Exclusive

The Arsenal Board Join The Current Millennium

By Kevin Whitcher

Ten years too late, directors twig that running a football club is no longer a one man job

16th October 2014. Arsenal chairman Sir Chips Keswick outline the club’s football strategy. “If Arsene does not have a plan we keep quiet. If Arsene has a plan we back it.”

Two and a half years on, with supporters marching to demand the manager does not hang around beyond the current season, and the prospect of a plane flying over the game at West Brom next weekend trailing a banner demanding the same, the club’s PR machine is desperately ramping things up to prepare us for the news that the club’s inability to challenge for the Premier League or take any part in the Champions League after the first knockout round is to continue for another two years under Arsene Wenger. They’ll delay the timing of the announcement until either Arsenal have won the FA Cup or, failing that, after the season ticket renewal deadline has passed and Arsene is sunning himself on a yacht in the Med.

Arsene at the same AGM in which Sir Chips gave details of how things work: “We have already lost some ground against the top teams but we think we can come back. I am here to tell you that I believe we can do well and that I’m willing to fight harder than ever to come out of this season, and hopefully face you next season, being right.” He’s enjoyed the talents of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez in tandem for almost three seasons, and an ample transfer warchest that has either laid idle (2015) or been invested poorly (2016).

So it’s time to announce, through one of the club’s media mouthpieces, Jeremy Wilson, that hey everybody – Chelsea, Manchester City and Bayern Munich have a team of guys running the football side of the club. They have realised that, you know what, it’s a job that one man can’t do. And you know that one fellow we have doing that at Arsenal? Guess what – he runs the first team as well. Yeah, that’s right, he does everything. That’s why he tells us he works so hard for the club, from morning until bedtime.

Imagine a taxi driver taking the same approach to work Arsene Wenger does at Arsenal. Working every hour God sends and trying to do the job of half a dozen people. You’d see accidents akin to the car crash performances Wenger’s team manage to produce on a regular basis when the going gets tough. This is the 21st century. The situation has been allowed to develop for ten years since David Dein was booted off the board because Arsene doesn’t trust anybody else to take decisions. So instead of employing someone like Nicky Hammond to replace Dein, Arsene gets a figure already working for the club (Dick Law) who won’t challenge him and does not even have the authority to conclude transfer negotiations without first checking in with the dithering Arsene, who will argue the toss over a million here and there, something he never did when Dein was handling negotiations.

Hence, we end up with a football strategy in which, rather than pay the asking price for Xabi Alonso in the summer of 2008, after a season in which:
* The team’s inexperience was exposed
* The experience available – Gilberto Silva – not used
* And the latter was moved on rather than re-introduced into the first team
the manager was too tight with the purse strings to pay the going rate for a midfielder who would go on to play for Real Madrid and Bayern Munich for a further nine seasons and win major trophies for both clubs and at international level with Spain.

However, Arsene preferred to favour the first team opportunites of Alex Song and Denilson instead of meeting Liverpool’s asking price. The self-indulgence of developing potential can be afforded at clubs whose priorities are not winning trophies, and at times, it is obvious that the style of play is more important than the result to the aesthetic Wenger.

Finally, the peasants are revolting, and the board realize that they have to actually get off their arses for the first time since 2007 and actually take control of the situation, if only to placate the supporters once they announce the manager is here for two more seasons. Already, they are briefing the media that Alexis Sanchez is a rotten apple that the club can do without thank you, now that the Chilean has made it clear he has different footballing ambitions from the manager, and putting out the idea that Arsene Wenger can reinvent his team and become a hero to the Arsenal supporters again in the remaining two and a half months of the season. Really?

They have also tried to quell the protests with a statement politely asking unhappy supporters to pipe down as there is some awareness of the growing discontent at the prospect of another two years of failure, but the chairman’s statement did little to prevent a further protest before the Lincoln game with larger numbers than at the midweek march before the match against Bayern Munich.

Now we have a statement that, ten years after David Dein’s departure, the board have admitted they got it wrong by handing the club’s entire football operation over to one man. Maybe, if they’d realized that in 2007, and the club had then signed the players it actually needed to compete, a Premier League title or two would have been secured, and active participation at the business end of the Champions League would have been a regular occurrence. Right now, it all feels a bit too little, too late. And if Arsene Wenger takes any part in the selection of the people coming in to oversee the football strategy of the club going forward, it will also be rather pointless.

Let us hope that the appointment of a director of football figure is just the start of changing the way the club operate, and that other new faces arrive this summer, not least a new man to concentrate on running the first team, one who is accountable, rather than autocratic. Who knows, if the club were to announce a credible modern day winner like Allegri has agreed to take over in the summer, Arsenal’s currently wantaway star names might just sign up for more.

14th March 2017 10:24:20

(9.3/10)

Comments 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.

markymark  10:47am 14th Mar 2017

It does feel that there are two spins coming out of the club, one unfortunately that he is staying (this is growing) and a persistent one that he is off. When this occurs it points to factions within the board. Perhaps they are not so United as they would like to make out. The light aeroplane idea is fantastic . I'd happily chip in a £100 into the pot so if the people behind this ever need some financial assistance to keep it flying put them in touch. The board is taking such a risk, a Feb / March meltdown with him in charge 2018 will cause mayhem. The AKB goaders who kept on going on about weak willed not weedy WOBs are starting to realise this is now really beginning to kick off. Lessons have been learnt from the first demo's and now the numbers are growing , getting noisier and being treated with more respect from the mainstream. I see a complete reverse here where the WOBs will be seen by the media as Sane and rational whilst the board will be increasingly viewed as odd, illogical and completely out of step. - Post No. 105253


Exeter Gunner  10:48am 14th Mar 2017

Surely this talk of appointing a DoF is just itself PR guff to make Wenger staying look more palatable? Once Wenger has signed up again all such talk will mysteriously disappear. Absolutely no way Wenger would accept any diminution of his 'burden' i.e. power. - Post No. 105254


Up For Grabs Now  11:10am 14th Mar 2017

This to me has Alistair Campbell written all over it, spin, spin some more, and if that doesn't work, spin again! They will now do and say anything to keep Wenger in charge, but they have done it so often in the past, that they can now no longer pull the wool over peoples eyes. Wenger out regardless of any structural changes as far as I am concerned. - Post No. 105255


bradyorbergkamp  11:19am 14th Mar 2017

The first club to have a DOF answerable to a mamager.so what then does Stan's son do? I thought that was his job! - Post No. 105256


Exeter Gunner  11:28am 14th Mar 2017

markymark - there is a Wenger Out fundraising page on this site. Click on 'Forum' tab above, then 'On The Terraces' and you'll see it. I have chipped in - not as much as you're planning to! - Post No. 105257


MAF  11:38am 14th Mar 2017

Arsenal Marketing + Management of Club is yonks behind our competitors. we were the last to wake up to the income that can come from smart Marketing and this is partly how others were affording to buy top Players. our sponsorship efforts have been rubbish also. The Club has no edge whatsoever and is not competitive from top to bottom. it Needs a massive wake-up call alround ! Theres is a real danger that Daniel Levy takes Spurs past Arsenal in the next 2-3 years unless Arsenal step up. - Post No. 105259


Seven Kings Gooner1  11:39am 14th Mar 2017

Great Piece Kev but very depressing, I think we all realize that this board is more suited to running British Gas or perhaps a rail company or any organization where the customer has no hope of influencing decisions. This collection of "closed shop" suits clearly does not acknowledge that competition is a good thing and that clubs must compete to keep their fan base happy and in turn improve profits through success not by spin and bullsh*t! I really think that the fans need proper representation on the board and Kev you would be my man, surely with one of us telling these people some home truths the situation where one man controls everything would be a thing of the past. They have got 2 - 3 months to make some professional and business like decisions - if they fail, the current level of protests will be "sixth form" compared to what could follow. - Post No. 105260


jjetplane  11:44am 14th Mar 2017

Concur this is the worst BS yet with Wenger still in charge and not in charge. **** off Arsenal - you're more boring than Tesco! Pep will be desperate for a trophy so maybe a humilation will put a big nail in the 'maturing' coffin and if Utd and Everton get/keep their act together who knows. Talking of WBA on prev thread seems good. Go team Pulis! You have the future of AFC in your hands! Over on Untold they are still whining on about refs and waffling on about the one last night. Get a ****ing life! Love referees! - Post No. 105261


Redshirtwhitesleeves  11:54am 14th Mar 2017

I think it's become pretty obvious that the board plan on keeping Wenger for another 2 years, in which case any director of football or anyone else coming in will be selected by Wenger anyway and will be nothing more than a puppet- a boardroom version of what Steve Bould is on the bench. It's pointless. The board needs to grow some risk taking b***ocks and go for a new broom and then build a new team behind the scenes. Allegri or simeone would do very nicely. Here's dreaming..... - Post No. 105262


mbg  14:19pm 14th Mar 2017

There you are then see what a couple of well organised protests will do, there's nothing like bad press to bring the haemorrhoids on, now just make them bigger and louder and we might be brought properly into the Millennium, with and properly up to date with a new manager, and not stuck with the one we have still sleeping in the last Millennium. We want wenger out. - Post No. 105267


Guernsey gunner  14:58pm 14th Mar 2017

God this is embarrassing stuff from the club, do they really think that Wenger would tolerate, and that we would believe, any interference in his totalitarian regime...its utter bollox and an insult to our intelligence, who's in the frame Roy Hodgson? ffs. I put something up on the crowd funding site the other day and have donated a few quid. Looking forward to seeing the flypast hopefully accompanied with a rousing rendition of we want wenger out. - Post No. 105269


TonyEvans  15:22pm 14th Mar 2017

Pitiful from the board, but no more than expected. In a perfect world Wenger would have just announced this his last season, the board would have a strong replacement lined up, and we could all get behind the team for the remainder of the season. Some hope! Instead all we get is spin, subterfuge, uncertainty, lies and more and more disharmony amongst the fanbase. Shame on them all. - Post No. 105270


Arseneknewbest  16:53pm 14th Mar 2017

Caption Competition - (wengo) "Hey Arseneknewbest, MBG, Jjet, Exeter, Cornish, Tony Evans, Jeff, Ron, Markymark and thousands of others (sorry if I've not mentioned you): do you seriously think the soft old tw*t to my left is going to give me my P45? He's got more chance of p*ssing up a rope." - Post No. 105272


mbg  16:58pm 14th Mar 2017

Exeter, spot on, pure fooking spin of the highest fooking order it just goes to show what they think of the fans that they expect us to believe that, as if the arrogant tosser wenger would put up with that, Laughable and the biggest laugh of all is AKB's and other luvvies will believe it, and deem it acceptable in order for him to stay, well not a fooking chance. wenger out out out. - Post No. 105273


John F  17:00pm 14th Mar 2017

I have a feeling an announcement is going to be made during the international break probably when another big story like brexit being triggered is breaking.It is noticeable that Henry has been mentioned a lot I fear that Ron's prediction may be about to come true.Wenger to remain while Henry comes in as a young apprentice with mentions of a fictional war chest and imaginary links to top players.The pr will try and sell it as dream team and a rebranding of club Arsene. - Post No. 105274


mbg  17:35pm 14th Mar 2017

The flower vase again I see and cheap looking too, the wife has one just like it she only paid around a fiver for it, they probably didn't pay much more and look at the grin on the arrogant old frauds face (it makes me vomit)does that count as a trophy ? well it's the right shape for him to piss in if he's caught short in the middle of the night or whenever as it's the only trophy he'll be getting this year. - Post No. 105275


mbg  17:45pm 14th Mar 2017

PS, maybe sir chips will hold it for him. - Post No. 105276


MAF  17:52pm 14th Mar 2017

Lukaku announces wont sign a new deal with Everton. ALl Arsenal Need to do now is secure Koemann and get him to bring Lukaku with him. So out Wenger and take Giroud and Theo with you to Lyon - Post No. 105277


markymark  18:46pm 14th Mar 2017

I know money can be tight but I followed Exeters link and chipped into the pot. Looks like we are going to get a light aircraft banner protest as well against WBA. A state of undeclared war between the club and an increasing rump of the support. In general most of us are younger than the manager and the board. Therefore logic suggests the board are going to have difficulty maintaining their position as we are going to be here longer than them. - Post No. 105278


CORNISH GOONER  19:33pm 14th Mar 2017

Well,I am probably one of the few on here who IS older than Arthur Webster but also, like Arthur "I am ready to fight" "it is very interesting" so I am coughing up a few quid of my dogs pocket money ( they are spoilt anyway) Patience with the Company has run out - the bugger WILL sign, Allegri & others will be passed over BUT I am sure things have now gone too far & there can be no turning back. We can still force him out by Christmas at the latest & oh, what fun it will be to watch the ensuing Boardroom panic! Arsenal will rise again - &, unlike the Undead that he increasingly resembles, Arthur will not. - Post No. 105279


mbg  19:55pm 14th Mar 2017

Have we ever thought what it would be like for TLSOE to go to another prem club, Spurs, Man u etc, (i know i know they wouldn't want him) but wouldn't it be great to sing we want you to stay we want you to stay arsene wenger we want you to stay, LOL. No knew contract we want wenger out. - Post No. 105280


markymark  21:02pm 14th Mar 2017

Actually Cornish that was a little bit rude of me, what I was getting at was Young Turks rebelling against the Old Guard. Good on you Cornish. - Post No. 105282


markymark  21:44pm 14th Mar 2017

Boro Primorac is off after 20 years with Wengo. Does this mean something's up? - Post No. 105283


Paulward  21:45pm 14th Mar 2017

Leicester the latest team completely rejuvenated by a change of manager, whilst Arsenal fans are told be careful what you wish for.Wouldnt mind being top of the league or in the CL quarters, Chelsea and Leicester are because they sack failing managers, we are not because we don't. - Post No. 105284


Cyril  22:17pm 14th Mar 2017

I was criticised in previous posts as I want to hold on to my ticket. But the truth is I haven't been to the games for many months. It's an empty seat as I'm broken by it all. I will be at Wembley as there are loads of us who have tickets so one of the team will book en masse. I am in a worse position than most on here who post as I stump up and don't want to go. The pit of my stomach turns when I hear the regurgitation. If I see a change I will return you know. May turn up if Wenger decides he will go or corrects it. Not sure even then. I want to hold onto my ticket but the truth is THE SYSTEM STINKS. Will also probably renew cos it's in my DNA. Thanks Wenger for all the handbrake turns in the last ten years. Nice man! - Post No. 105285


RobG  22:20pm 14th Mar 2017

LOL !!!!! I mean seriously....Leicester have just done what we haven't managed for half a football lifetime. Last year they won the EPL. Now they are in the last 8 of the CL !!! I mean seriously.... ??? 'There now follows an emergency message for the Arsenal Football Club Board....if you are serious about being a football Club once again ...will you please contact this number....'....??? - Post No. 105286


Cyril  23:19pm 14th Mar 2017

We follow Arsenal over land and sea andLEICESTER. We follow LEICESTER over land and sea and Arsenal but you don't qualifee!! Well done Leicester. Put those songs to bed like - "Your just a town full of pa!!s. SHOCKING!! - Post No. 105287


TonyEvans  9:11am 15th Mar 2017

I have always thought Wenger has no intention of leaving Arsenal until he is good and ready (which is quite obviously not now). That the board allow him that freedom of choice is incredible, but that is another matter. I do believe the protests are getting to him and when I read his latest delusional crap about how 'outstanding' we were against Bayern, despite losing 10-2 on aggregate, and then trying to pass off an FA Cup semi final as some sort of achievement (after beating Preston, Soton reserves, and non league Sutton and Lincoln) I sincerely hope these protests are kept up and expanded until he is forced to quit. Good luck to each and every fan protesting and if I lived nearer I would be marching with you. - Post No. 105288


jjetplane  10:19am 15th Mar 2017

Leicester sack the manager and win the PL. Sack the manager again and get to the quarters of the CL. Arsenal employ an accountant who likes watching DVDs of matches who loses 10-2 in the CL and finishes 10pts behind champions Leicester. Conclusion: Bouldie and Keown are milking it. Just remembering when Theo was saying everyone is scared of us now. They are scared of Leicester in europe now. - Post No. 105289


markymark  10:26am 15th Mar 2017

I pinched this from Le Grove as it's a goodun "‘One Arsene Wenger’ Tourette’s masochists". Yep think we all know a few sorry one of those. Before you start Squeaking Leekiepie it's not Plagiarism if you credit the source. Quick Leek better get your dictionary out, you don't want a repeat of the fickle ****up! - Post No. 105290


Yes its Ron  13:21pm 15th Mar 2017

Hi Cyril - youve not been personally criticised Cyril for keeping yr ticket. Its just a fact of life that if customers keep on buying a product the producer will view the product as being sound and roundly approved. The bowl of silence has been well subscribed now since it opened and while that situ stays as it is, the owner has no signal to suspect that much is wrong. We ve all hung onto tickets mate. For my part, when i jacked mine in 6 yrs back now, it was AFC s change into what theyve become but also the end of the period from 1967 when i first went to Highbury as a kid that had reached its natural end for me. I d had enough. maybe had i have still been living close to London, i would have been like you and carried on the blind faith that things would alter in the false belief that AFC really hadn't changed much. - Post No. 105296


Ando  8:53am 16th Mar 2017

Can this Jeremy Wilson charachter be challenged to a dual for writing such obvious propaganda guff? - Post No. 105318


Issue #265 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

31st May 2017

How To Run A Football Club in 2017? Let The Manager Tell The Board How It’s Going To Be

Online Ed: Confirmed – Two more years of purgatory, minimum