The beauty and horror of Arsenal’s ‘socialist’ pay-structure


When Arsene called our club’s wage structure ‘a more socialist model’ fans groaned and balked across the globe. Socialism was quickly confused with communism, as many believed that Arsene wants to play every player the same.

This has never been the case, and it is also not what Wenger wants. I reckon when he used the word ‘socialist’, he meant fair, more equal; as in a more equal, fairer model. Arsene believes Arsenal’s wage structure should be economically viable and not see some players paid significantly more compared to others; as he put it:  “to pay something that makes sense and is defendable in front of every single player”, and adding: “We make exceptions sometimes but they are not maybe so high. If you want to keep making profit you have to respect that.”

Nobody really likes to read that a football club wants to make a profit; the idea of a football club being an ordinary business is unpalatable to most of us. But it is what it is, and running a football club comes with considerable risks, which need to be managed sensibly. Only those clubs with rich billionaire owners who have a purely ‘charitable’ attitude towards their huge financial investments, can function outside the capitalist reality of having to make a profit, or at least break even – the latter not being very attractive to investors in the club, unless they are fervent supporters who want to help the club as much as possible.

But let me not digress too much. The crux of it all is that Wenger does not believe in paying a few players significantly more compared to the rest. The Telegraph reports that Podolski is apparently on about £100k per week and that many squad players are on £60k. Theo is seeking to get close to £100k as well, and Arsene appears to be dithering about sanctioning it.

Football is a team sport and all have to work hard, and for each other, to get results. I can therefore understand why Arsene feels strongly that the wage gap should not be more than say double between his ‘first eleven’ players. Of course age and experience should be factored in, but more importantly players should be paid for the significance of their contributions to their team. It is fairer and more likely to produce the necessary team spirit.

However, with other clubs being able, and morally prepared, to pay top star players well above the reported £100k per week we pay for our top earner, the club will run a constant risk of losing our best players at the end of each season. The latter is unacceptable, and will simply mean we will remain in transition every season, as we have been experiencing for the last two years.

On top of that, there is a risk that some players are paid above their market value, as Arsene is no doubt a generous person. The Telegraph is reporting that Arsenal’s average wage is only £3000 less than Manchester United’s (£61k per player per week, compared to £64k). Luckily, we continue to see a shifting out of players who have not made the grade – albeit slowly and on loan deals rather than selling them all – which should reduce the total wage bill, although not necessarily the average wage by much.

So should the club ditch Arsene’s honourable ‘socialist’ wage structure and go for Manchester United’s polarised ‘market-value’ system, where Rooney and Van Judas are paid around £225k per week each – £1m per month – while others are paid a third to a quarter, or less than that?

Looking at what Van Judas is currently doing, it is hard to argue he is not worth the money he is being paid. He is carrying the horrible Mancs on his traitor’s back at the moment. But then looking at Shrek’s contributions in return for his £12m per year, and you can see what the risks are of giving somebody a long term contract with a huge weekly wage.

Van Judas has netted twenty times this season, but Rooney only eight times. Hernandez has scored 50% more goals than Rooney, yet is likely to be earning not more than a third of Shrek’s beastly weekly wage. How fair is that and what does this do for team morale?

Van Judas and Shrek have scored 28 goals until now this season, and are paid £2m per month for it. Theo (14) and Giroud (9) – who have not played together much – have scored 23 goals between them and are currently earning a fraction of the Manc’s ugly couple’s wages. I predict that by the end of the season our two strikers will still not be far off, or equal, to the Mancs’ couple.

Van Judas could get injured any time, and the club will have to pay his wages and get nothing back for it. After recovering from his injury he might never be the same, and yet the club have to fork out an incredible £48m in wages plus an additional £24m to Arsenal to obtain his services: this liability will not go away.

I am gutted we let him go to the Mancs; the club I despise most of all. They took an enormous risk in signing Van Judas up but they are currently reaping the benefits. It all remains to be seen whether it will pay off for them long term.

But the fact is, Arsenal let him go, and he deserted us, the fans, for lots more money and the hope for a better chance to win something. Nasri and Song also left to get more money somewhere else, and we are likely to face similar issues every summer as long as Arsenal are not prepared to adjust their wage structure in order to attract and keep the best players.

Maybe the Financial Fair Play regulations will make a real difference, but I cannot see it changing the Mancs and others being able to pay some of their best players huge wages, whilst others earn significantly less. It is more a question of ideology and approach to taking risks than anything else.

I love Arsene’s ideological approach, as morally I am totally with him on this, but in the uber/post capitalist reality of modern football in England, I reckon it will be almost impossible to sustain. Reality sucks.

Written by: Total Arsenal.

63 thoughts on “The beauty and horror of Arsenal’s ‘socialist’ pay-structure

  • Morning TA, 🙂

    This ‘socialist’ wages concept has raised a lot of angst among the fans, and I suspect Arsene and the PR department may come to regret its use.

    In any event that is a lovely Post discussing the philosophy and consequences of the Arsenal wage structure, so thank you for that! 🙂

    I will not be around too much today. I have also written a swiftly composed Post on AA, and won’t be around for that too much either. (It is nothing like as well written as your Post!) 😀

    last time I looked, you had not announced — NEW POST!! 🙂

  • Hi RA, I did it just a minute a go.

    Thanks for the compliment, and I will go and read yours now.

    Hope to catch up with you later. 🙂

  • Football is a ‘capitalist’ game, you earn as you deserve. This is what Wenger and the arsenal board always refuse rather than fail to acknowledge.

  • Morning Matahula, 🙂

    You are right we all do live in a capitalist world.

    What Arsene Wenger might have been trying to achieve is a better team/squad cameraderie, so that no one became jealous of what someone else was earning.

    If you found out your colleague, doing the same job, was being paid twice as much as you for the same work, would you be happy? I don’t think so. 🙂

  • You are far too kind TA. I never like reading my own Posts, and much prefer reading yours, Rocky’s and other authors!! 😀

  • Lovely stuff TA

    There is much wringing of hands ove the pay structure TA, but lets not forget its origins.

    It was designed at a time when Wenger and the Board felt, and correctly in my opinion, that it was a nesasacity. We had to develop a new squad, primararly based on youth and potential. Now, when you have a squad of young guys who are yet to prove it, the logical policy is to pay them simialr amounts. Young people finding out there team mate is earning more would cause serious internal problems and rivalries. You are aslo paying for potential, so again, parity at that stage is the right thing to do.

    Now lets look at the legacy. Gazidis has already said that this policy will be tweaked and Wenger himeslf has said that there wil be exceptions.

    But this takes time. The budget is not fleable enough to entertain large changes overnight and we might have to wait a few years for the new pay structure to gradualy progress.

    On the subject of van Persie, he was a man out of time. incremental increases to market vaule are the only long term soloution, not paying that fool 200k per week in a fell swoop.

    Keep the faith, we will get there.

  • Your statistics are misleading as Walcott’s goal tally doesn’t look so impressive when you realise he’s only scored 8 in the Premier League. 5 of his goals came in the Carling Cup and 3 in that stupid match against Newcastle. RVP has 16 in the Premier League alone, Giroud is not even in the top 20 top goalscorers this season.

  • I think the Arsenal way can be improved by paying out bonuses tied to player wages based on wins and trophies. That way those players that contribute more get more in bonuses and those who are weighing down the team are rewarded accordingly. In so doing, Podolski if he attains his targets gets what amounts to 140k per week including bonuses or sticks at 100k a week.
    It covers the team in case CL cash doesn’t come through from failing to qualify and allows the team to move on under-achievers a lot easier.

  • so AW proudly announces we have a socialistic approach to our wage structure, so why is it then we don’t have a socialistic view with regards to the price of our tickets …

  • Very sensible comment Terry and I hope you are right. 🙂

    James, the statistics are not meant to be misleading. A goal is a goal in my view. Don’t forget that Theo has only played a handful of full games this season.

  • Twisted, somebody still has to pay for the wage bill 😛

    Like the salaries, the season ticket prices vary as well. The better the view, the more you pay – the better the player the higher wage he can demand. Like you, I would like to see more of the continental ticket prices, but this is the UK and Arsenal play in London where there is a lot of demand for tickets –> this determines the price to a large extent.

    Cheers babakrdaemi 🙂

  • Arsenal wage structure can be equated to going to a gunfight with a knife because socialism does not work in soccer,it demotivates top performers and rewards slackers and the team never goes forward with this approach in this day and age. Impressive article though

  • Afternoon Muff Divas 😆

    Great Post Total .
    I`d love the ethos of our club to be of such in paying everyone equal, but alas it will never work, too many Divas and an Ocean depth of unequal skill sets, ie, Walcott > Chamakh.
    In an Ideal world ( whether socialism or communism ) everyone would be able to have their own home, never worry about bills, all have Ferrari`s, all afford to get to the Emirates each week and all have a missus that looks like Mrs Sagna and all have a Hampton big enough to tattoo the name of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink on it !. Have we bought Isco yet ?. hahaha

    Mega Post by Redders, my only complaint !, AA have plenty of authors, shame it wasn`t posted on Bergkampesque to give Total a breather !. Fantastic stuff though !. 🙂

  • I see it`s getting hot in PrinceOzland !. All sexual activities of any kind have been banned, It`s to do with friction setting off fires !.
    Oz and missus are in A&E after their privates got engulfed by flames after a mini bush fire !.
    And Prince is flying over to England to kill to birds with one stone , he can watch a game at the Emirates and have a wank at the same time with no fear of setting his knob being engulfed by flames !. hahaha

  • Hi Muff Chief, 🙂

    I thought we all had Hampton’s big enough to tattoo the name of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink on it. Bad luck, Glicster! 😀

  • Glic baby,

    Thank you for your comment re my Post.

    TA does need a hand occasionally — no not for that — 🙂 but to write Posts and that is why Oz does a brilliant pre-Match, but my paltry efforts do not match his top quality stuff — and if I am honest (TA knows this) I do not like writing them. 😳

  • Two cracking Posts, today, thank you Total, and thank you Redders.
    I tried to ‘like’ your Post, Total, but it wouldn’t let me. Far more complicated than on ‘AA’, where all you have to do is click ‘like’ without filling stuff in and still not being recognised!!!

  • I could do wit two hundred hands, as the name tatooed on my one-eyed clog reads: Red – Wacky League – Antlez – Broke the Stereo – Neon Tide – Bring Back Honesty – Coalition – Feedback – Hand of Aces – Keep Going Captain – Let’s Pretend – Lost State of Dance – Paper Taxis – Lunar Road – Up! Down! Strange! – All and I – Neon Sheep – Eve Hornby – Faye Bradley – AJ Wilde – Michael Rice – Dion Watts – Matthew Appleyard – John Ashurst – Lauren Swales – Zoe Angus – Jaspreet Singh – Emma Matthews – Nicola Brown – Leanne Pickering – Victoria Davies – Rachel Burnside – Gil Parker – Freya Watson – Alisha Watts – James Pearson – Jacob Sotheran-Darley – Beth Lowery – Jasmine Hewitt – Chloe Gibson – Molly Farquhar – Lewis Murphy – Abbie Coulson – Nick Davies – Harvey Parker – Kyran Williamson – Michael Anderson – Bethany Murray – Sophie Hamilton – Amy Wilkins – Emma Simpson – Liam Wales – Jacob Bartram – Alex Hooks – Rebecca Miller – Caitlin Miller – Sean McCloskey – Dominic Parker – Abbey Sharpe – Elena Larkin – Rebecca Simpson – Nick Dixon – Abbie Farrelly – Liam Grieves – Casey Smith – Liam Downing – Ben Wignall – Elizabeth Hann – Danielle Walker – Lauren Glen – James Johnson – Ben Ervine – Kate Burton – James Hudson – Daniel Mayes – Matthew Kitching – Josh Bennett – Evolution – Dreams

    hahaha 😛

  • Hi guys.. and thanks TA.. nice post..

    For basic wage.. I can accept Wenger or BoD wages scheme.. Grouping players into some categories.. and also their wages..
    But it will be better.. if they add the basic-wage with bonuses according to their performed and also playing..

    Let’s say A for basic.. B for playing.. C for good performed..
    So the players may have the same basic wages.. but not in total..

    Exam :
    Diaby and Wilshere may have the same A.. but according to how often they play and how good they play at..
    So.. this week.. Wilshere maybe get A+B+C and Diaby only A.. Next week maybe Wilshere don’t performed well.. he don’t get his C.. and so on..

    Just an idea.. hehehe..
    Any comment..??

  • Hi Henry, not a bad idea. The fans could score the players and element ‘C’ would be paid in accordance with it. Element C could also be determined by goals, assist, and clean sheets depending on the position of the player.

  • Mind you, the Glic monster has not been back on here once I told him that he and Terry were the only one’s missing out, as the rest of us could easily tattoo the name of Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink on our todgers.

    I think Terry is going to throw himself off Tower bridge! 😀

  • I am in trouble with my consultant.
    I had an eleven thirty appointment this morning, and was all geared up to go, when I answered a straightforward comment on AA, and within a couple of minutes I had totally forgotten, until it was too late to get there.

    I ‘phoned to apologise, but his secretary said he was real mad with me, and she would find the best time to tell him, so she can arrange another.

    No more Posts for me!! 🙂

  • Hi Redders 🙂

    I think Total needs to explain himself with that list !. I dont think that lot would fit on a Fireman`s hose !.
    I saw a lot of female name`s on it and thought it could have been his conquests , but then I noticed all the Male members ( pun intended ), then again , he is Dutch ! hahaha

    Treadmill run awaits !.

  • Terry told me that what really upset the Monster is that he asked the guy for a tattoo of “GLIC” and it only got as far as “GL”. [I must remember to tell VCC] 😛

  • I`ve just noticed one of them could be a relative of mine !. Right, Electric Planer in boot of car, SatNav set for Inbred City and 6 hours 14 mins ETA ( Estimated Total Annihilation ) !. hahaha

  • hahahaha, its all true. Lets put it this way, if i did jump of the tower bridge and landed flat on my face, the only thing that would save me is my big nose cushioning the blow. There certainly wouldent be any indentation in the ground coming from the appendage area.

    In fact, the emergency services would take about 8 hours to dislodge my hooter out of the cement. hahahaha

  • Your too generous Redders ! . G would be fine ! .
    G spot could be a problem though !. hahaha
    Right, really, Treadmil.

  • Cornwall, i too am getting fit via the stretchmil. i jog on the spot simultaneosly watching porn on the internet with the hampton tied to an elastic band connected to a vibrating alarm clock. hahaha

  • Hi All. If I were from a certain place in Wales my John Thomas is big enough to have tattooed …

    Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch 😉

    Now GLiC’s going to say his is big enough for War and Peace 🙂

  • TA and VCC,

    I am not sure which of you guys is the biggest bragger!! 🙂

    But Terry and Glic are the most modest!! 🙂

    All 4 of you are so naughty – and have me splitting my sides laughing!

  • Forgive Vicky. Being an old senile git, he has no idea what it`s used for let alone the size of it !. That unpronounceable name tattooed on the side of his Zimmerframe tells me he is probably dyslexic aswell !.

  • It only snoozes when ime between scenes on the laptop. The rest of the time it rings so loud the neighbours bang on the wall….whilst i bang off. hahahaha

  • GLiC,

    M’i ont dsleyxic ta lal. hatw kamse uoy ihtnk hath ?

    M’i oodg ithw mnuersb oot. etb uoy nac ounct pu ot leven

    ithw a ixs gidit anhd. 😉

  • I heard Dyslexia runs in your family Vics. Your Dad asked his Father, ” Can I support Accrington Stanley ? “…..” only if you can spell it son ! “……….” F**k it, I`ll support QPR instead ! “.

  • I have, what I would call very mild Dyslexia, my youngest daughter has what I would call low to medium, but she still worked hard enough to get a BA in Sports Science.
    My son however, has got it real bad and was told by a specialist in Secondary School that it was the worst case he had ever come across. He has often had me in fits.
    It probably doesn`t make sense and certain people may not get the humour, but we were once playing ” eye spy “, he was not a kid , but 15 yo and I said to him, ” eye spy with my little eye something beginning with Y “, he looked up at our ceiling and said, ” White ! “. I was in tears !.

  • Excellent.

    Especially comparing the two cnuts at manure to our top goal scorers. What if you chucked a Podolski in the mix with another one of there’s, how would that compare?

  • Thanks G4eva49

    I`m waiting for someone to say they dont get it !. hahaha

    Whats the significance of “49” if you dont mind me asking !

  • Glic,
    Well that is a very personal question, but im happy to tell you total got it spot on! its our unbeaten run. U dont have a bout of dyslexia do ya?!

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