When the money finally came
By Robert Exley
25 years on from the moment that made modern football
According to football’s great folk myth, ‘Year Zero’ on the birth of modern football was the start of the 1992/93 season. People can be forgiven for asserting that, since that was the year when the top division officially broke away from the rest of the Football League and when the ‘First’ Division no longer referred to the first division. It was also the year that live top-tier football left terrestrial TV for Sky and never returned. Murdoch’s satellite TV network also changed forever how football was presented on the small screen and, with its own dedicated sports channel, Sky offered more hours of football than the terrestrial channels were previously prepared to give to sports coverage.
In 1992, top clubs also began to demolish their terracing in order to comply with the recommendations of the Taylor Report, which brought with it the era of all-seated stadia and the end of relatively cheap match day attendance. However, though received wisdom would deem this to be the point where football changed forever, it isn’t actually the case. The real origins of modern football came just a few years before this point and were in fact to be found in the summer of 1988. Off the pitch, the popular press referred to this period as the ‘Second Summer of Love’ with Acid House mania breaking out across the country. There was, however little love within the football world, which very nearly descended into a state of infighting and civil war among those who ran the game in England.
What sparked the whole thing off was a meeting at a Japanese restaurant between three men. One was Greg Dyke – recently appointed the FA Chairman, but at this point head of LWT and most famous for saving breakfast TV station TVAM with Roland Rat. Another was former TISWAS host Trevor East – who by 1988 was the Deputy Chairman of ITV Sport. The final member of the trio was Arsenal Vice Chairman David Dein, who by this point was the rising star of football administration and a prominent member of the Football League Management Committee. Central to the conversation between the three men was the fact that an exclusive TV deal between the Football League and fledgling satellite television company, British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB), looked imminent.
Those were the days prior to the company’s merger with, and effective takeover by, Rupert Murdoch’s Sky Television - in fact it was also that summer that Murdoch announced Sky’s formation, although sport seemed to play no part in Murdoch’s early plans for the network (unless of course you count WWF wrestling, which filled the void created by Greg Dyke’s axing of the British version after 33 years on ITV). As Dyke would later admit, the motive behind this meeting was that ‘I wanted to pinch the football rights from BSB’s grasp’. To give you some idea as to how the goalposts had shifted in 1988, it’s important to know the details of the prior TV deal which the Football League entered into.
In January 1985, the BBC and ITV – acting as a cartel with regard to TV rights as they had for the previous 20 years – had collectively offered £19m over four years for exclusive TV rights. The Football League chairmen, who felt that the true value was closer to £90m, were incensed. The late and infamous Robert Maxwell went as far as calling the TV companies’ joint offer ‘Mad, Bad and Sad’. However, the Football League chairmen seemed not to appreciate that their bargaining position was weak while the only two companies bidding were not inclined to offer separate bids. As well as being left with Hobson’s choice, 1985 turned out to be football’s ‘annus horribilis’ with a string of damaging incidents in the months to follow, which included the infamous riot involving Millwall fans at Kenilworth Road, the Bradford fire and the Heysel disaster.
Football became a pariah sport, referred to in a Sunday Times editorial as ‘slum sport played in slum stadiums watched by slum people’ and, to make matters worse, TV had other sporting options to pursue with Barry McGuigan’s world title boxing fights, Torvill and Dean’s Olympic Gold in 1984, and Dennis Taylor’s 1985 World Snooker Championship win, which all reached around the twenty million viewer mark, compared with football’s then weak average of around six million. The broadcasters imposed a deadline of 2nd June – just three days after Heysel - for the clubs to accept a deal for TV coverage the following season. Football League chairmen ignored this and, as a result, there was a football blackout for the first half of the 1985/86 season.
The League’s stance however was lunacy, as the revenue streams of perimeter advertising and shirt sponsorship now meant that football was reliant on television coverage, as shown by the League’s sponsor, Canon, announcing that they would not be renewing their deal on expiry at the end of the 1985/86 season. By Christmas Eve of 1985, the League caved in and agreed a deal for TV coverage until the end of the season (the first such game shown was the highlights of Arsenal’s FA Cup 3rd Round encounter with Grimsby Town). The TV companies, however, taught football a lesson. From the start of the 1986/87 season, the League were forced to accept just £6.2m for TV coverage over the next two seasons – a figure even worse than that offered twelve months previously.
On expiry of this deal, however, the introduction of satellite television was a game- changer. In 1988, satellite TV was yet even to be introduced in the UK. BSB, though granted a licence to broadcast, were yet even to take to the air and, as it turned out, didn’t for another two years. What they needed was something to entice subscribers, and the exclusive rights to league football was exactly that. BSB’s initial proposal was to form a company with the Football League and possibly the Football Association that would control the rights to all football on British television and sell them to any buyers worldwide, including the BBC and ITV. The Football League in turn would have received £10m a year over ten years rather than the £3.1m they received at the time.
According to Ken Bates, speaking twelve years later, ‘clubs voted 91-1 in favour of a joint venture with BSB which involved the clubs in no risk… that deal would have meant football taking 51 per cent of the profit all down the line, advertising and distribution and subscriber fees. Furthermore, football would have got a share of all other sports as well’. Not one to be outmanoeuvred, Greg Dyke’s idea was to deliberately target what were known as the ‘Big Five’ clubs of Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Manchester United and Liverpool – so called because they were either the most successful or the most supported clubs of the time and were guaranteed ratings-winners.
Over the course of the following weeks, Dein, Dyke and East agreed that the plan was to offer the Big Five £1m a year for exclusive coverage of their home games – a figure at that time which was far in excess of what they had received previously. As Dyke would later remark ‘the Football League could sell the rest of the First Division matches to whomever they wanted, but of course, without the big clubs’ home games, they were worth much less’. A subsequent meeting was then arranged between Dyke, David Dein and the four chairmen of the other big five clubs. Dyke immediately admitted to the chairmen present the previous cartel that they had long suspected had been in operation and, as Dyke described, ‘from that moment on all five were on my side’.
However, the Football League had got wind of the plan at their AGM in June of that year and were quick to remind the ‘Big Five’ that any televised league football required their seal of approval and that they would not back any separate deal between the ‘Big Five’ and ITV. A further plan therefore was then hatched for a ‘Super League’ breakaway from the Football League with another quintet of Aston Villa, Newcastle, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday and West Ham. In fear of the breakaway becoming a reality, the Football League requested an amendment to the BSB deal for 80% of the final amount to accrue directly to the First Division.
By August, however, BSB had pulled out of the deal citing dissatisfaction at the way football clubs went about their business and instead pursued a separate deal with the BBC to exclusively show the FA Cup and England internationals. The ten clubs who threatened a breakaway instead agreed to retain the certainty of the Football League’s structure, possibly fearing for the viability of their proposed ten-team Super League. In turn, they were to receive much less than the £1m a season each that ITV offered them. However, the resulting deal was weighted heavily in their favour. The final figure agreed on was £44m from ITV for exclusive coverage over four years.
The First Division’s share of the deal increased from 50% to 75%, with the second division receiving 12.5% and the lower two divisions receiving just 6.25% between them. The sum of TV money received by all First Division sides had dramatically increased from £1.5m to £8.25m per season; in comparison, the Second Division’s share only increased from £775,000 to £1.4m. Also, over the next four seasons, of the seventy five League matches that were to be televised on ITV, only eleven failed to show either Arsenal, Everton, Liverpool, Manchester United or Tottenham – giving the ‘Big Five’ an enormous advantage on the sponsorship front over the rest.
Although the top division’s breakaway from the Football League failed to materialise for another four years, the gap between the top tier and the rest had begun to appear from here on in. Since the signing of the 1988 deal, in only one season – 1989/90 - have all promoted sides from the previous season stayed up in the top division and all relegated sides from the previous season stayed down in the second tier. In comparison, the twenty five years that preceded the 1988 deal saw this occur on seven separate occasions. There had even been two instances of promoted sides winning the title the following season – Liverpool in 1964 and Nottingham Forest in 1977, a feat which is highly improbable today.
From this point on, the cartel which held down the price of football was now gone forever, but the share of the spoils was overwhelmingly weighted in favour of the top end of football. The following October, David Dein and Everton’s Philip Carter were kicked off the Football League Management Committee, mainly by an axis of Second Division clubs lead by Crystal Palace’s Ron Noades and Ken Bates of Chelsea (then languishing in Division Two), who accused them of serving their interests at the expense of the Football League as a whole. Ken Bates, speaking in 2000, still spoke bitterly of the failure of BSB’s 1988 bid, stating that ‘I look back more in sorrow than anger when I think of the wasted decade of lost progress, all for some selfish short-term opportunism’.
The annoyance of the ‘Big Five’ clubs at Dein and Carter’s removal from the Football League Management Committee has often been cited as the catalyst for the formation of the Premier League, which materialised just a few years down the line from this incident. However, what’s also interesting from a present-day Arsenal perspective is how the ‘Big Five’ clubs spent their windfall. As shown from this Saint & Greavsie preview for the season ahead, Liverpool spent £2.8m to bring Ian Rush back from Juventus after just one season and Manchester United opted to bring Mark Hughes home from two unhappy years at the Camp Nou in Gary Lineker’s shadow at Barcelona.
At the other end of the Seven Sisters Road, Spurs had signed Paul Gascoigne and Paul Stewart for a combined sum of £3.7m and Everton, as well as signing Pat Nevin from relegated Chelsea and Stuart McCall from Bradford City, also broke the British transfer record to steal Tony Cottee from Arsenal’s grasp. It had been a disappointing summer from an Arsenal point of view. In desperately seeking a new strike partner for Alan Smith, George Graham had also failed to land Kerry Dixon from a Chelsea side that had just fallen out of the top tier. What Arsenal eventually spent their new found income on was a Second Division centre half from Stoke – Steve Bould - for just £390,000 and some new corporate facilities with the hope of enticing a new breed of yuppie fan.
Arsenal had also lost a lot of experience over the previous two seasons. Between them, the outgoing Viv Anderson, Kenny Sansom and Steve Williams must have acquired more than 100 England caps, but, despite the drain on experience, we all know where the league title ended up at the end of that season. In the process, George Graham also wiped out £1m of debt that he inherited on taking the job in 1986. So, is this a vindication of the current board’s cautious spending? Well, the outcome of the 1988/89 season may well still influence the board’s thinking even to this very day, although it must be remembered that the young developing Arsenal side of 1989 were already winners by this point.
Winning the League Cup in 1987, being beaten finalists in the same competition the following year, and winning two ‘Mickey Mouse’ trophies in the form of the Wembley International Tournament (the nearest thing to taking on Europe’s best during the post-Heysel ban) and the Mercantile Credit Centenary Cup, gave a young developing side exposure in how to deal with one-off pressure games. This is a requirement if a side is to successfully challenge for a title (as Anfield the following May would testify) and was provided between 1986-88 in a way that a modern perennial race for fourth position certainly doesn’t – for an academic comparison think of it as the difference between one pupil primed for Grade C in coursework and another primed for Grade A in an exam.
The football world has moved on by leaps and bounds from the one David Dein set out to change twenty-five years ago, and the football economics of 2013 don’t give Arsène Wenger’s side the luxury of finishing sixth and learning from, and building on, a League Cup final defeat as George Graham’s side had done in 1987/88. Therefore, sadly, we now live in a football environment where experience of winning trophies has to be bought rather than developed in-house in a team that has no prior experience of winning trophies. Also, though Manchester United were dire in 1988/89, their re-signing of a former star from his two-year Barcelona exile – bringing back talent previously raided by continental sides exploiting a period of financial turmoil - is more the example that today’s board should glean from the summer of ’88 rather than that of George Graham’s bargain buys from the second tier sides… and I think you all know which particular out-of-favour current Barcelona player I’m referring to here!
*Follow me on Twitter@robert_exley
19th July 2013
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.
Alsace Lorraine de Totteridge 8:22am 19th Jul 2013
The really sad thing about the injection of all of this money is that we actually haven't learned anything about playing football. England's representatives have been thrown out of every competition at every level at the group stage. This is in marked contrast to almost every other sporting undertaking that is going on. We are winning at Wimbledon, the Tour de France, bucketloads of medals at the Olympics, and at Cricket. It is only in football that our sportsmen look more like roman senators at an orgy, bloated with money and going nowhere. How I wish the money would go away. The football would still be hopeless, but it wouldn't cost us an arm and a leg to watch it, and the players wouldn't be hated and despised, as I am afraid they have become. We could possibly learn and grow as a footballing nation, but that would not be possible with the governing body that we currently have. - Post No. 39323
GG89 10:14am 19th Jul 2013
@alsace, ummmm no one is telling you to stop going shopping so why do you want football clubs to be different... - Post No. 39325
Big Andy 11:19am 19th Jul 2013
The Sky money was great for football. It allowed the clubs to redevelop or rebuild their grounds; it also made sure that top footballers could earn enough money to set themselves up for life. Football's real problem now is the way in which the money is distributed: there should be a wage cap to allow fair competition and stop sides like City and Chelsea from just buying trophies. - Post No. 39326
Ron 13:47pm 19th Jul 2013
Cash or no cash, political and TV bods turmoil or not, SKY and its brand hasnt improved football and for sure hasnt improved the experience of supporting a Club. Its actually made fans bitter towards each other, less tolerant of each other and created a desire for 'winning and glamour only'. SKY wont ever create the end of the 1988/89 title chase either. They tried with that rubbish at Man C v QPR but didnt even get close (chances are that game was maybe fixed anyway, but thats another thing altogether). They can keep it for me. I dont subscribe to SKY, see only 5-6 games per season 'live' these days and theyre the cheapo games, not the so called CAT A ones. I dont miss it either as the product is poor in a poor EPL, hence them ramping up the hype over the Maureen, Pellegrini Moyes matters etc etc this close season. They know its garbage deep down. Moreover, look at the quality of football for England at international level. Its dire. Roll on the DAY sky decide theyre tired of it too. Watch the Clubs come grovelling back those who were once their true fans then! - Post No. 39327
Der Projekt ist Kaput 14:57pm 19th Jul 2013
Pop will eat itself. It only takes a corporate decision at Murdoch Towers to switch from England to Germany or Spain for example, and the whole house of cards here will come tumbling down. Reckon there’s football club Board members up and down the country praying furiously at their SKY altars desperately wishing that day never arrives. But perhaps if it should happen, our clubs might return to us – you know, the ordinary people who kept them going for a hundred years or so prior to satellite TV. - Post No. 39329
Canterbury Gooner 16:10pm 19th Jul 2013
Have a read of the Swiss Rambles article about the relative worth of the EPL. It's astounding. Yes the standard is **** but it's become worth a lot (entertainment...), and BT getting in shows it doesn't depend on Sky anymore. - Post No. 39330
ppp 16:49pm 19th Jul 2013
I agree with Ron - there is a very good chance the Man City Vs QPR game was a fix. - Post No. 39332
maguiresbridge gooner 17:33pm 19th Jul 2013
Good article Robert, Saint and Greavsie, 34m in transfer fees, 2m barrier being broken,how much would the rush's gazza's cost today, times and football have changed alright, but maybe not alot as far as Arsenal are concerned we're still losing out and failing to land players, and still concentrating on the corporate facilities for the yuppies. - Post No. 39333
Fozzy's mate 18:57pm 19th Jul 2013
Football has changed massively but is in my opinion a worse product for attending fans, whilst great for armchair fans. As well as Sku the main catalysts were Hillsborough and Bosman. The 89 disaster leading to all seat stadiums meant minimum prices more than doubled overnight around the same time Bosman shot wages through the roof. Arsenal were one of the cheaper sides post the famous 25% increase in 2001 put down to the purchases of Campbell, Jeffers, Wright and GVB. That was the first sign of the fleece the fans model which has been taken to new heights by the DDT and MSS. - Post No. 39334
Alsace Lorraine de Totteridge 6:15am 20th Jul 2013
GG89 I'm not sure that I understand you. Please explain. - Post No. 39335
WeAreBuildingATeamToDominate 10:30am 20th Jul 2013
Ron@13.47 19 Jul: mate, I could not have put it better - spot on. Interesting too, in a very good article, that the standard of English football in 1987/88/89 was every bit as poor as it is now. Practically every side then played a rigid offside 15 yards either side of the halfway line, the long ball, and relied on set pieces. Even the so-called "best Liverpool side of all time" in 87-88 (actually I would take their superb 1978/79 side over any others they put together) relied on balls out to the wing and delivered into the box in a hurry. The national side got bombed out of Euro 88 in no time relying principally on a Chris Waddle long ball to Gary Lineker. When that failed they were f****d. Even the mighty AFC relied on a sturdy defence and lofting balls up to Alan Smith, with the occasional bit of verve from Steve Williams or Paul Davis/David Rocastle. But, at least you could still sit down for a measly six quid. - Post No. 39337
JAMIE 10:42am 20th Jul 2013
Very interesting and well written article Robert. Some excellent links enjoyed Charlie's hatrick against Grimsby, and the fact that however much the Spuds ever spend they are forever useless. - Post No. 39338
Peter Wain 8:45am 21st Jul 2013
As we no longer buy players this is why we win no trophies. The delay in investing in the first team like the last four years at least means that the club is fast becomming a joke in the tranfer market.If we start the season with no further players the owner whole board and manager should all resign. - Post No. 39339
Wenger the tyre kicker aka noodles 10:53am 21st Jul 2013
We could have billions of tv wonger to spend on players but untill we get rid of a manager who I firmly believe has mental health issues on spending money on football players were are f##ked .... If this wasnt the case you would think he could have bough one or two players by now??? Hmmm - Post No. 39340
Ron 14:37pm 21st Jul 2013
We are building etc - Yes, so true mate. I wd actually put the dire football standard now in line with the mid 70s pathetic offerings of which the late 80s stuff you mention was only very slightly better than. Its debatable though isn't it. Peel away the layers of hype and media talk and there's little left in that Prem lge. Lets face it, how many of the supposed genuine top players play here despite the cash the top 3 clubs have? Few to none really and those that develop are soon off out of it. Its no coincidence. Its time fans looked at the pup they're being being sold and started to say 'no, no more'. - Post No. 39341
maguiresbridge gooner 17:00pm 21st Jul 2013
Peter Wain, spot on, only i think we're already a joke in the transfer market, and the resignations should have come long before now. - Post No. 39342
@Alsace 11:12am 22nd Jul 2013
If you want a return to the 80´s and the alcohol, gambling and drug addiction of my favourite ex players... the merse and adams then the gooners will be playing in the conference in a few years time.... the game these days is higher value and better quality.... and that needs more money and investment and rich owners (or silly fans in the gooners case) etc.... the spending will continue till the end of time. - Post No. 39343
Peter Wain 12:52pm 22nd Jul 2013
What spending. We have not spent any new money for years just recycled the money from selling our world class players and buying conference standard players. - Post No. 39344
Ron 13:21pm 22nd Jul 2013
Peter W - Not far from the truth mate and the point is a good one. To be honest, isnt it the case that those of us who want regime change from top to bottom, inc Wengers reign finishing are best served by the Club again signing nobody? Thats my view anyway. I would aso add that the potential signing are all in my view seriously flawed. Rooney, though we wont be getting him thankfully, is fat and past it and has been for a few years plus his personality is very dubious. Higuain? 1 Club seems to want him apart from Wenger and if hes so hot why are Madrid ready to shuffle him off? Hes never looked that special to me when he does get a game there. Suarez - A really good player, but one who comes with a lot of baggage and will bring more controversy that im far from sure Wenger could manage to handle at his age and after dealing with largely 'goody 2 shoes' types for the last 5 years, plus hes not immune from the Adebayor style of needing 4 chances to notch a goal either. I wouldnt cough up 40 Million for him, decent as he is. Despite the baggage, he s maybe the best of the trio though nontheless. The truth is that the Rooney and Suarez stories are only media guff anyway. Sanogo is our normal bag and the Club have conformed to type again there by signing him. - Post No. 39345
garyfootscrayaustralia 13:51pm 22nd Jul 2013
Peter, I agree with your view of recycling sales of top players into replacements of lesser quality. However, I think it's also a tad ironic that the loose change spent on Jenkinson, at the time a full back on loan in the Conference, has proved to be worth multiples more than the combined millions spent on Santos, Gervinho and Park. GG spent low on Bould, Dixon and Winterburn, but was also savvy enough to know that QPR wanted a full sack for Seaman but would be worth every penny. Granted, market forces were different in that period, and in the modern game there's been hyper - inflation of the price tag for a great many average players, but the rule of paying a premium for proven quality was a constant then and still is. (Gerry Daly, Peter Davenport and Paul Stewart are exempt from this theory!) - Post No. 39346
Wenger is a Spin Doctor 14:08pm 22nd Jul 2013
couple weeks to go and reality again lands on the table for those arsenal whinger fans who desperately wanted to believe we actually intended to compete for the EPL. you need to seperate off propaganda/marketing and action. you need to realise Wenger is a spin doctor - Post No. 39347
garyfootscrayaustralia 15:53pm 22nd Jul 2013
...I meant Steve Daley, not Gerry Daly...bugger... - Post No. 39348
mike 18:21pm 22nd Jul 2013
Great article Robert. Hate to be picky but Liverpool were promoted in 1961-62 (along with Leyton Orient!)and so didn't win it the first season back in the first Division but the 2nd season. Ipswich were promoted in 61 and won it in 62 though. - Post No. 39349
Alsace Lorraine de Totteridge 0:00am 23rd Jul 2013
The fact that someone is paid £100,000 a week as opposed to £1000 does not make them more or less prone to alcoholism. As for an ever increasing stream of money, history is full of punters who went bust believeing that the market could only go upwards. Incidentally, I would rather watch Stuart Robson and Brian Talbot any day than the homogenous sludge that inhabits the modern day game. - Post No. 39350
GG89 1:18am 23rd Jul 2013
@Alsace... Me too but that was 30 years ago.... move on and take AW with you... both past your sell by date. - Post No. 39351
Tony Evans 14:02pm 23rd Jul 2013
Ron - I think the club too would be better served by another nothing summer as far as transfers go. I don't want Wenger wasting any more of the clubs money. All these £5M here and £6M there lower end of the market crud players start to add up eventually, especially when you take in to account their inflated wages. All we will get is yet more dross that can not be shifted. Whatever Wenger does or doesn't do I think a genuine title / CL challenge is beyond him now. I say let the money stay in the bank for a manager with more balls then Wenger to use, who might actually be able to make the next step up and actually turn us in to winners again. I am sure it will stay there anyway as this summer is (as I knew it would) turning out just like the last 7 or 8. - Post No. 39361
Ron 14:43pm 23rd Jul 2013
Hi Tony - Ditto to that mate! - Post No. 39366
Michael (JCL) 17:32pm 23rd Jul 2013
Another summer same old spin from Wenger and Co.Please fellow gooners lets make some noise this season in protest to the new 7.5million deal he will sign. We need him out at the end of this year i cant take anymore groundhog seasons. - Post No. 39369
maguiresbridge gooner 18:42pm 23rd Jul 2013
Michael(JCL), it will never happen mate as long as ogl has his cult, and apologists, who will no doubt find some excuse/excuses for him not spending or buying cheap even now. But to be fair if he doesn't do what needs to be done (and it won't surprise a lot of us)i'm sure a lot of them will eventually come out of the trance and wake up, but sadly i fear not enough. - Post No. 39371
Ron 19:15pm 23rd Jul 2013
Maguiresbridge - The 'trance'of the many sums it up perfectly. I blame that stadium. So,so many of the fans now became bewitched and beguiled by the perceived glamour, size and comforts of it. Couple that with the so called 'Barca lite' image, the Club liked to hook into once the media set that little myth rolling and the whole club and sadly many of its fans became all 'football snobbish'. A new reality overcame them. All of a sudden it was Wenger who had designed it, drew the plans, found the site, laid the bricks, set the glass, stuck the roof on the new citadel,then filled the optics and cooked the food in the place. ALL on his own!The mere 'Proff' had become the omnipresent, omnicompetent, all pervasive guru. All were unworthy and fell prone at the Emperor's feet. Wenger was Ceasar! More importantly, he thought he was and all of sudden, his knowledge was the only knowledge, his wisdom, the only wisdom, his tentacles captured and bound the Board, his imagery became their jailer. The fans worshipped at the Church of Wenger. Mate, it will take one hell of a cataclysmic event to shake his roots. Hes there, hes fit and there till hes 75 if he wants his hegemony to run and run and run. The plebs screaming wont rattle his image. Hes an icon, a god if you like, such is his grip there. I've never known anything like it, at any other Club never mind Arsenal. What a myth! You've got to take your hat off to him, but if you dont want too, just accept him as he s not for turning nor shifting anytime yet. - Post No. 39372
Why? 20:48pm 23rd Jul 2013
Why does this ****ing comment section always descend into Wenger in/out? This article refers to the Summer of 1988 FFS! - Post No. 39373
maguiresbridge gooner 22:33pm 23rd Jul 2013
Ron, i don't know where to start in my reply as you've covered it all, yes he's been given credit for everything and taken it,with hardly a word for all the others,and has had fans and indeed players worshiping at his feet, and eating out of his hand for years, and hanging on his every word as if it was gospel, and the commission of the bust didn't help matters it probably set it all off, what that must have done for his ego is any ones guess, would such a bust be commissioned today ? If it was I'd have no doubt he'd accept it, his ego would allow nothing else. But fans have wised up and more and more are doing so, and if what a lot of us expect happens in the coming weeks there's going to be even more, maybe not enough like i said earlier but he's going to have nowhere to hide all the same, players have also wised up and got out, and went on to better things their medal count proves it,and so have rival managers they've found him out years ago and have been doing so ever since. Yes Ron it will take years for his footprint to be removed from our club but he can stay as long as he likes there's only one man who can be credited with building the foundations of our great club and we all know who that is. - Post No. 39375
25th September 2016
Online Ed: 20th Anniversary triumph for Wenger