We Need An Oligarch, Please!

Arsenal-v-Man-Utd-001

It may be time to revisit an old conundrum which has divided the fan base for some time, and it regards the very essence of our club. It is an overview of the club’s ownership, and how that affects each of us.

This is not a rant against the club, or its hierarchy, and neither does it come into the category of an ‘I told you so’ diatribe.

Whenever a train of thought regarding the way the club is organized is set out, it encourages a plethora of opinions each of which may be valid in its own right, but which has the effect of confusing the main thrust of the argument.

So, this is a personal musing about a matter that has caused much changing of my mind over the last few years.

Whenever the question is put to me, ‘Do you want Arsenal to win trophies?’ my instant and instinctive response is ‘Yes, of course I do’.

The follow up question is inevitably, ‘Can we do so without a greatly increased investment in quality players?’

Now therein lies the rub, because it is obvious that with all our main competitors, Man City, Man United and Chelsea continuing to spend heavily on the best players available, it would be impossible to win a trophy without Arsenal doing likewise. But if we hold true to our avowed preference for our club to be run on a sustainable model of financial prudence, how do we square these diametrically conflicting requirements?

So by a circuitous route we have arrived, at last, at a clear choice, which is, how do we fund such an investment, and more to the point, how did we arrive at this financial impasse, and should it matter to us, the fans?

When I was a child and started to support the Arsenal, I was not in the slightest bit interested in who owned the club, and how they found the money to run the club.  This disinterest extended further than that – I did not know who the owners were, and neither did I care.

It carried on that way until fairly recently, when with access to the Internet and the all devouring media interest in the excruciating minutiae of every Premier League club, we all became aware in painful detail of every aspect of our club’s finances, and ownership, especially after the arrival of Abramovich and the Sheikhs who promptly changed the face of football.

Many fans have expressed the opinion that they would never want an alleged crook like Usmanov to take ownership of the club, and with that view have passively accepted that Arsenal will never be able to compete with the other ‘big’ clubs, but would be content to see us strive to compete and play ‘good football’.

That, if I am forced to admit it, is exactly where I placed myself too. Arsenal were far better than the other money grubbing teams, and we had too much class to follow Chelsea, and the Mancs down the path of mammon, taking ill gotten monies from such sources in order to further our football desires.

Then the thought struck me. This was giving up, and meekly accepting that we were resigning ourselves to a genteel descent into a ‘classy’ but ‘no hope’ future, as we watch the financially well endowed clubs competing for all the available trophies, while we are consigned to mid-table mediocrity. That cannot be right – that is not what Arsenal are all about – it’s not good enough.

The second thought to strike me, with a resounding clunk, is that Arsenal owe their presence in the current elite of football courtesy of Sir Henry Norris, who once owned the club, and not only wangled us into the old First Division by some seedy backroom deals which saw us shortly afterwards winning the First Division Championship, but was later banned as a director of any company, by the High Court, as a result of ‘accidentally’ and illegally taking money out of Arsenal.

So, perhaps our previous owners have not always been so classy and above reproach after all, have they? But thank goodness for Sir Henry!!

The fact is, I have gone full circle in my thinking, and have come to realize that I still don’t care who owns the club, and I still don’t really know who the present incumbent Stan Kroenke is, and what he is all about, or what his personal motives are.

One thing is crystal clear, he obviously does not love Arsenal the way I do, and seems to have very little interest in the club, other than as an investment vehicle, and rarely even watches Arsenal play.

What I also know is that I cannot bring myself to believe that any self made multi-billionaire is so pure that he should have my unquestioning support. The owners and the players will come and go, but my loyalty and support will never change, and my loyalty is to the club, and the team — not the owners, whoever they may be.

It seems to me, that FFP aside, the current oligarch clubs, or their owners, are so powerful that the only way to compete with them is to bring on our own oligarch, perhaps Usmanov, and if he provides us with the funds that will allow us to compete and win trophies, I am happy to join the fans of the other mega-rich clubs springing up all over Europe, and to metaphorically shrug my shoulders and think ‘bring it on!’

My view on Usmanov, is similar to my view on Kroenke, in that I do not know him any better than our current owner, and I suspect as a multi-billionaire he also has a chequered career behind him, but he is probably no better or worse than Sir Henry, and look what that naughty gentleman did for us, turning what was then a mediocre club into a magnificent club, and a hundred years later his legacy still lives on.

Come on you mighty Gunners – jump into the financial arena, and give us a level playing field!

Written by: Red Arse.

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162 Responses to We Need An Oligarch, Please!

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Excellent, thought-provoking and honest post, Redders. 🙂

    It is hard to argue against you, and in a way, I did so with my ‘Russian dolls’ post a short while ago. I am still convinced success can be achieved on the basis of the current model, but without any doubt it would be a lot easier if a rich, benevolent major shareholder would pump £500m-£1bn into the club to make us win trophies again.

    I don’t want to win trophies that way and take courage from the way Dortmund have moved to the fore,who very possibly, took the lead from us say ten years ago, when we were showing the rest of the world that a successful club does not have to have large debts. I am writing a post about this currently, so will keep it short.

    So, no Oligarch for me, but building further on what we have with carefully planned quality additions during this and next summer.

  2. Red Arse says:

    Morning, TA, 🙂

    It is a tricky dilemma, and for me to suggest that we need to join the ‘oligarch revolution’ goes against everything I believed in for many years, because I always felt the financially self sustaining model was right and proper.

    I tried to keep the Post short, both to allow others to introduce their own thoughts, and also because my typing skills were beginning to flag.

    My ‘conversion’ was fairly recent, and came about when I heard PSG, Real, Barca, Chelsea, Man City and now Man Utd have all said they will invest heavily over the summer, and are squabbling over £80m Bale, £80m Neymar, £50m Falcao and so on and so on.

    This has severely shaken my confidence in UEFA’s FFP regulations, because clearly these guys do not care about FFP. How can these clubs, and others in Eastern Europe too, run rings around what was supposed to be a ‘level playing field’ adjustment.

    Arsenal will be swamped by these externally funded clubs as things stand, whatever modest funds we will have available ourselves in the summer.

    If this continues, then in 5 more years of this we will be unable to even try to compete for the much derided ‘4th Place ECL qualifier’ trophy.

  3. marcus says:

    Red Arse,
    Do you know what the most ironic thing about Arsenal is? Usmanov’s sole intention isn’t to take Arsenal over and run the club as his own like the rest of the billionaires who own teams. He has stated on numerous times that he just wants to be allowed in the Arsenal board so that he can legally pump funds into the club. I remember as soon as cesc left Arsenal, Usmanov said that he was willing to give Wenger 100 Million pounds on top of the transfer kitty he already had but couldn’t unless he was allowed into the board, for legal reasons. Yet they still freeze him out.

  4. Gooner4eva49 says:

    Excellent write up.

    I’m as stubborn as TA but as open as RA = Dilemma

  5. malaysian gunner says:

    So arsenal have an easier run in? Really?Wigan 3 Arsenal 2. XThe gunners wer e leading 2-0 until they lost to Wigan fighting relegation. Then there is NU. After being beaten 6-0,Pardew will play anti soccer.
    On paper Arsenal shd get tne better of QPR ,but underestimate NU and Wigan at your peril.

  6. Red Arse says:

    Cheer up malaysian gunner football has a way of working out in unpredictable ways.

    Neither Chelsea nor Spurs have easy run ins, including playing each other, and at the end of the day, the best teams will succeed.

  7. Dominic says:

    The danger with oligarchs is that they can do whatever they like. Witness the average duration of managers at Chelsea. Nor does having all that money guarantee success. Man City were expected to do a lot better than they did last year. On the European front, over the last 20 years Real Madrid and Barcelona thrown enormous amounts at players and managers in trying to win Europe’s top trophy. They have not dominated in the way they would have expected.
    Barcelona, the “greatest team ever” have never retained the trophy and look kile they are going out.

  8. Red Arse says:

    marcus,

    The rest of the BoD (well that means Kroenke in essence) did not want Usmanov to be a director, and saw the money as a way of ‘buying’ influence.

    They are all jockeying for position, and that is one of the problems, each of them has their eye on what suits them personally and what suits the fans comes way down their lists of priorities.

    What I tried to address in my Post was not the personal tussles of these guys, but the difference in the ‘oligarch’ route or the ‘self funding’ model given the increased numbers of clubs who are being bought and funded by oligarchs and sheikhs.

    Sadly, good guys often come last, however wrong that might be, but I am primarily interested in what is right for Arsenal and its fans, in the current circumstances.

  9. Red Arse says:

    Dominic,

    I hear what you are saying.

    But if I had the chance for Arsenal to win the EPL every year, or at least to be competitive, I would jump at it.

    Who wins the Spanish League every year? Real or Barca,

    Who has won the EPL for at least the last eight years? Chelsea, Manure, and Man City.

    Who has won (or come close) the European CL for the last 5 years? Chelsea, Manure, Real or Barca, and now Bayern, another massively funded club.

    To that list, I think you can soon add PSG and one or other of the Eastern European oligarch funded clubs.

    I want Arsenal to be in that group, and not an insignificant also ran — through lack of money to buy the best players.

  10. TotalArsenal says:

    RA

    I know you have thought this through carefully and you are right to point out the existence of many clubs who are going to spend big this summer to get what they want. Let’s hope we add good quality players this summer and keep what we have got, and that we improve further next season.

    Or maybe, you are right and the only way to win something again is to join the dark side. 😦

  11. marcus says:

    That’s true RA,
    Thing is though, like you mentioned in the article, most gooners don’t give two shits about who ends up as the director. The only two factors that we care about is:

    1) The manager is given full control of the team without any direct interference save for maybe being given targets and goals at the beginning of the season and

    2) The manager is placed in a financial stance where he can buy any player he wants without having to be burdened with the worries of balancing books. Isn’t there a management department and a finance department in the club that is responsible for this?

    My point here is this, I don’t care how it happens. Our two biggest shareholders are two of the richest people on this planet and as such they have the financial onus and capability to make us competitive again. At man united, when Fergie wants a player his only concern is the ability to lure him because once he identifies a target, the board bends over backwards to make it happen even though they aren’t as financially strong as say chelsea or City. Wenger should be put in a position where he can spend 30 million on a player if he feels his quality will give us the edge.

  12. VCC says:

    Nice one Redders.

    Like most Gooners, I have changed like the weather regarding the thought of being owned by an Oligarch.

    Mr Kroenke, “self made multi billionaire” has had more than a helping leg up from his wife, a certain “Miss Wall Mart” ( I wish my wife were a pound behind her. Then all your wishes would come true……Falcao…Cavani..Isco….Lewinowski…you name it)

    Mr Wenger, and the Arsenal BOD, said we had to move from Highbury, to an all singing and dancing, bright and shinny new stadium to keep up with the Jones’.

    What’s the difference in acquiring one of the richest men in Britain to become our owner? Could this not be construed as a similar scenario?

    I still maintain, no matter how rich your club is, you can compete. As long as you are shrewd and spend wisely. After all, there are enough players about in this world to go around, None?

    The ManUres, £havskies and £hitties cannot possibly buy EVERY top player, simples.

    It’s Wenger’s job to get out there and employ scouts, and look for himself, after all he is paid £6 mill per year to do so. Some of his last acquisitions have been more than questionable, even for the most loyal and partisan follower of HWKB.

  13. VCC says:

    Marcus…..”he can spend 30 million on a player if he feels his quality will give us the edge” Spot on.

    “Management department and a finance department in the club that is responsible for this”…yes, his name was David Dein……this guy took the pressure off Arsene and done the transfer business for him.

    In todays world, Wenger is taking too much on his shoulders, and it has started to take it’s toll.

    He does all the deals himself, and won’t even let Bould take a training session.!!!!!!!

    He has got to get back to doing what he does best, studying and watching players who can become future stars of the Arsenal.

  14. Red Arse says:

    marcus,

    I was in two minds about writing on this subject because the concepts involved are much more complex than meets the eye.

    Your example about Manure being able to buy top quality players for Fergie, is correct, the idea that they are less ‘financially strong’ than Chelsea or Citeh, is not.

    As it happens, and purely coincidentally, the Swiss ramble has posted an article this morning that very much fits in with what I am trying to explain in my article, and is well worth a read.

    For example. Citeh have been in a position to buy players because their Sheikh has effectively ‘loaned’ the club the money that was necessary to do so. Now this, under the both the UEFA FFP and the EPL FFP rules will be banned (in theory), so the sheikhs can get arounf that ‘debt’ by exchanging it for more shares, and suddenly the club looks like it has a model financial base.

    This is a ‘pretend’ balance sheet to show what I mean:

    a) Shares £100 = Working Capital/Assets £400 – Loan Debt ££300 [£100] [Not good]

    Loan Debt converted to Share Capital:

    b) Shares £450 = Working Capital/Assets £450 [Acceptable]

    This whole subject is obviously a lot more complex than the ‘baby’ explanation above, and is not easy to grasp.

    The conclusion is that however you cut this problem, unless ALL clubs are forced to comply with the FFP self sustainability models [and I now have my doubts this will work] the externally funded clubs, and their damned good accountants, like me, 😀 will find ways around the regulations, and they will dominate football for the foreseeable football.

    Frankly, I am all for joining the oligarchs, because if you can’t beat them — join them — because I am a fan first and foremost, and why should I have to worry about Manure, Chelsea and Citeh’s funding while they disappear into the trophy laden future, leaving us as financial ‘good boys’ trailing in their wake?

  15. Glic says:

    Morning Knobbatron`s 😆

    Fantastico Postio Red Arseo

    Like you Redders, I never gave a Gareth Bale about club finances or who owned it until Abramobitch arrived on the scene. I have always been proud of the way we have been self financing and believing that FFP would bring us a level playing field, but after PSG coming out with the ludicrous £100M sponsorship by a related to the owners Qatari Tourist Association, I now have my doubts.
    I am now of the opinion that Usmanov would be more beneficial to our goal of trophy`s than Kroenke, but I say this as a back up if FFP fails, as then it could be a free for all .

    The trouble with Totals and others love in with Dortmund is that their success was an anomaly with a lot of players coming through at the same time ( ala Manu`s Gigg`s, Beckham, Scholes and Neville bros ) and doesn`t happen too often for non-mega rich clubs, we will see how well they do after losing Goetze and probably Wellendowdski .

    If Uzzy had bought all the shares before Kroenke and we would have kept RVP and had the likes of the players we dream about and a few trophy`s in the cabinet, would I have moaned and said, ” It`s not right, I`m not having that, I shall withdraw my support until we are self-sufficient ! “…..like fuck I would !.

    I say, Kroenke sell your shares to Uzzy, make a big fat wad of Wonga and keep to an American market you understand, our Football and your American Football are only similar in name only. Uzzy for a plan B if FFP fails !.

  16. VCC says:

    GLiC for president/……….GLiC for president ….hoorah for St Glitoris

  17. Glic says:

    Yes Vics !. hahaha

    I will make you my First LadyBoy. Redders will be Head of Finances. Totes will write my speeches as mine would not be deemed fit for broadcasting and Stretch will look after my Harem as I trust him to keep his dirty mits off my bitches !. hahaha

  18. VCC says:

    Sorry to rain on your parade Redders but I have to put the UMF tables up.

    Overall leader board

    VCC…….107
    Henry……101 (1)
    HH………. 89
    Red Arse 86
    PPP……… 86 (1)
    Oz ……….. 81 (1)
    TMHT …….81
    Total 79
    Alex ………. 77
    Rocky…….. 73 (1)
    GLiC………. 56

    Weekly score chart

    GLiC……….9
    Gerry………6
    VCC………..5
    Red Arse….4
    Total ……….4
    TMHT………4
    Henry……….3 (1)
    Oz………….. 3 (1)
    Alex………….3
    Rocky……….3 (1)
    PPP………….1
    HH……………0

    Rocky & PPP selections were drawn out of the hat as they were not submitted by the recipients

    Rocky =
    Read v QPR home
    Soton WBA away
    Wigan v Spurs home
    AV v Sund away
    Eve v Ful home

    PPP =
    Ars v MU away
    Chel v Swans away
    AV v Sund home
    Soton v WBA draw
    Eve v Ful home

    Highbury Harmony joins the Zero club this week.

    A special hoorah for Glic. Top scorer this week with a fine 9 points. Well done Sir.

    Henry is putting on a stout fight challenging VCC all the way.

    Oz receives a RED card this week, for his bias towards Henry. hehehe

  19. Red Arse says:

    Hi Clic, 🙂

    There you go being sensible again!! 🙂

    Actually, Borussia Dortmund almost became bankrupt – finito about 5 or 6 years ago, and it was only Bayern Munich pumping money into them (very iffy) that they survived.

    They have some great players, but because the club is small fry, those great players will be gobbled up by Manure, Bayern etc and they will slump back and the big boys lumber on, chewing up all in front of them.

  20. Glic says:

    So Gareth Bale has won both Player of the year and young player of the year !. Sounds a bit dodgy to me, stewards inquiry, definitely some monkey business going on there !.

  21. VCC says:

    GLiC…….thank you honey XXX

  22. Red Arse says:

    Hi Vickers, 🙂

    Fourth place is not too bad after having been ‘done up like a kipper’ by 3*P, and others during my absence. 🙂 [where do you get all those wonderful phrases?]

  23. Red Arse says:

    Glic,

    I have changed my mind about the ‘sensible’ bit.

    You would trust Stretch to keep his mitts off your ladybirds??
    That is a dubious proposition, but it is not his mitts you should be worrying about …………..

  24. Glic says:

    Bollox. I better stop this draw business, it`s getting me too many points !.

    That is indeed very iffy Redders !……..” In zee future, ve vill hav zee pickingstein ov all zee besten players you producenstein ! “.

  25. Glic says:

    I know Redders, trust him with my bitches !, I wouldn`t trust him alone with you !, especially at night when he`s starglazing Uranus with his telescope !. hahaha

  26. VCC says:

    Red Arse…..”not his Mitts you should be worrying about”……you beat me to it.

    I’ve seen Stretch perform in Essex. at the well known awards ceremonies.

    B rentwood
    A rse
    F ucking
    T rannies
    A ssociation

    Awards.

  27. Fred says:

    Great post, but I have to say I am in two minds about this one, but I have come down on the side that we should live within our means BUT that we should replace top quality players when we lose them. In my opinion we still haven’t properly replaced Lehmann/Seaman, Cashly Cole, Vieira, Gilberto, Pires, Fabregas, DB10 and more recently Van Judas and Song.

    That is where our current problem lies. For all the money we recieved for a number of these players we could have easily replaced these players without the need for an oligarch at the time but we have purchased sub-standard or average players. It has now arguably got to the stage where we do need an Oligarch to replace the players that I mentioned above.

    I realise that this is not a very good long term solution but it is drastically needed. For the long term I think it is best that we invest more heavily in our youth system so that it achieves the same type of international recognition as La Masia. The problem with the lack of good young players in this country stems from teams like Man City and Chavski in which it is simply spend spend spend. If this country wants to produce truely top quality young players we need to take a leaf out of Spain’s book and allow B and C teams to play in the lower leagues. That way you get more experienced young players coming through the system so they are automatically ready for first team action, instead of having to send a 19/20 year old out on loan for a couple of seasons until they are ready. Look at the Spanish League you have players like Varane at Madrid already playing on a regular basis at the age of 19! The closest we have got to that is the Ox and he has rarely been starting.

  28. TotalArsenal says:

    Until now BD managed to lose just one top player every season and were able to replace him with similar, or even better, quality. Four titles in two years, and now a great opportunity to get into the CL final. Unbelievable stuff, given the might of Bayern and in the rest of Europe.

    The key is Jurgen Klopp’s system/style of football and not having top top quality players. Like Wenger, he makes them that good and they function really well in his system of football. Once they go somewhere else they often disappoint…… familiar or what?

    And that my friends is what football should be all about. Working with a reasonable budget, clever management of funds, a winning football style and system and getting/developing/keeping (as many as possible) the right players for it, so successes can be achieved.

    The day we become an Oiler too, I will support the club from the background (including closing the site down) and take no joy in winning anything. Call me a fool or too principled, or whatever you like; football should be about fair competition. The fact that Aston VIlla, Everton, Newcastle, West Ham etc etc will probably never win the PL or CL again – unless they find themselves an Oiler too – totally stinks, and if FFP will indeed not work, it will only get worse.

    For me that is a depressing thought.

    I don’t want a bought title, not one of them. It does not mean a thing to me.

    It is of fundamental importance to the sport we love so much that fairer competition is introduced as soon as possible. We should stick to our guns and carry that flag of sustainability a little longer at least.

    Respect to other views, though. 🙂

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Fred

    Very good point about not replacing like for like, but you should also take into account that this often takes time. Fabregas was getting close to being a replacement for Bergkamp, and probably now would be; same goes for VJ replacing Henry.

    Like you, I am not impressed with some of our purchases prior to last summer, and Arsene and his team will need to step it up once more this summer.

  30. alexgunners says:

    Redders,

    Great Post and I too have begun to feel the same way as you have.
    Who the F@#k id Kroenke. He does not support the Arsenal let alone attend games. Silent Stan my ASS. He is silent because:

    1) He does not understand the game of football (not gridiron you prick)
    2) He does not understand the passion of the fans
    3) He does not understand what The Arsenal means to all of us
    4) He sees the Arsenal as a cash cow and players are used in order to bring profit into his pockets.

    Why do I want someone who is not as passionate about OUR club as we are? I don’t.

    I would rather Usmanov as he clearly has a passion for the Arsenal. We have tried the financial prudence path and it has brought us sweet F@#K all. A more successful arsenal would naturally bring in more profit as our commercial appeal would be a lot greater, rather than being the team that takes out the 4th place trophy each year.

    I feel that if we continue the way we are going, soon we will be a mediocre team, similar to where liverpool find themselves. 23 years without a PL title.

  31. weedonald says:

    RA………I am not convinced this is a conundrum as you like to put it. We do have an absentee landlord in Kroenke and there are few investors out there who care for their investments like we care for AFC, but that’s the sports and entertainment business really.

    There may be a middle ground in all this:

    1) The ¨ideal¨situation would be to have an investor willing to allow fans to hold up to 49% of the value of AFC,
    2) That ideal investor would be willing to fund transfers as needed,
    3) The Club would maintain its frugal and prudent financial model, under Wenger’s guidance but would increase its range by having more funds available,
    4) The current BOD needs to be refreshed but not destroyed,

    Arsenal, being leaders so often, should continue to lead by refusing to pay the ridiculously inflated money demanded by every Club (English or foreign) simply because these other Clubs feel that their players are worth it and the buying Club is desperately seeking, like City and Real, to win something each season.

  32. alexgunners says:

    Fred,

    Great point in replacing like for like. As TA said it does take time. The problem is that players will never stick around long enough at the club due to the lack of silverware that we are going through right now.

    Replacing like for like takes money and it is not about bringing in the next 16 year old from Barca who may turn out to be similar to Cesc in 5 years only for him to leve us when his contract is up

  33. Fred says:

    True but we got around 36m for fabregas and song, we could have replaced them with a number of young players who would have been able to do as well as they are doing. The same goes for Na$ri, although he arguably has been replaced, we could have easily bought Muniain, Isco (before his breakthrough season) or Michel Bastos or Jesus Navas for less than we sold Na$ri for and they would probably be on lower wages, makes a profit and adequely replaces a player that was very influencial for us at the time. The same thing goes for VJ last season, we could have easily bought Jovetic after VJ left or gone for another striker. Vieira, Gilberto, Pires, Henry and DB10 went for a lot less and were truely world class players so that is where investment would have been needed.

    As I said in my previous post, the FA needs to change the football system so clubs can produce young players that are getting close to the levels of the young players in the Spanish system, one way would be to introduce B and C teams whilst another would mean heavy investment at grassroots levels on the part of the clubs.

  34. Fred says:

    sorry 41m for fabregas and song* (not taking into consideration their wages) we could have easily bought Javi Garcia to replace song and then bough cazorla as we did to replace fabregas. The total transfer fee for both of those players would be £31m, so thats £10m profit off both of them and they would probably comand the same wages, if not lower.

  35. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Redders my friend, excellent post

    However, i fundamentaly disagree with the premise of a suger daddy. That is not to say i am averse to change of ownership or aginst Usmanov, i do not know what he will do if he takes over.

    A club should be run with dignity and vaules. If that means not ben able to compete at the top end for major honours, then so be it. When i express this view i am often told to “live in the real world” or am an “acceptor of mediocraty”

    This is not how i see it. Nothing in life lasts for ever, and this also applys to the current football climate. For me, it is important to hold on to what we have and emerge as a club capable of winning things in a light that bestows the best possible image of our club.

    i share your fears on FFP, but we are not certain of its impact, only time will tell us that.

    However, whatever happens i want Arsenal to remain a self sustaing club whos remit is to play great football, primaraly produced by stable managership and board, with the developmet of young players at its core.

    Remember this, “Good old Arsenal, were proud to say that name”

  36. alexgunners says:

    Regardless of what $$$$ we got for players that we sold, the money has always gone into Kroenke’s pockets and we have bought someone who was not equivalent in terms of skills and a lot cheaper. I don’t buy the reasoning that we cant compete with players salaries, therefore it’s hard to attract players to out club.
    We have a wage bill not too dissimilar to ManUre. We cant attract players because we are not successful at the moment.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Fred,

    Would Jovetic have had a better first season than Giroud or Podolski? Maybe, Maybe not. The problem is finding like for like that fits in straightaway and hit the ground running. Cazorla has been such a player and I reckon Podolski could have been but there appear to be fitness issues (still he has added value to the team this season). Giroud is clearly a developer and might make it, or not.

    As I said, we need to step it up again, and add two quality players to the team and allow the rest to become better next season: there is a lot of growth in this team: Gibbs, Jenkinson, Szczesny, Ramsey, Wilshere, Koz, Giroud, Ox, Nacho, Theo and Coquelin all should become better over the next 1-3 years.

    Add two quality players (and a vet goalkeeper) to those, and let’s not forget about our experienced players, and we should see further progress next season. Much more and we’ll end up in a transitional season again.

  38. Fred says:

    Alex, I couldn’t agree with you more. I personally think that the current BoD needs to either buck up its ideas or leave. It is great that we try and be a self-sustaining club and I completely support the idea of it. But when we aren’t getting replacements for top quality players that we have sold we have a serious problem and it results in us not challenging for trophies, which in turn makes us less appealing to top quality talents, and not being able to attrack the top quality talents leads to a lack of trophies. It is a vicious cycle. We have already seen some of our best young players in our academy leave for free like angha will be doing at the end of this season. So we now find ourselves in a position where we can only attract mediocore players, and the occasionaly good player, whilst we are also loosing the youth players who we have to replace them!

  39. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    bloody brilliant read RA, you make very valid points on the issue. When it comes to Arsenal ownership and money I’m always inclined to agree with you at Terry. No one understands the situation better. Therefore, bring on ownership.

  40. Fred says:

    TA, whilst the young players you have mentioned are still very good I personally do not think that any of them are going to be truely great players with the exception of Wilshere and maybe the Ox. I know Sagna has not had the best of seasons this year but if as I have read he is closing in on a move to PSG I still have my doubts that Jenkinson is ready to make the jump to the starting XI and even if he is we have a lack of cover there in case Jenkinson does get injured which would mean we need another RB as well to either replace Sagna or as cover for Jenkinson.

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    Alex

    I don’t think Kroenke has personally taken any money out of the club. Any profits from players sales seem to be put into cash reserves (which is good for the club’s financial health as such).

    It is now time, though, to be a bit more bold/adventurous and pump the available funds into the club to help Arsene to make the next step up. But only if Arsene is going to sign a new contract; if not, it should be made available to his successor (next year?).

  42. alexgunners says:

    Great point Fred,

    It is a little disheartening when we start to lose promising academy players for free.
    Yes football is a business, I believe that The Arsenal need to get serious about winning or we will lose out financially and it will take a long time to rebuild. When we last won the FA Cup in 05′ we had a couple of close title run-ins but we did not have the experience or the mental strength to go all the way.

    Since then we have always been rebuilding but let’s be honest, we cant be rebuilding year after year as players will not take our club seriously, hence we will not attract top players.

  43. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    We should not buckle or waiver. Arsenal will be around after we are all gone.

    If the remit is to be able to say to your Chelsea supporting friend “We are champions, so stick that up your jacksy”, i want nothing to do with it. Thats self gratification, not a genuine love for the heart and soul of a club

    Lets keep our dignity and emerge as a true footballing powerhouse free of the narcistic taint of rich ownership and what tends to with it, constant change of managers, mercenery players, and in many cass unnethical practice.

    We will get there, and we will have done it in a way that we can say, yeah, that is the Arsenal i know, a class act.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    Fred, agreed: if Sagna leaves we will need a replacement: one who can compete with Jenkinson.

    Not agreed about Jack being the only one who will be a truly great player. Far too early to say in my view, and also, not every player needs to be truly great to be very valuable to a top club. Who is truly great at the Mancs for example?

  45. alexgunners says:

    TA,

    Ok, Kroenke may not have taken money into his pockets, but Arsenal’s networth allows him to buy other investments or sporting clubs. I have no idea if in fact he has done this but I am just curious to see if he has used The Arsenal to fund other projects of his.

    I would rather someone who is more outspoken and a little obnoxious rather than someone who says nothing and has no passion for the club.

  46. alexgunners says:

    Redders,

    You have definitely given us a post that has provoked a lot of passionate responses.
    Great work.

  47. Fred says:

    TMHT, I agree with you that it would be unwise to completely cave in to an oligarch but we do seriously need some extra funding to replace players we have lost. Also whilst our Youth Academy is good it is seriously overhyped, we lost to Aston Villa in the NextGen series and most of the young players that we’ve seen coming through have come from other clubs most notably Barca and Southampton. The only youth player that has come through our system without being at a previous club is Wilshere, and whilst he almost certainly is destined for great things and is argueably one of our best players at the moment it does not represent a good return on the vast amount of money we spend on our youth system.

  48. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    alex, if you mean has Kronke financed aquistion of other investments on he back of Arsenal, i believe the answer is no. Arsenals annual accounts, which are audited, also show that he has not taken anythimg out of the club.

    This is not sticking up for Kronke, we can not be certain of his long term intentions.

    This is my point, the club is more important than Kronke, Usmanov, or anybody.

    it is essence a representation of over 100 years of history wuth continuous evolvement.

    It is a Club we can be proud off, lets not put that in jeapordy.

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Alex

    Kroenke does nothing for me either. The most important thing I want him to do is not jeopardize our long term future. I liked it that he did not finance the purchase of the club’s shares through a loan which he then put on our balance sheet (as the Glazer’s did). I also like it that he leaves the management of the team to Arsene.

    I would love a passionate a shrewd owner in one, who does everything possible to get the best for the club short and long term, without being unethical or selling our values, but if we cannot get somebody like that, Kroenke is not such a bad alternative as many believe.

  50. Fred says:

    TA, I take your point that not every player in a team needs to be truely great but Man Utd have more game changers than we do. In their starting XI they have Van Judas, Rooney, Ferdinand, Vidic, and off the bench they have Kagawa, Giggs, Hernandez whilst added to that they also have better youth players getting more of a run out than we do in Smalling, Jones and Welbeck. You compare that to our game changers of Wilshere, Cazorla, Rosicky and Koz three of whom are competeing for the same position it does not look like too good a position to be in compared to Manure.

  51. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Fred, in the short term i completely agree with you. The squad needs investment and we may see some outlay this summer.

    However, i am not pessimistic. I beleive in the end by retaining our identity we will slowly but surely reach our goal as one of the greatest football clubs, and just as importantly, one of the greatest football teams in the world.

    Hang in there, it will all be worth it.

    Got to go, work calls, it has been a pleasure reading all your comments.

  52. alexgunners says:

    Thanks Terry for clarifying what I was trying to say.

    Yes the club is more important than anyone. All I am saying is that we need to be able to be competitive in order to better our position not only on the field but commercially.
    The way that we are set up will allow for success in the future but will that be too late? That is my question.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am well aware of the barren years in the past and the current drought is nowhere near as we have suffered before. I am so passionate about this club as all of you are and I guess that exploring another option is not a bad thing.

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Fred, I would add Podolski to that and the Mancs, as per your four main game changers, also have them in two positions – CB and striker.

    But agreed, this is were we need to add more quality during the summer. There are a lot of water carriers at Ushiteit though…

  54. Fred says:

    TMHT, in the ideal world what we would have is a owner who would be willing to invest heavily straight away, once for the short term so bringing in good experienced players and secondly to overhaul our youth system.

    Ideally as I have mentioned the FA will re-structure the existing leagues to allow for B and C teams to allow young players to get more experience earlier. This is one of the Primary reasons why England is not producing as many good players as say Germany and Spain.

  55. oz gunner says:

    Sh*t terry disproves, a conflict of accountancy!!! We’re doomed

  56. Fred says:

    TA, ture the Manure’s main game changers are in two positions, but they do also have a good cohort of young players coming through and although it pains me to say it I personally think they are better than ours unless ours can seriously progress very quickly.

    My point as I have said many times is an owner to buy experienced players for the short term, invest in grass roots and overhaul our youth academy in the long term. However, the FA needs to take some responsibility for the production of young British players and re-structure the existing leagues to something similar to Spain.

  57. henrychan says:

    RA.. nice post..
    I agree with you about FFP.. but I become more frustrated and don’t see it will be apply soon.. The FFP rules can be easily manipulated.. by such clubs like City or Chelsea.. which already did.. hehehe..

    I’m more agree with TA.. on how Arsenal sould run..
    I think.. what Wenger had done this 16 years.. was already right..
    And for that reason that I love this clubs so much.. and also Dortmund..
    That what a said as an Aresnal ways.. We shall never change it.. cause it will ruin our club..

    I never give respect to Barca, Madrid, PSG, Munchen, City, Chelsea and MU.. Cause I don’t like this way of football been played.. Nothing more fun for me than to watch them all lost.. especially by smaller team.. hahahaha..

    I ever said that in football, somehow.. we need to look at NBA system.. it was great.. They have balanced for all teams.. No team will be superior because of their money.. There are limited bugdet of players whom they can bought..
    Let’s say.. 80 million is the limit.. (although I think that also too big.. 50 million will be more equitable) so if some clubs bought a 50 million player.. then they only have 30 million left to spend.. no more than that.. They can only buy another top player next season.. And selling players not count to add the sum of buying.. limitted only 50 or 80 million of buying..
    So that no clubs can bring Falcao, Neymar and Lewandoski all together.. hehehehe..
    And there be no such 100 million player as Ronaldo and Messi.. hahahaha..

    And I just curious about Usmanov.. hehehe..
    With his big money.. Why don’t he buy such clubs like Soton or Swansea.. and do some crazy Abhamovic way.. hehehehe.. Maybe Soton will be at big five already.. hahaha..
    I think he love the Arsenal ways also.. and he know.. that’s the way a clubs must run.. hahahaha..

    @VCC.. I don’t think this week is my lucky week..
    I must choose Liverpool at first.. but I choose Soton.. hahaha..
    Harry Redknapp is surely not a good manager.. With a lot of good material.. he fail to raise QPR up.. No wonder Spurs lost a lot in his last 10 games last season..
    Swansea also didn’t give their best for the game.. They already satisfied with their position and one Cup.. hehehehe..
    I only have Sunderland now.. If magic do exist.. then I can have another 5 points this week.. good enough to make your position in danger.. hahahaha..
    But you still the best my friend.. and I think you will got the trophy.. hehehe..

    .

  58. AFC says:

    Hi guys, I have been really busy lately and have not had the time to come onto Bergkampesque, so I will have to catch up with all of the great articles and comments. 🙂

  59. VCC says:

    Hi Henry……your making a good fight of the UMF, that’s for sure. Keep it up Amigo. hehehe

  60. Red Arse says:

    What a great bunch of bloggers you all are! Different opinions and yet everyone is respectful and prepared to listen to the other guy.

    I was for a time the Treasury Accounts Manager for a very large organisation, and what that meant was managing the cash funding to ensure there was money available to pay the creditors, the tax man, and most importantly cash to pay the salaries and wages of the staff.

    To do that, I also had to collect the debts owed and to liaise with the banks to ensure we had lines of credit which all contributed to the successful running of the company.

    Right, that is not bragging, but it explains why I touched on the accrued accounting concept above, as well as touching on the cash accounting concept.

    The two are very different — and in a nutshell — it is possible to have a seemingly profitable company making all the right decisions, glowing with justifiable pride, but by not managing the cash the company can go bust if it does not pay what it owes. Cash Is King.

    Arsenal still have a £250m debt or mortgage on the Emirates, which carries a very heavy interest coupon which cannot be repaid in full until 2030/31. Every year the club needs to make a profit, translated into cash, in order to pay this interest charge before we even think of paying for players.

    Now, I, like TA and some others, would rather all the clubs were made to stick to the same accounting principles that apply to Arsenal. Yes, that is what I would like. But realistically that is unlikely to happen. If it does not happen, and we do not change our policy re self sustainability, we will never win anything, other than possibly a cup, until after 2031, as a minimum.

    Call me fickle, but add another minimum 18 years on to the 8 barren years we have already experienced and I think Arsenal as we currently know it will have withered away.

    The fewer trophies we win, the less sponsorship money we will get. The less money we get, the fewer players we can buy. The fewer players we buy – the fewer trophies we will win and so it will go on.

    TA, I understand what you are saying, and I know you will want to have your say on an alternative system, but I see this problem as a far bigger problem than just how it affects Arsenal. It is going to adversely affect all the clubs outside the oligarch system, who are not as fortunate as Arsenal, and will ruin football for all of them, and with it the whole point of competing fairly in the Premier League.

    The oligarchs are here. They are not going away in a hurry, and we cannot turn back the clock.
    We (all the non oligarch clubs) need to adjust and adapt, or we will simply be the cannon fodder for the ‘top three’ in our EPL game, and the same will apply to the teams outside the top 2 or 3 in all the other other leagues throughout Europe [just look at Real and Barca in Spain, and soon in Germany with Bayern M, and PSG in France — and that trend will eventually lead to the death of football as we know it.

    I am sorry, but thinking of it in terms of ‘buying’ a trophy is possibly a little short sighted, and insular, the problem is more widespread, and, in any event, clubs have always ‘bought’ trophies since the transfer system first came into play.
    A club who could afford to ‘buy’ another team’s best player(s) has always done so for over a hundred years. The only difference now is a matter of scale. 🙂

  61. AFC says:

    RA, top post as usual and I totally agree, SPOT ON! 🙂

    Many people say that football is not a business but it is. There is money involved making it a business. Players, managers, agents and clubs all get paid. Everyone involved in football are mainly involved for the money or for their own publicity.

    Moving onto to our club. There is no point playing good football if you do not win anything. What is going to happen when the clubs below us find themselves an a rich billionaire, who can supply the necessary funds for the club to get into the CL and compete for major trophies, Man City is a prime example of this. We will continue to slide further and further down the league (when Wenger leaves this even more likely to happen), first only getting into the Europa League, struggling to get into the Europa League and then not even making Europe at all. Basically becoming a mid-table team. For me the only way to stop this happening is to spend.

  62. AFC says:

    Onto the man who owns our club. Apparently every franchise Kroenke owns is pretty mediocre and does not win anything. If this is true why do we want this man running our great. He does not even seem to be that interested in our club. At least the owners at QPR and City seem interested. Quite frankly I do not care who owns our club as long as they are not ruining our club and are willing to invest in our club.

  63. Danish Gooner says:

    European football are transforming in to a few super clubs that will swoop for all the best players and Arsenal will be left with the rest……unless Financial fair play really takes charge(highly doubtful).It is the old story of Wenger trying to buy players at 90 prices when in fact we are in 2013.The Pl is now a melting pot for the very best players when Wenger took over the Pl was as sophisticated as a two dollar whore and he had an easy ride on scouting because his scouting nerwork were top class,it has been overtaken many times since and our academy are neither anything special to write home about to compensate for that you need to spend.United secured Smalling and Jones for a combined 28 mil and that is the future of United we could have had both but didnt want to fork out,a big mistake.The same about Wilfried Zaha a brilliant young talent and actually an Arsenal fan still wouldnt fork out 12 mil for someone so promising instead he spend 12 mil on the very disappointing Oxlade-Chamberlain.

  64. oz gunner says:

    @ Danish

    are you kidding me, you mean the Ox who has played more games for England than Zaha. Ox will smash Zaha’s career to pieces. Get behind our players you miserable sod!

  65. AFC says:

    Hi Danish Gooner.

    Jones and Smalling did not want to come Arsenal. Apparently Jones said he wanted to win things and that is why he went to United.

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Exactly Redders 🙂

    It is a matter of scale.

    It has gone beyond what is acceptable. Citey winning the league and making a £194m loss in 12 months is just rediculous and in my view utterly meaningless.

    You are a very clever and balanced man, and I respect your views, Redders. I know I am idealistic about this, but I don’t want us to join the ‘oil-revolution’, even if this would mean not winning anything for many years to come, which I very much doubt.

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC 🙂

    Good to see you back.

    Re the owners of QPR … relegated with a nightmare of a player costbase for years to come. I like passion too but business sense even more. It is all about striking the perfect balance and we have not got this right in the last few years. Hopefully things will improve now.

    Redders 🙂

    I thought our stadium depth is only £100m now, not £250m?

  68. Red Arse says:

    Just for a little breather until HH gets here!!

    Glic walks into a bar with a paper bag. He sits down and places the bag on the counter.

    The bartender walks up and asks what’s in the bag. The Glicster reaches into the bag and pulls out a little man, about one foot high and sets him on the counter.

    He then reaches back into the bag and pulls out a small piano,
    Setting it on the counter as well.
    He reaches into the bag once again and pulls out a tiny piano bench, which he places in front of the piano.

    The little man sits down at the piano and starts playing a beautiful piece by Mozart!

    “Where on earth did you get that?” says the bartender. Glic responds by reaching into the paper bag. This time he pulls out a magic lamp. He hands it to the bartender and says: “Here. Rub it.”

    So the bartender rubs the lamp, and suddenly there’s a gust of smoke
    And a beautiful genie is standing before him.

    “I will grant you one wish. Just one wish. Each person is only allowed to have One!”

    The bartender gets real excited. Without hesitating he says, “I want a million bucks!”

    A few moments later, a duck walks into the bar.
    It is soon followed by another duck, then another.
    Pretty soon, the entire bar is filled with ducks.
    And they keep coming!

    The bartender turns to Glic and says, “Y’know, I think your genie’s a little deaf. I asked for a million bucks, not a million ducks.”

    “Tell me about it!” says the Glicster, “Do you really think I asked for a 12 inch pianist?”

    [So the next time Glic, make sure you speak more clearly!!] 😀

  69. TotalArsenal says:

    hahahaha Redders – that is exactly what he would ask for! 😀

  70. Red Arse says:

    TA, shame on you for calling me names!!

    “A clever and balanced man” is far from the case — and I demand an instant apology!!! 😀

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Vous etes un homme de beaucoup de merite, Cul Rouge! 😛

  72. AFC says:

    Hi TA,

    Regarding our draw with United, 1 point is alright considering Walcott’s goal was offside and a lot of people thought we would lose this match.

    I could see Jovetic behind Giroud in a 4-4-1-1 formation playing the role Van Der Vaart played at Spurs.

    QPR are totally different from Arsenal. They are a much smaller club who just got recently promoted. At least their owner never gave up and that is what football is about. I could not imagine Stan doing the same.

    TA, we sign have a certain GK and/or ST from QPR. 😉

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    We conceded just seven goals in our last 11 games btw. Something to build on, no?

  74. TotalArsenal says:

    They might be smaller club, you are right AFC, but could they be the next Portsmouth?

  75. Red Arse says:

    TA, my man, when is your Post going out? I may have changed my mind again by then!! 😀

    The problem with my Post is that there are so many ancillary aspects to this discussion, but it would make an article that was much too long.

    It is possible that I could write another Post, eventually, perhaps in the summer, to highlight the wider aspect of the disgraceful situation that has been allowed to occur and to so demean the integrity of our football, when these rich bast*rds were permitted free rein for their obscene money to bring them instant self gratification.

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    Redders, probably at the end of the week or tomorrow morning. We have a Marcus post tomorrow evening and an Admir post on Wednesday/Thursday night to look forward to. 🙂

  77. TotalArsenal says:

    Out for a bit chaps, catch you later.

  78. Glic says:

    hahaha The genie I had was European, I asked for 12 inches , but bastard only understood metric and gave me 12 cm !.

  79. AFC says:

    TA, QPR could be the next Portsmouth. Harry has a very hard job of getting rid of all of the players who are on huge wages. I can see them going on a downwards spiral, going down the Leagues where they will have to start from square one or going bust. Pretty sad really.

  80. Red Arse says:

    I suppose if it had been Troublesome Terry the million bucks/ducks could have been a million f*cks. He would not have survived for long!! 😀

  81. Red Arse says:

    Hi AFC, 🙂

    We have had a similar problem with players on too high a salary/contract, such as Squillaci, Bendy, Denilson and Santos.

    These guys will want either a big pay off, or to hang on like hell until their contracts expire.

    Loyalty? Sentimentality? It has no place, unfortunately, in the football world.

  82. Glic says:

    I have always wondered what one wish from a genie I would ask for and I think I have one that covers all angles !. I would rub my cock…..sorry …… lamp and out would pop a genie and grant one wish……..” My wish is to be the worlds luckiest bastard ! “.
    I would do the lottery and win the jackpot and VCC would say…..you lucky bastard !.
    I would be playing football in the park with VCC just as Arsene walks by and he would offer me a contract as the new G10 and VCC would say…..you lucky bastard !.
    I would accidently discover a penis enlarging potion and VCC would say……you lucky bastard !
    I would be in the night club with VCC and all the super models would ask me to shag them and VCC would say…..you lucky bastard !.
    I would discover a anti-aging and immortal cream and VCC would say…..you lucky bastard !.
    If I fell out a plane, I would land safely head first into Beyonces gash and VCC would say …..you lucky bastard !.

    Is there a better choice of one wish ?.

    You`ve at least got one thing going for you though, your an Arsenal supporter !…………………………………………you lucky bastards !. hahaha

  83. Red Arse says:

    My one wish would be — let me have three wishes — and on the third wish, I would say — let me have three wishes!!

    Greedy moi? No, I would ask for whatever my friends wanted with every 2nd wish — and exhaust that genie!!

  84. Glic says:

    I must make my self clear, I would love FFP to f**k up City and Chavs and only want Usmanov as a plan B. However, if FFP doesn`t work, I can only see what Redders has said and see us being a ordinary run of the mill club…..a totnumb !. F**k that, yes, I will always love Arsenal, but do I want to be a deluded sad miserable bastardo for the rest of my life or be happy knowing that at least we will compete with the big boys !.
    I cant see us becoming a ….totnumb…..so I`m confident our club will do what`s right to keep us competitive , whatever that may be !.
    It`s been said….only time will tell !.

  85. Glic says:

    That’s a good wish there Redders, on a par with me being ….the worlds luckiest bastard !. At the moment , I`m just the bastard part of that wish !, hahaha

  86. Glic says:

    I think stretch would wish for a full head of hair, but what type of hair ?. Probably a Beavers !. hahaha

  87. Admir says:

    Wonderful text, Redders, and very provoking one as well! 🙂

    First of all, I have to say that – due to my ideological views – I have had a lot of sympathy for Wenger’s socialistic view.

    However, even Lenin admitted that we live in capitalism (actually, he said it in a different way but the point is similar).

    There was a motto in communist Yugoslavia that said: “Tuđe nećemo – svoje ne damo!” It means: “We don’t want anything that belong to someone else but what’s ours, it’s ours!” Financial and transfer policy of Arsenal should be more like it. OK, we don’t want Messi, Falcao, Cavani, Cristiano Ronaldo, because it goes against our principles but we also don’t want anyone to put their greedy hands at Fabregas, Van Persie, Song, Nasri, Clichy (actually, you can have all Clichy you want), etc, etc.

    Make your own 11 of players that left Arsenal in past few years and you will notice that we could make a very serious team of departed ones and most of those players left due to greener pastures of other clubs (and by greener pastures, I mean money):

    Almunia (OK, Sczszesny is better) – Eboue, Gallas, Kolo Toure, Clichy – Song, Flamini – Hleb, Fabregas, Nasri – Van Persie.

    One might argue with the quality of defense but with Flamini and Song as defensive midfielders, it would look much better.

    Basically, what I suggest is a middle model – we need a policy that will help us keep the best talents we have and to add some fresh blood that will quickly adapt and find their place in the system.

  88. Fred says:

    Admir, I certainly agree with you that we haven’t adequately replaced players that we’ve lost, however I would say Lehmann who we also sold/let go is better than Sczsney and the moment. Although with the list of players you’ve mentioned I have to say personally I think our CB pairing now is better than that of Gallas and Toure, if you said Campbell and Toure it would make a very interesting debate as to which is better. But the one position we have definately improved on is RB.

    As you may have noticed earlier one of the bits between my teeth I had was that we haven’t replaced players that have left with similar or higher quality players. For that I am not too sure who is to blame whether it is the BoD or Wenger. I would never ask for Wenger to leave but some of the signings he has made recently have been very average at best. Especially if you consider that there are other players of similar quality in the same price bracket (maybe a little higher.)

    We constantly hear that Wenger has X million to spend, usually going towards the 100m end of the spectrum yet he never spends it. This makes me wonder if we actually have the money or not. Surely if we did have that as expendable income Wenger would spend it?

    The time is coming where the BoD need to make some big decisions about the future of the club. Fans are dissapointed about having not one anything for nearly a decade and who can blame them, and the longer it goes on the more disgruntled the fans will get. The BoD cannot afford to keep only challenging for fourth place as soon we may well lose very lucarative sponsorship deals. We have already lost the addidas deal that would have bought in 30m/season!

  89. Admir says:

    Fred, I agree regarding quality of CB-pair. I mentioned those players as they left Arsenal (I would pick 41-year-old Lehmann that was on the goal against Blackpool instead of Almunia, for instance, and for back-up for Sczszesny) and are still playing on serious level (that’s why I didn’t include Campbell).

    I also agree regarding new recruits. I can’t understand how on Earth we are now interested in Adler and we would, apparently, buy him for 5 million of something (euros or pounds…irrelevant for this discussion) and we could snap him on a free transfer only a year ago. What happened that changed Wenger’s mind? He saw that commercial for Monte with Rene and his brother? Adler suddenly became less susceptible to injuries? What did our scouts do in the last few years? We have spent almost as much money on Gervinho, Park and Santos (21 million pounds) as Borussia Dortmund did on Guendogan, Lewandowski and Reus (23 million pounds). Insert Guendogan, Lewandowski and Reus in today’s Arsenal and (I’m not kidding) we would have another Invincibles this season.

    German market is especially interesting. For instance, Luiz Gustavo and Demba Ba could have been noticed if anyone bothered to watch Hoffenheim.

    Sebastien Frey was available on a free transfer not very long ago as well – an experienced goalkeeper. Moussa Sissoko had only six months on his contract with Toulouse left before Newcastle signed him for peanuts.

    However, that part of policy would be corrected in my middle model – there would be a strong scouting network that would look after players that could answer to demands of modern football. Personally, I don’t want to see some Usmanov, Abramovich or anyone else who has been lucky enough to earn billions in a lot of different ways to take over Arsenal and then sign, e.g., Shevchenko because he likes him (or like son of Massimo Moratti apparently did with Robbie Keane when he signed him at Inter – he was signed for cca 20 million euros because of good statistics found on the internet 😀 ). What I want is BoD that help our manager (whoever it’s going to be) to keep our best players and to add proper players regardless of amount of money.

  90. Fred says:

    I totally agree with your middle model, but we would need to overhaul our youth academy for it to work because as it stands we aren’t producing youth players just simply buyint them from other acadamies.

    I personally have mixed opinions about bringing in someone like Usmanov as I am not too sure on his motives and also for the same principled reason as TA but at the same time I am sick of us not challenging for titles and something does need to change. We need to buy quite a few experienced players at the moment, players around 24-28 and then overhaul our youth academy and get links set up with other clubs to take our young players out on loan and in return we get first dibs on some of their players.

    Whilst it is great that Dortmund did buy those players for so little it is primarily due to the fact that they are a german team and know about good young players in Germany. Unfortunately their aren’t enough good young British players, and the people at fault for that are Primarily the FA. If the FA made it easier for young players to get competitive football experience you would see the quality dramatically increase as well as further investment into grass roots football.

  91. Fred says:

    With regards to Adler, I agree it is stupid that we didn’t get him for free especially as Wenger is known to be a long time admirer of him.

  92. Admir says:

    My brother – who happens to have a huge knowledge regarding Bundesliga players – said to me that Wenger should have signed him for free but also added that Adler had a clause in his contract that would allow only FAnchester United to buy him.

    Speaking of our competitiveness – when I read a text on Untold Arsenal regarding how we challenged for trophies in the past 8 years and that we should be happy because of it, it reminded me of an old joke. A guy was asked about his sexual life and he answered: “Well, I have sex almost every day.” When he gets an applause and question: “How you manage to do that?”, he answers: “Well, I almost had sex yesterday, I almost had sex two days ago, I almost had sex three days ago…”

  93. Fred says:

    Hahaha that sums up the past 8 years for arsenal pretty well.

    I have to say I am a bit surprised by what you said about Adlers contract it would be highly unusual to say that only one club could buy him. I personally thought we should have got him when he was free, and although he’s no ball-boy bayern goalie he’s still a very good keeper and a good safe pair of hands, seems kind of stupid to pay 5m for him when we could have got him for free though…

  94. Fred says:

    I’ve just looked up the Adler deal, it wasn’t that only Manure could buy him it was that while he was at Leverkusen he had a buy out clause of 20m euros that only Man Utd could activate, it didn’t stop anyone else buying him just stopped them triggering the automatic buy out clause. However, now he is at Hamburg I am not sure if he still has the same clause.

  95. allezkev says:

    A bit late coming on today.
    Red, that was a mighty fine post amigo.

  96. Red Arse says:

    That was really interesting reading the comments between Fred and Admir. 🙂

    You have both indirectly mentioned the point that TA raised earlier about what is morally right in terms of the ownership, and having known TA for approximately three years, I can confirm that he has been consistent in his views on this matter.

    Until recently, I also held similar views, but we need to deal with the situation we are in now.

    To give you guys something to discuss, I had to selectively edit some seriously worryingly details which frankly puts a very different slant on this subject.

    It is entirely possible that only one club will come out of this financial quagmire smelling of roses, and that is Manure. But I will keep my powder dry on this for the moment.

  97. Red Arse says:

    Thanks, Allez, and welcome. 🙂

    Thank you too also to all you guys who have been complimentary about the subject matter.

    Finances are such a boring subject to most people that I try to steer well away from writing about it normally, however, with the summer Transfer Window not too far off, it is a bit of a hot potato because of the funding/ownership issue that come with it.

    I think next season can be a tipping point for Arsenal, and it is essential that AW makes the right choices and is properly supported by Kroenke.

    We will see.

  98. Glic says:

    Right, a moment has passed, now tell us ! hahaha

  99. Fred says:

    RA, really manure would come out of it smelling of roses? I have to say I am quite surprised as that as their name is a synonym for shit, oh yeah and they also have a tonne of debt. I mean I know they have a huge revenue stream and all but they also have pretty inflated wages and keep splashing out which minamises the amount of debt they can pay off.

    In an ideal world we would have an owner that had an open cheque book should Wenger need it and just leave him to run the club. Unlike Abramovich who has the open cheque book but fires a manager every few months and demands that Shevchenko should be a Chavski Player. I know this is unlikely but if Usmanov garunteed he would stay out of the running of the club on a daily basis and let Wenger use his cheque book when he needed to I would love for him to take over. However, as I said I am still unsure of his motives so until then I would have to say no to him or any other oil sheikh/oligarch coming in unless they garunteed stability at the club before taking over.

  100. Glic says:

    Yes, finances can be a boring subject, but not when It`s about Arsenals future. A top post dictionary meister, which only a few can write with a background of experience !.

  101. allezkev says:

    Red, i’m afraid that I cannot see there being, any significant changes this summer.
    Kroenke seemingly has no interest whatsoever, with the possible exception of the profitability of the club.
    Whatever fans may or may not think of Dein, he wanted to see a trophy winning Arsenal.
    I cannot imagine, for one moment, that another trophyless season, even register’s in the psyche of Stan, as he muses over the purchase of his next ranch…

  102. Red Arse says:

    AllezK,

    I know it is frustrating, because there are so many variables involved it is difficult for the layman to see the wood for the trees.

    That being said, Kroenke whatever his motives will want Arsenal to keep on being at least partially successful, otherwise his investment will lose value.

    So what dictates this possible change? Well as I said earlier, there is a virtuous cycle where good performance ensures commercial sponsors pour money into the club, poor performances soon turn that particular money tap off.

    Let’s talk turkey here. This is not to abuse our players, as we all want to support the guys wearing the Arsenal shirt, but I am not just a fan, but because of my profession (when I am not ill 🙂 ) I look hard at the fundamentals and will not let my judgement be clouded by sentiment. [Sorry, Merry terry 🙂 ]

    We have several OK players, but OK only in terms of them being capable of making a living in professional football, at a goodish level, but not currently good enough to play for a team aiming for the very top of the Premiership.

    Who are they? Sagna, Rambo, Gervinho, Mert, Verm, Arteta, Podolski, Theo.

    Any one of them could be usefully absorbed in a top team, but 8 of them together just cannot be carried in a team hoping to win the EPL or the ECL. Of course, if we want to settle for trying to qualify fourth every year — that’s different.

    Arsenal, with all its history, and the demands of us, the fans, need to set their sights higher, and that is what I want too.

  103. Red Arse says:

    Fred,

    I used the term ‘smelling of roses’ not as my personal view of them, which is very different, but that they have trail blazed the sponsorship route, and their annual interest payments are easily dealt with by their enormous deals.

    So, if the oligarchs are allowed to carry on as they currently are, Manure are well able to stay with them, if on the other hand FFP, against all expectations does sink its teeth into the oilygarchs, then the FFP rules are written in such a way that the ONLY club who will benefit and sit at the top of the pile is ……………………… Manure. Either way they come up smelling of roses! 😦

    I have said enough financially things, but as I alluded to earlier, I may explain further in rthe near future. [sorry, even I am becoming bored — but then I know the answers!! 🙂 ]

  104. Red Arse says:

    Sorry, Glicster,

    I forgot to thank you for your compliment about my financial shtick! So, thank you!! 🙂

    Of course, it works two ways, because you are my mentor in all things related to building love shacks in Cornwall, and also on how to be successful with wild, wild, wimmin!! 😀

  105. Red Arse says:

    Where has HH and PPP been today?

    I was sure I would have an energetic discussion with them on something so important to Arsenal! 🙂

  106. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Sorry Redders, i do not regard myself as a sentimentalist, well ok, maybe a bit. (mentalist for sure hahaha)

    I have an optomistic outlook as regards are future finances relative to our rivals, The financial gap will narrow, and of course, this is essential if we are to get to were we want to be.

    But its more than that. If we maintain our financial model, and hopefuly wih it all the vaules that make Arsenal a great club, then our position to succed will be greatly enhanced.

    This is a practical strategy. The idea is that with increased financial parity the time will come when we chalange for the major honours, but with the added bonus that our approach in getting there will be one that will be admired and hence increase our brand vaule even further. If we maintain what we are then we will attract sponsers and increase our fan base

    For me, this is not time to change tac. Yes, we have the stadium debt, but that is at a managable £15 million a year. The new sponsership deals will also give the club a hugh boost, perhapes increasing our turnover by near on 20%. All this at a time when FFP has already given a kick in the teeth to the suger daddys. And you are right, Utd are benefiting and will continue to do so, but so will we.

  107. Highbury Harmony says:

    RA,

    Brilliant masterstroke of an article mate! Class resonates through this entire article and I largely agree with a majority of your opinion, particularly that accepting the path of “just playing good football in our own way” is an acceptance of complacency and an admittance of defeat.

    Personally, I feel as though Arsenal will never be able to experience the success we all desire and thirst for until the owner situation is rectified and changed. Kroenke is a penny pinching a$$hole who does not love this club and is motivated by profit over success (I say this from monitoring his NA owned teams as well, not just his dealings with Arsenal).

    Whether he has the final decision on player purchases/signings or no control over the dealings of a manager, he should still be held responsible for not investing more time and money into his teams. The sale of top players through trade is a common theme throughout any Kroenke owned team and often occurs because players feel that there is no commitment throughout the organization to truly compete or challenge for trophies. The decision to idly stand by and watch his teams fail from a trophy standpoint, only succeeding in a profit perspective is sickening.

    A team can only go so far if the model is built on financial sustainability and not roster and organizational sustainability; Arsenal have achieved two of three of these elements of sustainability and are lacking the roster aspect. However, I must concede that I am not privy to the situation players are in behind closed doors, but what reason did we have to sell Song? Na$ri, Ca$hley Cole, van Judas and Adebarndoor were all mercenaries and glory hunting traitors, but I did not feel the situation was akin for Song. Holding onto our top players is a must and selling them for a profit has become and will continue to be our downfall.

    I apologize for slightly going off on a tangent. Back to the article at hand.

    The only point of contention for me is that the selfish/ignorant side of me believes in the Arsenal way and that there is an answer to winning outside of the dirty, oligarch way. If there isn’t, then what hope is there for all clubs not owned by an oligarch? Then, one must question what is the point of watching football at all, if you are not a fan of those clubs!

    TA, touched upon this earlier, and BD should be the modern model of success for clubs like Arsenal who are not able to compete with the oligarch clubs in the transfer market. Continuing to build through the youth and churning out top talent, in addition to replacing departing players with a like player is crucial to maintaining position domestically and internationally. What becomes necessary then is giving the manager the freedom to invest the profit the club has made into the club through player transfers. However, the manager must be crafty enough to wisely spend the resources on quality players. This is one area that AW has either failed in or has not been given the approval from those above him to go forward with.

    No offense to players like Gervinho, Giroud, Arteta, Mertesacker etc., but are they truly top quality talents that have adequately replaced those that have left? IMO, they are not and have been plan B purchases since AW has not been given the license to spend on players that he would like to see his departing players replaced with (either that or he’s truly lost his touch in scouting/the transfer market which I am not willing to admit yet).

    In either case, this summer represents the crucial turning point for our club one way or another. If we do not spend, we continue the path of mediocrity and perpetual transition or if we spend incorrectly and purchase players not of top quality, we limit our potential to compete with the top clubs. If we spend and spend correctly, we become a force to be reckoned with and can compete with the top clubs in the world and become yet another example of a different path to success to the oligarch clubs (I say this since if you compare our transfer out sum to transfer in sum over the years, even spending a large sum this year would not be comparable to what the oligarchs have spent over the years).

  108. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, I forgot to add that while I love that Usmanov is a passionate man who loves this club, I am not willing to endure a revolving door approach to managers and there is no guarantee that unlimited spending potential breeds success in football. It certainly helps, but I fear for the lack of sustainability in such a model. However, sustainability in the squad/organization, wise spending and giving a shrewd manager like Klopp (AW back in the day) the license to spend is a recipe for success. It’s just about the right balance and unfortunately we have struggled to find this compromise in the past 8 years. Kroenke as a removed and disinterested owner in our club certainly does not help breed success either.

  109. Red Arse says:

    You are such a nice person, Terry, whereas I am a cynical product of the big finance environment where ‘admiration’ is reserved exclusively for cold blooded money making schemes, and those decisions necessary in achieving that, with no room for human niceties.

    I am not sure on what financial analysis you base your conclusion that the ‘values’ which make Arsenal a great club translates to financial parity?

    There you go, again, you old sentimentalist placing a monetary value on the admirable way we ‘got there’, on the suspect premise that somehow it adds to our ‘brand value’.

    I love you Terrance, but please do not leave the world of local accountancy practice, because the bastards I deal with in the insensitive corporate world of the global economy have nice guys like you as hors d’oeuvre, simply because they can!! 🙂

  110. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA @ 11:27, I would challenge your comment by boldly proclaiming that Klopp out-Arsened Arsene and has become the norm for managing a team with less. Either his scouts or his own scouting has surpassed AW or being based in Germany, he has better access to finding undervalued and upcoming talent.

    AW is fighting a war on two fronts; having to buy top established players to immediately compete with the Mancs and Chavs domestically and also trying to build through the youth and uncovering the next gem, but unfortunately it has to be either Spanish or German and a large majority of these young players look to stay within their country or to receive immediate first-team opportunities to receive experience. Thus, eventually these once young gems are being scooped up by the oligarchs, leaving clubs like Arsenal picking up the remaining pieces (what I term plan B purchases).

    In that respect, there is a call for an oligarch owner, but one that also respects and understands reasonable spending and building a club and squad with sustainability. If we had an oligarch owner cognizant that things take time and would allow our club to grow together and add pieces slowly, I would not be opposed to it whatsoever (i.e. an oligarch who gave us the license to spend big on one or two pieces).

    What I will not stand for, is an oligarch owner who sells and buys players as he wishes, ignoring the project a manager is clearly trying to construct. Mass exodus and arrival of players through the transfer market is a recipe for failure and clubs who engage in such tactics should be ashamed of themselves for further breeding a lack of loyalty in the modern game.

  111. Red Arse says:

    Hi HH, 🙂

    I have been looking for you all day, and now that you are here — I have to go, dammit.

    It seems that we are in broad agreement.

    However, I am not sure that the inference Usmanov will adopt the revolving management door that Abramovich has mentored is necessarily relevant. These oligarch guys are very much individualistic, and do not copy each other by rote.

    Anyway, there are two points to consider.

    a) The oligarch who might take over Arsenal, may not be Usmanov, who might prefer to bugger off with a very nice profit on his shares; and

    b) Abramovich might say “you don’t like my manager carousel? Show me your trophies! My Chelsea have won the EPL, more than once, the ECL, and umpteen FA and League cups, including the Double” — and he would have every right to be cocky about that! 😀

    But then you know that!! 😀

    Got to go, but I am looking forward to your next Post.
    I really like your analytical approach to topics, and I am sorry not to have more time to chat to you tonight!! 😀

  112. weedonald says:

    As usual, dead on TMHT. All our faithless, whiny fanboys who think that a sugar-daddy will cure all our supposed ¨problems¨haven’t done their homework or bothered to root out the fat Uzbeki’s apparent implication and involvement in a lot of the underhanded business AFC have been subjected to recently.
    The moment we go down the road of Russian or Oilygarch ownership, the future of our Club will be out of the hands of Wenger and the BOD, a la Abramovich model. Currently we have a sustainable model, accepted by our majority shareholder, who has taken a hands off approach to the Club. He is definitely not a football fan, preferring the North american sports he knows best but he has not hurt our Club….imho it is men like Dein jr. and Usmanov who have tried to do more damage and it is faithless, greedy players like Nasri, Robin Van Persecuted, Adebayore, Flamoney and perhaps even Song who have hurt both fans and Wenger a lot more.
    HH….the replacements for the likes of Cesc, Nasri, RVP, Flamoney and Song have been replaced by Cazorla (not a Cesc but a world-class player all the same), Arteta (far better and more reliable than Nasri) Ramsey (already far better than Flamoney), Wilshere (Everyone raves about his class and talent, and he has made Song a distant memory). It took three players to replace RVP (Giroud, Podolski and Walcott) but together they did score more goals than him…..I like to imagine what the team could have done with RVP and those guys but that is for another day.

  113. Red Arse says:

    You are right, by the way, HH, our scouting/decision making system over the last few years leaves a lot to be desired. 🙂

    Nite, nite.

  114. Highbury Harmony says:

    Weedonald, we replaced Song with Arteta first of all, clearly that hasn’t worked out thus far. While Ramsey may be performing better than Flamini did for us right now, he isn’t the type of player to bring us forward against clubs like Barca, Real, Bayern and BD. He’s a good squad player to have, but as a starter he’s nowhere close to the top level. Domestically he is currently a good option, but that speaks to how crap the EPL is right now and not how good he is.

    Three players to replace 1?! Are you serious??? No wonder why we can’t win anything if we’ve used three players on the pitch to compensate for the departing production of ONE!

  115. Highbury Harmony says:

    RA, disappointing I could not join earlier to discuss this masterful article with you! I still appreciate your response and compliments :). Good night my friend.

  116. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Redders, i am fully aware were your coming from, i just do not accept the premise that we need a suger daddy, certainly not yet anyway.

    Its hard to put vaule on an intangible like soul or spirit of a club but i do believe it exsists and that in the long run it will serve us well

    From a financial point of view, we are in the strongest position since we made the stadium move. Only time will tell if our current model and the governing bodies financial regulations will be enough for us to compete with the best.

    As for been “had for breakfast”, i have been many times, and very nice it was to. hahaha

  117. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Thank you Weedy. What are you having for breakfast? hahaha

  118. Highbury Harmony says:

    Think of it this way, we are currently committing three players to compensate for the production of one. That leaves us dastardly thin at production for those other positions, meaning that we have clearly not adequately replaced RVP.

    Wilshere was not really a “replacement” for Cesc either. He was in that he eventually took the position from him, but he was a home grown replacement and not bought in the transfer market to replace him. So then, what did we spend the money from the sale of Cesc on exactly? What a home grown solution replaces a departing player, the extra funds from the sale of a player should be used to improve the squad in a different area!

  119. Highbury Harmony says:

    When a home grown*

  120. Red Arse says:

    Weedonald,

    Sadly, I cannot stay to discuss this with you, other than to say you are putting words in Terry’s mouth.

    Just say your piece and do not try to use my friends to make your unsubstantiated points.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but as usual, you seem to think that being personally abusive somehow strengthens your opinion. It does not, it just makes you …… you!

    If you think that I am a faithless, whiney fanboy (whatever the hell that means) it is a pity that you live thousands of miles from here, otherwise you could tell me that to my face, but perhaps it is just as well you can’t, because you would not want to do so a second time, and I suspect you would not even do it a first time.

  121. weedonald says:

    HH…..What clearly hasn’t worked out with Arteta? He has done a superb job this season so clarity is surely missing from your argument. Ramsey is still developing but he is capable of playiong against the big Clubs, we beat Bayern at their stadium with him in the midfield…and his performance was , imho, worthy of MOTM against Manure. The EPL may be ¨crap¨as you say but AFC aren’t and demeaning a player based on a hypothetical judgement about the league is disingenious. Are the teams in LaLiga crap because there are only two teams who win it every year?
    Of course you misunderstood my point HH. Giroud,and Podolski were brought in to accompany RVP not replace him, but when he left, the mantle of scorers fell on their shoulders and they did the job. So what is the problem? Give your crusade against our team a break.

  122. Red Arse says:

    You are OK, Terry, and I hope you are right about a level financial playing field, because as I said to TA earlier, that would be my preference too.

    If FFP works … fine …. if not then my suggestion is the only option in town!! 🙂

    Just nod, or I will get the Glicster to sort you and your pigeon coup out!! 😀

    Definitely gone now!!

  123. Highbury Harmony says:

    Weedonald, another factor you are not considering is the fact that we need to progress beyond replacing players with a like replacement. Our teams were never good enough as it was to win a title, so taking all these years to sufficiently replace them is useless (one could make an argument for the 09/10 season before the Ramsey leg break though). We basically not only need to replace those that have left over the years, but also buy even more players in order to construct a title winning side.

    We needed to be proactive at the time in replacing them, as acting after the fact is pointless if we continue to see our top players leave year after year.

  124. weedonald says:

    Red Arse…..and you are being you, aggressive and confrontational and taking umbrage in your friends place. I am not insulting you or anyone else…..other than those people who want to win at all costs and don’t care about how that is achieved, even if it means the destruction of the Club. If you are one of them that so be it. As far as your feeble threats to me, I’d love to be in front of you and we could discuss your rancour and defensiveness like gentlemen….but that won’t happen soon.
    I am in agreement with Terry but somehow you feel entitled to defend his honour. He can speak for himself, he doesn’t need your pitbull paranoia to protect him. Next time try and avoid physical threats as it shows your real character, not a noble one for sure!

  125. weedonald says:

    Apparently Red Arse is my morning snack Terry. He seems to have the poker up his arse about my comments to you….if you felt they were insulting and demeaning I am sure you’d have let me know but he is playing St.George trying to slay the Dragon but is actually Don Quixote jousting at windmills.

  126. Highbury Harmony says:

    Wee, what has worked out with Arteta? We haven’t beat any of the top sides this year with him as a DM. He’s a good player that I like on this club, but if he is our answer at DM against the top clubs Internationally and even domestically, then we will continue to toil in mediocrity and struggle to even achieve CL football year after year. Beating on the lower table clubs may be your preference and path to success, but it has gotten us nowhere thus far, unless you have failed to notice that we are 21 points behind Utd, who are not even in contention in the CL.

    “We beat Bayern at their home field”. Who cares? It was a great result for us, but what were Bayern really playing for at that point? No Schweinsteiger, no Boateng, no Ribeiry.

    Get off your high horse and evangelistic view and realize that this club has issues and the current squad is just not good enough.

  127. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Have a good evening Redders. I to plan a nice night. A ready made chilli con carne for one washed down with an unlabled vintage red wine from my local offy. £1.99, so its got to be good, And in a brown bag to. hahaha

  128. weedonald says:

    HH…we won’t agree about the quality of our current squad but your dream of having an oligarch owner who fits the Club’s needs is a wonderful one. Where does such a person exist? I would prefer a majority owner who would allow up to 49% of the shares to be held by fan-based organizations. What owner would invest like Abramovich has done but agree to allow the manager and Board free reign and be patient. Only the Arab owners at City seem to be similar but with the results this season, I wonder if they’ll make changes. your hope for a white knight owner is unrealistic….but commendable.

  129. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Weedy, there is no doubt that we tend to see things Arsenal in a very similar way, and i enjoy having a poster around who shares many of my thoughts.

    However, Redders is a very good guy, who took umbrage in the way you classed those who believe we need a change of tac as whiney etc. I dont think thats fair, we just have different views.

    You must admit, you can come over a tad bolshy at times. Personaly i enjoy it, because i tend to agree with a lot you say, but more importantly, knowing its not directed at me. hahahaha

  130. Highbury Harmony says:

    Wee, I said I would not be opposed for such an oligarch owner, not that I would want one. If you took the time to read through my first comment on this article, you would find that I’m a believer in sustainability and that I want to see our current model succeed. The only issue is Kroenke for me who in some capacity surely restricts AW’s spending or forces his hand in the sale of some players.

  131. Red Arse says:

    The rancorous insults flow from you Wee Donald, as usual.

    Learn to read properly and go back to my comment, and you will see that I was indeed taking personal offence with your usual disgusting, garrulous openings, for which you enjoy a certain repulsive ignominy on a number of blogs.

    I had no intention of defending Terry, who is more than capable of looking after himself, but you seem incapable of understanding basic manners, and always lamely seek to take the moral high ground with your laughable insults.

    You have been called a ‘keyboard warrior’, elsewhere, for your idiotic aggression, and I would not dream of calling you that …………….. you are as far from being a ‘warrior’ as a mouse is from being a lion.

    It was my Post and if you do not like it, sling your hook …. perhaps that is better known colloquially as fuck off!

    I won’t read your crap in the future — so do not address me .. you will be wasting your time.

  132. Highbury Harmony says:

    AW needs to be given more of a license to spend before being able to achieve the desired results. I’m not convinced that even if we spend our current rumoured transfer kitty that we’ll be able to field a sustainable top quality starting 11 with Kroenke as our owner.

  133. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Terry, spot on at 8.24.

    WeeD, try to be less bolshy. 🙂

  134. Glic says:

    I love all this chat by the BK big hitters. I find it very educational. Thanks buddies !. 🙂

    So I will try and decipher and put it in a nutshell.

    If Kroenke stays and FFP fails and unless all the planets align together with the purchase of all the rabbit foots and four leaf clovers in the world and my cock working as a future Messi player diviner…….we`re f**ked !.

    This has nothing to do with my absolute appreciation for what Arsene has done for us, he is a legend and brought us the best Arsenal years ever !.
    However, when Abramobitch entered the scene, imo Arsene became redundant to his former self. Gone where the days when he had the upper hand in the French and African market and affordable gems.
    With no money comparable to the Oligarchs, he was always going to be playing catch up. He has done miracles to keep us in the CL with being self-sustaining, but unless FFP works, his time is over, but he deserves the chance of a decent transfer kitty for once this summer to try and turn it around.
    It will be a crying shame if FFP fails and we get say “Usmanov ” to invest £100`s Millions and that Arsene is not the one benefitting from it after years of being told by the BOD to sell our best players !.

  135. Red Arse says:

    Terry, 😀 😀

  136. weedonald says:

    Gee I seem to have scratched your sensitive parts Red Arse…..but your haughty and ignorant narcissism on this blog is the only place I have ever encourtered such animosity. Anyway please don’t comment as that would be a waste of my time.

  137. Glic says:

    Oh dear !. I actually found a lamp and rubbed it and a genie gave me one wish….yes…I did wish to be the worlds luckiest bastard and through a series of scenarios of being a lucky bastard, I am now the richest luckiest bastard on the planet !.
    I am now in the act of purchasing The Arsenal and will buy all the best players in the world, I`ve also bought all the companies of the world and sponsors of our rival teams ( I did leave a few and the spuds will be sponsored by the STD clinic ! ), so they can all f**k off. Arsenal will now win every trophy every year, but I`m not happy, because Total said he`s going to close this site down if a lucky bastard like me takes over The Arsenal !………you bastard Totes !. hahaha

  138. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha Glic – If it is you I will keep it open and even call it Glicesque Gooners

  139. Fred says:

    HH @20:01, the money from the sales of our big players such as Cesc has partly gone into the clubs bank account, partly paid off some of the debt and then the rest of it has been used to fund our currently lacking youth system by bringing in players such as the ox for 12m and torral and belarin from barca, Jenkinson from Charlton. Very few of our “youth players” actually came through the arsenal youth system all the way, the exception being Wilshere.

  140. TotalArsenal says:

    HH at 19.42,

    I think we are broadly in agreement. Klopp is doing a great job at BD. I am not sure which part of my comment you were ‘challenging’…. 🙂

  141. weedonald says:

    HH….I did get your point about oligarch ownership but without any concrete proof that Kroenke has actually interfered in any way with Wenger’s options….other than not increasing his transfer pot directly.
    Ta and HH…..I guess Bolshy refers to the Bolsheviks? I am definitely not a Bolshevik, rather a liberal democrat, but what does politics have to do with Football…opps, maybe I’ve stumbled onto something? If it doesn’t mean that, what does it mean?
    I am sure Red Arse is a fanatical fan but he is also very bellicose and can be threatening as well, not that that fazes me,and I am definitely not classing him or anyone else on this blog among the whiney lot who scream for Wenger and the BOD to spend the cash and don’t really care about what such profligacy can do to the Arsenal.
    I don’t want us to become a City or Real, or for that matter a Bayern. These Clubs buy almost every supposedly top class player they choose to bid on (that means 99% of them in their leagues or worldwide) and then sit half of them on the bench, with the sole purpose of preventing Clubs like AFC and other real competitors from getting them in the open market. The starters , if they ever come up for sale (never mind the shite media claims about who wants to go where) are way overpriced and unobtainable for Clubs like AFC and great teams.
    Anyway thanks for your insight into RedArse’s character…….he certainly is a passionate Gooner.

  142. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nice comment Weedy, and once again i agree with your football assesment.

    To truley know what Bolshy means, you would have needed to experience the enourmous pleasure of meeting my first wife. hahaha

  143. Milo says:

    I’m with TotalArsenal, regarding this issue. I can’t even imagine the days of West Ham winning the FA Cup, or Leeds winning FIRST DIVISION titles, or Nottingham Forest winningt two European Cups on the bounce, or Aston Villa winning one as well…now that would be exciting!!! Not knowing who was going to win or even finish in the top 4 before all was said and done. I know it will never be like that again, but that does not make it fair or just. I know that the World isn’t a fair place, but that doesn’t make it right, and I will continue to support what I view as just and fair. I still support Arsenal with all my heart, but can you imagine being a supporter back in the time of about 1880-1985??? Now I know, no one lives that long, hahahahahahaha, but you get my point. There would still be favourites, but not in the manner of today! I for one, hope that this period in time can be resurrected in the world of English football. That is why I had so much hope for FFP, but I think it will take regulations from governments, as well as new heads of UEFA, and maybe even FIFA before true FFP can be realized.

  144. weedonald says:

    HH…please do tell me what you Brits mean by being bolshy(I presume you are British, if not my sincerest apologies)! i bet your first wife was a cousin of my first girlfriend!!!:)

  145. Bond James says:

    nice one, RA

    not only do we need a mega rich owner but we also need one that cares about the club, not as obsessed as Roman A but certainly one that isn’t too disassociated like our current owner/majority share holder.

    yep, that richest fella we have as our shareholder fits the bill perfectly, he seems to care (even if he portrays it as such) about arsenal, the fans and most importantly wants us to win trophies.

    i do suspect if things don’t change for the better come next season then there might be more fans staging protests and things may turn ugly , sooner rather than later.

    love them or hate them, the glazers at mancs at least sanction the big money moves or increase in wages (sure it might be down to their commercial revenues) but still it takes bottle to give your manager what he wants.

    i also reckon this financial fair play hoopla is being played out of proportion, it may affect some smaller clubs out there some where but i am almost certain that it won’t affect the big and medium sized clubs, all you need is a decent accountant to get things sorted for you i.e. chelsea’s lost of nearly 70 million turned to a profit of over 1 million – it’s not magic it’s called going to a clever accountant.

    on a side note if any of yous wanted a decent accountant, i’m here daily posting 😀

  146. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    I think you are refering to me Weedy, not HH,

    Bolshy means very assertive to the point of becoming hostile……….just like the first wife, and i have the bruises to prove it. hahaha

  147. Bond James says:

    argumentative even, but sorry to hear about the bruises can’t say you didn’t deserve them tho 😉

    good to see AFC and HH back !

    big week coming up, i believe both Southamption and Mancs will do us a favour and we will go on to thrash QPR (i won’t be surprised if Harry doesn’t park the bus , just so he could aid us in finishing above spuds – he was sacked by them after all , i don’t believe what he says in the open but him getting the sack must still hurt) 0-5 to us gunners next week should takecare of the GD as well.

  148. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, wasn’t really disagreeing with you, just going with the unpopular opinion that I wouldn’t really compare Klopp with AW ;). Hopefully AW closes that gap in recent managerial success this summer though!

  149. weedonald says:

    Milo….the days of level playing fields and home grown success at community supported clubs have long gone in the EPL but in the other divisions and at thousands of small European towns, your dream still rings true. The EPL began to be corrupted when TV money and the Bosman/Webster rules allowed players more latitude to peremptorily abandon their Clubs for greener pastures. I am not saying there were no benefits from these events but like everything, they come with a price and the EPL’s was to exchange its traditional virtues for more mercenary ones. The advent of really big money has also introduced potential conflict-of-interest and corruption opportunities for all the stakeholders. It most certainly has tilted the once level playing field significantly in favour of the monied Clubs. I am a skeptic about FFP (EUFA and FA versions) since the very same Clubs that initially proposed it are being identified as its first targets. If FIFA,EUFA and the FA were honest,reliable and squeaky clean caretaker institutions in Football, I might be less critical, but we all know they aren’t. Lets face it, to win big-time in Football today you need lots of money and influence and a willingness to make changes to management and rosters that are ruthless and counter-productive in the medium to long term. Not sure AFC would survive such a sea-change and I am most certain that they would no longer be the AFC we all adore.

  150. weedonald says:

    Well everyone is argumentative here but hostility is not my thing….I do however find the repeatedly inane insistence of a small percentage of our fans that we should become another City or Chelsea clone club, both irrational and annoying. I also strongly object to those few ¨supporters who take every and any opportunity to demean and denigrate Wenger and a few favourite player targets, using the most spurious and media-inspired semi-truths and patent lies as if they were solid facts! I acknowledge that Aw has his failings and that some of our team are just not consistent and driven enough to take us all the way, but everyone seems to share that opinion.
    Thanks for the explanation of Bolshy…..what do you call Liberal-Democrats in Britain? Would skinheads and Millwall fans be Bolshy?

  151. Bond James says:

    wd,
    the difference between us and city or chelsea per se happens to be that they had an outsider take over the club i.e. buy.

    in our case, we already have a wealthy owner as a minority shareholder, i can only speak for myself, i would love this minority shareholder become the majority one and take control of Arsenal FC.

    as it stands, people behind the scenes are far too comfortable sitting in their chairs and going through the motions so to speak, just imagine an organization functioning with the same personnel and decision makers at the top for a number of years without achieving any decent amount of success on the football pitch for 8 years ? what would happen ? yep, there would be a re-shuffle hence you see all these chief executives or top tier managers change every 3-6 years in top notch organisations ,

    maybe we should hold a poll of sorts on here to see how many people are happy with our current owner and how many would want to see a change in ownership tilting towards the russian.

    PS: TA, can we do polls on here/ voting etc ?

  152. weedonald says:

    Bond James…We have had two outsiders take over the club as well so there is no difference. A poll would be a good idea so we can see what the bloggers feel. We have achieved beyond our potential imho despite 8 years without a title or silverware but top tier as you say shuffled because their owners spent 50% more than us and still didn’t get what they were after, with supposedly superior players and modern coaches. I see AW’s tenure as indicating stability not entropy, excellent management with limited resources,and not failure or anything approaching that. We pay to be entertained and AFC have provided that in spades…we don’t necessarily get silverware guaranteed in the price of our ticket, as is the case with most of the other EPL teams.

  153. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    Marcus continues the line set out by Redders yesterday: the competition is hotting up and bold action in the TW is required!

  154. Bond James says:

    weedonald,

    there is a massive difference with our takeovers and the ones involving City and Chelsea.

    Alisher Usmanov, has been on a shareholder at arsenal for a fair number of years now, gradually increasing his stake whenever the opportunity presents itself and always if not mostly being vocal about how the club is run (of course that might be a ploy to get the fans on his side but to be honest, he hasn’t said much or anything wrong whenever he has criticized the board or the upper management decisions or taking direct shots at the sitting members) – all is justified.

    now there is a guy who shows a bit of passion and promises plenty of things, mind you most owners do but i am yet to see the same sort of commitment or anything close from Stan K.

    how is it massively different ? in a nutshell new owners have come to chelsea and city and spent their way out of trouble, bought success and are now building upon it.

    i would like to meet those fans who say they much rather have the stability and no trophies of Arsenal over 8 years as compared to mind blogging success , trophies and world wide increased branding of Chelsea and Man City , thanks to ambitious takeovers pumping in the money.

    i would also like to know if there are fans out there who think we play a more entertaining brand of football compared to man city or chelsea – to put it bluntly, the days of us playing entertaining football without finishing teams off are a distant memory .

    city and chelsea not only play entertaining football but they also deliver it in style vs top teams in England at least and we play like the away team at our own fortress.

    sure, AW has done well but we could have done plenty better for e.g. we have needed a decent goal keeper from the last 5 years, we came close to signing a few but because of not being willing to dish out another extra million here or there, we haven’t, same was the case with Juan Mata(23.6 million) who was all but heading towards the Emirates as Cesc’s (35 million with add ons) replacement only to have been out muscled by Chelsea.

    it’s unfair of you to compare us with most of the teams in EPL simply because not many teams have a 60 K plus capacity stadium, a top manager like AW or decent players and again an extremely rich owner milking Arsenal FC to boast his wealth.

    hell even the likes of Newcastle out spend us and out muscle us 😀

  155. Bond James says:

    how timely to support my post above (honest i had nothing to do with this piece below)

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-major-shareholder-alisher-usmanov-1862540?

  156. weedonald says:

    BJ…….here are a few things you take for granted as being fact when they are not really proven:

    1) Usmanov bought his initial shares in 2007 (6 years ago)….Sheikh Mansour and Abramovich got into the EPL in 2008 and 2007 respectively, so about the same time as Usmanov did. So all theee have been involved about the same time, the only difference is that Silent Stan got in ahead of him, unlike the other two clubs, whose current owners were uncontested.

    2) Why is Usmanov justified at trying to unsettle and demean the BOD,Gazidis and the majority shareholder? I agree than Stan is an absentee landlord but Usmanov is also living elsewhere and Football is NOT his preferred sport…but do you know what is? Do some research before making spurious and hyperbolic claims.

    3) There are plenty of supporters who don’t want to follow the City,Real or Chelsea model and who have known far less successful times at the Arsenal. Sure they want silverware and success but they know that buying your way there is not a guarantee of continued viability. They do prefer the self-sustaining model because they, unlike you, seem to know what can happen to a club build on the shifting sands of fickle oligarch and playboy private ownership.

    4) What nonsense you spout about our entertaining Football! We have had our ups and downs this season but we were superb against Bayern at the Allianz Arena and we did well against ManU on the weekend, plus our (according to you) second rate, low quality football has given us 7 wins and 2 ties in our last 9 games….not too shabby for a team that is supposed to be a shadow of our great squads of the past.

    5) When are you going to realize that AFC will not and cannot compete against the moneybag Clubs like City, chelsea, Real, PSG and Barca? We were ¨outspent¨ by these guys and we will likely always be because Wenger won’t ever get into a bidding war. Your argument is just another thinly disguised version of the Spend,spend spend whiners’ rant.. who think we can buy success (a la City or Chelsea) but that success is ephemeral.

    6) You are truly spouting garbage when you say Kroenke is ¨milking¨AFC to boost his wealth (by the way you need to learn how to type or at least spell) since he is neither taking any profits from his shares or in any way drawing off any cash from his investments in AFC shares. THIS is a proven fact as Wenger and Gazidis have often pointed out but please don’t let the facts get in the way of your prejudice.

    7) Newcastle??? The last time I checked their out-muscling and outspending dominion of poor little Arsenal looked something like this:

    AFC 4th place in the EPL – spent 53M in 2013
    Newcastle 17th place in the EPL – spent 25M in 2013

    Why don’t you do your basic research before coming on AA and spouting such obviously incorrect and irrational nonsense BJ? Making statements like your closing ¨argument¨ reveals to all bloggers that you are a FFM who doesn’t take the time to get his ¨facts¨straight.

  157. Bond James says:

    WD,

    1: you are comparing apples with oranges, to compare SM and RA with Usamonov is utter rot , Usamonov isn’t the decision maker at arsenal, he is the one wanting to take control of the club and making all the “right” noises as is evident from the article published in the mirror i pasted the link to. If you’re failing to grasp the concept of a owner who actually cares and is willing to go out of his way to ensure trophies and success for Arsenal as opposed to one who happens to be silent – i will let the readers make up their minds on that one but it seems apparent that you no doubt sound lost with your reasoning.

    3: he’s justified on the basis that we have won like 24 trophies in the past 8 years (sarcasm, thought i spell it out for you just in case) . Rising ticket prices every where (not sure if you have ever been to any of the arsenal games but my season ticket price has increased over the years, but hey next season it will be the same as last, happy days)…. constant selling of players star players to fund the clubs expenses/debts (might i also point out one of the star players Samir Nasri openly saying that Stan sanctioned his sale due to the money proceeds and so on when he was assured by Wenger that he won’t be sold if Cesc is sold) again i rest my case and leave the readers to make their minds up on FACTS out in the open thanks to this gem here : http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/arsenal-sold-because-stan-kroenke-1797386
    so next time you accuse of someone not doing their research or making things up, i reckon you should actually try reading with your eyes open. (not sure if it will help much but hey there’s a first for everything in life).

    5: there may well be plenty of supporters being content with this self sustaining model but there are plenty more wanting success, in fact, there may well be a few so discontent with our current practices that they may have had enough and formed alliances elsewhere (can’t say i blame them either). i can only talk for myself here and i do not agree nor see the need for this self-sustaining model any more considering we have generated enough reserves and surplus’s so to speak, allowing Wenger to buy the quality signings he needs (yep, no more room for excuses come next season).

    7: you must be living in cuckoo land if you feel we did superb against a BM team who only came out of their comfort zone in the last 5 minutes of the game, before that it was boys vs men, sure we scored 2 goals but it was far from convincing or dominating , BM had a bad day and we won sure, but i am not going to take that win away, sometimes in football you win after playing superbly well and sometimes you don’t but to say that we played superbly well just shows how subjective you are in your assessment, if you can prove me wrong then i do urge you to do some RESEARCH on stats of that particular game……….we did well against the mancs last week ? really ? yet we still haven’t beaten a top 4 team this season…..where have i said that we play 2nd rate and low quality football ? can you point out such words of mine or will you accept of seeing things and making them up as you go on if you’re unable to find such words which i may have seem to said in your head? : ) you might be content with the way things are or have been in the last 8 years or so, but i certainly am not happy with finishing top 4 alone nor majority of fans will be.

    9: Again, where have i said that we need to spend spend and spend ? or buy success ? Wenger won’t get into a bidding war ? well that just sums it up then doesn’t it ? all top players if not most will often have more than 1 club seeking their services, so every time someone comes in and offers more money for a world class signing we’re interested in, we should just back off even though we’re now in a position to get the players we want and pay THE MARKET rates for most, even if it means we lose out on a player for an extra million here or there ?

    11: last time i checked , AFC’s value and shares value was on the up instead of going down hence increasing Stan’s wealth. (again i’m not sure what relevance my typo’s have to do with the point we’re arguing with, if i ever needed lessons on how to type and spell , rest assured i won’t be seeking your help). indeed , Wenger and Gazidis would point out such things and defend their silent owner STAN , who never interferes in their business and let’s them do what they want in return for a handsome salary (2nd most for a manager behind SAF) and the most Bonuses for a chief excutive on a yearly basis – yep , let the readers make their mind up on that one as well. For the Avoidance of doubt and to make it more coherent for everyone, Stan’s wealth hasn’t decreased to in AFC after his investment, it has actually increased and continues to increase as we speak – how much out of this has he actually made available to Wenger or given him to spend on players ? i wonder.

    i regret that you have had to scoop so low and make personal comments, it is neither my style or way to be this direct,however, once you start being personal in an online opinion based blog then there is no hiding.

    i do urge you to think twice before posting something in relation to me or resorting to me being silly, needing to learn how to type, spouting garbage and so on….i may excuse you for being a gooner who lives in the past and having an IQ of a 13 year old (no offence to any 13 year old’s) but i will certainly let my views and opinions known.

  158. weedonald says:

    BJ………..there isn’t one thing you’ve presented, other than yellow media webclips to support your ¨facts¨, as usual. I am not going to respond to your ignorant and bolshy insults but here are some things to consider when trying to write a blog response:

    1)Spell , as well as grammar check exist so try and use it before posting on the net. I check each thing I write so can certainly give you some lessons in composition and proper syntax. You write like a 5 year old and act like a kindergarten playground bully. How can anyone take you or your posts seriously if you won’t take the time to edit them?
    2)You spout so many invented, pseudo-facts that nobody can take you seriously anyway.
    3) You pretend you ¨know¨what the majority of Gooners are thinking, but nobody can honestly claim that level of general knowledge and it only shows that you are inventing what you hope is true and trying to put it in other people’s mouths.
    4) You say Usmanov is making all the “right” noises as is evident from the article published in the Mirror. Many people read that article and from following their reactions on the net it seems that many were not impressed. It was the same old denigration and dismissal tactics he always uses against Kroenke and the BOD, in the hope that feeble-minded fans like you will buy into it. In your case he clearly succeeded.
    5) In your entire reply to my post you never answered any questions I asked. You did repeat your mantra, which is basically Usmanov is Arsenal’s saviour and Kroenke is its doom, without ANY proof of either statement. How do you know he’s truthful and sincere in his passion to make AFC a top Club once again? What has he actually done to prove his sincerity and honesty?
    6) Nasri had a bone to chew with AFC, whether it was about being sold (he also said he left to win trophies and other $$ things) but there is NO proof that this is what actually happened and Wenger strenuously denied it. Who should Gooners believe?
    7) Your adolescent attempts at sarcasm are amateurish and boring but I guess that comes with the territory since your writing and arguments are not adult at all. I gather English is not your first language but that is a moot point anyway.
    8) The Bayern away game was one of our best this season and the United game, overall , was exciting and a true Arsenal – United match. Anyone who is truly objective and watched those two matches would likely agree with me. Regardless, we’re all entitled to our opinion and not everyone sees the good in Arsenal, even when it hits them in the face.
    9) Nobody can be content at not winning anything in 8 years but nobody can expect that, under the financial and managerial circumstances limiting Wenger and the Club since 2005, we would be able to compete against teams with bottomless funds, win-anything-at any cost mentalities and the ability to attract whichever talent was the flavour of the month.
    10) What businessman would invest without the expectation of increasing the value of his investment? Maybe you, but I am sure you’re not a businessman, maybe you’re more an armchair wannabe? Usmanov will most definitely expect some return on his investment as well. Kroenke hasn’t taken a cent out of the Club so at least that is helping the Club. He has also allowed the Club to spend 181M sterling since 2007….with the two biggest years being last season and this season….I wonder if Usmanov would do that?
    11) Quite frankly, arguing with you is like talking to my dog, but she is far more responsive than you to the direct questions I ask. Your entire reply never showed the slightest inkling about being able to understand, never-mind debate any of the issues I raised. Until you can actually make the effort to present cogent and well thought-out arguments, I will ignore you and your childish opinions.

  159. Bond James says:

    Never argue with a fool – they will drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience.

    indeed.

  160. Bond James says:

    but since i’m a reasonable chap, i have read your post and can safely say the only thing that made an ounce of sense was when you mention the great understanding you have with your dog, and i can see why that is – rest assured i am happy to know that least there is someone in this world who understands you and accepts your insecurities, so what if it;s your dog – my sympathies clearly towards your dog.
    😀

  161. weedonald says:

    BJ….what a shame if you don’t have a dog but if you do at least we agree on their honesty. I also have a good quote for you, which seems to apply to you perfectly:

    Hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue…..Francois de La Rochefoucauld

    Anyway we both love the Arsenal and in the end that’s all that matters:)

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