FFP – Fundamentally Flawed Policy? Why Freedom is Best.

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As many of you who may have followed my occasional warbling will have noticed, there is a common theme in which I have bemoaned the arrival of the ‘meddling’ multi-billionaires and oil rich state owned corporations into football, but also I have cast doubt on the equally meddling UEFA and EPL FFP regulations which will try to lamely control these wealthy entities.

Why do I describe these people as meddling?

Well both the multi-billionaires who now own football clubs, as well as the Arab or Eastern European state backed owners, and the state owners of clubs, do not really need to dabble in football at all, and neither do they show much personal interest or enjoyment in the sport itself, but they do clearly have their own agendas in plucking financially struggling clubs and transforming them at a stroke.

The average, and frequently penurious fan may goggle at the nine zeros  in a billion dollars, [$1,000,000,000] or 1,000, million dollars, which represents the sort of money (give or take) expended on Manchester City by Sheikh Mansour, and the very similar sums paid out for Chelsea, Manchester United and even Arsenal by the new owners.

For some of the oligarchs, football is a tasteless way of indulging themselves in a personal whimsy or fiefdom, and to play a real life version of FIFA 2012, and to show to the adoring fans how omniscient and clever they are by buying struggling clubs and injecting huge sums of money to enable them to be regenerated and start to become trophy winning giants.

For others, such as Silent Stan, it is a safe vehicle for their financial investment in a major sporting institution, in which they intend to see a rich reward in the medium to longer term.

Alternatively, for the state backed clubs, it is another way to give their countries some reflected glory from their involvement with world renowned clubs, or in the case of the state of Qatar, their purchase of PSG has underlined their credibility in ‘buying’ the World Cup venue and showing their state in a better footballing light.

To prevent the inevitable rampant distortion of the economic football environment, the powers at UEFA, closely followed by the English Premier League owner, have introduced the FFP regulations, which are purportedly to return to a financially level playing field in the European Leagues, particularly the EPL, and to stymie the runaway financial power of the mushrooming oligarch clubs.

That’s good isn’t it?

Well, not for every club, I am afraid.

Let us accept for the sake of this discussion that FFP will work, and then we can look at what the consequences will be for the different level of clubs in the PL.

UEFA decided to act on the inequalities and financial instability of many clubs throughout Europe, once it became obvious that the oligarchs and Arab states were also seriously affecting the footballing environment. They now require all clubs to introduce more discipline and rationality into their club football finances, particularly by decreasing the pressure on salaries and transfer fees, and limiting inflationary effects, by the simple expedient of requiring the clubs to compete only within their generated revenues, and to invest more in their youth teams and their club infrastructures.

Basically, they now require clubs to balance their books or break even. Simple!!

Under this concept, clubs cannot repeatedly spend more than their generated revenues, and they will be obliged to meet all their transfer and employee payment commitments and not build up unsustainable debt, or failing this they will be thrown out of European competitions.

Ok, that is a brief synopsis of the major requirements of FFP, with which we are all too familiar.

So why am I concerned that these seemingly very laudable objectives might achieve exactly the opposite of what was intended and will not result in a level financial playing field?

In large part, this whole concept has come about on the basis of shutting the stable doors after the horse has bolted. Chelsea and Man City have been transformed from also ran, financially struggling clubs who were rocketed up to become part of the prevailing elite, consisting of Arsenal and Man United, by the injection of vast sums of money from their wealthy owners.

It happened and it is not possible to turn the clock back.

The new FFP rules will still permit oligarch type owners to purchase a club such as Wigan or Sunderland, but they will not be able to pour outrageous sums of money into those clubs, and therefore they could not grow to challenge the existing elite. The same block on uncontrolled spending also applies to clubs who have already been bought by somewhat less wealthy owners, such as those at Reading or Southampton, and again they will not be able to challenge the existing elite because of this financial restriction.

Incidentally, should Usmanov manage to acquire the ownership of Arsenal, he too would be restricted as to the sums he could pour into Arsenal, subject to some magical accounting, of course.

What magical accounting you ask?

Well, this is a little digression from my theme, but there is a major difference between owner investment and owner personal loans. Loans can build up and will need to be repaid at some time – just ask the Portsmouth fans, whereas owner investment means to inject capital into the company usually by way of additional issued share capital in exchange for cash, and this can be extended to fan ownership too, as in Germany.

Anyway, so happy were Arsenal, Manyoo, Liverpool and even Spurs, with the provisions of the UEFA FFP that they sent out a joint message, on an Arsenal letter head, to all the other clubs, (which I am showing below) proposing that the Premiership should introduce their own version of FFP.

Last December, partly as a result of this letter and some arm twisting negotiations, the EPL FFP provisions were passed, much to the delight of the main proponents, and to the chagrin of clubs like Man Citeh, Fulham, Southampton, Reading etc, all of whom objected but were outvoted.
[Oddly Abramovich, against all reason, agreed the proposal – which he could have blocked].

The effect of this agreement is that all EPL clubs have to submit their financial accounts not only to UEFA for audit, but also to a Premier league appointed Investigator for certification.

OK, I can hear you say, so what?

[this is the Arsenal letter mentioned above]:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2262027/Manchester-United-Liverpool-Arsenal-Spurs-join-forces-shackle-spending-Man-City-Chelsea.html

Here comes the rub with these FFP proposals. 

Clubs like Arsenal and Manure have the biggest stadia and the highest revenue streams, although Manyoo are really in a league all on their own, and can only benefit from linking expenditure on transfers and salaries to a percentage of turnover, which in turn means their transfer chests will, over time, become bigger and give them the greatest chance of buying the best players.

I can hear you thinking, so if Arsenal is likely to be one of the big beneficiaries of the new regime, why am I not happy with the outcome of FFP?

Well, Arsenal’s inclusion in a small group of clubs that will benefit, if as seems likely, the oligarchs and the state owned clubs are not permitted to ‘invest’ whatever monies they wanted into their clubs, is also balanced by the exclusion of the ‘lower’ clubs, such as Newcastle, Villa and West Brom etc, who will forever remain cannon fodder for the ‘elite’.

In effect, if a new oligarch happened along, as mentioned earlier, all they would be able to do is to maintain the status quo, with the elite group expanding their clubs profitability and influence, whereas  those with smaller revenues will only be able to watch them disappear into the distance.

Silent Stan must be rubbing his hands with glee that Arsenal now stand a very good chance of getting back to near the top in the medium term, which will not do his investment any harm, and I don’t suppose he will much care that it will be at the expense of our club submitting to the financial ‘power’ of Manyoo, who will, in all probability, win the Premiership every year, as they become unassailable.

There is another imperative downside to FFP, and that is the cost to all the loyal fans of clubs throughout the EPL, if these more stringent rules result in clubs failing to keep within them, or if sponsorship income dries up, or if player wages continue to increase, despite efforts to curtail them, there will be only one way to recoup additional funds, and that will be by charging fans even more for tickets to watch their teams.

As I hope I have shown you, what is a very well intentioned change in the administration of the game by using FFP to try and impose a level financial playing field, could very easily result in the exact opposite, with the establishment of a rigid regime that will prevent any clubs, except the privileged few including our own dear Arsenal, from having even the smallest chance of winning the Premiership, and making Manyoo into the sole English Galactico in the process.

I believe in freedom. 

Freedom to allow people to do what they want, within the Law, even if this means allowing all football club owners, whoever they may be, to spend as much or as little money as they want, on the clubs that they own, or to borrow what they, as businessmen, deem necessary.

A freedom, which will permit the Arsenal owners, should they wish, to stick rigidly to their policy of pursuing a self sustainable finance model.

A freedom, where perhaps eventually a small, well run club in the ‘lower’ echelons of the Premiership could emulate the success of the CL semi-finalists, Borussia Dortmund, who themselves, in 2005, accepted external short-term funding, from another wealthier club, Bayern Munich, which enabled BD to survive and prosper.

That freedom will not be permitted in the future because the whole premise of FFP is flawed and just downright wrong.

This is a simple choice – Freedom for the clubs to pursue their own rainbows, or statutory regulation forcing all clubs to strictly adhere to a straight jacket within a fundamentally unbalanced new system.

I vote for freedom – how about you?

Written by: Red Arse.

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190 Responses to FFP – Fundamentally Flawed Policy? Why Freedom is Best.

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA 🙂

    Thank you for another top class, educational post about what FFP is likely to do to Arsenal and all other teams. We are very lucky to have you writing about this issue for us with such depths and clarity. 🙂

    I hope readers will take their time to digest what you are saying and take a similar wide view on the pros and cons of FFP.

  2. 'mair says:

    Great article RA! Quite informative and well made points.
    I’m not sure I agree or disagree, but thinking aloud, isn’t the fact that we are a well run club with improving profits and deals likely to give us more ammo to fight with the richer clubs thanks to the FFP? And secondly if the FFP weren’t too exist, wouldn’t that just simply increase the distance between a club like our’s and the Chelseas and the Man Cities of this world? Wouldn’t that leave us in a hollow permenant prayer for an oligarch to come rescue us for us to have any hope in terms of competing for purchases?
    I guess I mean to say that either way there are pros and cons… at least this way, from what I understand, we are in a relatively better position to mount a fightback.

  3. 'mair says:

    Having said that, I do agree principally with the fact that the club should have freedom to decide it’s future course of action. The FFP sort of goes against free market economics as well.

  4. Red Arse says:

    Morning, TA, 🙂

    Not an easy Post to take in on a sunny, hot day (or any day). 🙂

    It all boils down to UEFA allowing the oligarchs free rein to drag Chelsea and Citeh away from financial disaster by pumping a stomach turning amount of money into them, and then by introducing new rules, via FFP, they ensure no other club can copy them.

    Closing the stable doors after (some) of the horses have bolted. springs to mind.

    Lucky for some, bollix for most others who can wave goodbye to a Premier League trophy or a European competition.

  5. Red Arse says:

    Hi ‘mair, 🙂

    You are correct that we will be able to compete, in the reasonably near future, with the ‘top three’ big spenders.

    My concern is that on a wider level, I do not think it is right that the oligarch clubs, or even Arsenal, should be given such an advantage and give so little hope for the smaller clubs.

    The corollary is that only other investment benefactors like those at QPR, Reading, Southampton etc can give any of them any hope of a trophy success.
    Now, of course the UEFA FFP and the EPL FFP have stopped that too.

    Clubs should be allowed to choose what is right for them.

    It is all a bit too late now having allowed the Citeh and Chelsea oligarchs to come in, and after they have poured their money into what has become an ‘elite’ minority of clubs, to shut the doors, ensuring no other club (oligarch) can do the same thing.

    It does not make a level financial playing field environment. It is simply wrong.

  6. henrychan says:

    RA.. great post bro..

    I love the idea of FFP.. to manage the expansion of greddy – wealthy clubs..
    But I still think the NBA system is more effective..
    With FFP way.. the big clubs will always a big club.. unless their boss is broken.. like Malaga did..
    Yes.. we may be happy because Arsenal is already a big four even three in EPL.. but a club like Soton or Swansea will never compete with the big clubs.. because of the royalti they get from TV station.. the commercial / sponsor who will always search for the big clubs.. With the money that big clubs get.. they can buy a better players.. and like a circle of fortune.. better players make a better result.. and make a better position.. and so on.. hahaha..

    But if we adopt the NBA system.. than all team (20 of them) will be distribute all players equally (almost.. hehehe..).. then you can watch an equal team playing basketball / football.. eventough some will still more than others.. but the gaps is narrow..
    They (FA) just need to put the upper limit every years.. Maybe (i prefer not) can be mixed with money from selling players..
    I prefer the amount of 60 to 70 millions pound.. every year.. Not to big but also not to small.. And if add with selling players.. like maybe Arsenal sell off 10 players for 20 millions than we have a 80 to 90 millions money to buy others players..
    Well if the BoD buy a 70 million guy.. then we only have 10 to 20 million left.. in the whole years.. hehehe.. We can spend all on the Summer.. or keep the money for Winter Transfer Window.. hahahaha..

    Then.. like I said before.. no more 80 million player.. no more crazy-silly wealthy man like abrahmovic or some other Sheik who controll clubs all over the world..
    This system must seriuosly applied.. if not.. all big clubs will soon be an Arabic or Rusian.. and they don’t think club as a club.. but a toys.. that they can do whatever they want to do with it.. No need to hear what the fans want.. No need to hear from your BoD.. hehehe..
    And if Arsenal someday become one of them.. I will certainly quit supporting Arsenal.. hahaha..
    And also FA must change the regulation interest/income from TV station.. 50% (cmiiw) for the winner and other 3 clubs.. is very unfair for the other 16 clubs..
    I think sponsor also must be regulated.. One clubs can only got a limited of sponsor.. maybe not more than 50 millions one year.. hehehe..

    Just ain’t fun anymore.. watching Barca win every years.. or Munchen or PSG or now come Monaco.. or watching Chelsea and City (also MU) buying all the top players every years.. without need to calculate the expense and income.. hahahaha..

    @TA..
    Come on bro.. 5th position is a bad thing for us.. hehehe..
    And we stillon the right track.. Chelsea and Spurs will crash at the end.. hehehhe..

  7. Red Arse says:

    Hi Henry, 🙂

    You have got it spot on.

    The ‘draft’ system in American football addresses this inequality of the ‘rich’ clubs beating the ‘poor’ clubs to the best players, by allowing the clubs in the lowest league positions to get first pick of the best players, and then working up the league table.

    That means almost any American football club can with their league, and there are many different winners over the years, not just the same two or three always winning.

    I cannot see UEFA or FIFA agreeing to allow that though.

    How’s the baby doing? 🙂

  8. henrychan says:

    RA..
    oh.. American football do the same also..?? Great.. hehehe..
    I never watch american football.. hahaha.. I think no football there.. it’s wrestling and handball.. hahaha..

    My Yoona.. so far so good..
    More fun every day.. but also make my schedule ruin a little bit.. hahahaha..
    almost late to work everyday.. hehehe..

  9. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Redders 🙂

    Had to do some housework so first time to respond properly.

    I have a problem with freedom and the main thing is it is exploited by those in power. The environment is hardly getting any cleaner and the banks f*cked us up properly for decades to come, so I believe, in principle, in an strong element of central control.

    Having said that, I can clearly see your point re the whole thing becoming static now, and small clubs being unable to join the big ones in the future. I have said many times before it is key to have a high level of fairness in football: otherwise, what is the point?

    Fairness is not going to happen, as much as that is clear to me. The big clubs will find it easier to remain big and unchallenged, especially for the coveted CL places; the smaller clubs will be limited in their opportunities to break through to the other side.

    Without FFP, I am pretty convinced Oilers will spoil everything for good: most if not all top players will join them, salaries will inflate like no tomorrow, non-oil/non-mega rich clubs will struggle to hold on to their players and keep their wage bill in control, etc etc.

    But I can also see your point re the smaller clubs never having a chance to challenge once FFP starts to properly bite…. And I also believe the richest clubs will find ways to keep artificially financing their vanity projects.

    The problem is the Oilers do not work in normal economic reality and totally ignore and undermine the very basis of sport: an equal starting point / fair competition. Now, I am a realist enough to know that total fairness cannot be achieved. In my view, the Oilers have to be stopped first, which would go against your plea for freedom above all. Subsequently, FFP must allow enough freedom for smaller clubs to gradually improve their position through clever club and team management, and/or a rich investor improving the club’s position by improving the basics: bigger, better stadium and therefore more income, setting up a youth development scheme, and investing in quality management and succession plans.

    This would take longer than the Chavs and Northern Oilers had to put up with, but it would be fair and feasible. What do you – and other BK’ers – think?

  10. oz gunner says:

    Wow RA, 1719 words!

    I’m always grateful for these articles because I know next to nothing on the issue and it spells it out very succinctly.

    Given what you’ve said I vote for EPL financial fair play because that benefits us the most (oops sorry small clubs 🙂 ). I’m more than happy for us to be BD while Man U become Bayern (like it used to be) because the optimist in says we will do them over like we did before (occasionally).

    It just seems to me that a bunch of monkeys thought up all these rules and the governing body behind them is a joke. Things like man city’s stadium deal for instance. What stops silent stan from investing a wad of money into a small company (that he owns) and then in turn invests it into arsenal as a ‘sponsor’?!
    I just get the impression that the people trying to enforce these rules are as knowledgeable as a pimply faced kid that delivers mail in Terry’s / RA’s place of business.

  11. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Henry,

    Good to hear Yoona the little Goona is doing fine! 🙂

    I would love us to play CL football again, Henry, but it would not be the end of the world if we did not. I just have a gut feeling we will not finish in top-four this year, but we will know a lot more after Wednesday. I expect the Spuds to win that game though.

  12. henrychan says:

    hi TA..
    thanks for your (and RA) concern for my baby..

    Chelsea will still have to fight Aston Villa and Everton after Spurs and Euro Final..
    Villa somehow becoming better and better.. and Everton just uneasy club to handle..

    And Spurs also have to fight Stoke and Sunderland after Chelsea..
    Will be uneasy for them again Stoke.. who play a negative football.. after maybe draw by Chelsea.. and Sunderland will fight to avoid degredation.. hehehe..

    So.. be relax.. we will trough the UCL again.. beleive it or not.. hahaha..
    Like Cilene Dion say.. That the way it is.. hehehehe..

  13. TotalArsenal says:

    BTW, Redders, I love your interpretation of FFP in the title! 🙂

    Henry, I am so relaxed about it. It is what it is, and whether we finish third, fourth of fifth, it does not make me look forward less to next season whatsoever! I also don’t believe we will not get the players we want if we were to fail in qualifying for the CL, so I am super cool about it. 🙂

  14. Red Arse says:

    Hi Oz, 🙂

    Can’t be around much today — which is probably just as well 😀 — and of course I understand all fans preferring a system that benefits their own team, but FFP could eventually ruin football, even if the principle is sound.

    The UEFA heirarchy seem to be incorrigibly wrong headed, to put it politely, and the director/owners of the ‘big’ Premiership teams are not much better.

    My point is that these people are making the decisions affecting every club and all fans, and let’s face it they only look after their own best interests — not ours.

  15. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    Thanx for that, it just seemed appropriate.

    My apologies for writing a dense Post on a dry subject which has unfortunately killed the site, especially as it is a glorious sunny Bank Holiday. 😦

    I have to go shortly, but it does not seem my services will be needed too much anyway.

  16. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Redders

    It is only early days and I for one am very pleased with the quality of the post today. You are right, it is a bank holiday and lots of BK’ers are out and about.

    I reckon the comments will be stretched out over the day and I hope you’ll be able to pop in a few more times! 🙂

  17. oz gunner says:

    Afternoon RA.

    It does appear that way. I don’t even know what FIFA or UEFA do, and when they do make a decision on an issue it seems very suspect or archaic in its nature.

    @ Henry

    good new all round, glad everything is coming along nicely! Are you taking her along to the Jakarta Arsenal game?

  18. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    it’s better you killed the site with intelligence and thought provoking questions, rather than stupidity and dribble (my specialty). For FFP 101 I just print off an RA post and start reading. But then when i read something out to the mrs she laughs at me for saying oligarch without dropping the ‘h’…we meet again English!!!!

    I just think everyone needs to soak it all in, especially VCC, he’s thinking that hard he’s drifted off in his chair. Either that or Mrs VCC has him doing the housework still

  19. Glic says:

    Afternoon Rimjobicals 😆

    I love these sort of posts and as Carly Simon wrote about me….” No body does it better ! ” hahaha, but in the case of this kind of post….no body does it better than Redders !.

    First, let me say, I want FFP to succeed but I would sell my soul to the Devil for Arsenal to be as successful as Manu have been over the last 20 odd years !. I only want the likes of Usmanov to be a plan B if FFP goes tits up !.
    I also agree with `umair, if there was no FFP, what would be stopping one of ,Chavs, PSG or City`s owners paying £ 200m each for Messi and Ronaldo !.
    One thing I cannot understand and maybe you can put me right. I thought all the new rich owners even now can put as much money into their clubs as they like if it is for infrastructure and youth development !. If what I think is true, then, like I`ve said before, the way ahead is youth development and I will again post the link to what Man city have been getting up to behind the scenes . Before all the rich bastards entered the arena Arsenal and Manu had a history of doing very well in the FA Youth Cup, in recent times City and Chavs have been doing a lot better, it`s their plan B if FFP works !.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2202858/Manchester-City-training-centre-Plans-revealed-100m-complex.html

  20. Red Arse says:

    I think Terry has him down in his cellar chained to his zimmer, so that he can do unmentionable things to VCC involving raspberries and a rubber duck. 🙂

    Don’t ask — you are too young!! 😀

  21. 1tourettesgooner says:

    Right, off out in the Sun, there`s too many ladeez who will be disappointed if I don’t go out side and flex my pecs !. hahaha
    As for the Chavs Vs Spuds game on Wednesday night, a spud win will be terrible for our CL ambitions, so come on you Chavs !.
    I already consigned myself for CL disappointment early in the season, so I wont be surprised if we end up playing on Thursdays next season. I don’t go with the belief though that we will not be able to buy SQ if we fail to get CL, for the simple reason, would any of Chavs, City or Manure not be able to buy SQ if they were not in CL ?. Of course they would or is somebody going to tell me that the mercenaries now have a conscience and CL is above the Wonga in their thinking !. hahaha

  22. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    My search for raspberries and rubber ducks took me to this:

    Strangely i could picture terry making this video in his loft have a good chuckle.

    That’s also why old man VCC feeds the ducks at the local park, pervert wants to catch a glimpse of duck porn!

  23. Mike says:

    Like I always say “Judge policies based not on Intentions but on the effects” We are yet to see if the effects of the Fair play rules will match the intentions.

  24. henrychan says:

    Hi OZ.. will you come to jakarta..?? Before your vacation in Bali.. maybe.. hehe..

    I like to.. but my wife will kill me.. hahaha.. she will be only 3 months when Arsenal play at Gelora Bung Karno.. I will go with my 7th yo son and my sister (she worked in North London for almost 4 years..) and some other freinds..

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    hahaha oz 🙂 Did you make that video? 😛

  26. AFC says:

    RA, brilliant post on FFP and how it will impact clubs in the EPL. 🙂

    I do not really know if I am a big fan of FFP. Why should clubs lower down the PL not be able to get themselves a billionaire like City did. Does not really sound fair to me. Instead of capping clubs seperately why do they not set one cap that applies to all teams. That would allow smaller clubs to grow and improve meanwhile stopping the likes of Chelsea and City from spending absurd amounts of money.

  27. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi AFC

    How are you doing? 🙂

  28. AFC says:

    TA, I’m ok. 🙂

  29. TotalArsenal says:

    Have you working on a new post or just been very busy? 🙂

  30. AFC says:

    TA, I have just been really busy and I do not think I will be able to write a post for a while.

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    No problem AFC – personal/work life should always take priority! 🙂

  32. AFC says:

    TA, apparently Mourinho is not going to Chelsea. Did you hear about that?

  33. AFC says:

    Mourinho has said that he would like to stay at Real and the whole Chelsea thing is not true.

  34. TotalArsenal says:

    Maybe Maureen is fishing for a large pay-out?!

    On the other hand, who will RM go for and who will want to go to them right now?

    Klopp – is the loyal sort of guy and seems very happy at BD

    Heynkes – could be an option, but nothing to be too excited for them about

    Benitez – could be an option….

    I guess they feel with Barca’s current decline that this is not a good time to make a change, and it is best to stick to the Devil You Know…..

  35. AFC says:

    TA, you are right. Real have told Chelsea they will have to pay 7.5 million if they want Mourinho.

    I’m off now, speak to you soon.

  36. Admir says:

    RA, intriguing and very clever post. 🙂

    Personally, I have my doubts about FFP and its efficiency at the first place. If sponsorship contracts like the one Manchester Oilers made with Etihad can bypass the rules, then what’s the purpose of FFP?

    Still, something had to be changed and it should have happened years before. I remember when Inter Milan had minus of 250 billion liras (around 125 million euros), their rich owner Massimo Moratti dealt with it by injecting his own 250 billion liras to cover the loss.

    @TA – Heynckes has already won one Champions’ League with Real Madrid (1998) but was sacked due to poor results in Primera. Benitez wouldn’t fit Florentino Perez’ desire to see attractive football from Real Madrid. That leaves them with Carlo Ancelotti.

  37. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Admir, let’s hope he stays there for many more years to come!

  38. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hi RA,

    Wow what a f*cking brilliant article and something I’ve been thinking about for quite some time! Very insightful article and I’ve become smarter as a result of reading this post :).

    You see as Arsenal fans, we often get lost in the advantages of FFP for us, but diminish or forget about the effect it may have on other clubs. However, as a NA sports fan, I often find myself enjoying a second team/club as well. One that is not a direct rival to Arsenal but a club whom I enjoy watching as a mid to lower table side. Immediately, I saw the consequences and wondered what the fallout from FFP would be for these clubs. Also, as you have pointed out, I wondered whether or not the league would become solely focused on the top financially well run clubs. You’ve all but confirmed my suspicions around the downsides of FFP and given me additional perspective that I was not privy to before!

    Much like yourself, I am an advocate for freedom. The competitiveness over the past 10 years from clubs like Chavs and $hitty have been a breadth of fresh air in the EPL. People often like to blame the oil-rich/Russian owners in unbalancing the EPL, but I strongly believe that Arsenal have been stubborn and shooting themselves in the foot in the process. It’s one thing to be financially sustainable and prudent, and another to be hoarding 40 million + in profits year after year. I understand that some of this money may have been designated for the stadium debt financing, but the continued increased competition in the league likely would have only eventually forced Arsenal to spend more of its unused cash reserves.

    My point does not even go to mention how clubs with fairly plentiful resources or ones that have spent exorbitant sums of cash have failed. All you have to do is take a quick glance at Fulham and Liverpool to see that spending big money does not always equate to results. There are more ways to win in football than purely financial power and the only way to prove it is through freedom. Now, clubs like Arsenal and Manure are just handicapping what has been successful for other clubs in an effort to level the playing field to their advantage and boost their own chances at silverware.

    Personally, it would have been a more glorious triumph for me if Arsenal had eventually won the title with all the oligarch clubs spending furiously. It may be an unrealistic goal that could never be realized, but something that would have made winning the title even more special.

  39. Highbury Harmony says:

    What I was trying to say at the conclusion of my comment was that in my view, FFP will slightly diminish the accomplishment of winning a title (winning a title would still be winning a title, but I’m sure you’ve all caught my drift).

    Also, it leaves the clubs already at the top ($hitty, Chavs, Arsenal, Manure, Spuds etc.) much better off than all the other clubs since they already higher wages, higher profits/revenue streams. Basically, the only effect of FFP is to discourage the oligarchs from continuing their free spending ways and in the process eliminating some of the competition from the mid and lower table sides.

  40. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, what is interesting is that if we do not finish top four, to see which of our rumoured transfer targets will still come to our club. If anything, it promotes stronger loyalty and displays a greater affinity for our club :). Players willing to come to Arsenal in our “darker days” are truly to be valued and more likely to stay by our side until we are a dominant force again.

    It makes sense in theory at least, if you look at the curious case of Liverpool. Suarez could undoubtedly move to a bigger and more successful club, but chooses to remain loyal to Liverpool, despite the fact that they are not even going to make the Europa league next season!

    Hopefully, it would mean no more mercenaries and glory hunting a$$holes!

  41. VCC says:

    Wow Redders, that was some post. Travel the blogosphere and you will not find many, if any, articles covering this subject as thorough and in depth as you have.

    Trouble is, its waisted on a silly old fart like me, who only understands three letter words. I’m far too fik and a total imbecile when it comes to accountancy and FFP stuff.

    All I know, is no matter how rich you are, you simply cannot have all the cream. There is still enough to go around for Arsenal to compete, if they so wished. It’s now my firm belief that Wenger will/won’t push the boat out and purchase the three top quality players everybody seems to think we need to be successful again. Either he has lost his nerve or he just refuses to buy the finished article, which would cost lots of pennies.

    Sorry I have not been around much lately guys, but duty calls when you have a demanding wife like I have.

    Must go. There is another bottle of bollinger to drink.

  42. 1tourettesgooner says:

    ” The competiveness over the last 10 years from clubs like Chavs and $hitty have been a breath of fresh air in the EPL ! “.

    So tell me HH. How long has your girlfriend had you buried up to your neck in the 100 degree heat, whilst she`s being entertained by Giroud ? . hahahaha

  43. Glic says:

    I`m over the moon that the Chavs bought a title from us in 2005 !.

  44. TotalArsenal says:

    All agreed HH 🙂

    Anybody who only wants to join the mighty Arse if we make CL can go and feck themselves! 😈

    A year out of the CL might not be the worse thing for us, as we need to focus of building a strong team that can challenge for the title first – any cup runs are an added bonus.

  45. TotalArsenal says:

    Ooh you sex god,Vickers! 😛

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    No bank holiday here, just a regular Monday morning–and it’s snowing!!! I’ll be OK, however, once the wife and kid are off to their job/school duties…. (And the moisture on the ground will perhaps prolong the wild mushroom hunting season….) Glic, I’m glad that Carly came around from the “You’re So Vain” stuff….

    Thanks (of course) for the excellent Post RA. FFP seems both a joke and a rather depressing scenario. Money is flowing into the game and with it (massive) un-fairness. Call it what you will, it’s just the rich trying to corral things for their own benefit….(Ah, geez, I got a bad feeling about this one, in terms of length….)

    The game is being fueled at two ends of the spectrum. On the one hand television (and the internet) allow a global audience access to it. On the other are the traditions of the game. It’s simple, the whole world plays it and (with the World Cup) it even reinforces the better elements of nationalism. The Club game, of course, is (much) better but still, in a big way, localism (tribalism) drives passion of the sport. Voyeurs (uh, that would be me and maybe a few others….) can see (if not feel….) the passion of the locals AND the football is better (much better) than on the dirt pitches in the villages, or in the local stadia. What an incredible thing it is to have people from all over the world interested in (living and dying with….) what happens in an arena built over a rail-yard in North London….

    I just wonder if it can be sustained and how trying to do so might play out…. The growth of the game, i.e., more and more money coming into it, is predicated on it being a better spectacle. The best players in the world need to play (regularly) and they need to show what they’ve got in competitive situations. This is the model of the North American sports–more referees (including technological ones), more “fairness,” (drafts, salary caps) and competitive structures which determine “true” champions (playoffs, “Super Bowls”)….

    This is, however, diametrically opposed to the traditions of football where it’s been about being in the stadium and being a part of something bigger than yourself. It didn’t cost much in terms of money (more spent on beer than tickets….) but the commitment was total and sometimes the true cost (Hillsoborough?….) was extreme. Players also were “committed” and did whatever was needed (including conning the refs….) to win the moment. Fortunately, there’s a ton of luck in football and the minnows can beat the sharks on any given day–a wonderful thing, and another element where individual moments of brilliance, teamwork and commitment can come to the fore. It assumes another element of fairness (i.e., players and refs not being paid off) which big money can also undermine….

    The sport is walking a fine line. We “love” Arsenal, “hate” United (and everybody else–what was that shit yesterday, by the way?….) But do we “really” love our team if it’s only a “brand?” Something seems a bit lost. Take Dracula (Suarez) and his divey, bitey, hands-on-the-goal-line ways–and European qualification–out of a late season Merseyside Derby and only a handful of folks can get worked up over an early whistle which prevented an Everton goal and a (rare) victory at Anfield. The Blues will get the Reds on points this season, but ‘Pool have got the money, so what does it matter? Sort of like us if we end up behind the Totts, according to some….

    My point is….If it gets to the point that watching the football (and getting the right result….) doesn’t matter then all we have left to discuss is the money–or the transfers and budgets and the highlight tapes (youtubes) of who we might buy. It used to be trudge to the stadium (or the pub) to watch and chat and critique. And then a week of talking about it and maybe getting some news in the paper or on the telly. (The BBC, before Sky came around, right? It’s romantic imagination for me. I mean, WTF do I know–I’m a noobtard, and an American to boot!!) Nowadays, it’s Football Manager or FIFA12 (or is it 13 yet?….or 15 or whatever….) and maybe that’s what some people enjoy. After all, who can bring themselves to watch a tape of our guys making a goal in the first 20 seconds than holding that lead for 93 minutes? If you missed it, just watch MOTD (“Premier League Review,” on Fox Soccer….) and send in your ratings… (Haha, just ribbing you Mr. Harmony–In truth, I missed you for the in-match chat….Seriously, no offense intended….)

    It’s a mercurial moment for the sport and it has to change (in my opinion). If the big money clubs (including Arsenal) are all about hoarding players, paying them too much (sapping their deeper motivations) and the quality keeps dropping, it just seems kinda sad. If RVP can jog around at the Euros and whiff CL sitters but get paid double and talk about who made his hair gray it’s more about stardom than quality (I think)…. And (finally), if these hide-behind-the-sofa, cheek-squeaky 1-nils don’t matter and it’s all about where we’re gonna play Jovetic or if getting Cesc back will mean Jack has to play on the wing… then I’m really concerned (and not a little bit depressed)….(Again, no offense intended to those who can enjoy that sort of banter…..)

    I’m not sure what the solution is, but something’s gotta give. It’s a beautiful game and there’s obvious (global) excitement about it. Somehow, while balancing the traditions of the game, what actually happens on the pitch has got to matter and be of interest. There has got to be a reward (for the fan) for watching. I’ve always been attracted to the game as a “pastime,” and that it’s not always about “winning,” and that the relegation stuff can be just as exciting as the trophies. As the big money flows in, maybe that is going away–Will we need every match to go to extra time and then penalties? (See North American Hockey….) Eventually it might all be about winning the playoffs or The SuperGalaticChampionshipDelMundo Match!!! (With all of Glic’s girls “performing” in a 5 hour half-time spectacular!) Those days haven’t come yet but it’s interesting that Wigan are in the FA cup final (against the “richest club in the world”) but may have bigger matches vs WBA (and us!!) surrounding it. It could be cool if City stumble (and lose on penalty kicks….) but the real question (on the Wigan blogs, which I imagine actually exist….) is who should Martinez (the guy I want to come in after Wenger, btw….) should play (rotate) and who should he keep fresh for the league matches? Or at least, I think that’s the question, maybe….

    Enough for now, sorry for the long post–AAHWTFDIK (as always, however, WTF do I know)…. Like everybody else, I’m just trying to figure it out, while (trying to have a good time….

  47. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, I was actually in Denver last week! Definitely not 100 degree weather hahaha. Giroud would have nothing on my fiancé, she’s not a fan of guys with big schnozes and who speak french ;).

  48. Glic says:

    Blimey, 17ht`s comments are like post`s. I think Totes should copy and paste them !.

    HH, alright then, your brain has been fuzzled by them Bucking Bronco`s !. hahaha

  49. Glic says:

    Vic`s a sex god !!. By the time he gets a boner, he forgets what it`s for !, so his missus stands him in the bathroom corner and hangs a towel on it !. hahaha

  50. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, as a fellow NA sports enthusiast, I am an admirer of the salary cap in place in most sports. Any teams failing to meet the salary cap ceiling are thus forced to pay a luxury tax and can even be hit with a penalty the following year on the amount they are over the cap!

    The only way to make football an even playing field and for FFP to properly work would be for every team to be given a salary cap. I understand this is unrealistic, but I do not believe the FFP and football can co-exist unless a cap is implemented. Either that, or a complete re-draft of all players (fantasy style) in order to make wage bills etc. on a level playing field (despite the fact revenue streams will still be unbalanced, at least smaller clubs would be able to buy more expensive players if they made decent profits!).

    Unfortunately, 17ht I have not had the time to watch the matches lately, mostly due to traveling. I would love to join the in-game chat with the rest of you but work/personal life calls! There’s a strong possibility that I will miss next Tuesday’s game as well since I will be in California for the week 😦 (just a heads up since I know you are so fond of me 😉 ).

  51. Glic says:

    That’s a shame your in California next week HH. I was really looking forward to some of that ” Broke Back Arsenal ” stuff from you and 17ht !. hahaha

  52. Glic says:

    Great generosity shown from our alex regarding the UMF League. Nice touch mate !. 🙂

  53. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, u jelly bro? Sounds like you want in ;), hopefully the mrs./Isco hasn’t been leaving you out to dry! AFC and BJ are also part of this BBA group as we often drive the discussion around these parts.

  54. Glic says:

    Yes….U jelly Bro is my Rap name !. hahaha

  55. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, just wondering but will sh*t hit the fan if we don’t sign Isco this summer? I’d imagine you’d be a pretty miserable man if Jovetic was the most highly regarded player to come our way this summer…

  56. Glic says:

    I`m going to be one unhappy bastard if we don’t get either Isco or Muniain ( my Gotze replacement ) in the TW. I know you lot love Blow Jobetic, but I`ve yet to see a you tube vid that make`s him look anything special, more OK ish than anything else !.

  57. jnyc says:

    Hey RA, good piece. What im worried about now are the possible consequences if we dont make the champs league this year or the near future. This throws our whole ffp advantage into jeopardy at least. Possibly worse.

  58. 17highburyterrace says:

    Funny stuff–and HH, you’re more than welcome to watch the match here on beautiful Brokeback, er, Iron, Mountain Circle in South Lake Tahoe, if your travels bring you anywhere close….

    There’s a good group down in San Francisco who watch the matches in North Beach (right around the corner from the Broadway sex clubs, you know, for the sailors) if you can’t get it up here–er, make it up here–for the match….(Of course, California is a big state, and you might be going to Southern California where everybody is prettier and wears fewer clothes….)

    Back on topic….Personally, I enjoyed the North American sports as a kid but now find them boring. The English and European football with the multiple competitions and the open, big money is more like real life–or at least global capitalism. I think something needs to be done to change the structure AND that Arsenal have been banking on the idea of being members of a European Super League (not just a tournament….) since the early days of plotting the stadium….Things just got a little off track with that whole “crisis” thing….and the slump in real estate values….

    For me, the middle term solution, I think, is a revamp of the loan system where deals are made (like ours with Real Betis) so that promising players can still get a run out somewhere. I think blurring the borders (between leagues and countries) is key. I’ve got “roots” of a sort in Spain (and I’m doing my “cultural presentation” on Spanish football and the parallels to real life with the recent German beat down—for my Spanish class)….I love that an Andalucian team (Malaga) is our feeder club and Isco is (very) Cescy even in the eyes of a not-very-metro guy like me….

    Something needs to happen or the quality will suffer (even more than it already does)…. For example, I see people suggest Micah Richards as an Arsenal RB, or maybe as an England RB, but does anyone know if he actually plays the game anymore…. Lukaku has been a great CF this season and WBA are a fine club but they can’t truly compete when the big fella can’t play against his parent club (Chavs). And who will get his fellow Belgian (Benteke) when the big clubs start throwing the money around? (Uh, why not us?)….

    Anyhow, FFP is just round one in the bigger show, I think, but the general direction is towards the rich getting richer…. and the twitchy getting twitchier—Funny how that guy (‘Arry Redknapp) had his hands on a trophy more recently than our own manager…. Tougher times, however, for Pompey (or Birmingham City, or…..)

  59. Highbury Harmony says:

    Glic, one must bear in mind that Jovetic is not the same type of player like Isco, Muniain, Gotze etc. He’s a SS type who can eventually develop into a main ST, blessed with deft touch, good movement and control of the ball, pace and vision, similar to that of van Judas (before he left for Manure, he turned out pretty well for us, didn’t he?).

    When you watch the videos, notice how Jovetic takes his shots off first-time/right after a turn, which our current forwards do not do. He brings something that we are currently lacking and that is flair and the confidence to take a shot immediately and well, while also having the vision and creativity to open up space for others around the box (latter is not highlighted as much but is in other vids).

    Plus, we already have our own Isco/Gotze/Muniain in Serge Gnabry 🙂 :

  60. VCC says:

    BKers…..I’ve got a confession to make. I was a very naughty boy this morning. While walking my dog I picked a bunch of bluebells in my local woods, I just love those flowers, they remind me of my youth.

    Please don’t report me to the local council. If you feel you must do your duty, I live in Launcestern Cornwall and I am the ugliest muvver f—– in town, easily recognised.

    Cheers guys.

  61. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, thank you for the kind offer :)! Surely, if I were in Northern California, I would have joined you for an incredible time filled with alcohol…I’m speaking of the football match of course hahaha.

    My infatuation with NA sports is that everyone is on a relatively equal playing field (in hockey which is one of my favourite sports at least). I’m a big advocate of equality and for any team to be able to win the championship, which is why finishing in a poor position leading to a higher draft pick really compensates for teams to eventually close the gap on the best. Also, with revenue sharing in the league, it ensures that smaller market teams are still remunerated in an equal manner, albeit not entirely fair.

    Also, even with a salary cap, you still see different methodologies on how to build a team. There are teams like the Rangers and Wild who spend/spent feverishly in free agency, hoping to build their team around the best talent available, teams like the Kings and Sharks who make massive deals to bring in players to their core and teams like the Lightning, Ducks, Blues, Oilers, Penguins and Blackhawks etc. who have patiently built their teams through the draft and add pieces through trade and free agency to complement their current core.

  62. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC, for a second I thought you were talking about your blueballs hahaha!

  63. VCC says:

    Talking of UMF…..as Glic says, what a fantastic gesture from that wonderfully handsome man Alex. Top man .

    Now I think everybody should take a leaf out of Alex’s book, and send a cheque to the. value of £500 to Vickies account immediately, if not before. 🙂

    Much love Ya’ll.

  64. Glic says:

    You senile old git, your knob got stuck in the ice compartment of your fridge and now you have a blue bellend !. hahaha

    Thanks for the vids HH. I still want Isco or Muniain. Gnabry can play on the opposite wing !. Talking of which, he is a great talent and I do expect him to start making a break through next season, if we end up in the Europa League, it will be a great chance imo to play the likes of Gnabry, Bellerin, Eisfeld and Akpom .

  65. VCC says:

    HH….my balls are sore after the use my misses have had out of them today……lmao. She’s anybody’s after three bottles of bollinger. Hahaha

    Seriously they have pride of place on my kitchen table, and a glorious sight they are too.

    See, you all thought I was a mean old fart, but I’m a romantic at heart.

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    So….

    Sorry for the long posts, but I’ll leave you with this question….

    Has the internet changed football? Can youtube vids be compared to porn? If things aren’t going well on the pitch (or in the bedroom) do we just need to, uh, widen our circle of interest? Does it matter where we get our appetite as long as we eat at home? Can 3 minutes of DM beast (to a good tune, not Song–he plays, or rather sits on the bench, at Barca….) make up for 93 watching Aaron Ramsey? (Not to pick on AR-16, dude’s been our engine, our Giroud in the middle AND–I even put him on my fantasy team this past weekend, hoping one of those long shots he foolishly takes might go in…..)

    It’s possible, I think, but maybe another matter if you buy the tickets (and cannot use them as part of your “marketing plan”) and actually sit through the matches. Obviously I’m curious what the regulars think. As great as things are here in the mountains of California, if I were a rich man (another song, from a musical, from waaaayyy baaackkk….) I would live in North London and attend all the matches and have a (serious) moan with my mates over (my good) coffee in the morning and ales in the afternoon….

    That said, I’m off to touch my very own Jerome Thomas…. 😀

  67. Highbury Harmony says:

    VCC, is what goes on in your household representative of that in all of the UK? If so, I would never want to live there! I mean, placing your blue balls on the kitchen table for all others to see, that’s just weird mate ;)!

  68. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, what’s your current rank in fantasy premier league/how many points do you have on the year?

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    Before I go (and get the keyboard all greasy–and I fear it will take longer–and better vids to get me there, what with the image of VCCs sack of ____ sitting there on the table)…..

    HH, to where are you traveling? Like I say, it’s coffee usually for the weekend morning matches. Wigan is at noon, so alcohol, could be in order, however….

    Yeah, I see your points about the US/Canadian leagues but it still just leaves me flat. English and Euro footy is like the Wild West by comparison. Plus, I’ve seen too many gov’t agencies fall over themselves to give away land and profits and everything else to gazillionaires like Kroenke. What he and his buddy, Phil Anschutz, are trying to do in Los Angeles (with an NFL stadium, before they “lure” the Rams back….) is pretty outrageous. And it’s all on the backs of the public (tax payers) and (working class) sports fans and their/our (irrational) loyalties—While we get priced out (!!) in the name of “entertainment.” Fun and games for those guys while we all know that football is (much more than) life or death….

    OK, maybe I’ll watch just a little more Serge before playing with old Jerome….

  70. Bond James says:

    nice one, RA

    the nearer the time for applying FFP comes, the more it makes me wonder, if this is something that plays right into the hands of the bigger clubs and hampers the medium sized or smaller clubs.

    i see mentions of us being a well run club with increasing profits, well if you looked at our financial results and the reason for such profits then you will discover such profits are mainly due to the fact that every year we sell our best player/or players, without such sales we wouldn’t have been able to achieve these profits.

    at first when the whole FFP thing came out, most of the experts were signing praises , some of them happened to be our very own , feeding us this sweet pill and making us hope and believe again.

    i was very sceptical about this from the beginning, no matter what rules or limits you come up with, the bigger teams will always find a way to make it work to their advantage, man city and chelsea will no doubt keep spending in excess of 50 million on players every year and have commercial deals or further partnerships to work around such things, as long as they had willing owners unlike Malaga who sort of bailed out before they could really launch themselves.

    yes, freedom is the way to go considering this may well turn diabolic as time goes by.

  71. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, I will be traveling to San Diego, Anaheim and Los Angeles (the middle destination purely for playoff hockey hopefully :), well and to visit relatives who live there…).

    VCC’s sack on a kitchen table would be a sight for sore eyes wouldn’t it? Hahaha!

    I’m not as big on the NFL, so I’m not privy on commenting on the situation/state of league. However, I would venture to claim the same could be said about football. Look at premium being charged for entrance to a football match these days, and in the case of a club like Arsenal, does the hike in ticket prices really translate to silverware or more intent in the transfer market? Fans are then left with, being priced out in the name of “entertainment” ;).

  72. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also, 17ht as you were too busy playing with pedro, you might have missed my question on your FPL team :). Or is it perhaps you are just performing too poorly to want to tell me hahaha!

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oh HH, that’s private stuff, like my “special” bookmarks…. 😉

    I’m doing very, very poorly this season because I’ve got no juice in the game–I’m a member of no leagues…..2 seasons ago I won my Sagna kit in a tiny league (where I used to post– No names again to protect the innocent and those who cannot be bothered to proofread their posts….) but it was a strange format (ESPN, not the “Official Barclays”)….and a lot of better players mishandled their transfers….by making Theo my Captain on the final gameday (instead of RvP, like my rivals were doing) I was able to pip them with the final kick of the season…..

    My problem is that I insist on 3 Arsenal players every week and make one my Captain no matter what….I also refuse to use the players I detest, so no RvP, Rooney, Terry, etc….Like Arsenal, I’ll do better next year….

    Speaking of which, nobody answered my question about the UMF format and whether or not you can use make-up matches. It appears you cannot. Of the 5 draws I picked 2 ended up that way while the others were lost right at the end (Bale and Mata–arghhhh)…. My fifth pick was a Chavs-Spurs draw but I guess that one doesn’t count. So, 6 points for the first time out, and not knowing the rules….Like I say, “Next Year” (baby)….

  74. VCC says:

    HH…yep, all on display. We’re not a shy nation.

    Especially when your as endowed as I am, it’s a shame to hide them away. Lol. 😉

  75. Glic says:

    This is an old gag but does fit in well with what 17ht is on about in regards to…. is you tube player vids comparable to porn ?.
    A few years ago, I was up late watching Transfer Window Deadline day, lets be honest it is exciting stuff if your team is looking to buy ! . My missus went to bed early as obviously, she is not the slightest bit interested in ” eleven grown up men kicking a ball ” . So I`m on my own with controller in hand while she`s upstairs in bed, I`m switching backwards and forwards from Sky Transfer Window deadline day to Babe Station !. I`m laying there on the settee with trousers halfway down my legs with boner in hand watching Babe Station, when I hear a creak on the stairs, I immediately jump up and pull my trousers up and sit down quickly and turn station back to Transfer Window deadline day. The Missus walks down stairs and says to me……” What you doing ? “…..I said….” I`m watching Transfer Window deadline day ! “…….she points and says….. ” Why have you got a hard on then ! “……..I said……..” We`ve just gone and bought Arshavin !!! “.

  76. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha 17ht, I figured as much that you were doing poorly ;). I’m currently in the top 25,000 in my first year of FPL out of 2,000,000 + from what I last checked, so I guess I should be relatively happy. In my private money league, I am set to finish in 2nd place unfortunately after some poor transfers/captain decisions…

  77. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahahaha Glic, never a dull moment with you.

  78. 17highburyterrace says:

    Very good Glic, and my Arse could use a Shavin….

    Indeed, sometimes, If the vids aren’t working for me I look past the ‘puter and see my (used to be) better parts in the mirror….

    Where has (italics) all the body hair gone?….. The only place where I’m losing mine is on my head!!!!

  79. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also Glic, in regards to your earlier comment, it’ll be interesting to see which players from our youth team will be able to make the jump next season and have an immediate impact. Gnabry looks like the most talented of the bunch, while Miquel is the oldest and looks like he’s in need of better competition. Eisfeld could play a part early next season with Diaby on the sidelines. Should be an interesting pre-season as there are certainly some spots that could be won by our youth!

  80. 17highburyterrace says:

    HH, Yeah, I guess you young guys have no qualms about using van Judas as your captain….Good on ya….

    I can’t bring myself to use “the rug” — Rooney, see my comments about losing ones hair….

    At least I watch our matches, however…. 😉 (Beginner’s luck, I say–just like mine, plus I was in Spain in the Autumn….In other words, I’ve got my excuses all lined up….and there’s always next year….)

  81. Glic says:

    I know there have been players in the past who we thought would make it from the youth set-up to first team, but only to fade away into mediocrity, for example Jay E Thomas !. but I will be amazed if Gnabry doesn`t make it, he has all the makings of a future star, I`d bet Vicky`s money on it !.

  82. 17highburyterrace says:

    UMF seems good. (Look out when I figure out the rules)….and if Alex wants to donate prizes all the better. A little juice in the game makes it (far) more interesting. On that account, Why not a BK mini-league within the (Official, Barclays) site?…. Seriously, it’s only because I try to be “disciplined” that I spend the 2-5 minutes every week transferring Giroud out and Ramsey in…. 🙂

  83. 17highburyterrace says:

    I envy you guys who get out to see the young guns—It’s not a waste of time to give a stroke or two to whichever J. Thomas you can, (now and again) As long as I keep a bit in reserve for the “1st team,” my wife doesn’t mind–Hell, she’ll hand me the computer if she’s not in the mood…. J

    Speaking of J Thomases, Jerome (WBA) seems to be doing his thing at a higher level than Jay Manu (Ipswitch Town?), but then again, he’s the older and more well-seasoned unit, I guess….

    Indeed, Gnabry and Eisfeld need to play 1st team. Miquel, if we don’t make big money sending him back to Barca seems certain as well. Or maybe the plan is to make the big money selling Captain Vermtastic that way and bumping the Other Nacho (Ignasi has got to be Catalan for Ignacio….) up the depth chart….

    Anybody else?

  84. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hahaha….This discussion seems to be “petering out.” Time to put on my apron and do my house work….Speaking of which, where’s Total? by the way…..

  85. Bond James says:

    17highburyterrace
    May 6, 2013 18:59 @ i 2nd that.

    a BK league within the official barclays fantasy football website sounds good.

  86. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ and 17ht, that would be unnecessary, I would dominate the entire league and run away with the prize money :). I would be all in for pitching an amount and the winner chooses a jersey with a player’s name on the back of his choosing!

    So we’ve got 3 of us interested so far for next year, anyone else?

  87. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, there are others but imho, I doubt that they’d be ready to play the next level (such as Akpom, Aneke, Bellerin etc.). Yennaris, Campbell (work permit permitting haha) and Miyachi could certainly be with the club next year but the latter could definitely benefit from another season on loan (hopefully he stays healthy). Not sure where people stand on Eastmond by Swansea are once again looking to capitalize on an undervalued player in our youth set-up.

  88. Bond James says:

    HH,

    if you can dominate the entire league and run away with it by having ramsey and giroud in your playing 11 then kudos to you 😀

  89. Highbury Harmony says:

    …If I put Ramsey in my fantasy team it would be a dark, dark day, perhaps the end of the world hahaha. Giroud at least scores goals and gets time at ST, Ramsey’s hard work and team oriented attitude do not translate to stats. I remember reading some article that Ramsey has the longest streak of not scoring a goal in comparison to shots taken (includes shots that have been blocked).

    To be honest, the only Arsenal players I ever have in my fantasy team are Theo, Santi and Kos/Mert, with Santi frequently rotating in and out.

  90. VCC says:

    Me.

  91. VCC says:

    GLiC……18:45, my Missus can’t stop laughing. 🙂

  92. 17highburyterrace says:

    HH, I bow down to your fantasy expertise…. 🙂 You’ll need it after you get married (lol–and just kidding, with deeper commitment comes deeper….. Uh, you fill in the blank….)

    Just as in the transfer stuff, I only have a limited interest in all the guys who might make it to the first team. Maybe if I were in London and it was a good way to see some (cheaper) footy….I do, however, support the “academy” concept and combining football opportunities with educational ones, emphasizing that it’s a very, very (very) long-shot to making it in professional sports.

    Like I was saying (before all the potty talk) I think the next step is a reform of the loan system and relationships between bigger and smaller (money) clubs. Might Chelsea (or Arsenal) be more inclined to try harder if they could play their best prospects (like Lukaku) on their League or FA cup squads? If football keeps the model of in-season international (qualifiers and friendlies, the latter of which, I think, are frankly ridiculous….) why not have clubs do the same with their on-loan players? Like “our” national pastime (beisbol) we maybe need to morph towards something of a “minor” league model (while still retaining promotion and relegation, of course)….I would love it if it were beyond national borders, but that’s just me….

    Anyhow, this stuff is fantasy talk as well, but of the boring variety….Back to your vids!! 😀

  93. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, deeper penetration?? Opa!

    VCC, we know that’s you, are you just confirming with yourself that you are you in fear of falling victim to memory loss with age? Don’t worry, we’ll all make sure you’ll remember who you are! 😉

    4 people in the league for next year already, would be exciting to get the majority of the BK community on board, I know AFC will be interested too!

  94. 17highburyterrace says:

    That was me, BJ, and an excuse for my woeful showing in the fantasy leagues. Giroud has had his moments but Ramsey (this past weekend) was just for luck (and to give me a reason not to groan as I watched him shaping to shoot another 25 yarder….) (At least I watched, HH, and I guess maybe I was hoping to have something nice to say for the likes of his supporters, Milo, et. al., who you are so quick to cyber-bully….kidding, eh….do I really need the smiley? If so, here it is 😉 ….)

    Next year it will be all van Judas and El Kun or Falcao (and, of course, Jovetic and Cesc–lol)….We need a league that gives out extra points for beast-iality or dare I say it, beast-esque-ness?….

  95. 17highburyterrace says:

    Opa? Is that a reference to the Greek? Oh gosh, this could get ugly….

  96. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow 17, the coffee drugs have been working a treat! 😛

    It is great to hear you are still having snow and go out to fetch some mushrooms. 🙂

    You are making a very good point about focussing on the football itself when we are still playing weekly games. I could not agree more. But I still get seduced myself by TW fantasies ahahaha 🙂

    BTW do you ever go to Lone Pine / go and see the Bristlecone Pines?

  97. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oops, guess I killed the discussion….(and I’m just checking in from, er, processing my mushrooms….and now I must run off to pick up my boy and do some errands)….Anyhow, much fun, sorry to take the discussion off track

    Who are we hoping for tonight, Stoke or Sunderland?…. Wigan match tomorrow is probably more important, I guess…..No matter what, I think we’ll have to win the next two against “motivated” opponents….Although, I’ve heard that finishing top 4 doesn’t isn’t so important. Please explain….

  98. TotalArsenal says:

    17

    Sunderland to win so Stoke need a result against the mashable Spuds 🙂

  99. Highbury Harmony says:

    Not looking likely TA, damn Stoke finally hitting form again. If Sess were not suspended, I reckon this would be a different game…

  100. Highbury Harmony says:

    By the way, I recently compared BK’ers to members of the Arsenal squad on my own and had quite the laugh doing it!

  101. TotalArsenal says:

    HH, tell us more! 🙂

  102. TotalArsenal says:

    Sunderland scored 1-1

  103. Highbury Harmony says:

    Nice TA :), just what we needed!

  104. TotalArsenal says:

    Sunderland have been down to 10 men as well. If Stoke win they will not put up a fight against the Spuds, so let’s hope Sunderland score another one…..

  105. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA = Arteta – The leader of our group and the engine of BK that keeps everyone else in line. Well balanced individual who is neither flashy nor emotional, but is rather level headed and incisive. Steady contributor.

    Redders = Santi – His ability to work wonders with words, is unparalleled on BK. There is a certain flair present in his articles and moves between BK and AA in a free role.

    Glic = Vermaelen – Not always present in articles (on topic at least), but is a joker and seems the type to enjoy pulling pranks on others, so as to lighten the atmosphere in the BK community. When required, he can actually be quite insightful and produce some spectacular comments, but is too timid to write an article on his own (lead the team vocally).

    Milo = Gervinho – Insightful individual with a very unique style who has lots to offer but fails to always produce the end product and allows others to get to him too easily.

    VCC = Rosicky – Not sure what the connection is here, but he’s the oldest player on the squad and it seemed fitting 😉

    AFC = Walcott – Ambitious individual who is looking to become the top poster on BK (i.e. the top goal scorer/main striker) who flashes a lot of potential but can get overwhelmed at times. He seeks the approval of others on occasion but is still as thick skinned and stubborn as they come (good thing).

    Me = Jack – Often the victim of my emotions, I occasionally let them get the better of me. However, it is always in passion for my club and I will stand up for other BK regulars without hesitation. I wear my heart on my sleeve and hold nothing back and am a real driver of discussion when I am present on BK.

    Richie = Arshavin – Not present on BK for quite some time, he often disappears and has become a mainstay on the bench this year. A very skilled writer knowledgeable of a few leagues, his absence often comes across as him being lazy.

  106. Highbury Harmony says:

    More to come!

  107. Highbury Harmony says:

    Forgot to write that AFC is also the quickest poster in that he can churn out articles in minutes (similar to Theo’s speed).

  108. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht = Ox – One of HH’s butt buddies (as Glic likes to put it), these two will play together for years on both FPL and BK. He has glimpses of outstanding potential and the ability is there for everyone to see, but has yet to put everything together and produce an article for BK.

  109. Highbury Harmony says:

    Henry = BFG – one of the friendliest members on BK, he never agitates others (intentionally). He can always be caught laughing and is a steadying presence on BK who contributes to every article. His contributions are often left unappreciated, though his transfer ideas are sometimes very ambitious (Per talking about recruiting a ton more German players to Arsenal)!

  110. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha HH 🙂

    Some fine observations.

  111. TotalArsenal says:

    Final score 1-1 phewwww 🙂

  112. Highbury Harmony says:

    PPP = Podolski – Was there ever going to be another comparison for him? A stubborn sod who displays strong conviction in his comments and ability. Has a penchant for disappearing as well (whether it be injury or personal life), but when present on BK, he contributes frequently.

  113. Bond James says:

    fantastic result for us,

    spuds will have a tough last game as well !

    come on sunderland and di canio !

  114. Highbury Harmony says:

    Oz = Giroud – He wants to be one of the top writers on BK and was threatened by the arrival of new writers (check his comments on my first Invincibles article as a reference). Talented and strong personality who is capable of producing spectacular articles but they have come too few and far between. People are demanding more from him and expect him to contribute on a more consistent basis.

  115. 17highburyterrace says:

    Troubles here getting my 25 year old car started AND my 40 year old truck won’t go either…. Luckily I’ve got people I can call who might help me (in picking up my boy)….

    I’d try pouring an espresso into the gas tank but that didn’t seem to help the last time I tried it….

    About the 4th place thing. Yes, we might still get good players in if we spend the money and it could (italics) even be an incentive to spend, still, it might force our hand even more in terms of pushing up the pay scale. And yes we are likely to bounce right back into the CL places, I just can’t see Spurs fighting on all fronts or Bale having another year like this one or them making the right moves in the offseason. Spending it all on Bale’s (and Moutinho’s fee plus) wages seems a big mistake We are so far from being a “big” club, however, when it comes to hoarding players and being able to do so (competing on all fronts) ourselves, however. And the pressure, if we fail now will only grow. I have a good feeling about Chavs-Spurs on Weds. You can see what it means to players like Cech and Mata (in post match interviews)–as opposed to when they played Swansea over two legs in the league cup. Scott Parker, of course, said winning the Europa league is more important than a CL spot, but he’s been dropped for Huddlestone in recent matches….

    Personally, I think Wenger blew it this season in a couple of fundamental ways. 1st was naming Vermaelen as Captain and benching (his majesty, the birdman) Laurent Koscielny, a move he has since rectified. It also having two young polish goalkeepers with injury issues and not much of a 3rd choice. Another blow it was hemming and hawing over Theo. Was benching him (rather than selling him in August) and then giving in to his wage demands the way to go? Better to be swift and brutal like with RvJ. It might pay off, here at the end, however, if he’s the only guy who can score a goal….Another bungle was playing a first team in the league cup at Bradford City–Although it was the spot where TV5 got his only goal of the season….If we win the league cup all is fine and good, but we just don’t have the depth. Combined with even more conservative subbing than usual it just goes to show that the manager can feel the pressure and do some things to transmit that pressure to the squad. The “party lines” that the cups don’t matter come and go with the winds of discontent….

    It’s all second guessing, of course and other people probably have some other favorites. Still, it’s helpful, I think, to note just how (very) far away we are from truly competing with the bigger, deeper teams whose level we hope to reach. We can only play who we play and it’s out of our hands (until Weds night, I believe) but these next two are very big moments for the club. We must win these matches or it’s all so very much hot air (like your fantasy league, or my stock portfolio, or looking at the one-handed magazines or dreaming of a car that will start, or having the mechanical skills to get them going when I need them to….)

    Finally, no, when I’ve gone to Lone Pine it was always to get into the Sierra to the West (Mt. Whitney, highest point in the lower 48)….The oldest living things on earth (the Bristlecone Pines) are in the White Mountains across the valley to the East….

    Shoot, I wanted to be Giroud—the handsomest of them all, and I get hurt (or can fake it) easily….but mostly because I waste a lot of space and never finish….

  116. Bond James says:

    let’s hope wigan do it in style tomorrow, bag all 3 points

    i fancy norwich going down.

  117. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ = Koscielny – Quickly becoming one of BK’s most valued bloggers, he relatively came out of nowhere (Ligue 2) and made an impact on the big stage. Very productive poster who has hopefully become a mainstay in the starting line-up. Needs to take his game to the next level and deliver some articles though. Can occasionally make some questionable decisions/comments that leads to good debate.

  118. Bond James says:

    HH,

    is on fire, that is some fine fine posting, warrants an article on it’s own, even if it’s just for fun considering we have a 10 day rest 😀

    copy pasting the posts = one fine article i reckon @ TA 😉

  119. Highbury Harmony says:

    Giroud is not the handsomest player on this team. If you look closely at him, he appears cross eyed at times hahaha. I’ve heard many ladies think Podolski is the best looking player on the team. Ramsey, Verm, Arteta, Theo and Gibbs also receive nods on the looks front from what I’ve heard from them.

  120. Highbury Harmony says:

    They also love Jack, but that may do more with his bad boy image or footballing skill than his actual looks.

  121. Highbury Harmony says:

    JM = Diaby – Is frequently on the sidelines or in and out of the line-up, but is capable of producing some truly world-class comments. If he could become a regular on BK and avoid the absences (injuries), he surely would become a valuable member of the BK community.

    Terry = Ches – Definitely not short on confidence, he truly believes in the Arsenal philosophy and is often bails other BK posters out when they question the Arsenal way (saves scoring opportunities from poor defensive play). Another stubborn sod, he prefers the discussion to flow in a certain way and believes he should be the starter. Doesn’t lose his cool often, but when he does, he’s full of emotion (look to the Liverpool game last year when he made two saves on the PK and the resulting shot after and then go on to look at his past interactions with Julian).

  122. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed, Arteta is one handsome fucker hahaha 😆

    Excellent stuff HH

  123. Bond James says:

    koscielny is one dashing son of a gun, without a doubt the show stopper and heart beat of many beauties out there,

    😀

  124. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK, I got the truck started so I’m outta here (for a bit, at least)….And, I can take being the OX, biding my time on the sidelines so I can shine in the Summer (you know for the national team, and, as always, next season)….and eventually (maybe, if I don’t find a better salary elsewhere….) I can be the very best of them in North London who came out of the feeder club down on the coast….

    And yes, I will take people on, lose control and go down in a heap, if it helps the team 😀 ….

    Great stuff, HH, and I’m already looking forward to your Tahoe visit, when you get the chance….

    Laters….

  125. TotalArsenal says:

    17,

    Thanks for the California update.

    Agreed on TV and captancy but not on Theo: he’ll come good and is already worth his money imo (goals and assists are bread and butter stuff).

    Also not agreed on us being far away from other big teams. We are in transition and coming out of it now – next season we’ll be significantly better if we keep the key players and add two quality players. 🙂

  126. Milo says:

    If the horses have already fled the barn, so to speak, the next best thing to do is ensuring that it doesn’t occur again. Therefore, I think some type of regulation is needed…I don’t know exactly what, but unless each club in England can get a rich benifactor, investor, oligarch, whatever you want to call it, then something should be done in order to make sure that the remaining clubs who don’t have one, can compete in some way with those that do. Chelsea haven’t been winning the title every year, and it remains to be seen whether City can as well. Even the rich clubs can get it horrible wrong, when it comes to purchases in the transfer market, and overall expenditure…Limiting City and Chelsea from spending big could further hinder them in their attempts to monopolize the title???

    About the ticket prices, yes the prices will rise, but maybe not our prices for home matches??? I don’t know…We have already raised them to be able to compete financially, and maybe the rest of the Premier League will do it, but not us??? It’s still not fair

    Glic mentioned that spending on youth development is not monitored, and I think we are already a bit ahead of MOST other clubs in so far as production, but a bit behind City and Chelsea regarding facilities. This could change though. We are not going to be playing under 18 or 21 matches at Underhill anymore. We will either play at the Emirates, or somewhere else, I’m not sure. I believe that our old ground Underhill is being re-developed by Barnet. That means we are not even paying for this! 😀 Soooooooooooooo some things are already in motion.

    I don’t pretend to know much about all of this…and some of it was probably already said in previous comments.

  127. Highbury Harmony says:

    TA, just sent you the first draft of my newest article (that’s right everyone, you can all start drooling and living in anticipation for a new HH article 😉 ).

  128. Highbury Harmony says:

    Milo :), did you see my comment at the end of yesterday’s article re: Ramsey? If not, I think you would really enjoy it.

    Also, what on your thoughts on Gnabry having the potential to be the next star similar to Bale? I see plenty of similarities in their games (Gnabry has better ball control, finishing and vision at the same age mind you).

  129. Highbury Harmony says:

    By ball control, I mean dribbling since Bale’s ball control has always been top notch.

  130. Jamesofsouthwales says:

    I both agree in one sence and disagree entirely in the others RA, FFP will no doubt make Man UTD the strongest team in league again for a short time at least but we proved that can be broken. Wouldn’t you agree that in they days of our 2 horse race with Utd the eventual winners were generally the ones who were better coached and had more to desire win that season. Don’t you think Arsenal and Man UTD earned the right to be uo there through years of hard work on and off the field building the clubs from basement up.

    It is completely wrong that a rich owner (using Citeh as an example), can pump over $500 million into the playing side of a club. Over the 2 year period they Built their title winning team their overall income was less than 50 million which is what they paid for Aguero. How do you think clubs like Liverpool, Everton and Spurs who like us and Man U have been working hard to get up the league the right way.

    It’s like being a 100M sprinter with no chance of winning taking a drug to make you the fastest on the track, it’s cheating. That sprinter has no right to win that race because he’s physically not strong enough he hasn’t trained hard enough and he’ll never be fast enough. That’s exactly what the investors at these 2 clubs are doing “Financial Doping” of their teams well outside their means and size of which no other club can possibly match.

    Technically if we were take away their money from investors these club are no bigger than Sunderland and Swansea and smaller than Everton, Newcastle, Spurs and Liverpool in relative size and fan base. You ean the right to compete if you can’t jump the last fence work harder so next year you can.

  131. Milo says:

    Gnabry reminds me of Bale a bit yes, but he just has that aura of extra class about his play. If anything he reminds me of JET (remember him?) but with more application and even more skill. JET reminded me of Balotelli, in that he could play with both feet, dribble, shoot and pass. They are also a bit similar in temperament (JET and Balotelli that is) Gnabry doesn’t have the size that JET did, but he has more skill. Gnabry also reminds me of Oxlade Chamberlain, excpet he has a bit better finishing ability in his locker. I’d say that Gnabry is a mixture of JET and Oxlade Chamberlain. All of their best attributes combined. He’s got the potential to be great, but needs to add even more consistency. I’d be warry of hyping him too soon, and seeing frustration, like some have seen with Chamberlain…

    Kristoffer Olsson reminds me of a mixture of Modric, Arteta and Pirlo. He is one I am really excited about too. He is NEARLY immaculate when in possession of the football. He looks like a ballet dancer out there he has such silky smooth feet! He won’t wow you with pace, strength, or scoring ability. Even his assist rate could improve. What he does do though, is conduct our play. Again though, he needs to become more involved in matches, more of the time, but he will learn that in time.

  132. Highbury Harmony says:

    Alex = Gibbs – Originally tried to steal the name of his fellow Australian mate in the same way Gibbs is trying to steal away the LB position as his own (after the departures of Clichy and Cole) in AW’s constant revolving door of quality LB. We would like to see him be more consistent on the BK community, as it’s evident that there is plenty of talent in his work. However, he is occasionally absent but often finds himself in the mix of things on game day chat. I often see eye to eye with Alex, making the connection with Gibbs (aka Jack and Gibbs England teammates) even stronger.

  133. Bond James says:

    Gnabry = the next drama queen aka C.Ronaldo.

    we managed to let Ronaldo slip us by but in Gnabry , Wenger has a chance to redeem himself.

  134. Highbury Harmony says:

    Great insight on our youth Milo! Always appreciate the updates. The reason I ask is because I am contemplating writing an article that compares Bale to our line of young wingers (Theo, Ox and Gnabry) in order to somewhat predict which one is most likely to be the next superstar/how each are similar and differ to Bale in skill set.

    I see Gnabry as a mix between Bale and Ox, owning the best qualities of both. Of course, he still has a long way to go before reaching the level of Bale, but it’s certainly something to look forward to!

  135. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha BJ, you take that back ;)! I am incredibly high on Gnabry and believe he has a more level head on his shoulders and I do not believe he dives nearly as much (or at all).

  136. Highbury Harmony says:

    Also Milo, early thoughts on Gedion Zelalem? How has he looked?

  137. Bond James says:

    actually going by that notion, then i urge you to take that bale comparison back, least when CR dives he gets something out of it 😉 unlike G.Bale 😉

    Gnabry is a special talent and could go on and achieve the same heights as C.Ronaldo if not more, i just hope he doesn’t feel home sick like one of our ex- skippers.

  138. Admir says:

    HH, may I hope that I’m not one of our forwards loaned out to West Ham and Juventus respectively? 😮 😀

    Speaking of Ramsey’s looks – is it just me or Aaron looks like he is a younger brother of Michael Owen?

    Regarding Gnabry’s future, I put a lot of hopes in him and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Eisfeld has reminded me of Rosicky in a few moments when I watched him.

  139. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, that thought had not crossed my mind until you said it…look at what you’ve done! (:evil:)

    As we all know with Cesc, he’s coming back to his real home this summer anyway ;). Hopefully Gnabry becomes the next star we all believe he is capable of becoming, but I question how much longer we’ll be able to keep him at the U-21 level. If he is not promoted this coming season, surely he’ll be up the year after.

  140. Bond James says:

    Gedion Zelalem = Cesc Fab 😉

    Eisfield = Rosicky

    Gnabry = C.Ronaldo

    Bellerin = Dani Alves

    Nico Y = Mascherano/Alanso

  141. Highbury Harmony says:

    Admir = Nacho – One of the newest faces to join the BK community, Admir is a considerate and steady individual who has really been a big contributor since his debut in March. He has yet to establish himself as a full regular on BK, but he certainly has a lot of talent and provides great depth with his views (depth to the LB position). He understands the finer points of the game very well and the defense of his views matches his confident nature.

  142. Bond James says:

    i reckon he will be in the first team squad this summer and do a pre-season like last year with the seniors.

    he is head and shoulders above the rest of his peers , he’s in a good place with the senior German players as well as Eisfield, so hopefully he won’t feel home sick and so on.

    we need to manage his head and keep him level headed as there are times when he tries to do a of CR on his own, nothing wrong with that but without a doubt, he can deliver the goods , he is a strong boy as well, i hope injuries don’t hamper his very promising career.

  143. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, if all of our youth players reached those heights, we would be fielding quite a ridiculous team. I’m sure all of those comparisons are quite lofty, but definitely shows that there is some potential to look forward to. The Academy is headed for the right direction again after making some strong signings (Eisfeld, Gnabry, Zelalem, Bellerin etc.).

  144. Bond James says:

    we have made some shrewd and very promising youth signings no doubt about that,

    we’re also after another young promising player, J.Selva from barca 😉 watch them moan again if we manage to snap up.

  145. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, I saw that and I couldn’t remember his middle name as it was like 20 letters long hahaha. Selva works just fine :).

    Of course managing Gnabry’s character and playing time will be key. Hopefully, AW’s learned from past mistakes of throwing young players permanently into the fray too early and too often.

  146. Bond James says:

    i hope we manage to get a decent goalie coming through the ranks as well, if we had a decent goalie, we may well have been playing the nexgen finals and not had lost that semi final vs chelsea.

    that’s why i think it’s essential to buy a good solid goal keeper for the first team, the youngsters will also learn off him as well.

  147. Bond James says:

    the future looks bright and promising, if we are going to go by the rumours off late then one Dennis Bergkamp may well enter the coaching set up, the lads will certainly learn a thing or 2 from the old maestro 😉

  148. TotalArsenal says:

    BJ 😛

    Jovetic = Bergkamp
    Wanyama = Vieira
    Miguel = Adams
    Sz = Seaman
    Theo = Henry
    Ox = Messi

    The Future is so bright hahahaha 😛

    Now THAT is lofty, HH! 😆

    Night all.

  149. Bond James says:

    Gervinho = Pele

    Ramsey = Xabi

    Squillaci = Maldini

    Santo = R.Carlos

    Bendtener = Maradona

    Chamakh = Ronaldo (the original one)

    😀

  150. TotalArsenal says:

    Giroud = van Basten
    Coquelin = Zinedine Zidane
    Djourou = Beckenbauer

    Really gone now. 😀

  151. Bond James says:

    Arshavin = Roberto Baggio

    😀

  152. Highbury Harmony says:

    Hahaha TA and BJ, you really cracked me up with those last few posts!

  153. Highbury Harmony says:

    BJ, if Gnabry comes up to the first team and makes an immediate impact, where does he play? He seems destined for a role in the center of the park in order to capitalize on his creativity and would be best served in a free role behind the striker. However, I could see AW pushing him out wide to get acquainted with the league and develop other parts of his game before playing him centrally.

    Also, if Gnabry is the real deal, what happens to Theo and/or Ox?

    Thoughts?

  154. Bond James says:

    Theo, is injured 3-6 months on average every year 😀

    OX , is being developed to play through the middle .

    Gnabry, doesn’t pose a threat to both of them,

    Gevinho, should feel scared, very scared if Gnabry delivers the goods i reckon as you might be right in saying Wenger playing him on the wings, Right wing is where he is deployed most often and then cuts in sometimes unleashing a ferocious left footed power strike……thing along the lines of that goal Robben scored against Barca but Gnabry scored a better one not so long ago that still lives fresh in the memory .

    based on my above thesis, i feel the end might be nigh for Pele, i mean Gervinho 😀

  155. Highbury Harmony says:

    I think Gervinho is already looking over his shoulder as it is, never mind the addition of Gnabry coming through the ranks! Ox, Theo, Poldi and Santi are all viable wing options. One has to believe that Ox will come back stronger and better next season, leaving quite the dilemma for AW.

    Unfortunately, Gervinho has never fully adapted to the EPL and produced on a consistent basis. He is still a good player to have in our squad, as he really adds something different to our attack, but from an effectiveness standpoint, he is most likely to go out of our current crop of wingers.

    I’ve seen the Galatasaray rumours, but do you really believe anyone will buy him this summer?

  156. Highbury Harmony says:

    Further, if we sign a striker like Jovetic and he plays up front on his own, then that means Giroud and Poldi/Theo move to the bench, with Santi and one of Theo/Poldi on the wings. Jack will likely play in the CAM role, while Arteta/Ramsey will rotate playing alongside a DM beast.

    That means our bench suddenly becomes: Giroud, Podolski/Theo, Gibbs/Monreal, Vermaelen, Arteta/Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain and hopefully an experienced back-up GK.

    I’m really liking the look of that squad! Not to mention in reserve on the 24 man squad, we’d still have Miquel (if he gets promoted), Yennaris (if Sagna is sold and he gets promoted), Diaby, Rosicky, Coquelin and Gnabry (if he gets promoted).

  157. Bond James says:

    i would sell Gerv if the money being quoted is offered and let him unite with his idol, Drogba.

    yes, spot on, after a long long time, we would be able to put out 2 very very competitive teams, a luxury only mancs have at their disposal, squad rotation or playing different teams for domestic cup competitions may not longer be a problem as such….best of all, we won’t have to keep playing the likes or Arshavin and other players who no longer have a part to play in this team during training sessions….

    we will have a quality chunk of individuals to choose from , with 5-8 top quality players.

  158. Highbury Harmony says:

    I think there’s a good basis for rotation in there. Santi will likely play almost every league and CL game (if we qualify), but when he starts on the left with Theo on the right, Monreal starts at LB. However, when Poldi starts, Santi moves to the right with Gibbs slotting in at LB.

    When Jack needs a rest, he is moved to the first-team reserve and Rosicky slots in at the CAM position and Coquelin, Miquel, Gnabry, Yennaris will receive the bulk of their playing time in domestic cup competitions (hopefully that’s enough for them, especially Coquelin).

  159. Bond James says:

    yep , ideally you would want a pairing to go out and another pairing combination going out,

    on the left – giggs / Poldi —— nacho/Santi

    on the right – Sagna/Theo ——— Jenko / Ox/Gnabry/Gerb

    you’ve pretty much covered the rest really, CAM positions we will have Wilshere/Rosicky/Jovetic(hopefully)

    it all looks jolly good on paper but until and unless we get a decent DM, all of the above is futile i believe.

    it is imperative for us to get a decent DM, we get then we have the likes or coquelin/Arteta/Ramsey to play along with.

  160. Highbury Harmony says:

    Carling Cup entire tournament and FA Cup early rounds:

    —————-Giroud/Walcott——————–
    Ox——————Eisfeld—————-Gnabry
    ———-Diaby—————–Coquelin———–
    Gibbs—–Miquel—–Vermaelen—–Yennaris
    ————–Experienced Back-Up————–

    Bench: Shea/Martinez (GK), Meade (LB/LM), Bellerin (RB), Giroud/Walcott (ST), Akpom (ST), Angha (CB), Eastmond/Olsson (CM)

  161. Bond James says:

    from your line up, i’ll move Nico where Diaby would be (since he is injured) and put Bellerin at RB , the rest looks hot though !

    although may start with Akpom and look to bring Theo/Girould/Remy off the bench;)

  162. Highbury Harmony says:

    PL and CL best line-up:

    ———————–Jovetic——————–——-
    Cazorla————Wilshere—————-Walcott
    ——–—–Arteta———-–New Signing———–
    Monreal–Koscielny–Mertesacker–Jenkinson
    —————–—–Szczesny————–———–

    Bench: New signing (GK), Gibbs (LB), Vermaelen (CB), Ramsey (CM), Oxlade-Chamberlain (CM/W), Podolski (LW/ST), Giroud (ST)

    Alternative PL and CL line-up 1:

    ———————–Giroud——————–——-
    ———————-Jovetic————————-
    Cazorla———————-—————-Walcott
    ——–—–Wilshere—––New Signing———–
    Monreal–Koscielny–Mertesacker–Jenkinson
    —————–—–Szczesny————–———–

    Alternative PL and CL line-up 2:

    ————————Giroud——————–——-
    Podolski————Wilshere—————Cazorla
    ——–—–Ramsey————–Arteta———–—
    Gibbs–Vermaelen–Mertesacker–Jenkinson
    —————–—–New Signing————–——–

  163. Bond James says:

    mouth watering, considering it gives us options to even change our formations accordingly, i would say upwards and forward is the way to go.

    but for now, let’s win our next 2 games and hope spuds vs chelsea isn’t only a draw but they also end up with a few bookings (red cards) or injuries 😀

    an article discussing the best remaining outcome for the remaining 2-4 games that suits arsenal the best should be rather timely i reckon.

  164. Milo says:

    Gedion Zelalem is JUST getting accustomed to life at Arsenal, and being thrown in to the under 21’s at just 16 years of age tells you how highly the coaches, including Wenger, rate him. He looks extremely comfortable on the ball, just like Olsson, and can play as a deeper lying midfielder, or as an attacking midifielder. He really needs to bulk up, even more so than Olsson, who has gained a fair bit of muscle since he came over. Gedion’s off-the-ball movement also needs to be improved, especially if he is to play as the play-maker. I know this might sound strange, but if he gains a bit more weight, I could even see him playing as a defensive midfielder, who can facilitate attacks. He’ll never be a beast, but if he improves his strength, he could be the answer for our deeper lying playmaking role, in the future, along with Olsson. In fact I could see them both forming a double pivot similar to Arteta and Ramsey, except with better forward passing and creativity. Their positioning would more than make up for a lack of power. Ramsey and Arteta don’t have genuine pace, but what Ramsey does have is a good engine, and I think that Gedion can really, really run efficiently!!! He has already rumoured to have surpassed a few first team players with his levels of fitness (endurance, I believe), and no, I don’t mean he has surpassed Arshavin, hahahahahahahaha, I mean players who play a prominent role for us. He has trained with the first team longer than he has actually been a part of the under 21 set-up, if memory serves me, due to him having to get a type of permit to transfer to us at such a young age. This is how he has gotten the fitness tests results.

  165. Highbury Harmony says:

    Just saw this picture and creamed my pants. That would be an unbelievable kit!!!

  166. Highbury Harmony says:

    Here’s another link in case you can’t see it:

  167. Highbury Harmony says:

    Milo, that is fantastic news, thanks for sharing your knowledge on Zelalem and Olsson! I’d be pretty excited for a future pivot of Zelalem and Olsson, though I’m not 100% convinced on GZ being a DM hahaha! Still, I really like what I’m hearing, especially the forward passing and creativity, which seems to be what we are sorely lacking with the current group of players.

  168. Highbury Harmony says:

    Too bad that kit was fan designed 😦 hahaha

  169. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey Milo….You mention Ramsey’s good engine, but then compare that to Gedion Zelalem’s “efficient” running….I’m curious what you mean….

    One of my major peeves about Ramsey is his running….that he overstrides when chasing down a ball, when everybody knows that play-making and acceleration is all about cutting down your stride. Some people say he lacks pace, but it seems like his running style is what undermines whatever raw speed he might possess. For me, In addition to being very one-footed, this is the fatal flaw I see in his game and the factor which would seem to doom him into being a utility player on any top team. I think it’s a big reason his first touch is so poor and we get the sensation that he’s reaching for balls with his body not quite under his control….

    I know you’re big on Ramsey but it seems like they must teach this sort of thing and that it’s getting awfully late for him to adapt or change his ways…. All that being said, the engine and the work-rate and the desire to help the team (from any position) have been a big factor in getting results in this stretch run.

    Like I say, just curious….

  170. Highbury Harmony says:

    17ht, actually Milo was commenting on how Zelalem was efficient with his running! Not that Ramsey was ;). He was actually implying the exact opposite of what you were led to believe hahaha.

  171. Highbury Harmony says:

    I think that’s what he was implying, now I’m not sure…

    17ht, what do you think of that kit I posted?

  172. Highbury Harmony says:

    http://www.tribalfootball.com/articles/arsenal-keeper-szczesny-tottenham-do-not-have-quality-top-four-3956254#.UYiE2ZVyGlY

    “If you look at Chelsea’s fixtures, they have Tottenham and Everton left and they won’t be easy games. And Tottenham do not have enough quality, so there you go…”

    Ches really taking some shots at the Spuds. And the gloves are off!!

  173. henrychan says:

    Hehehehe.. HH.. Very kind of you to think it for all of us.. and very creative also..
    And yes I agree with you about Chelsea and Spurs..
    They will have some hard day.. And we will win all the last two games.. 73 point as I predicted before.. altough maybe not good enough for third.. but at least fourth is avaliable.. hahahaha..

  174. Red Arse says:

    Morning Guys, 🙂

  175. TotalArsenal says:

    morning Redders 🙂

  176. Red Arse says:

    I have spent a lot of time reading thru the comments and everyone should take a bow, but those of 17HT and HH have been a fascinating mélange of competitive sparring, knowledgeable info and comedy, with 17ht taking the crown for weight of words per comment, and HH the crown for forthright views!! 🙂

    Fascinating!!

    Hi Henry!! 🙂

  177. Red Arse says:

    Hi TA, 😀

    All well I hope.

    Sorry I could not get back to the site yesterday — family flying in from NYC, and others stopping by en route to the continent. Hectic! 🙂

  178. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA 🙂

    All is very well, except for suffering from hayfever! 😦

    Hope you have a good time with your family and friends!

    Thanks again for a quality post. Anybody who wants to know about FFP, Arsenal finances etc only has to click on ‘Posts Red Arse’ and there is wealth of information for them, which is just brilliant!:)

  179. Red Arse says:

    TA,

    Thank you, but you know I was trying to improve my typing skills when I wrote the last two Posts, and if I am being honest, the FFP one could have been better written, and more tightly edited.

    Anyway, the comments later in the day on various topics, as I mentioned above, were first class and I thoroughly enjoyed them. 🙂

    Hopefully, 17HT and HH will convert some of that energy and produce equally fascinating Posts to add to what they already have produced.

  180. TotalArsenal says:

    RA, you are just too humble! 😛

  181. henrychan says:

    Hi RA.. Morning TA..
    Guys.. Let’s talk about our youngster now..

    I think for Wenger without having the 70 millions to spend.. He still be able to compete.. with all our youngster that HH and 17ht had already mentioned..
    Gnabry, Eisfeld, Miquel, Yennaris, Meade, Bellerin, Angha, Miyaichi, Akpom, Toral, Olsson.. and others..

    I also like to see Vela and Campbell back to our squad.. They do their best in La Liga.. (Vela is the topscorer for Sociedad).. so why do we need to bring a striker from spanish with big money.. if we had our own players..
    And we still have Wellington, Anneke, Afobe.. hehehe..

    So what do you think guys.. Who are good enough for our first team next season..??
    I choose Gnabry, Eisfeld, Miquel, Bellerin, and Miyaichi
    Also Vela and Campbell if they return to us..

  182. Red Arse says:

    Good thinking, Henry, and I would like those guys too, as well as Chucks Anneke and Chuba Akpom. 🙂

    They are both very technical, but also physically imposing, and frankly we need a bit of size in our team, which has too many small players.

  183. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed with both of you, Henry and RA. Luckily Arsene has money to get some quality, experienced players on top of those fine and promising talents as well. 🙂

    Next post in about 30 minutes.

  184. VCC says:

    Good Morning Ugly Muvver F**Kers.

    Things are hotting up at the sharp end of the table.

    Wooden Spoon has already been presented at the Insane Clinic at Launcestern, Cornwall. His carers have assured me it has pride of place on his bedside table. AH bless.

    There’s two week ends left, so realistically it’s a 5 horse race for the much coveted UMF Crown.

    Such high scores this week, consistency and accurate predictions (apart from one doughnut) are becoming commonplace. Well done guys.

    Overall leader board =

    VCC………112
    Henry…….106
    Red Arse…96
    HH………….95
    Oz…………..92
    TMHT………88
    Total………..87
    Prince………87
    Alex…………81
    Rocky………75
    GLiC………..60

    Weekly scores =

    Boomerang, ………….Wizard ………………11
    Almanac Dic, …………Dear Ser………10
    Anti post , ……………..Can……………..9
    Von Cloggenstein, …Sum……………….8
    Handsome F**ker, …Toupee…………..7
    ABC EU footie,……… Harmonious…….6
    Laughable, ……………Chuckle…………..5
    Zimmerdine, …………Vicky……………….5
    Nuts,…………………… Brazil………………4
    12″, ……………………..Hampton………….4
    Unstable,…………….. Corky………………2
    Volatile,……………….. Pincer…………….No show (2nd week)

    Well done to Oz and Red Arse for achieving double figures this week.

    Hopefully we will have 5 centurions by the end of play next week end.

    Great stuff guys. Take it easy, and take care.

    Last but not least, please read Alexgunner post from the week end. A big pat on the back and a huge thank you is in order. Top Man.

  185. VCC says:

    ARGHHHHGHGHGHGH …Total, you’ve done me again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

  186. TotalArsenal says:

    VCC ??? What are you on about? 😕

  187. VCC says:

    My entry at the end of a post 😦

  188. VCC says:

    Total, you have mail. 🙂

  189. Red Arse says:

    Loved your UMF positional summary, with name attributes, Vickers!! 😀

  190. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post! 🙂

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