Grim Thoughts: Share Wars – The Return of the Judas…

I think it’s fair to say that being a Gooner these last few years has been pretty hard. Yesterday we found out that a player that claimed to be one of us was in fact not. He wasn’t just a typical modern professional football player (aka money grabbing douchebag) either – but instead was the worst complete and utter Judas, since… well… Judas Iscariot, and not at all who we thought he was. I moped around like a child that had just found out that Santa Claus wasn’t real while all around me celebrated the USA’s birthday on Weds. Whilst in this fog I kept asking why, analysing the statement itself and how it could possibly be his attempt to help Arsenal and not just the hefty kick in the bollocks that it actually is. Surely, not the same “No. 1 Fan” Robin that I thought I knew… not the same guy that said just a few years ago that he loved the Arsenal way. Then a sort of epiphany hit me. I didn’t actually know Robin van Persie – how could I, how could any of us? Modern media has given us this collective delusion that just because we see lots of pictures, watch them play and read bits & pieces, interviews and ten second opinions, that we know ANYTHING about these guys. I think this puts it all to bed; we don’t – full stop, period, end of sentence, dot, dot, and dot.

We as fans live within utopian fantasy worlds where our club is the best and everyone else’s is shite – this is the one thing that ALL fans of all teams around the world have in common. We look up to footballers as role models and hero’s despite all the evidence to the contrary: the whoring, the endless partying, flippant wrecking of extravagant cars/houses that normal fans could not afford  in their wildest dreams and inability to stay loyal to some of the most gorgeous women on the earth. In short the majority feel they are untouchable, by law, by rules or morals. Footballers are just like any other person with means who is in the spotlight; they either believe their own hype and become egomaniacs or find some way to be grounded and understand that the world is bigger than they are. They are paid ridiculous amounts of money, have their names sung by tens of thousands in stadiums and millions more around the globe, have fans name their kids after them and if they are good enough and show no disrespect to the club that allowed them to become this hero – they become the stuff of legend. As I’ve said before though, I do believe that word ‘legend’ is banded about all too often in the 24/7 media-machine era. In the last 20 years Arsenal has produced a handful of real legends, those that showed the proper respect to the institution that is Arsenal FC and to us the fans. You should know who they are and these are the players that those who claim to wish to join such an exulted group should emulate. So please stop calling a player, ANY player, a legend after a single season.

I’ve read the Persie-gate statement far too many times for my health and all I see is cynical PR bollocks angled to stop us holding him to his contract as a childish response to a personal disagreement – most likely more with Gazidis then Wenger (hence that bitchy little finish about holiday), but certainly a fundamental disagreement over something. The fact is that we’ll never know exactly what this disagreement is until one day one of the parties writes an autobiography and spills the beans, until then all the speculation in the world will not give us any insight into what actually happened. Maybe RvP wanted more money, maybe he was unhappy with the way the club was run, maybe he wanted the club to buy Affelay, maybe he truly is upset about his and our empty trophy cabinet and didn’t believe in our abilities (stupid after so many close calls, but there you go), but surely he must have realised the media feeding frenzy he was about to unleash upon US, those he claimed to love, with his words that seem designed to disrupt the whole club for the summer and provide the gutter press with enough material to wank and throw shit over to put entire troops of chimpanzees to shame. However, it does strike me that to focus on these issues is to miss a crucial point: RvP, superstar player though he is, is merely an employee of the club and the very idea that a player ‘doesn’t like the direction the club is going’ is fucking absurd. That’s like the Human Resources VP in a bank walking up to the CEO and Board of Directors and saying the same thing – it’s always going to get the same response – fuck, right, off! Possibly followed by; who the FUCK do you think you are?

RvP is/was an Arsenal FC player; he is/was one of a squad of twenty five and although Captain of the team that’s where his organisational powers stop. He has no coaching badges, he does not have the title Manager anywhere in his job description, he has never run a club, never managed a club. He is not privy to all the workings or dealings of the club and nor should he be for how does an army function if every Sergeant thinks they can hash it out with the General? The problem is that he did have a voice in the team, and obviously thinks it should count for more than it does. If/when he goes he’s in for a shock. He’s first on the team sheet for Arsenal and has sway because the team is formed around him as the fulcrum point, he’s never been as effective for Holland because they are a team of ego’s without a fulcrum or focus point – just ten outfield players all thinking they are ‘the one’ – this is evident by their almost complete inability to score goals at the Euro’s despite a team sheet that ANY team in the world would drool over. He will have no such voice in whatever team he rolls into because they already HAVE their team hierarchy –he’ll be the new kid at school again. His statement is nothing short of an abuse of power and should be viewed as such and dismissed just as quickly.

I honestly don’t know if this is about money (although sadly it looks like it probably is), his want for silverware in his private cabinet or what, but one thing is for sure by not co-ordinating with the club in his statement, by not dealing with his wished for exit in a dignified manner and by going public and starting the biggest shitstorm in recent history he’s destroyed his public image as a figurehead. Whatever club he goes too and regardless of the status he elevates himself to while there, this massive shit-stain will always skid up his back, up from his arse-crack all the way to the name on the back of whatever jersey he wears. He has made a mockery not just of his own words in the last three years, but of those of his father, his wife, his mentor, his teammates and all of us that thought he could be the second coming of the Dutch No. 10 God (blasphemous thoughts I know, Bergkamp forgive me), in short he could not handle the weight of the dignified and mighty Dutch No. 10 he proclaimed to follow. He has tarnished all the hard work of last season where he was our leader, our inspiration and chief dig-us-out-of-a-holer – now he’s just another example of the modern player, one that thinks it’s all about him and not the team. Well – without the Arsenal express supply line, let’s see if you can score 30 next year – Henry couldn’t once he stopped being the focal point, despite being at the Barca pass-pass-pass machine and he IS a REAL. Fucking. Legend!

One thing this is not about is ambition, plain and simple. Two of Europe’s top strikers just joined the club; we’ve been connected with many others, have shaken up the back room staff and are one of the only clubs in Europe to have spent 15 years in the Champions League, we were and I believe are poised to make a title charge with all of the anger, hurt and shitty bad luck that we’ve had since 2005 the constant back stabbing of players giving their all for ONE ‘shop window’ season (Flamoney, PHleb, Adeybackdoor, Na$ri, RvP) and then agitating for a move – all of this has created a siege mentality. We’ve been a hairs breadth (and a sulking exCaptain) away from winning the title on more than one occasion since we last won a trophy, fate and in no small part RvP’s own injury record have screwed us more than once but it has NOTHING to do with ‘ambition.’ Seemingly everyone in the world loves seeing us fail, seeing AW’s pitch artistry collapse so they can point at Arsenal and say “See, we told you it wouldn’t work” followed by laughter and derision. Wenger wants to build on last season’s remarkable turn-around performance as he has the makings of a great team, spirit, grit, fight. It’s all there to see. The idea after last season’s terrible start that we’d make third and return to the Champions league, Tonk our local rivals and whip the most expensive team in the league was just absurd and it’s not been highlighted enough that with a team put together in a very hurried manner after a double stab in the back and despite losing ALL OUR FULLBACKS for a month, missing a crucial player like Jack all year and a cavalcade of injuries, bad luck calls and the constant speculation over our players. Despite all of this, everything that tried to pull us back, Arsenal still made the champions league AGAIN and got to laugh at Spurs AGAIN. No – this is not about ambition for ambition does not guarantee silverwear, this is about how you go about that because RvP’s own actions damage the very same ambition he claims does not exist. You don’t look at someone pitting a Ferrari against a M3 and say “oooo that’s ambitious!” – go read a fucking dictionary.

As predictably as night follows day Alisher Usmanov pops as he does whenever there’s any negative news with an open letter to the board conveniently ‘leaked’ to the press, in a similar manner that ketchup is ‘leaked’ onto a Fish & Chip Dinner.  His transparent aim is to rub even more salt into the wounds being collectively licked by supporters that are sick and tired of betrayal. Claiming to care about the stability of the club while simultaneously throwing disarray into the supporters is the sort of Irony that deserves nothing less than capitalisation, italics AND underlining as it’s just so asinine. The fact that only the sensible heads at blog sites such as Arseblog, our own Tim the Enchanter and other sensible minds out there have pointed out the polarising effect that Jabba’s statement claims to be against was of course designed to instead instigate. Wow hasn’t it been successful? It is cuntery of the highest order and is nothing but a power grab while we’re all supposedly blindsided by another hero turning out to be a zero, it’s funny how one letter can change a word to its polar opposite just as a simple statement can change the opinion of a player in complete parallel. I’d have to applaud the beauty of the play if it wasn’t just so spiteful. I’ve already unfollowed a ton of people on Twitter who think Jabba is a messiah; I don’t have time for the simple minded thinking that would believe his statement verbatim without cognizant thought or discussion beforehand. If he really wanted the club for ‘generations’ and was the Abramovich/Sheikh Mansour figure so many have wet dreams about why hasn’t he made Kronke an offer he can’t refuse? He certainly has the money – that’s what those sort of people do; Abramovich wouldn’t blink. It’s not like he’s poor, he made some $1bn odd (do not quote me) from his Facebook investment when they went IPO and he’s claimed to be worth 18 billion quid (30 odd billion bucks). No – he wants to get the club for the least amount that he can and while that’s certainly fiscally prudent, that’s not the M. O. of the great benefactor he paints himself to be, it’s that of an investor. Think of Torres for 50 million squid, Hazard for 32, bankrolling the club for 9 years at a loss etc. you know who I’m talking about. Love him or hate him he buys what he wants without looking at the price tag, fires managers for daring question him and runs Chel$ki like a Tsar of old. I’m not even saying that Jabba wouldn’t be a better owner then Kronke, only time, circumstance and outcome could decide that, I’m merely pointing out that he’s not the man he’s painting himself to be and that should worry anyone that buys into his crap. Maybe Kronke is not either but he’s far less shady the Jabba –  read up on his background yourself while you still can because he has an army of lawyers out there silencing all dissenters in the finest traditions of dictatorships throughout history. The crux of my point here is really a message to fellow Gooners, we as a club need to act differently. Jabba or Silent Hill Stan… makes no difference; neither is going to plough their own cash into the club and buy us any titles so we have to put up with what we have.

You might read the above and find it hard to find any optimism in all that’s been said before… but history teaches us that within every challenge lies the seed of opportunity. How we act is the question, and while I’m not a big fan of Baseball here in the US (sorry – it’s there with Cricket in the snooze section of my head), I am a big fan of a book/movie called Moneyball. If you don’t know of it, the story looks at the radical approach that a Baseball club called the Oakland Athletics took to player recruitment in the early 2000’s against all the odds and flying completely in the face of opinion of the time. They like us were successful but year upon year had their best players poached by richer clubs and so at great risk the General Manager; Billy Bean, they took a punt on a different way of thinking. The focus was removed from star players and placed on the team’s performance and analytics; cost per run, on base performance etc. It’s not players but runs that win games (I’m radically oversimplifying here before any Moneyball fans rip me a new one). Using a system called Sabermetrics they used analytical techniques unheard of to build a team of undervalued talent that claimed an American League record for an undefeated run of 20 games on a team salary one third of the well known NY Yankees. The approach was quickly picked up by other teams and it changed the game forever. Before there’s any riots, I’m not suggesting this is emulated in Football, but I am trying to say that there’s always another way… regardless of which investor owns our great club, I cannot see either dumping their own cash into it. One plays the sustainable card; the other seemingly wants to dilute the share base to release funds.  Neither is a show-off of Abramovich proportions so however the Share Wars turns out we will not compete mano-e-mano with Citeh or Chel$ki.

On the Robin van Perse situation, personally I think Wenger needs to get RvP out of the changing room asap. He is an influential figure and you don’t want him polluting the dressing room any more then he already has. Flog him for whatever we can get to someone other than a UK team and let him fill his cabinet with hollow tin cups, for trophies represent nothing if not the toil to achieve then no? Even if we take a hit, I would not sell him to Shitty, yes TOTALLY out of spite, they tapped him up and have had plenty of our players, so fuck off. Put Walcott’s contract in front of him – tell him he can fill RvP’s void if he wants too, but sign it or put him on the market too. Sorry to be like that, I like Walcott but I think we have to be ruthless and show everyone at the club that you are in or out – no more fucking ‘let’s see how the season progresses’ shit. THAT play is done. Anyone else that’s vital to the team needs to sign up now or fuck off, plain and simple. Look for a LEADER who will not think he’s above Wenger and give him the Captains armband. Promote a couple of players to the first team that deserve it (my picks are Ryo and LeCouq), hope that Jack & the Bacman are fit and get the new boys settled and maybe bring on one or two more players. RvP was the last of the players that were around during the Invincibles, this is time for a new team to shine and it’s our job to back them considering the circumstances. We have a record of someone standing up when a star leaves; I feel this situation will be no different, the tall tree falling allows for younger more ambitious trees to grow in its place.

We are Arsenal! This club is famous for walking a different path, for moulding stars and being ridiculed for not ‘splashing the cash.’ For not being a fucking Clone and and doing what other clubs do, for innovating and invigorating the game. Citeh looked at Chel$ki and saw that the league was for sale, copied their model verbatim dumped in an obscene amount of cash and achieved the same result. That’s not a challenge, that’s not ambitious. That’s cynical. Ambition is born from doing something not done before, not copying a successful model and proving it works. Contrary to what old football commentators have said the richest clubs are generally the most successful, it’s not new – Madrid & ManUre have been doing it for years and Liverpool before them. All Shitty have proven is that now it’s more expensive than ever to buy the Premier League. Football is a game of inches: A goal vs. a goalpost. A missed pass in a Carling Cup final. A keeper’s bad judgement in a CL Final. A referee bending to crowd whistles at their home ground. A morally destructive broken leg. Success is the ability of going from one failure to the next with no loss of enthusiasm, not quitting when it gets tough. If RvP wants success so badly he needs it bought for him, instead of earning it history will step over his achievements of last year like the dog shit it has become and he’ll be added to the list of ‘could have been’ players in the Arsenal lexicon. There’ll be no statue and no memories of glory goals which is sad, but his is by far the worst betrayal of all those who went before him in trying to sully the name of Arsenal FC. His goals will remain available for sure on youtube, but he will never be mentioned in the same breath as Bergkamp, Henry or Adams.

It’s US that decide who is worth the label legend and who is not; all players, managers and owners would do to remember that – Arsenal is not merely a collection of players, not a stadium, not even a historical monument. It’s a way of thinking; it’s about reinventing the game and playing to our methods not others. I’m immensely proud of all that’s occurred during our xyearswithoutatrophy – for the way the club picks itself up and fights on despite every obstacle thrown at us. These things make us what we are and if we can provide Victoria Concordia Crescit, will that not be worth it?

Grimbo

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About Grimbo

Transplanted to the San Francisco bay area eight years ago, Grimbo is a Londoner by birth although one that was born on the wrong side of the River Thames. He survives the immense sunlight exposure of North California by being coated in sunblock and regularly marinaded in beer, he hopes that one day his immense freckle collection will all join together so that he can claim to be tanned. He’s both a player and sometime manager of Sunday League clubs all over the region and semi regular patron of Maggie McGarry’s in San Francisco, home to the infamous Bay Area Gooners many of whom marvel at his ability to scream “you c**t” in the correct accent while remaining blissfully ignorant of how unacceptable the c-bomb is to those around him.

51 thoughts on “Grim Thoughts: Share Wars – The Return of the Judas…

  1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

    I find the whole lack of ambition argument quite absurd. To me, it shows quite a bit of ambition and perhaps a touch of wishful thinking to offer a player who has managed to start less than half the clubs BPL games (18.6, and that’s including the 37 starts he managed last season) a contract worth, including the signing bonus, 150,000 pounds/wk. That much money for one brilliant season, a couple of decent ones and five injury crocked ones? Given that I was naive enough to hope that RvP truly respected Arsenal, I was cautiously optimistic. But I did have serious reservations about granting a contract extension in 2009. He promptly got crocked the following season and now repays that leap of faith with this.

    As for selling him to ManShitty, I don’t know. Let’s face it, 90% of what they were trying to accomplish has already happened, RvP alienating himself from the fans and destabilizing the club are rewards which have occurred without them spending a penny. It wouldn’t surprise me if they take negotiations to transfer deadline day and suddenly pull out, leaving us with the ultimate poisoned chalice.

  2. Vote -1 Vote +1Bull

    Let the prick go, as long as it’s not city I don’t care. They’re as bad as the Barca wankers. On the Kronke/Usmanov debate I’m not sure what is best, all I do know is that it’s not currently working and I wish that hill wood would fuck off as well. His latest statement that it’s not like we were relegated was unbelievable. That truly shows his ambition for the club!

  3. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Mongolian Gooner

    Absolutely wonderful blog post, totally feel the same way. Especially the point about Jabba. He’s not a sugar daddy (shame on you if you even wish for one!), he’s a lying, corrupt fuckface, probably a rapist too. Also the point about other players getting the ruthless treatment. SIGN UP of FUCK OFF. We absolutely cannot afford to deal with this shit any longer. We can’t depend on Arsene pulling off the impossible every year. I wish we would confront first team players to extend their contracts 2 years before their current one wears off. At least then we can sell for more and prevent the “let’s see how it goes” shit that these players pull off on us.

    Arsenal is the greatest club and my club of choice even though I have actual connection at all. I’m from Mongolia, have never even been to England. I started supporting since the 10/11 season, so it’s hardly during the glory days. Calling the Arsenal unambitious is a FUCKING INSULT. It is one thing to get “lucky” and have a sugar daddy buy you the League or Champions League. It is another to say: We don’t depend on anybody but our own achievements on the pitch and smart management. We make stars, we don’t buy them, AND we will always go for the win. Look at the second leg against Milan last season. Arsene could’ve rested a few of his players to get it over with (god knows we had a lot of tired legs). He didn’t though, and we went out there for the win, no matter how low the chances were. We pushed them right to the end, we gave our all. Robin, you call that attitude UNAMBITIOUS? FUCK RIGHT OFF YOU IDIOT.

  4. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1LRV

    Bless you Grimbo! Bless you!!

    Anyone, absolutely anyone, who doesn’t want to be with Arsenal can go NOW. They all will fade away, but Arsenal will still be here in years to come. Like a rolling stone, The Arsenal will gather no moss as it rolls on. Viva Arsenal!!!

  5. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Wang

    Sorry Grimbo – while I understand the angry feelings, I have to disagree with most of what you’re saying, apart from the overuse of “legend” and that we need to cut our RvP losses right away.

    I think the only thing that we can really blame RvP for is the manor of his exit and the fact that it will possibly negatively impact his selling value. As captain, he should have had the class to privately inform the club of his decision, but keep publicly private until he was sold (as much as we fans clamor for news). At worst, he should have put in a transfer request and forfeited any loyalty bonus. But by exiting in the fashion he chose, he may have knocked a couple of million off his price and that obviously hurts the club.

    As for the employees not having a voice argument – I just don’t buy it. Maybe in this crappy economy, people are happy to have any job. But when the markets peaking (as with football) and you’re at the top of the game (as is van Persie) you want to work for the best. A few years ago, the best bankers wanted to work for Goldman, the best consultants for McKinsey. Different companies had different cultures, and different objectives, and the elite in the job pool often did chose jobs on company culture or prestige. RvP has the right to do the same, particularly given the limited length of a footballer’s career.

    And though I’m not happy to say it, I think it’s fair to say that we lack ambition when you look at the evidence. Let me qualify that, though – I think that up until now you can write off the past 5 years with the constraints of the stadium and the amazing accomplishment that was, given that other clubs have usually been relegated when trying to do the same. But the handcuffs are off – we’ve sold the last of the property, and the debt is under £100m and probably tax-advantageous. That said, look at the evidence: there’s a direct (positive) correlation between wage spend/transfer spend and success (if Tim hasn’t looked at it, then I think Zach Slaton may have). Credit to Arsene and the club for doing that. But we have never spent more than £17m on a player (Arshavin), and that maximum has been the same for a while despite massive inflation in the transfer market. Meanwhile, we’ve sold several players in the £20m+ bracket, and are about to lose another. We lost out on players like Xabi Alonso and Mata through a combination of penny-pinching and foot dragging when trying to do deals.

    Finally, on Usmanov – I’m not a fan of his and left a long comment in the last post on the middle way: it’s not an either/or, pauper or sugar daddy, binary proposition. We’re at a critical juncture in the market, and a one-time investment could reap big returns. FInally, you can’t expect Usmanov to put money in when Kroenke won’t match it (or allow for a rights issue and dilution of equity). At least he’s offered to invest.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

      RvP has the rights to join club with a higher prestige and culture given by his performance. But if you talked about higher prestige and culture, you’re not talking about City, for whom he is rumoured heavily. City is that club who succumb on the group stage of CL and the only trophy they won is through last minute goals to almost relegation team. No, he should go to Madrid or Barcelona. City, Madrid, and Barcelona has a collection of quality forward but people seen that he would go to City. Why? Because he would get the most money, not about working with the best team.

      On the ambition part, this is the part where it is the most vague. The description that we don’t buy 17+ millions amount of money to players means that we lack ambition is lacking to me. It is not about the amount of money, it is about the quality of the players. The coup of Giroud and Podolski is showing ambition to me. The one thing that we lack is the wage offers.

      On Usmanov, why do i feel that Gazidis actually want to try building a relationship with him. If the part about wanting to broke a deal with one of Usmanov companies is true, then maybe he just want this to be the start of building a new relationship and maybe someday they could share a chair in the board. But no, the deal isn’t broken and the chance for another way for Usmanov to invest is fall apart.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

        Ok, after reading it again, using the word “broke” seems odd and supposedly is wrong. Change it to “sealed”

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Wang

        Nikki,

        My point on ambition was this: Success in the league is correlated to spend. If you want to succeed (have ambition) then you need to spend, and we simply haven’t done that in modern terms. Giroud and Poldi (who I’ve admired for some time) are great value buys. But we’re the only club with a massive profit from transfers. And while that’s great, it’s not an end in itself – the purpose of doing so should, IMHO, be to fund on pitch success. We haven’t done that, and I give the board a pass because of the stadium, but sadly doesn’t look like we will be doing it either.

        As for City, I don’t like what they represent, but the fact is they won the league and will be favorites to win another trophy this year. They may have not one the CL, but it’s a KO tourney and crazy things happen – like Chelsea winning or Germany going out of the Euros.

    2. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Grimbo

      Fair play to you mate – sound arguments well put forward, I just can’t agree with you because I don’t believe Jabba’s offer of investment is legit, holds less water then a hamburger shack napkin. Words are easy – but if he does want to invest then why doesn’t he just do it? Kronke doesn’t have to match him because he doesn’t agree so saying that he doesn’t have too as Kronke won’t match him is akin to me walking into a pub investing in a pint for a stranger without knowing him and expecting him to do the same. “Erm thanks for the pint but who the fuck are ya mate?”

      The point is that Kronke and Usmanov don’t talk, most likely because they both want the same thing, ownership. Therefore neither will try and help the other out. Usmanov came late to the party and tried a hostile take over AFTER DD had been alienated. Kronke, before. Kronke became BFF’s with the board, Usmanov didn’t. Jabba’s is a power play – that’s the only way I can see it.

      On the whole employee thing – I believe players should certainly be heard about playing style, line ups that sort of shit, but fundamentals of the club? No – absolutely not. He’s got us over a barrel when AW firstly took a risk when NO ONE wanted him at 22 – we got him for 2.5 MILL FFS. Then groomed him and was patient while he was out crocked, giving him consistent wages with players that were constantly performing and not getting broken. You can argue as much as you like about it not being his fault but the fact is where was the furor over him in 2009? None – fuck all. No one would touch him because he was a crock. Wenger believed he could over come and kept faith – that faith hasn’t been repaid and that is just wank.

      Having said all that – thanks for your thoughts. I don’t have all the answers mate – it’s just my opinion. Thanks for adding to the rich tapestry of Goonerdom.

      G

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Wang

        Thanks Grimbo, and I agree with you that van Persie has gotten the better of the club with his contract and being injured for so long. You’d hope he’d be loyal, but it’s business for him in the end and these things happen in all kinds of companies – Think maternity leave – here in the UK you get something like 6 months paid leave and your job is held for you while you’re away; it’s a lot like a football club carrying an injured player – the club has to eat it.

        I’m not saying RvP should be able to impose his will on the club’s strategy either, but he does have a choice of employers, and fair play to him if he expresses that he wants a club with a different strategy (ambition if you will). He’s expressing something a lot of the fans are… The club can ignore him, and tell him to fuck off, and again, I think he hurt the club by eroding his sale value, but apart from that (and that is a big deal), I don’t think we can take issue with what he’s said.

        As for Usmanov, again, not a fan, but rights issues are common practice for companies in need of capital (the other option being debt). If you and I go halves on a pub, which is breaking even, then the roof falls in, we both have to pay for a new roof, no? Why should you pay for it, and then I reap the benefits? A rights issue allows all parties to put in an amount of capital proportionate to their current stake to avoid dilution. Kroenke is saying he doesn’t want to put in more capital an can prevent a rights issue as he controls the board.

        So they disagree on strategy, and though I don’t like what Usmanov represents 90% of the time, I agree with him on the capital injection as a one-off to solidify the squad. You’re right that there’s a bigger issue with the 2 major shareholders being at war, which Amy Lawrence recently commented on as well.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1dy

        it really about how RVP went about voicing his opinion.There’s absolutely nothing wrong with him arguing with AW or the management on how Arsenal should perform on the field. But please don’t release a public message without any explanation as to why he chose the way he did because that’s back stabbing and none of this act can be tolerated anywhere, no matter how true or sincere is your intention.

        Lets just stop for a moment and thinking back about the last two seasons. Actually Arsenal came very close to challenging or even winning the title if, maybe a big IF, RVP was fit and performed his best in 10/11 and Fab and Nasri didn’t have their heads turned elsewhere, and they’re still at the team in 11/12, together with a rejuvenated RVP, don’t you think Arsenal could actually win something ? AW’s plan for the team was absolutely spot on and cumulated at its best during the last 2 seasons. Of course none of that happened because those very dear players were ‘unavailable’ for one reason or another. I can’t help but blaming them for being impatient ( yeah, I understand 6/7/8 years is a very long time for football players.) So RVP was 22 when AW brought him over, Fab was 17/18 ? So was that AW’s plan all along those years of moulding them into what they are today ? ( as a side note I see Song is the weakest link in the team right now, neither a dependable defensive mid nor an all out attack mid., definitely not an orchestrator. He performs best if giving just one simple duty and put his mind to it.)

    3. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

      I have to agree with a lot of what you’re saying, Wang.
      While obviously hating the cuntish manner in which RVP has conducted himself, it’s clear that there’s been something lacking in the way Arsene and the board have handled their team creation over the past few years.
      No Gunner wants us to be another Chelsea or City, but we don’t have to be in order to compete. For most of our title-less seasons, we haven’t been a long way off what it took to win the title. We were perpetually one player short, and have missed out on the key final piece of the puzzle because of a reluctance to do whatever it took to make deals happen.
      Persisting for too long with substandard keepers… or when we were crying out for a dominant centre back and ended up with Squillaci rather than Samba. Or starting a season with Denilson as our first-choice holding midfielder after letting Flamini, Gilberto AND Diarra go.
      Arshavin’s signing was one rare example of us identifying a weakness (creativity) and going out and making a deal happen, to good effect (at least for one season). Yet our tardiness almost cost us that one too.

      Obviously being a “nearly” team is preferable to being a “never will” team like Spurs, but one of the most frustrating aspects of being an Arsenal fan is having a gaping hole in the team that everyone can see needs filling except the people in charge.

      1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1James

        We also don’t have to build from scratch like Chelsea and City did, so we don’t have to spend the obscene aggregate sums that they have. There’s no denying that we have an exceptional academy and youth development program. But it would be nice if we could actually keep players like RvP, Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, Cole, Adebayor, Toure, etc. And money does buy you depth (there’s no denying that City is a very deep team), but at the end of the day of course you can only put XI on the field.

      2. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Eurazian

        Imagine we could have a “best of” lineup made up of our current team, plus all those who’ve jumped ship over the past few years. We would win the title most every year.
        Obviously that’s just a thought experiment, but it’s an example of a flaw in our signings. Even though we are always building for the future in terms of our emphasis on youth, it is always several years away. We need to be more proactive in our signings, to build on what we already have… often it is to replace someone who just left. Perhaps Giroud and Podolski are a sign of that approach changing, but we’ve sort of left it a bit late to capitalise on the talent that has walked out the door in the last few years.

  6. Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

    I thought that with a headline like that you would compare van Persie as Anakin, because he resemble him. It is still a long and well written post Grim, good job.
    On next season, don’t put your hope up too much on Jack. When i read again on our new reserve coach, Terry Burton, assesment on Ramsey. I feel a bit of similiarity when he mention Wenger said that Ramsey as “ahead of schedule”. It just so happened that at that season, he broke his leg and miss a lot of time.

  7. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1alphie

    desigunners analysis is sport on…
    the only thing I can rebuke rvp is that he didn’t have to push the message that far/bad even though he is entitled to his opinion.
    people will always guard what they love,AFC continues

  8. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

    Wonderful, passionate, and despite that, completely sensible post. And Mongolian Gooner’s comment represents something I inherently feel. Arsenal has more die hard supporters across the world than any other club. In my experience, people who barely know anything about football, still classify themselves as ManU fans because it is the team to follow (recently this has turned to Barcelona), thereby boosting the numbers of the fanbase. If Arsenal have any glory hunters as fans, I’m guessing there aren’t many left, and those that are are most angry about the lack of trophies. But Arsenal seem to represent more than trophies or winning to so very many people across the globe. It’s something I hope never goes away. Trophies are won by someone every year. What we have, is unique. Trophies will come anyway.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1dy

      you have my voice, love what you said. I follow Arsenal not for the trophy but for the way they play. But I can understand why fans and players want a trophy and all that, nothing wrong really. For me, nothing gain if nothing lose, that emotional ride is a perfect vehicle for an escape out of this mundane routine of everyday life. People say Barca is boring to watch at the latest Euro. Well, when you have the firm grip of the situation at your hand, all else becomes routine and the ‘fun’ part is gone. Its lonely at the top, think about that.

  9. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1sotagooner

    Long time reader, first time commenting…

    I’ve been trying to take a long term view of this fiasco and I think maybe there is one part of this equation that is being overlooked and that is of the blatant tapping up of our players by not only the teams poaching our talent, but by the media who seem to have a distinct bias against The Arsenal. Now, I admittedly am speaking from a Red and White perspective here, but the anti Arsene (naturally followed by anti Arsenal) statements by everyone from TV commentators to hacks that write for just about every rag in the UK to our OWN players is a serious issue. The club is being undermined on a mass media level and they have basically sat back and taken the abuse.

    Now, I do believe that this is some of the Clubs own doing… they (the hierarchy) could be considered courageous in the way they are going against the modern day status quo of “more money, more titles” – but they are certainly myopic at best and downright timid at worst in the way they have dealt with the out and out attack on the Club over the past decade or so.

    This is not a time for passive aggressive “we expect you will honor your contractual obligations” PR bullshit – this is the time for all out blood and thunder, you will feel the wrath of the Gods for messing with my team, throat punching, ear biting, Joey Bartoning the competition time. OK – maybe I went too far with the Joey Bartoning… but you get the point.

    There needs to be a STRONG statement of intent on how things will be run from this point on and that statement needs to be “you fuck with us, we will chop your head off and leave it on a stake for the world to see.”

    Yes, The Arsenal are known for doing things in a certain way, with a certain level of class and composure… but at some point, enough is enough. We may want to act like gentleman, but it is clear this is the time for some gangsta shit. Where is our Michael Corleone moment? The kiss on the cheek of the traitor (“You broke my heart Vieira”). The power move (“By the end of today, all of our enemies will be gone”). The Tony Montana out and out show of force (I’m Arsene Wenger! You fuck with me, you fuckin’ with the best!). The “you might kill me, but I’ll take so many of you mother fuckers with me that the streets will run with your blood, SAY HELLO TO MY LITTLE FRIEND!!” moment. This needs to happen and it needs to to happen soon lest we be slaughtered by our competitors.

    Time to stand up and be counted, oh gallant leaders of ours… I truly hope you will stand tall. Stand tall and be counted well.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Mongolian Gooner

      You probably don’t mean that Arsene literally starts giving us his best Tony Montana impression in a press conference right (that’d be crazy cool)? What exactly do you mean by doing some gangster shit? I agree that Arsenal need to give a statement of intent, but they mustn’t back down on the philosophy of sustainable management and give in to Jabba to buy some $30+ mill players (if he’d even give the cash). As arseblog wrote earlier, RVP needs to get out of the club, and be sold to the most fitting bidder in an Arsenal point of view. So no ManCity (unless those idiots pay us 50 mill or smth). Send him abroad and forget about him. I personally felt like the just thing would be to hold him to his contract and put him in the reserves, but that’s just me. It would send a message though…

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1sotagooner

        You know, I wouldn’t mind Arsene channeling some Tony Montana and laying into the next journo who asks a mindless question or, better yet, giving a cold stare until the press conference is over. He could just remain seated for the duration, staring into the faces of his most ardent haters until time is up, get up, drop the mic and walk out.

        What I mean by “some gangsta shit” is that the Club needs to show some effing balls. Fight fire with fire. Be ruthless instead of toothless. There is a certain nobility to showing restraint while being instigated. But once that instigation turns to an outright attack, best start throwing from the shoulders or get beat down. And beat down is exactly what we are right now.

        To more directly answer your question – time to clear the decks, alter the wage structure to a less egalitarian one and when a player first starts squawking about wanting to leave, fine, leave then – but you go where WE sell you, not to where you WANT to go. I realize it will take some time to undo what has been done already as far as the internal policies of the club – I mean just look at the Denilson situation – but it is something that must be addressed.

        That being said, I think the main concern here is that there are two fatal flaws with the wage structure and these flaws are directly responsible for the mess we find ourselves in as a Club:

        First – the Club underestimated how hard it would be to move players on for a reasonable fee when they hand out above average pay packages to average or below average players.

        Second – the egalitarian structure leads to the alienation of the cream of the crop players and breeds contentment in the squad level players. And the last thing one should wish for from their players is to be content in their position.

        You want to be paid more – fucking earn it. No more paying on potential. No more nursing players back to health for years on end while they cash in massive paychecks (and yes, I realize RvP is one of those players, but what exactly did our loyalty to him bring back to us???) Injured – sorry, IF you come back, there will be competition for your place by the player we bought/bred while you were in the health ward. Your position in the first team is NOT a guaranteed thing. Again – fucking earn it.

        The long and short of it is, we lack the level of ruthlessness (on many levels) that is required to be a truly competitive club and we need to display this quality starting today.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      There is no fiasco.

      We have planned ahead with this one and hedged our bets by bringing in two very good strikers.

      This does not spell the end of our ambition in the market either.

      Nor do I believe that statements from RVP abou our lack of ambition will scare other players away.

      The egalitarian wage structure as you mention and which Usamov makes a big fuss of is a problem.

      but it is being addressed.

      However such things don’t change with a wave of a magic wand.

      As you well realise, we have to be rid of 8-9 dead weight players which isn’t easy since they are not exactly the next popular choice in the market for understandable reasons.

      But we are making the adjustments to accomodate a more sensible wage structure.

      Will we be able to afford the very top tier of football players in the Messis, Neymars or ROnaldos? Probably not.

      But when have we been about that?

      We have always been a club that develops our own talent. That they are being sought must atest to the fact that we are doing something right. And it is part of the fun of it.

      We must close the door on key departures but I suspect that will inviolve as much a question on what kind of players we bring in and at what stage of their careers. I believe it has been suggested that we are now re adressing the balnce against an over youth bias loading in the squad by bringing in players closer to their peak age to sign them through the years whereby they will be most effecitve for us.

      This dual approach combined with the wage rebalancing and Wenger’s genius in spotting talent will be our edge to the future

      Going down the City or Chelsea road is just not a viable option for so many reasons.

  10. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Andrew Crawshaw

    Grimbo, I’m with you 100% over this one and love the thought of Theo being told to sign up or f..k off. As for captain, for me a toss up between TV5 and Arteta, but then I’m only a fan with a ticket so what do I know. My shirt has my name on the back not a players. If I were to have a players name it would be one of the true greats you name.

  11. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Runcorn Gooner

    RVP is history.He will not repeat his performance of last year wherever he goes.He will probably upset his new team mates because he is an abrasive character and will not be the the top dog he was last season at AFC.
    AFC will re invent itself as it has before and we will be a better club for it.
    Great article spoken by a true Gooner with spirit.

  12. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1James

    Grimbo, I hear you. And I understand where you’re coming from. I just don’t agree and my thoughts align with what Wang has said.

    I think it’s important for all of us to understand where different people are coming from, and I think it all stems from how badly we want Arsenal to win and what we believe the best way is for Arsenal to accomplish that.

    Ambition means different things to different people. For some people, it’s good enough to try your best. For others, ambition means one thing — doing everything you can to win. I have no doubt that for a competitive professional athlete at the top of his game, like RvP, that ambition means going for the win. And Arsenal is not going all out for the win — it is doing the best it can.

    In the EPL, going for the win means heavy investment in players. Yes, it is possible for a Montpelier-like team to win the league, but let’s not kid ourselves — heavy spending is needed to give yourself the best possible chance of winning. Why? Because winning is always a relative thing where someone beats another. And the reality is that Chelsea and Man City are investing loads of cash. The “Arsenal way” of developing young players and finding value for money is not going for the win. It is doing the best you can and living within your means — a very realistic and sensible way of doing business, but not going for the win. Not in today’s era of oligarchs and oil barons.

    As such, it really doesn’t matter, on a stand-alone basis, who we bring in on a transfer or if we break all kinds of Arsenal spending records (which we’re not doing anyway). What matters is what everyone else (specifically our main rivals) are doing and how our spending stacks up to their spending.

    For many fans, winning at all costs isn’t worth it. I get that, and I understand that people want to win the “Arsenal way.” That’s fine, but we should then prepare to continue to lose, because it is only going to get harder and harder as the richer teams get richer. It is actually amazing what Arsene has been able to go with such limited spending, even in this trophy “drought” period.

    “I don’t have time for the simple minded thinking that would believe his statement verbatim without cognizant thought or discussion beforehand.”

    I don’t understand this statement at all, and I think it’s actually quite the opposite — people are dismissing his comments out-of-hand without actually giving them some thought and without a background in corporate finance. Yes, he has a dubious and possibly odious background, but he is certainly a savvy businessman. He has already bought up 30% of the club for a couple of hundred million pounds, increasing the share price dramatically along the way. Usmanov can’t just write a blank check to AFC, or set up an endowment or some of the other crazy ideas I’ve heard — a rights issue is the most sensible way for him to put money into the club. He puts money into the club (versus in the pockets of other shareholders which is what has been occurring in all of this secondary trading activity) and in return gets shares (and by the way — nowhere close to a majority shareholding with a ~100m rights offering). And of course every other shareholder would have the ability to also put money into the club, though I doubt Kroenke would. And Kroenke will continue to oppose a rights issue, as he doesn’t see the need since the club is doing “well enough” and he doesn’t want to put an additional dime into it.

    I take Usmanov’s comments at “face value,” because I do have a corporate finance background and his proposal is actually very sensible. I have no doubt that he would like to eventually take over the club, but that will ONLY happen if there are willing sellers (i.e., Kroenke) to Usmanov. He can’t take over the club right now, because Kroenke refuses to sell. It’s just one giant pissing match between billionaires. Kroenke refuses to even meet with him or speak to him — it’s the Cold War all over again.

    The idea of Wenger working his magic AND also having 100m in the war chest appeals to me greatly. We will never match City or Chelsea in spending (unless Usmanov takes over entirely and FFP turns out to be a sham), but I’d feel better about Wenger with a war chest than a Wenger without.

    1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

      The Rights Issue makes sense for Arsenal. It makes sense for Usmanov. It makes no sense for Kroenke. Do you think if the situations between Kroenke and Usmanov were reversed, Usmanov would willingly shell out money to just maintain his stake, or let the shares he’s bought be diluted? I don’t. Usmanov proposes a Rights Issue because he has nothing to lose, since he knows Kroenke will not accept. It is designed to make us look at Kroenke as the bad guy not allowing money to be delivered to us. So sure..I’d like a rights issue, but I also feel Kroenke has no obligation towards that and I can accept that as well.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1James

        A rights issue only makes sense for Kroenke if he believes that the club needs more money (which he doesn’t). Agree that Kroenke has no obligation to do it. Kroenke would only put more money into the club if he absolutely had to, and only if he believed that the capital injection would improve performance on the pitch and lead to share price appreciation. I’m sure he’s happy with the share price as it is now (and Usmanov continuing to want shares will continue to support the share price).

        I believe Usmanov would actually support a rights issue if the situation were reversed, as it would give the club more cash (assuming that is what he wants) and it would give him an opportunity to further dilute Kroenke if Kroenke were the minority shareholder and unwilling to put up more cash.

      2. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

        Yes. But why assume he wants the club to have more cash? And, no. I meant reversed in all ways, and that means if Usmanov had less available funds lying around than Kroenke does. Like I said, I view Usmanov’s proposal for a Rights Issue as something he knows Kroenke will not accept, and if he does, Kroenke probably doesn’t have enough available cash to take up all of his rights, which would leave Usmanov free to gobble up those shares and increase his stake, thus bringing him closer to achieving a hostile takeover. Kroenke wasn’t born yesterday. And he certainly isn’t going to bow down to any demands either. Usmanov knows this too. Thus, I feel his primary motivation is to come across as someone who’s only too happy to help, if only the MAN would let him. Come on..let’s all stick it to the man..

      3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1James

        Sure. If Usmanov had the lesser means of Kroenke, he wouldn’t want a rights issue. I agree 100% that Kroenke does not want a rights issue right now — Usmanov would pick up more shares and more importantly Usmanov would curry good favor with the fans by actually investing in the club and giving it cash.

        It’s possible that this is just a feint by Usmanov, but there’s nothing to suggest that he’s not willing to put his money where his mouth is. The fact that he hasn’t yet done it is irrelevant, considering the previously mentioned corporate restrictions.

      4. -2 Vote -1 Vote +1Shard

        There’s nothing to suggest he is either. Besides, his mouth at the moment is just involved in making allegations against the board, and making simplistic summations of things that are wrong (or need addressing) at Arsenal. Nowhere in that statement does he profess to be willing to spend what it takes, and as Grimbo points out, if Kroenke is only interested in the money as Usmanov’s letter at least implies, then he should make him an offer that Kroenke can’t refuse. Why the public attempts to undermine the board in fans’ eyes and pretensions of being one of us. That to me just says he is using the fans anger to his own end, has nothing to offer (except the Rights issue proposal), and his vision for the club is selling the same dream that the board is, except the board has given us a concrete plan of what they are doing. Usmanov has given no idea of how he plans to go about things. Moaning about players leaving, lack of trophies etc is something anyone can do. What does he have to offer? Money? Why should I believe him? It’s like giving someone the keys to the treasury on the basis of a promise that he will fill it up with his own money once he has access.

      5. Vote -1 Vote +1James

        Shard, maybe we’ll just have to agree to disagree as well. ;)

        Usmanov has a standing offer to buy shares. Hard to make an offer to buy out Kroenke if Kroenke refuses to pick up the phone or take a meeting.

        Usmanov’s vision is pretty clearly laid out in the letter. He wants to back Wenger but with a (much) larger budget. And you won’t be giving him the “keys to the treasury” on a “promise” — he will have to fill the treasury with his own money before he gets any kind of “keys.” That’s how an equity investment works.

      6. Vote -1 Vote +1dy

        I remember at my college days years ago, I was attending a graphic design class and during that time the students were organizing a protest over something against the administration, forgot what it was, but anyway, one guy came into the room and asked us to join in the protest and show our support for all concerned and you know what, our instructor, with a great beard and smoking pipe, just sat there calmly and politely said, “why don’t you leave us alone, we’re attending something of much greater importance in here.” So that student just stood there, stunned, didn’t utter a word and left. Not one of us followed him.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

      Doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

      I have a political background.

      You already have instability at the club between the majority shareholder and a minority 30% shareholder(s)

      You issue the rights, give more of a stake to Usamov and you increase the volatility of the situation.

      We have enough means to buy sensibly.

      We have brought in two very good strikers for 20m+. There is no shame in that and I would challenge you to find strikers for double that with so effective a season last.

      This is pure nonsense.

      We are not want for cash (even with or without 20m for RVP). We won’t be bringing in Messi or Christiano Ronaldo but we can afford plenty of other players who incidentally (and I stress) should exhibit the hunger to be with us.

      As an example, Leandro Damiao is going for a purpoted 12m quid (Spurs interested). Admitedly he is younger but that against Giroud and Podolski? Which is showing ambition?

      We don’t need to put up a pretense of showing ambition.

      That we valued RVP at 30m quid in itself showed our intent. Which was the reason why he kicked a fuss with the statement because he realise he would not be moved in a striker rich market and following a poor Euro (not to mention age and injury history)

      What we need to do is find players that fit the team, want to be there and can bring something to the team that we need. We don’t have to pay silly money for that.

      We certainly don’t have to sell away our future, jeopardise stability at the club for that.No thanks.

      1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1James

        We’ll just have to agree to disagree, santori. ;)

        I have a bias since I am a growth capital investor — when I look at AFC, I see a company that definitely needs growth capital.

        Similarly, I view Usmanov as a growth capital investor. In fact, he is an investor in companies, such as Facebook, Zynga and Groupon. With Facebook, DST (his tech investment vehicle) was even willing to buy common shares that have no rights and privileges (which is highly unorthodox for an institutional investor to do). What Usmanov is proposing is an additional investment and not a takeover.

        I still suspect that Usmanov’s ultimate goal is to take over the club entirely and be its benefactor, similar to his relatively penurious (or,uh, not) rival Mr. Abramovich. But such a takeover will require other shareholders, specifically Kroenke, to sell out — something that will not happen. A rights issue is different — the shareholding percentages will not shift in a meaningful way and the governance will be exactly the same. It is a growth capital investment (but admittedly a potential slippery slope and has certain psychological/populist ramifications), and I choose to view it through that lens as Usmanov does have a track record of making such investments.

  13. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1James

    This is why I’m sympathetic with RvP. I don’t like the way he handled his impending exit, but I understand it. Arsenal’s “ambition” is not the same as his “ambition.” And as a Gooner, he remembers the imperious Arsenal, the indomitable Arsenal, the invincible Arsenal, and I believe he genuinely wanted to bring Arsenal back to its glory days. But I think he knew the self-sufficient model espoused by Gazidis, etc. wasn’t going to do it.

  14. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    Wow! This is quite a bit of a rant.:D

    I don’t think we need to be too emotional about it.

    This is just the sort of reaction the media are trying to stir up, that our club is (again cough cough) in a state of crisis…”at the crossroads as some insist…again.

    fact is that we’ve always been under pressure from big money clubs since the day Anelka left us or when Viera was courted by the Glacticos.

    The only difference is that it is now more persistant, there are more of them and they are at our doorstep as direct competitors.

    And our players are getting their head turned at a younger age Hleb, Flamini, Nasri) albeit this has been a pattern for over 7 years now.

    OTOH, there is a fundamental differance between the situation this summer to the debacle unfolded last summer with Cesc and Nasri.

    We are better prepared this season and have already taken steps to limit the damage with the inclusion of two top strikers.

    So I think we need to analyse our situation with the captain cafrefully and make rational decisions. This is not the time for being emotional and the Arsenal board have done the correct ting in not adding fuel to fire by keepinga measured silence IMO.

    NOw, with RVP, unless he eats humbe pie (unlikely) and retracts his position, he is most likely to be sold on. This is untimely because we could do with his experience and proven quality to push us up the ladder next season above our stagnation point (which incidently although frustrating is at very least at a high level of constant CL qualfication which gives us a good basis to build and more importantly attract hungry quality players)

    INstead his departure may have us accelerate our renewal proccess in the frontline IMO. I think regardless of his movement, we are still in the proccess of a major renewal which may yet include a competitive keeper to Szsc (Viviano?), the mythical DM to Song (we’ll believe it when we see it), possibly aa mid who can play RW/AM and (I am want to believe with RVP’s departure) a younger striker to compplement the two coming in who are just entering peak age.

    So, what aboout RVP?

    Well, as mcuh as I’d like to see top dollar for him, I think it is in our interest to correct the current perception that we are a feeder club for City in blcking in as much as possible any moves to Manchester or for that matter any other rival club in England.

    If anything, I would think the board should be cognisant of the massive ioll feeling it will engender by such move as was made clear to them at the recent AST meeting.

    So, what we need to do is keep calm, let the prospective clubs on the continent and domestically fight each other out so the price for RVP is driven up to an acceptible level, then hopefully, Wenger can sit Robin down and convince him that the move offshore would be best for all concern (despite perhaps a alightly lower income which in any case I believe we will be able to absorb this summer because of our prudence over recent years)

    That would in some ways repair some of the bridges between RVP and the club in that whilst he is still abandoning ship for ready made success rather than to stand and fight, at very least it would be seen that he did not go to the club for the most money and therefore football reason was as much a motivation as a better pay package.

    We move on.

    The club is in a strong position despite the onsense being spewed by the media and Usamov. We have enough resources to pay for the service of good players without going over the odds. I’d rather us spend 20m+ on two proven goal scorers this summer rather than 32m ona Belgian.

    If that is showing ambition, well there won’t be much to spread around for us and many will soon be up in arms that we are neglecting reinforcements in other crticial areas of the team because “money doesn’t grow on trees”…unless you want to burden the club with debt.

    Let’s not make the lack of spending an excuse for us either. It is far too convenient. This as I said, has been something that has been ongoing since the turn of the century and will likely be a common feature. We will have to deal with it and be in constant renewal (for better or for worse)

    Montpellier and Dortmund have demonstrated that you don’t have to have the shiniest toys to succeed agaiinst teams stacked with talent. We are in a stronger position (spendingwise than either of these teams and have thus far spent 55m+ 20m over the last two summers) That is no small sum.

    Plus more importantly, we have also made significant changes to the back room staff with Steve Bould coming in. We have neglected the coaching side of things (particularly defense) for far too long and one can now not accuse Wenger of lacking ambition for not changing things around to strengthen out tactical set up.

    We have the means to compete if only older veterans have the gumption to see it through rather than take the short cut.

    In some sense, we cannot blame these players for leaving. Their careers are short and it does them harm to be over passionate about them without some distance and detahcment when considering their options.

    RVP has spent the greater part of 8 seasons with us (admitedly many times outof the team) but he has given us two great seasons to remember. HE will have felt that he may have deserved a little more having been underpaid for at least on e of them (albeit we offered a generous sign on bonus for this), but this is his last chance to move on with a big move (money or otherwise) particvularly bearing in mind age and injury history.

    So whilst his exit has been tempered withill judged comments, lets not begrudge him just yet (unless he signs for City);)

    We are in a strong position and need to push up the ladder to compete effectively in both PL and CL now. We are building something good with this team and will need to put 3-4 more good signings (NB not top but good) with main considertation to what the team needs and not the marquee value of the players) concerned.

    The club is everything. Let’s get behind it.

  15. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1craig

    I’m tired of Arsenal fans who clearly dislike everything about Arsenal. If you agree with Usmanov, think Van Persie is right, believe Wenger is clueless, and think Nasri and Cesc were smart enough to make the right move… just suffer in silence. Arsenal is a vision, a philosophy, and an effort to win beautifully… victory through harmony. It is also a giant F@ck you to everyone who thinks like you. I imagine there is a great deal of angst that comes with being a supporter of a club that so obviously has taken a stand against the things some of you believe in. C’est la vie. It’s not changing any time soon. There’s always Man City if you want a club that believes no behavior is to low as it helps you win.

    1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1James

      Craig, you are of course entitled to your opinion. I for one don’t think there is one type of Gooner, and I like and respect the diversity of opinions. Some of us are season ticket holders, and others can only watch from thousands of miles away. Many of us have been around for way before Wenger, and many of us will still be around for long after Wenger.

      We all love the club. We all want what’s best for the club (even if we have different views on what that is). We all cheer the goals, revel in victory and commiserate in defeat. And we’re all Arsenal till we die.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1pat

    does anyone get a slight feeling that the hand of Dein is behind all this? Dein was heavily involved in bringing RVP to Arsenal and is the head of the Red & White holdings for Usmanov – could RVP be a pawn in the power struggle between the owners, to help destabilise the current regime to allow Usmanov an easier time to take over. All agreements regarding board members not being able to sell have now expired, and Usmanov is very close to the 30% threshold where he has to launch a takeover. This destablisation might be Usmanovs ploy to try and lower the cost of takeover…. Consipiracy theory? Sure! Just another stupid idea from some guy who has no idea what is really going on behind the scenes at the club!

  17. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1Scan

    Futbol is bisnex while these gud 4 notin boardmembers sit in aircondition rm n eat our luvn club money d players sufa in d field n get lesser money. Gazdis n kronke shud cme out n tel us d clubs ambition.d fans dat supot d gready board ask ursef do dey satisfy ur own nid atleast dey get wat dey want dat is makin profits n pocketin it.dey claim dey luv d club let dem 4get money 4 a season n gve us trophy we fans n players have sacrificed seven gud seasons. Fans wake up

  18. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Big Al

    Who needs Robin when we’ve got Bacman!

    That’s one sign that’ll need changing!

    Great article.

  19. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    You know I don’t care if RVP was “tapped up” in the lobby of the Savoy or over a cup of gelato. To quote Nancy Regan, “just say no”.

    I’m going to to go out on a limb and predict that RVP will wind up in the land that prizes 30+ yo strikers like Ibrahimovich (RVP’s erstwhile career ‘adviser’) and Diego Milito. They also love 30+ yo strikers in China RVP :)

    I read an SI article where the Dutch were divided into camps, the Sneijder camp that wanted to charge into the fray and the RVP camp that wanted to tip toe through the tulips. Obviously the attacking philosphy (among other life lessons) of Wenger seems to have gotten lost on RVP and WE (the club) need to move in a different direction with hopefully more attentive students.

    I don’t care if Usmanov buys Arsenal shares and keeps trying to put a fork in our backs, as long as the club refuses to give him it’s price, we are not a whore.

  20. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1BCS

    Grimbo, I envy your ability to write coherently when you’re in a rage. You’ve put into words what I feel.

  21. Vote -1 Vote +1Grimbo

    To all respondent, you have humbled me with your coherent thoughts, praise and for the most part, ability to use correct grammar!

    Those that didn’t agree with me did so with poise and strong arguments that made me think long and hard about my own position which it’s what it’s all about for me.

    It’s underlined that there are many ways of interpreting what’s happened. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Only time will answer that.

    Thanks to all for your opinions.

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