It’s time for Arsenal to get a better billionaire

I’ve said my fill about Roman Abramovich over the years: about the hyperinflation his money has burdened the Premier League with and how no club will ever win the League without spending huge sums of money; about the corrupting influence that horrible amounts of money have on the fans, the players, and the managers, turning them into the type of soulless moral zombies that would cheer a racist because he’s wearing their captain’s armband; about how he would use his money to circumnavigate any rules such as Financial Fair Play that would seek to level the playing field; and about how he doesn’t just want to play Fantasy Football Manager, he wants to play Fantasy Football Manager against the computer, on easy. But I take it all back, because now that there are two billionaires who are willing to spend huge sums of money I’ve finally come around to the cold fact that what the League needs, what sports in England needs, what the world needs, is for Arsenal to also have a better billionaire.

By better, I mean a billionaire who cares, about Arsenal. Someone who really knows what it means to be a Gooner and the privileged position that entitles us to. As a Gooner, I am entitled to see the very best that football has to offer, in the very best stadium, every week. And most importantly, I’m entitled to have Arsenal “actually challenge for trophies” and not just have Arsenal be a club which celebrates a fourth place finish in a hyper-inflated transfer market set against them in a possibly corrupt field of players.

Weirdly, my revelation that I deserve trophies has gotten me to come round to understanding Robin van Persie’s position. Just like I am entitled to trophies, so too is he! It doesn’t matter how many years we stood by him as he struggled to gain fitness after countless injuries stroking his ego for the Netherlands. This is about what he deserves, and what we deserve, trophies. That’s the kind of understanding that a better billionaire brings: it’s all about trophies.

Speaking of Robin’s injuries. There is no room in the better billionaire’s list of just deserts for players who don’t give 110% or for guys whose career was cut down by the Dan Smith’s of the world. If I had my leg broken by a careless co-worker, the last thing I would expect is for the owners to take any pity on me. If I can’t do the job, it’s time to cut me loose. Wasters need not apply.

That’s why Arsenal should never have given van Persie the opportunity that they gave him. The mistake wasn’t the last contract, the mistake was the contract four years ago when he was in the midst of a series of nightmare seasons but there was a glimmer of hope. You don’t sign a guy to a new contract when he gives you one good year of service out of three. And it’s a mistake that Arsenal keep making, taking a risk on talented players who have a history of injury, paying them handsomely while they get healthy/get really good, turning them good, and then foolishly expecting loyalty. There is no loyalty among thieves: a lesson that Arsenal should have learned after Adebayor, Hleb, Flamini, and Nasri all left but didn’t. It’s a lesson that a more shrewd billionaire would certainly instill.

Chelsea doesn’t build up world class players, because they don’t feel like it’s their job to give hand-outs to poor people. Think about all the poor people Abramovich could have fed with the billion Pounds he’s spent at Chelsea. He could have started a program that revolutionized food production in Africa! But he didn’t, instead he bought Michael Essien for £30m from another rich guy and then payed Essien £100m in salary to play football.

And Essien deserved that £100m, his former owner deserved the £30m that Abramovich paid him, and Chelsea deserved the trophies that they got from all the money that Abramovich spent. All that matters is what each of us feels like we deserve. And us Gooners deserve better than challenging for a top four place every year and Champions League football for 16 consecutive seasons. We deserve more than televised football broadcast world-wide every weekend. We deserve someone who is willing to spend a billion of his own Pounds Sterling to wipe the slate clean and start over. Starting with the manager and this squad of wasters he has put together.

I know that last bit about the manager will raise some hackles but let’s face facts: the type of owner that we deserve, who doesn’t pussy-foot around with things like “loyalty”, certainly isn’t going to stand by and watch as Arsenal get dragged down out of the top four without seeing a few heads roll. How many different managers have Chelsea had since Abramovich took over? That’s the kind of “do something” ownership that Arsenal deserve.

All of the above is why I support the Black Scarfers who marched around the Emirates last year carrying the “Kick Greed out of Football” banner while they chanted “spend some fucking money” along with any other protest movement that wants to have a go at Arsenal. They had it exactly right: it’s time that every thinking fan protest Arsenal and what they are doing in North London. Get the fans from Everton, Fulham, Stoke, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, and Charlton to join hands against the greed (without trophies) at Arsenal. I hear that Arsenal have something like £70m in the bank. Charlton would never let that kind of situation happen. All fans should be solidly against this sort of greed.

Don’t protest the League that allows these billionaires to buy all the talent in the world and stockpile them at their training grounds or loan them out to competitors for cheap in order to disrupt the competition, protest the Arsenal. Don’t protest Chelsea and Man City for their distortion of the salaries that all clubs have to pay for players forcing Arsenal to raise ticket prices or follow the lead of clubs like Bolton and instead stockpile dangerous amounts of debt, protest Arsenal. I hear they have £70m in the bank.

Protest Arsenal and tell them that it’s time to kick greed out of football by kicking a billionaire into the board-room of Arsenal. Someone who will buy Arsenal the players they need — Cavani, Falcao, Berbatov, Fellaini, Baines, and Jagielka — in order to give humanity what the Arsenal fans deserve, a trophy.

The only way for that to happen is for Arsenal to get a better billionaire. Bust out the black scarves and bin bags.

Qq

88 thoughts on “It’s time for Arsenal to get a better billionaire

  1. +13 Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

    I wish we could put a graphic on the page where every nodding head hesitated and thought, “Wait… what’s happening in this piece? Am I being mocked?” Just so we would know how far people got before it happened.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

        I didn’t personally feel mocked. Putting all the eggs in the owner basket doesn’t addrss the fundamental problem that is the way football works right now. Be happy with a new owner for a while, be angry at some other problem later. The system is screwed up. I think Arsenal can do better, but I think it’s a monumental task with very fine margins. And I don’t think a new owner will fix it.

      2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        You don’t feel mocked because you agree with the points being made. Depending on where you stand–or how you’ve contributed to this forum in the past–you’ll either enjoy the irony or find it patronizing.

      3. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1GoonerNC

        Look, I don’t think satire is so supposed to make you say, “Oh look how nice my opponent is being towards my position.” But I don’t think you need to read it as a personal assault either. If he thinks your position is absurd, the author will construct a satire that makes just that point. It doesn’t mean you’re an idiot. I assume you’re an intelligent, passionate individual whose ideas run into conflict with other similar people who disagree. I think he’s just saying that you’re wrong. I would hope the ironic tone of the genre need not be imputed anything about the people holding positions deemed silly.

      4. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        Satire has always been personal. And its direct purpose is to make those who hold the opposing view look foolish. Again, you enjoy it when you agree that only a cretin would hold such a view, but it’s not quite so comfortable if you hold a version of that view and are made to look a cretin for doing so.

  2. -6 Vote -1 Vote +1@zane_k

    When u tried to legitimize RvP u lost me so whatever you think I disagree! Go join mancity or Chelsea

  3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Matt

    I felt patronised and belittled from very near the start of the article so well done for that.
    Couple of points why do they need to put the ticket prices up with £70 million on the bank? Why do feel the need to mock fans trying to change the losing ethos at the club fans the support financially week in week out?
    Do you know somewhere i can watch the soccer when i come to America?

  4. +11 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

    I take your points, Tim, but come on, man, do you really need to make straw men of opinions a few of us share, especially since most of us–especially here–hold them without insulting others, and with a number of qualifications and reservations? Yes, I’ve grown sympathetic to the idea of change at the managerial or board level, and yes, I think it was foolish to think that Diaby could be relied upon, but that has nothing to do with a lack of sympathy for him, or not understanding how it is his injury hell started. I’ve also grown sympathetic to or have come to grips with the motives of van Persie, even though I kind of despise him still and probably always will.

    Importantly, my “growing sympathy for change” is an opinion I know is problematic. For instance, I don’t know who in the world could replace Wenger and do a better job…it’s not like the resources available are going to change with a new manager. Plus, change could only further destabilize the squad. But at the same time, I have problems with some of his decisions. Why must that be a sign of arrogance or lunacy? Fans of any sport don’t need to be ITK to have opinions about a sports club, since having opinions about something comes with caring about that something. I know you know this, but then some of the barbs above are clearly aimed at us / me.

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

      I completely share your opinion, I also felt kind of stupid reading Tim’s post today.
      No offense, Tim.

    2. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      Do you believe that a protest march is the correct answer? Do you believe that firing the manager (not the squishy way you have presented it but yes/no) is the correct answer?

      I don’t think so, in which case the post wasn’t aimed at you.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        Some of us here have (politely) expressed frustration with the manager, shown sympathy to a change at the manager and board level, said things like “I can understand why van Persie left,” and bemoaned the persistence with players like Diaby.

        And yet your post satirizes people who hold those views by assuming such a position is equivalent to supporting the Black Scarf thing:

        “All of the above is why I support the Black Scarfers who marched around…”

        So yes, it is aimed at “me” or anyone else here that has at one time or another expressed such views. If you don’t see how that’s patronizing, then I’m not sure what else to say.

      2. +9 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        That is the crux of the whole thing!

        The problem is that all of these arguments cross each other and then get raised with hyperbole. This hyperbolized Arsenal is internalized and thus the rational, thinking fan, who is really just bummed about his team’s performance and wants a change says a lot of the same things as the guy who is insistent that Peter Hill-Wood is ruining Arsenal. The same Peter Hill-Wood whom I skewered when he made the comment that Arsenal don’t want to go into administration by buying a player.

        It’s the same all over with this club, it seems like no one can utter a word about Arsenal without raising it to the level of being both the single most important thing that ever happened and simultaneously iconic of the entire history of Arsenal since the Invincibles.

        Every goal let in is seven years worth of the same goal. Every injury is seven years of Diaby. Every player who plays the ball sideways and misses a tackle is a Denlison. Every foul that doesn’t go our way is proof of the conspiracy. Every dollar in the bank is either Arsenal “saving the very future of the club” or “greed merchants draining the club dry”. Every blog post is either brilliant or utter shit. Every blogger either the best or the worst.

        Every sentence I have written above is complete hyperbole in order to prove my point about hyperbole but every sentence is true.

        The bottom line is that I want MY fucking Arsenal back. I want the games back. I want the joy of watching football back and not having to walk around on eggshells after every game because everyone connected with the club acts like a drunk on the bad end of a six-day bender. That was my target. Perhaps I missed.

        I seem to be doing that a lot lately. Either I need to drink more or others need to drink less. Not sure which but I’m certain it’s exactly one or the other.

  5. +10 Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

    As brilliantly as this is written (and I honestly think this is one of your best posts I have read in the last 4 or so years), I disagree with it, because it’s trying to impose the notion that it is either Chelsea/City’s way or the 4th place trophy.
    And that would be true, if Manchester United wasn’t in the picture. Because they proved that there is a way to compete and win, albeit with a slightly bigger budget than Arsenal is prepared to spend at the moment, but not a Russianoligarch-goldenegg-dinoasuarjacket budget.
    And unfortunately, the phrase “squad of wasters” is as sarcastic in terms of players like Wilshere, Giroud and Cazorla as it is completely true in regards to Squillaci, Denilson, Bendtner and Park.
    So, therefore I would prefer to stay in the middle of this and try to nonchalantly dodge the -1′s that will be probably flying my way.

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      I’m not imposing any notion. The inherent logic of the billionaire system imposes its own logic.

      See my words about Man U below. When Fergie retires unless they get Moyes, they will not be successful. I firmly believe that based on the data which shows Fergie over achieves compared to peers.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1TopGun

        There is something data can not measure Tim. Its called fresh talent. Who knew Fergie, former Aberdeen man would be this successful before he actually was? There is no way that you can say that only Moyes would do continue the tradition. Although I am a scientific minded man, statistics says that 57% of the statistics is unreliable. So there you go.
        I do not agree with today’s post. And that’s saying something when I claim that you are the best Arsenal blogger around.

      2. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

        Manchester United is the most coveted brand in world football, at the first sign of a decline, the Glazers will cash in, and even at 3 billion pounds or whatever ridiculous amount they will ask, their hand will be bitten off by Qataris, Chinese firms, the whole devil’s alley of ultra rich Abro-Mansour types, and they will make a mockery of FFP, which is not even a concern for them now given revenue, the same way Chelsea has and City will. they will never decline.

  6. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1SGF80

    I read a fair bit of this with confusion and then checked to see if it were a guest post, whilst wondering how that would have been posted.

    Alas, I take my egg scrambled, it is less painful on the eyes!

  7. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Reznuk

    A work of sheer genius. I love this article and want to have it’s babies!
    Sadly, the amount of people failing to see either the genius or the humour betrays prevailing attitudes.

    1. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

      Oh, no, I got the sarcasm perfectly, and I think most of us did. But if you really think we’re hypocrites or idiots for being sympathetic to change or wondering why Diaby is still considered “like a new signing,” then we’re no longer having a conversation or debate. We’re just throwing insults at each other.

      1. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

        I don’t mind keeping Diaby on the books, provided:
        (a) we have the leeway on our wages to do so; and
        (b) we’re not actively relying on him.

        I don’t think either of those conditions are met, unfortunately. And I sympathize that he had his ankle smashed and it’s not his fault, and I agree with giving him time to recover. I believe there is room for sentimentality in sport, but not much. Apparently Diaby is a very intelligent guy; it’s beginning to become apparent that maybe football isn’t for him. Maybe a career elsewhere is what he needs.

        But I don’t think Tim is out to insult those who disagree, I think it’s just his style. And you can understand how tiring it can be writing an Arsenal blog, what with all the vitriol and shitriol that gets thrown around by Arsenal fans these days.

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        Yes, I can imagine. But isn’t a post like this contributing to the vitriol by holding up those who desire change as being just as puerile and simpleminded as the implied author of this satire?

      3. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        No. Unless there really are only two options, in which case, maybe then I guess yes, but that’s not at all what the author intended. In fact, maybe you can read between the lines and see that there are hopeful nuances to multiple routes out of the quagmire.

        You brought your own dualism to the piece. It amplified the dualism. Why?

      4. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        Why did I bring my dualism? You mean, why do blog-writers and blog-readers, or all writers and readers bring our dichotomies with us wherever we go and to whatever we read and write? Are we really going to have a discussion of poststructuralism here?

      5. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Kevin Sweeney

        Every Gooner want’s something to change; we have’t won a trophy in 7 seasons. The article does not suggest that there is a steady-on crew that is in disagreement with a moronic abandon-ship crew.

        In this satire, I see Tim responding to all of the dire, baby-with-the-bathwater, knee-jerk reaction calls for change that are more based on emotion than logic. Any call for change should look at what is going well, in addition to what is going poorly, before jumping to drastic changes.

        Tim has made this point tirelessly: a Champions League berth is incredibly important in today’s football. That Arsenal has managed this while building a new stadium AND competing against Chelsea and the Manchesters and the Liverpool/Tottenhams is not to be taken lightly. That does not mean we are fine with steady-on!

        However, possible changes have to take the landscape of the EPL into account and should not merely look back to an earlier time when players were loyal and affordable. Those times are over. Period. Get used to it. It will take new ideas to tackle new problems. I think Liverpool is a fantastic example of what can happen if we respond with knee jerk reactions instead of attacking the problem critically and looking FORWARD!

        Yes, let’s change our salary structure (looks like we are on the way to that but it doesn’t happen overnight). Possibly look for a younger, more creative manager who will manage more like the early tactical Wenger (but this is a HUGE risk that should not be taken lightly, and I’m seriously sick of the revolving doors of “experienced” managers). And yes, let’s try to hold on to the Theo’s and the van Persie’s (but dude, we’re not privy to all of the conversations that go on behind those doors, so take what you hear with a grain of salt).

      6. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        Obviously you have been listening to everything I’ve said for the entire time you have been reading this blog.

        Thank you for that.

        What if Theo wanted a guarantee in his contract that Arsenal would win a trophy next year or it would trigger a release clause? Would people still be so eager to “give him what he wants”?

        Same with the £70m. What if Wenger realizes his ship has sailed and wants to leave a nut for his successor next summer? Would you want him to spend that money now?

  8. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1Chris

    I read you every day, but rarely comment as there’s more than enough hot air spewed by others, but this is genius.

    They won’t get it though. They already haven’t got it. Sadly, I don’t think they ever will.

    Keep fighting the good fight ;-)

  9. +7 Vote -1 Vote +1londoncalling12

    IRONY
    The Dictionary plus my interpretation of Irony : Irony is a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result

    Romantic irony: Romantic irony was framed by Schlegel- the German philosopher. The point with Schlegel was that irony would give you a divided self, which in turn gives you a multiplicity of perspectives, which is the only way you will unlock the truth of the whole.

    BRAVO TIM… BRAVO

  10. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

    Welcome back, Tim.

    About that 4th place trophy… maybe that really is what we’re aiming for. Someone wrote a letter to Football365 last week which got little attention but made a lot of sense.

    Arsenal decide to get serious and spunk 200m on new players, and go on and win the league. Of course, we’ve got seriously high salaries to pay now, so our expenses are up (not to mention the 200m we just spent on Cavani, Falcao, Gotze, Reus, and whoever else tickles your fancy. Oh, and Zaha).

    How do Man City and Chelsea (and to an extend Man Utd) respond? By spunking 250m of their own on NEW new players, blowing our group out of the water. If they don’t the first year, they will the next. How do we compete without consistently spending more? Essentially it’s running to stand still.

    So maybe the 4th place trophy is in fact a trophy: staying in the money, staying within some kind of touching distance, until FFP kicks in. Which is sort of building our hopes on quicksand, but what else can we do? Give up?

    The problem is now, with the teams below us trying to snatch that coveted 4th place trophy from us, we need to be spending more and more just to stay where we are, much less compete. Heaven forbid Spurs, Everton, Newcastle or another of the chasing pack – or any team really – get an Abramovich.

    If this 4th place trophy strategy is true, then it’s built on a lot of assumptions that are very hopeful. Like assuming FFP will have an affect. Or assuming that the football bubble will burst soon. Or assuming Southampton won’t be bought up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Zeddington

      Sorry to go slightly off topic, just a thought I had. I very much enjoyed your piece today, you’re really good at this writing thing sometimes. Although your piece yesterday really made me wish I had a daughter.

  11. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Ras Dam

    I agree with everything Teampossible said at 0826. I know what you intended to do with this post and I think I understand why, but ultimately it’s a great example of the kind of ‘debate’ we need less of.

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      Ras,

      The thing is, I didn’t skewer the moderately held opinions of the average fan. I went after the extremists and extremists should always have their beliefs questioned. If they can stand up to scrutiny, let them.

      But what I find puzzling is why there’s a whole “this isn’t the type of debate we should be having” movement which seeks to silence any critique that isn’t middle of the road. I’m sorry but I vehemently disagree. All debates should be had — no matter how distasteful, vociferous, etc.

      So, please, tell me why I shouldn’t have written this piece.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        That’s awfully binary of you, Tim!

        But seriously, you write what you want, and we don’t have to read it if we don’t want to. I enjoy coming here and reading your blog and writing in the comments section. But today I felt like what I and a few others had written of late in the comments sections (regarding the manager, board, Diaby, van Persie, etc.) was now being used against us in the above satire by including those ideas as the impetus for protest marches (and therefore, as the irony dictates, for being a complete moron.

        That may not have been your intention. I’m simply saying that’s how it reads (see above).

      2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Ras Dam

        The reason why you shouldn’t have written this post? The people you are skewering are not going to read this and have their opinions changed. In fact, there’s a good chance that many that do read this won’t even know you’re mocking them. I’m sure it felt good to vent your frustrations in such an amusing manner, but what have you really achieved by writing this?

        You’re a smart guy. Your blogs often amuse and, more importantly, educate. You grasp the fact that the issues at the club won’t be remedied by simply changing the manager or having a billionaire come in. With this post you’ve managed to make idiots look like idiots, not exactly a great achievement, especially for someone with your intellect.

        I’m not condemning you for it. I don’t think any less of you for it and you’ve certainly not pissed me off. I don’t need to tell you that you’re entitled to write and think what you want. I just don’t think there’s much, or any, debate here. This isn’t the way to take on the extremists.

  12. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1crazeemunky

    a beautiful piece, one i feel can only be enjoyed by those perhaps more familiar with the arsenal blogosphere.

    to those who do read blogs from all sides, this post rings true like a glorious etude rising from the cacophany

  13. +14 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

    Look, this is extraordinarily complicated but the jist is that the only target of this is anyone who legitimately feels that protesting Arsenal is the right thing for them to do with their lives.

    Protesting a sports team which has consistently been in a very elite group for a very long time because they don’t seem quite so elite any more is really fucking odd. But, also something I completely understand.

    Sports is essentially a replacement for political dialog by people who feel powerless but who really are among the elite in this world. And thus what we have here is an ersatz protest against the very economic system which creates billionaires but which also greatly benefits them. In essence, what they want is not to overthrow the system, but just for the system to benefit them more.

    But the system, and the logic of the system, is inherent. It’s competitive. Most billionaires are hyper competitive. For example, did you know that Man City offers big named players like RvP helicopter rides so that they don’t have to move? I think for most of us the difference between the League when we fell in love with Arsenal and the League no is so fundamentally shifted that we can’t even fathom what’s really going on. You will have better luck finding a unicorn than in finding the mythical “billionaire with a heart of gold, for Arsenal”. Maybe they exist, I don’t think so.

    Where I think folks also take umbrage is where they have internalized the “fire Arsene Wenger” as somehow equivalent to embracing the billionaire model and the coaching carousel at clubs like City and Chelsea. If you’ve read my work, you know that I believe Arsenal could do better with their spend and maybe get as high as third or even second place year in, year out. I also think that Arsene Wenger is not getting the maximum from his players nor from his transfers as he keeps buying cheaper and cheaper replacements for players who have gone on to other clubs.

    That said, I have grave reservations about firing Arsene Wenger. No coach alone will secure Arsenal a first place finish in the Premier League. I will let my dog eat another dog’s shit if Arsenal simply replace the coach and win the League. Hell, I might even let her kiss me after.

    Sure, the club looks like a mid-table team now but with maybe one or two exceptions in world football any coach that took over at this moment would all but ensure that Arsenal are a mid-table team. I know that for a fact based on performance numbers and total team value. Arsene Wenger is over-performing for the team he has. If you need just logic to show you this, ask yourself how many of these players would start for Man U, City, or Chelsea? I would suggest that if there were any, they would/have taken them, except Cazorla and maybe Wilshere.

    Firing Arsene Wenger (or the euphemism “kicking him upstairs” which he would never accept and which I actually would never want) would also be insanely costly. Probably something that this team can’t afford right now. Think about it, every player from 9yo to 30yo feels a huge loyalty to Arsene Wenger. Even van Persie still talks about it. Cesc still talks about it. Nasri has said it, Adebayor, VIEIRA wondered what he had done wrong to get transferred to Juventus. Given that loyalty, that means a massive culling of players, not just “bringing in one or two” like we always say. £300m in player transfers and buyouts of contracts that we don’t want to pay anymore to rebuild after Wenger? Given the costs for some players that I’ve seen, that’s not an unreasonable figure at all.

    I also believe that even maximizing their money the way Man U have done will not result in Premier League titles in the same way that Man U do. There are complicated reasons for this but most of it comes down to a bias in the press, among the referees, and among the fans for a “good ole-fashioned ENGLISH football club.” Grandmothers call into radio programs if Sir Alex Ferguson changes formation to a diamond, for fuck’s sake. It’s ingrained in the collective conscious of all English fans that United are the way to play football: “hard” and in a 4-4-2.

    So, the situation is that Arsenal are a big team, with a long history, who are currently struggling to compete in a system that is rigged against competition on the field, off the field, and in almost every conceivable way. Add in that Arsenal have a huge and largely pampered fanbase which represent the 1% in terms of global wealth and who feel entitled to trophies despite the harsh reality of football’s economic climate and who are calling for the manager to be fired. Then add in the reality of what I see the consequences of that firing would be and I think you might understand why I chose to be more, funny, with my take than serious.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1jaymin

      I think most of the ire is directed at Gazidis and our anomalous ownership structure. To say it’s all about Wenger Out is misrepresenting the overriding thrust of their concerns. Without Wenger we’d be midtable, and everyone acknowledges that.

  14. -5 Vote -1 Vote +1yomex

    Arsenal need to get players sold back, dnt mean in person bt in quality. Likes of rvp, fabregas, songs, nasri, n co shld b replaced wit players of same it more calibre. We like it or nt football all over hs left arsenal wit our breed n sell idea. Billionaire or not, arsenal need changes if ever in need if trophy. 7year is too much for wt arsenal represent. No need for insults, we r all fans n need trophy. Gonners 4life.

  15. +10 Vote -1 Vote +1morefiah

    This is brilliant. End of. I am an Arsenal fan. Even more importantly, I an an Arsenal supporter. That there are those who will never understand the nuances between the two is unendingly painful.

    I am proud of this football club. I am proud of the geographical independence of it’s name (albeit north London is red!!) proud of its history, proud of it’s accomplishments, proud if it’s manager, proud of it’s players. I was proud of all the betrayers until the very moment they put another clubs shirt on. Because once you play for the Arsenal u consider you almost a part of me. I believe it takes a special kind of player to play for the Arsenal and I believe that the manager goes looking specifically for these players. Sometimes he makes right choices, sometimes he doesn’t. But always he searches for the diamond in the rough. And THAT is what the Arsenal is: the diamond in the rough. We lose our luster now and then but we see still that diamond.

    This piece serves to remind me of that, somehow. Would that the sheer class of our club could be highlighted as classy as this was in the way in which many fans (who sometimes fail to support) express their love.

  16. -16 Vote -1 Vote +1Kubla Khan

    Your so called write up betrays a lack of comprehension of what’s happening at Arsenal. Your so called satire is so poor, it’s not even difficult to hide it. 3 points for you:

    1. Arsenal & modern football clubs are run as businesses. Morality is out of the question. There are no local connections. You are an American gooner? A paradox, an oxymoron? No? Arsenal is no Barcelona, where politics and sport merge. The Camp Nou is a nationalistic monument. North London is not fighting for freedom. Arsenal’s Kroenke, in his American Valhalla, invests in a business. It isn’t his fault? There he stops. His passion is guided by business. Abramovich buys success for his adoring consumers. Drogba and Terry, the black and the white, play in this pleasure dome. Arsenal is a poor business, Chelsea is better.
    2. Wenger had success but internalised it. The project and the pioneer lost the margins, the obsessive became dictatorial. He tarnishes his legacy, he sullied his reputation, he doesn’t work for free, does he? He procrastinates, lies and spins, abject and now abhorred, he looks a shade of his shade, the lies have given him a tinge of deathly white. He knows he runs a business for his employers. Had he football on his mind, he would have resigned after 8-2.
    3. Wenger is no Cryuff or Guardiola. Tactically inept, the Arsenal football is no longer unique. Not based on possession now, it’s speculative, driven on by Moyes’s Arteta, who came with his own CV. The truth, said Vieira once, is on the pitch. After 8-2, we have seen the truth. The truth is not in winning every game, even Prometheus didn’t have that right, nor Ulysses. But fighting for it, trying, competing, earnestly trying and not mocking your fans? Investing wisely on the pitch and also saving? Buying quality players wisely too?

    Arsenal have abdicated the pitch. The fans are powerless. It is the boards club, their affairs. Soon, even finishing in the first 10 might be a dream. Wenger won’t resign ever. The fans, some of them are resigning. The American artefact, called Emirates Stadium, will host Kroenke’s nugget entertainments soon. The ethics of community lost, signing Park’s for shirt sales will be the only option. From afar, Cesc and Van Persie, looking at their trophies will sigh for the fans.

    1. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1JV Mauer

      Interesting litany, Kubla. So… what’s your solution for bringing back the now-lost glory of yesteryear? If you haven’t got one, then might I suggest that it’s time you to cut your losses before you give yourself a stroke? If you do have one, I’d love to hear it.

    2. +11 Vote -1 Vote +1Londoncalling12

      “The project and the pioneer lost the margins, the obsessive became dictatorial. He tarnishes his legacy, he sullied his reputation, he doesn’t work for free, does he? He procrastinates, lies and spins, abject and now abhorred, he looks a shade of his shade, the lies have given him a tinge of deathly white. He knows he runs a business for his employers. Had he football on his mind, he would have resigned after 8-2″

      I’m usually very eloquent in responding to crap like this, but tonight for one night only I will write. “What a complete and utter load of bollocks!”

  17. -8 Vote -1 Vote +1Kubla Khan

    A litany is never interesting but may be you lack culture or erudition or both? Is this an AKB blog for I stumbled here? Arsene over Arsenal? And before you abuse me and ask me to go back to Mongolia, remember that Arsenal fans aren’t racist, no? Debate however is a different matter. That’s not the mien of a football fan. That’s why club owners deride fans. Even if the fans are pompous and call themselves AST etc. Debate is good but action is better at times. Ideally, a board that cared about football would have sacked Wenger after 8-2. But no, the club, the manager, the board & his supporters are shameless. Afc need a new manager pronto, but it won’t happen. And if the last commenter goes to games, we can discuss this when we are more comfortably mid table.

  18. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    In other words, there’s no quick fix.

    1) It is important to highlight the issues (deficiencies) of the club, some noise is good. I believe in any case the club is well aware of the problems and contrary to the ‘greed’ aspect (or rather because of it), it it in the onus of the board to ensure that we remain competitive chasing top honours.

    If you think about it, our main source of income is gate receipts. If we keep at where we are, that 100 quid ticket price would begin to look less attractive to many (if already) and the club will have repercussions to their pocket.

    2) There is not much we can do at present which won’t destabilise the situation even more. Bringing in a new manager at this stage will effectively set about another rebuilding process. Considering Wenger’s system is unique to his philosophy, it may not be a given that the new manager may be able to utilise the assets as efficiently either.

    Kicking Wenger upstairs is not feasible either due to ego. I don’t think the gaffer will appreciate it nor will he be able to remain hands off giving the man beneath him freedom of reign IMO.

    If things carry on as is and we fall out of CL for next season with no improvements start of the next, there may be pressure for Wenger to cede his authority from the board.

    Otherwise, what we can best hope for is that some of the noise generated may give Wenger pause for thought in where he may better the current set up. It has to be constructive and encouraging (big cheer for the right tactical replacement for example)

    Overall, I agree with Tim that I don’t think we make an iota of difference at the moment.

  19. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

    Chances are good that I will piss everyone off at least once. There’s a reason why my follower numbers are small: I piss people off. I’m not AKB or WOB or ATM or DVDA, I’m 7amkickoff and I write what I want.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Nikki

      Your post and comments are though-provokingly brilliant Tim. I wish I could replied and comment to some of the comments but I can’t because of deadline in 2 hours. Instead I just have to do with +1 or -1. And the last is, I think even if your mainstream followers are small (which I disagree actually), your loyal and dedicated followers are actually large Tim. Your openness to more global fan-base with By The Numbers post in Arseblog also help with maintaining and increases it.

      1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Bunburyist

        You’re a lovely fellow, JV. Have I ever said that?

        Well, I’m saying it now, you conciliatory and generous person, you.

  20. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Begeegs

    To be fair, the BSM’s march is nothing to do with any of the ‘points’ that you make above, blogger, so your sarcasm is completely unfounded – Unless your point was merely to pummel a straw man and distort reality – then well done.

    If anyone is interested to read about what they are marching for – here is a link to a guy who is close to the BSM – http://www.onlinegooner.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=35556

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      I encourage everyone to read this forum, and specifically read the comments, then come back and tell me what I said that was off base.

      1. Vote -1 Vote +1Begeegs

        Clutching at straws, I see. Essentially, what you have done is what a news broadcast would do to say a protest march for the G8; taking a look at the extremist portion of it and making a caricature of it – completely misrepresenting what the official line behind it is and to post your proof behind the article, post a youtube video with some people making planks of themselves on it.

        In any blog, political animal, etc, there are always going to be a wide range of views, however to take any one view from that and hold it up as the official line while ignoring the official line is not fair. It’s what Fox News would do.

  21. +1 Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    Good satire can come from several places. What I see is growing disillusionment in the fan base. Including Tim and many of us.

    The late great Sam Cooke (“You Send Me”, “Chain Gang”, “A Change Is Gonna Come”) had one of the prettiest voices that God ever gave to anyone. After he heard Bob Dylan for the first time he famously said to another great contemporary, I think it was Marvin Gaye:
    “From now on it ain’t gonna be about how pretty you sing. It’s gonna be about whether people believe what you’re singing.”

    I’d give up the pretty football right now for something to believe in.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Paul N

      Sam Cooke and a pretty voice are synonymous and there is nothing he could do about it.

      I love the pretty football.

  22. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Ssinderias

    Outdo yourself today, Tim? Plenty of diehard Gooners out there, just like me, bummed about the recent results but lose faith? Never. no black scarves for us.
    I dare say that the fans who want to publicly undermine the club are the ones who should get lost to other clubs. The clubs I see with fan protests are usually fighting relegation. Even ManUre discontents seem to have shut up lately. Why? Because eventually they started winning and missed out on the league only by goal difference.
    Once we start winning games, protesters will be quiet and forget about the issues they claim are close to their heart now. But what damage they will have caused, only time will tell.
    In the meantime, I will be reading Tim’s blog and hoping for 3 points this Saturday. Fuck the Spuds!

  23. Vote -1 Vote +1santori

    We’re going to have to find a quick fix to the current malaise/lack of belied (in the squad)

    11 games played – 16 points.

    27 games left to salvage something worthy for the season.

    I doubt we will win the title but if we finish high and win one of the domestic cups, it’s a step in the right direction.

    That would likely mean (superhuman) effort to win at minimum 20 games = 60pts.

    + the 16 currently should take us to 76pts.

    With the remaining 7 matches, if we take anything positive from them, (say 4 pts), we have a good chance of at least coming in for the 3rd place trophy.:D

    If we don’t even get that, current re-open the debate come summer.

  24. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1nobby

    Tim, what a great piece of writing. Thanks.
    Your comment about wanting YOUR Arsenal back and being able to just enjoy watching the games again, really struck a chord with me.
    Sadly I think those days might be passed.
    I honestly think that whoever the next owner or manager might be, it’ll make no difference.

  25. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Shavid

    the club would actually be making a sizeable loss if it weren’t for player sales, so it is us selling our best players that is keeping us profitable. Which is obviously a shit situation. Personally i don’t think we’ll see too much change in the club’s policy until we can re-negotiate some of the major commercial deals in 2014. It’s these commercial deals along with the new bumper TV deal which will push Arsenal into a situation where we can ‘spend some fucking money’. so don’t be surprised if we have another 2 seasons of scraping to 4th place, or finishing outside the top 4 for the first time in 15 years.
    My question in this, will we look back on these 10 years (as it will be in 2015 when we’ll be in a position to win something major) as a necessary ‘break’ in winning things to put the club on a better footing moving forward? or will we always have reservations about how the club was run during this period?

  26. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1Scravaldio

    Interesting piece considering you didn’t mention the 30% owner Usmanov. I find it pretty hilarious reading the comments because its clear a lot of people don’t undertsand whats going on at Arsenal financially. I have looked into quite deeply and its very simple. Arsenal football club is being asset stripped. Each year our “sustanable model” means we loose money. last year we made an operational LOSS of 31 million. We reported a PROFIT but only after selling RVP, Song and a whole load more players. This means that each year we will always sell our best players to make up for the incompetence of the current leadership on the buisness side. Add to this that these men are selling all the property assets to bridge the gap in there incompetence and you can see how the playing staff, the fixed assets are being stripped in order for Stan f-ing Kroneke to then take dividends and eventually sell once the club is completly ruined. When the BSM march its because this so called owner is the worst type you can have. HE IS A PARASITE who needs to be dealt with before Arsenal, sell Jack Chamberlin and santi becuase this idiots don’t k ow how to negiotiate. Chelski made a profit this year for the first time under abrmovich because they WON something thats how you make profit in football. Tis owner will never invest and we will never win he will continue to suck the moeny out of our club because he can’t afford it. He needed a load from Deutch Bank to buy his shares in the first place. Every real Arsenal fan should be supporting the BSM because its more then money its about the passion to win and to see success at Arsenal for Arsenal and not a bunch of yes men lining ere own pockets which exactly whats going on. If you beleive what the club says about FFP and sustanability then you really need to do your homework and become a real fan understand the real situation which that our club is being asset stripped. A death by a thousand cuts. BSM are trying to save our club before its too late.

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      I agree, Arsenal have been asset stripped, by Chelsea, Man City, and Barcelona. That started back when David Dein was chairman and has accelerated in the last few years.

  27. -5 Vote -1 Vote +1Scravaldio

    Oh yeah and this idea that everythig will change in 2014 because we can renegiotiate sponsership deals is complete rubbish. Sponsers want to be associated with winners not fourth place. Also do you remeber the promisies each year happen to mean will be competitive two seasons away. We have been fed this crap for years and this is another smokescreen along with FFP and so called sustanability. WAKE UP ARSENAL FANS YOUR BEING TAKEN FOR A RIDE AGAIN!

    1. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Shavid

      so when Liverpool negotiated their lucrative shirt contracts (sponsorship and kit makers) it was because there winning things yeah? The fact remains that Arsenal are the third best selling Nike football shirt worldwide. Which puts us in a strong position when re-negotiating the contract, or indeed siging a new one with a different brand.

  28. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1BayGooner

    Wow! When I first started reading, you had me. Perfect pitch, tone, word choice, quasi-logic, extremism. I wonder if our English friends realize how the whole debate is a parodical mirror of the US election debate, viewed through the North London prism of football obsession.

    It was so good, it depressed me, thinking perhaps you had given up. So I didn’t read on. At first.

    The problem, to me, is that the extreme critics compare the team and its management not to reality, but to a fantasy world. They want change, but only, as you said, if it is change that works. Song and RVP and Niklas and Vela and Denilson and Eboue and Park etc etc out and Giroud, Cazorla, Podolski, Jenkinson, Frimpong, etc etc in, yet that is not change???? Can anyone seriously write “And unfortunately, the phrase “squad of wasters” is as sarcastic in terms of players like Wilshere, Giroud and Cazorla as it is completely true in regards to Squillaci, Denilson, Bendtner and Park.” Did I miss something or are the last three still in the squad? And how often did poor Squillaci play thus far?

    Where else in the world would a Club build a stadium far nicer than its old run-down one, and have the fans complain, not just about unfamiliar settings, but endlessly, as if the old building and pitch actually were the cause of the Invincibles, not the players themselves> Well, it might happen in Boston. But most of the time, even when the new stadium delivers a major shift in actual venue, it is that shift that bothers fans, for awhile, until they settle in. Not Arsenal. They build across the street, and the fans act like a bunch of superstitious backwater nitwits at change. At least the ones who show up in the blogosphere, because unlike Tim, I have never had the pleasure of visiting the Emirates, or Highbury.

    Want a new trophy? Do you ever open your eyes? Look around you? Arsenal play in a palace. A 21st century sports palace. Do Chelsea? Do Spurs? Does Liverpool or City? No, no, no, and no. Of those four teams, does anyone seriously think more than City will have a new stadium by 2025? I don’t.

    Two years ago, most people would have said that Arsenal’s team was built around Cesc, Nasri, Song and Robin when healthy, plus a few. Now those four are gone. It’s a huge change. If ever there was a season when Arsenal might falter, this is it. Yet many fans thought things would only go upwards faster, even after the cold shower of the opening of last season. To me, it is fascinating to watch, made boring by the commentary in England, and the suicidal pitch of the Arsenal fans.

    Arsenal fans should know that they make a difference — over the years, their behavior in support of their team is not the same as that of supporters in the north of the country. And so they do not intimidate the referees into favouritism the way is done in the north. Maybe this is a function of London’s wealth and elitism, and proper central place in the British Isles.

    Refs are not biased. What they are is human, And they are influenced by the fans. This is true across all sports, across all countries, but nowhere is it more true than in association football. In most sports, also, the fan support and noise match the competitiveness of the team. In soccer, they must lead it. And Arsenal suffers, because its fans do not. They boo a player for a bad performance the first time he is asked to play out of position.

    Not on the road — there, Arsenal have among the best away group of supporters anywhere. Everyone points it out. My question is: what’s stopping the rest of the ticket-holders from behaving the same way?

    Eboue! He dives when he wants!

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