If I possessed the wit, I might come up with a Derek and Clive homage for Arsenal Football Club. For those familiar with Pete ‘n’ Dud’s ramblings, it would along the lines of ‘The Worst Job I Ever Had’.
And more vodka. Definitely more vodka.
Arseblognews surfaces the notion that Stan is looking to buy the club lock, stock and two smoking barrels. No, this isn’t some dystopian view of a possible future, it is, it seems, a genuine reality.
Having been suckered in initially, like most I’ve quickly realised Silent Stan is not good for Arsenal Football Club. I’ve never been fond of anything but the plurality of ownership but that model is dead; it isn’t going to happen unless we find a benevolent billionaire and they are as rare as unicorn sh*t.
Usmanov isn’t my idea of an ideal owner either but that isn’t going to happen either. Stan, let’s not forget is a cheerleading supporter of Trump, and the notion of selling to a ‘commie’ won’t sit well with him. This is a man who thinks The Americans is a documentary series.
Let’s look at the positives Stan has brought to Arsenal since David Dein’s misguided introduction of him to the club. Peter Hill-Wood’s “we don’t want his sort” comment proved right in the end. Except we do want his sort, we just need him to be cut from the Fenway or Abramovich cloth.
There’s a puritanical streak to Arsenal supporters over football money. It’s engendered by Arsène’s ‘winning things the right way’ or ‘financial doping’ rants of yesteryear, and been dressed up with a model of self-sufficiency. While the former has given us mesmirising football at times, the reality is that in winning either of the two major targets each season, we’ve been left behind.
Let’s Make-a Lotsa Mon-ee
Modern football is a cruel mistress. Managers routinely lose their jobs for not winning trophies with boardroom’s across the continent resembling shark-infested waters. Ancelotti – an ideal replacement for Wenger to guide the club through to a new era – left Bayern this week when the board decided the defeat at PSG was one too many.
Five titles in a row brings expectations of success but the failure to win the Champions League – and five players against him in the dressing room – cost the Italian dearly. Or probably Bayern dearly with his pay-off but the club deemed him expendable and that a cost worth paying. At Arsenal, sitting third in the league and second in the Champions League group would earn a four-year contract extension.
The new stadium, supposed to make us competitive with Bayern, isn’t the issue. The finances are in rude health; thanks Ivan, for confirming the policy of “insuring” against failure to qualify for the Champions League. It underlines the fallacy of claims we had £150m to spend last summer. Lemar was a net £30m spend had it come off not the £90m quoted at the time.
If you like Ivan talking, these videos from last week will be right up your street. Thanks to Noon Gunner for the links (and Michael for the honesty):
Worry About It Later
The rotten core at Arsenal is directly traced to Stan. His lack of sporting ambition is underscored with his USA!USA!USA! franchises. Returning the Rams to L.A. was nothing to do with sport; it was money-driven and like the rest of his sporting empire, they are mired in mediocrity.
The fabled lacrosse success is tempered by the knowledge that there are just nine franchises involved. Six of them make it to the play-offs and in those circumstances, missing out on the post-season is more impressive than reaching it.
Kroenke isn’t a sporting man, he’s a businessman making money out of sport and that is a very different beast. Not one who sits comfortably with the Premier League era of English football either.
Do I want a ‘financially doped’ club or the Arsenal model? I prefer success with the Arsenal model but until Arsène is gone, we won’t know if it works. He is so woven into the fabric of the club, we’re in for a rocky ride on his departure without an experienced head to follow.
If it doesn’t work, then it’s proof-positive that the self-sustaining model won’t bring the title. That then goes to the heart of why we watch football and whether we’re ‘happy’ with top eight club or if only the top of the table will do?
Is this influencing Stan’s thinking? Wenger is a one-off in terms of modern football. All his success of the first decade and guiding the club through the first four years of the Emirates shouldn’t be undermined by the last seven years. It’s gone wrong since 2010-11 but that doesn’t wipe out his achievements.
This is Joe Public Speaking
Stan recognises that Wenger is his ideal manager. Financially conservative and able to deliver with the constraints placed upon him. What he is delivering to the majority shareholder is different to what we as supporters want. A new manager, particularly with the demands of the modern game, won’t be so complicit.
With Wenger potentially leaving at the end of next season, it’s a good time for Stan to get out of the club. Buying Usmanov’s shares makes that process easier. Once he has those shares, claiming the remaining 3% is straightforward and selling 100% of Arsenal is a more attractive package.
Is that his end-game? The offer for Usmanov is part of his exit strategy and honestly, Alisher, sell to him. You’re not our knight in shining armour, you never have been.
Gentlemen, don’t let the door hit you on the arsenal on the way out.
Tempering this is the concern about who replaces Kroenke. His due diligence isn’t going to worry about what happens to Arsenal after the sale, it’s all about the buyer paying him. We can go to hell in a handcart for all he cares. The new owners inherit the problems of satisfying the ‘audience’; problems won’t be solved if they believe we’re the Saturday afternoon opera crowd.
The direction of the club is at stake with Kroenke’s actions. Supporters are powerless to influence his thinking; we’re rubberneckers on the ownership highway. The timing is certainly convenient for questioning at the forthcoming AGM; whether the censors will allow that is another matter.
Finally, there’s a new post this afternoon at Dad’s Jukebox. Not sure what it’s on yet(!) but there will be one!
Enjoy your football-free Saturday.