PR Pieces and Youth: Arsenal of Today

Given the AST questions tabled for today’s AGM, it’s hardly surprising that Silent Stan chose to speak out. Jeremy Wilson was chosen to be the harbinger of doom, as Not Silent Stan Anymore declared, “You don’t see us selling things. You just don’t.”

It’s a PR-piece, saving him talking at today’s meeting; instead, he’ll just circulate the interview. He’s addressed most of the points in as much details as he’s ever going to do and reached those in the fanbase who pay the Daily Telegraph to read it.

Surprisingly, he gave the green light to fans being “entitled” to hold opinions which poked a section of the electronic fanbase in the eye with a sharp stick. Entitled to hold an opinion? Don’t mind if I do. And do so respectfully, as well.

If you expected anything new, you’ll be sorely disappointed. There’s plenty of “Gee, Arsenal, Arsène is the best manager in the world” with a-whooping and a-hollering about how good KSE is for the club.

The Telegraph and Kroenke’s listed all the investments made – through “the self-sustaining model” – even if the wording is deliberately intended to give the (false) impression of KSE dipping into its pocket – with one glaring omission: players. It says volumes that Stan is excited by having “a central office, with really sharp PhD types watching the rest of the analytics trying to make sure we are creating best practices”, without mentioning anything about players.

Thank god the Telegraph put a helpful graph in there so you remember what football is all about: on the pitch.

It’s a debate I’m surprised he isn’t more in touch with. In a week when Eddie Nketiah reignited the hope of a youngster coming through the ranks, Kroenke didn’t mention the youth set-up at all. Which is a shame because the way football is going, repeating the trick of 1988/89 where a blend of experience and young players who graduated at the same time.

The Days of Change

The key is having a tactically strong manager who has the team functioning in a particular way. That was George Graham’s strength; his was a rigid view of how the team attacked and defended, which suits young players better than the laissez-faire approach Arsène prefers. The discipline instilled in the back four served Wenger well a decade later.

It’s why I don’t think we will see a repeat of that generation any time soon. With funds City, Chelsea and United have, theirs is a clear advantage in the transfer market. That doesn’t mean we can’t compete, we just use different methods. Alexandre Lacazette is an example of that, Thomas Lemar might yet do so. The players are there, it’s about the will to sign them.

We have woefully under-invested in the transfer market for a number of years. Don’t throw the money spent at me, we pay the prices but if you look at how we use our money, it’s impossible to argue Arsenal has followed a coherent recruitment policy. We’ve filled holes we think we have to or in the case of Mesut Özil, signed a good player because he was available.

Can we find that balance between youth and experience once again? There are certainly a number of young players who seem to have the potential to make the grade but there’s no sense we’re planning for that by augmenting the squad with leaders and experienced players. The regularity of collapses across a number of seasons underlines the lack of leadership on the pitch.

It’s why, certainly under Arsène, there will be no surge toward youth players coming through.

They Still Remain

Last year, Kroenke claimed it was easier to make a change and harder to keep Wenger. Hardly; fear of change is rife at Arsenal. The board, woefully unprepared for a new manager, still isn’t ready for change. The all-powerful manager still remains all-powerful.

Will a new DoF have any power at all or are they hiring a pen-pusher? Certainly Marc Overmars and Raul Sanllehi don’t seem that they will be happy in that role. Presumably there is an intention for a handover period ahead of next summer’s transfer window. Sanllehi leaves Barcelona on 1st December; from there, a decision on the manager’s future once again. Two years is a peculiar contract span for a football manager and hints at another renewal.

It’s definitely more of the same with the transition likely to be longer than anything negotiated for Brexit.

’til Tomorrow.


41 thoughts on “PR Pieces and Youth: Arsenal of Today

  1. Good morning folks, as I said earlier this morning on yesterday’s blog referring to the Telegraph interview. “Two pages of unmitigated, self serving BULLSHIT!!!”

  2. My comment on Eddie and youth.
    Why must he celebrate in such an arrogant fashion.
    That whole Ronaldo statue look at me nonsense.
    How about just joy? Fun?
    Sorry but we need a revision of goal celebrations

  3. Arsetralian,

    It certainly seems to me that today’s footballers spend more time devising and practicing their goal celebrations than they do honing their football skills.

    It’s all a result of the current “Look at me” “celebrity culture”.

  4. When you’ve come off the bench in your home debut, not stopped moving before you touch the ball once, score, then win the game five minutes into extra time, why the fook can’t he say “Look at me!”

  5. Great post as usual YW.

    I think it is important for the young players with exceptional talent to be encouraged with more game time and a mix of experience and youth in the cup matches is certainly welcome. I hope now the world has seen Eddie: 1. He grows into a better player;
    2. He stays grounded and works on becoming better;
    3. He is given the opportunity to play when the occasion demands a mobile goal scoring center forward.

  6. Don’t mean to be rude, but when doesn’t the occasion demand that?

    ;3. He is given the opportunity to play when the occasion demands a mobile goal scoring center forward.

  7. Arsenal have been confirmed, yet again by the AGM, as a business owned by Kroenke and totally managed (not coached in that old-fashioned term) by an obstinate, obsessive autocrat, Wenger. The comments over time by Wenger, Gazidis and Kroenke are, as Thierry Henry says, “heartbreaking”.
    What’s more, youth has no future under Wenger’s mad out-of position or uncertain team selection. Reiss Nelson as full/wing back. Eddie what’s his name will be in goal before he gets in front of goal as a first teamer. Lacazette is then subbed more often than extended. Where on earth is Ramsey put from game to game. Then there’s the farcical, over-paid under achieving off-side merchant Walcott. Wenger is in love with him and will, he says, do all to stop him leaving.

    I first went to Highbury in 1953. I have now reconciled myself to the modern business of corporate club ownership, which leaves supporters to love it or lump it. I am as angry as a dragon in the den and “I’m out” for good. Stuff Wenger, Gazidis and Kroenke, who built a business but destroyed a club.

  8. Great post as always yogi

    I am not a fan of Stan and Josh Kronke but they have done the 2 things that you want from your owners. They have opened up the check book in this decade and given our football people plenty of money to spend and they have stayed in the background and let the football people make the football decisions. The problem has been that Arsene has made a lot of bad decisions and he has not put together a coherent short term or long term plan good make the best use of the resources. Stan can’t do anything about that while Arsene is in charge. As long as Stan and Josh keep their blind faith in nothing is going to change. No way Arsene will give up his position of authority of the football side of the clubs operations and allow someone else to have a significant input into his decisions. Arsene has built his empire and why would he want to give up any of the control that he has worked so hard to get?

    Since early in this decade, I have been saying that Arsene would be the manager until around 2020 but I think I was wrong. I think he is going to be our manager for a lot longer and assuming he stays in good health and we stay competitive for 4th place, I suspect Arsene will be running the club until at least 2025.

  9. The Carabao cup draw has been delayed until 1700 due to a glitch at Twitter HQ.

    Obviously someone pulled out the wrong numbers. Just like the EU, if you don’t get the right result keep trying until you do.

  10. Regarding building teams with a youthful core that was the single biggest emphasis of Arsene’s plan at the start of the Emirates era. He was going to completely revolutionize the way great football teams were built with a conveyor belt constantly filled with world class youth players coming thru the academy. The transfer market would become a secondary part of team building and only used to fill occasional holes. It was noble idea but we have all seen how that worked out. The most successful long term young players that have been developed in house during the Emirates era are probably Walcott, Gibbs and perhaps Ramsey. That is not a great record and you are not going to compete for the top of the table with a roster full of a lot of players like that. We have focused more energy and effort and high leverage minutes into our younger players then any big team in the world in the last 13 years but we have hardly built any impact players much less any superstars. In truth if you look around world football very few of the big teams are actually developing their own impact players in house. Barcelona has a couple of support players and a few squad players but even they have not added a difference making player from La Masia since Busquets. They spend big to buy their impact players because they can’t afford the uncertainty and the inconsistency that comes with using a youth player in high leverage positions. You never give up on the dream of building your own superstars but realistically world football has changed and its statistically very unlikely to happen for any big team in 2017 and I think we have to accept reality and plan accordingly.

  11. I think we have to accept the reality that we will need to buy our impact players and its going to cost a lot of money. We can’t afford to put highly “talented” players like Ox or Iwobe into the starting line up and hope they develop the ability to produce the end product we need. Ox looked like a generational talent when he came to us at age 18 but no matter how talented we think a player like Ox or Iwobe is, the odds are heavily stacked against them developing into the impact players we need. You can’t win if you constantly make big bets on a long shot like Iwobe because the odds will almost always win.

  12. There is a big opportunity cost associated with handing a player like Iwobe a starting spot and hoping that he will beat the odds and be able to have an impact. I thought Ox was on the cusp of greatness for 5 years and Arsene agreed with me and he held on to Ox and gave him a huge number of high leverage minutes. I was a huge fan of Ox and I thought he was going to develop into a really good forward but I was certainly wrong. There was a significant opportunity cost that came with all the time and minutes we invested in him for the 5 years.

  13. Got to be patient — after all — putting 8 balls in a bag, and drawing them out one after the other is technically very complex..

    They have to catch 4 guys, willing or otherwise, to donate two balls each.

  14. Cannot pretend to give a gnats about the AGM — but among the stuff dished out — Ho-Hmm — AW has said that his job performance will be analysed, and even tho he wants to respect his contract – he is implying he will go — if — Arsenal have not performed satisfactorily.

    Well ……. he says the review will be carried out by the board — and the suspicion is that if he does not run around the pitch naked wearing a Spurs scarf — they will want to keep him whatever ….

    Still ……… yawn

  15. Chelsea v Bournemouth

    Arsenal v West Ham

    Leicester v Manchester City

    Bristol City v Manchester United
    Article Reactions

  16. That’s a really difficult one for Manure! Really — and the Citeh one must have them trembling!

    Still all the big boys have been kept apart. Cracker of a semi=final coming up.

  17. C,

    You will be pleased: Wenger wants Theo ……… to stay. ——- OMG —- what a surprise?
    Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose. The more things change – the more it’s the same thing!

  18. The rule change in the Carabao cup concerning having an extra sub seems to have been badly written.

    Normally, the three subs available during cup games, either during the first 90 minutes or in extra time had another option available in extra time. But a number of journalists are claiming Arsenal’s and Citeh’s quarter final ties will have to be replayed, because the wording could imply that there was ‘only’ the extra sub available in extra time.

    Seems like bollix to me — and they are hardly going to re-do the earlier ties, and re-do the semi-final draws — the EFL are not that stupid ——- are they? Well ……. 🙂

  19. Bill
    Ever since I can remember you have said Arsene will be manager until the end of this decade, I didn’t think so, but you were right, I take my hat off to you. However please don’t add to it, its a depressing enough thought, without seeing it in writing. 🙂

  20. HenryB,

    Just a load of nonsense from the press. You have to be really working at it to read it that way. So that means a team is disadvantaged if they don’t use their 3 subs in 90 minutes. They’d never be able to sell that one. If a club decides to wait it out and put on 2 pairs of fresh legs in the extra time period it should be fair enough. Tactical use of substitutes. If the reading of the rules in ambiguous they can’t expect to try to make it stick if they tried to claim that you can only make the ‘extra’ substitution in extra time and not be able to use other substitutes if you haven’t used the three.

  21. A little gem from Gazidis out of the AGM to try to qualify Wenger’s achievements in the Emirates era:

    “according to objective metrics – points versus transfer expenditure- no club has over-performed as much as Arsenal.”

    Its a tired old argument churned out when they have to make excuses for why the club doesn’t actually challenge for titles and is often used by the AKBs. The problem is that it completely fails to pick up the fact that our wage bill is the fourth largest in the PL. On a wages basis we should surely expect to at least be achieving fourth in the PL and should have been much closer to actually challenging for the title at some point, just on the law of averages. And that’s without throwing in the argument on net spending.

  22. Bill,

    I said it last season and I’m still convinced, Wenger is after the record for longest serving manager. SAF was at United for 27 years, so we have another 6 years to go until Wenger ties the record. Any noise he makes about the good of the club etc. is absolute bollox. We saw it last season when his ‘will he, won’t he’ game damaged the club’s focus when everyone knew he was just waiting for the optimum point to sign up again. If he had lost the FA Cup he would have signed up again to put things right. Bill’s guesstimate of 2025 sounds about right.

  23. I see that this year’s AGM was a real shit show with Sir Chips making a complete prat of himself once again. It certainly suggests that if results start to tank at some point last season’s unrest will seem like a storm in a teacup compared to what might happen. And the BoD will deserve everything they get too. Arrogant wankers.

  24. HenryB,

    Honestly, figured most of the day would revolve around the shit show and ‘lets act like we care’ AGM so I chose to have this be my day of rest. Figured most of it is only going to piss the supporters off even more and from the couple of posts I just skimmed through I was correct.

    West Ham, good draw though I know Kos isn’t looking forward to the Man Bun aka Andy Carrol. All the big boys stay away and will maybe meet in the semi’s.

  25. Here’s the sum total of resolutions at the AGM.

    To reelect Sir Chips Keswick; for 60,487, against 194.

    To reelect Josh Kroenke; for 60,475, against 213.

    All other resolutions were passed on a show of hands.

    That’s the sort of numbers, Idi Amin and Joseph Stalin would be proud of.

  26. andy1886,

    My offer as per last season still stands. Very happy to go for some drinks and have a march up with the rest of the old boys/disaffected when the masses decide to get militant

    You and I prepared last season and it never quite came. It will though this season at some stage

    I notice JJ only drops in these days when he thinks he slight drum up the serfs a bit. Fair play to that as well.

    About three years ago I went to an away game and a young lad was very pissed and singing anti Wenger songs on the train to the game. At the time I was more ambivilent to what was happening at the club and I repremanded him for causing trouble on a train with away fans and the opposition. I didn’t think it was helpful to anyone at the time. I would probably put my arm around him and sing up with him today

    Time for action is coming

  27. *slight = might

    Not trying to speak on JJ’s behalf. Especially with shit auto correct text thats all over the place. With that said he’s been about six months ahead of me on the “not happy” curve. If he’s getting ready for a war now. I reckon I’ll be there sometime before the end of season. Might as well fast forward that and make the point in the season when there’s at least someone to take a bit of notice to the tiny curfuffle we can actually make

    They’re going to try and sweep it under the carpet and do another ANOTBER deal. It only won’t be possibly when you stop buying the tv packages and start to get shirty (without an £80 replica shirt on) atroubd the ground

    It won’t cost any money but it will mean being brave in the near future

    Have a think about what you support and how you want to do that going forwards please

  28. Damon,

    With you 100% on that. Last year the focus was mainly ‘Wenger Out’ but in some strange way the board will probably have done AW a favour and the focus may shift to ‘Kroenke/Chips/Ivan Out’ or at least a combination of the two.

    Even an unlikely league success would be despite rather than because of these people, and I don’t think that it would save them in the long term. More likely though is that the shit will well and truly hit the fan later this season and we’ll see some serious trouble. And they will be forced to care because it will damage the ‘brand’. When sponsors take note and start to look elsewhere Stan will have to either make changes, or even walk away if it gets really bad.

    Any way you look at it there are only three choices, walk away, continue to suck up Stan’s crap, or get militant. I’m for option #3.

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