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!

Sack Wenger; Win Something – Written by redandwhiteviews

August 17, 2010

Written by redandwhiteviews

Unless you’ve been holidaying with Terry Waite’s old associates or staying with the Fritzls, you’ll know that Arsenal haven’t won anything for five years. You’ll know because every lazy football writer and commentator mentions it every five minutes.

My worry is that people believe the hype – because of his failure to bring ‘silverware’ to the Emirates in recent years, some ‘fans’ are even disappointed Wenger has signed a new deal. Time for a reality check:

No divine right to win the league

To begin with, and despite what the red scousers and the bare-chested idiots from Newcastle might tell you, no club has a divine right to win the league. It’s really hard to do and requires luck as well as momentum. The league invariably comes down to a few points (one point last year, none in ‘89), so a couple of bad games can put paid to your title hopes pretty quickly – in our case it used to be in November, but now seems to be March. So even if you’ve got the Chelsea open chequebook or the £60m-a-year the Mancs spend on players, you’re not guaranteed to win it anyway.

Shit cups are like chocolate teapots… pointless

Although Liverpool listed the Charity Shield among their ‘five cups’ and Spurs still boast of their success in the 1947 Norwich Hospital Charity Cup (click here if you don’t believe me), the Champions League is the only other trophy that really counts. But the Champions League is a cup competition. Any of the top sides can win it – which is why Porto did and we nearly did – and any side can lose it, which is why Chelsea, despite all their cash, never have. My point is that, however much you spend, there are no guarantees.

Building for the future…

To many, Wenger’s tighter than Beth Ditto’s waistband and needs to spend to win trophies. But the decision to build the Emirates has put massive constraints on Wenger. I honestly don’t think he’s got anywhere near the money people think. The board says there’s money to spend, but they would… otherwise clubs would target our players with even lower bids than they already do. That doesn’t mean the decision to build the Emirates was wrong. The 9,000 seats in the posh bit in the middle generate as much income as the whole of Highbury’s 38,000 seats used to. Once the stadium debt is paid for, we will have one of the world’s finest sporting arenas generating enough income to ensure our future for years to come. Around the same time, other clubs will hopefully be paying for the irrational management of their finances during the global financial crisis, and we will be in a position of most clubs’ envy – alive. Until then, the money is not available to take on the likes of Man U, Chelsea and, more notably, Man City in the transfer market. So the goalposts have moved.

The new goal

Our target during this period of paying for the stadium is to keep achieving Champions League football. Anything else will be a bonus. Wenger is spot on that 3rd or 4th in the league is better than winning the League Cup or the FA Cup. Anyone can get lucky and win a cup – Millwall made the final and Portsmouth won it – but a full season sets the men from the boys. The main thing, of course, is that the rewards are so much bigger. Would you really want Wenger fielding his best eleven in the Carling Cup on a Wednesday away at Wigan if there’s a six-pointer for a Champions League spot on the Saturday? Sack Wenger and you might just end up winning some shit… and missing out on the good stuff.

Show a little faith…

Wenger’s record speaks for itself but, if anyone thinks someone else could have done a better job on his watch, (including the idiots who have suggested Jumpy-up-and-down Martin O’Neill should be brought in to replace him), here are a few pointers.

For starters, what do Tottenham, Newcastle, ‘Boro, Sunderland, Villa, Everton, the Mancs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man City all have in common? The answer is they all have a higher net spend than Arsenal since 2004. Where are their championships, FA Cups and Champions League finals? Newcastle, Boro and Sunderland have been relegated in that time. I don’t hear commentators banging on about their lack of silverware every two minutes.

Chelsea’s have spent £248m since 2004, recouping just £100m. Wenger’s net spend per season since 2004 has been £4m. He’s achieved Champions league football every year on that budget. Every year.

Before moving to the Emirates, we were no bigger than Leeds, Villa, Everton, Newcastle, Man City, Tottenham, West Ham, Liverpool and many others who had stadiums as big as ours and therefore the same income. Arsenal have been in the Champions League for 11 seasons running. Where have the others been? Newcastle have been to Bristol Rovers for league games. Leeds have been to Cheltenham, Hereford and Yeovil.

In summary, Arsenal made a decision some years ago that, rather than stand still with our peers, we would take a punt on building a big stadium to generate long-term higher income and the chance to compete at the very top.

What they saw in Wenger, a man who had already revolutionised British football with his views on fitness, training, diet and tactics, was a man who could not only steer us through the period in which we would have to pay for that plan, but who had the foresight to begin a youth policy which would also give the fans something enjoyable to watch and the chance of success every year without spending money – even if that success doesn’t always materialise. I’ll take security and hope over trips to Cheltenham, Hereford and Yeovil, Carling Cups and the Norwich Hospital Trophy any day. But the commentators aren’t interested in that, are they?

redandwhiteviews was previously known as heffer on this site. This article has been published on his site, but he has allowed us to reproduce it on here for our readers to enjoy.

Arsenal Apocalypse: Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3 … edited version

April 19, 2010

When Peaches suggested I write today’s blog my first reaction was: “Thanks: that’s like asking someone to DJ at a funeral, or sell futures at the OAPs’ home.” But here we are. Given how furious I was after yesterday’s game I was going to have a rant but, let’s be honest, you can find rants all over NewsNow today.
Instead I took inspiration from the title of a song by Ian Dury and the Blockheads, called Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3. If you’re too young to remember Ian Dury, then shame on you: you should have been born earlier. But don’t despair – go and see Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll, a fantastic biopic of the Dury story, with Andy Serkis (he was Gollum in Lord of the Rings) playing the great man. This is not the place for a beginners’ guide to Ian Dury, but suffice to say he was disabled most of his life from polio contracted at the age of seven and died of cancer in his fifties. In between he produced an amazing, eclectic catalogue of songs full of wit, humour, irreverence, obscenity and an unquenchable lust for life.
One of them was called Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part 3 and was a list of things that made him happy. The ‘Part 3’ bit felt particularly apt as this is my third post on Arsenal Arsenal and the first two were relentlessly optimistic. So here goes, reasons for all we Arsenal fans to be cheerful:

  • Arsene may not see much, but he isn’t blind.
  • The recent defeats remove any illusions Arsene had about his squad.
  • If Fabianski had played brilliantly ‘til the end of the season AW would not sign a new GK.
  • Robin VP is back.
  • Cesc will be back.
  • Ramsey will be back.
  • Chamakh is coming and looks shit hot.
  • We have a +11 goal difference over Sp*rs.
  • Blackburn have nothing to play for.
  • Fulham have nothing to play for.
  • Adebarndoor’s coming to town.
  • The club finances are better than they have been for years.
  • PHW says we have money to spend.
  • PHW is a comical old duffer.
  • Arsene says we have money to spend.
  • Arsene is comical when he flaps his arms.
  • We don’t have to play Barcelona again this season.
  • Sol. Nuff said.
  • No takeover of the club while the volcano is keeping Silent Stan in the USA.
  • Spain might win the World Cup playing BarcaBall (it’s like Wengerball, but with shiny silver things at the end).
  • Cesc and Ramsey are a shoo-in for the Three-Legged Race in the Colney end of season sports day.
  • Arsene doesn’t twitch.
  • We would never celebrate one derby league victory in 11 years as if it were the Double, Treble, Champions League and World Cup all rolled into one.
  • No matter what happens to Arsenal, even if we get relegated to the Arkwright’s Pistons League South and the Emirates stadium is turned into a cycling velodrome, we’ll still always have more class than those spiteful, embittered, inferiority-complexed, chip-on-shoulder, thumb-sucking gibbons from N17.
    We won the league on Merseyside.

  • We won the league in Manchester.
  • We won the league at White Hart Lane.
  • We are the Arsenal so f**k off the rest.

· Footnote. When I was in rant mode, I was planning to run through the merits (or lack of them) of the players responsible for that sickbag of a performance at Wigan yesterday. I was going to use a line from another Ian Dury song (Plaistow Patricia) as my inspiration: it’s the opening line and goes like this: “Arseholes, Bastards, F***ing C**ts and P**cks.”
Keep the faith folks.