Complete Control: Power-grab or End-game?

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.

’til Tomorrow.

62 thoughts on “Complete Control: Power-grab or End-game?

  1. Good morning

    YW thank you for the credit, unfortunately it wasn’t me, but Noon Gunner, I was the dummy that couldn’t find part 3.

    Stan taking control would be a fate worse than death for the club imo. What possible benefit would there be over the medium term, and I’m not expecting to live forever to see a title challenge.

  2. Thanks for the post Yogi, just where did the story about Kroenke offering to buy Usmanov out originate?

    If Stans thinking of selling the club anyway why complicate matters by first obtaining Usmanov’s holdings, sell the club to him instead.

    Frankly I couldn’t give a toss which of them owns the club, they’re as bad as each other.

    I would like to say that whoever buys the club couldn’t be worse than the present arrangement, but who knows what sort of owner we would get. For once “Better the devil you know” seems to be the best (least worst?) option.

  3. Crispen

    Who says they are baseless. Do tell because:

    1. They cover historic grounds.
    2. Ivan did say we insured ourselves against qualifying for the champions league
    3. There are just 9 franchises in lacrosse with 6 qualifying for post-season
    4. KSE franchises are mediocre
    5. Arsene’s contract runs out next summer
    6. Arsene is Stan’s ideal manager
    7. We were told we could compete with Bayern
    8. Bayern have sacked Ancelotti
    9. I don’t have the wit of Pete ‘n’ Dud

    None of it’s baseless but there you.

  4. I don’t think that anyone really believes that “only the top of the table will do”. Being within spitting distance of the top come May would be a start, and that hasn’t happened since 2004. Add in the opportunities that we’ve had during that time and which we’ve spurned by not investing in the January TW while sitting pretty and it’s not difficult to see where the frustration comes from. If it’s all about the finances I’d wager that a modest investment during one or more of those seasons (preferably on players without a serious back injury) would have been paid back ten fold in additional commercial revenue for a championship win. And earned us a new generation of young fans (sorry, customers).

    Stan might be a businessman but he’s not a dynamic entrepreneur. He’s a low risk, modest growth parasite that proves the old adage that to make money you need money in the first place. Give him a poor start in life and strip away the advantages he’s had and he’d be in the queue down at the local soup kitchen.

    Sorry to bore everyone but I’ll say it again, the sooner the likes of Sky and BT lose interest and the prawn sandwich tourist brigade find another form of ‘entertainment’ to frequent the better. Let the whole rotten system collapse and Stan will be off quicker than you can spell toupée.

  5. Crispen,

    Why is it acceptable to criticise a well-argued opinion piece while offering nothing in terms of a riposte in return?

    It’s the literary equivalent of wandering into a room, farting and then fucking off.

  6. Orse

    1. Not sure of source – ask Blogs.
    2. I believe that Stan refuses to countenance selling to Usmanov under any circumstances
    3. I agree re both and future owners but not about the status quo

  7. Trouble is, Andy, I can’t see football’s bubble bursting. Everytime we think it might, the game finds a way to make more money. I’d be quite happy if the Champions League buggered off and formed a super league. Take the ‘doped’ clubs and put them in a pan-European league and leave us to watch proper football.

    We’d still finish fourth, before anyone says we’d walk it.

  8. YW,

    You’re probably right. Doesn’t stop me hoping though. If it took down rancid Rupert’s empire with it that would be the cherry on the cake.

  9. The bubble wont burst.at least not anytime soon.not with the likes of Amazon,Facebook,Twitter etc looking to get in on the circus.my only hope is,as already stated.that syrup wants the whole of the pie as a more attractive sale & given the right incentive. I.e silly money.will sell.why? Cos his cash cow manager will be gone/going soon & he wants the fish for his real loved investment The LA Rams.

  10. Crispen:
    Why is it acceptable to just write a collection of baseless opinionslike this article??

    Apart from anything else, it’s a fucking blog, you vacuous spunk-trumpet.

  11. Spurs are cantering this fixture, 2-0 inside the first 20.
    They’re a bit handy away from Wembley – which, for them, I suppose, is just as well.

  12. Chortle Andy, like they need suggested topics, or encouragement. 😉

    Spuds look a lot better than us at the moment and that’s not been through massive investment – just better coaching and sensible purchasing. It’s pretty damning TBH.

    The biggest threat they face is holding the team together in the face of serious interest for Kane and Ali from Spain and probably a few other places too.

    They might hold onto them next summer as the players may be swayed by the new stadium
    and shiny big contracts but it is no certainty.

  13. Jonny,

    Maybe, although they seem to have managed to hold on to their main assets so far. Given Kane’s record of three straight seasons scoring 20+ PL goals you’d think that there must have been some serious offers.

    Perhaps Ivan should send a comparison of Pochettino’s ROI compared to Wenger. Again I’m surprised that he hasn’t been offered a top job yet either.

  14. Uwot?,

    Good afternoon All. Excellent copy as usual.

    Silent Stan is going nowhere for the moment. It’s as Uwot has intimated Netflix Amazon are ALL looking to get into the “business” of football.

    There are still untapped markets, revenue to be sourced and Im pretty sure SK is wanting piece of the pie.

  15. After next season when Mr no horses gets a polite letter, that new Nigerian oil rig will be more or less built won’t it?

    Let me dream.

  16. Diving in the box when 3-0 up against a newly promoted team is a pretty cunty move eh?
    Fuck you, Delle Ali. Fuck you.

  17. Of course supporters have power.If they all stayed away for a few home games they would have the owners undivided attention!

  18. @Andy 1886,
    Your wish that Sky and BT should depart is, I feel somewhat selfish.
    Remember the sick, the old, and the infirm. Those who live in distant lands.
    They welcome ANY broadcaster who gives them the chance of seeing their heroes In action.
    Never forget that the global TV viewers vastly exceed those fortunate souls who can either attend the Ems or follow our lads around the country. 😉

  19. Good afternoon, YW, and all you lovely fellas. 🙂

    What a Post that was Yogi, you obviously missed us on Friday and built up a head of steam that needed venting. Enjoyable.

    What Crispen clearly does not appreciate, is that writing a Post is exactly a matter of the author expressing opinions — and allowing others to agree or not with what has been written, after all, it is what we all do in our responding comments, right or wrong – but marshalling one’s thoughts and presenting them in a coherent and interesting way requires a great deal of literary skill with more than a dash of cerebral acumen and ingenuity, while attempting to introduce an element of apposite humorous puns.

    Personally, I do not mind bloggers like Crispen asking somewhat vacuous questions – so what? — however, I would suggest that they try to write just one Post quality comment, and learn what it takes to engage other bloggers interests — let alone writing one Post quality topic every day for weeks and months and years.

    And remember, 99.9% of every comment written in a blog is based on heartfelt opinions, most of them complete twaddle, because coming by hard facts is pretty nigh impossible — luckily my comments form the 0.9% that are not. Oh, bollix – I think I have just joined the twaddle club. 😀

    [I think that is known as a paean to YW, and all the other brave souls who put themselves out there to entertain or outrage or represent all the rest of us hoi polloi.] 😀 😀

  20. Henry B
    You failed to say that the content here is free…just saying as you tend to cover just about every aspect normally, and sometimes more 🙂

  21. C, darling, 😀

    I read your warning comment yesterday, to a Newbie, one named Eddie, and found myself appalled that you yourself were promised a warm welcome to the sunny world of blogs, specifically this one, only to learn that you had been entirely mislead and instead found that you had been forced into 7 years of writing hundreds, if not thousands, of comments, most of them safely ensconced in the twilight hours imprisoned with Bill arguing about …… well, everything!

    It is a disgrace, and I will set up a blogging committee to refer your case to the SPECIAL ONE and that will probably take another 7 years, so chin up amigo, you will find the time flies while you enjoy hate your incarceration! 😀

  22. Nice stuff YW,

    I suppose you could say that being in the US , Stan has remote control right now. He certainly doesn’t seem to pop up at the new Highbury very often.

    I really hope that nothing comes of these rumours as he’s the wrong ’em boyo for Arsenal. He just doesn’t have the right profile for us.

    It would be nice if the Premier league could clampdown on some of these owners but I’m not down as tomorrow should be another 3 points.

  23. nicky,

    Maybe, but there was football on TV for decades before Sky came along and I suspect that there would still be football on TV if they packed their bags. And let’s look at the whole picture, watching the PL on Sky or BT is expensive. The old terrestrial TV offering was free. What about the poor who cannot afford this new flashy offering? What about them? What about those that have to make sacrifices to afford their ever more expensive tickets? The Sky/PL circus has driven these huge cost increases, ultimately it’s the fans who pay whichever way you look at it.

  24. Thank you Michael – and please accept my mea culpa for my inadequate efforts to support the person responsible for us all being here – for free – and of our own volition, the one and only YW.

    [Look we all know that he is really the gang master of all those poor little gnomes forced to sweat over hot computers producing essays for which he takes the credit – but …… sshh] 😀

  25. Hi Andy, @ 2:50pm

    I have expressed similar views myself in the past, but not as eloquently as you have done — altho I am a little concerned that you were going on to say that it was much better in the days of Nero, when you could go to the coliseum and see the lions eating the odd person or three hundred, for just a few Denarius, and with some bread thrown in, so you did not get jealous about the lions feeding their faces.

    Those were the days, eh? 🙂

    P.S. your sentiments are understandable, but Nicky is right, you can never turn technology back and if you were the Emperor Andy and decreed TV should be switched off – I fear different bits of you would be found hither and thither throughout your empire – in pretty short order. Those fans need their addiction to be sated! 😀

  26. andy1886,

    If Kane would have stayed in our academy he would have become class and would have been featured before and maybe juat maybe we could have seen Cesc, Kane, RvP, Theo and Nasri for a bit. 😉

  27. HenryB,

    Well thank you for caring enough to help me find a blog even if it takes another 7 years (o dear, 7 years will any of the elder statesman still be around haha, 😉). Well at least I know Silent Stan will still be the owner and Arsene will still be the manager.

    Funny enough I started on this blog about the time that Arshavin joined Arsenal and those that have been around remember how rosey those days were, so warm welcome, well that waz probably one of the last things that I received.

  28. Afternoon,

    From Ivan’s thoughts on Arsenal I am absolutely amazed that he is happy with the set up below him. He would surely want to delegate parts of Wenger’s role to specialists to ensure that the manager is simply focused on managing the team. As CEO he is meant to be the main link to the owner and therefore you would expect him to have a large say in how the club is run.

    If, as it seems, there was a genuine power play at the club which Wenger won, I can’t understand how Ivan can be happy in his role going forward as appears to have been put in his place by Wenger. I guess the big salary helps but, as pointed out by Andy, a bit more of a financial commitment in the past could have presented the success which would have allowed for more lucrative commercial deals. Ivan must feel he’s battling with one hand tied behind his back.

  29. I said it In the summer, when you consider what they pay him, Spurs have done brilliantly to hang onto Kane again

    I can see the money and allure of Real or similar being too much to turn down next summer though.

    Worst thing Spurs could do is win the league tbh, I think it would break up the team and manager would all be off to bigger and more monied projects.

    With that said, I think I’d rather Madrid et al just pull the squad and management structure apart before that gruesome day comes

  30. Wavey
    It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest, if he walked as soon as an appropriate opportunity came along, his CV would remain perfect. He is nobodies fool in my opinion.

  31. I’m quite looking forward to the Chavs /Oilers game this evening. Without doubt they are two of the top three teams in the Premiership this season.

    It will be interesting to see how City handle Morata. Both teams have dodgy defences and both can attack on the wings and through the middle. City will miss Aguero and Chavs will be without Luiz.

    17.30 kick off on good old BT Sport.

  32. I’m watching Tigers vs Chiefs a very good game and it’s also on good old BT Sport, well worth the subscription.

  33. The one drawback with good old BT Sport’s football coverage is the most colourless, boring, dull, charisma lacking pundit on the planet Stevie Me Me Me Gerrard.

  34. That’s it for Morata, he’s done a hamstring. Willian on for him, it looks like Hazard is playing alone up front.

    If City don’t win this it must be a fix.

  35. Hate to admit it, purely for jealous reasons, but that was a first class half — with Citeh playing like we used to, back in the day – but Chelsea with Hazard continuously keeping Citeh’s defence honest.

    But like we were, back then, plenty of possession and chances but not always taking them.

    [ssshhh — can’t wait for the second half] 🙂

  36. Terrific goal by DeBruyne, good enough to win the game but he’s also gone off with an injury. Serious losses for both h teams.

  37. Stan isn’t even a businessman. He’s someone who married someone with bags of money. Is there a name for that in the English language? Gigollionaire?

  38. another good post, thanks. I gave it some thought and you might be right – Kroenke has 100% of the shares and sells it to the Uzbek, for a hefty sum. Would Usmanov buy into it, who knows? He wouldn’t like being made a full of, but he really wants the club. I am certain he is competing with Abramovitch and would make it his top priority to start winning, at any cost.

    I am not against Alisher, he was in jail under the commie regime, could have been completely innocent. We would probably have 10 managers in 3 seasons, but I don’t mind. Look at Spurs, how many managers did they go through during Wenger’s reign? 15!!! But wasn’t it worth it, doesn’t Pochettino make up for the Redknapps and Jol’s of the footballing world. Well bloody worth it, he is a top bloke.

    A question for the bloggers – how many spud players would make it to our starting XI? How many of our players would fit into their team? Scary thought

  39. Eddie,

    Usmanov already has 30%, so he would just have to buy Stan’s stake to own the club outright. I think the question is whether Stan wants to sell to Usmanov. If Stan were to buy out Usmanov he would own the whole company (he can compel minority shareholders to sell to him once he has over 90%) which would be a more attractive proposition to any other interested parties. There would likely be a premium to be paid for buying a top 6 PL club in its entirety. He could also start to pay dividends if he owned the club outright himself. I suspect the club doesn’t pay dividends at the moment because they don’t want Usmanov to have any incentive to stay a shareholder. For Usmanov its dead money at the moment, although it has been going up in value on paper. He can only properly benefit from that if he were to buy out Stan, or sell up himself. It seems to be a bit of a stand-off at the moment, but I wonder if his mate’s investment in Everton has given Usmanov reason to reconsider his investment in Arsenal.

  40. Jonny 🙂 Dale Alli? no? ha ha ha. Shocking, init

    Wavey – yes, I sort of understand that after reading yesterday’s post. Let’s hope Kroenke sells in a not too distant future and someone who likes spending buys the club. I would be an ideal candidate if I had money

  41. I’d have him for the future but couldn’t see where he would fit in my team right now.

    How many Spurs players would fit after next summer is another question…

  42. One thing we all need to remember is that Kroenke has never sold a single share in any of his sports franchises. For him to do so is about as likely as Wenger breaking his contract.

    The cash Usmanov has tied up in Arsenal shares may be dead money, but he can easily afford to leave it laying where it is.

    If Usmanov did get control he would certainly pay himself dividends, he tried hard to get Kroenke to do so and don’t forget, he’s a big fan of Wenger.

  43. Eddie,

    As Andy highlighted yesterday, Stan appears to run clubs under a low risk/low reward model. Enough money is spent to ensure that the club maintains its a level of income without having to pay over the odds. When the manager identifies a specific position that he feels needs upgrading to maintain the status quo, he brings in a new player. The club does spend money, but it seems to be targeted spending to try to hold position. Wenger has done exceptionally well working out the positions he needs to upgrade to keep us in the hunt for the Champions League places in the past. Ozil, Sanchez, Xhaka, Mustafi and Lacazette were not cheap purchases by Wenger’s historic standards, but he targeted those positions to keep the club battling for CL. Xhaka hasn’t really worked out and Mustafi is so-so, but I think Wenger believed adding those two would be enough to get into the Champions League. With Perez as cover for an injury-prone Welbeck. It didn’t work out for the first time in 20 years, but the club achieved a point total last season which would have normally meant a CL spot.
    The targeted purchase of Lemar was with the same goal of CL qualification in mind. With Sanchez expected to be off for around £60m the net outlay on Lemar would have been worth it to Wenger with the spending profit he had already made from other sales in the summer. If Wenger can get Sanchez and Ozil working for one more season there is a reasonable chance we can get back into the CL.The question for Stan now is whether Wenger is able to scale the model down to the Europa League and still have enough ticket sales, TV money and commercial revenues to turn a handy profit. It’s either that, or spend really big next summer to try to replace Sanchez and Ozil. If the model works with Arsenal being a Europa League team the club don’t necessarily have to replace those two with similar quality.

    Of course its all speculation, but given the club’s record under Wenger and the acceptance of our standard of achievement by the owner, it seems the Kroenke empire is happy for things to tick along.

  44. @Wavey,
    Unless I’m wrong, surely Kroenke is already the de facto owner of Arsenal FC. Usmanov has a considerable holding and there are a number of smaller folk with shares. But Kroenke clearly has an overall majority and presumably what he decides, happens. Or is there some hidden restriction of which I am unaware? 😉

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