Sack the Board! (Or not.)

Bring back David Dein! Dein is a traitor! Sack Ivan Gazidis! Bring in Usmanov! Keep Usmanov out! Kroenke out! 

Sack Peter Hill-Wood!

. . . Okay, I’ll go with that one.

“We’ll never win anything with you in charge.” “Jinx!”

This article looks a bit like a riposte to this one published yesterday on GoonerTalk, though in fact I wrote 90 per cent of it before that came out. There were a lot of good facts in there, but I don’t agree with all the conclusions. This is my take on it, and I won’t be surprised if many people don’t agree with me either. (Try and make your comments constructive though!)

Since it’s going to be at least eight years without a major trophy for Arsenal, everyone’s got an opinion on the performance and make-up of the Board. The biggest subject is money: Dein made lots, Hill-Wood has made some, Kroenke intends to make some, and Usmanov has more than he can count but no one wants it. No one on the Board, that is. Of course, when people say ‘the Board’ these days, as in ‘the Board are only interested in money’, you may as well just say ‘Stan Kroenke’. There’s no one else on the Board who matters any more, the rest don’t own any shares and they disposed of the idea of custodianship and plurality when they paid £3m of the club’s (ie the supporters’) money for advice telling them it would be a great idea to sell all their shares to Kroenke. From a business point of view, leaving aside any fan sentiment (as the Takeover Panel do), that advice looked rather biased and one-sided at the time, and it doesn’t look any better now. The Takeover Panel presumably couldn’t see anything worth a serious investigation, in the same way that they saw nothing to investigate in the previous Board situation of Fiszman/Kroenke colluding to keep out Usmanov, and other arrangements before that. There are big grey areas in corporate governance, which is why the Takeover Code is so vague and the panel looks at each case on merit.

So what of the Board members? I’ll concentrate only on those who matter most, I have little interest in the ones whose presence is largely irrelevant.

Ivan is just a paid employee who is in charge of all the other employees (apart from one), and reports directly to the owner. So although he is the corporate face of the club and in charge of all day to day running, he is just Stan’s servant. I have nothing against Ivan, who I think has been put in a very difficult position by an absent owner. I don’t believe sacking him would do any good. Usually those who want to get rid of him cite the poor commercial performance compared to Man Utd and/or the club’s alleged record of not making certain signings when some fans think they should. The signings argument is rubbish: Wenger has the biggest hand there. The commercials are tied down by agreements from well before Gazidis arrived, though I have to say looking from where I am I think he could have done more. I’m just not convinced it’s worth sacking him for it.

Ivan’s colleagues on the Board, Peter Hill-Wood and the remnants of the old guard still standing, are part of a culture that goes back a long way at Arsenal, where the club was expected to pay its way without a benefactor. That’s pretty much how it has always been, and the likes of Hill-Wood and Ken Friar have been personally involved since the time that football clubs were valued in total in six figures, there was no such thing as a television contract and players were paid a maximum of £20 a week. Let’s not forget it was only three decades ago that Hill-Wood welcomed David Dein’s £300,000 investment with the words “It’s dead money”. He never expected the club to be worth £1 billion in his lifetime, that’s for sure. He wasn’t in it for a profit himself, that’s not why he became a director of Arsenal, he just took over from his father and grandfather. So much as I think it’s time Mr Hill-Wood stood aside, I don’t really agree with people attacking him for being only interested in money. At the risk of repetition, that is not his culture, though equally his culture is not to invest his own cash.

Stan Kroenke thoroughly approves of that culture, of course, as he has demonstrated over many years with his sports teams in the US. Buy a club, run it to be competitive but not overly so, make money from it where you can: that is his modus operandi. This is slightly more difficult in European football than in most American sports, because poor performance can mean relegation, so you have to maintain a slightly higher competitive level to improve the chances of profit. Stan looked at Arsenal and saw it maintained a good level of competitiveness without the need to pump money in, so it looked like the perfect vehicle for him. So is Stan only interested in money? Damn right. He wants a club good enough to be competing, but he doesn’t really need one good enough to win everything so he sure as hell isn’t going to pay for that to happen.

David Dein saw the future when he bought into Arsenal; he knew changes were coming in football, and the days of local businessmen owning clubs were coming to an end. Football was expanding globally and he believed – rightly as it turned out – that changing the product to suit the market would mean English football could lead the world. The anticipated benefits for the national team have not materialised, but ho hum, can’t have everything.

Then it all went a bit pear-shaped for Dein. At the time he introduced Kroenke to Arsenal, getting the American involved looked like a forward-thinking move. Now it just looks like we’re stuck in a rut, with Stan as much of a taker as a giver. Perhaps Dein saw this earlier than the rest of us too, and turned to Usmanov as a remedy. I can only assume he could see that the number of shares he then had would not influence Danny Fiszman or Kroenke anymore, so he thought that by giving Usmanov a leg up to begin with, the Uzbek might be able to use his fortune to oust the Fiszman/Kroenke axis before it was too late. Dein didn’t manage to sell that vision to the rest of us, though, at least partly because we had enjoyed some very good years without needing a sugar daddy and silverware was still fresh in the memory. Dein may honestly have thought that it was in Arsenal’s best interests to get Usmanov in as soon as possible and ditch the self-sustaining model, but the majority of fans wanted Usmanov kept well away. As the silverware drought has continued, that view has changed for many Arsenal supporters. Personally I have said many times that we should not take everything Usmanov says at face value; it is too easy to sound like you’re a great alternative when you’re in opposition and have nothing to live up to. If you don’t really mean it, it’s too late for the people relying on you (ie us, the people who genuinely care) to do anything about it once you get your hands on all the shares.

As for bringing Dein back, well I’m in two minds. Some things were clearly better with him around, but was that all down to him? I don’t know. Only those on the inside at the time really know. Either way, the current regime have no interest in rehiring him, so unless Stan decides to sell up it’s a moot point.

Whether you would prefer to go for short term gain with Usmanov or stick with Kroenke is up to you. Just remember this: no one is history has held a bigger slice of Arsenal than Kroenke does right now with his 66.7 per cent. If Usmanov buys out Kroenke, he will have almost 97 per cent. That will herald the biggest change the club has ever seen. There will almost certainly be short term benefit, but at the risk of completely selling the soul of Arsenal for it. The long term will be far less certain. Giving Usmanov control is a one-way ticket. We’d probably have to do a Leeds or Rangers to change things, and that would be very, very painful.

The middle ground is of course for Stan to retain control, while inviting Usmanov to join him on the Board. But that would mean – gasp! – all shareholders working together for the benefit of the club! (And next week on Fantasy Island, John Terry and Joey Barton issue a joint 486 page apology, having realised just what pathetic human beings they are.) Stan is going to make some money one way or another. Does he believe he’ll make more in the long run by sticking with his Arsenal shares? Or does he think he should get out now, as he could pretty much double his investment in a deal with Usmanov?

The bottom line is I think we’re stuck struggling to make a proper challenge for the two big trophies against the bigger spending clubs unless Stan decides to sell up. In the meantime only extremely bad management should see us drop out of the top six. And we could still have a good or even great season and win a major trophy – as Chelsea have just proven, you don’t need to be the best team to win the Champions League. But if Stan does decide to sell to Usmanov, I fear for the long term future of the club my family has supported for nearly 80 years.

Follow me on Twitter: @AngryOfN5

PS: If you post nothing but mindless abuse in the comments, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t appear or gets deleted.

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60 thoughts on “Sack the Board! (Or not.)

  1. As true as it may sound,the arsenal team is not in that bad shape that we have recently seen it to be in.For sure,there is so litle to be done in the name of buying and the major part being displaying who at his best position something that has seen most of our stars lose thier taste.wHAT IS HAPPENING WITH GERIVINHO?Going the arshavin way?can we realy hold on toRVP?for sure,we have to and that if we dont then even the podolski signing might as well be a waste.he needs somoene to back him up,ie powerfull flanks and we shall see the double good for him,RVP.

  2. Kroenke should never have been invited onto the board let alone become the majority shareholder, he knows nothing about Arsenal nor it’s history let alone how the English game of football (not soccer as announcers like to call it now) is played. I wish Usmanov would be invited onto the board then we might see some investment in good experienced players. Wenger should be either be moved upstairs and a more forward thinking manager brought in who will actually demand money to buy certain players who can improve the team, plus will not be afraid to get rid of players that not fulfilling their potential at the club but are quite satisfied to sit on the bench or train with the team and take their pay check at the end of the week for doing absolutely nothing.

  3. I don’t like the way my club is being run – what are my options? I think I will go and support another club. Now which club is being run the way I want a club to be run? Probably Chelsea and ManCity come the closest I would say. At least their owners show ambition and intent. Perhaps we could add Liverpool to that list – they have shown a lot of ambition and will perhaps get Mourinho to manage them next year. But Chelsea has an old team and there is no guarantee that the Russian will keep on throwing more money in – after all he has already “invested” more than £1 billion and has now achieved his holy grail, so what is his incentive for “investing” more money into Chelsea? To me it sounds a bit risky to go and support Chelsea now. I am also not so sure about the crowd who owns Liverpool, they may just lose interest if results do not go their way this year. In any case, they do not have as much money as the Russians or the oil-men. That leaves Man City for me then I suppose. I should be guaranteed trophies for the next few years at least – after all they did not win anything for yonks so still have a lot of ambition. I hear they might even sign van Persie. Actually I wish I just had my own club so that I could run it the way I wanted to – after all I really know what I am doing. I have lots more experience in managing a multibillion pound business than either Kroenke or Gazidis and definitely more savvy than that old fart Hill-Wood. I would need a sugardaddy though, or two (but they will have to be able to work together for the good of my club). That should not be a problem to find one – perhaps Usmanov will support me – he is not really an Arsenal fan in any case, it was a toss-up between Arsenal and United for him and his partner. Perhaps I can contact him, but how do I get his number? I know; That one guy who has so much to say on twitter, the one who is the spokesman for the shadow Arsenal board, I’ll speak to him.

  4. I think you’re pretty much bang on with your summary: if we stick with Stan we’re not likely to win much, but if we go with Usmanov we run a massive risk of going under.
    The only thing I’d question is the position of Hill-Wood: does he represent stability or stagnancy? Personally, I feel that he’s the last person who’s still in touch with our history and I think that’s important for us, especially when Alan Hansen can sit on Match of the Day and say this year was the closest title race he can remember. I feel that having Hill-Wood there, blustery and out-dated as he might seem, reminds the rest of the board what Arsenal is about. But we also need someone there who can remind Hill-Wood and Kroenke that our financial stability should support our ambitions, not just be an end in itself.

  5. You say the long term future of the club is at stake if Usmanov buys out Stan but how does that situation compare to Abramovich or Skeikh Mansour at Chelsea and City.

    • I totally agree , usmanov goes to games , he supports this club , more than can be said of kroenke who only cares about profit .
      In the us owners are happy if teams are competitive and make a profit , but not so happy if they win and make a lose.
      Eventually we wont qualify for cl then this could be a false economy, 4 years ago you struggled to get tickets with a silver membership , now you can get them with a red .
      I wonder why .

      • You might not have noticed this but there has been a bit of a down turn in the economy.
        Still, I am sure you are right and such trivialities dont affect football. .

  6. Think you are are absolutely correct in your take on Kronke, he’s only at the Arsenal for what he can take out of it. When he thinks the time is right he will sell up and not care one bit who he sells to.
    PHW is just a deluded old fool who seems to think that we the supporters are a rabble that should be seen and not heard.
    If we are to continue to compete at the highest level in the years ahead, we need people on the board who first and foremost care about the club and secondly have the financial clout to make the others listen.
    I suggest this would be best achieved with a partnership. DD along with the Russian.

    • And why do you think you are right about Kroenke? Has he ever sold one single share of any of the other clubs he owns. Has he taken any money out of the club yet?

  7. Pingback: Loan stars and boardroom thoughts ‹ Arseblog … an Arsenal blog

  8. Moving stadium involves quite Afew barren years of not winning trophies but at the same-time Wenger has made us competitive competing in the champions league.
    Look at Liverpool as an example winning domestic cups but Finnishing outside the champions league places so the board decide to sack there manager.
    It’s all about been competitive while we pay off most of the stadium dept. success will return under Wenger. Keep the faith!

  9. A fine article Sir. I think we the fans are always shafted by the self-interest of the owners who have only ever been in it for themselves – custodianship my arse. Dein to me was a superb wheeler-dealer for the club, just as Cashley was a superb left back. Ultimately Cole shat on us for his agents fee and Dein shat on us for £40m plus. Don’t even start me off on the way East European Oligarchs crookedly shat on their own people to become exiled billionaires who don’t give a sh*t. The real story will maybe never come out but it was probably Dein v Fizsman that ultimately f*cked the ownership issue…if only these one time friends had worked together for the cause. Instead they seemingly went to war and both screwed us over.

  10. Pingback: Arsenal to swap Chamakh for Ljajic… hmmm? | Sack the board! | Joel Campbell + Ryo run down – Le Grove – The Arsenal blog for news, opinion and transfers

  11. The Board needs to be sacked they are greedy people if they cared about the club and its success they would be more willing to put some cash in the table to buy the players needed all i see is a Failed Policy to a certain extent We dont have the quality to compete for titles hopefully things will change

  12. A good review of what has happened at Arsenal – but the reasons why we are in the (broadly envied) position that we are in now lie in what has happened at other clubs; chiefly Chelsea and Man City. Arsenal have, at least, responded by moving to a (very envied) new stadium. The clubs that haven’t (Spurs, Liverpool, Everton – all members of the ‘Big Five’ who drove the setting up of the EPL) are in limbo and could go either way as far as their long term future is concerned.
    FFP will sort the men out from the boys and Arsenal may well be in the strongest position of anyone to exploit it. That position, including the existance of FFP) is down to the current Board which has been greatly strengthened by the arrival of Gazidis.They should be praised for acheiving it.

    • The men and boys will drive a coach and horses through FFp . Their accountants will always find a way round such rules and the powers that be will always make allowances rather than impose sanctions.

  13. A good article and I agree with a lot of points and have read the Gooner Talk article also, but….

    How can you fear the long term future of the club with Usmanov in charge if he pays down the stadium debt and invests in top class players? We need all of these things to happen and the quicker the better. The man is a serious businessman and has just made more money in 1 deal (Facebook) than Kroenke’s entire worth. Usmanov would not run the club into debt, he would provide his business acumen to help catch up on commercial deals (with Man U) and get Arsenal competitive at the very top again through an injection of cash so we are able to buy some top class players.

    Success breeds success and averageness breeds averageness.

    Look at it this way. If Usmanov had been in charge would Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, Adebayor, Toure, and probably RVP and Walcott, all have left? Would we be overlooked by Hazard, Mata, Goetze etc. No, they would have seen investment in the squad and be fighting for premier leagues and champions leagues, and would be more willing to stay/join than go where they have.

    Lets face it, they’ve all gone to better teams to WIN things. Whilst we are stuck in this perpetual averageness no top player will want to join us. Roll on next summer with Song and Wilshere leaving and the summer after with the Ox and Sagna and probably many more.

    • Unfortunately I have to disregard everything you said due to the statement that Adebayor wouldn’t have left if Usmanov was in charge. That is a huge reason NOT to put Usmanov in charge!

      • haha! I can sort of agree with you about him. The point with him really is that no matter how much of an idiot he is, he is so much better than Park or Chamack or Bendtner or Vela. And who knows he might not have flirted with anyone and everyone if he felt the team was going somewhere?

        @ Oisin … Also saying all the players were sold for a reason is rubbish. Would AW have sold Fabregas for £30m if it was for financial reasons, Fabregas effectively went on strike to force a move. I never said that if one man was in charge over another then they wouldn’t have left, I said with the investment and business acumen and forward thinking approach of Usmanov the situation that arrived where they wanted to leave probably wouldn’t have arisen. How difficult is that to grasp?

        @ Mike … His Facebook investment went from being 10x more than he put in to 9x more, hardly makes him the worlds worst businessman. What you don’t see is that I was not saying that Man City or Chelsea type investment is needed. I was just stating that SOME investment is needed. It could even be through bonds or a rights issue to cover the stadium debt and release the funds from repayments for improving the team.

        Tell me what Kroenke has invested into our club? At least Usmanov has a box and attends more than 2 games in a year. Look at the averageness at Colorado Rapids, Colarado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets and St. Louis Rams and tell me Kroenke will be even remotely be interested in investing to increase the chance of success.

        Have you ever heard ‘spend money to make money’. Having great players and winning trophies whilst in the best stadium increases the chances of Arsenal being even better at self-sustainment. Continually selling your best players (to your rivals!!) to balance the books won’t get you anywhere and it will only get worse in the future.

        I’d rather someone thats ruthless that wants to succeed than someone who doesn’t give a toss…

    • Thats some very negitive stuff. All the players that were sold were sold for reasons, not because one mans incharge and one man isn’t. These players you listed were sold on for obvious fiancial advantages. The only player in that crop id take back in a heart beat would be fabragas. The rest are a bunch of stab you in the back c—s! None of those players performed at the level fabragas or RVP has for us. Wenger will turn this around, sign one or two players more and we’ll be back at the top ounce more. Keep the faith

    • Given Facebook lost 11% yesterday your argument starts to lose any credibility early on. Be that as it may, what you (and many others) need to realise is that both Man City and Chelsea have sold their souls to the devil. That may bring short to medium-term success but if the owners walk away taking as much money as they can get out of the club, there is every chance those clubs will cease to exist. Do you really think Abramovich got where he is today by being a nice ethical businessman? Stamford bridge is one of the most valuable pieces of real estate in the world, is he going really going to just leave it with the club as a gift? Even without that what about the player wages, if he walks away, the club will go bankrupt just trying to satisfy player wages. they’re losing £100m a year ffs. As soon as they sell one or two players (if Abramovich doesn’t do it first) and the club slip even further down the league, the bandwagon jumpers will be off as quickly as they started supporting the club. That £100m per season loss then just increases, so they sell more players. Can you see a pattern emerging?

      So OK, maybe Abramovich is a good guy (lol) and sticks around for a decade or two but then dies and leaves his estate to someone who doesn’t give a toss about football or Chelsea, they’re just as likely (perhaps even more so) to asset strip the club.

      The idea of big money signings is wonderful but, as stated in the article, Usmanov is a one way ticket (possibly to oblivion). Stan may not be the best thing since sliced bread (or anywhere near it) but at least the club is financially stable so if he leaves the club loses nothing.

      One last thing, which admittedly may not bother some people at all. There appears to be some highly dubious questions about Usmanov’s background. Now I have no idea whether they are true or not. If they are, I don’t want him any more involved with the club than he is. If they’re not true, well that doesn’t matter because I don’t want anyone person screwing up the stability of the club for their own gratification when that unreasonably and significantly increases the risks to the long-term viability, or indeed, very existence of the club.

      • Great response hunter13. Wenger have brought a lot of joy and happiness to us over his 15 years reign with us. Unfortunately, it’s only Wenger that can solve the current issues with the club. I don’t think he is not receiving full backing of the board. Like I commented before it’s the winning culture that we need to bring back. As of now our players turn up for big matches and disappear when we faced average teams. This has nothing to Stan or Alisher. It’s developing to a cultural thing which only Wenger can stamp out!

  14. what we should all understand is that the board do not give the fans free ticket. if the fans do not buy ticket and go and watch the matches, the club does not make any money. the solution is for the fan to boycott buying tickets and aviod going to watch all home matches with the stadium vertually empty and lets see if this hungry board would not get their acts together. Now i can not even make an argument with a chelsea fan without them rubbing thier champions league triumph in my face. i hate this board.

  15. Phil, great article and I agree totally with your suggestion about all parties concerned working together for the benefit of the club, but unfortunately I doubt if that will happen as SK and his team will not give AU the time of day from what we’ve been told.

    G48 above re: Cashley I was told a story in the last 2 weeks by someone who works for him, that the story that went out in the press regarding the contract disagreement with AFC for £5k per week and him subsequently crashing his car thereafter was a load of tosh..

    • RE:Cashleys ’employee’….

      Erm, Cashley made that statement in his own autobiography. But then Cashley did cheat on his wife, lie to her and the nation, then got exposed as a liar. Oh, and he is around his team mate, friend and all round pillar of society John Terry most days.

      Yep, must be true…..

  16. Untill we have a statement from Stan on his plans for the club – we do not know wtf he is thinking, and if he follows the aspirations of the fans. The fact that he turns up twice a year tells me all i need to know.

    Usmanov has set his stall out – and made no secret that he is willing to invest or at least not sell our best players. He has also built a megga box at the ground to watch games ploughing huge sums in to the club coffers.

    The Symbiosis that exists now where by we feed our best players to other clubs in return for funds to pay off debts is faltering.

    As for Tom Fox the marketing and business leader putting up season tkts last year raising £3m the same amount special advisers charged for telling directors they would make a packet if they sell there shares. Nice move… silver memberships up 75% * This unprecedented move is yet another example of an increasingly cynical board treating us more as customers than fans. I still remember Arsenal Commercial Director Tom Fox commenting on our 40,000 season ticket waiting list a while back:

    “As a US sports executive… you think, you’re not charging enough for tickets.”

    As a fan i watch our best players walk out the door – what should be our legacy being enjoyed by our rivals.

    Enough is enough.

  17. WHAT I FIND TOTALLY LUDICROUS IS THAT HILL WOOD AND FRIAR HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT PAT THEMSELVES ON THE BACK OVER BUILDING A STADIUM TWO SIZES TWO SMALL!!
    SOMEONE SHOULD ERECT THEM A VERY SPECIAL STATUE .AND CALL IT INCOMPETENCE.

  18. I think the notion that Kroenke bought the club only to sell-up when the time is right is misguided. He has a conglomerate of sporting franchises in the US – he is in the business of running sports clubs. Looking to buy to sell later at a profit doesn’t make sense in that context. What would make sense is if the Abramovich’s and Sheik Mansour’s (and Usmanovs) of the world bought clubs for the heck of it, and THEY looked to sell on at a profit.

    What Kroenke has is an extremely well-run club, playing in one of the most popular leagues in any sport around the world. OPPORTUNITY. The revenues that the club generate are tied to its performance – that’s how money from TV rights are divvied up for the Premier League and the Champions League; that’s how prize money for competitions are doled out; that’s how the club sells it merchandise around the world; runs soccer schools; ties up more lucrative contracts with sponsors; that’s how the Emirates fills up with 60k spectators on matchday. It all comes down to performance. So saying that Kroenke has no interest in Arsenal’s performance is wide of the mark CONSIDERING running the club is part of what he does for a living.

    On the other hand, if you have a majority shareholder whose one link to the club is his affection for it, agreed it may be boundless – then the future of the club lies solely on his personal motivations. Usmanov may buy the club and then one day decide he’s had enough because he’d rather support a club closer to home, or because he can’t understand Wenger’s accent, or because he belatedly realized he’s actually allergic to the colour red. If he walks away, then it’s the end of Arsenal as some of you hope to know it.

    If you owned Arsenal, and you truly respected the sentiments of the millions of supporters an institution like Arsenal has, then you would do whatever you could to ensure the club survived beyond your time. And that is what the continuity of Arsenal’s self-sustaining financial model, its culture, and it values does – it gives the club the chance to survive beyond the extent the current generation’s memories, so that in years to come fans may still think of Arsenal as (or better than) they do today.

    I do agree that the club has suffered in competitiveness due to the Stampede of the Sugar-Daddies over the past decade. But thankfully, the problem has been recognized by the poeple who can change it. In the Premier League, I think it is important to think of FFP from the perspective of the 25 man squad rule. These two measure together are a potent weapon against clubs spending beyond their means. Sure, people may still find ways around FFP through unheard-of blockbuster sponsorships and the like. But what do you do when you have oodles of cash, but only 25 players to spend it on? More importantly, what do you do when you have oodles of cash, but have to sell from your existing 25 to buy more players? Most importantly, and people talk about not being able to compete with those who can pay astronomically high wages – what do you do when you have oodles of cash, have to sell from your 25 to buy more players BUT nobody wants any of your players, as they can’t afford the wages you’re paying them right now? And if your players would rather sit on the bench and pick up a small fortune every week, rather than actually playing for another club on reduced wages.

    In Adebayor, we see the beginnings of this conundrum. City have loaned him for what, two seasons now? as they can’t get anyone to buy him. Sure, that gets him off the 25-man squad, but you’re paying someone who’s not playing for you, and that shows up in your financial results. Enter FFP. So I’m pretty convinced we’re going to have a fire-sale of sorts at City very soon – assuming they keep up their ambition of strengthening their squad every year. If not, they’ll stick with what they have, and eventually stop distorting the market by throwing money around. Kroenke, Gazidis, Wenger et al are smart enough to see this, and are waiting to ride out the storm. Even Ferguson’s complained about not finding value in the market these days. At some point equilibrium will be restored, maybe not at previous levels, but equilibrium nonetheless. Sanity will reign the transfer window once more.

  19. You’re right, dirty money, particularly geo-politically dirty money, must be avoided. And yes, absentee landlord he maybe, but Kroenke does at least leave people who know better to get on with it. I take comfort from the fact that Michel Platini and his FFP will, in a couple of years, alter the terms of this discussion fundamentally to the advantage of the Kroenke model…

    C’mon you gunnaz!

  20. Good piece I enjoyed reading it. I dont want to be a Chavski or ManKitty but would love to win a trophy again but the times have changed. UTA !!

  21. Look…it won’t take the biggest amount of cash to make us great again. Wenger for me atleast, at the end of Augest done great and generaly cheep bussiness overall. After signing Podolski, we realy only need two players. 15/20 million a pop, a center back of top Quality, and maybe a striker or a winger. Its not massive investment, considering the amount of players were selling this summer. Im thinking we’ll make around 20 million atleast!! So in thoery were only looking to spend 20 million in total. THATS NOT TO MUCH TO ASK!!

  22. My understanding is that in a few years, Arsenal will be a self sustaining business, with enough revenue etc to be able to compete with lot of clubs around Europe (aside from the anomalies, Man City, Chelsea etc.) it doesn’t sound particularly appealing in the short term, but…I’d like to see us as we are for a few years until we are in a strong financial position. To see Usmanov come in and bankroll wholesale change would make us comparable to those teams above whose achievements (in my opinion) will always be asterisked by the money that they spent, that they didn’t have.

    • You mean the anomalies that would consistently out-compete us for trophies? Being able to compete with a lots of clubs around Europe means nothing when multiple ‘anomalies’ exist in our own division. The game has changed, there are no asterisks, on trophies in cabinets (or not)

  23. Arsenal’s current policy is basically a self sustaining model based on football related income – essentially the FFP model. So with their stadium in place they are well prepared for the FFP era – if that can be made to work. Chelsea seem to recognise this with the owner’s belated – after 9 years – attempt to get a larger stadium to increase football related income. Manchester City are also looking to expand their stadium. Spurs will probably get a new stadium eventually – but their debt on it may be a lot more than Arsenal’s – which is being repaid quite steadily.

  24. I’m hoping to write something longer about this at some point, but the idea of Stan “inviting” Usmanov onto the board is one I’ve never understood as a professional in the market for corporate control. Stan has an asset in his control position in Arsenal Football Club. Asking him to relinquish part of that asset for free makes no sense for either him or the Club. What Stan should do is, for lack of a better word, “sell” some board seats to Usmanov, likely by agreeing to the issuance of a modest number of shares to Usmanov at an enormous price. That would strengthen the club’s ability to purchase/pay players in the “gap years” before commercial revenue spikes in 2014 and strikes me as the optimal solution to our boardroom issues.

  25. While I agree with the sentiment of Arsenal returning to winning ways, I’m amazed that people on here are seriously suggesting that we follow Citeh or Chelsea’s model. Just because others have dropped their knickers at the first sign of some cash from a dodgy potential owner, it does not mean that we should follow suit (especially given some of the accusations levelled at Usmanov). The person whining that they don’t have a comeback for Chelsea’s Champion’s League title clearly does not know their history – there are plenty of examples of them not winning anything while we have done pretty well, thanks very much. (And how is that a legitimate gripe anyway? “They’ve got one – I want too!”() There are plenty of clubs doing well without whoring themselves out to these petrobillionaires and, while i’d argue that triophies and titles are important, so is being in the top league in order to compete for them, something not guaranteed if the sugar daddy ups and leaves whenever they get bored of their new toy.

    After all the self-congratulatory interviews and (as ever) incredibly poor quality ‘analysis’ has taken place, the fact of the matter is that we HAVE been competitive over the last 15 years (NO, third is NOT a trophy) as we have been top 4 every season. The gap may have shrunk or grown year by year but there’s a big difference between competing financially – which we cannot do – and competing on the pitch – which we certainly can do.

    • Widely disproven and that Craig Murray has an agenda…

      Next you’ll be saying he’s a Man Utd fan… another widespread belief.

      • So if Craig Murray is lying, why has Usmanov not sued him for libel? Or forced him to remove the “disproven” falsehoods from his web page. Suddenly there is a lot of pr work being done for Usmanov because Arsenal fans want a sugar daddy. The lesson learned from Rangers has passed you all by, has it not.

  26. Arsenal at the moment have a culture of accepting below average clearly evidenced in the board, manager and the fans in general. Nothing will change until we change this culture.

  27. Seems that Hillwood himself has been doing dodgy “business” in the same part of the world as Usmanov & the oligarchs, yet this so called “custodian of the club” is trustworthy & suggests that Usmanov is not? LOL! http://goonertalk.com/2012/05/21/peter-hill-wood-the-great-or-greedy/

    Hence the black propaganda coming from the club’s PR department against Usmanov & displayed on banners by fans group “Red Action” a few seasons back,

    KROENKE OUT NOW!!! SACK HILLWOOD!!!!!

  28. Its not really about getting Usmanov to take over for most of us, I doubt that majority are suggesting that. Like Angry’ mentioned in the post; unless we’re poorly managed we shouldn’t drop out of the top 6 of the league. I feel with good management (tactical and commercial) we would win trophies.

    The current set-up, especially Wenger, needs to make the best use of our available resources. Some players are obviously not pulling their weight and that’s down to the manager in my opinion.

    • It’s acceptable to be average in Arsenal but not in UTD, Barca or Madrid. It’s more of a cultural thing. Even there’s rancour amongst fans. If you question the club’s ambition, you are quickly shouted down to jog off to the White Hart Lane. No until we changed this culture. It’s only the fans that can change this culture. Yes, this article is great and insightful but Arsenal current state is not directly linked to what is stated therein. Regardless, of the owner or manager, it’s the winning mentality that we need to bring back. That comes from board to the fans. How can a team that can beat AC Milan 3 nil, beat and outplayed Man City can’t beat Wigan, Swansea, Norwic etc? Folks, Arsenal problem is an inherent cultural thing that rewards mediocrity and averageness. Even if we inject billions into the club, not until we changed this current culture nothing will change!

  29. Kroenke owns franchises is relatively small markets. For him to be the owner in a non-franchise sport in one of the biggest markets in the world, with access to a huge worldwide market to tap in to – he must be salivating at the prospect. If Wenger really had a problem with the lack of funds at his disposal, don’t you think he would have walked a long time ago!? The problem is the fans. Most of them have a vocabulary that would struggle to fill a single page in a dictionary. They get frustrated because they believe all of the pictures in the SUN and everything they hear on SSN. Sigh.

  30. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head as far as your observations of “Silent Stan” Kroenke go. Someone who owns in part or in whole six sports franchises is in it strictly for the money and not for the love of the game or the team. (I’m thinking in particular of his mediocre NFL franchise, the St. Louis Rams–and when I call them “mediocre”, that’s a compliment.)

    Still, while once upon a time I would have been amongst those in favor of Usmanov replacing Kroenke, I must say that I agree with what you’ve said: while Usmanov will bring about a short-term good, he may well also usher in a long-term future evil. So, I’ll go along with the devil we know rather than a devil we really don’t know.

  31. A fine line. A year ago I thought we would have been better off with the Safer Stan option. Today I am firmly in the Usmanov camp. I believe he knows far more about football and under him we will become a super-club. Which we were ten years ago before the invasion of the super rich.

    If he doesn’t buy us he will buy another club and we will live to regret it.

  32. If Kroenke and Usmanov could work together, we could maintain our self-sufficient business model (Kroenke), but still spice it up with big player signings (Usmanov) and then not only be competitive, but actually win silverware.

  33. Arsenal need to become C***s!!!

    As i watched Chelsea lifting the CL I suddenly had a revelation! It was like a slap to the face, a kick to the balls: Arsenal need to develop a level of c***ishness to their game. When I look back to days gone by we used to have a truckload of players who had some level of this in them. All were brilliant players but they had that hardness we now lack. There was Tony Adams driving around with a case of alcohol in the boot of his car, Martin Keown who enjoyed a Nistelrooy sandwich, Vieira and his love affair with Kean, Petit, Parlour and an assortment of characters too numerous to mention who would enjoy the physical part of the game. These were winners but they were also good solid Arsenal men with a streak of c***ishness in them who never gave up.
    I state the obvious because all of the above has disappeared. It started at the end of the Invincibles when Thierry Henry became the captain. While he is a brilliant player he lacked the leadership qualities of some others. He did not have the english version of va va voom (which is to be a bit c***ish on the football field). He and Wenger made us into sophisticated footballers and sad to say we became known as french sissies when we were losing. The fire went out, we chose to cry and William Gallas actually did cry when things went bad. Fabregas as good a player he is did not have the same fire in his belly to lead as Vieira or those who wore the armband earlier.
    I look around at other teams and see such high level of c***ishness that it seems that this is the solution and key ingredient. Chelsea is brimming full and so is Man U and Man Citeh. Spurz (Lets not discuss them as they are eunuchs). Even the great gods of modern football Barcelona have some almighty c***s in their team along with Real Madrid whose manager is a prize one himself. It is a sad state of affairs that we seem to be c***less
    So we now stand in a desolate place with only one bright spark: RVP a man who can be a c*** when he wants to be (Remember the rape charge against him in his early days or the thuggish tackles when he gets beaten by another player). We do not need a Joey Barton type but RVP types who can add gusto, heart, soul, desire and ambition to succeed at any cost……….in a nutshell we need to find some solid c***s to take our beloved Arsenal back to the levels we used to be at!!!!!!!!!
    (Apologies for the language but if you can’t have a laugh then you are a ****)

  34. Pingback: 外租之星+董事会的小算盘 ‹ Arseblog中文站

  35. Stanley or Alisher – a dilemma, yes, but I think we may need to make up our minds very soon. And we the fans have the power, let’s never forget that. Is Stanley the right owner for our beloved club? Well, everything in his record so far suggests that he isn’t. He is in it for profit, not glory: he is a businessman whose business is sports outfits. If he is a smart one he will know that to maximise revenue in PL (and in Europe) a major football club needs to win things – and for that to happen substantial investment in quality players must be made. Is Stanley smart? Well, again, everything in his record so far suggests that he isn’t. A man who spent £400m+ to acquire AFC – and still doesn’t own it. A man who ostensibly has made a large profit on his shares – but is likely to make a loss because he has only one person to sell to and, what’s more, a man he has mortally offended. He owns (or part owns) a club in decline: the best players leave, the fans are angry. What will he do? My guess is, the least he can get away with – particularly when it comes to spending money. The transfer kitty I imagine is all used up on the Podoski signing and anything more must come ftom sales. Will he still be owner this time next year? I guess that will depend on how much Alisher is prepared to give him for his shares.

  36. Pingback: Is Money the only Means? Why a Sugar Daddy Owner is not the Answer | The Gooner's Drawing Room

  37. It’s quite sad really. Here I was thinking we had an amazing self sustaining business model (which can surely only be a good thing) but it turns out to be the same business model that’s keeping us from progressing. It’s great that our finances are in order but it seems we’re in a no win situation.

    Ideally, Stan would decide to invest on players. I don’t mean going crazy either, but we’re all aware that we’re lacking compared to our biggest domestic and European rivals. However, Stan investing doesn’t seem like it will happen unfortunately. This article described him to be a little more shrewd and content than what I imagined we might get from a American sports team entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs take risks. Stan needs to take a risk.

    I’m scared of Usmanov, not just because of his name.

    Though we’re in a no win situation so it may seem, we do have some things to be pleased about. The finances seem to be sorting themselves out. We might be in with a shout of winning something, maybe, perhaps. And, though it may be frustrating to be a Gooner, at least we’re not Fulham. The fans of mid-table teams like this have nothing to get excited about. They have no expectations. At least we still have hope.

  38. To be fair our American owner does pay big in the USA and will go large to get big name players and (as seen this year with the RAMS) sacks managers for poor results! We are suffering due to Wengers vision to play a group of lads £60,000 a week in the hope they will bond and take on the world and as we all know that’s never going to happen and we are stuck with them … I mean who’s going to take Denilson on £60k a week? Just wait for “having Denilson back is like a new signing” arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

  39. TOP article ! a ” be carefull what you wish for ” statement. if im honest, im probably as fickle after bad results when i see leaderless displays

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