Can Arsenal Add To Dennis’ Bronze This Season?

db10
The very photo which adorns ACLF Towers

Having momentarily denied it, Arsenal have confirmed that Dennis Bergkamp will be the next to be cast in bronze at The Emirates. A fitting tribute to, in this humble blogger’s opinion, is the best footballer witnessed in the Premier League era. It was curious that Bergkamp was omitted from the ‘first run’ of statues but you understand the reasons why; it is a tricky balance for the club to strike. Over-emphasis on the modern era might appear to dismiss the likes of Wilson, Armstrong, McLintock, Bastin, James, Lambert, Hapgood, Mercer and others who made no less significant contributions in their time at Arsenal. Many more statues and there is a danger that the concourse may look like an audition for the latest installment of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.

Nonetheless, it is hard to argue against honouring Bergkamp for his contribution to Arsenal, as a player and as a role model. I cannot recall any hint of scandal attaching itself to him during his decade in the red side of North London. The scent of blood in media nostrils would have been too much to resist were that the case. Like Henry, the bronze will help any future coaching application forms. When they come to fill in the box on the form which asks why they are suited to a position at Arsenal, the answer will be, “Ivan, look outside your window. No, not at the building works, on the concourse.

dr7
The next statue?

Talk of the past and players of that high quality, draw uncomfortable parallels with the present, of how a seemingly poorer club was able to entice one of the acknowledged stars of the modern game to Highbury, as well as David Platt, at the time England’s pre-eminent midfielder. That theme has been warmed to once more with the publication of the interim financial statements. Briefings to the media have begun in the lead up to season ticket renewals being sent out, a signal of the Summer’s intention to improve the squad. Of the four major signings in the last two transfer windows only Monreal and Cazorla were squad strengthening; Podolski and Giroud designated as replacements for the presumed departed Robin van Persie. This morning’s batch of stories on the Mail and Telegraph websites smack of the build-up to tickets pushes rather than a determined plan on the part of the manager. Buying a ‘name’ is nice but right now Arsenal need more than one signing to compensate for the shortcomings exposed this season.

Cazorla spoke in the lead up to Sunday’s NLD. Avoiding defeat is imperative for Arsenal with the re-arrangement of the Everton match. By the time kick-off comes at the Liberty Stadium a fortnight later, Arsenal could be seven points behind if they lose this weekend. Alternatively, we could be a poiut behind with a game in hand. The Spaniard noted,

To beat them and get into the top four and the Champions League, which is our aim for the season, is essential. We know how important it is and I hope we can rise to the challenge

Winning isn’t going to get Arsenal into the top four but it certainly helps along the way. Despite Chelsea’s best attempts to implode, defeat would be not quite be a fatal to Champions League ambitions but certainly more than a flesh wound. The performance on Sunday needs more concentration than shown in previous visits to White Hart Lane. Considering how we used to look on these as an almost racing certainty for an away win, not having won a Premier League match there in five years is disappointing (says the master of the understatement). It is something to look to rectify this time around, especially as the home fixture last season was the start of the charge turned limp into third place.

The gap arising between fixtures is a double-edged sword. The squad will be nicely rested ahead of the trip to Munich with the coaching staff having time to concentrate on the one fixture. Problematically, it is almost too much time for players to think and we know how confused the little loves can get. The biggest bonus is in terms of any injuries, plenty of time for the physicians to heal the wounded.

Who knows, maybe Sunday is the time for someone to stake a claim to a future statue at The Emirates or whatever it is called then.

’til Tomorrow.

80 thoughts on “Can Arsenal Add To Dennis’ Bronze This Season?

  1. good stuff

    bergkamp was the best player ive seen grace our turf and deserves the bronze
    rocky next?? i would love that

    my two bestest..

    and yes i find it wierd how a club with limited resources can go out and make a statement in the captures of bergkamp and platt when the club was taking a PR battering and players like tony were talking to fergie..

    now? weve got more money than most and yet we dont see the ambition..

    god bless danny and david for what they did for the club that summer..

    the capture of bergkamp was the start of a revolution for this club.. wenger built wengerball around him..the defence was set we needed pace and power around a player who could unlock a nuns knickers and thats what wenger identified and bought and the rest is history.

  2. Not that I am questioning the merits of Dennis’ statue, but out of interest, what exactly is taken under consideration when the honour of a statue is given? And who makes this/these decisions?

  3. Nice one YW.

    I wholeheartedly agree with JJ (the first sentence at any rate). And it’s not very often I can say that. I would love Rocky to be next also.

    Honouring the non-flying Dutchman is one of the few things we can all agree on.

  4. DB was the best player I;ve ever seen live, and I’ve seen plenty including Cryuff (admittedly a little before his best) and several preening jays at ManUre.

    Although the press love to choose a ManUre example or maybe Zola (who has a better case) as the best foreign player ever in England DB is the winner IMHO. Apart from the goals I remember a fab curved through ball from DB into Viera’s pathe at Stamford Bridge. So precise that V had no other option but to put it in the net.

    I imagine V turning to DB after that and saying, in mock affront “What’s up Den, that ball arrived with the valve on the wrong side?”

  5. henry deserved one becuase he broke all records..
    but records are there to be broken and it will go again..
    wrighty and bastin should have been honoured as well if we are honouring henry..still love him though hes in my top 5..

  6. “..the valve on the wrong side?”..lol, HT Lemons….ha ha

    great to hear DB’s getting his @ the Emirates
    an absolute class act…the (al)most perfect red & white spec
    fantastic moment they opted to use for the effigy too..what a goal..
    one of the greatest ever!

  7. On another note,
    should be very interesting to see what’ll happen in the “footballing world” if Barca get twacked again by Real Madrid over the weekend & go on to lose the CL 2nd leg against Milan….

    on Bale & the Spuds?
    ….meh, I’m not worried.
    It’ll be tight but we either win or draw.
    As fragile as we are, they are more unsure…especially if supergareth were to limp off after 13 minutes.

  8. DB was amazing, his close-control was the best I have ever seen. He was loyal to the club and exempary off-field – a true legend.
    It seems hard to believe that we used to have players of his calibre a the club, and looking at the current team, a bit depressing to be honest.
    Got to keep looking forward though!

  9. Yep, jj’s right rocky next, but we have to be careful we don’t overdo the statue thing like yw said-I was thinking more one of those giant chess sets you get on an all-inclusive holiday but he’s read more books than me.

  10. Yogi.

    Fabulous post. DB10 is the greatest arsenal player I have watched. Certainly deserves a statue

    The game this Sunday is a must not lose game. Win would be awesome too but a loss would be devastating

  11. Well written Yogi and right on time for a player that even the words brilliant and world class don’t do him justice.

    I’m glad to see that he is getting a statue next to Henry as they were everything that Wenger ball is and stood for and what it was built around. Berkamp’s loyalty to the club has been unmatched since those days and something that is truly special and near and dear to ever Gooner and Gunner worldwide.

    What I wouldn’t give to have Jack and Theo turn into a Bergkamp and Henry type connection and show their loyalty(except the part were Henry left for the Barcunts).

  12. Personally, he would have been the first statue if it were up to me. IMO the greatest player to have ever worn our shirt.

    In terms of affording him, I’m open to correction, but I seem to recall Danny Fitzman putting in 50m pounds to upgrade the team, and his purchase was funded out of that money?

    And no, I don’t believe a word of this “new” transfer talk. The club has pulled this shit too many times for me to believe it, and it’s always around the time the season ticket renewals are up.

    There are small variances, like holding out as late as possible while stating they are “looking”, or that x player is under contract and “won’t be sold” before selling them, or last season buying replacements early and getting RvP to agree to say nothing till after the ticket deadline had passed.

    Eventually, one just doesn’t believe the bullshit anymore, and when those empty seats don’t just reflect apathy, but also reflect unsold seats, that’s when this bunch will start wondering how they missed the signs.

  13. I have absolutely no recollection of Danny Fiszman putting in £50 million to finance the team until Tony Adams mentioned it a couple of years ago

    I wonder what he would have to put in today ?

  14. Anicoll, not sure what your point is, but I don’t recall who or where I heard that from, or when exactly I heard it, only that I did recall hearing it, hence my “open to correction” statement.

  15. I assume the 50m investment by Fiszman was in return for a percentage shareholding in the company as opposed to a monetary gift or donation to go and build a team?

  16. Anicoll

    thats the point not as much as you think.

    2-3 big players on big wages rid ourselves of the deadwood and yes it is deadwood and you have yourself a competitive side.

  17. That homage to ‘ca grande homme’ is as fitting as a statue is to his stature….or something like that. It was a good piece anyway.

    Merson is out because of his continual anti Wenger blather since, and the gambling. I know bookies are big sponsors in football but, …….actually maybe if William Paddy Ladbrokes 365 sponsored it?

    As they say in Germany: Not a very good example to the kids though!

  18. I would guess you heard it in the same Adams interview I did Mike – I had never heard it before or seen it quoted at the time or in the years since.

    By 97/98/99 Fiszman was a major shareholder in the club but he never got much above 30%

  19. 2-3 players on big wages ?

    So say £40 million a head ( the Cavani, Falcao ballpark figure) = £120 million to get three of them in

    Big wages ? You mean BIG ? So £200k a head per week, X 52 X say three year contracts each = £93,600,000

    So a bit over £200 million

    Very reasonable too

  20. These are figures you chuck around.

    If cut 20-30m from our current wage bill that gives capacity within our present confines to spend 10m a year on 3 different players. We would have to spend a penny on wages. And lets be honest spurs have been right next to us for 3-4 years despite a 40-50m wage gap every year so there is def huge amount of wastage.

    i think we should be able to drop 100m on players in terms of fees.

  21. @Anicoll5

    Why would we need 2-3 of them. So we go Jovetic for 20-30M(reported release clause and say 90-100K/week. Then say we sign Capoue/Biglia/Gustavo(all reportedly would cost about 6-15M transfer fee) with 60-75K per week.

    That would do it for me and would be significant enough and upgrades were we need them!

  22. It is called focus Daniel Son. We have to take it one match at a time. First Spurs and then it’s on to the next. Thanks for the history lesson about Arsenal. Are there good websites on the history Arsenal.

  23. True Anicoll.
    Not that I’ve ever asked for “my Arsenal back”, but if I was ever asked what Arsenal I “wanted back”, it would be the one where we had several shareholders with substantial holdings but nowhere near any one being a majority one, and the major shareholders all being first and foremost steeped in Arsenal history and tradition.
    If we’ve gone wrong anywhere, it’s been with the loss of shareholders like Danny Fitzman, the Carr family, and even Lady Nina, who certainly had more Arsenal blood in her veins than Kroenke or Usmanov ever will.
    Yes, so they all sold out in the end, but I they did care about Arsenal before the big money arrived.

  24. Mike

    Not sure Lady Nina fits in with that summation of events.

    The initial talk about her was that in fact she didn’t give a rats arse about Arsenal and had very little interest in us or football, she inherited her shareholding on the death of her husband and almost overnight became a relatively influential person in the running of the club.

    She then sold her shares to the Yank which isn’t a criticism as they more or less all did.

  25. and investment like what fiszman gave us isnt needed, we have that kind of money sat doing fuck all in the bank now

  26. “If cut 20-30m from our current wage bill that gives capacity within our present confines to spend 10m a year on 3 different players”

    But BSG £10 million a year on wages of three players = £63k a week, take out your employer NI contribution and it is £56-57k per week

    Mere chicken feed

    I thought you wanted big players and BIG WAGES ?

  27. Anicoll

    My calculator says that 10M per year means a wage of around 200K/ week. As long as our scouting dept and arsene do their job we should be able to get a couple of really good players for that sort of cash without significantly increasing the wage bill. Seems like a no brainer if the goal is to significantly improve the squad. No?

  28. Excellent from Mike SA; I also believe multiple shareholders with some affinity for the club was a healthier situation. It was distinctively Arsenal.

    I am opposed to both the billionaires and don’t bother pretending one is the lesser evil. Still evil and it is debatable in any case who is more.

    All quiet before the Sunday storm of an NLD. My main thoughts are about how crazy the Chelsea scene is and, however bad gooners are supposed to be according to some folks whose main avocation is bemoaning how terrible other Arsenal supporters are, how good and patient gooners look in comparison. Ridiculous how they skewer Rafa but never express any longer the real complaint which was the sacking of di Matteo and the obvious conclusion that the problem is their owner’s whims which they quietly accept because they are a classless club that would be nothing more than an Aston Villa without his ill gotten billions.

    By contrast, I have been thinking of how much I appreciate Swansea for their football and the fact that they are 20% owned by their supporters’ trust. My son attended a youth football summer camp when he was 3yrs old the summer before Swansea played its first season in the PL and his lovely coach, a kid named Ricky, was so excited. I’ve had a soft spot for them, for Wales, and congratulate them on their league cup on their centennary. They’ve lost players, lost coaches but they have genuine leadership at the top. A kind of leadership we’ve been lacking the last several years. We could sort this out if we could find a billion dollars lying around somewhere…

  29. @LSG

    I completely agree with you about the madness which is the Chavs. Interestingly enough is how Wenger and Arsenal are the one’s who are a complete and utter mess yet the Chavs have a interm manager who just publically chatised everything that the Chavs and their loser fans are and basically quit prior to the end of season. Lets be all honest here, if it wasn’t for the play for Hazard and Mata what would the Chavs really be, a middle table team, by all accounts.

    They didn’t really appreciate di Matteo until after he left and didn’t really want Rafa and now it is all blowing up exponentially in their face with their FA leading them to face Manure and their Europa League taking them to Steaua Bucharest on March 7 and 14 who just got done beating Ajax.

  30. Limestone.

    Awesome stuff. TBH the fans of any other club in the world with the resources and tradition of ours would never had been this patient. What has hurt the most from a fans standpoint IMO is the consistently inconsistent mixed messages and a PR campaign that our worst enemy would have been proud of had they been the ones doing it.

  31. Bill if BSG suggests he wants “big players” for “big wages”, 2 0r 3 he said, then £10 million a year is just not relevant, irrespective of what your calculator tells you

    That is the sort of money we pay Poldi and Theo and not what I imagine BSG had in mind

    If you want a Cavani or a Falcao – big players the the cost is around £40 million + their big wage

    Say you could screw the player down to a pittance of £170k a week that is still £9 million a year

    Now if we want to spend the money fine – no problem with that

    But don’t come on here telling me it is easy or cheap

  32. Anicoll.

    Nothing is easy nor is it cheap. However if i understand correctly, you believe that inability to investment in the squad is responsible for our relative lack of success since the stadium move. I agree with that for the most part although i do think that given the talent we have been able to assemble (thanks to arsene) we should have done better. Nonetheless, now we are being told that we have money and we actually tried in january to start spending some of it. I can’t think of any logical reason not to start spending much more aggressively. Can you?

  33. DB10, the reason I started following Arsenal in the first place. Fantastic to see him get the statue. Some of the greatest, if not THE greatest, highlight goals I’ve ever seen and a class act as well.

  34. Not at all Bill – I am perfectly happy – if they want to spend money that is fine – if not that is great too

    We have some great players – if we could erase a few avoidable errors then our league position would better reflect the quality of football we play

  35. Bill,

    Spending money more aggressively can’t hurt, I think, as long as everyone remembers that spending money is no guarantee of anything. There isn’t a league in the world that isn’t riddled with players who cost a fortune and turned out to be duds. This is why I think any manager has one of the hardest jobs in the world. You try to get players that improve the squad, who will understand (and more importantly believe in) your philosophy, who will work hard at implementing it, who won’t piss off after one decent season or if another richer club comes calling, and who can work well with others. Oh yes, and it doesn’t hurt if the supporters think the player is top quality, wants to be there, and has a good attitude. Then you only hope there are no serious injuries, the player turns out to be up for the task talent wise, and wants to come to the club.
    All of this raises an interesting question: do you buy players who you feel already fit into your system, players you feel can live up to their potential within your system, or some mix? If you buy players who you feel already fit into the system then you hope their adjustment is minimal and they actually can perform, if for potential you hope you accurately forecast their talents, and if a mix you hope you get the mix right so the team is successful. The season Chelsea and Man City and Real Madrid have had, not to mention the last few years Liverpool have endured, ought to remind everyone that getting it “right” is almost impossibly hard, the fates are fickle, owners are unstable, and player form comes and goes like a cosmic game of dice.
    In the meantime you get berated and insulted and yelled at by so-called journalists (must be the lowest standards in the english speaking world, I think, over there in the UK), as well as fans and supporters, who are impatient or merely like the sounds of their own mooing. What a job! And then you get to do it again next season.

  36. this is pointless because the players are out there and we have the money to buy them

    the first problem is our wage bill is fucked..its goes up when we sell our stars so whoevers been controlling that needs a slap and needs the responsiblity taken away from him..

    we are trying to get it down so dont expect us to but any stars..

    the second problem is we wont buy any stars anyway because it goes against everything wengers been preaching for the past 5 years and wenger, gazidis and kroenke would have a fit if there was a 30-40mil transaction and it wasnt money coming in.. especially now wenger is the board as well as the manager..

    the philosophy is making money..not spending it..and that wont change until there is change

  37. ANUCOL5
    TO eliminate the errors is the key. Totally confer with that. This comes with playing together more and more. SYNCHRONIZED TO THE MAX.

  38. I only thought it would be fitting as though we always do this for other players. Yogi if you don’t mind, let me reintroduce for those of you who might not be able to visualize the greatness that was:

  39. Nonsense
    Players have been bought.just not in the obscene price range. This summer we will see them come in and some will leave.

  40. Again, absolutely bang on the money there LSG.

    That Chelsea lot really are scum though. The worst, ugliest and nastiest fans in the EPL. Nothing surprises me about them – a baying mob of fat, skinhead plankton.

    You can’t buy class.

  41. Gris Gris. I agree completely that we could spend money and still not get better. However, as you also point out it certainly can’t hurt to spend and it probably will help. Many of us have been saying for years now that the difference between us and the top of the table is forced frugality related to the stadium move. If thats the case then how can there be any logic to holding back now? Shouldn’t we be confident that arsene and our scouting staff have a better chance then most of making the right decisions. Identifying talent is the one place that we have over performed since 2005. . We certainly can’t continue to base our strategy on risk avoidance and fear of failure IMO.

    From a PR standpoint the club is backing itself into a corner to some extent by implying that things have changed now and asking the fans to continue to be patient since 2014 is almost here and everything will change. They actually have to do something different. It will be interesting how it all plays out. .

  42. Bill,

    It sure seems to me you’re spot on about the club backing themselves into a corner. It has felt that way to me for years. Arsenal have done a poor job in the PR arena because, in my opinion, they are trying to appease their detractors with statements while also holding firm to their philosophy, which is at odds with what many vocal supporters want. For me the pieces are there but they’ve done a bad job of saying what they need to say, which I would characterize as follows:

    “Look, we are going to run this club responsibly. That means we won’t tie up too much money in buying players that might not work out anyway. We want to win trophies, of course we do, and the players do as well, it’s just that we’re not going to spend and spend and spend to try and make that happen. We’re not going to do that because it’s not The Arsenal way, and we’re not going to do that because we are not the plaything of some billionaire. We run this club as a business and not as a hobby. We think we can succeed, and that means win trophies, by identifying players that fit our system and who can become world class players within our system, before they are snaffled up by financially irresponsible clubs and priced beyond what we believe is sustainable for this club. We believe we have a manager, Arsene Wenger, and a scouting staff, that can identify who these players are, and we trust them absolutely to do this. End of. If you, as a supporter, think we have made mistakes with players we have brought in or shipped off, or that we should change our philosophy about how we manage this club, by all means let your voice be heard, politely, but at the end of the day this club is run by the board and the manager and not you. We appreciate your passion and we expect that you are intelligent enough to understand what we are trying to do, that it is bloody hard to pull off, and that it might all go tits up in the end anyway. Each and every season. We also expect that you will see the value in supporting a club that is focussed on sustained performance rather than spending their way to the top in a destabilizing manner. In the meantime we hope you enjoy the ups and downs that come with running a club this way, the football on the pitch, the good and bad results, and the way the club conducts itself. Do not forget that we are custodians of a heritage that is about more than winning trophies. We are The Arsenal.”

    Now, my lack of history with the club, as I only started supporting the club with the arrival of DB10, may lead to a naive view of what it means to be The Arsenal, but that’s how I read the current board and manager and their views. If that is at odds with what The Arsenal is about, as a club, than please excuse my naivete. I am, after all, just a bloody colonial!

    The other interesting note, which you bring up, is what happens in 2014. The proof will be in the pudding, that’s for sure. We will just have to wait and see but I, for one, have been feeling that the last many years have been leading up to this moment. For sure an inflection point is coming in the history of this club, it will be interesting to see which direction it goes.

  43. Bill and C, good points and well-expressed.

    Quite apart from PR, I think consistency as a top level club is much harder to sell than glorious victory mixed with failure, perhaps. Liverpool fans seem willing to deal with mediocrity out of the CL places for a while as long as there is hope of progress because they have a recent league cup, an FA cup, and a CL within memory. AW loves to remind the critics that Arsenal have been in the CL for 16 years, have made it out of the group stages something like 12 straight seasons and so on. But at top level sport there is an emotional dimension that “over rewards” glorious victory. We would desperately miss CL football were we to lose it. But the ebbing away of hope for victory in the league or CL and the failure to win even in the domestic cups, saps the spirit of supporters. I don’t know if the club really anticipated not being able to win and even not to challenge sometimes during this period in the league and CL, but suggesting that we should be thrilled with the “top 4” virtual trophy annually strikes me as psychologically naive in their public strategy and the explicit devaluing of the domestic cups has demoralized supporters. As I mentioned the other day, I disagree with the notion that the FA cup doesn’t demonstrate the quality of a team, because there really have been hardly any winners outside of the league top 4 since the formation of the PL. You could argue that the CL has produced more winners that aren’t up to that top standard over the same period: Porto, Liverpool (5th in the league the year they won, I think) and Chelsea last year (6th). The underlying but unstated point is that it is much more lucrative to win the PL and the CL than the FA cup. So again it is about money, alas. But in terms of showing a team’s quality, of course, all cups are chancy compared to a league format but the FA cup has been a really strong index of team quality. There ought to be great prestige in winning it (and it would help if it could be made more financially rewarding too).

    We should be taking this competition as seriously as possible, particularly since we aren’t in a position to challenge for the CL and PL. Miracles happen, so we might reverse the tie in Munich and go on an extraordinary run, but we had a great chance in the FA cup too and the defeat v. Blackburn was dispiriting and follows several years of pretty poor showings in that competition–losing to Sunderland, losing to Stoke…

    Anyway, just some thoughts, but probably not helpful ones ahead of the Derby. But no one seems to have much to say about it. I think folks are nervous about that one. It is a big, big game. I think we can win it but we’ll need a cohesive team effort and strong performance at both ends in a tough match away from home. It should be a cracker if we can overcome the “handbrake” and nervousness that has marked our starts in big games this season. Hopefully the lads play with freedom and spirit.

  44. Gris Gris, some good thoughtful points there about the difficult position for the club. But I do feel that we might have combatted these difficulties more directly by making a run at a domestic cup. We’ve certainly put out teams that ought to be able to win, but it has been a lower priority. At least have a real go would help.

  45. Gris Gris.

    We obviously can’t just spend recklessly but I am fully confident Arsene will not do that. However the bar for what could be considered reckless should be shifting very rapidly now that we are near 2014 or at least that’s what we are being told. What many of us have come to believe is “the Arsenal way” over the last 7-8 years has not been effective if the goal is to win the league or some of the other trophies we play for every season so i hope we will be able to adapt and see a metamorphosis of the “arsenal way”. We were considered a big spending club in the first half of Arsene’s time and that worked very well.

    Interesting times ahead.

  46. LSG & Bill,

    Totally. I think Wenger is guilty of trying to spread the team effort too evenly rather than going for one trophy, like the FA Cup. I think he is just unwilling to do so because he won’t, in his mind, sacrifice anything in the league or CL for any reason whatsoever. Having said that, as you say LSG, the teams that have been put out for some of the domestic cups over the last few years have certainly been good enough on paper to get to the finals or win when they do get there. Hell, we’ve even had the chance in a final recently (let’s not go down that memory road, please)and lost it.
    Like you say as well, LSG, consistency is a hard sell even if it’s quite difficult to replicate. It’s absolutely the hardest thing to accomplish in sport, in my opinion. I would not be surprised if privately the board and Wenger are quite pissed off that this amazingly consistent run has not led to trophies. Therein lies the rub, nobody likes to always be the bridesmaid, eh? Sure, it’s nice to always be in with a shout for part of or most of a season but to consistently fail to reach the final hurdle, even if you’re almost always there, sucks on a lot of levels.
    Bill, like your comment about the bar for what might be “reckless” for Arsenal shifting. Just for grins, imagine the sound in the press room if Gazidis comes out in a press conference before 2014 and says something like “well, the debt is paid off, housing sales are quite profitable, we’ve just struck a new sponsorship deal with X for a boatload of cash, so we have budgeted 100 million quid to buy players this summer.” You would be able to drive the Titanic through the gaping mouths in the press corps.

  47. Gris Gris, very thoughtful remarks–where have you been? Hunkered down in the shadow of the Rockies (Denver area, I recall)?

  48. Can i just say that if we lose to Spurs, we could in fact be 10 points behind them by the time we play Swansea,not the 7 stated above.They are 4 points ahead now and play Liverpool the weekend of our postponed Everton game.Win against us and Pool = 10 points.With only 10 games left, that will be a huge points gap and would require a serious Spurs collapse for us to make up the deficit,providing we win all our remaining fixtures of course.I’m afraid that yet another of Wenger’s records,that of always qualifying for the CL,will be broken this season.The 70 mill transfer budget will be scaled down, even though we will need considerable funds to regain our top 4 place.Forget the Jovetics’ and Goetzes’;it will be more players from France i’m afraid,because they are cheap.Unfortunately Spurs will buy Moutinho and Leandro,and will hold onto Bale,and if Arsenal do not want to get left behind i’m afraid that a major change in strategy will be needed.However, those running the club are so inflexible in their thinking,seemingly more motivated by the property arm of Arsenal plc than the footballing side, that we will just potter along in the same direction,assuming that we will regain our rightful position by doing the same old,same old.The Emirates will get emptier every week, with people beginning to question exactly why we left Highbury.Wilshere will be sold to the highest bidder to pay for a few years worth of stadium debt repayments.Nightmare scenario? It may seem farfetched,but it is less farfetched than the idea of Arsenal winning the CL or the PL anytime soon.Better win that Derby then!!!(or pray CFC don’t sack Rafa, and have their traditional late season, under a new coach upturn that they are so fond of)

  49. Do you have anyone you could speak to LBJ – a family member or friend ?

    Are you a religious man ?

  50. LJB

    And if we win???

    It is important, for one’s sanity if nothing else, to remember that win, lose or draw nothing is decided on Sunday save for local bragging rights for the immediate future, or not perhaps.

  51. WOW LBJ
    can you tell me what the stock market will be doing seeing you can see so far into the future. Pretty plz.

  52. I hope AW, when commenting on the inevitable Bale questions at his press conference, finds a way to mention Bale’s reputation for diving and warns the referee.

    It’s important that we stay tight to him around the box to thwart his shots but might be reluctant to do so because he simulates contact and goes down.

  53. Something like, yes, he is playing very well and is dangerous in many positions in the final third because he can shoot or win freekicks and penalties by going to ground. We will have to be very aware of that, as will the referee, of course, who will know his record.

  54. Speaking of Dennis, I wish we could have signed him to a few more 1 year contracts of the sort that have kept Giggs playing at United. Would have been wonderful and I’d wager very influential.

  55. ’50 million buys you RVP and Song’ from Jon Jon

    50 million also buys Torres or……blah blah.

    But it doesn’t anymore. Players now follow the biggest wages and we don’t pay really big . What a team can sell a top player for is so diminished now that their financial value to a club is only just still clinging to the positive side of the balance sheet – for players like Adebayor or Balottelli we have seen it is a actually negative.

    A few years ago RVP would have been sold for two times what Torres was ever worth and 4 times Andy Carol. Not anymore, the money has all gone on wages.

    You may be able to buy a player, but they just won’t come (or stay for that matter) unless you offer top dosh. Which is why a salary cap is the only thing that will stop this madness.

    Look at America. Regularly ordinary Americans spit out vitriol at anything social government: healthcare, aid, welfare etc and have no time for greater regulation which is deemed to be, but the only way they have been able to stop their beloved sports from imploding is to create a salary cap – a level playing field or socialised sport.

    It will come, like goalmouth technology – even with THIFA at the helm.

  56. LJB (not to be mistaken for Lyndon Johnson anicol)

    I am depressed…! (said like a redneck who has just missed a lynching)

    But haven’t you just got to love sport!

  57. Anicoll5 – That is one of the classiest responses to a negative poster I’ve seen for a long time, especially the “Are you a reigious man?”

  58. I actually imagine that within 20 years the American League will become the biggest and most influential in the world. At the moment it is played by girls and hippies there, and (if you believe Disney Channel) any teenager who wants a run around without having the rather tired responsibility of being a jock, but that will change.

    It is already one of the biggest leagues and it was reported that there were more American supporters attending the South African World Cup than any other country.

    America, China and Russian Leagues (which have Mansour-esque billionaires coming out of there ying-yangs) will start hoovering up many of the best players…. and we know they will travel for cash.
    The scene is set and it is the beginning of top class football as purely a play thing or a tax write off rather than a sound business,as more of these sugar-daddy clubs arrive.

    But what they have found in America is that if you cap salaries in the whole sport, everywhere it is played, you still end up with the same players and the same passion, there is just more competition and more money for other parts of the game.

    Wake up Blatter man.

  59. Pie in the sky Gamb. “Soccer” has always been a huge youth sport in the US and Canada. It just wasn’t watched much on TV. Now that it is being watched, it is the PL, Bundesliga, La Liga and Serie A that are competing for attention. Sure MLS is growing, but the idea that it will be the strongest league is somewhat far fetched since the salaries are incredibly low overall. Just a handful of exceptions are allowed to attract star players near the end of their career. So the over regulated salary structure will actually cap the potential of the league in terms of quality. Plus there is no CL or Copa Libertadores competition.

    Plus, Yanks are very nationalistic, numerous, and comparatively wealthy–the World Cup is a big event. It isn’t an index relevant to club football.

    It sounds like you despair, probably rightly, about FFP doing too much. There are other mechanisms but the idea that MLS is a model or threat to European leagues for talent or that the structures for organizing US sports could simoly work for the global game of football are pretty wide of the mark. I’d say the Brazilian league, if it can break away from the state championship structure to form a PL style top flight will have a much better chance of rivaling European leagues.

    You identify wages as the key factor. On the turnover we have (and it is going up in the next year by 60 million pounds and whatever increase the shirt deal produces) we can afford a few players on top wages if we spread the scale out at both ends like other comparable clubs do–like Bayern Munich.

  60. Limestone
    Fine, but fine and well put. The main thrust however, and who knows the future exactly, is that as more clubs arrive with billionaire owners in these emerging Leagues (not just America) the best players will be pulled further afield and offered more and more. A good model is the way that Man-Sour has been turned around, in the beginning it was just the money chasers that went, now it is serious players as well, as they may win trophies.

    This is how I think America will takeover, it is sooo much bigger that even a minority activity there is bigger than a well subscribed equivalent one in Europe and so ultimately will the salaries. As more kids grow up with soccer, more will want to be involved in their home Leagues and so on, even if they are watching foreign leagues now. It may have taken time to get this far, but it is potentially the biggest League and the growth at the moment is exponential. At the moment it is old farts, but wait till a couple of really wealthy people start wanting to dominate the Leagues there.

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