The Arsenal Transfer Mystery? – written by Red Arse

August 23, 2010

Written by Red Arse

Now let’s get this clear from the start, this is not another vomit inducing attack on our illustrious manager or indeed on our majestic Arsenal! This is no place for scurrilous rumours or insulting character assassination.

What I am trying to do is square the circle from the perspective of a committed and passionate fan. It is perhaps a fan’s lament at the conflicts that have arisen between what we, the fans, think our club should be doing in the transfer market, and what the club itself is actually doing.

Let’s begin with the Arsenal Board of Directors. They are key in setting the business policy and agreeing the aims of the club, as well as establishing key milestones in achieving those targets, and finally in formulating the way in which they can measure the success of those aims and satisfying the shareholders.

The roles of directors and shareholders are legally quite separate and the ardent fan should be aware that in a club/business with only a few shareholders, who are often not in harmony, and who are also the directors there are inevitably conflicts between the aims of these two roles.

The observant will have noticed that I have run the terms “club and business” together. It is important to understand what each of these terms mean in the context of AFC.

Although they are not mutually exclusive, they are very different animals. A club can be loosely defined as, “a group or association of persons organised for a sporting purpose”; which in our case is football. A business can be defined as, “a corporation or profit seeking enterprise or concern”.

Oh, oh! Conflict alarms should be going off everywhere for fans.

The average fan does not sign on for the “business enterprise”, no, they are attracted by the “Club”, which encompasses the history, the success, and the exquisite, sublime football Arsenal are capable of playing.

Now some fans know that without a successful business, built on the acumen of clever directors’, there would be no football club, unless it became the plaything of a disgustingly rich sugar daddy; and what right thinking, red blooded male wants to be a sugar daddies plaything?. I won’t presume to speak for the ladies! They understand and accept that money has to be budgeted and accounted for, not just in the short-term, but for the future financial well being of AFC. Other fans do not accept, or, perhaps, understand the need for that business ethic. They have an understandable insouciance about all that and simply want AFC, their team, to win trophies and smack about the likes of the Chavs, the Spuds and the Mancs on a regular basis, home and away.

So here we have it. The solution to the Arsenal transfer funds mystery!

The shareholders want to protect and increase the value of their stakeholding; the directors – same guys – want to maximise the profits to run the business and keep themselves happy – sorry the shareholders happy; and on the other hand, the fans who want dosh to be spent in great steaming magnificent dollops to buy the best available players for their beloved team. As I said oh, oh!

Into the fray rides our indomitable manager, Arsene, who in his usual sanguine manner attempts to square the circle between these two rather disparate factions.

To the intense frustration of us fans, there seems, on the surface, to be a mismatch between what Le Prof acknowledges is an urgent requirement to improve the quality of the team in certain areas and his actually moving his arse – nal and going out and doing so.

Our frustrations and concerns for the coming season have been caused, in part, by the protracted and tedious transfer negotiations, with dissatisfaction being expressed, in certain quarters, as to the age, height or quality of some of our signings or potential signings.

I have already outlined the internal conflicts governing the running of AFC, and mentioned that part of the directors’ responsibilities is the setting of targets and monitoring the achievements of these.

Does anyone seriously think that Arsene, just having signed a new three year extension to his contract, has not been measured against the required targets set by the Board of Directors and been passed with flying colours?

Forget all the opprobrium heaped on his shoulders, the accusations of incompetence, of being miserly, of deliberately buying or keeping sub-standard players out of cussedness. No! He is acting in accordance with the targets and requirements set for him by the Directors and within the financial resources they have budgeted for him.

For those of us, who believe Arsenal Football Club is being run like a very efficient, modern business, how can there be a different conclusion?

Be of good cheer. This man is a genius, and if anyone can square the circle of the directors’/shareholders needs and the fans’ desperate desire to see trophies flowing into our magnificent club again, Arsene Wenger is the man to do so.

We are the Mighty Arsenal! Feel the power!