The Arsenal Situation: A Shareholder Writes. . . er, Rants

Well yesterday was depressing – not so much the result, but the manner of defeat. Total lack of concentration for five minutes – though the warning signs had been there all game, as similar through balls to those that led to both goals were cut out by the last defender two or three times at least before one got through. On every occasion the defence were not in the best positions, not supporting each other properly, not holding the same line, not aware of what each other or the attackers were doing. Anyone still think there’s no problem with the coaching? Overall Arsene Wenger is a more successful manager than George Graham, but he has a blind spot on defending you could hide the Empire State in. GG would have the players out on the training ground every day from now till May after a performance like that. And don’t bother quoting statistics about total numbers of goals conceded or any other crap. Arsenal have talented and expensive players throughout the team, so they should be better than nearly everyone else, and shouldn’t concede as many goals as most teams. It’s not the numbers that are the problem as much as the manner.

Enough of that. My blood pressure is rising. Instead of me writing any more, here’s a rant from Arsenal shareholder and season ticket holder Darren Epstein, who shared all that follows on Twitter, would you believe. He has given me permission to quote him. He doesn’t blog himself, so if you want to engage with him find him on Twitter at @DarrenArsenal1 – over 53,000 already follow him.

“The idea that the average fan goes on about 8 years is a nonsense in my opinion. Only those who shoot from the hip do. But the degradation of squad especially in the last 18 months or so, that’s why we’ve become what we’ve become: somewhat uncompetitive.

Twenty-four points behind Man Utd, who we used to compete with for the league, with probably the most average league in years, which makes it even worse. Arsène admits that too many times his defence has been found wanting this season, whether CBs or lack of a DM. Sadly he is the only one at fault for that.

All of a sudden we have a side issue of a ‘mysterious’ consortium to talk about, rather taking something away from the real issues both on and off pitch.

People focus on £123m in the bank, but that number was from last year, we have months of revenues since, which means we have a far higher amount.

The biggest issue for most is not that we were lied to when we moved, but the fact that they’ve known revenues will go through the roof in 2014, so instead of allowing a share dilution of even 5-7%, which would have meant nothing to incumbents but would have brought in £75m+, they decided we don’t need other options, we will make do, we will get by. Only one place would have benefited by offering shares: Arsenal, the club, with lowered debt and allowing cash to be freed to be spent where it was needed. But the Board were so worried about “outsiders” that they didn’t go with it. Did the board vote on whether a share issue should be a source of funding? No answer to that, because I have asked that question to Ivan at three different Q&As and he won’t say either way. Why? Because doing nothing benefits only one person. If new shares are issued incumbents would have the chance to buy proportional to their holding, which means Stan having to actually put his hand in his pocket to put money into the club in order to maintain the same size shareholding. Alisher Usmanov already said he wanted a share issue. So again, those ‘custodians’ made a decision not for the benefit of the club, but for themselves.

We are being buttered up for Stan to put Josh Kroenke on the Board in the summer in my opinion, and a statement that he’s committed to the club. But all decisions are to benefit themselves and majority shareholder Stan Kroenke.

The club continues to be an utterly dysfunctional club in ownership terms, and one that somewhat has been dictated to from beyond the grave, with a feud that in essence had nothing to do with Arsenal, but with a falling out that had consequences, with R&W not getting input to the club.

Instead of a leveraged buy out, we had the opposite: we’ve had a value increase for shareholders, built on the back of fans paying and selling assets.

I understand why a lot of people now have turned on Arsène, but you can’t hide fact that at least six of the last eight years we have been VERY competitive. However, the bottom line in all of this is that the manager has pretty much said what most of us have said: many of the current players not good enough. I believe even two world class players wouldn’t be enough now, I think we need four to turn it around properly. And will we ever get them under Stan Kroenke?”

You can also engage with me on Twitter (if I’m in the mood – I won’t lie to you): @AngryOfN5

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10 thoughts on “The Arsenal Situation: A Shareholder Writes. . . er, Rants

  1. Excellent post. Kroenke, Gazidis and the rest of the board need sacking. I’m ashamed of the way the club is being run. No ambition and no pride in our traditions. The Arsenal are known as a special club, we do things with a touch of class, in the Arsenal way. That’s being destroyed by Kroenke and Co . He doesn’t care about the Arsenal and should sell or at least give Usmanov a voice on the board.

    The sooner silent Stan runs off the better

  2. In your opinion would we have even ended up with Kroenke if it wasn’t for the complete breakdown in the relationship between Dein and Fiszman ?

    • Good question. Possibly, because Dein believed investment was needed. Would we have got Kroenke if Danny F hadn’t got ill and known it was terminal? Probably not, I’d say.

      • Almost seems to be a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face with the sale to Kroenke making sure Dein didn’t get control of the club. Had Dein not brough Kroenke in orginally, maybe we’d still have a club run by several shareholders. I’d love to understand the a little more of the history of what actually happened and why (maybe an idea for a blog post?). Maybe Fiszman overestimated Kroenke’s desire to run AFC as a club rather than as an investment, or maybe Fiszman wasn’t as good a businessman as I’ve always assumed he was

  3. Good post as always.
    In Monreal’s defence (no pun), he has had little time to adapt.
    He’s new to to English football, he’s new to the training, the Premiership is faster than the Spanish game, so on and so forth. Thrown in at the deep end… well, he’s an experienced professional some could argue. Even so, most experienced professionals need time to adapt.
    But that’s what happens when you go mid-season ‘window shopping’, even though in fairness we had little choice. With Gibbs injured it was play Santos or buy – ’nuff said.

    As for others, one could excuse Jenkinson, as he’s young and relatively inexperienced, but the main excuse I’ll suggest is that one really can’t blame him at all, anyway.

    That leaves our centre-backs to share the main burden of blame: Mertesacker, slow as in ‘lack of pace’, slow as in ‘reaction-time and awareness’. As for Vermaelen, fast paced, yet… (help me out, angryofislington as regards Vermaelen).

    However, a large portion of blame lies in the fact that for a long time (far too long) we haven’t had a ‘proper’ defensive midfielder in the team/at the club. Defence doesn’t begin at the back line of four. Defence begins just in front of the back four, in fact mainly in front of the centre-backs.

    I’ll finish with an extract from today’s ‘Daily Telegraph’:
    “Now, two centre-backs with attention deficits operate behind two central midfielders press-ganged into defensive roles. Mikel Arteta and Aaron Ramsey will never provide the screening cover that a suspect Arsenal back four require. In the big games, against incisive opponents, this open-door policy is disastrous.”

  4. The fact is and ask any journo or past players, Wenger does not carry out or allow any defensive drills or coaching on training ground, like George Graham use to until the players got it right. He does not take on board any input from other coaches, including his no2 Bouldy!

    Plus there are no dossiers or advance planning,tactics and preparation against the oppositions.
    Our team selections and tactics are predictable, hence easy for opposition to plan ahead and acheive a result against us.

    Wenger has refused to change his way and sadly has been left behind by modern astute tactical coaches. Hope he goes in summer before he squanders our transfer kitty and inflicts further humiliation on the club!

  5. Have to confess I’ve not seen much positive about the Glazers at MFU…and they do get large paws full of honey out of the profits.

  6. I agree Phil , Sunday league defending, the kind that would embarrass an under 10 coach not to mention a premier league one. But whats new !. I have been reading the posts here lately and apart from some comments by a couple of stray spuds all have been written by genuine gunners .People whose commitment to and support for the Arsenal is unquestioned. All of the criticism levied at the manager, the coach ,the board ,the CEO, Kroenke Usmanov et al has been,I have no doubt, heart felt and true. While I would never purport to speak on anyone’s behalf except my own I can’t help but notice the amount of frustration that fans are feeling . Every comment, every statement seems to express exasperation with one or all of the main people at the club ( and I am no exception as plenty of you know ). There is a feeling in my opinion at least, of desperation and a real concern for the future. . Are we going to lose our triple A rating and begin to slip slowly down the league ala Liverpool ? I have no idea as to what I can do apart from joining the AST. I have no idea as to how I can influence people in the club and get them to listen to the fans views .Nor do I have any idea of how I can make Stan Kroenke understand that I, like a million others the world over don’t care a whit about him , what he does or what he stands for. But we do care about what he does to our club. I don;t know how to contact Alistar Usminov and tell him that he needs to explain what he is up to and what he has in mind for the club ? Iif he dosen’t do that then how can the fans trust him ? Fans need answers to these and many other questions and answers we shall get . But for now we need to have faith , we have ten games left and we are still in the mix . If the spuds or anyone else think the Gunners are finshed then they know nothing about resiliance, spirit , or sheer bloody mindedness. It aint over till its over.

  7. In absolute agreement with every word. We have ended up with the wrong majority owner through a combination of greed (by all the former owners) and a personal spat between Danny F and David D.

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