The truth and nothing like the truth
By Peter Le Beau
Not much in the way of transparency at Arsenal
It might be my imagination, but I donít think it is. There seems to be rejoicing in the kingdom that United have finally got their man. It got a bit dodgy with mean old Arsenal holding out for a kingís ransom, but all is well now.
Last week after the Olympics, the papers were full of how greedy and avaricious footballers are. This week they are so happy that RvP has got the move of his dreams. Itís profoundly depressing yet again to lose our star player, especially to hated rivals, and for Arsenal fans it takes the gloss of what looked like being a much more promising season. We could still lose Walcott and Song, too. Perhaps Ivan and ArsŤne are planning the most painful way and time to break that to us?
I love Arsenal Football Club. They are one of the major joys of my life, but they can leave me feeling so frustrated. I have been trying to rationalise this, and I think I have reached a conclusion that is fair but very disturbing - Arsenal never tell you the real truth.
I work in business consultancy, and we have a term there which is a big buzz-word in current usage. It is ďtransparencyĒ - ie no secrets, no smoke and mirrors, and an acceptance that the supporters who are, as has been acknowledged this week, the most loyal and important people involved in a football club, should have a real understanding of the way their club is run.
Iím not a shareholder, so have never attended the annual presentation to shareholders in person, but I have been to the Gazidis meeting where he comes clean on what is really going on at the club. Except I donít believe Arsenal have any intention of coming clean about what is really going on behind the doors in Highbury House or wherever the Board meet. They always hold as much as they can back, but pour out copious details of things like their work in the community. Itís very laudable, but itís not why people sacrifice holidays or new cars to buy season-tickets.
The closest I have ever been to any sort of dialogue with the powers that be at the club was just after the bond-issue, where I had a couple of meetings with David Dein and George Graham. I announced myself to Dein as a Gooner-contributor and his comment was that at least I wasnít Tony Willis, the then bÍte-noir of the board who edited another Arsenal fanzine!
I fully accept and always have that no club can open up all its business dealings to the supporters or the media. Competitors will get to see things they shouldnít - thatís true for all businesses, but at Arsenal there is something fundamental we never really understand.
The club portray their position as a decent, honest organisation, trying to trade sustainably in a very skewed environment with rivals who would never be able to behave in the way they do if they didnít have billionaire owners chucking around money willy-nilly. I accept that. I detest the fact that the man who effectively controls the club deigns to visit us twice a year, for a couple of days at a time. Letís just say his financial investment might be large but his emotional investment is miniscule compared to the average supporter. Nevertheless if (and itís the biggest Ďifí in football) Financial Fair Play does take effect - and it seems to be scaring Citeh and leaving Chelsea totally unfazed - we do need to run our club sensibly. But everybody knows by now that we have a very manageable debt-ratio, that we make serious profits every year, and that we have an almost zero net transfer spend - every season!
Everyone understood that moving to a new stadium was a stretch, and it has been managed well, but we should be moving into a new era now. That good housekeeping should be paying dividends, but the RvP sale (followed by the Song sale) will bring in an amount just north of what we have paid out on three good-quality signings so far. Throw in (hopefully) the sale of Vela, Bartley, Arshavin and the worldís finest striker, Bendtner, and lo and behold - we will show a small profit!! Yet again, the club are investing virtually nothing in improving the squad while expecting the fans to pay the highest prices in world football in the meantime.
Iíve yet to mention Wenger. I loved Fergusonís description of him as a man ďwho could run a poker school in GovanĒ. He is as terminally tight as they come. In some ways, he (usually) sells high, albeit reluctantly, and yet, when he buys a player, something stops him paying more than £15 million. He just canít do it. Heíd probably go to £17 million for Messi or Ronaldo but not a penny more.
Is this because heís just parsimonious, or is he under orders from a Board that wonít tell the fans what the real situation is? The ridiculous thing is that nobody knows. PHW, the loveable old duffer and friend of the Daily Star, keeps telling us that Wenger has a mandate from the Board to pay £30 million on a player, but Wenger tends to suggest in his press conferences that this is not an option for a club like Arsenal. Is Wenger such a noble man that he is prepared to draw the flak that should rightly be directed at the Board?
Note those four words I usedóďa club like ArsenalĒ. The way Arsenal is positioned, it should be thinking a lot bigger than it does. Arsenal, Wenger, Gazidis et al, and ultimately we the fans, are victims of the Boardís unwillingness to project ambitiously enough into the future. Top players and agents see this, and view Arsenal as a stepping-stone to the top, a rung on the ladder to Old Trafford or the Nou Camp. Would it hurt us to take the sort of gamble once in a while that Fergie has just done on van Payslip, sorry - Persie? Iíd love to see Wenger spluttering, apoplectically, at the press conference next to a bona fide world superstar, but itís just not going to happen. The problem is that we donít know whether thatís because Wenger is too mean, the Board are too limited in their vision, or Silent Stan (what an addition to the ranks of the non-communicators at the club!) is sitting in Denver (or wherever he plots his dastardly schemes) balancing the value of a new holding-midfielder for Arsenal against a wide receiver for the Los Angeles Rams.
We press and stress and demand answers and we get none from official quarters Ė at least none that really get to the heart of the problem. Arsenal affect to communicate in an open way but tell us nothing - no fees paid, no agentís commissions rendered and no detailed breakdown of player contracts. Excellent forensic analysis from the likes of Swiss Rambler tells us a story that the fans who are the people who have bankrolled this club for 125 years could never learn and which suggests that Arsenal have a cash mountain that the Glazers would die to have. Yet United and Barcelona and the upstarts from Moss Side, Citeh, rape us every year.
The club tell us that Financial Fair Play will change the dynamics of football and we will have the last laugh. Iím not one of those who believes FFP will be a mirage, but I also canít see UEFA taking on and winning an argument with the richest clubs in the world. If FFP does bite, I canít see this Board having the balls to grasp the nettle and make our new financial clout count. If it doesnít, it gives them an excuse to whinge pathetically that the world is just not fair.
This will continue until this club either decides to take the financial handbrake off or Kroenke (who has never sold a share yet in his life) decides to take a profit and stop being abused by these noisy limeys. In the meantime, a good start would be some true transparency about where the club really stands and, in so doing, letting the fans know who really lacks the courage to take the next step. But with this lot in charge, I wonít hold my breath!
21st August 2012
User Comment and Reaction
User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.
Frank 9:18am 21st Aug 2012
Great article.Arsenal have a mentality of a mid table club that looks on the top 4 as success.United finished 2nd on GD 19pts ahead of us yet they go an sign our best player.Can you imagine Fergie selling us Vidic or Rooney.For some reason the Wenger mantra that a top 4 finish is now better than winning a trophy seems to be accepted by a lot of our fans.Only when we finish outside the top 4 will reality hit home but then it will be too late.If we cant keep our best players when we are in the CL how the hell will we keep them when we are in the Europa cup - Post No. 28066
Dave a walker 9:22am 21st Aug 2012
do the maths 30 million for a 4 year contract 50 games a year 200 games in total 150k per game no injuries, no wages. add in 75k per week, thats another 15 million. plus medical expenses etc.... - Post No. 28067
Limerickjack 9:35am 21st Aug 2012
Song 15 million quid, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha hee hee hee hee hee ha ha hee hee hee !!!!! - Post No. 28069
buggleskelly 9:43am 21st Aug 2012
Yes, whatever did happen to Tony Willis. The fanzine he edited, ONE NIL DOWN, may have been put together by a bunch of six-year-olds at the time of its demise in 1999, but at its peak during the bond issue of 1992, boasted some real quality writing, including from the likes of Amy Lawrence and Nick Hornby. I miss it still. - Post No. 28070
Dan h 10:19am 21st Aug 2012
Being economical with the truth does seem to be the club policy.Peter as it stands we are actually in profit sales of RVP,Song,Vela,Bartley & Ozyakup thus far aprox 40-45m coming in.Cazorla,Podolski& Giroud no more than 40m euro combined spent.I like many will see where we stand on 1st sept. with regards the make up of the squad but it really is a case of de ja vu.I believe the money in the PTA will never be allowed to drop below a certain level money earmarked for squad improvement kept back for failure to qualify for the CL imo & as each transfer window passes of that i feel stronger about.We have now sold half our first team in a 12 month period Fabregas,Nasri,Clichy & now RVP,Song so far with surely Walcott to follow if no new deal signed in the next week?We are now in a cycle which has left us vunerable to domestic teams taking our better players let alone Real & Barcelona almost accepted it seems.Silent Stan has certainly lived up to his name few words even fewer sporting ambition's reel them in DDT a footballing version of 'The Sting!' - Post No. 28073
malaysian gunner 10:46am 21st Aug 2012
Agree with the assessment. I think Wenger has seen the error of his way belatedly.Arsenal have declined from the heady heights of 2004 .They have been unable to challenge for th epl and if they did they would inevitably collapes every spring for at least three seasons running,which is simply unacceptable. We don't know the reasons for Song's exit. He was physically strong whereas the Turk is more of a technical player. I won't be surprised Walcott will be the next one to go. Since he came five seasons ago,hewas supposed to have matured but nothing dramatic has happened. With the influx of experienced players it could be finally the gunners will get going. H to convince the sceptics.wever they have to win the games and not pass until eternity. - Post No. 28076
Ike the Cult Leader 10:52am 21st Aug 2012
Wenger is unambitious. If the board were shafting him then he should walk but he never will. He's on 7mil a year to win nothing, he'd be crazy to move to a serious club with pressure and expectations. He'd be fired within a month at Real or Barca! No matter what about money this money that...FACT is Wenger blows the money he does haqve on dross. New deal for Riosicky, new deal for Djourou, Diaby on £60k a week, Gervinho signed for 12 mil (!), Walcott on 70k a week, Denilson/Bendtner/Fabianski, how lnog was Almunia at the club? Our wage bill is over 120 million and yet our club loses 8-2 and gets a lesson from Swansea. Arsenal have a management problem so the first thing we need is a Pep Guardiola. The board ain't blameless in this. Kroenke is a cretin and Gazidis a snake. We all know and we all see. What we need is for Arsenal fans to develop a set of balls, stop accepting mediocrity and make a financial boycott of Arsenal. SIMPLE. - Post No. 28077
Angry & Frustrated 10:54am 21st Aug 2012
Good article. Kroenke & Wenger are a match made in heaven from a purely economics point of view. From a fans view point they are a match made in hell! Add in Gazidis to the mix, and you now have a purely corporate mentality where money is king, and open transparent information is the enemy. The worst thing in all of this is that so many can't see or simply refuse to see the truth, that we are now a club run purely for the financial benefit of the few, and the price for this is any real ambition on the pitch. The day Fiszman & Bracewell Smith sold up to Kroenke was the day Arsenal became just another also ran club. This has left the other top sides here and in Europe free not to worry any longer about us, as we are no longer any threat to them, and they are free to cherry pick our best players, as they know when push comes to shove we will always without fail take the money. We have voluntarily decided to leave the top table and join the ranks of the Spuds, and thrown in plenty of spin for good measure each year to ensure season ticket renewals with promises of keeping players (the dwindling few we would like to keep) and the purchasing of "super super quality" ones for less than we sell for!! The expression deja vu springs to mind, and our top 4 trophy target is now sadly the height of our ambitions. - Post No. 28078
MRMROD 11:10am 21st Aug 2012
Excellent article Peter. You didnt mention the global marketing campaign at the expense of more meaningful friendlies this summer or the continual change of kit, almost two new kits a year, every year, for however long its been...plus I've heard we may be reverting to Adidas from next year, which with this year's design is no bad thing! I digress... You rightly discuss Arsenal's perception of Arsenal's code of conduct in terms of transparency or openess, honesty and integrity, and you correctly refer to the image that Arsenal portray in terms of professionalism alongside that age old stubborness and stiff-upper-lip-ness we've become infamous for. The fact is that the communication from inside Arsenal is not transparent. We are and were always a tight run ship and even with the move to the Emirates we have not changed our ethos. Think back to George Graham...we missed out on Ginola from PSG for example and pre Emirates AW missed out on Cristiano Ronaldo and there are copious more examples. My point is that we've never paid 'over the odds' to acquire a talent, save for those mal****s when we bought Wiltord for an eye watering £13m or Arshavin etc. Right now its safe to assume that we have been lied to, the club has continually made promises it hasnt kept and right at the centre of it all is AW. You cannot tell me that a man who speaks five languages fluently and who has an MSc in Economics is unaware of the facts. The £30m available for one player is a fabrication, its simply not going to happen...not whilst Kroenke is at the helm...with Usmanov perhaps. AW earns £7m p/a basic. He's doing fine. The Board, the shareholders, IG and Kroenke will certainly not go hungry. Its only the fans who have been starved of success, trophies and respect. Unfortunately, its always going to be a catch 22; with the current situation. We can only ever over achieve with the crop of players we have at our disposal and with the self sustaining business model being the club's priority we may have to keep celebrating 4th place. If Usmanov finally gets to run the club we may get to challenge Chelsea and City in the spending stakes but then run the risk of embarrassment such as Rangers, Portsmouth and Malaga have experienced. Either way and all that aside, i still have a sneaking feeling that we will win a trophy this season. - Post No. 28079
Dave 12:17pm 21st Aug 2012
If AW goes Ė forced out Ė he will go saying that the board never gave him enough money, and the board will say that they gave him the money but he never spent it. Of course, the board will then be wide open to the question of why they let him buy such mediocre players for so long, and why they didnít do anything sooner. To which they will have no response. Itís stretching credibility to suggest that Arsenalís 3rd and 4th place finishes over the past 7 years is all part of some grand plan. The board trust that AW can bring in the silverware because heís done it before on the same resources. They arenít stupid (in spite of appearances) and know that Citeh, Chealski etc, can afford more; theyíre hoping that AW still has the magic hat, in the way that Forest believed in Clough. Theyíve made a statue of him for goodnessí sake. It is unbelievable that AW would want to stay if he believed that he couldnít win the Premiership. This has all tested the patience of the fans, but it makes more sense than comfy conspiracies between the board and the manager. - Post No. 28082
chris dee 12:22pm 21st Aug 2012
The club is still paying for the Emirates and so there are a few more seasons of Arsene or whoever being 'tight' with the dosh. But aside from Barca,Real,United and the money freak shows at Chelsea and City,Arsenal pay top wages to their players. It is not money or losing 'great' players like Van Persie that we lack. It is an absence of 'togetherness' on the field,a lack of real team spirit,stubborness,willingness to do more than 'my job' ,ruthlessness and scarily ,physical braveness. These things could and should be addressed by the manager We can continue to be relatively succesful,but without these qualities we will always fall short. Arsenes Premiership winning teams had attitude in spades. George Grahams League Champions were neither the best paid players or the most talented players,but I have never seen a group of players run themselves into the ground for the sake of the team. Ditto Bertie Mee Double winners. This current squad has far and away more talent that Georges teams,but can you see any of them defending a 1-0 lead after constant pressure at Eastland or Stamford Bridge or any of them doing a Keown or Winterburn at Old Trafford? - Post No. 28083
GoonerRon 13:01pm 21st Aug 2012
A superb, well written article. I agree to an extent about the lack of transparency although I look at what I hear / read about other clubs and I'm not sure there is significantly more information forthcoming from them to their supporters? What realistically do we expect the club to publicly say to us? You mention zero net spend and no investment in improving the squad but I'd argue that the player trading this summer has improved our overall squad depth - up to now we've replaced two first team players with three new additions and by the sounds of it another midfielder and defender still to come. If we sell high (i.e. £24m for Ven Pursestring) and buy low (i.e. Cazorla for the same price as Joe Allen) then the squad can be re-shaped and improved without significant net investment can't it? We should also consider that there is huge scope for improvement in a number of our existing players - AOC is now a 19 year old full tournament international as opposed to a promising 17 year old League One prospect, Mertesacker / Santos have had a preseason with the club, Jenksinson / Chesney / Coquelin will have all benefitted hugely from their first full seasons in the squad. Sometimes evolution can be equally as effective as wholesale change. - Post No. 28085
ApolloGooner 13:04pm 21st Aug 2012
Excellent article Peter. And for me you have given the reasons that so many of us who have always loved Arsenal are now feeling so detached from them. They make us feel like we are on the outside and they keep us at a safe distance. I dont like labels like AKBs etc. but often I will see people who think of themselves as 'proper fans' bemoaning the views of dissenters who, in their eyes, cannot be real fans. They say we are being disprectful to the club when we should be supporting them. Its not the club we are complaining about though, its the indivuduals who work at the club and how they operate. Lets turn it around and ask how much respect these individuals have for the fans they charge these eye -watering prices to? Iíd say they were being far more disrespectful. For me personally the whole thing has gone too far. They are supposed to be working for us. We are the ones paying out. Everyone inside the club is being paid. I still have my season ticket but I resent paying for it more and more each year and I think the damage those at the club have done is probably beyond repair now. I didnt realise it at the time but I think the Arsenal FC I loved disappeared in the summer of 2006. - Post No. 28086
Arsenal Banking Services 13:06pm 21st Aug 2012
Wenger is perfect for our board.He balances the books.£40m out £40m in.Any other manager would have been sacked after the 8-2 last season but Kroenke couldnt be bothered about the worst result in 115 years.But we dont run our club with the aim of being the best and of winning silverware.We run our club on making money.Wenger plays the game Kroenke wants him to.They are perfect for each other.Wenger knows if we had Abramovich or Shiekh Mansour as owner he would be out on his arse in 6 months .But us the fans suffer.If Kroenke wanted us to be successful ON he pitch he would invite Usmanov on to the board.Wenger cried crocodile tears when he said he didnt want to sell to a rival then did because the price was right - Post No. 28087
NileshBhagat 13:19pm 21st Aug 2012
The last comment from Dave is spot on. Quite honestly in a world that seems to be populated by a billion conspiracy theorists sitting in front of a keyboard that club could publish every single scrap of paper that it has ever generated and nobody would believe it anyway. We have built (and largely paid for) a stadium and have managed to stay ahead of everyone apart from United and the petroclubs (which were not a factor when the stadium move was sanctioned). When the playing field was more even we won our fair share and we will again if FFP bites and you can't doubt given the way that City and Milan have operated this summer that it is beginning to have an effect. - Post No. 28089
Don 14:49pm 21st Aug 2012
@ApolloGooner spot on my friend.Summer 2006. Left the club Sol the best CB since TA replaced by Senderos.Cashley the best LB in the world never replaced,DB10 retired and Pires because Wenger didnt give him a two year deal.In that summer we lost four experienced winners to be replaced by Project Youth.Now we have not one player at the club who has won anyhing with us.And of course 2006 was the move to the Soul-less bowl.2006 was the blueprint for our future - Post No. 28092
Charles & Eddie 15:12pm 21st Aug 2012
Noble man Wenger takes his £7 million a year salary and misleads the fans with his spin,lies,BS,half-truths & propaganda. Every transfer window a profit is made and deficiencies in the squad are never addressed. - Post No. 28093
CanadaGooner 16:18pm 21st Aug 2012
truth? in football? dont be silly! - Post No. 28098
jjetplane 17:45pm 21st Aug 2012
Seems to me you deserve each other. Consultants, economists blah blah. - Post No. 28102
David 17:52pm 21st Aug 2012
A man who has won 3 Premiership titles will not be content with 3rd and 4th place and merely satisfying boardroom objectives. You can see that it is a matter of serious frustration for AW that he hasnít won the title for a long time. He probably has more money that he spends, but he does not have enough to spend as freely as other managers; which is why he always loses his best players. Not only that, he used to be Fergieís equal; the urbane, charming, erudite antithesis of the whisky soaked, inarticulate, coarse Glaswegian; whilst the press used to hang on his words. Any man who has had it all will never be satisfied with mediocrity and third or fourth billing. Iíve no doubt that he still wants the success, but without the money that Usmanov would undoubtedly pump into the coffers, winning the Premiership looks impossible. - Post No. 28103
GoonerGoal! 18:11pm 21st Aug 2012
You want the Truth? Arsenal used to be a proper football club with fans that gloried in its success on the pitch. However, we are no longer a proper football club. Instead, we have become a successful business model designed purely to make a small enclave of rich men even richer. That's the truth. - Post No. 28104
Bard 19:27pm 21st Aug 2012
Chris Dee couldn't agree more. All the stuff about wages and money is largely a distraction. Despite the so called lack of dosh we've been in with a chance of success on a few occasions but bottled it badly. The comparison with Graham's era is apt. That side had half the ability of the current Wenger sides but still won. Wenger's tactical failure is matched by his inability to instil a neversaydie attitude. Wenger's a moaner who feels his sides are entitled to win without fighting for it and makes excuses when they don't. This season will be more of the same. Compare and contrast David Moyes - Post No. 28106
Peter Wain 19:43pm 21st Aug 2012
Yes but what can we do about it. Come what may we support the Arsenal not the players, manager board or owned. The current set up will never deliver any trophies indeed it is designed not to. The only solution is to ensure that the owner manager and board are all aware of how much we dislike what they are doing to a great club and argue for a change of ownership when we can sack the board and get in a manger who is at least prepared to be competitive. - Post No. 28108
So Glad I Didn't Renew This Year 19:52pm 21st Aug 2012
So the conspiracy theory is that although Hill-Wood says Wenger can spend big and Gazidis publicly states that 'every penny the club generates is available for Arsene to spend', he is secretly under instructions from the board to do the total opposite. Not only does Wenger accept this despite the obvious fact that it is damaging the present and future credibilty of the cub (FFP will change nothing), he is willing keep schtum and take the flak for Kroenke and Gazidis, two men new to English football and to Arsenal, and two men to whom Wenger owes nothing. Yeah that makes sense! - Post No. 28109
Wombledin 21:33pm 21st Aug 2012
Nothings gonna change unless we fall out of the top 4, period, so everyone may as well stop this whining ad nauseum and just sit it out. There's nothing new to say under the sun on Wenger and the Board's perceived failings. The proof is in the premiership table, and failure to secure a top 4 finish is the only thing that will get rid of Wenger. Its obvious the Board loves him. - Post No. 28111
Canterbury Gooner 22:40pm 21st Aug 2012
@NileshBhagat and don't forget Chelsea! they're clearly trying to get in line with FFP this summer... - Post No. 28113
Joe S. 23:54pm 21st Aug 2012
A spot on article articulating everything I've been griping about over the past year,the missing link being the word " transperancy" which puts everything into perspective.Interesting to note how Santi Cazorla the man on everone's lips has already identified the need for reinforcements in order to solidify what could be a very good team. Sorry Santi but this has constantly been a source for player and fan frustration at Arsenal. Our lack of ambition meams we have always been one or two alusive players away from taking the big prizes.At the managerial end however there have always been convenient excuses to do nothing. - Post No. 28115
Van de Ed 0:42am 22nd Aug 2012
@ Bard, Peter Wain & Wombledin - absolutely spot on! In the current state of our club a top 4 finish & lack of a thrashing at the hands of an EPL rival this season will be considered success in my book; anything more will be a miraculous bonus!!! - Post No. 28116
The End is Nigh 7:03am 22nd Aug 2012
When a season when we lost a quarter of our games, we conceded 49 goals, we got battered 8-2 and we suffered our worst defeat ever in Europe is considered a successful season by the manager and board you know their is something very wrong at our club - Post No. 28117
GG89 9:07am 22nd Aug 2012
"Letís just say his financial investment might be large but his emotional investment is miniscule compared to the average supporter. " Ummmm... that's Kroenke's investment but the money went to the former owners... NO NEW MONEY HAS COME INTO THE CLUB! Investors tend to be unemotional, I have trouble choosing what toothpaste to buy in the supermarket, these guys get someone else to do that for them. - Post No. 28119
Ron 10:39am 22nd Aug 2012
Chris Dee - Great post fella! Its character and guts that's been missing from Wengers teams for years now. The balance of foreign cosmopolitanism and 'sexy' football at one end and work ethic style football at the other has been skewed towards the former for far too long, hence the likes Flamini and Diarra being allowed to drfit away and Lansbury never getting a game etc etc continues unabated. Its the balance of the two that Fergie, Guardiola and Mourinho et al always get right, hence their success levels. Wengers 'philosophy' and 'aesthetics' are his biggest downfall in his quest to challenge the money bags Clubs. Football is a simple game, but Wenger is too much the erudite economist/philosopher, bringing his theories into a League, played in climatic conditions that inherently calls for a certain level of brutishness in any team that has designs on success. He realsied it at one time of the day with his 1998 team but such an emphasis has ebbed away ever since. Even his 'invincibiles' had question marks against the team, hence it was a team that never won anything near what it should have done in my view. - Post No. 28123
Ramgun 11:18am 22nd Aug 2012
I cannot believe that I am still reading Poor Little Arsene garbage from some people. The Board have no power, no shares and no influence. Wenger ignores them. The club is owned by the horrible Kroenke and he has invested all power into Wenger. It is incredible that any adult could think that everyone from Fitzman onwards have been lying and that Poor Little Arsene has bravely faced the public and been forced to tell endless half-truths and downright lies to the supporters as a penance for his massive wages. It is laughable and facile. We are perfectly capable of being successful within the confines of sustainability, just not with this manager. Wenger will never sign £25 million players because if he did he would have to deliver. I am afraid that the unpleasant Mourinho got it right all those years ago when he said Wenger is the only manager in world football at a big club who never has to win anything. Since a trophy it is now 28 and counting won by others. By the end of this season it will be 32. Finally, could anyone explain what Almunia being an Arsenal goalkeeper for 8 years has to do with Chelsea or Man City's money? - Post No. 28124
Mike 11:51am 22nd Aug 2012
It makes me laugh when the likes of RVP, Nasri, Song, Clichy, Fabregas to a lesser extent, all leave saying to they can win silverware elsewhere when as a group in a team, they couldn't win the Carling Cup - Post No. 28125
ApolloGooner 13:00pm 22nd Aug 2012
Agree totally with the comments about lack of money not being an excuse for major shortcomings within the team. Things like tactics, motivation, desire, will-to-win etc. are all FREE. Whatever advantages other clubs have, we have further handicapped ourselves by NOT ''giving absolutely everything'', a term Wenger is so fond of saying. Look at the 2010-11 season. We were in a 2 horse race with Man Utd but finished 4th. Why did Chelsea and Man City finished above us? Was it because ''they run on petrol while we run on sweat''? (using Wengers own term again). Or was it because we only won 2 games out of our last 11 games? And who beat us in the CC final? A billionaire club or soon to be relegated Birmingham City? Wenger has had more time and chances than anyone should ever have been given at a big club and the reason he is still managing the club under such little pressure is because the priorities at the club are all wrong. - Post No. 28133
ApolloGooner 14:48pm 22nd Aug 2012
Agree totally with the comments about lack of money not being an excuse for major shortcomings within the team. Things like tactics, motivation, desire, will-to-win etc. are all FREE. Whatever advantages other clubs have, we have further handicapped ourselves by NOT giving absolutely everything - a term Wenger is so fond of saying. Look at the 2010-11 season. We were in a 2 horse race with Man Utd but finished 4th. Why did Chelsea and Man City finished above us? Was it because they run on petrol while we run on sweat? (using Wengers own term again). Or was it because we only won 2 games out of our last 11 games? And who beat us in the CC final? A billionaire club or soon to be relegated Birmingham City? Wenger has had more time and chances than anyone should ever have been given at a big club and the reason he is still managing the club under such little pressure is because the priorities at the club are all wrong. - Post No. 28158
Dickie 15:35pm 22nd Aug 2012
The clubs cash balance was £160m as at May'11 and some have estimated it being £200m as at May'12. (Financials released in Sept) As i understand it, we retain £32m to guarantee the loan (bond) repayments and the £50m floating rate bond matures (and is repayable) in 2013. Then we will be left with a £15m annual payment to repay the £210m fixed bond for the next 19 years. So approx £100m is tied up, but that still leaves £100m available. Add to that significant revenue increases we can expect from new TV and commercial deals in a couple of years and it becomes even more frustrating that we do not invest to develop a competitive team. What am i missing Arsenal?! - Post No. 28168
20th May 2013
Online Ed: 4th place trophy and CL qualifier secured