What sort of club do you want Arsenal to be? What sort of business model would suit us best?
With another club getting oiled up to the eye balls now, and there always being a chance that Arsenal will be bought by a sheikh or two themselves, I am wondering how fellow BKers (and other, silent readers of the blog) think our club should be owned and run.
Football clubs have huge turnovers now and with that come big financial risks. Barcelona just decided to take on a €1.5b loan to get themselves out of – or even more into, depending on how you look at it – a financial mess. They could not keep hold of their big stars and let them go to their rivals for free. The club has imploded over the summer and it will take a long time for them to get back to the top. Running a football club is risky business.
Ajax have a great youth academy but (have to??) sell their gems at an increasingly younger age, after which they have to build all over again.
Citeh and the Southern Oilers have shown that success can be bought if one just keeps pumping extraordinary amounts of money into the club. But it is not just that: Abramovich is ruthless when it comes to hiring and firing managers and has a good eye for who will bring him instant success/return on investment. Citeh made one of the management appointments of the new millennium by getting Guardiola instead of him going to the Red part of that post-industrial city.
Big money with (loyal) top quality managers is a strong recipe for silverware. But how much fun is it to win this way?
Pool have of course made the other big manager signing of the modern era. Klopp was a great managerial call by the Pool BoD, and with relatively modest investment they have found a formula for success with attractive, winning football. I am much more jealous of them.
Man United and Arsenal, the power houses of the first 15 years or so of the PL, have lost out to superior oil money and wrong managerial appointments.
I don’t really want to look at what went wrong, though. All good eras in the PL come to an end and then we have to hope for a new one. The question is, do we have the right structure and ownership model in place to be successful again?
For me this is a question of sound and ambitious financial management and top level football management knowhow at Board level. It’s also about vision and values as foundation to the long term running and success of the club.
Furthermore, it is about holding on to our best players long enough to reach the summit again. It is also about listening to the fans and good comms; about being aligned and having trust in the longterm direction of the club.
There is room for improvement at Arsenal regarding the above, but we are not in a bad place. The club have made a strategic decision to invest in youth and young quality players to build a team from scratch. They have trust in Arteta and his vision of beautiful, winning football; but if he doesn’t work out there will be a solid base and squad for the next manager to build on. This is vitally important.
I have high hopes for Mikel but this season will need to bring a step improvement and the jury remains out. I think he will deliver.
A vision and long term strategy, excellent management knowhow, using youth where possible, spending between £50-100m every season, holding on to our best players sensibly and managing the club in a financially sound way, is all I am asking for. I don’t want us to buy success by simply outspending others through unlimited funds. Really, what is the fun in that? If Pool can do it, Arsenal can do it.
I would like more passionate involvement from the Kroenkes and am not sure we have the required knowhow at Board level now, but the decision to stick with Arteta (‘s vision and direction) and investment in quality young players has made me very excited for Arsenal’s journey ahead.
Or is this not enough? Is the only way to success to be oiled up to the eye balls?