Arsenal Stadium Naming Rights: How Can They Be Worthless?

This is my column from The Gooner issue 230. After a rave review by @ThatSimonRose on twitter earlier, I have had literally millions of requests to post this. All right, literally two. I didn’t need much persuading.

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So, Emirates sponsorship: Arsenal originally signed a £90m contract with Emirates in 2004, covering eight years of shirt sponsorship (£48m at £6m a year) and 15 years of stadium naming rights (£42m at £2.8m a year) from 2006.

Now we have a £150m deal that gives an extra five years on the kit sponsorship and seven years on the stadium name. On the face of it that’s quite a good deal – well, compared to the old one. It’s not Man Utd level, but we’re not the Man Utd brand.

What the club haven’t said is what the split is between the stadium naming and the name on the shirt. The extra seven years of having a stadium with a crap name was just tagged on to the announcement as though it were an afterthought. Emirates Vice President Boutros Boutros was asked about it and seemed a bit uncertain as to whether it was easy to change a stadium name or not. He said: “It wasn’t a case of playing hard with the club because we knew it would be difficult to change the [stadium] name. When [Arsenal] moved from Highbury we were warned . . . ‘people will not forgive you, everybody knows it as Highbury.’ We witnessed in Australia other properties have changed name and the press gets used to it quickly. They do it so quickly between one brand and another; in England it’s different people, but I believe the colour of Emirates is red, the colour of Arsenal is red, the name of Emirates, the association by that time [2021] . . . you can’t split it. If it splits I’m sure Arsenal will find somebody else.” So you can change a stadium name really easily in Australia, but in England it’s harder, but actually if you had to do it you could. Right.

When it was Ivan Gazidis’s turn, he said this: “We haven’t separated it out in that way. It’s very difficult to place a value on the [stadium] naming rights. It’s not a substantial part of the deal.”

Well surely the way to place a value on the stadium naming rights is the same way as anything else: see how much someone is willing to pay you for it! That usually works. What Ivan really appears to be saying is that once again Arsenal have not properly thought through a commercial deal.

Newcastle’s stadium is now sponsored by Wonga.com for £1.5m a year – but it has reverted to having the words ‘St James’’ back in the name, it’s not just ‘The Wonga Stadium’. Even so, ‘marketing experts’ suggested Newcastle should have been able to get £3-4m a year. So a smaller club than Arsenal without an exclusive sponsor’s name on the stadium should be able to get a minimum £3m a year? Given that, I’d say Arsenal should be able to get an absolute bare minimum £5m a year to call it ‘xxxxxxxx Stadium’ (insert name of any large brand). We got £2.8m a year in 2004 when we were desperate. And yet Ivan thinks it’s totally inconsequential that we are now tied to calling it Emirates Stadium until 2028, another 16 years! Just on the extra seven years he is basically giving away £35m minimum, and who knows how much naming rights could be sold for in 2021, when the original deal was to end?

Another thing: when the new shirt deal runs out in 2019, who will want to take it over knowing that the stadium name definitely isn’t changing for another nine years from then? You could argue that given how often people mention the stadium name it’s actually more valuable than what’s on the shirt – who on radio or TV or in the papers ever mentions a shirt sponsor? Stadium names are quoted every day.

But it’s okay, Ivan and his brilliant and expensively assembled commercial team thinks it’s not important. It’s nothing. It would be impossible to change a name (Millenium Dome to O2 Arena, anyone?) so let’s just give it away and put every ace in Emirates’ hands.

I really should try and set up a poker game with Ivan. He’d probably deal all his own cards out face up.

Follow me on Twitter: @AngryOfN5

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40 thoughts on “Arsenal Stadium Naming Rights: How Can They Be Worthless?

  1. Shirt rights are definitely more valuable. You get both an association with the team, and with players. This isn’t as big a deal for us, recently having sold all our stars, but star power is a bigger factor than a stadium name getting mentions in a paper or on TV. Actually, allow me to go back on the start of my previous statement a bit: at a place like Arsenal where the stadium is young and lacks personality, players more effectively transmit the brand too.

    Anyway good piece. I’m just glad IG & TF did anything at all to justify their positions.

  2. Too right, Gazidi$ is prize prat, I sell commercial sponsorships and every facet of a deal has a value. Any facet that will deliver higher brand integration and standout (ie sharing the brand name of tier 1 inventory) is the highest point in the value chain.

    I suggest that the NFL methodology that is being employed by the anglo american team is wrong for football and I would fire the senior team. A £ 2M salary for delivering £36m profit is bloody ridiculous- thats over 5% of the profit!!!!

    Lets hope he doesnt get a job running Apple, he would get $3 Billion a year. Funnily enough, Tim Cook, Apples CEO got paid a $4.2 million salary – double that of Gazidis for 100 times the profit. Even if you include the mahoosive $328 million he got in shares in 2011, that is still 1% of the profit. This from a MARKET LEADER- not 4th best.

    Payment for results is how it works Arsenal

  3. Arsenal fans think they know it all. Yet in the past and even now, the fans have not had the foresight to seek or acquire control over any meaningful stake in the club. Not before the club was floated and even after it was floated, not even at low points in the share price. Today AST has a microscopic ownership stake and no plans or money to mount any attempt at gaining any real skin in the game.

    Despite this glaring lack of foresight, entreprenerial zeal or any shred of business or political acumen, some very loud but empty drums persist in beating out a counter tune to any and everything the club management. Why? Are any of you in positions where you run a business in this sector, or even one of similar size in any other sector? I doubt it, because I dont see any evidence of business analysis skills much beyond tabloid back page level.

    I don’t mean this as an endorsement of any deals Gaszdis is making, but personally I’d be more interested in hearing from people like the Swiss Ramble, who actually know what a spreadsheet and business analysis are – and equally important, actually take the time to produce considered analysis of the situation and context, rather than lashing out as part of some digital mob baying for blood.

    If you really wanted to take on this subject, you’d be better off developing a few theses as to why this transaction appears as it does. I dont mean the usual “Kroenke is a fool and Gasdis is his lackey” but rather a few intellectually honest attempts at deciphering at what could be the unspoken reasons for this move?

    For example…..is there more trouble behind the scenes financially or operationally than the club is willing to let on right now, but could make the club vulnerable to cash flow problems down the road. This could be one reason for a deal that doesnt make sense based on what you see from the outside right now.

    Or is there more to come in terms of deals with Emirates that are set to go but unannounced for now?

    Or was the deal extended in return for hidden exit clauses that are favourable to AFC later on?

    You need to expore these kind of tracks rather than just hacking away at obvious and really boring Gaszdis bashing themes. He isnt a superstar in my book (and clearly not in Wenger’s) but Kroenke did not get rich by leaving idiots in charge of his businesses. And it is fair to say that none of you got a call when Kroenke was making a shortlist for the AFC chief exec job. Nor did any of you get a call for any of the 91 other similar jobs in the league. So taking an “assessment” of this deal with your main idea being that Gasdiz is a bumbling fool….only instead makes you look rather foolish.

    Just my two cents….

    • ziontrain: how about climbing off that fence and making a judgement on his performance thus far. He is not last month’s appointee, you know – he’s been in the job four years now. Name me one thing he has done which has impressed you. Does he measure up in any way, shape or form to, say David Dein, or if you like, to David Gill? How long does it take you to come to a conclusion? Phil says he’d love to play Awful Ivan at poker, because he’d reveal all his cards. Well, I’d hate to play you at scrabble because you take so long to make up your mind, you’d put me to sleep.

      • Gill is running a different club that has always been stronger commercial in the Premiership era. Its a club that comfortably supports a leveraged buyout from cash flow!! Arsenal in contrast has, even in Wenger’s glory years (pre-Emirates debt), always been a thinly disguised selling club. So its insane to make any direct comparisons to Man Utd.

        As for Dein, well he decided to sell each and every single one of his shares for all the cash that he could wring out of Mr Usmanov. His regard for the fans and AST was underlined by his donation of…..oh indeed that was ZERO shares…..to the fan’s cause. If you want to Deify (pardon the half pun) that fellow, well good luck to you. That for me smacks of the baying mob, not considered logic.

        I maintain that Gasdiz is not an idiot – he is making a lot of money doing exactly what his boss tells him. And that boss isnt Wenger, no matter the fig leaf story we get – it’s clearly Kroenke. Also known as the cheapskate who tellingly, pays Gasdiz very well and with no firing in sight.

        I mean do you think Gasdiz committed to a deal of this scale and length without Kroenke having approved the framework either in advance or prior to closure? If so, you clearly have no idea how businesses operate? Anything this huge was an ownership committment, not a management one. And if it was an awful deal that ownership didnt like, but felt they had to sign due to being misled by management beforehand, then said management would have been shown the door fairly soon after the deal.

        Gasdis doing a good job – just not the job that the fans want him to. But then again if the fans scrape together the better part of a billion quid and buy the club, I can assure you Gasdiz will sing any tune the fans ask him to. But, you just need to be the one signing his fat paychecks in order to dictate the tune.

        Don’t hate the player – change the game.

        As a side note it is hilarious to read the disparaging remarks about Wenger/Arsenal’s “socialist” wage policies…..from fans who want to tell the club owners what to do with the club owner’s money. You just cant make this stuff up.

        There is a conclusion for you: armchair capitalism gets you nowhere.

      • Of course Ivan is doing his paymaster’s bidding – that is implicit in everything I say about him. In other words, he is working (or should be) in the best interests of his boss. And that is NOT the same as saying he is working in the best interests of the Club. The two interests may coincide – but on the other hand, they may not. With Stanley, the only aspect where both interests might beneficially coincide seems to be profit – because Stanley is a business man – which means that other vast area (which Phil illuminates in his posts) like history, tradition. ethos, soul – is negected and unconsidered. But leaving that aside, even on the ‘business’ side Ivan appears to be doing badly – as you agreed above on naming rights, commercial revenue, wage policy and much more. Now it may be that Stanley is a biz whiz – though in truth his other ‘franchises’ don’t give us much hope, certainly not on the pitch, their achievements are mediocre at best. And unlike the States, the rules in Europe are not set up to protect owners, Big Clubs do go to the wall – Glasgow Rangers a few months ago. And that’s the biggest fear: not every fan is as patient as you. And if fans lose heart and stay away, the Emirates won’t be a lodestone, it will become a mill stone.

      • ain
        “on January 8, 2013 at 8:54 pm Iain said:
        Ziontrain – you are correct that as a CEO at the bequest of the owner, Gazidis has indeed done a good job- almost doubling the share price has made Kronkes investment a very sound one. It does however not take into account their customers, whom provide them with their revenue streams. Any business model that ignores their market base or doesnt pay credence to their CRM , is NOT a good business model…..”

        Please note that football fans are basically the world’s most milkable fools. Which is why even players in lower league football make far more than the fans do – in return for providing what for me is fairly unskilled product. This is a bottomless pit. What will change it are externalities, such as a recession in Asia simultaneously with the one in Europe, or similar. But otherwise, basically there will always be TV companies looking to pay for content and some companies looking to pay crazy money for some attention. Beyond that the world is full of enough suckers to make passable window dressing as “fans” in a stadium. Even at Arsenal’s stadium, its the executive boxes sold to companies and rich people that make the break-even point, the ordinary fans, some of whom are complaining about the price of their ticket on top of it all, are really a secondary consideration. Fact.

        Again I’m not a Gazdis fan. I just think the fans are nuts to have no stake in the club, then complain when it is sold back and forth for hundreds of millions, then expect to dictate policy with zero investment – and then run back each September to be miked again.

        There are fools in this whole thing. But I dont think Emirates, Kroenke or Gasdis are the ones. They are the smart ones all getting well compensated for milking the fools.

      • Ziontrain – you are correct that as a CEO at the bequest of the owner, Gazidis has indeed done a good job- almost doubling the share price has made Kronkes investment a very sound one. It does however not take into account their customers, whom provide them with their revenue streams. Any business model that ignores their market base or doesnt pay credence to their CRM , is NOT a good business model.

  4. I was pleased when the deal came out, but the stadium extension thrown in for nothing seems poor management. Especially if we fail to qualify for CL we will receive less! When you look at the sponsorship of US stadiums and then see we have an American as Head of Marketing, we really could of lead the Premiership in this field.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeozanian/2012/08/11/old-traffords-naming-rights-could-fetch-1-billion-for-manchester-uniteds-shareholders/

    ManU could sell their rights for £1Billion over 20 Years!!!
    A loss opportunity I feel

  5. Ivan is a spin merchant, nothing more. He is certainly no businessman, certainly no negotiator, certainly no leader. After years of believing that Arsenal is the best-run Club in PL, the penny has finally dropped; we now know that the Club is badly run, perhaps calamitously run. Our record on the commercial side is appalling: ten years ago the difference between ourselves and Man U was wafer thin, now our commercial revenue is 40% of theirs. The wage policy (which Arsene, tongue-in-cheek, calls ‘socialist’) is suicidal; anyone with half a brain could see that it would lead to the exodus of our finest and the accumulation of overpaid deadwood… Sorry to repeat the same old whining, Phil, but you shouldn’t have reminded me about the ‘worthless’ namimg rights. Can’t we get back to the nice stuff – like the great Herbert Chapman and THE Arsenal?

    • Okay, that’s true.

      But lets keep going. Kroenke seems to be fairly thrifty, but is paying Gasdiz a lot of money to get these results that you are unhappy with. And seems to be quite happy to continue paying Gasdiz.

      What does this mean?

  6. It’s amazing isn’t it? If you put out a detailed spreadsheet analysis nobody would read it. I think the article makes a fair point as do some of the commentators. We have been fed a line that we have a brilliant marketing team in harness when in reality ( like a lot of American marketing teams I know) it is crap. A business I was in nearly lost its complete market position because in brought in a crack US marketing team. Just because Kroenke has money don’t think he has a Midas touch in appointing geniuses.
    There is one common element at ‘socialist ‘ Arsenal. We pay far too much to mediocrities we then can’t get rid of and nowhere near enough to real talent which we lose.

    • “We pay too much”? You dont own the club. What do you pay? You pay for tickets to the game, you pay for replica shirts, a sky subscription and so on.

      You can easily get rid of any of these financial commitments. At most, all you face is a 12 month “buyout”. Spare a thought then for the people who have to balance a club’s budget while having to had out THREE, FOUR, FIVE year contract to players who could turn out to be Thierry Henry or Kabba Diawara, Lauren Koscielny or Sebastian Squillaci. You might have more sympathy….

      If you dont like the results – you are very much in control of the money you do pay. And that money is what keeps this beast alive. I’d suggest you stop paying. I’m dead serious. Football fans whinge far too much about being ripped off while simulateously insisting on living in a circle around the milking machine.

    • You’re right! Put any detailed analysis out and no one goes near it. John Pickford is still annoyed at the relatively small number of reads his guest piece on cash balances got a year ago.

  7. Basically after much negotiating over the shirt deal, they said ‘I tell you what, if you sign on the dotted line today, we’ll throw in the stadium rights. Have we got a deal?’

    Surely it would be more lucrative to have a separate sponsor however?

    • So you’d be quite happy for the stadium to be called The PlayBingo.com Stadium if it made an extra £10m? You lot are really stupid when you talk shit like this!

      • Hi goontruth
        Would you feel so strongly if it had become the JVC stadium or a brand that is deemed synonomous with Arsenal? I for one wouldnt have had an issue with separating the two. All sports have sponsors and co sponsors. If the naming of the stadia has no value, then keep it as Ashburton Grove….or Highbury South 🙂

  8. Really Ziontrain?

    ”Not before the club was floated and even after it was floated, not even at low points in the share price. Today AST has a microscopic ownership stake and no plans or money to mount any attempt at gaining any real skin in the game.

    Despite this glaring lack of foresight, entreprenerial zeal or any shred of business or political acumen, some very loud but empty drums persist in beating out a counter tune to any and everything the club management. Why? Are any of you in positions where you run a business in this sector, or even one of similar size in any other sector? I doubt it, because I dont see any evidence of business analysis skills much beyond tabloid back page level.”

    Firstly, a discussion of Ownership was not part of my or the authors post
    With shares north of £15k its a rich mans game and has nothing to do with business or political acumen, you either have Walmart or you dont. Most dont. So to cat call at the AST -who are normal fans, makes you look daft, perhaps naive – which is ironic considering your claims.

    Your second point is also off base. I can assure you myself and a multitude of Arsenal fans know their way around a P&L. To answer your question, I have run sports sponsorship for a major national newspaper group and can assure you that a- my renumeration was under 1% of the revenue I was tasked to deliver and even more salient, the CEO of said Newspaper group- who delivered profits double that of Arsenal, was renumerated at 20% of Gazidis fatcat wage.

    Tabloid hack no, concerned fan who believes the business model is flawed, yes. You are right about one thing though, I didnt get a call when The Arsenal were looking for a CEO- I also didnt get a call from the BBC before they took on Entwhistle- look at how well that went 🙂

    • That was a long winded answer which I think underlined that you havent operated a business of this level or complexity and arent going to. But you have enough experience to know that you are writing tabloid level “analysis”.

      Don’t worry – you’re in good company. All the “national newspapers” do it too.

      Just dont pretend it is particularly deep or constructive.

  9. I welcome anyone who is willing to give us more information on the arsenal finances, we’d all love to know how the wage bill is broken down or how the commercial deals are structured, for example. So thank you for your willingness!

    I would add however that you haven’t told us anything we didn’t already know. We all heard those speeches at the announcement, and we still don’t have any information about this commercial deal besides the vague figures announced at the time. To then use this as an example ‘once again’ (your words) of how the club is doing a poor job, when you have nothing to reveal, is totally disingenuous.

    It may be true. We may be utterly hopeless! But until you actually know something we don’t and have some evidence for what you seem to want to argue, keep a lid on it. Or at least don’t trumpet your conclusions so emphatically. We get it, you want to have a go, fair enough. But don’t pretend you are in a position to analyse a deal when you haven’t even seen it.

    Go and find out and then I’ll take you seriously.

      • Haha

        I wasn’t claiming you’re not saying anything.

        I was claiming you don’t know anything!

        And I think I was right.

      • Maybe I should have put the headline ‘Are Arsenal’s Stadium Naming Rights Really Worthless?’ followed by a one word article: ‘No.’ Perhaps that would have made you think you weren’t wasting so much time here.
        You have a peculiar idea of the Internet if you are surprised that everything on it doesn’t contain something totally new. If you had been there when Mozart started composing you’d probably have said, ‘That’s rubbish, he’s just using the same notes as everyone else.’

  10. Wow!

    Perhaps it’s my lonesome stay in a Leeds hotel that has made the post and comments interesting…or the fact that there are semblances of truth in both considered and passionate views

    We have a right to question a seemingly poor return for stadium naming rights as well as a right to question what simply has to have been poor management of our club over the last 10 years

    I also believe there are 3 factors that could not have been anticipated that have made the financial plans of our club irrelevant to reality – and perhaps the reason for rash and wrong deals being HIDDEN by our club…

    When we made the long term deals that committed us to moving to the Emirates – which, by the way we had to do for our LONG TERM future success, we did and could not anticipate:

    1) Abramovic upsetting our clear intention of joint domination of English football by spending £bn+ on breaking our stranglehold

    2) The global financial crisis removing a huge amount of revenue from our business plan through reduced returns from our property development plans

    3) Sheikh Mansoor bring prepared to make City the biggest club in the world

    Gents, three huge impacts that diverted our gloriously conceived plan from sensible and achievable to improbable (impossible?)

    Coupled with a flawed approach to overpaying potential stars who never quite rose to the top (and we couldn’t move on) PLUS completely ignoring the fact that fans could handle the truth about our true financial troubles PLUS not replacing at least 7 world class players with even 3…or 2…or…

    Is it any wonder the harsh reality of our predicament is that we will lose champions league football next season?

    That’s the sad fact…

    The management of our club (the way it is managed) has to change – and quickly

    I understand some of the issues, I would value more honesty and I know we will see sustained success again…as a fan, I would prefer not to wait any longer

    • Why did no one ask for honesty toward the fans – or better yet some shares donated to AST – when Dein, Fiszman and co sold the club.

      It is pure naive to complain now. All that you see here is a result of the previous owners willingness to cash out at a very high price, well in excess of what they invested. And without a shred of a thought or any sliver of charity towards the fans who invested their soul in making the club.

      If you werent compaining then, dont all of a sudden pretend that Gasdiz is evil incarnate, it only underlines that you didnt understand who you were in bed with when the club was winning trophies. They wanted their money in the end. Now you pay the rest of the price.

      Dont whine – it was a fun ride. Nothing lasts forever. And the bill always comes due.

      • My lord, the naivete is beyond belief: I am to care whether AST might or might not have “asked for shares from Dein”?

        Sir, if AST and the fans did not have 80 million good reason, then no they were never going to get any shares from him. He was not a philanthropist – he was a businessman who saw English football as an underrated sector and Arsenal as a prime property within it. Dein would have sold shoes for a buck if it was lucrative enough – and he certainly was in the business of selling Arsenal shares.

        You dont “ask” for shares in a company – you either have the money to pay for them or you have the political and social capital to demand and get them them. AST has neither. That is why they are a pimple on the back of the club, rather than a driving force of it.

        Go and look at Germany and you will see a different story. But then again they have a different culture. One in which money matters, but social balance also does. And the local fans count for more more in both the social and commercial character of the clubs. The same cannot be said of England. Much like the trains, the airports and everything else in this country, English football has been loaded to the gills with debt and flogged off to the highest foreign bidder, complete with milkable customers who dont know how to say “no more or – we are boycotting you”. And that is why we are here.

        Whatever you want to do, just dont pretend that AST panhandling for shares is any less meaningless than a homeless man begging a supermodel for a date. That lot are a toothless bunch who frankly possess not even one zillionth of the imagination, creativity or heart that you can find among the ranks of UK Uncut, the Occupy Wall St Debt program or the Cairo protesters for example.

        A penniless crew genteelly “asking for shares” indeed – from a streetwise market trader no less? Make me laugh again.

      • You were the one who used the phrase ‘ask for shares’. You just seem to know pretty definitely what everyone else is doing, usually without much actual evidence.

    • Two points: for me blaming Roman and the Sheikh is a cop-out: they don’t have a monopoly of ALL the best players, there are plenty around and they don’t all earn £200K a week. And they sure haven’t stopped Man U, Bayern, Barca, Real in their tracks. Secondly, if you live in London, you will know that residential property values have gone way UP not down these past few years. So if the management DID sell cheap, it is yet another example of how useless they are.

      • “… blaming Roman and the Sheikh is a cop-out: they don’t have a monopoly of ALL the best players, there are plenty around and they don’t all earn £200K a week….”

        In case you havent noticed they are paying salaries like 160K to the likes of Nasri to show up with a half decent game every 3 weeks or so.

        What on earth do you think that does to clubs who have to balance the books?

        Last but not least your “analysis” of the real estate developments was crap. Any developer is vulnerable to changes in the economic environment. When you have one house you can sell it at any time or not. When you have a development with 500 apartments for sale, it is a train puling you. There are deadlines, committments and loan payments that kick in. Once you hit certain marks, you HAVE to sell them at whatever price is at the time.

  11. Gazidis is a joke, great public speaker. However, we are getting smashed by Liverpool, a club on a worse decline than us. Chelsea might be successful now, however, a strong brand would want to associate with the right image. Terry, Cole, Ref debates – I am in marketing, I understand brand value very well. We should be a far more attractive venture than Cheslea and Liverpool. Lets not forget they don’t even sell their stadium name and beat us for commercial revenue. Man City is a money laundering exercise and you just have to take you hat off to Man U. If the stadium name is so valueless – Why name it? Why cant we have Highbury back?

    Really getting pissed off with the club, watching RvP rescue UTD every week is really salt in the wounds.

    I really hope some changes are made.

  12. If we won the Champions League nine years on the trot this site would be fucking moaning that we didn’t do it ten times. I’ve given you the benefit of the doubt for some time now but it’s completely pathetic.
    I grew up on the terraces in the 60;s in the shadow of the Spuds having done the first post war double. We were complete rubbish then. George Graham provided a few trophies and mind numbing boredom. Wenger brought us amazing times, a new era, financial stability and a stadium fit for kings……and all you do is moan.
    I doubt greatly oif you are from Highbury of have experienced really bad times. If you have, you should be ashamed of yourself. If you haven’t, I wouldn’t be surprised cos gloty hunters behave like that.
    Pathetic.

  13. If the gunners continue to stagnate ,don’t be surprised their deals with the sponsors could be at least 10 or even 50 % less than their main rival. The Arsenal brand is well know ww but sponsors want to be associated with successful teams and frankly the gunners have disappointed .
    This season looks like another non winning trophy one but you never know.In life as in soccer nothing is permanent. So it’s up to Wenger to put out all the stops to make the gunners successful again. Failure is not an option.

  14. Brings me back to a point I made recently regarding players contracts and the ease with which they can be torn up. Would’nt like to speculate on what it would cost us to buy our way out of this contract. Why do we always “give away” our best assets.

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