Gunners At The Crossroads With The Start Of A New Decade

Ladies and Gentlemen. He’s Stone. He’s Cold. He’s Arsenal. He’s Back. He’s Darius.

May I firstly take this opportunity to wish you all on ACLF a happy new year.

It’s sometimes easy to forget the turmoil that has beset many around the world in the last decade, especially during the recent economic downturn. That’s why I feel Arsenal supporters the world over need to feel good about the fact that we are starting this new decade on a high, buoyed by a strong team ethic and determination, as well as excellent leadership by the board and Wenger.

Moving to the magnificent Emirates stadium, on time, on budget whilst maintaining a competitive edge on the playing field, was a monumental task that should not to be scoffed at. Those of a negative persuasion will quickly point out that we haven’t won anything, what is the point of playing pretty football and not winning? If only life was so simple.

Allow me to don my spectacles of the flowery variety and wax lyrical as to why the future is so bright. The future is indeed Arsenal as the old adage goes. Our only debt is a mortgage on the stadium that can be comfortably serviced from our organic revenue streams. Out of the 92 fully professional clubs of the Football Association, we are one of the few (and I can count them with the fingers on my left hand) that actually turn a genuine profit.

From the top to the bottom of the elite club championship in the world, clubs are ridden with unmanageable debt fuelled by the unsustainable ‘cheque book’ management of the last decade that dared to suggest that football was immune to the laws of economics. Manchester United, Liverpool, Hull and Portsmouth for example, are classic case studies of how not to run a football club in the 21st Century. The success of titles is no guarantee that you will be able to indefinitely leverage your equity and it’s only a matter of time before the devil comes knocking on your door, to shake your hand and collect his dues.

Arsenal on the other hand, has been labelled the small time non-spending and broke club with a tight fisted, egotistical manager who is anal about his youth experiment. In the last 5 years, our most expensive players have been Jose Antonio Reyes, Samir Nasri and Andrey Arshavin, all of whom were signed for fees that were less than £17 million. No wonder Arsenal is misguidedly seen as a poor man’s top four club who can’t match the other big spenders. Yet, this tight fisted French egomaniac has kept this club at the sharp end of the elite clubs in Europe Without bankrupting the club. Give me Wenger every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

The key thing though, is that over the last decade – whether you consider the successful move to Ashburton Grove, or the perseverance with the youth development programme or the building of one of the world’s best training academies – Arsenal has built a solid foundation for the next decade and beyond. Those who are short sighted enough to equate success with trophies at whatever cost will have been slow at picking up the fact that the footballing landscape has changed. It’s impossible to survive on the pitch if you’re living on borrowed time off the pitch.

As we start this new decade, it’s clear to see that Arsenal is on the ascendancy as other teams are wobbling as they start their descent. Pundits who are pre-empting a hearty serving of humble pie currently being baked at London Colney will suggest that Arsenal can only win the league this season if the usual suspects continue their poor form. While it’s easy to get angry at the lack of recognition for Arsenal’s effort, what isn’t in dispute is that we’re not declining and the others are on their way down.

The question has always been how long Arsenal’s transition was going to take before Wenger has another title winning squad. If you believe what you read in the papers and some blogs, your patience may have been easily worn down by the diatribe about Arsenal. If you’re more of the type with a sunny disposition, then you will understand and appreciate that the work Wenger has done over the last 4 years is now coming to fruition.

We still have the customary injury gremlins, and we still have the challenging task to maintain our mental strength, and to keep disciplined and professional on the pitch. All the ingredients are in place for this team to fight for titles and dominate Europe for the next decade and beyond. It is this last mile to success that is the most arduous, and this Arsenal team are stepping into the new decade in the right frame of mind for such a fight.

Of course, January wouldn’t be January without the silly season of the transfer window giving Arsenal fans high blood pressure. Wenger has uncharacteristically suggested that he’s going into the market – and journalists are having their bits squeezed by editors to concoct any list of transfer targets and stories to fill news columns and air waves all through the month. The truth is no one has a damn clue what Wenger will do or who he’ll sign. It might be more helpful for all of us to do something more useful – like support the team as we navigate a precarious month. If and when a new player arrives, we can chew the fat about the new addition. Until then, let’s all enjoy the football and look forward to a great year for the Arsenal, and a great decade of course.

Happy New Year!

Back in the morning with a West Ham preview. I’m off to practice my cockney knees-up routine…Roll out the barrel…’til Tomorrow.

Posted on January 2, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 67 Comments.

  1. Nontachai Jiwasurat

    Happy New Year to you too.
    Your reader from Thailand, now in the UK and actually going to the Bolton match.
    Thank you for sharing your opinion.
    Nick

  2. Another great piece of work Darius. Happy new year ACLF, lets look forward to a great 2010.

  3. Agree 100%. People don’t realise that the landscape of football changed dramatically since the Russian took over at Chelski and is proved by the fact that they can run up £350m debts without a problem and then just write it off.

    Enter Man City to try and copy the strategy.

    All of a sudden Arsenal can’t compete financially for the best players in the world, so now what do we do?

    Well they decided to produce their own world class players with a world class academy while also scouting the best youth in the world.

    Now even the Man USA are struggling financially and everyone is wondering how they’re going to pay their debts.

    Yet their sit Arsenal….less dependent on buying talent for huge fees and still producing top class performances week in week out.

    I believe we have only just begun to scratch the surface of what this strategy will lead to. Long term you’re looking at a load of super talented english players coming through….and as our academy gains more and more experience at what it takes to produce world class talent, the more efficient we’ll become in doing it.

    Let’s also realise that we now have a reputation around the world for given young players a chance and turning them into stars. That makes us more attractive to them than competing clubs so we have a further advantage.

    It’s been a long road, but proves what a visionary Arsene Wenger and the club are, and that’s what separates us from the rest.

    Also notice how clubs up and down the country are using Arsenal as a model, including all of the big 4. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

  4. darius lovely introduction to the new year for all gooners and ACLFers in particular… as you said those with a more “sunny” disposition appreciate and realize whats going on at the Arsenal, and recognize that it truly is something that other clubs will copy in the coming years as it is a legit model for success, financially and in footballing terms…

    but i think it has more to do with the general level of intelligence, wisdom, patience (insert other praise worthy virtues) that make ACLF a place for realistic discussion of Arsenal’s successes and true SUPPORT of the club.. now i may be misinterpreting the use of “sunny” as it may have much different meanings for you lot “across the pond”

    happy new year ACLFers and cheers to you Darius, another quality post…

  5. top post let’s hope for a decade of dominance from the arsenal

  6. Why does Wellington have to wait till he is 18? Is this a non-EU citizenship thing?

  7. Well fuckin’ said mate! end of story. The Arsenal model will be copied by many teams in years to come-luckily the Great Man will have us ahead of those teams, to stay there for years to come.

  8. Darius? Persian wasn’t he? and a King?

    Wenger is our King…

    he is perfectly capable of making mistakes and does …but compare his masterful handling of all things Arsenal with any of his contemporaries…we are very fortunate…

    meanwhile LG today reads more like a facist broadsheet…how sad

  9. Hambi: With all due respect I don’t totally agree with your summary.

    I do agree that the arrival of Abromovich altered the entire landscape for the EPL.
    Man Utd and Liverpool to a lesser extent were then demoted as the biggest spenders and international players chose London instead of Manchester/Liverpool.

    But the most significant factor that saw a new emphasis on ‘ Project Youth ‘ was the fact that we were moving to the grove.

    The financial implications of such a bold move required an equally bold strategy to counter dropping out of the lucrative top 4.

    The youth strategy would have been conceived and implemented at a board level with Wenger’s knowlege and approval. Wenger would have needed reassurances that new targets had to be set now that his transfer budget would be cut.

    It is probably the only realistic means of maintaining a reasonable amount of success on the field while using the majority of funds to build the new stadium.

    So therefore I think the club were well on their way down the path of youth before the arrival of Abromovich in 2003.

  10. Great article. In a sport that has been around for a century, bankrupting a club for a few trophies for the short term seems an absurd idea. The only thing I dislike about this trophyless period is the doomers that wanted le boss out and questioned his every move. Other than that I have enjoyed every single minute of the Wenger experiment. There really is just one Arsene Wenger.

    Happy New Year.

  11. If financial armageddon can hit Dubai, nothing is impossible as regards the fall of the high and mighty in the Premier League. Abramovich and the likes – watch out!

  12. Hambi, the days of outright pornographic spending are over. Look at Dubai. Look at how much money Abrahamovic lost during the economic down turn. Those days will never come back. The only reason why Chelski hasn’t been sold to the highest bidder is because the Russian doesn’t want to lose face. And all of this shit for what? A few trophies for Chelsea? Man United buying Berbatov, Nani and Anderson for a combined sixty four million pounds? That’s all over. Clubs, if they want to stay competitive will have to do what we do. And you know what? We’ve been doing this for a decade. How good is that?

  13. The days of pornographic spending are over. The clubs that hang on to that type of mentality will go the way of Newcastle and Leeds.

  14. Hallelujah! What a brilliant article.
    Darius you are the man.

  15. Happy New Year from New Zealand gooners. Great post to kick off 2010! Will enjoy devouring your comments yet again this year. I am afraid I don’t have much time for the moaners whinging about the lack of success having supported the Arsenal through thick and thin since the sixties. Unfortunately some of the newer supporters don’t realize it takes a special breed of follower to be a gooner, not prepared to follow the bland style of football other clubs dish out. Far rather playing the patient game and developing a unique squad of world beaters than a quick cash fix for short term reward.

  16. Excellent article. Happy New Year.

  17. Hi frm all Indian gooners .. Nice post mate .. We r doin well financially n have gud players for ruling the next decade .. But tat also depends on wen Chelsea n othr money rich clubs get bankrupt .. If Chelsea are spending like this, Have any idea wen they’ll be bankrupt ? Also the Mancs and Tot ? Will they in the near future or wen approx ? Enlighten me pls .. Ill be so happy the day it happens 🙂

  18. Happy New Year Everyone!

    I see fungusbum and the media have woken up to the realisation that we are once again a threat to their beloved manusa and chel$ki.

    That’s why we see fungusbum’s bum-chum, pig-boy allardyce, having a go about all the “dirty foreigners” again, and the media pond-life, starting with the daily pravda has started it’s drivel again with the “debate” about quotos etc.

    Expect a ton of this type of scummy hysteria as it slowly dawns on all these brainless morons that we are actually in with a shout.

  19. Great piece and I agree 100%.

  20. More than anything winning with song,vermaelen and sagna, whom we have brought up from obscurity, will be more satisfying than winning with say cristiano ronaldo,kaka and benzema .

  21. I am worried about what would happen if somebody like Kroenke buys us and does a Liverpool (saddles club with debt). Don’t know much about high finance but maybe somebody who does could tell us the worst case scenario? Surely we would still be financially better off than ‘pool what with having a new stadium and all…

  22. Ganesh. Chelsea are already broke.

    Abramovich this week has personally written off their £350 million debt and they still run annual losses of over £70 million. The rest of Chelsea’s debt was turned into equity with the hope that Abramovich might one day sell a proportion of the shares to claw some money back.

    Chelsea are running scared that UEFA’s financial fairness rules will hit them hard and kick them out of Europe and this paper magic they’ve done to make debts disappear is the oldest trick in the book when it comes to massaging accounts and your balance sheet. Watch Middle Eastlands City do the same to wipe out their stupid debt.

    Chelsea haven’t even bought any big name players in the last 2 years, and despite the massive rumours of David Villa’s £50 million move and Frank Ribery’s £50 million move, there’s no chance of them spending that kind of money from a guy who has just lost over £350 million in trying to clear their shameless debt. Besides, they can’t afford paying salaries of £10 million a year to players anymore – that’s just stupid.

    Chelsea’s only saving grace is to sell players (and who’s going to buy geriatrics) or sell the naming rights to their stadium. They might as well call the stadium ‘The Kremlin@Stamford Bridge.com’.

    They’ve of course tried their version of Wenger’s youth policy with Frank Arneson and Peter Kenyon showing their neolithic incompetence by screwing up the Gael Kakuta transfer. That stunt alone cost Chelsea by getting them banned for 2 transfer windows. If you think that they won’t be able to sign anyone decent until the summer of 2011, then you’ll understand that their geriatric pensioners on the team will be well past their sell by date. Chelsea can’t even string a Carling cup youth team that is competitive if they tried.

  23. Finngun.

    The covenants that control our stadium debts and the repament plans are rock solid. None of our lenders who financed the stadium will risk the ‘safe pair of hands’ that Arsenal are by letting any new equity owner used leveraged finance to buy the club like the Glazers or Hicks and Gillett.

    Even if Kroenke wanted to use other people’s money to buy the rest of Arsenal, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. Well, actually, he could pay off the stadium debt in the process (in addition to the purchase price of the club) and keep our lenders happy, but even Kroenke ain’t that stupid.

  24. FG, that’s why the multi-owner model is the best.

    There’s a percentage (I think it’s around 75% or more – open to correction), that a shareholde has to attain before he or she can start loading the club with debt ( I suspect it’s to do with the whole “special resolution” threshhold?).

    If Kroenke and Ushmanov both keep their stakes above 25%, neither will be able to load any personal debt onto the club without the other’s co-operation (that’s what Usmanov referred to as a “blocking” vote/shareholding).

    3 or more large shareholders would be ideal to minimise this risk.

  25. “fungusbum’s bum-chum, pig-boy allardyce”

    I like it.

  26. I’ve just texted a friend who errs towards the Doomers and told him to read today’s ACLF and reolve for the New Year to give up reading Le Grove. That way he is guaranteed a happier 2010.

  27. Thanks Darius and Mike,

    feel less worried already although, if I understood correctly, there is still a theoretical (?) risk that a single large shareholder could load the club with debt in the future.

  28. Good post Darius. Worth repeating to the deaf ears or maybe not!

    Think as fans we need to be totally respectful of our club’s chosen financial path, while not overly getting drawn into firing scorn onto others. After all it is not the fans, that despite much shouting actually decide the way a club’s ownership will follow. While I understand a distaste for Chelsea’s balance sheet mismanagement, Manchester United’s financial complexities are for my thinking at least, a little harsh. After all, the were sure footed until their takeover.

    While I am delighted to have Arsene at the helm, the strongest rationale has been his scintilating style of football and it is that which should be the heart of our support for the man.

    To football matters, I was concerned to read Arsene’s quotes on the return of Bendtner. His absence is yet to hurt deeply, but with resources continually stretched his return would be a great comfort. I suspect Arsene was dearly looking forward to blooding him early season before truly calling upon his physicality, in the testing months of January and February.

  29. Hi FG

    Yes, if a shareholder was able to attain 75%+ of the shareholding of the club then he would be able to pass a special resolution allowing him or her to use the assets of the company to raise a loan from one or other institution (or him/herself – getting all Monty Python “Life of Brian” – for that matter).

    I suppose they could also then make the club pay them back the interest + capital on such a loan (if it were an internal loan ala the chel$ki recipe excluding the interest bit – before the recent magic display).

    I’m not sure that paying one’s own loan back with interest is the best tax move (certainly it wouldn’t be so in my country where interest over a fairly low threshold is taxable whereas dividends are not – mind you, under section 38 of the company’s act in my country you are also not allowed to use a company’s assets to raise funds to purchase the company, but that doesn’t seem to stop any of the multitude of leveraged buyouts over here anyway – apparently the law is only for those who can’t afford good lawyers).

    There is also the theoretical threat that Kroenke and Usmanov could get together along with a few other shareholders and vote with 75% plus to raise loans on the company to cover their debts, but that might be a bridge too far (I would certainly hope so).

    At the end of the day, unless by some miracle the Arsenal Shareholders Trust chaps manage to get a substantial shareholding under their umbrella (25%+), we, like any other publicly traded company, will be at risk.

    Our one saving grace at the moment is that banks are very wary of lending money to anything even vaguely dodgy right now, but that will change before too long.

    What would be nice is if we managed to persuade the board to do a rights issue and issue more shares, say 10 or 50 or 100 shares for each current share held.

    The cost of a single share would then be reduced dramatically (the market cap would remain the same), and minions like us might then be able to afford a share or three ourselves, thus spreading the ownership over a wider population, and thus reducing the risk of only a few wealthy individuals owning large stakes in the club (not that it helped manusa mind you).

    I guess there are just some things that are beyond our control, and we just have to sit tight and hope for the best.

  30. aniruddh ingle

    Seriously le grove is so anitarsenal and the latest post is a good example it really pisses me off to see some arsenal fans around the world cannot appreciate the work done by wenger.

  31. Well done Darius a very well constructed and informative article.

    Forgive me but I cant help thinking that the clamour for trophies comes mainly from the younger Gooners, which is much in keeping with the thought process that has fuelled the current economic crisis and huge personal indebtedness that has helped drive it.

    Plus of course the many newspaper journo’s desperate to hang on to a job in a world of shrinking circulation.

    The Guardian for instance, is likely to cease publication with the drying up of their principle revenue earner, ( government job advertising), after the next election, whoever wins it, sadly throwing even more out of work.

    No wonder that so many journo’s look for sensational and nonsensical articles, anything to sell extra copies to fans seeking instant gratification, far more than quality.

    Whereas the long term fans glory in the sheer beauty of Wengerball. Marvelling at the skill of the multi national collection of young men nurtured in the Academy by Liam Brady and his team, under the watchful and benevolent eye of Wenger. All practised in a superb state of the art training establishment , which draws visitors from around the world, and displayed in the comfort of a remarkable new stadium, financed by the recycling of Highbury and the 60,000 bums the team sets on seats each game.

    Remarkably this is achieved within the bounds of a budget that keeps the balance sheet showing a profit and the club on an even keel, whilst maintaining a residence in the top four of the premier league and a permanent place in the champions league.

    How ironic then that Wengers blueprint is being taken up by other clubs across the world and grudgingly acknowledged by the football family as the only way forward in these financially stringent times.

    Perhaps the finest tribute to the Directors, Arsene Wenger and his remarkable management team. Is the fact that the Arsenal more than any other team, is quoted by most football fans as the team, other than their own, they would most like to watch

    So role on 2010 lets sit back watch the youngsters mature and glory in the beautiful game as it should be played

  32. By: aniruddh ingle on January 2, 2010
    at 1:43 pm

    absolutely agree on that. They having a pop at wenger for saying chelsea are half cheating.

    Even on football manager unlimited money is cheating but in the real world these guys think its ok and worse still attack wenger for expressing an opinion.

    the authors of that site have the narrowest veiws and are the chaviest of chavs

  33. i actually thought it impossible to hate fellow arsenal fans before the internet but sites like le grove and arsenal action make me think otherwise

  34. Happy new year to all of you here!

    Mr.Nonthachai, i’m a Arsenal fan from Bangkok! It’s nice to see someone from the country in here!

    Last, there are always people who behave strangely and stupidly towards their beloved clubs. They just need to wake up and realize that it’s not their club, it’s OURS. And by that I mean it’s for all of us.

    And you can’t pick and choose your moment to support ain’t it? I mean if someone doesn’t always do things the way you want so you ended up not giving a shit then I think Mars would be a better place to live.

  35. Good stuff Darius, and Yogi yesterday. Makes for some very enjoyable reading after a few days away getting messy in the New Forest. Happy New Year all you lovely ACLFers!

    So Big Phil was injured after all, and may get a start tomorrow! If that’s so, I think AW looking at a centre half this January, is highly unlikely. Big Phil and Silvestre to cover any short term injury that may keep TV or WG out, Djourou to crack on next season.

    Noble, Cole, Parker, Franco and Ilunga all out for the Wet Spammers tomorrow means we’ll be facing a 2nd rate side.

    – – – – – – – – – Fabianski – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Sagna – Senderos – Vermaelen – Traore
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – Song – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – Ramsey – – Diaby – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Nasri – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – -Rosicky
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – Eduardo – – – – – – – – – –

    That should send the Spammers into a dithering dribbling mess.

    Would also like to see some Carlos Vela action.

  36. SomeRandomGunner

    I read Chelsea are some how debt free… with equities. How can this happen ? Already abrohomovic owns the club and from where these equities or liquidation can come ? It is like some Y bought a house from X and then again loaned something to X now X pays back the money by selling the part of house which Y already owns . Am i missing something here ??

  37. Great post, Darius. Very apposite for the start of the transfer window.

    And a great big Happy New Year to my fellow ACLFers! Thanks YW and all the regulars for making this such an intelligent, entertaining and sometimes fiery place to come.

  38. SRG.

    All it means is that Abramovich has come to the realisation that he’s lost £700 million plus that he personally lent to Chelsea to finance this misguided project of world domination. He’s never going to get back the £350 million that he’s written off, and he hopes that the rest that was converted to equity will one day be bought by someone or some people. At least he has a chance of recouping the proportion of the original debt that has been turned into equity when he is in a position to sell them on.

    On top of that, Chelsea’s outgoings especially on their payroll, are way above what they can actually bring in as revenue – and they continue to run losses every year. Last financial year, they had a £70 million loss.

    I’ll be surprised if Abramovich is interested in throwing his money down a bottomless pit to fund more big name transfers especially after losing over £700 million – and for what? 2 EPL titles, 2 FA cups and a couple of league cup titles. He must be thinking whether the titles so far balanced by an unsustainable payroll and unacceptable losses are worth him losing the best part of a billion pounds.

    And they still have a team of over 30 year olds soon to retire and no coherent policy of affordable and sustainable squad development.

  39. SRG, I think it’s an accounting trick. Abramovich is basically writing off the sums he’s poured in. I suspect (please correct me if you know better) that there is nevertheless nothing to stop RA selling on his “equity” to someone else who might demand repayment.

  40. Or…what Darius said!

  41. @ LimparAssist

    No Silvestre? Surely he will play?

  42. Hi all on ACLF, have a great 2010. Been reading ACLF since the 2nd half of the 08/09 season and I’ve been hooked ever since. Glad to see that there are some level-headed objective (if this word can ever apply to us) supporters out there who see the club like i do.

    Blogs like Le Grove are a disgrace to us Arsenal supporters as a whole and I rather appalled to see so many subscribe to the crap they spew each day. I confess I have only been an Arsenal supporter since the 04/05 season and pretty much missed out on the Invincibles year, but still I can appreciate what Arsene is doing for our club and I’m extremely happy to support a club that plays magnificent football and at the same time is well-managed.

    I often get a lot of stick from other fans, namely those from the Utd and Chelsea camps who like to deride us for our lack of silverware, when I say Arsenal’s the best in the world, but I just look at financial stability and scintillating passing football and it’s clear that we ARE the best in the world, both on and off the pitch.

    So here’s to another great year and hopefully some silverware, and even if we don’t win, so be it. Gunners for life! Cheers all.

  43. The new decade starts at the end of 2010. Not now. Wenger will go down as one of the great managers in EPL history. He turned around the fortunes of the Gunners and brought them titles. His team had the grestest season in EPL history. An unbeaten season. Zero-zippo losses. This may never happen again. The new year is bright. Arsenal has a very good chance to win the EPL title. The Gunners need to bring in a striker. You don’t need to break the bank. What I like is that Wenger created a farm system for young players to feed the big club. This is what we call it in America. Successful baseball teams have a good farm system. Yankees are the exception in the modern era but if you examine Yankee baseball history they had a huge farm system.(1920-1960).
    The new year is bright for the Gunners. Spam bobby http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

  44. You might be right, FG. Maybe we’ll rest both Gallas and TV. Or, if Phil doesn’t pass his fitness test then Silvestre to replace Gallas. I think if we just rest one, it’ll be Gallas. TV seems pretty much inexhaustable.

    I did enjoy his crab impression, scampering away from Gabby Agbo at our place the other day, miraculously avoiding handballing it to the point where Agbo fell down laughing. Great, great player is our Vermaelen.

  45. SomeRandomGunner

    Thanks Darius, I think i understand it now. It is like some kind of agreement Roman has that if some one ever buys some shares they have to pay for these debts too. Good luck to him 😀 .

  46. @ LA

    Yes, TV is a real find.

  47. nasirjonesnasri

    Happy late New Year to everyone at ACLF! Keep up the outstanding work Yogi (and Darius!).

  48. happy new year one and all actual arsenal supporters d world over!

  49. look at bobbygee talking about my yankees (my other passion, along with the Green Bay Packers)… they actually have an extremely successful farm system, but choose to sell… err trade their talented prospects for bigger names. pretty much the complete opposite of arsenal… sometimes i feel weird being critical of chelsea/citeh bc the yanks in a lot of ways are very similar…

    then again major league baseball is completely different than the EPL/domestic club football… wish sports in the US resembled your system more to be honest

  50. Anyone who thinks the decade ends at the end of 2010 is an idiot.

    So you think the 1920’s ended at dec 31st 1930? Ridiculous.

  51. My eyes my poooooooooooooooor eyes!!!!

    eeeeeeeewww…..just clicked on Bobbygee’s link for his website for the first time and his got a picture up there!!!!

    Why oh why would he do that…..his bordering on Terez, Rooney ugly……..DAMNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

  52. LA is that a picture of Keane crying?

  53. Why has bobbygee put a picture of me on his blog?

    He writes some crazy things:

    “For you all Arsenal fans, I do have a very warm spot in my heart the Gunners. I am a fan of Man U too. So, deal with it.”

    “I have been saying this since the very beginning. You really need to start listening to me. I know this game. I may not all the X’s and O’s but I have a very good working knowledge of the game. Trust me when I say this. God gave me this ability to analyze futebol, football, hoops, and baseball.”

    “I drive coaches nuts. I know what questions to ask to get them to tell me exactly what is going on.”

    “I can get to the heart of an issue very fast.”

    “God also gave me this gift to crawl inside people’s heads to see the world through their eyes. All gifts come from God.”

    Perhaps I’m being naughty making these quotations. Since the new year has just begun, I thought people might want cheering up.

  54. nasirjonesnasri

    I wanna see Bobby throw a few of his questions Arsene’s way. Let’s see how fast he can get to an issue pertaining to Arsenal. I reckon Arsene would be the perfect guy to give Bobby that verbal slap upside the head he so desperately needs.

  55. Great article. Just started reading ur blog a few weeks ago, and I’m really just understanding what I’ve been missing all this while… One nil to the Arsenal!, or two, maybe three, probably four… Arsene rocks!

  56. Haha Pz…..

  57. Polizi- I love this bit ” Eduardo’s rocket of a free kick went bing, bam, boom, off the wall and into the net” ha ha ha ha . Is bobby relate to Borat?

  58. Wenger created a farm system….hilarious. And he’s not even joking. hahaha….

  59. “At the halfway point of the season, this title is still up for grabs. I think the title fight will come down to Chelsea, Arsenal, Man U, Liverpool, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Aston Villa.

    Mark these words.”

    And thus spoke Bobbygee. After spending days in his laboratory, he’s narrowed it down to 7 teams who could win the title.

  60. Proper Arsenal supporters on the blog.
    May the force continue to grow in this club.

  61. “One League One side Millwall made it to the 2003-04 final where the Loins lost to Man U 3-0.”

    I love that slip from Bobbygee’s “blog’ – or perhaps he did mean to say loins.

  62. Good points, I think I will definitely subscribe!🙂. I’ll go and read some more!

  63. Thanks Darius for ur reply to my ques .. Am more than happy wit ur reply .. Hope Chelsea bcum bankrupt and Abrahmovic quits Chelsea stating “You’ve nly brought me debts!!” .. Hope tat day comes wen financial rules are applied tat is u have to sell to spend means u’ve to manage ur budget .. We’ll benefit the most if tat happens .. Cant wait to see the day Chelsea Fc is a history(a short history tat too .. Jus frm 2004 .. Jus some 5 odd yrs they’ve been in the Top4) .. Arsenal to rule the nxt decade as the youth project is beginning to flourish .. Gunner4life . . 🙂

  64. We shouldn’t laugh at bobbygee – he is obviously not well. Poor bloke doesn’t even know which decade it is.
    Big day today, the cup still has a little magic, must be my age.

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