The Ideal Arsenal Owner

April 4, 2013

Barely a day passes in the comments section without mention of our owner, Stan Kroenke.

Arsenal began life as a Mutually Owned Club under the name of Royal Arsenal. Our first sole owner was Henry Norris who engineered the move to Highbury in 1913. As we know, the poor fella had to quit to “spend more time with his family” as a result of some minor financial irregularities.

Then, along came the Hill-Woods (Samuel) and Bracewell Smiths (Sir, MP and Lord Mayor). In short, Samuel passed his stake down to Denis and then, he in turn, passed these on down to our current Chairman, Peter. Things got to their present state after Peter flogged his lot to the likes of Dein and Fiszman, and we end up where we are now with Kroenke on 66.76% and Usmanov on 29.9%.

So that’s a little history. So, what would we like right now from an owner?

It seems to me that there are two ways of going about this. The pie in sky fantasy approach, or the let’s face it, this is the real world we are talking about, and therefore the most likely. I can do both.

Being honest, that snake Norris did us proud didn’t he. Then again, the Hill-Wood Dynasty is what really turned the Club into the institution that it is today. They added The Marble Halls and gave us that aristocratic edge that has enabled us to look down our noses at absolutely everyone ever since. This may not sit comfortably with communists and revolutionaries, but it is a fact.

Alas, here we are in the modern era with The Kroenke “Sort”. I have to say, that I like the non-interfering type of owner, and whenever I hear the “couldn’t he just buy us two or three world class players”, I think, well where do you stop, why not sell out to someone you know will plough ego money into the place and be done with it.

Then, I think back to our roots and remember that we started out as a Mutually Owned Club, and think….Barca’ish? Fantasy. Naughty, but nice.

Doesn’t our present Chairman, Peter Hill-Wood, have a squillionaire Grandson? That’ll do me. Best of both worlds.

Written by MickyDidIt89

No Longer The Wonder Of You?

July 3, 2010

Written by BigRaddy

We need a new song to run out to. We have done ever since we moved to the Emirates, in fact I would guess that we have been a much less successful team since the powers that be adopted TWOY (the wonder of you). My guess is that less than 10% of Gooners and none of the team are aroused by this poor example of the King’s work, and surely that is the point of it.

I am imagining the meeting when the new song is chosen ……..

P. Hill Wood would have rejected out of hand anything from the past 20 years. I think he would have chosen a tune with a classical bent, not too highbrow. something traditional with an English theme, Jerusalem would be my bet. And it would be better than what we have at present. 60,000 people singing “And did these feet in ancient times walk upon England’s mountain green” etc. Stirring stuff I feel, though hardly representative of our current squad.

Fizman from the looks of him is more a prog rock. He would be a fan of Free and the driving guitar riff Alright Now could work as could Stone Cold Sober by The Faces, but I see him going for the perennial classic ELP’s Fanfare for the Common Man, a reliable but well trodden path

Gazidis being American would probably look into the great Motown back catalogue and I think he could vote for Martha and the Vandella’s Dancing in the Streets, though perhaps having a blue collar background he would be a Bruce Springsteen man. So the chorus of Born to Run would be my guess for his choice, which would get voted out by the rest of the Board who are unlikely to be Bruce fans.

Mr Wenger is a difficult one. I imagine that he has a cabinet full of Diana Krall CD’s with a few Mozart String Quartets, a bunch of Bach, and the first 3 Sade albums with which to enjoy his red wine . He may well have some early punk/New Wave as well, so a Jam number could fit him – Going Underground or Eton Rifles (actually that works for PHW!), but on reflection he will be aware of the great Arsenal tradition and go with Good Old Arsenal.

Pat Rice would of course suggest some traditional Irish folk. The Scousers having taken the wonderful Fields of Athenry, he could do worse than raid the Dubliners back catalogue and choose The Wild Rover which has the advantage of a clapping chorus. Simple and rousing.

Lady Nina is sure to be a Metalhead. I see her as a huge fan of Metallica and as such The Sandman is an obvious choice, but she would also love the classic metal sound of AC/DC and as such my bet is that she would go for Hell’s Bells or Highway to Hell, both of which in my opinion would be great choices.

As Captain Cesc would have some input, and I think he would check out other sports to see what works…. I recall him going to Twickenham during one of his injury breaks to watch a Calcutta match between England and Scotland. He was sure to have been impressed by the Swing Low Sweet Chariot echoing from the stands and I think he will suggest trying it at THOF. Failing that, he may go for a jumping song like I predict a Riot by the Kaiser Chiefs.

Whatever is chosen, as long as we get rid of TWOY it will be progress. We have suffered this dirge for long enough.

My choice? I go with Lady Nina………..

N.B. This article is tongue in cheek and I have no knowledge whatsoever of our Board’s musical tastes. Fun to imagine though!

Now Arsenal Must Speak

May 27, 2010

I have been tolerant of Arsenal’s almost total silence surrounding the issue of Cesc Fabregas and his supposed move to Barcelona, but now things have changed.

Up until yesterday there was, literally, nothing of substance to suggest our captain might be wanting out.

Sure, there was endless froth from the newspapers, both here and in Spain, but all based on an unsubstantiated claim by one journalist that Cesc had met Wenger a week and a half ago and demanded a move. The same hack said the deal would be done and dusted by last weekend, so that tells you how reliable he is.

But yesterday Cesc delivered a series of comments that are so enigmatic they have been given diametrically opposed interpretations by different sets of readers.

Here’s what he said about a conversation he had had with Wenger:

“It was probably the greatest conversation I’ve had with anyone in my life.

“I respect him so much and I don’t want to say too much about this.

“He told me to concentrate on my football and to concentrate on the World Cup.

“He told me to leave it in his hands and he will deal with whatever happens with my future. That’s what I’m doing. Just concentrating on football.

“I just want to be focused for the World Cup because it’s the most important thing.

“The rest is the future and I’m not interested in the future. “It’s not up to me anymore. It’s just now about Arsenal and whoever it has to be and that’s it.”

Right, so that’s as clear as Thames mud.

Based on those words I have seen headlines on Newsnow ranging from “Fabregas’ frank Wenger talk reveals Arsenal exit” to  “Fabregas will be at Arsenal next season.”

Comments around the Arsenal blogosphere seem just as conflicted. For some Gooners Cesc is offering sure fire proof that he loves us and isn’t going anywhere and, furthermore, Wenger must have told him about his amazing transfer plans for the summer and that’s why Cesc is staying. Blimey, talk about adding two plus two and making seven.

Others are interpreting the words to mean that Cesc has said he wants off and it’s just a matter of negotiating the price.

The trouble is, either interpretation could be right, or both could be wrong, his words could mean something else entirely.

In these circumstances, and with the issue now out in the open, it is intolerable for Arsenal Football Club not to make a statement on the matter.

Yes, we’ve had a bit of a burble from Peter Hill Wood, bless him, but his words only confuse matters at the best of times.

It is now time for Wenger or Gazidis to issue a statement saying where the club stands on the issue. To do any less is to show utter contempt for the supporters who keep the club going and will be doing so long after Wenger and all the players have moved on.

I don’t care what the statement is as long as it clarifies the situation and puts an end to this febrile sense of uncertainty (although my preference would be for a pronouncement that although we have had an approach from Barca, we have no intention of selling our captain for any price).

We’re waiting Arsenal, and we’re listening. Now SPEAK.


Winning is a Win/Win Situation

May 26, 2010

……….. but not at any cost!

I’m sure the supporters of Leeds, Pompey and Newcastle regret their club’s excessive spending in pursuit of trophies, but there is an argument that the powers that be at Arsenal have erred too much on the side of caution in recent years.

The benefits of winning are obvious:

Financial – prize money, increased TV revenue, boost in merchandising sales, more lucrative deals with sponsors.

Psychological – players gain valuable experience, develop a ‘winning mentality’ and are therefore more likely to be winners in the future.

Kudos – raised profile  – the chance of keeping our best players and attracting more world class players to the club is greatly enhanced if they believe they can win trophies.

Let’s just accept for the purpose of debate, that the football club is a business, the supporters are customers and the players are assets/debits on a balance sheet. Emotion, nostalgia and expectation are traits that characterise supporters but have no place in a competitive industry. All the above is true, but what about the old business tenet ‘you have to speculate in order to accumulate’?

Would a larger investment in new players over recent years have proved to be a shrewd business move? We will never know, but what we do know is that respected figures in the game including many ex-Arsenal players have repeatedly said we are only 2 to 3 players short of a winning side. We also know that the official line this summer is that we have money to spend althought the figures mentioned vary between £30-£60m and it is not known whether this takes into account any revenue from players sold.

Mourinho took a calculated risk when he bought 29 year old Diego Milito for an undisclosed but apparently hefty sum. He identified a weakness in his team and bought the best player he could to rectify the situation. He was lucky, the gamble paid off and Inter reaped rich dividends – the treble including the Champions League title.

Arsène has not been so lucky. Injuries and players not living up to expectation have been a feature of recent seasons and it is clear that he has been as disappointed as the ‘fans’ that are calling for his head. I believe he has it within his power this season to make the difference between competing valiantly and winning. The greatest test of his resolve will surely be demonstrated by his actions regarding the goalkeeper.

Should we be grateful for the level of ‘success’ we’ve enjoyed since the building of the stadium? – yes

Could any other manager have kept us in the top four under similar financial constraints? – almost certainly not

Should we just be content to pay our money for a seat at the Emirates and settle for what we’re given – NO

…… intake of breath.

We’re not paid by ‘business Arsenal’, we pay them. We have a right to our opinion as paying customers, whether it be unconditional support or rank scepticism.

Many supporters suspect that if Cesc has decided he wants to leave, the club’s failure to bring in quality players with experience over recent years would be a major factor in that decision.

Success in the transfer market is about judgement, calculated risk, ambition and luck. Arsène must exercise his judgement. The club needs to show greater ambition. Ivan Gazidis should take responsibility for the calculated risk and for once, we need lady luck to smile on us and grant Arsenal a season with just average injury problems.

Ivan Gazidis is the unknown quantity. He is clearly 100% businessman so let’s hope he and Arsène are in agreement that we should take a few calculated risks and bring in the two or three players we need.

Irishgunner put it brilliantly on Monday when she  wrote ‘Wenger is a genius held back by his own stubbornness but in the end, if most coaches were as pragmatic as him, the world of football would be a far better place’

I hope his apparent ‘stubbornness’ was simply a by-product of his pursuit of financial stability and he will spend some of the money the club can now afford to reinforce the spine of the squad. If he doesn’t, even those whose ‘cup runneth over’ with positivity will begin to question his judgement.