until they all become so detached from what makes football The Supporters that it implodes who would have thought during its heyday that Italian football would turn into what it is today, Well thats the cycle of Football and our turn is not to far away.

    Already the Emphasis is slowly turning towards Spain and what has started as a pea will soon become a boulder as the Far East and such tune into to Madrid and Barca to see the Greatest players as the Big English clubs slowly drown in debt,

    Whatever Clubs say the boom time in English Football is over and before you know it them “customers” are going to be needed alot more than they currently let on, Because they are what make the club Not the Footballers who will follow their pockets and chase the Euro

  7. nutcracker says:

    Somehow I’m not getting the connection with the headline and the content of the article. You have not spoken of Arsene’s success or the lack of it. Instead, this comes off a bit patronising. Of course we all know that Arsenal is a business. What is your conclusion? Is arsene’s success fact or fiction?

  8. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Richmond Football Club, 29 years in the wilderness & counting 😦

  9. Rasputin says:

    Hi nutcracker,

    Thanks for coming on, actually the author did not write the title so my apologies if it gave the wrong impression. It would be a logical extension of the argument to see Arsène’s management as a complete success for the business that employs him whilst being viewed as a partial failure by some supporters. Please judge the article on the text.

  10. Big Raddy says:

    Another fine article DD, and realistic viewpoint.

    I blame Gazza Tears (and Margeret Thatcher). The 1990 WC changed the way football was viewed as a sport. Prior to that it was real fans who ran the clubs and attended the games. Then Gazza took football from the back pages to the front, and football became an industry like any other..

    And then the Yanks got involved. End of story. We are now a Corporation and football is secondary.

  11. London says:


    That was an interesting read, especially this bit, “At this present time they treat you like Customers but want you to act like Fans”, do you fancy doing a head line post explaining this in a bit more depth, if you do, just mention it to Peaches or Rasp and they will sort you out.

  12. Alan Skirton says:

    Spot on analysis of the business relaionship of a football club and, in paticular, the role of the Manager.
    My issue with Wenger is – whatever we may individually think of his team management- that I dont think he is doing the PR part of his job particularly well.
    -He gives the impression of being dismissive of the fans. The Board can get away with that, indeed it is their sterotypical role, but the Manager cant for very long.
    -By repetition of the same reasons/excuses over the years, without silverware, he has lost a lot of goodwill.
    -Strangely, though the emphasis is on freshness at Arsenal, he has generated a feeling of staleness.

  13. London says:


    A very interesting read.

  14. Big Raddy says:

    Chippy. I cannot agree about the PL losing out to La Liga. Fans need more than 2 Classico’s a year to maintain interest. Only Real/Barca buy top players and the other clubs struggle to stay in business. Hence the proposed players strike called because most clubs cannot afford to pay their players wages.

    Worldwide fans lost interest in Italian football because of the pisspoor fare on offer.

  15. London says:

    You could argue that La Liga will go the way of Scottish football with just two teams dominating the thing for ever until people tuned out. I certainly have tune out this year, watching Barça destroy a minor team every week get tedious that is why I enjoyed last night’s game so much.

  16. dandan says:

    Chippy The majority of Italian clubs play not to lose, a draw is seen as a good result, a win a bonus. Whereas in the premier league (with certain notable exceptions), the win is all important, and the draw, a fallback position if you go behind and need to rescue a point.
    It is this speed and commitment to attack that makes our product so popular all over the world.

  17. chippy says:

    Mate ill try and scribble something together but im not sure my thoughts would be well written enough for a whole post, Its easy for people to mock peoples efforts at what they write, but anyone that does so always gets my total respect as its so much easier said than done whether i agree or disagree,

  18. Big Raddy says:

    I agree London. The Premiership has the product and the history. As such it will remain the jewel in Sky’s crown.

  19. Big Raddy says:

    Chippy. No-one on here will mock any author.

  20. nutcracker says:

    Thanks for the response. I didn’t mean any offense, just wasn’t able to follow the train of thought. Cheers.

  21. dandan says:

    Chippy your post at 10.05 says you will have no problems, go for it mate, also look back and see how quickly Rasp sprang to my defence at 10.23 and you will realise you are mainly among mates having a chat on here, Look forward to seeing your first article

  22. Rasputin says:

    Morning dandan,

    A chillingly logical post 😛

    Supporters like to believe (and I’m guilty of this) that they own the club, not financially obviously but in terms of history, heart and by virtue of the money they pay to watch games. Perhaps someone can produce a pie chart to illustrate how the percentages of income compare so that we can see exactly how revenue from the fans compares to the TV rights, merchandising etc.

    nutcracker – no worries, its good to have you on here.

  23. dandan says:

    Cheers Rasp, That pie chart sounds like a job for ghost, he is good with stats,

  24. Big Raddy says:

    There was a time when the fans DID own the club, because they were the only revenue stream.

    Merchandising the Brand has changed that forever (I include TV rights)

  25. chippy says:

    Wouldnt say the PL was much Different over the last 10 years or so when you had us and United then united and chelsea smashing everyone in front of them i mean it used to be you could only lose a max of 4 games a season to win the league ! And i mean we even went a whole one unbeaten, In my view people in Foreign countrys such as China,India, etc watch for the big name players and prestige,

    dandan, Those ingrediants were always in the English game it was only in the event of sky etc and big players turning up on these shores that the perception was changed, Id agree with regards Italian football now as its in the culture of the game but to attibute all of the faults to boring football is wrong in my view as it was never a problem when they had the big players the stadiums were full etc

    Big Raddy is probably right tho in that it was the worldwide appeal that led to its downfall and its made me think as i didnt ever give that much thought,

  26. dandan says:

    Chippy, Back in the days of Revie, Paisley and GG it used to be, win your home matches and draw away. with 2 Pt’s for a win and 1 for a draw you would probably win the league. Three points changed all that with away matches the differential was to great. Although of course many clubs take the pragmatic view that a draw with one of the big four is a result. Which is of course why so many park the bus at THOF.

  27. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    “All told, I believe that the earlier you settle your teams for the next season, the better it is and the less anxiety you have.” – Arsene Wenger


  28. dandan says:

    Lots of speculation that Arsene will buy two young Blackburn players Gg9, that doesn’t sound like experience LOL

  29. chippy says:

    For every Revie and George there was a clough and Shankley, Thats what makes the game great tho all the different tactics and such like, I mean i hate the bloke but mourinho done it again last night hes got so many of Grahamss Traits its errie lol

    Anyway ive got to go have a good un all and ill try and put something together at some stage,

  30. chaf says:

    DD, your 10.05 answer was right, I agree…

    “Chaf…… uncertainty is part of the package you buy if you were certain to win every game what would be the point.”

    But try telling that to most of the extra 20,000 fans that have joined the Highbury mob. They have come in at the top money level and expect it, even though we have won nothing there.

    I don’t think the Prem will lose out top status, but I don’t think the standard is as good as it was 5/10 years ago.

  31. andy says:

    I enjoyed the result last night too. I dont like Mourinho but it shows what a bit of tactical awareness can achieve.

  32. andy says:

    Chaf, not sure why you think the standard of the PL has dropped. How many leagues in the world can you find where on a good day any1 can beat any1. There are no easy games in the PL.

  33. Honestly, does nobody find it just a teenie weenie bit hypocritical that they are backing inter… a team full of world class attacking and defensive players… for “parking the bus”

    yet will moan and groan, when a shit side with crap players like blackburn will come and park the bus at the emirates?

    reeks to high heaven.

  34. Big Raddy says:

    SfH- To be fair to Inter, they have shown attacking qualities, but not last night!

    Who would have thought they would go to The Bridge and play 3 upfront?

    Had they not scored 3 in the 1st leg, parking the bus would not have been an option.

    And some enjoy a sterling defensive display

  35. andy says:

    Yeah i know i should support Barcelona and its not sour grapes just nice to see the point proven that they are beatable if you try. I dont like Mourinho and his negative tactics but sometimes the end justifies the means, if its a one-off

  36. Rocky Lives says:

    DD, I was talking to someone the other day (moaning, to be precise) and he said “keep it in perspective, it’s only a game.” As your post points out, football has long since ceased being ‘just a game’. Now it’s a billion pound business on which many people’s livelihoods are dependent.
    However, it is a business unlike most others, in that the consumers (us) tend not to take their custom elsewhere if they are unsatisfied with the product. If your brand of shaving cream gives you a rash, you’ll try another. If your football team gives you a rash (not to mention anxiety, heart disease and liver failure) you’ll still stick with it.
    If football fans were like other consumers, clubs like Blackburn would no longer exist.

  37. London says:

    Great comment Andy, bang on the money.

  38. i hear you andy, but the hypocrisy is still there

    😆 just go back to last weekend and the moaners on various gooner blogs having a pop at city for parking the bus… they got what they wanted in the battle for fourth?

  39. today the same mob are applauding inter, laughable.

  40. London says:

    There doesn’t seem to be a great difference between the meaning of customers and fans perhaps we should be called fustomers 😉

  41. London says:

    Hi SFH

    There is no hard and fast rule to it, as football fans there is a certain amount of hypocracy in us all. If we had beaten Barça last night in the same way we would have been “over the moon” now there is bit of good old fashioned football terminoogy.

  42. Rocky Lives says:

    London – or ‘cans’

  43. talking about over the moon… was that not the title of that late night football show hosted by the fat baked spud danny kelly about 15 years ago?

  44. charybdis1966 says:

    Afternoon all, the way I see the customer/fan question is that we are in a mixture of 2 situations:
    1. We are customers with near 100% brand loyalty – the brand being the club we support
    2. We are a captive market as switching to an alternative supplier(of football entertainment)is not an option.

    If we were in an “open market” – as Karen Brady once said, “Running a football club is just like selling beans” – then, as someone said above, smaller, unfashionable clubs like Blackburn would disappear(although if Fat Sam “Walrus face” Allardyce is in charge that would obviously be a good thing.)
    As for last night, I recall Busquets being a persistent diver/cheat when he played against us, so for that reason alone I’m quite happy that “The Specious One” triumphed last night. With the actions of Busquets last night, Barca can no longer occupy the moral high ground about playing the game the right way and that they are “Mes que une club.”
    The strains of their pretentious anthem that rang out at the final whistle as their players had strops/sulks over the pitch(Valdes deciding to man handle Mourinho) sounded hollow to me.

  45. andy says:

    I know what you mean sfh but to be honest i was a big fan of arsenal in the gg years and wasn’t it just as rewarding to frustrate a so-called flair team and sing 1 nil to the arsenal ?

  46. London says:

    Hi Chary

    Busquets is a horrible piece of work.

  47. charybdis1966 says:

    Appalling stuff, isn’t it London? Can you imagine Townsend et al going to town on this if an Arsenal player did something even remotely resembling that?
    Oops, they did !

  48. andy as did i during the gg years.

    but the point now is, we cannot moan at city for parking the bus against us on the saturday and then applaud inter for doing it on the wednesday.

  49. mancini’s inter side did very well last night, they defended impeccably.

    not taking that away from them… and i have not made a mistake.. it was the city bosses’s side last night.

  50. i would say tony pulis could have managed those man mountain defenders last night to a 1-0 defeat to barca.

    jose is very good, but he is also very very clever when takes sides over

    ranieri had built had wonderful nucleus, that came 2nd in the league and reached the semis of the CL before jm came in.

    mancini built the inter side from scratch to win 3 titles in a row before jm came in.

  51. andy says:

    Very true sfh. More and more teams play that way against us though so we have to be able to adapt and play against it. I can see what you are saying but I for one dont criticise teams for playing defensive, they aren’t on the pitch just to make up the numbers after all.

  52. charybdis1966 says:

    Arshavin only has “a little chance” to be available for the Blackburn game – shame that.

  53. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    One set of supporters can really be truely appreciative of the effort put in by Inter to get the “result” @ the Camp Nou, & they are Arsenal people. In a perfect world, The Arsenal would have parked the bus after NB52 made it 2-3 for the tie, with its George Graham type defence holding the flash arrogant catalans @ bay. History showed that The Arsenal couldn’t even hold the lead for more than 3 minutes.

    That is how good an effort Inter/Maureen put in. I, like every one else on here, thinks that Maureen is a horrible turd, but I will give credit where credit is due.

    After all, the PL trophys that AW won evolved to some extent from the legacy of GG’s defence.

  54. gnarleygeorge9 says:

    Its time to sure up the defence like CL 2006. That record of time not conceding a goal in the best compettion in the world is something that makes me proud to say The Good Old Arsenal name.

  55. London says:

    Absolutely GG

    Credit where credit is due that is what that performance was all about.

  56. Big Raddy says:

    ” And, in doing so, they proved a truth that is all too often forgotten.

    That this game is about glory and it is always to be found on the field, never the balance sheet. ”

    From a fine article by Martin Samuel about Fulham’s brilliant victory last night.

    Sums it up for me.

  57. London says:

    Morning P&R et al

    I am off to a part of Wales for a week that I am not sure if they have the mobile phone let alone the internet. So if you don’t hear from me it it not because of a strop that you were not aware of.

    In the mean time I expect the mother of all capitulations from the mancs and the chavs so that I will return to see the good guys win the league.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    Have a fine time London

  59. Morning all

    Theres a NEW POST

  60. web search says:

    Thank you for your wonderful efforts

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