How many PL clubs are as fortunate as Arsenal? A strategic analysis

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Troubled times or big opportunities for Arsenal?

The name of this Blog is, in large part, a reflection on a great Arsenal footballer revered by many, who, together with Arsene Wenger, helped to introduce the concept of playing a wonderful style of football, which has become the epitome of The Arsenal, a club dedicated, under its much maligned manager, to the ethos of the beautiful game!

How appropriate then, that this summer, a statue of the great man, Dennis Bergkamp, will be unveiled to stand alongside those of other memorably magnificent servants of the club, such as Thierry Henry, Herbert Chapman and Tony Adams.

In the eyes of some fans, however, these statues have also served to point at what they see as being at the very core of the problems the club has experienced in its recent fallow years. Namely, that the statues tell the tale that these superb players were far superior in quality to those currently available at the Emirates.

Given this focus, these fans have extended their acerbic criticism to include the owner, the medical and coaching staff, and indeed the man responsible for the recruitment of today’s players, the coach, Arsene Wenger.

In truth, when we consider the likes of Sol Campbell, Patrick Viera, Marc Overmars, and Robert Pires, and many others, who brought us three League Championships, and four FA Cups, while playing stunning, enchanting, one touch, fast paced football, it is difficult to deny that there is a case to answer.

With the construction of the Emirates Stadium claiming most of the available funds, it was comforting to believe the claim from Arsene that he was building a new team, based on youth, which would provide the nucleus of a great team that in a few years would be title-winners. Sadly, this aspiration has fallen short, and project youth has left us short of the top quality players necessary to win the major competitions.

Each time Arsene has cobbled together a team which looked to be moving in the right direction, we have had our crown jewels in Fabregas, Nasri, and, most especially, Robin van Persie snatched away from us.

The ire of the fans has increased each time a promising team has been decimated by losing key players in this way, or with the realization that new blood from the youth teams, with notable exceptions, has simply not been good enough.

The dream of winning a title has become ever more distant, with Arsenal slowly descending down the elite latter; until now they are desperately trying to hold on to fourth place in order to qualify for the Champions League, with the attendant status, prestige and money that brings.

There is no shortage of advice for the manager from desolate Gooners.
They have erupted with demands for a more consistent defence unit, and the immediate recruitment of a big commanding centre back, and preferably one who can at least get up a canter when needed. No, no, say some, what we need is a big beast of a defensive midfielder to support Jack and Cazzor! Don’t be silly, say others, what we need to do is strengthen the forward line, or at least make sure we play players in their proper positions!!

Of course, others, and there are many of them, say the whole squad needs to be rebuilt from the goal keeper upwards.

These voices of despair have been counter balanced, to an extent, by the voices of reason — that is from fans who know that such root and branch restructuring can never be funded by any club without an oligarch benefactor.

They recognize that although Arsenal has two major shareholders who are billionaires, neither of them have ever invested in the club directly, other than to pay huge sums to acquire the shares of the previous owners, which only lined the pockets of those individuals.

That said, many fans and ex-players take the view that the current squad are not very far away from being a good side, although still a long way off being a great side, but they feel the basics are there, especially with a midfield containing Wilshere, Cazzorla, and Rosicky.

So who is responsible for the decline in quality of our team, and the dispiriting realization that they are just a shadow of the truly great Arsenal teams of ten years ago?

There are as many theories as to who or what is the culprit, because, as a club, Arsenal rather secretively keep everything ‘in house’ and Arsene Wenger is not prone to complain, but the obvious question that needs answering, is whether or not he has been given the financial support he needs, even though we have often been told that substantial money is available, if he needs it.

At root, the stadium project has sucked up Arsenal’s cash resources, and it would be difficult for any business to take on that sort of financial burden without it causing problems elsewhere. Viewed in that light, how can it be argued that Wenger has not done absolutely brilliantly to keep the club in the Champions League over those years, and with hopes growing that he can still do it this year, too.

Of course, Wenger is not off the hook, in terms of partial responsibility, because it seems he is at fault, in the author’s opinion, for failing to be as efficient and professional in recruiting players of the required quality, or, as also seems to be the case, for perhaps failing to move quickly enough to buy players that did become available, only to see them being gobbled up by the ‘big’ spenders because of apparent hesitation, on his part, for decision making.

This contrasts poorly when we take in the fantastic signings he was responsible for in his early Arsenal career, by the use of a meticulous and wide ranging scouting system, and it has long been accepted in footballing quarters that Real Madrid, Manure and subsequently Chelsea scouts were detailed to creep around and stalk the Arsenal scouts to see who they were looking at!

Unfortunately, over time the footballing world has become ‘smaller’ and hidden ‘jewels’ are now known by the scouts of all the major clubs – and, in the final analysis, money talks.

One of the old chestnuts brought up from time to time, alludes to Wenger’s reliance on David Dein, and how much Arsene has missed his adept handling of the club’s transfer business. It does seem that this is a task Mr Wenger still dislikes and is probably unsuited to, whereas Dein revelled in the cut and thrust of dealing with the selling clubs and the greedy, grasping player agents.  Let’s be clear, Dein’s day is done, and there can be no justification for bringing him back, but it does highlight a poor piece of management by Danny Fizzman and the rest of the Board of Directors that they did not replace him at the time.

Arsene is rightly renowned for his ability to take good-ish players and make them great players, and take great players and turn them into outstanding players and also to produce fantastic teams that played to these strengths.

But unless his transfer strategy changes the outlook is not so promising, and with owners and a Chief Executive who know nothing about football, the fear is that there is no one to quietly advise him or simply tell him he must change. Time will tell on that.

I have left until last the statement of the obvious, and that is that the team with the best players always win the trophies. And the clubs who have the teams with the best players are those with the most money available to buy them. 

The dreaded spector of the elephant in the room cannot be avoided, when trying to apportion the ‘blame’ for Arsenal’s slow decline.

Wenger was probably initially confident of remaining in the elite group when the oligarch owner of Chelsea first appeared, and for a time this seemed to be a reasonable hope. However, the rapid influx of commercial money into the coffers of big spending Manure which helped to fund player acquisitions, followed just as quickly by the huge outlay on players by the new oilygarch owners of Man Shitty, made it obvious that a hole had been shot in Arsenal’s hopes of competing as an equal in the transfer market, and by association has seriously damaged our chances of winning trophies.

Still, hope is not lost, Manure have still got a massive debt that needs annual servicing, and Chelsea and Shitty are totally dependent on the goodwill and continuing support of their iniquitous sugar daddies, and let us not forget that not only have the UEFA FFP regulations begun to bite, but the Premier League have also introduced strong FFP regulations of their own, effectively capping the transfer and salary spending of clubs to what they bring in from football related revenue.

Arsenal with their self sustainability model, and low debt ratios are not subject to the same pressures as these clubs. However there still needs to be a huge increase in our efforts to boost sponsorship revenues, and this in turn might see a very different marketing operation in the future, with Arsenal spreading their wings and visiting North America and Asia far more frequently.

Look! Having a healthy balance sheet is not in and of itself what Arsenal is about, it is just a means to an end. In order to have a successful business, you have to have a successful football team and, in recent seasons, Arsenal seem to have lost sight of that simple precept.

The fans have mainly stayed loyal, even though there is a general disappointment that Kroenke and Usmanov appear to see the club more as a personal investment vehicle waiting to be harvested.

Now is the time for the owners to shake themselves out of their self imposed silence and torpor, and get back to remembering that Arsenal is a great FOOTBALL club, and within its very substantial means, it should get back into the business of investing in players, and in reaping the rewards of winning trophies, which will consequently improve the worth and wealth of the club, to the benefit of both the fans and also the owners, as a result. 

I have high hopes that despite all the unfounded criticism of Arsene Wenger, and Arsenal’s current turmoil, that we will come through these troubled times with all flags flying.

Arsene Wenger

Ask yourselves — how many Premier League clubs are fortunate enough to have such a strong financial base, and also have such a superb manager, ready to go into the next season with all guns blazing? 

None?

Written by: Red Arse.

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106 Responses to How many PL clubs are as fortunate as Arsenal? A strategic analysis

  1. Michael says:

    Let’s face it we need a change, if the likes of Southampton and Swansea can recruit top Managers why can’t Arsenal.

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Michael or ‘Julian’, I have decided to let you back on again. Please make sure you comment constructively and politely on Bergkampesque. That is all I am asking for.

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders thanks for a truly fantastic post, as only you can write! Anybody trying to understand the strategic issues surrounding our club – past, current and going forward – should read and re-read your post time and again.

    Back in a bit. 🙂

  4. AFC says:

    RA, a brilliant 200th post on Bergkampesque and I love reading your financial, work of art, post. 🙂

    Regarding your post, I do not feel that Arsenal are in a slow decline. Many years ago we either finished 1/2 place and now we are stuck at finishing in 3/4 place. We have dropped but we are not declining.

    I think the owners need to start supporting Wenger. Look at the way the QPR owner supported Harry. I heard the owner came to Harry and told him he could get Samba if he wanted him. I never hear of Kroenke telling Wenger I can get you Jovetic if you want him.

    Now with the stadium dent nearly paid off Wenger is starting to buy more quality and higher priced players. You can see this with Monreal, Santi etc. Wenger could shock us in the summer and buy players over the 20 mill mark. Things are looking up for us!

  5. AFC says:

    RA, a brilliant 200th post on Bergkampesque and I love reading your financial, work of art, post. 🙂

    Regarding your post, I do not feel that Arsenal are in a slow decline. Many years ago we either finished 1/2 place and now we are stuck at finishing in 3/4 place. We have dropped but we are not declining.

    I think the owners need to start supporting Wenger. Look at the way the QPR owner supported Harry. I heard the owner came to Harry and told him he could get Samba if he wanted him. I never hear of Kroenke telling Wenger I can get you Jovetic if you want him.

    Now with the stadium debt nearly paid off Wenger is starting to buy more quality and higher priced players. You can see this with Monreal, Santi etc. Wenger could shock us in the summer and buy players over the 20 mill mark. Things are looking up for us!

  6. marcus says:

    Wow redders, that’s some fantastic thought provoking stuff right there. You know I’ve realized that we are closer to glory than most people would imagine. I base this on 2 reasons:
    First of all, our 8 year trophy drought has slowly but surely forced Arsene to readjust his ideologies in terms of both transfers and leadership style. Like AFC has pointed out, we are beginning to see acquisition of higher quality players and if January’s events are anything to go by, this is just the beginning. Also, it is noteworthy how Wenger has began managing with an iron fist and now nobody’s position is safe. If at the beginning of the season you’d have asked me who I thought our seemingly undroppable players were I’d have told you Jack, Theo, Sagna, Szczesny, Verminator, Kos ,Poldi and Gibbs. Now most of these players have at one time or another been dropped from the starting 11. As a result it is forcing everyone to work harder and give their best which is bringing out the best in everyone, even some of our fringe players. Gervinho, Ramsey, Fabianski, Ox and Jenko come to mind. Continue this way and the potential that Wenger always sings about will surely be realized.

    Finally, Arsene has managed to assemble a squad with a very capable spine. You look at the budding potential of Jack, Jenko, Gibbs, Ox, szczesny, Mannone, Coquelin combined with the talent, skill and experience of Poldi, Santi, Theo, TV5, Kos, Arteta, Rosicky, Sagna, Monreal and Per and you see that with a few additions here and there, we will soon be winning silverware. This is a very talented lot we have and with the right attitude adjustment, the trophy drought will be spuds problem.

  7. AFC says:

    Marcus, the Spuds will always be in a trophy drought. All this nonsense about there being a power shift in North London is really pissing me off. Our first eleven is miles better than Spurs, as for their bench, quite frankly it is a joke. Spurs would give anything to have the likes of Arshavin, Rosicky, Jenk, Gibbs, Ox, Gerv on their bench. All they have is Bale and is he vastly overrated.

  8. glic says:

    Redders, you simply ooze quality my friend !. 🙂

  9. Red Arse says:

    I was flattered when TA invited me to write a Post for a key milestone of Bergkampesque, a really wonderful football blogsite brought to life by the inestimable Total!!
    Regrettably, my writing skills are not worthy of such an honour, so please excuse my rather anaemic effort.

    However, I would like to invite those of you who read the Post to simply stop and reflect on the massive changes that have occurred in football over the last decade, not just as regards the mighty Arsenal, but to football in general.

    The world has become a ‘smaller’ with a footballing ‘sneeze’ occurring in Brazil causing a ‘cold’ thousands of miles away. Every brilliant young Brazilian footballer is instantly known on the other side of the world, and attracts the new breed oligarchs to swarm over there, like ants to honey at a picnic, waving their cheque books.

    I have tried to reflect that change in the Post, and on a macro level to also show the financial maelstrom Arsenal have been caught up in, as we had very little chance to compete on an equal footing with the transfer funds of Real, Barca, Manure, Chelsea and City, without bothering to mention the ingenue nouveau-riche clubs like Paris St Germain and the Eastern Europeans.

    Arsene is not without fault, but try and look outside the box at the difficulties he has had to steer us through not just because of limited finances, but also with the huge ownership and boardroom tussles, and weak line management leaving him without meaningful support.

    I am unwell at the moment, but will hope to be back a little later to answer any comments or questions you may raise, but in the meantime, please allow yourselves to bask in the reflected glory of a truly majestic, world renowned club who are the equal of any other, and with the potential to be THE dominant footballing presence in world football!
    Just enjoy that delicious feeling! 😀

  10. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Great stuff Redders

    Yes, we are very well placed. i concur that on balance Arsene has done a very good job in very trying circumstances.

    The question then i guess is were do we go from here?. With the advent of big money into the premeirship in the early 90s it was always envisioned that the bigger clubs, with there superior draw, would benefit the most and indeed that has been the case.

    The football world has of course changed again with the advent of the suger daddy. Now we have Chelesa and City, who are not going to go away.

    This means that the envoirement that Arsenal operates is at its feircest and competitive at any time in the history of the premeir league. As you say, the new financial rules and also new comercial deals will have a major impact in leveling out the playing field.

    From your post Redders, i believe you are saying that the time has now come for the Club to be brave. There is no longer a question or fear of financial armegeddon through property crashes and in addition the constraints imposed by the move to the Grove are lossening.

    To win leagues again we must look to be more aggressive and take more risks, mostly financial. For the first time since our move there is light at the end of the tunnel but this in itself gaurantees us nothing. The competion is out there and they mean business, so its now time for us to stand up, be counted, and fire some shots of our own.

  11. Red Arse says:

    Thank you for the kind words, my friends. 😳

    Glicster, I am anxious to hear more of the escapades of the Travelling Trio, especially as I almost literally fell about laughing at your story of the ubiquitous VCC talking to a mirror through misted up glasses thinking it was you, and also to query whether Terry is as handsome and dashing as Charybdis, on AA, said he was — did he have his telescope with him? 😀

    Have to go – see you later.

  12. Red Arse says:

    Before I go, Terry, I am hoping you will write a Post extending your supportive comment above, showing the significance of the less troubled waters the club is beginning to sail into, allowing Arsenal to start showing its financial muscle, at last.

    Go on — You know you would love to — and I would love to read it. 🙂

    (I have given up waiting for The Glic to write a Post for BK in his own brilliantly funny style!!
    Fingers crossed he will surprise me!!) 😛

  13. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahaha, i bought chary a peroni Redders, and unbeknown to him, so keep it between us, slipped one of my dodgy pills into his drink. Putty in my hands after that. hahaha.

    Cornwall and Vics are lovely geezers.When you meet them you will definately feel the same. Made my day going to the match with them.

    If i can get past Mrs Terry secuirity i will write that post. Its like colditz were i am at the moment. Ime sure i will get the chance to give the guards the slip soon.

  14. 17highburyterrace says:

    I’m new here but I appreciate a (very) readable post that sums up the situation well. It’s ground that’s been well trod, but it’s still worth it for maintaining perspective. Congrats to the site on the 200th post. Keep up the good work, etc., etc…. Sorry for the long post (as is my tendency….)

    The big issue, I think, are player salaries, which drives the transfer business. It’s all fine and good for players who are having troubles at one club to excite the fan base with a move to a new club for X million pounds, but we’re in a new era and “super quality” (on the cheap) is over. I was posting on a site where one guy keeps saying “buy Tevez, buy Tevez.” In the past he’s argued that the club should “send a message” by buying Rooney. I get tired trying to explain it, but if fines and a quarter million pounds per week can’t get a guy to warm up (Tevez) or if we need to “show ambition” AND double your salary or you’re gonna move across town (Rooney)….you’re probably not quite the right fella for (half-price) Arsenal to build the team around…. Every report shows our wage structure to be the big growing expenditure, but people still fixate on the transfer fee (the higher the better, for many). Believe you me, a principal shareholder like Kroenke, with his experience in the various American leagues, knows what’s what. Having a guy like Wenger at the helm (esp. after being burnt by the Arshavin experience….) AND making HIM our top earner (AW, not Arsh….) says it all….

    So, will anything change anytime soon? I wouldn’t bet on it. We have a happy owner, we have a manager who is getting the job done (even if it appears to be killing him….) AND we have a fan base who buy the crazy priced tickets–even if they don’t show up, boo the team or go in for the protest marches…. If we can get up for 4th we are punching our weight AND doing the right thing for the sport–by playing the crazy, open footie AND sticking to our guns re:wages and being a “selling club.” (And sell we will…. unfortunately, all these older guys: Sagna, Arteta, Mertesacker, Cazorla, Poldolski, Giroud, Koscielny, etc., are on their final multi-year contracts, I fear….) Short term we might do a hair better if Ox-Cham turns out to be the next Thierry Henry or Jack (rather than Tom Cleverly) is the best English midfielder of his generation. If those things happen we’ll have to move our wage structure accordingly or we’ll lose them. If they get higher salaries AND we’re winning (or at least threatening to win….) we should be able to attract better foreign players as well….(with the bonuses that comes with winning things maybe helping with the bottom line).

    Still (IMO) nothing can significantly change unless wage limits are somehow put into place. I keep thinking a restructuring of the CL (or a “breakaway” league) is the obvious way to make it happen. Unfortunately the only football body weaker than EUFA is the FA and with the general downturn of the economy lots of selling clubs (including Arsenal) are happy to feed off the scraps, whether they are stupid transfer prices from the money-down-a-hole clubs or “ideas” like World Cups in Qatar and Russia. And, I’m sorry, but the breath I’m not holding about FFP is only a bit cooler than the various hot air ideas which will undermine the new rules. If we can put any number down as the “value” of Etihad’s latest shirt deal at City, Chelsea will find a way to give Mourinho (and any number of big name players) the keys to the OUR city, maybe on the back of having our disgruntled minority shareholder “buy-in” with a billion pound Gazprom deal? Maybe the true answer to Chelsea’s (Abramovich’s….) problems is to allow Roman a chance to buy out Silent Stan and take over a real club!!!

    Losing money AND losing at football seems really grim (if we’re getting inside the heads of the gazillionaires) and at least our guy is only “losing” at the football…. Longer term even these guys have to opt for a change along the lines of the US profit sharing model. They (like it or not) have the money, which means they’ve also got the power. We’re standing pat and at least our American owner isn’t obviously taking money out of the club beyond his (lame-ass) broadcasting stuff (which maybe helps “build the brand” here in the US and perhaps in Asia and Africa). It’s not very exciting, but sound economic strategies rarely are….

    My hunch is that the writers (and comment writers) on this site are younger than I am….Hopefully in your lifetime our prudent strategies (which I support, in case it’s not clear….) will pay off, if not in mine…. In the meantime, it’s still pretty exciting to (try and predict things and) watch it play out AND we’ve got a(nother) must-win match in just six short days…..

  15. Mike says:

    Sorry can no longer agree with this: “Arsene is rightly renowned for his ability to take good-ish players and make them great players, and take great players and turn them into outstanding players and also to produce fantastic teams that played to these strengths.”
    NOT REALLY Not for sometime really.
    Why because since 2006 this has not been very true. We brought in Arshavin who at the time was one of the brightest in europe and his career was ruined at Arsenal. We brought in Adebayor who frankly never improved much. He brought in Eboué he brought in Santos he brought in Denílson (maybe he thought he was getting Denílson de Oliveira Araújo not Denílson Pereira Neves.) He brought in Squillaci, Chamakh (who was a leading scorer in and a Moroccan international look at as talented player but Wenger did not turn him into anything special,
    And then there are the players that I think we had and let go too soon (not counting the obvious examples) players like Nicolas Anelka, Flamini, Hleb, Larsson, Aliadière, Pennant (I know not the most popular), Reyes, that still had many years of football in them that went on to be key players for some other team.

    THe point is Wenger let good talent we already had go only to bring in players that where a flop. the first rule to it transfer market is to Hang on to the good you have before going out and looking outside for more talent and Wenger and the board Failed miserably at that.

    I feel the image of Wenger as somehow a manager that excels at developing talent is Much over rated with the few exceptions being so good notably Henry, Cesc fabergas and maybe RVP that his image is skewed by the great success of a few stars that the failures are forgotten. In fact MOST of the young talent of the Arsenal “The Young Guns” – Season of 2006/2007 who do we have left?
    Theo Walcott Tomáš Rosický and Diaby everyone else on that squad is gone now.

    for me the 2006/07 season was the key to everything BAD in transfers from then on it was downhill.
    Players out Bergkamp: (retired), Pires to Villarreal on free transfer, Cygan Villarreal 2M, Cole (Chel$ki) and the biggest transfer blunder and waste was a Loan deal of all Júlio Baptista and Reyes switch with RM. Baptista in 24 apps only 3 goals.then the following season Henry out Flamini out, Ljungberg out Silva out.

    I just think back and wonder what the hell were the board and Wenger thinking over the past 6-7 years? I also think there is a case to be made that all of the young players that Wenger brought in that did become great actually came to Arsenal already with a very good base of talent from where they came from all Wenger did was give them the opportunity they would not have gotten on a team with big super stars ahead of them in the pecking order. He did not develop them he just played them.

    It had been said many times by fans of other clubs like Barca and RM that most of Arsenal’s first 11 would not even make the bench at these clubs and the transfer of players from Arsenal to these clubs and the eventual benching of those players may even back up their claims.They played but NO where near as much as they did as a Arsenal player.

    NO sorry I just do not feel Wenger is really a manager with a great track record of developing talent it is just at Arsenal players still developing actually get into the first team because we let all our superstars go and have no choice but to play them and they ether sink or swim. Some like Fambergas Clichy, Walcott, Song did well when given the role others like Denílson, Eboué, Chamakh, Bendtner, not so much.
    Would Song and Denílson been played as much had we held on to Silva?
    Would RVP played as much say had he come in when Berkamp had a a few more year in him? or Ljungberg and Pires still been in the squad would Ramsey or Walcott even been made the bench? or Gibbs if both Cole and Clichy were still in the squad?

    No Wenger young players are only developing at Arsenal because we have no choice but to play them because we can not hold on to top talent or replace them when we lose them.
    I would even go so far as to say Wilshere was over played too soon and then the injury which was stated as a Stress related injury. So did Wenger do good to develop Wilshere? or has he been forced to gamble on a young player who was really not ready yet to be the first team engine room of the squad.

  16. Mike says:

    17highburyterrace I would agree with you EXCEPT Kroenke’s US teams are crap also.
    When has a Kroenke owned club even been in the playoffs never mind WON the league.

    Personally I want ALL billionaire owners OUT of sports with ALL teams owned but fans based organizations (like the Green Bay Packers) and all teams run for the sport and the fans NOT for the profit of investors OR as a billionaire’s pass time. As even one willing to spend all of his own money on the team can be bad with sacking managers after manager or buying players the manager does not want.

    the Clubs need to be do back to local ownership and mostly local talent playing on them and players playing for the sport first money second these guys should be happy to be able to get paid to play a game instead of having to go get a real job like the rest of us.
    And this line about the need to get paid so much because their career is so short is bull crap. Hay you play football while your still able and then just like the rest of us that never made the pros when your football days are over you get a real job. Hay I was a footballer too paid for my collage education never made pros beyond what would be non-league or pub sunday league in england (3rd dev USL) So am I suppose to feel sorry for a player who’s career made it to the EPL but never made more then 30K a week? Shit I would be happy to make 30K a year if I could do it playing football.

    The problem is NOT that Arsenal no money it is that ALL teams have TOO much money
    The game and the World would be better off if people could get their priorities straight it is football NO ONE should make more to play it then a Nero surgeon makes saving lives or even a Firefighter or a Teacher or a Policemen makes in a year. in one week.

    I do not know about England or in Europe but in the US the Median income when adjusted based on inflation has gone up very little if at all since 1970 from 1950 to 1965 it was a steady increase but since it’s adjusted peak around 1970 then went down a bit and is now about the same as in 1970 but the wages of Sports ALL stars have gone though the roof over that time. (as has executive CEO CFO and wall street investors incomes)

    The middle class mostly the fans of these teams go to jobs they do not like much for little money and thanks to the killing of pensions the draining of Social Security and Wall streets mismanagement of our 401Ks most of us have little hope of a comfortable retirement. And yet we have Young men playing a GAME complaining they need more money or they will have to go play for someone who will pay them more. and heaven forbid they might have to work after they retire from football well maybe the Football academies should teach something other then JUST football oh I don’t know in case they might get a injury that ends their career short or making a millions of dollars.

    The sport is Screwed up buy all this money I still love the game but I hate the business of it.

  17. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening Redders 🙂

    As you are not feeling great, I know you won’t be able to read this before the morning at the earliest.

    When you write a post like this, you always combine your passion for the club, with an honest assessment of where we are and how can/should improve. It is therefore hard to find anything to disagree with for me.

    You know my stance by now about the need to have the best players in order to win silverware. As I don’t expect us to have the money to buy whoever we like any time soon, I reckon our best bet is to focus hard on style of play / footballing philosophy, clever player purchases, sound financial management, and holding on to what we have got (players and manager). It is not easy to win something without just buying the best there is, but it can be done: Ajax did/do it, Dortmund do it, Arsenal did it, and Barcelona keep doing it to RM.

    As per your post, we need to be a bit more adventurous and ambitious now in order to make the next step, and we are in a perfect position to do so. 🙂

  18. TotalArsenal says:

    Evening guys 🙂

    Some fantastic comments already tonight and thanks for compliments re the milestone of the 200th post.

    Over the last few weeks, a number of quality new writers have produced one or more posts for BK and it is great to read the great diversity in opinions and insights. Tomorrow, we’ll issue ‘Mair second post, and on Wednesday, AFC’s third post will come out. It is really good to have new writers on board, as coming up with new and refreshing posts is not always easy for the more regular writers (Highbury Harmony, Oz, RA, Marcus and myself). A big thanks from me to all the writers.

    A big thank you should also go to all regular commenters whose contributions really add another dimension to the site. And of course, Vickers should get a big compliment for organising the UMF league for BK.

    Cheers to everyone and upwards and onwards towards the 300th post! 🙂

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    17HT 🙂

    Thanks for commenting again. You will find we have readers here from early twenties to early sixties, so your age is not an issue. I love reading your comments and don’t worry about the lack of brevity: many of us suffer from the same disease! hahaha 🙂

    I agree on the need to cap wages somehow; it has gone totally out of hand, and it looks like it will continue or get worse.

    Are you based in California?

  20. AFC says:

    TA, I’m happy to be writing for this wonderful site which you have set up and I have no problem in writing lots of new posts to take the pressure of you and other writers from having to think of new ideas. 🙂

  21. TotalArsenal says:

    That is fantastic news AFC! Cheers! 🙂

  22. Michael says:

    Mike I agree with you about Wenger’s abilities to nurture young talent, to me it’s a myth, i’d goes as far to say he stifles potential in players, for example Manninger who plays sublimely for 10 games in 98 season, he then is dropped to be replaced by Seaman and then subsequently sold on. The same could be said for Jenkinson who to my surprise started to look a pretty decent player and then gets dropped for Sagna

  23. AFC says:

    TA, everytime I have an idea for a new post, I will write it and send it to you. I hope to reach the 10th post mark before the end of the season. 🙂

  24. William says:

    Wenger is 100% responsible for everything at Arsenal.There are no ways about it.

    i.Revelations have been made he doesn’t bother about defence. This must be true with the defence conceding goals with alarming regularity.Furthermore,the same type of goals have been conceded time and again.
    Football is a simple game. Wenger has made it complicated by engaging in a long series of passes.The last three games have shown thye are still in the fight for cl.If the gunners can’t secure 4th,I doubt he will be able to take Arsenal o the next leve lie consistently challenging for the games trophies.
    If reports are to be believed, embers of his project y are not dead yet.If he doesn’t get the the wc players who can make a difference,he will drag Arsenal firther down the table.

  25. AFC says:

    William, Wenger does care about the defense which is why he has instrcuted Bould to give extra defensive lessons. We also have one have on of the best defensive records away from home.

  26. AFC says:

    * William, Wenger does care about the defense which is why he has instructed Bould to give extra defensive lessons. We also have one of the best defensive records away from home.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Mike 🙂

    Some fine comments tonight. For me, it is crystal clear that Wenger is the best in developing and improving players to the very maximum of their potential. From Henry to Fabregas, from Tony Adams to Ray Parlour, from Bergkamp to Ljunberg and Pires, etc etc: they all got the very best out of themselves through the fantastic coaching by Arsene Wenger. Yes some of them have performed less at other clubs, and the main reason for this is they no longer have the support and guidance of Wenger to fall back on.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    AFC, you are setting yourself a target now: a sign of an ambitious writer (person)?! haha 🙂

  29. AFC says:

    Yeah TA, I want to become a great writer for this blog while giving some of my opinions on this site and for me to do this I have set myself a target, just like AW sets his squad. 🙂

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    Love your enthusiasm, AFC. 🙂

    Gotta go now. Catch you you all in the morning 🙂

  31. Gerry says:

    Well Redders, with that fine post you have brought a variety of opinions. I am not incline to agree all or any of the comments thus far, but I understand their reasoning.

    Your post is another matter. That I believe it is the reality check that is needed when looking at the recent past, Other clubs have fallen away, and almost despite the mega-money that is in the game at the moment, The Arsenal are still there amongst those at the top.

    Then we come to the question as to whether this next season will be our breakout year, starting with the TW this summer, and culminating in trophies at the end of the 2013/14 season. Or will it be Arsene Wenger’s final year?

    Nobody can be entirely sure what has happened in the past few seasons regarding ‘missed’ targets, and whether that repeats itself again this summer. For my part I think the positive signs are this. Ivan Gazidis came to the club with many years experience working in the MLS, so it must have been a shock to tackle the hostile world of the EPL, not to mention the other European leagues he has had to deal with? But when you consider the hasty buys prior to 2011/12 season, to the progress of Podolski, Mertersacker, and Cazorla prior to the current season, followed by the seamless business done in getting Monreal two days before he played his first game, I would say, he and Dick Law are more up to speed now?

    Of course that still leaves open the question whether it was Arsene’s frugality that made him walk away from deals like Lukaku, Mata, Hazard, and more recently Zaha, when the ‘money boys’ came calling? Does he just put a value on a player, and no matter how good, he says ‘NON!’. Or is there some greater restraint lurking? Who knows if those past examples will also dictate our future?

    Disagreeing somewhat with 17HT concerning Kroenke. If he is keen to export the Arsenal image around the globe, he must also be aware that the Club needs to be more successful than of late? Only tonight I heard a guy refer to Arsenal as ‘an intermediate stage to a bigger club, like Barca or Real Madrid- this in reference to any possible Goetze transfer to Arsenal, as being a waste of time – Which is not the sound of a global brand? So I think, through his appointee, IG, he will get his message across that the club must compete to get the right players in. Now whether AW will be told this directly, or just hand the negotiations to ‘team Gazidis and Law’ once he has decided who he feels he needs, could be one for the memoirs? But I certainly think there will be a shift in emphasis this time around.

    However, the mixture of players that will be on the closely guarded shopping list will not please everyone, but the number of arrivals might surprise. He knows that to win something in a 60 games league and cup season, you need a full squad of players. Players who can deliver if called into a match, not a weakness/liability because that is all that is available. But to do that you need younger guys who are on their way up. Big price tags can be a hostage to fortune as you are obliged to play them. So I expect only one budget busting signing, but with a number of lesser lights who will accept rotation as part of their football education, but quality signings nevertheless … and a couple will be Arsene ‘specials’ from well under the radar.

    So my conclusion is that this will be a shift change in transfer strategy and in salaries, possibly more emphasis on bonus for results, rather than up front money. So, an exciting summer to look forwards to, and an even more thrilling end to our season in the remaining 8 games?

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    TA, Yes, I live in the mountains of California (South Lake Tahoe, to be exact), Gooners passing through should stop by for an early morning match…. For just a bit, in 2006, I lived at the address that is my screen-name. Changed my life, obviously…..

    On the issue of wages, I think confusing hopeful (would-be) readers with low money (high wage) transfer links will be the new frontier for the (floundering) media. Headlines like “Tevez available for 15 million” (IF the club can match his wages…..) above “Arsenal War Chest Swells to 70 million”…..will get everybody hot and bothered, just like people used to be incensed about the pounds/week figure. Some, like Mike above, still are…. (And I agree, Mike, we live in a crazy, screwed up world, where priorities have been deeply misplaced. In a similar end-of-days culture, I think Nero was playing a violin as Rome burned, but he may well have been doing it during surgery…. I think, however, you meant something different….)

    The thing is….football wages are actually low compared to other sports (here in the States) while the growth potential of the sport is huge. As such, until there’s a reorganization of the competitions/leagues etc. wages will grow in pure (spectacular) form with the big names able to command ridiculous wages (from the stupid money clubs), almost regardless of performance. It trickles down but it’s unsustainable when Arsenal (5th and climbing) are the feeder club of Man City (2nd and falling fast). Luck is still a huge part of the game and upsets are great. We all love seeing the minnows beat the big clubs. Still, over time, real competition is essential (as is the idea that games cannot be fixed)….. Like Mike says we need to get back to local connections with the clubs, but it only gets tougher and tougher when it’s a global TV (and internet) spectacle. Do players play for their clubs or for their next move? We cannot take too many more children like RVP (whose grey hair, we now know, was our fault)…. Expect more Theo Walcott sagas (banal as it was) but note how the club is investing in far fewer young (or in their prime) players and using oldsters to fill holes these days….

    I won’t hold my breath on really big changes in the game or at Arsenal, because tradition is so important in the game and resistance so deeply ingrained. Still, if a hands off approach dominates, we will see the marketplace at it’s most brutal. And guess who pays in that scenario?…. (You and me, baby….and it doesn’t please me to watch fat Samir Nasri help grind out a 4-nil in the league when he’s just a squad player for FA cup focused Man$ity. Maybe some of the French guys at NewArseCastle should be on our radar if Pardew’s focus on the Europa league drops them into the relegation ranks….)

    Wenger has the foresight and (IMO) the integrity to see it clearly and guide the club through these changing times. Still, we shouldn’t look past his own ambitions. (He wants his own statue, though the bust is nice….) Can he do it all himself? When things turn out nicely it’s all good (as we say in Cali….), when they don’t, it appears as hubris, which I think was the tune Nero was working on…..

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, (and Mike, further up….) Kroenke’s motivation is not about winning trophies, it’s about being the biggest money man (ever) in sports. He’s a Wal-Mart wife (er, husband) and this is his plan for getting out of his partners long shadow. Of course, that’s my opinion only….and I think it’s sad that we’re left to speculate on how our Gazillionaire thinks. Could it be time for another round of lies, er, an interview, or something?….

    As the football world agglomerates what’s so bad about being the loveable loser? Now is the time to jump on the Arsenal bandwagon here in the States (and elsewhere). After all, it would be crass to pick a team because they’re big winners. (Not to mention that the only way to go from the tippy top is down….) If we’re on TV (or easy interweb) we’ll grow. This is why 4th IS a trophy and why we mustn’t get relegated. 3rd would be better, but I think the team is showing enough focus to win over two legs in August.

    For the moment management is content to be a selling club and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Gervinho join his Ivorians in Istanbul. We’ll always have Reading (yesterday), but I still think he’s just a Joey Barton away from trouble….

    So, I wouldn’t expect Goetze coming our way. (Hopefully Jack or old man Santi can do a job in that role)…. It’s all about quality in depth (plugging holes) and treading water while waiting for the tide to come in. Pulling an upset or two would be great, but those sorts of things really only serve to raise expectations. We like sports (and Kroenke and his ilk can make money off it) because they engender hope. Arsenal are doing OK and we’re better than a whole lot of other clubs. And when we aren’t there’s always the chance we could get lucky…. Better odds than the lottery, I say, if not a ton to get excited about. All told, it makes TA’s stuff about good football and values, etc seem alright….

  34. Highbury Harmony says:

    Redders,

    Absolutely cracking post my friend! Completely deserving of the honour of 200th post on BK :). Insightful, well balanced and just pure genius!

    There’s nothing I really disagree with and it’s often the case with any article you write. You point out AW’s and the club’s flaws out accurately and counter it with the hope that lies ahead, in addition to the success that we’ve achieved since the beginning of AW’s era.

    I love how you are cognizant that money and mega spending in the way of the transfers is not the only path to bring silverware back to the club. The oligarchs are currently failing with their strategy to buy the best players because the plan in itself lacks sustainability and the players have no chemistry with each other or the manager’s system, while the teams that constantly battle in the middle and lower end of the table lack the resources to truly improve their squads. There has to be a middle ground between the two polar opposites and unfortunately Arsenal has not found that balance yet (neither have most clubs in the world on a consistent basis). However, we have seen success come to non-mega spending clubs such as Borussia Dortmund, Montpellier, Lille, VfB Stuttgart, Werder Bremen etc.

    The only point left open for debate are questions that no one knows the answers to and only time will be able to tell. Will we finally spend and purchase the quality of player capable of bringing us to new heights? Or are we doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past and continue to toil in mediocrity, nearing ever closer to a steady decline? Will we fail to capitalize on our distinct competitive advantage in sustainability with FFP by continuing to buy relatively unknown players or hoping that our squad will miraculously over perform etc.?

    Whether the manager’s frugalness or the restricted funds available to the manager are at fault, the blame can only be once there is change. By that I mean either AW spends the rumoured, vast transfer kitty at his disposal this summer or a new manager comes in during the 2014 summer and finally spends it.

  35. Alex says:

    Fantastic article that I completely agree with. I believe Arsene Wenger has had his hands tied in the transfer market ever since the move to Emirates despite statements each year declaring a large pot of money to spend. As a business Arsenal cannot come out and state they do not have then transfer funds available as that would clearly affect the way the club is viewed by potential investors, fans, the media etc… which would affect revenue. But clearly with more debt, rising wages (caused by sugar daddy owned clubs), long uncompetitive sponsorship deals signed to help secure Emirates have resulted in Arsenal being unable to compete for the top players or keep our own best players. By Arsene Wenger remaining loyal to the club he has accepted the blame for the clubs failings rather than tell the truth that the money has not been there. How many managers out there would do the same? Before Emirates Arsene had no problem spending cash so why is it so easy to believe that he has simply chosen not to when we have clearly needed to. It makes no sense. I hope we keep faith in Wenger and he is given the backing (by the owner and board) that his unwavering loyalty deserves. In Wenger we trust!

  36. useroz says:

    The headline got me to click and read what this strategic analysis was about. Well, not quite.

    Like many articles/ blogs before you, the stadium was used to justify the apparent constraint on finance resources. Did you look at the funding model? With AFC talk like a business, the debt servicing is indeed the best part because it does NOT actually drain the club (oops, Plc). So check the numbers.

    Did you analyse and why not the operation of the club, if this is a strategic piece? Did you know the metrics for measuring how effective and efficient this club has been run compared to its PL peers? Well, please do check, for examples, headcount of the squad, wage bill, ratios to revenue (match day, annual) etc. Surely other technical reports devoted to PL club finance (ie not only AFC) indicated how poorly run a club AFC is from a financial management viewpoint. Size of squad? Blatant waste of precious finance resource on dud player buys; or completely unjustified wage structure. And contract extensions (some called it bribing kids).

    With the back room staff not changed by and large for god knows how many years there’s been no new/ fresh ideas and perspectives and it’s been widely reported AFC lack behind elite (or even low PK) level peers in keeping up with training technologies eg data, fitness regime, medical (which you touched on) etc. Did you read a RVP interview (or his agent) that Robin had his own fitness coach or trainer for the last 2 years at AFC!! Wonder why Robin doesn’t get injured these days anymore… Indeed some were happy to sell Robin for 24m (reported) because he would revert to injury prone. Guess not.

    Everything needs balance. Wenger isn’t rubbish but quite obvious what he produces isn’t balanced whatever the reasons. And money isn’t a bug part of it again if you walk the financial statement our wage bills in recent years are close to those labelled ‘sugar daddy’ clubs. So why could they afford multi-200k, 150k per week level stars and AFC not? Of course we know the answer. ‘We make stars’ Ivan said. Yeah right. But, Wenger said (google if you want his exact quotes) it’s not just the fee to buy but need to add up the wages. Sure but how come we have such a huge bill? We aren’t exactly paying too little (another 2012 Ivan quote) on transfer fees if we add up recent buys. Well clearly something doesn’t add up. Someone is spilling BS at the club so take your pick. Many fans/ friends ‘hate’ the current regime not because of the result (trophy-less) alone. AFC try and market to middle class and corporate elite, fund managers, etc and yet its behaviours fall short. Corporate folks and many sections of AFC are well educated and professionals. We get abused as supporters hearing idiotic, repetitive spills from Wenger, Ivan and the worse ‘we don’t need your sort hill wood. We are no in 1930s or 60s where fans probably did not express ‘interest in your business affairs’.

    Going forward, if AFC want our continual support (aka money) show us the product/ services on the pitch, and off. Don’t want to talk in such commercial manner but make no mistakes AFC treat members as a number, the way stewards are allowed to treat fans, the transactions they see our relationships, the way this once football ‘club’ is managed by non-footballing (or some fucking yanks say ‘soccer’) people, fans will be and many are fed up. Look at the empty seats. Ask yourselves…seriously, should/ would that happen to AFC if the fans are satisfied??

    We can go on into the strategic stuff…VMV of AFC or some say Arsenal Plc; where it goes from here and how it would get there…that’s another day.

  37. 'mair says:

    Great post! I think at the end of the day two things will be crucial for the lasting final legacy of Wenger and his longevity… 1 – finishing top 4 this season, and 2 – a creditable run at the championship and the cups next season.

  38. JGC says:

    Hi

    A longish time lurker, but thought I’d comment from well down under. I liked the post a lot as someone who grew up with soccer/football in the land of baseball and the other football, and who watched as economics transformed those games from what I grew up with to the entertainment vehicles they are now.

    Time was, it was team/club and local pride. Woe betide the jersey boy in the land of fhe Phillies and Yankees who has loved the Pirates from age 6. Baseball transformed from a game of clubs and team stars you’d follow for a long time, to one of big money and ever more ephemeral stars plying a trade there. Equally, the big town clubs soon eclipsed the “small market” teams Iike my Pirates, and it is now a far cry chance for any small market team to compete, much like smaller leagues in Europe and smallerl clubs in the PL.

    I think that what we see now is that transition in the PL and with Arsenal. Will they grow revenue and brand fast enough to succeed or not? I think so, and with less risk. I’d note that there are several teams with so much debt that they are only one reverse and/or decision from sinking under it. I.e. one financial crisis hitting a billionaire owner whose team is borderline for the CL,or becomes that way if austerity is imposed on the teams buying. The impact and efficacy of FFP will thus be “interesting” to see play out.

    Per other cmments, I’d agree it’s far harder to find gems now, and all the “free cash” means top players can be bought very readily, and a short career needs to collect now. I.e I don’t blame the players for cashing in, witness Diaby who may well have been fantastic but whose injuries mean a potentially short and far more empty career than his potential (still) indicates. That however still doesn’t mean great teams cannot be built but it will be hard to out talent the big money, and they will, in short, have to be outplayed — which is good IMO!

    I’d also note that Kroenke has had successful teams but is in Colorado, a very small market. So, the question there is does he have what it takes to make Arsenal a mega brand so it can be successful. Personally, I think Arsene has done very well, albeit a bit unlucky with big/long injuries to Diaby, Wilshere, Rosicky over the years. The question is how the club transitions and moves forward from here and whether their vision of how the business of the game will work matches the eventual final outcome.

    For us, the club fans, the question might really be if we will survive the transition. ManU are already there as are ManCity, as teams who are more brand than club. My opinion.. Interestingly, Chelsea, probably not, which is frightful if one counts the dosh spent there.

    So, for my over long comment, and perhaps not well organized tapping on an iPad, I think it’s interesting days ahead as the game changes from what we knew to what it will become. From an American perspective, I’d rather it be American football, which still has a fair bit of club and region loyalty to it, than baseball or basketball, which are almost impossible (for me) to care about much anymore.

    Cheers — jgc

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning guys 🙂

    Spuds or Mancs today? Who do you want to get beaten?

    Gerry at 23.57, fantastic comment and I hope you are right re your confidence in Gazidis and your transfer predictions.

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    17HT,

    Fine comments again. All agreed re the complexities and challenges regarding player wages. From the moment clubs were allowed to make huge annual losses/ not to live within their means but basically do what they like, salaries have exploded out of control. The liabilities are hugh now for a club, and get it wrong a few times and it could all go horrible wrong. It is all about balance and sticking to our principles whilst accepting the new reality as well, and we appear to be in a position now where we can afford to take a bit of risk and pay a couple of players competitive wages if they are worth it. Let’s hope they don’t end up becoming the next Arshavin though. 😕

    I love California (who doesn’t?), and I have stayed in Reno a couple of nights (cheap rooms), so was able to visit Lake Tahoe as well. Also stayed in Lone Pine and the drive from Reno to Lone Pine was one of the most enjoyable ones I have ever done. It is amazing you support the Gunners from so far away, yet have lived so close to the home of football as well. If you ever fancy to write a post of BK, just let me know!

  41. VCC says:

    I cannot think of enough superlatives to praise the writers on this site. All regulars have shown their individual skills and have attracted so many Gooners from all over the globe to read their articles. A testament to their scribing art.

    Redders, what can I say? I will use one word……”Class”

    I am pleased to be able to contribute slightly to this site with the UMF league. Many thanks to Total to allow me to do so, I feel honoured. Also, thank you to the dirty dozen who regularly post their selections. I hope you all enjoy a bit of fun it may bring.

    Without this, and one other site, I would not have been able to meet and communicate with like minded people. It’s given me the opportunity to meet up with some true “Gents” and a lovely “Lady”.

    Thank you Total.

  42. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome Alex

    Hi and welcome Useroz

    Strictly speaking it is not a strategic analysis but remember this is a football blog (and the writer did not choose the title but I did). It is an overview of where are are and have been, and were we can go to next.

  43. Red Arse says:

    Good Morning Guys, 🙂

    It seems to me that we have not just had ‘comments’ on the Post, but great responses, not always in agreement, that were Posts in themselves.

    Excellent reading this morning (UK) and I found the candour and insights, which were all respectfully and concisely written, to be a tribute to this tremendous site.

    Thank you to those of you who were kind enough to compliment my Post, which, for those of you who have put the time and effort into writing one will know, is always much appreciated! 😀

  44. Red Arse says:

    Hi JGC, 🙂

    You are very welcome and have thrown an interesting new light on how sports and franchises operate elsewhere, and how they affect ‘local’ fans.

    Hopefully we will read more from you in the future! 🙂

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi and welcome JGC.

    Morning Redders 🙂

    Hope you are feeling a bit better today?!

  46. Red Arse says:

    To be honest, I could spend the rest of the day responding to some truly clever and insightful comments from HH, Alex, Gerry, AFC and 17HT but unfortunately I am still a bit below par today.

    But I look forward to continuing to discuss Arsenal and football with you all in the near future! 🙂

  47. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks for the fantastic post Redders and take it easy! 🙂

    Hi Vickers 🙂

    I reckon you might need to find yourself some help for next season’s UMF as I wouldn’t be surprised if you end up with 25+ participants!!! 🙂

  48. Red Arse says:

    Useroz,

    I read your comment with interest, but altho’ it is perfectly alright to disagree with someone else’s opinion, of course, I think you misunderstood the tone and content of my Post.

    I am a qualified accountant and have already done to death the financial analysis, critical ratio analysis, balance sheet working capital analysis, as well as cost benefit analyses, commercial projections, and share ownership discussions, which frankly bores the arses off many fans who don’t care particularly what that reveals.

    What most fans want to know, in that context, it seems to me, is whether or not we have a self sustaining club, and how much money we have available to fund transfers etc.

    No! What the Post was trying to look at was the bigger picture, and the context as well as the circumstances in which the club, the directors, the manager, and the teams were operating in over the past 10 years.

    If you have a point to make, perhaps you would like to forward a Post of your own to Total Arsenal, which if it meets his quality standards required for publication, I am sure would be well received by the bloggers on this site.

    Give it a go! 🙂

  49. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA, 😀

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to voice my take on the recent past, and as you know, I rarely write Posts nowadays, but it is hard not to do so with the efforts so many regulars on here put in with their quality Posts!!

    Not too wonderful at the moment, but hope to be back again later!

    Hi VCC, 🙂 Now I know you wear specs, (courtesy of The Glic) I have a vision of you as a ‘bank manager’ type poring over your spreadsheets and keeping proper control accounts over our UMF league inputs!! 😛

    Ta ta, for now. 🙂

  50. glic says:

    Morning Phalloorchoalgolagnic`s ( f**k me, that word was near a post in it`s self ! ) 😆

    Not only have we the best team in the world, the only team to have a train station named after it, but now, early news on Sky of an Arsenal supporting Astronomist discovering a new planet in this Solar system and has decided to call it planet Arsenal !. It will be the 8th planet from the sun, just behind Uranus !.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Redders, your posts make us understand and appreciate the bigger picture and as such enrich the site tremendously. 🙂

  52. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic 🙂

    You don’t know your Arsenal from you Uranus!

  53. glic says:

    Hahaha Totes , the sort of reply I would be proud of !. hahaha

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Haha Glic,

    I read your comment re an Aguero, Tevez kind of striker the other day. Would you play him instead of Giroud or with him?

  55. glic says:

    It would be instead Totes. The way we played, we needed another skillful quick thinking one touch player ( which a lot of Brazillian, Spanish, Argentinians etc are brought up on playing Futsal ! ). Maybe a false Number 9 ala Spain in certain games !. Why have they got these gifted technical players ?. Heres a link to what I have been advocating for many a year !.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/21533802

  56. glic says:

    I`m not knocking Giroud as I thought he had a game, but their were a few occasions where he did not see the pass coming when it was being pinged about, a ” Tevez/Aguereo ” would have naturally made the run !.

  57. glic says:

    Serious breaking news on Sky, news that will have Herbert Chapman turning in his grave. Stan Kroenke is selling his shares to his much wealthier wife, Ann Walton Kroenke.
    She is the Heir to the massive Wal-Mart company and in a deal that will pump in $10 Billion in sponsorship with the famous Arsenal name changing again ( previously Dial Square, Royal Arsenal, Woolwich Arsenal ) to ASDA Arsenal !. Personally I`m for it, as we will now wipe the floor with Manu, City, Chavs and all the rest !.

  58. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    ASDA???? Arsenal Glic, im curious…..please explain further, and i also need a defenition for that very very very long word that Glics dick-tionary has made up, thanks.

    Hi BK’rs.

    Redders, you are a class act. Trully talented, and an asset to any blog community. I have often wondered how you came to accounting when your real talent lies with the English language, comprehension and literature/poetry. Fantastic post and nothing really to add or disagree with. You said it all mate. For me, you either know whats going on and are happy to accept the transition that we are in….for now, or your running out of toys to throw out of the pram.

    One question i would really like to know the truth to regardless of what information is being thrown about is whether or not Arsene really has the funds to work with or are there sanctions in place that prevent the manager from utilising this so called war-chest?

    I guess this is the ‘black void’ that you once used to describe where we the supporters stand when it comes to the dealings that our club undertakes. This is where the frustration is born out of…..lack of transparency.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    We love you ARSDA we do, we love you ARSDA we do, we love you ARSDA we do, ooooooooh ARSDA we love you! 🙂

  60. VCC says:

    Red Arse 09:52…….how right you are.

    That is a true story (first ever from the GLiC) from that scoundrel. It was freezing cold and he made me walk 152 miles from Bethnal Green Station to the pie n mash shop. By the time I eventually reached said shop, I was exhausted, worn out, and slowly losing the will to live.

    As he said, my glasses steamed up immediately I hit the warmth of the inner café area.

    I first walked up to a statue in the corner, as my vision was impaired with frosted glass, thinking it was GLiC, comatose, frozen to the spot, only to find out it was a model of the owner he had sculpted many years ago.

    After describing my rendezvous Gooner, to the “nice” owner, Mr.Kelly, he kindly led me to this moron sitting at one of the tables. It had to be GLiC, as he had liqueur dribbling all down his shirt!!! giggling, looking into a mirror attached to the back of his hand.

    Twas a blessing in disguise, with fully steamed up glasses I was able to enjoy my “treat” (pie n mash) cos If I had 20/20 vision, it most definitely would have put me off my food whilst sitting opposite ?…………..yes, you’ve guesed it, that truly grotesque figure in front of me.

    Afterwards, we trekked off to the Tavern, and met up with Handsome stretch. Such a pleasure, as Terry brought the class up a notch, and I had someone intelligent to speak to ,thank f— .

    The rest is history as they say.

    ps. When first leaving school I attended college and achieved “Principles of Accounts” “O” level. This helps me with the UMF.

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    Glic 🙂

    That was the difference with VJ: he can do what Giroud does (although not so strong in the air) but he also was quick and swift in the box, with a better first touch and composure.

    The thing is MC don’t play Tevez or Aguero on their own but usually with the Giroud-like Dzeko.

  62. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi PPP,

    Yes we need more of that transparency so we know whether the glass is indeed half full! 🙂

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha VCC 🙂

  64. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Hi Total,

    @8.17am i think you meant chavs v manure? For me its simple, manure to get beaten. It looks to me that their focus is on the FA Cup, as they played without Mata, Hazard, Cole, Luis etc against Soton. So the longer they are involved in cups, the more their domestic form will suffer. Simples 🙂

    A few reds tonight wouldnt be a bad thing 😉

  65. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    VCC 😆

  66. glic says:

    Hi Princey 🙂

    The definition of that very very very long word is…..” A man who is sexually aroused by pain to the dick ! “. Which obvioulsly applies to most BKers ( as well as Vicky`s pain in the zimmer ) !. hahaha

    As you probably know Wal-Mart own ASDA. Their normal store colour is Green, but this will be changed to Red and White and ASDA will also be branded as ASDA Arsenal. All stores will have ASDA Arsenal merchandise on sale, with ASDA Arsenal player on all of the time. All ASDA Arsenal employees will wear ASDA Arsenal kits and Arsene Wenger masks. Give it 5 years and anyone living within a 5 mile radius of an ASDA Arsenal will be brainwashed into becoming an ASDA Arsenal fan. Every little bit helps !.

  67. glic says:

    Right, I`m off out to Tesco`s,. Laterz

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes, I did PPP. Agreed, agreed, but I just want to see that pained, grey-haired face of the traitor hahaha 🙂

  69. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Ramirez will sort him out in ‘stealth samba style’. 😉

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    The game is on in 40 minutes PPP, in case you did not know. And yes Red Arse Mires will sort the DMF out! 😛

  71. oz gunner says:

    Cheers for the great read RA. Expect nothing better than top class when you write a post.
    Hope all is well.

    I’m about to murder someone! the Mrs messaged me and told me jovetic has signed a pre-contract deal with Arsenal for 25million. I was beside myself the whole way home from work. Then i got in the door and raced to the computer…only to find out that the articles were april fools jokes! Damn them to hell i say. I could have been involved in a car accident on the way home and still had a smile on my face!

  72. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha Oz – I bet its true though.. 🙂

  73. oz gunner says:

    i hope so TA. I was explaining to the MRs that he’s the new Dennis!!!!

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    Yes Oz, maybe there will be a new website in the future called Joveticesque! haha 🙂

  75. VCC says:

    GLiC….my wife works for Asda, inTilbury, Essex. She has already had her briefing and shown the new badges.

    You have it slightly wrong though. The colours are, as you say Red and White, but there is a green outline all round the badge. I think it looks quiet sexy.

    Come on you Asdanal….come on you Asdanal…….come on you Asdanal.

  76. alexgunners says:

    Hi TA,

    Congratulations on the success of the site and 200 posts. Keep up the great work and it’s great to see so many regular with differing views in an environment where all can discuss their opinions.

    RA,

    Absolutely great post. We are the fortunate club and we are all fortunate to follow the Great Arsenal. We are in a position where if the right decisions are made, we will benefit from all the barren years (a whole 8 years). In my opinion, Arsenal implemented it’s own FFP since it’s move to the Emirates. No other club was as prudent or focused on unnecessary spending. We set this up years before necessary. Whilst it has not brought us a lot of success on the pitch (trophy-wise), it will lay strong foundations for the future.

    Now is the time to invest only in the right players and make the most of it’s global branding to maximize it’s commercial appeal. The owners need to be involved more and the club needs people passionate about The Arsenal. Not only The Arsenal that can produce profits year after year despite the debt of the stadium but The Arsenal as a club, the rich history and the Pride that we all feel to be associated with our club.

    Once again, great post

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Alex and nice words on Redder’s post! 🙂

  78. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Must admit, have been very disapointed with Asda. First of all, unlike the nice people at tescos they didnt offer me a special reward and then when i got home and micro machined my chicken tikka masala i had to send a search party for the chicken.

    To compound my torment i could hear laughing voices downstairs and the aroma of Mrs Terrys roast chicken wafting up the stairs.

    I went back to the store with the carton and demanded to see a manager. This spoty geek came over and i went into one about how the chicken must have done a runner from the box and that i demand meat. Anyway, they gave me one of there roast dinners as compensation, but i think they just wanted to get rid of me

    When i got home i was salavating and my stomach was in knots through hunger. I quickly opened the box and examined the contents and to my delight the chicken looked very large and tasty. i thought, right you bastards downstairs laughing and scoffing yourselves, its my turn now. I shoved it into the micro machine and just when i was about to press the start button there was a f*uking power cut. hahaha

  79. VCC says:

    Put more shillings in the meter Stretch. 😉

  80. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Smiling in silence 🙂

  81. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Chelski take a 1-0 lead. Great goal to be fair

  82. alexgunners says:

    VCC,

    Thanks for the explanation to your beloved pet which is on your avatar.
    I know how you feel about them being mans best friend.
    By the way he looks great in that kit.

  83. alexgunners says:

    PPP,

    Let Chel$ki concentrate on the Fa and Europa whilst they stumble in the PL. Exactly what we need

  84. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Exactly Alex. How you doing?

  85. alexgunners says:

    Great thanks PPP,

    Enjoyed a relaxing long weekend, we had a win. Definitely cant complain, What about yourself?

  86. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Yeah good thanks mate. Always a good feeling when Arsenal take the points on offer on the weekend

  87. alexgunners says:

    PPP,
    Certainly is, we just need to keep this momentum going.

    It is now late and I must get some rest. Good night to all you fine fellas. Until tomorrow.

  88. Prince-Purrfect-Poldi says:

    Night mate.

  89. VCC says:

    cheers Alex…. 🙂

  90. glic says:

    OK, obviously no one was going to be taken in by my April Fool comments this morning of a new named planet called Arsenal or ASDA Arsenal. I take this as an assault on my character that none of you take anything I say seriously ! ( even Vicky blatantly says Terry Tickle Tackle Tickets is more intelligent than me, a guy who shares a loft with nympho pigeons that devour his fat balls everynight whilst he`s on the phone complaning to Sky that he cant get any channels on his Microwave oven !. ). You Bastardos !. hahahaha

    However my comment yesterday about Red Bull is true and if you want to come around to my darkened shed, I still have the hardon to prove it !. hahaha
    Are their any medically trained people on BK ?. Like alcohol is their a limit to how many Red Bulls you can have ?, will the high caffeine content do any damage ?. The reason I ask is that it had a similar affect as alcohol, eg, I felt good, giggly, chatty, randy and that with being on my own in the car, but with the advanytage of not failing a breatherliser test from the Old Bill !.
    I wonder if they have Red Bull ontap in the Arsenal Tavern ?.

  91. Gerry says:

    glic – It is addictive and regular use can damage kidneys or liver I forget which. When you stop having it you will have a blinding headache caused by caffeine withdrawal.

    I only know because one of the lads on my school bus was using it a lot, so I checked it out.

  92. TotalArsenal says:

    Watched the Chavs v Mancs game and it was deprived of quality, except for that one moment of brilliance by Ba and a great save by Cech (good header by Hernandez). Van J has one goal in twelve MU games now and once again did not deliver when it matters. Ooh how we laughed! 🙂

    Ramires and Mikel had a decent game and the rest were poor or rusty. The PL really lacks quality at the moment.

  93. VCC says:

    Hi Total. I watched the Mancs go out today, and I fully agree, there is a lack of quality in PL at present.

    All the more reason for Wenger to go out add three quality players. We will be able to compete next year then.

    Samba

    Capoue/Wanyama

    Lewanowski/Isco.

    Just do it Arsene.

  94. glic says:

    Thanks Gerry.
    Funny you should say that, I actually had a splitting headache the day after !. Seeing as I only go up the Ems occasionally, it could be classed as binge bulling !.
    It did work though as to keeping me alert and awake on the long drive home, as normally I would be very tired and half asleep, where as this time, I was up for a party and had the music blaring whilst I danced and chatted with myself up before cornering myself in the footwell of the car, then snogging myself, followed by some fore-play before rodgering myself !.

    And I wonder why no one takes me serious !. hahaha

  95. glic says:

    Proof that I am an handsome bastard, every time I walk into DFS, I am set upon by gorgeous women saying…..” can I be of help “…….” dont hesitate to ask ! “……” I`m just over there if you want me “….. ” 4 years interest free payments ! “. Enough was enough though and had to say ……..” please, I know you want me badly, but can I finish my shit first and could you just wait outside of the toilets,…thanks ” !.

  96. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic and other interested BK’ers,

    Cannot wait to see Dortmund face off against Malaga this week in the CL! I think we’ll really see how crucial Isco is to Malaga’s set-up and how he’ll likely not fit into our system, especially if he’s to co-exist with Jack. You’ll also get a good look at Gotze who I believe to be the better fit for our system, but has unfortunately not been at his best form as of late.

    I think Dortmund will come out on top in both matches, but with Hummels out for the first leg and this being the CL, anything’s possible. Some great matches to come!

  97. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC, completely agreed on the lack of quality in the PL at the moment. Our top clubs domestically are no match for clubs such as Bayern, Real, Barca, Juventus and even Dortmund! It’s quite sad to see the steady decline, however I think we’ll definitely witness Manure flex their financial muscle this summer and sign a DM and a CB to really improve their squad. Will Arsenal follow and make the necessary upgrades though? Or will we simply sit on laurels once again and not capitalize on the competitive advantage we have in FFP, financial sustainability and the stadium debt finally being manageable?

    I prefer Jovetic to Lewandowski, but wouldn’t really complain about having either as they are both improvements on our current strike force. I still believe Isco would have some trouble slotting into our system since he loves to hold onto the ball (often too long), but I’d be absolutely thrilled to see AW finally spend some cash and have a burgeoning world-class talent like him in our side!

  98. Gerry says:

    HH – The TG played last night, but I wasn’t overly imressed. He was playing a more advanced role and got caught in possession a couple of times. Did have a nice pass on him, and is quite nippy with his feet. Needs a bit of improving though … a bit too early Song-ish for our needs at the moment though.

    Mind, that was that one game, and his team have been out of form recently, so I will not cross him off my list just yet.

  99. Red Arse says:

    Hi Gerry,

    I watched a part of the ESPN 4:30 game yesterday which featured two wholly unholy French teams, and could not figure out why you had recommended me to do so.

    Do tell!! 🙂

  100. Red Arse says:

    Glicster,

    Just had a read of some of your substantive comments and think you should go give educational discourses on lateral thinking. You would do a lot of good in my opinion!

    For example, you will be aware that when you hold a page of newsprint up to a mirror, the image you see is reversed — mirror writing as it is called — and this would account for the handsome reflection you see smiling back at you, with those bedroom eyes demurely asking if you are up for it. 🙂

    Mirror writing! Of course! You are a genius!

    Now all the ugly bananas of the world should be taught, by you, in lecture halls throughout the UK, to stare at their reflections in the mirror, just like you do, and all their insecurities about being plug uglies would disappear instantly.

    Does it work on myopic eel suckers with steamed up goggles, like our man VCC? 😀

  101. Gerry says:

    HH – Sorry, they must have had a different schedule in your part of the globe?

    It was Bundesliga here. Oh I should have added that their new manager has signed a new contract on the basis they keep their star players.

  102. Gerry says:

    Redders, don’t encourage him while I’m having my tea!

  103. glic says:

    Hi o mighty dictionary one. 🙂

    On reflection of your mirror idea, alas I think it would be doomed to failure as no one takes me serious !. 😥

    PS
    And why would they, even my mirror doesn`t take me serious and just laughs in my face !. hahaha

    HH

    Apart from watching our beloved Arsenal, I never really watch anyone else, but I shall in the case of Malaga Vs Dortmund . To get a good view of our ( imo, top on most gooners wish list ) stalking victims . I hope it`s on a decent stream somewhere, it`s a must see !.

  104. Highbury Harmony says:

    Gerry, by TG do you mean Capoue or Rode, just so we’re clear in the future :). Toulouse Giant vs. the Toulouse German!

    If you meant Capoue, then he played a magnificent game this past weekend registering 2 goals and an assist! I thought his efficiency would drop without Sissoko partnering him in midfield in their interchanging DM set-up, but he defied critics with his last performance. Definitely one to keep an eye on for the rest of the year.

    As for Rode, perhaps you were just updating me on his performances? If so, then I really appreciate it since I don’t get much of a chance to see him play these days!

  105. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post! 🙂

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