What Will This Summer Mean For Arsenal? Not Much…

Sometimes, pleasure in football isn’t derived from Arsenal. At the moment, ‘sometimes’ is ‘frequently’, more so in the last couple of months when our footballing world collapsed. Thank god Liverpool won on Saturday.

It was a truly awful game. Liverpool treated the ball as if suffered leprosy while Tottenham’s pass, pass, pass game plan was straight out of our tactical guide for the last decade. A patently unfit Harry Kane gave us a comedy moment when his drool weighed so heavily that he fell over in the penalty area. It was so painful that his right leg became trapped in Joe Gomez’s stride. Harry, of course, doesn’t dive. He’s captain of England, an upstanding man who would never seek to gain an advantage through subterfuge. Oh…

The genuine bright spot came with the realisation that plans for the 39th game died in Madrid. No fan would pay money for those performances at the inflated prices football charges.

Of course, the comparison to Arsenal is unavoidable, no matter how cruel they seem. Liverpool owner John W. Henry rubbed it in when he (a) travelled to the final and (b) snapped a photo of himself alongside his wife and Old Big Ears.

Kroenke sent his son who returned without a pot…you know how that goes. It isn’t just fans who have ambitions and aspirations, owners are supposed to have them as well. A sporting vision of where we want to be and how to get there is also useful.

Enos does, of course, know how we’re going to reach our destination: on the cheap. Used to flying first class, we’ve dropped into Ryanair’s clientele. It might be good for a short haul but any longer and you wish you suffered from a fear of flying.

Keep Mrs Honeyman Right Out Of Sight

This is on Kroenke’s watch. You remember how KSE are supposed to be sporting experts? Now would be a good time to prove that. Arsenal need investment and thus far, Enos has been as much use as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking competition.

It puts Unai Emery on the back foot, even more than he already is. Understandably, questions which simmered throughout the season erupted into plain view as we collapsed in April. In fairness, those questions about footballing philosophy and identity surfaced long before then.

The flaws in the tactical genius of last autumn, the coach who bravely changed the side well before the 65th minute, surfaced. Next season, the target must surely be the top four. The problem is that, Chelsea and ourselves aside, the top six will invest heavily this summer.

Kroenke’s parsimony is biting us deeply on the backside. Liverpool, according to Swiss Ramble, will see television revenues of more than £250m. Both they and Tottenham will earn three times as much from the Champions League (£98m and £90m respectively) than we will from the Europa League (£32m).

It hurts the club, manifesting in a ludicrously low transfer budget this summer. We’re trying to catch clubs who can wipe the floor with us financially in the transfer market. That is no guarantee of success. Look at Manchester United; they are living a beer lifestyle on a champagne income. We are the reverse, trying to pay for cocktails with Green Shield Stamps.

Reports in the past twenty-four hours or so see Laurent Koscielny departing and Chinese clubs thinking Aubameyang will ditch us for £300k per week. That’s a level where interpreters decide you’ve told a coach that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.

There’s Gonna Be A Riot In Trumpton Tonight

Despite knowing we have a budget of £45m, we bid in the region of £35m on two Sampdoria players. That’s on top of the £20-odd million we spent on Lucas Torreira. Didn’t the analytics throw out that it might be cheaper to buy the Genoese club?

A lot of talk, not much action. That’s no surprise given the ‘international window’ doesn’t open officially until the start of next month. Gabrielle Martinelli is a £6m signing, courtesy of Edu, while there was a headline-grabbing £4m bid for someone or other.

The reality is that Edwin van der Sar was close to the mark but someone jogged his arm as he took aim in the Times this weekend. Yes, the top 5 leagues are obscenely rich compared to the rest of Europe. However, within those elite leagues, there is a further elite which is financially strangling football and us with it.

The money league tables put us up there but we’re slipping out of that group. Remember the lies spun about how the Emirates would make us competitive, able to take on Bayern Munich? They proved we weren’t in the same league on the pitch. Now, they are in the VIP Lounge while we mingle with the hoi polloi.

Highbury didn’t die for this.

‘til Tomorrow.

28 thoughts on “What Will This Summer Mean For Arsenal? Not Much…

  1. If it’s all about money then we’re stuffed, in fact every team is stuffed because Man City can stick a penny on 4 star petrol to fund their new transfer budget.

    But there are chinks of light. George proved in the 80s & 90s that his team with strong tactics could beat the Liverpool monopoly. Liverpool pushed Man City all the way and won the CL with clever reinvestment of transfer funds.

    It could take a while to fix the current Arsenal side, but with better tactics, a few decent transfers and some gems from the youth side not all hope is lost.

  2. Green Shield Stamps …..haha. What about some Esso Football Coins , Yogi ?

    I agree with Pete. There is hope. There has to be. Football changes & relatively quickly too & although this era seems to be money dominated & lost to us , just imagine how much things would change when the current super coaches depart the top three. Or add a couple of wickets to the current score.

  3. Football has always been cyclic-our time will come again.
    I’ll be Nicky’s age though….

  4. Highbury didn’t die for this

    The trouble is, this is a train wreck. We’ve all been watching it coming, not able to slow down and, whether we’ve accepted it or not, we can all see where the almighty crash is destined to occur down the tracks it’s travelling on

  5. Great post yogi.

    Its going to be an interesting summer. Lots of rebuilding and our situation may get worse before it gets better. However, football is a strange game and we might get lucky and ManU, Chelsea and Spurs could all implode at the same time.

  6. Jonny

    There is a realistic possibility Chelsea may struggle next season. Chelsea ManU and spurs tried their best to gift us the top 4 this season and it’s certainly possible 1 or 2 or all 3 might do an even better job of melting down next season. Hope springs eternal

  7. The sooner the whole PL/Sky/BT circus goes tits up the better IMO. It can’t be too long before the casual fan out for his 90 minutes of ‘entertainment’ gets bored and goes somewhere else to get his fix. And when the bubble bursts it’ll probably take a few big names down with it as the parasites offload their ‘assets’ but if that’s what it takes I can live with that. Just a shame that there is no Highbury to return to. Roll on the revolution!

  8. Great write up Yogi

    Correct Highbury didn’t die for this. But let’s not beat about the bush. AFC is truly dead.

    Welcome to the Premier League’s, mini-league, of Europa league contenders:

    Manure, AFC, Everton, Wolves, Leicester, Watford

    Top four will be Man C, Chelski, The Spuds and Chaverpool

  9. I’d rather see us spend the entire budget on one decent CB who can also bring some leadership on and off the pitch. Sell Ozil and the like and give the younger players a chance.

  10. Hi everyone.
    It is only since WWII, that Arsenal transformed into whatever it is they are now.
    Before the War, Arsenal were very bullish, and thrived with great success as front-runners.
    After the War, under new ownership, Arsenal adopted a very conservative, safety-first approach, and everything from recruiting managers and buying players has been done with saving and cutting corners at the top of the agenda.
    Every success since WWII has been pretty much accidental, because even when we’re miles from winning major trophies, there is never any sense of urgency at Arsenal.
    When you look at Bertie Med’s ‘Double’ winners of 1970-71, it was a completely bizarre one-off event. We were nowhere near the title in 1970, and finished 5th in 1972, and lost the cup final that year to Leeds.
    Arsenal declined quite quickly after their ‘Double’, but there was no real sense of urgency to address it.
    Instead of dynamic and exciting, Arsenal went with the cheap option of Terry Neill, who won one final out of four in three years, but was nowhere near winning the league.
    It didn’t reach many media outlets at the time, but if anything epitomises just how poor Arsenal’s decision making has been at the highest level, 1986 underlines it.
    Some of you may think hindsight is a wonderful thing, and undoubtedly there are quite a few highlights from George Graham’s time at Arsenal, but…
    Okay, so the only evidence Arsenal had to go on was that the manager they interviewed before George, had no experience in the English league, but he had broken the virtually unbreakable ‘Old Firm’ dominance between Celtic and Rangers, and his Aberdeen side beat Real Madrid in the European CWC final in 1983 ( the one we lost on penalties to Valencia in 1980, four days after losing to second division West Ham in the FA cup final at Wembley!).
    Arsenal said no to Alex Ferguson after he agreed terms because Arsenal wanted to make an immediate announcement, but Fergie wanted to wait a fortnight because he was caretaker manager of Scotland and had to take them to Mexico for the World Cup.
    For me personally, that feels like the first opportunity Arsenal had since the War to make a real statement of intent, and having spurned such an obvious chance, such an opportunity will never present itself again.
    Unless someone is allowed to grill Stan Kroenke with some real soul-searching questions about his ownership and his long term vision for Arsenal, I fear for the club’s future, and if Arsenal refuse to compete at the highest level – which is what the stadium move was all about – the Kroenke’s will make just as much money turning the Emirates into a Theme Park.

  11. Couldn’t agree more Andy.

    More TV games next season. Another subscription to Amazon? Where does it lead? Probably pay per view of any game you want, so lots of empty stadiums. Maybe that will force them to drop the admission prices? Doubt it.

    TV figures are dropping. Fans are fed up with the blatant corruption at FIFA and UEFA. You thought Baku was bad wait for the Qatar world cup!

    Throw in a sloppy turd of Brexit and wait for the fans to start tightening their belts. We’re doomed I tell yea!

    andy1886:
    The sooner the whole PL/Sky/BT circus goes tits up the better IMO.It can’t be too long before the casual fan out for his 90 minutes of ‘entertainment’ gets bored and goes somewhere else to get his fix. And when the bubble bursts it’ll probably take a few big names down with it as the parasites offload their ‘assets’ but if that’s what it takes I can live with that. Just a shame that there is no Highbury to return to. Roll on the revolution!

  12. Adam Singh,

    Adam Singh you are quite succinct and on the mark. Really our only course of action given this situation and this budget. Yogi, boffo column.

  13. Yogi, great thought-provoking write up today. Thank you.

    Two big issues jump out of today’s chapter for me:
    1) Football club owners, specifically John W Henry and Enos Stanley Kroenke
    2) Leaving Highbury and the promised land of the Ashburton Grove super-stadium development

    We all know that JWH and the Fenway Sports Group have a totally different approach to KSE, in terms of funding the team and its player development. FSG want success and have proven that through funding the team, not in Man City terms, but in a realistic profitable manner. They have embraced the invest sensibly, recruit and sell wisely, and reap rewards ethos. Their asset will grow at a faster rate as a result and incomes likewise. If they wish to recover the investment sooner, they will be able to do so. Or maybe they will cash in when they eventually sell. That is their choice and it’s a nice problem for them to have.

    That’s not the KSE way. We all know that KSE will not put a cent into the club. He bought the shares and that’s it. Our growth has to be organic and self-generated. It also requires exceptional business management and we have fallen short there too. So any growth in Arsenal, as a team with results or a club with financial success, will take longer and most likely won’t produce as much or as good fruit. Liverpool’s has been given a boost – the football club’s equivalent to “Miracle Grow”, just as any sensible gardener would do to their crops. While Man City have gone down the yee-har, full blown, chlorinated football in a can, genetically-modified route. We may not like it, but that’s it and there’s sod all we can about it. Well apart from not going to matches or buying merchandise, but hey someone else will.

    Stanley’s lack of appearance in Baku is indicative of a shareholder type of owner. Ok, so Baku was a ridiculous place to hold the final and only a complete misfit of an organisation like UEFA would make such a ridiculous money driven decision. Anyway, back to Stanley. We might not like the fact he didn’t show his face in Baku. We might want an owner who wants to be there – a John W Henry or even a Roman – an owner who wants to win, but his lack of attendance sums him up perfectly. HE’S NOT INTERESTED IN MATCH RESULTS! Apologies for shouting, but the emphasis is on “match”. Kroenke only wants to see the bottom line and a dollar twenty return per dollar invested, is what he wants as a safe player. He won’t strive for three dollars on a dollar fifty invested. It’s not his way. He is risk adverse. If he shelled out £200m of his estimated $8Bn dollars and will still only came 5th, he would be down to his last erm….. well, he wouldn’t be skint but he’d be a bit p!ssed off as the tightest man in America’s answer to ASDA.

    The only way this changes is if his asset falls in value. For that to happen TV revenues need to slow, Europa league revenues need to fall (or be lost) and Arsenal need to become the next “They were big once” clubs. The next AC Milan, Monaco, Hamburg etc. We are probably already at the AC Milan level, while Hamburg would take a relegation.

    And there then is Highbury….. we loved it, but we needed to move on. If we think the present is bad, can you imagine the same ownership with the reduced matchday revenues of 38,000. It would be worse. We’d be like Everton or even maybe Aston Villa, and we all saw how that went wrong for them. The packaging on the nice new stadium was eventually found to be full of bullsh!t – the promise of big revenues and major success. It may have been a genuine desire at the time, in the year or two before the mustachioed harbinger of mediocrity arrived, but it hasn’t delivered and the costs of Ashburton Grove is only half the problem. KSE is the reverse of that coin. If the likes of Peter Hill Wood, Danny Fiszman, David Dein etc had stuck around (yes I know two are now deceased) and not sold to KSE (or at least sold to someone with the ethos of FSG) who knows where we would be, but chances are it would be a better place than we find ourselves now. Hey ho, sliding doors and all that… are Manchester City in the Div 1 and was Sir Red Nose fired by United in 1990?

    At least the brand spanking new, shiny trophy cabinet in N17 doesn’t have Old Big Ears on display. Small mercies.

  14. Stu,

    Unfortunately the new stadium and Stanley are strongly linked. Would Stan have bought into the club without a nice shiny new home to generate more revenue? Maybe not in my view, perhaps he would have looked elsewhere. Given that ticket sales are no longer the main revenue stream for clubs (falling way behind TV money and commercial revenues) I would suggest that forgoing the extra £50m income, staying at Highbury and not having to endure Stanley’s ownership would have been a far better outcome for both the club and its supporters.

  15. And given that we’re pissing more than half of that extra income down the pan on wages for Ozil and Mhiki I’m sure we could have coped admirably without it anyway.

  16. andy1886,

    I don’t disagree Andy. I too suspect Kroenke wouldn’t have purchased the club if it was still at Highbury. Like a magpie, he saw a shiny new thing to add to his collection in his lofty perch. And like a magpie has done naff all with it since.

    You may be right about the club being better off had it stayed at Highbury. None of the debt to pay off, the Invincibles could have been refreshed (without going down “Project Youth” route) and we could have potentially been more competitive. With TV revenue out doing match revenues so much now, there may be limited financial sense in a club investing in a new ground these days. Problem is we made the decision back in the early 2000s, when matchday revenue was still seen as a significant contributor to club income. The world has changed since then. Club chairman and owners all want a shiny new home, but the sensible ones these days will stay put and invest on the pitch, qualify for Europe and take the money. The potential investment going into the likes of Everton and Wolves is what bothers me, especially if it all goes into quality players. Why our neighbours have invested is beyond me; it can only be down to envy or Levy has found a billion pounds somewhere.

    Quality players…. ones who change games and earn their crazy wages. You know, the £100 grand a week players. The £5m+ a year players. That’s what we need, but we are competing against the likes of Everton, Wolves, Leicester for their signature.

    Then we have the players earning really bonkers wages. £15 Million a year on Ozil and he goes sick and doesn’t turn games around all the time, if ever. It’s stupid money. Maybe a Ronaldo or a Messi, who can and do regularly change games/win games deserve this level of money in order to secure their signature, but not Ozil. Not Mhiki. That all comes down to that poor business management I mentioned earlier.

    Good job they don’t run a brewery.

  17. Thanks for the Post, and for the platform for us to share our deep concerns.
    Arsenal have had all the resources to be as big as Manchester United or Liverpool, the owners have never been ruthless, intelligent or brave enough to push the club to those heights, and for me, what Arsenal have done to their huge global support, is nothing short of grand larceny and a complete deception.
    People like Kroenke, ripping the heart and soul out of one of the world’s most loved football clubs is criminal behaviour and there needs to be robust rules in place to stop any of his sort sucking the life out of football clubs, their communities and football in general.
    Newcastle United’s last trophy was the Fairs Cup, in 1969. They haven’t won a title since 1927* or an FA Cup since the mid 1950’s.
    Mike Ashley is quite happy with that, and has absolutely no appetite to change those stats.
    But apart from the obvious gulf in wealth between Kroenke and Ashley, they have the same attitude towards their respective clubs.
    We’re a bit better than Newcastle, with a better history, but if Arsenal are allowed to drift assunder to become like Newcastle, our history and traditions count for nothing.

  18. I am not sure I agree with the analysis here YW
    Yes I preferred Highbury and all old grounds really with proper names but that is sentimental
    Yes moving was all about money and it achieved the goal – we make more from matchday income than anyone else (or did)
    However we were never a big global club like lfc or mufc and did not get oil money like the other two
    So 5th is not too surprising given funds
    When they chose to move to Emirates I think we all realised it was progressive but sad
    Surely we would be in a worse state at our old home?

  19. Arsetralian

    The move was sold to us on the basis that it would make us more competitive after a few lean years. Most accepted that but we’ve gone backwards in a sporting sense because of laziness by various board members down the years. Too much power was in not enough hands and poor judgement in previous transfer windows crippled us on the pitch. I’d argue that losing Ashley Cole was the moment alarm bells should have rung.

    Ivan’s revamp was carried out too late and with hindsight, appointing the wrong people. He then fucked off before the job was done, something he should have done before he started.

    I saw a headline which said something like “Gazidis plots to damage Arsenal’s transfer plans”. He’s done that already, overseeing shocking transfer business and poor commercial performance. We reacted slowly to football’s new reality and are playing catch-up. With an owner who doesn’t give a flying fuck about us.

  20. Herb’s Army,

    Thanks for the interesting comments

    Would like to respond to the first one, about AFC ambition and financial backing since the war.

    In 1995 we signed Dennis Bergkamp, for a reported £7.5m. At that time, our record transfer was £2.5m, therefore tripling it. Our overall turnover was reportedly £21m, so approximately just over a third of the clubs entire turnover when on his signature.

    In recent times, turnover as tickled around and above (depending on CL qualification, tbh) £400m. An equivalent signing, on turnover comparison, would be circa £133 – 150m.

    To draw the record signing into it, PEA is the present at circa £55m, so ties in with a deal at £150m, to be three times the value of that, as per Bergkamp

    Do you think we’ve been close to making that kind of push anywhere in the recent past? I’ll answer that question and say, categorically not.

    Then, with those figures considered, we signed David Platt the same year, for just short of £5m

    I’m sure you’ll agree, in that climate, simply staggering statement of intent. Neither were “sure thing” signings either, if such a thing exists. Bergkamp bombed in Italy, whilst possessing an unbelievable, but untapped, talent. Platt was, arguably, more of a known entity

    These two signings came to augment and established back five and, at the time, club record goal scorer, Ian Wright.

    Needless to say, from 1996 to 2004 were one of, if not the most, successful periods of AFC’s entire history.

    Credit to Arsene during that time for his coaching and making signings such as Anelka, Overmars, Viera, Pires and Henry, to name but a few. But I’d suggest none of that era would have happened without that incredible summer. The man behind that also drove the following years and was involved in signing every single one of the fabulous talents during that time.

    Not wishing to preach on this, but I think it’s unfair to say the club has simply been “lucky” since 1945.

    Attributed to various sources, but the line “the harder I try, the luckier I get” seems to spring, or even sprint, to mind.

  21. Damon,

    Absolutely correct Damon, DB10 wasn’t just a club record signing but a PL record signing for a short time until Liverpool signed Stan Collymore (oh dear). Say what you like about David Dein (and I don’t thank him for his role in the formation of the PL) but the man got things done and had ambition unlike the rest of the suits in the boardroom.

  22. Most importantly Andy, he was a winner and did what it took.

    Always

    As you say, and as with all winners, he made plenty of mistakes along the way but he gave us a good ride into, ultimately, oblivion 😀

  23. Hi Damon
    Thanks for your response.
    I guess I was trying to make the point that Arsenal before and after WWII were two different clubs.
    Going into the war, Arsenal were by far the best team in the land, I don’t think we can honestly say that during any time after the war.
    We won our eighth title in 1971, more than anyone else, United or Liverpool. Then we watched Liverpool race away from us in the space of a few years. We refused the chance to take Alex Ferguson after fifteen years of treading water, bar a solitary FA Cup in 1979, he went to United, and after eventually overhauling many of Ron Atkinson’s expensive flops, we watched them race away from us too.
    I agree with you on David Dein, but by the time he got involved much of the damage was done. We have never had a period of dominance that matches either Liverpool’s or United’s, and whilst we all accept that United have for decades had a huge financial advantage over all their rivals, the same cannot be said of Liverpool during the 1970’s and ’80’s.
    Who among us would ever question the signing of Dennis Bergkamp.
    But there was a rumour doing the rounds years ago, that he was offered to Alan Sugar at Tottenham for £6m before he signed for Arsenal. He grew up idolising Glenn Hoddle.
    I never rated David Platt, and I was annoyed that Arsenal paid so much for him when he was winding down his career.
    The bottom line though, is that Arsenal haven’t been anywhere near pro-active enough in pursuit of success, and they’ve allowed other clubs to overtake them without ever offering a significant challenge.
    The characteristics of Arsenal are extremely different when you consider who and what the club were going into the war, to the club that emerged after the war.
    There has been no appetite from the hierarchy since the war to replicate the blueprint of the club they inherited.
    Their whole approach has been far too meek and cowardly, which is a big part of the reason Arsenal are where they are now.

  24. It’s a very strange, emotion-sapping journey being aligned to The Arsenal.
    I started supporting Arsenal the year we lost to Swindon in the League Cup final.
    Wow! I’ve just realised 50 years have passed since then!
    When you’re a kid, and it’s all new and exciting, there are no politics, no Board or thoughts of money, just 11 players wearing your team’s shirt who are about to become your heroes as long as they do the business on the pitch.
    And naturally, when your soul finds its football home you need to learn everything about them, their roots, their philosophy, as well as all the significant highs and lows.
    The move across the river was a massive upheaval just a few years after almost ceasing to exist, but what a transformation it made to Arsenal’s fortunes.
    Reading up on the team that Chapman built, and what they achieved was exciting, and cemented my spiritual alliance with the club.
    Those are the standards I hold Arsenal to.
    A club that leads and others follow.
    If Arsenal had taken their philosophy from the 1930’s into the late ’40’s and onwards, they really could have been the biggest club in the world, but they bottled it and chose hand-brake conservatism.
    The fans ambitions and the club’s targets are completely different.
    Arsenal are of the stature where they should be boasting multiple Champions League trophies, just like Liverpool, it is the one glaring hole in the club’s CV, but Arsenal have never been set up to win the CL, and there’s still no hunger for it. Sure, Arsenal want to be in the competition for the prestige and the money, but that’s to satisfy the corporates, fans opinions aren’t even part of the equation.
    It’s just my opinion that Arsenal have deceived, and continue to deceive their fanbase with this particular philosophy, which has barely changed in over 70 years.

  25. Our season will heavily rely on how lucky we will be with Injuries. (assuming we manage to keep most of the players and find a good winger and a Defender.

  26. Great conversations guys. But we’re completely powerless to change any of this. If we refuse to subscribe then someone else will. I agree with Herb that the club was a forerunner and leader pre-war, which it never replicated after the war. But that is all in the past. We’re not a Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City or Chelsea. We’re not even a Spurs who quite frankly look better managed than we do. So we’re going to have to endure, what I’ve already hinted at, which is being in that next tier down of Europa league vying clubs, in the Premier League. At least Man Utd will be there with us!

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