One Of Us Speaks: Welcome To The Era Of The Rakish, Super Fly Arsenal.

Big Al is here, using the so-called right of his opinion…

Even before Arsenal’s own version of Gallipoli on Sunday afternoon, it was already looking like one of the worst weekends of football. In both England and Spain, well-run, respectable clubs and Spurs, were about to be obliterated by the mechanised giants destroying the European game, while the people who purport to hold its interests looked on.

In Spain the Villarreal and Sevilla presidents spoke up, decrying the crushing inequity in their league. And you’d be right to point out that there are some key differences between the administration of La Liga and the Premiership, but, unless something drastic happens, in the end the outcome will be pretty much the same; both leagues will have three clubs dumping on the rest from their gilded garderobes.

I’m sure you’re aware of all this, but let me tell you something about Arsenal today:

Our wage bill is now comfortably fifth in the Premier League. Even after this week’s business we have made a big profit on transfers in the last eight years. Only two Arsenal players are among Europe’s Top 100 best-paid players – and one of those is Arshavin. We are now firmly second tier; rogues, out there hustling on the streets, while Chelsea, Manchester City and those self-styled paupers, Manchester United orgy in their penthouses like Caligula at Studio 54.

How did this happen? Well, that’s simple – we’ve been priced out, and in the crudest way possible. We saw it coming quite early, made some snap decisions and took a different path, bringing in younger players and letting the team blossom in unison. But it’s clear now, more than ever, that this game is rigged and it’s time to get dirty.

When Abramovich showed up in 2003 the road ahead was suddenly blockaded by tankers with oil company logos. We were shunted onto a parallel trail, and forced to put our faith in Wenger to carry us through the transition. We needed him to overcome the obstacles, to guide us from Highbury to Ashburton Grove – a short walk in any other circumstances, but a brutal slog across uncharted terrain for Arsenal FC. All the while the landscape changed as we ran; wages rose and transfer records were broken. Our opponents established scouting networks we could never afford and bought our targets to spite us.

Still Wenger kept on. Too loyal to have his head turned by another club, too dignified to bemoan the conditions imposed by his naive masters. Even as the terrain became almost impassable, the demands of the media and some fans became ever shriller, on he ran. You know, the people who took all the trail-blazing ingenuity for granted and nitpicked the eccentricities.

And you know what else – we nearly pulled it off. Despite being dwarfed by our main rivals, despite having our best players cherry picked, despite being derided in the media, despite the growing discontent, we got so damned close: Three finals in five years. In the running for the league title for three of those as well. We were pushing it too hard and the strain told in the end, amid injuries and bitter disappointments. Truly the Carling Cup final felt like a deathblow. We could all sense it at the time, and I feel that we’ve only just hit the bottom.

All the while our fans have had to look across to that tarmacked highway while we negotiate our dusty track and watch, as our rivals have souped up their sports cars with increasingly extravagant modifications. You can’t blame us for being envious, but Arsenal runs on sweat, not oil. We need to take pride in self-sustenance, and keep going, keep supporting with everything we’ve got, because our team needs us more than ever.

Seriously, it’s getting expensive, but when you take your seat at Ashburton Grove you can be sure that the club does need you more than Chelsea or Manchester City need their supporters. We’re not some billionaire’s plaything; there’s a vital, mutually supportive relationship between Arsenal fans, players and board that needs constant maintenance.

That doesn’t mean our club can’t take care of itself either – we’ve suddenly got all streetwise. The more observant will have spotted us, lurking in shadowy doorways, face hidden by a tilted fedora and raised collar, waiting and watching less prudent clubs flounder. We’ve been observing Fenerbahçe mired in a betting scandal; we read the news about Werder Bremen’s financial woes; we saw the once great Monaco sink into Ligue 2. And don’t think we’d been ignoring Bolton and Everton round our way, on their last legs, suffocating in this noxious environment polluted by Chelsea and City’s poisonous emissions.

So we strolled up and took their stuff from them. And if they didn’t like what we were offering then we left them to ponder their own oblivion: “Their choice”. Cahill will leave next year, either for free or less than the £8 million we offered. And in the end Everton had to let Mikel Arteta go; he’s no replacement for Cesc, but that was never the aim. Instead we have a hugely experienced premiership player with the technique and vision of the best midfielders in the Champions League.

That’s right; we took their stuff. After years accused of being too wide-eye and quixotic, Arsenal has developed an alter ego – the kind of club that strikes a clandestine deal for one of Barcelona’s best prospects, and, when they protest, takes another one for the hassle. Months later across the channel, Lille officials knock on the door of a hotel room, soon to discover that their potential new recruit has been smuggled to North London.

So that’s how it’s got to be. Welcome to the era of rakish, Super Fly Arsenal.

Take it away Curtis.

That’s enough of this young mod’s forgotten story for today. ’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 2, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 322 Comments.

  1. Genius. By far, the best gooner blog around. Thanks.

  2. Love it. Hope this new look Arsenal can go against the odds again and finish in the top 3.

  3. I think that there are valid other points of view, but bloody brilliant column.

  4. Norms

    I like it!! Humorous but true. Now we have to see where we go from here. We’ve brought in experience, so that we can slowly blood our talented youngsters in good time – we would have demoralised even Wilshire if he had had to play at Man U as his very first senior game.

    We have bought time, as well as lifted our spirits now…..and as I read on another blog, the proof of the pudding is that we cannot wait fro our next game….. will we even believe the team sheet?! Everyone is a good signing, even the unknown ones – I remember the “who’s he?” when Vieira first arrived, and he was not the only one greeted with reservations.

    So well done Arsene, well done Arsenal…..and go far far away those of you who can only moan.

  5. Just Another Luke

    A very enjoyable read indeed, OOU. Right up there with the very best in literary merit terms. Once started, I was enthralled to the very end of the post.

  6. Apart from the fact that we shouldn’t be priced out as we had 100 million to spend on players (40 million + cesc + nasri), and we spent 40 of it, and the fact that our wage bill was 3rd or 4th in the premiership and the reason we had no players paid huge amounts was due to a decision to pay players like denilson and almunia higher wages to improve squad harmony.

    Yes apart from those facts, it was a nice article, and probably even true for the first few years at the Emirates.

  7. Brilliant.

  8. aw, Adam, you big killjoy.

  9. Great post OOU. One of the best I’ve seen here. A complete package.

    “…but Arsenal runs on sweat,
    not oil…”

    So true! Can’t agree more.

    Now, we’ve got what we want.
    1) New faces
    2) Experience blended with youth
    3) Removal of ‘deadwood’
    4) Team Spirit and commitment

    lets hope that the new additions can blend into Wengerball seamlessly.

    I hope our wage structure issue can be revisited, cos it seems to be our biggest obstacle in landing players (oilers aside). Not everyone will take a paycut to play for us.

  10. Brilliant post. Deserves to be read by a wider audience.

  11. Very eloquent and shockingly accurate. This is a piece I’d love to see in the mainstream media. Roll on “Financial Fair Play” or the game will soon be a sad farce….

  12. OOU – 🙂 Genius mate, pure fucking genius!!! Now let the season start for real and lets just see where we end up, I have a feeling we will be surprising a lot of people with this squad.

  13. Well written but I think we have forgotten a few crucial points…

    Arsenal is owned by 2 mulch-billionaires…Stan and Usmanov…in fact the Russian is far more wealthier than his counter part roman…

    Now the difference between the rich owners from city/chelsea/utd versus arsenal is that our owner (Stan majority owner) bought Arsenal not because he is a big Arsenal fan but because he wanted to invest in an opportunity which can earn him back…Stan’s main business is investing in sports teams (from US to the UK) and make handsome profits…

    Stan does not want to flaunt and show to the world that his club has won so many trophies…he can very well splash the cash and create a galacticos but his purpose is quite different…

    But on the other hand if our russian owner in the future expands his stake beyond 50% shareholding I am pretty sure he will act in the same way as the city/utd/chelsea ownners…in effect chancing the entire functioning from self sustenance to creating a team of stars which win trophies….

    So the bottom line for me is the attitude of the owners which defines the way in which a club is run…

  14. Sedetganw Degafi

    Good article.

    But, some questions come to my mind when I went through your article.

    I think Arsenal is owned by two billionaires who are as rich as the Chelsea, Liverpool, and Man U owners. In this case, can we say that we are running by ‘ourselves and our sweat’? Unlike the owners of the other big clubs, Arsenal owners have failed to invest in the Club. The majority shareholder was talking about self-sustenance.

    I believe that some money must be flowing to the club very soon. We shall not lag behind. We will be a middle table team for years to come unless we adapt ourselves to changing circumstances. The playing field has been changed. Scores of years would pass till we get another type of playing field. So, I think adaptability and dynamism are necessary to keep our club at the top level. This in turn calls for buying the best players. Moreover, if we don’t have ‘big players’, we cannot compete with City, United and Liverpool in the market. So, going for big signings is a MUST in the recent football politics.

    Moreover, big players have a hidden impact in the decisions of the referees and opposing teams. The sociology of football shows that favorable decisions go to big players. Gervinho’s red card against Newcastle could have been a maximum of yellow card had Roney committed the foul. This is where Wenger failed. Big players matter very much in the market and football field. So, INVEST in big players. We need some of them.

    Moreover, stress of opposing team players rise when they know that they are playing against big players. The stress is so high that it affects performance negatively. Measure the stress level of Terry when he plays against Park (our new signing) and Ashley Young. You would find incredible differences.




  17. Awesome writing

  18. Well I am off to bed with a smile on my face and for that I thank you OneOfUs 🙂 <——- see big smile!! And none too soon I will wager as I am sure the doomers are waking up as I type this and will be on any second, later COYG!!!

  19. We will get there by hook even though some are ahead of us by crook

  20. Excellent piece of writing. Just wish arsenal fans could all get behind the team and refuse to be manipulated by the media. I can accept stinging criticism aimed at Wenger but for someone who has arguably had more impact than any other manager (including Sir Alex) in transforming the development of football in England to be subjected to relentless (and many times extremely vile personal abuse) beggars belief. I know that some sections of the media have their own agenda, but many Arsenal blogs must hang their heads in shame- very many.

  21. This is unquestionably the finest single piece of football journalism I’ve read this year. It’s a classic piece. It just about ranks with the best of cricket journalism coming out of the Caribbean from the 30s to the 60s and that’s saying something.

    For those who might honestly believe that football is not actually run by corporate muck and greed, hacking and bludgeoning their way through the joy of football, may I venture to suggest you read “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists” by Robert Tressell, a great English classic, and work your way up. It’s not about football, it’s about a building site, but in some ways the football fan is a modern ragged trousered philanthropist, and the biggest and most deluded philanthropists of all, in England, are the fans of Chelsea, City and Manchester United.

  22. Jabba's Delights

    Good article

    I think every gooner would agree with you that its been incredibly hard to compete and we have come close on occasion.

    Where allot of gooners wouldnt agree with you is that we havent done all we can to compete. We have kept transfer funds back in the last 3 years, which could have been spent on improving the team…………this is undeniable, and who knows if it had been spendt we might have won a trophy.

    Lets see how we get on with the new boys. exciting times

  23. Amit–Stan’s not into sports teams because he is out to make a buck. Sports teams don’t really make people money (although Arsenal maybe the exception). They’re playthings you buy because you love sports and the team. He spent 500M pounds on Arsenal. He could put that in a hedge fund and make 10-12% a year, easy. He will NEVER make that consistently at Arsenal.

    For all the others who think he’s into Arsenal for the money, get a grip, Stan is in it because he loves sports. This is true of Arsenal as it is true of his other franchises.

  24. Honestly, I think the team in the long term would be better of if we used the 60M or whatever is left of transfer warchest to pay down the debt. Seems the loan is around 8-9%, so putting that to paying debt would give us an extra 6M per year. Pay down 200M, and thats an extra 20M a year. We’ve bought and bought well, so unless we can get a Benzema/Hazard/Goetze (not sure of him, though), might be better to pay down debt than buying medoirce English grit for 17M.

  25. Nice write up OOU.

  26. Everyone has been either rubbing or wringing their hands about the merits of the last-minute deals. Who is quality and who is not. Will this team place us in the top 4.
    What we got for what we spent.

    But I wonder if Arsene doesn’t look at all this from a very different viewpoint.

    Obviously he knew that he needed to strengthen, but while everybody else is focused on Mertesacker and Arteta and Santos and the game next weekend, I think that Arsene is out on the back porch smiling happily about Jack, Ramsey, Oxo, Ryo, Frimpo, and the others.

    He will feel that this injection of experienced players will hold the fort just enough to get us through until the newest batch of young ones emerge,

    Mertesacker is one for the long term, but what better example of this thinking than the 1 year loan with Benayoun.

    It all used to be about Cesc. Now it is Jack…..but with a whole load of others traveling with him.

    Arsene has bought them all a year or two…again…even if it was all a bit desperate, and at some psychological cost.

    But the future is always what he thinks about.

    Not a criticism. OK for me.

  27. Göteborgs Gooner

    Tim Payton is a tool.

  28. Big Al – I want some of what you’re having.

    Great post to start the day with and a reminder of why the other dross in the mainstream football media needs to be avoided.

    And what’s this nonsense I hear about Le Grove being a respectable Arsenal blog. First I have to pay a licence fee to the bastards and then they force me to accept their criminal behaviour and negligence of employing cretins like Robbie Savage – and now an endorsement of that cesspit of a site?

    Consols must be blowing a gasket about the BBC.

    Really tragic when it should be wordsmiths like Big Al and Yogi out there punting for the Arsenal.

  29. Nailed it Big Al. Big time.

    You have brought us from Highbury via ‘project youth’ to where we stand today. We were, oh, so close. Nearly turned them all over. Brilliant summary. I hope you’ve succeeded in laying a few ghosts.

    We have moved on. Now we slug it out.

    I’m afraid it is too much to hope that this story will ever be told in the media, not while they see sites like ‘LeGrove’ as respected and Tim Payton as the ‘voice of the fans’. Not while the BBC employ Robbie Bloody Savage. A disgrace to sport and broadcasting.

    I’ve said it before but Lord Reith must be turning in his grave As he famously said, ‘Educate, Inform, Entertain or Fuck off’.

    (I think I might have added the last bit but it was a long time ago).

    “In both England and Spain, well-run, respectable clubs and Spurs, ……’ Ha,Ha,Ha!

  30. Jabba’s Delights, good to see you’ve toned down.

  31. I liken our recent attempts with the youth project like growing flowers. Arsene got himself some top quality seeds, but didn’t bother with any soil. He watered them every day, and they did show signs of blooming but never really did. He has thrown away those seeds now and got himself some new ones. Only this time he has bought some soil to go with them. He hasn’t bought the flashiest brand on the market, but the soil he has bought is tried and tested by other gardners that he knows. Now he will water the seeds (and soil) every day and see if things are differnt.

    I think these flowers may bloom better. And make the garden look very nice indeed 🙂

  32. @Consols – I have a contact in the mental health sector. He’s a fixer. Do you think there’s any merit in pulling a few strings to get Pete Wood and Tim Payton sectioned? While we’re at it I’m pretty sure I can make a case for Robbie Savage.

  33. Darius – You really would not have to make a case for Savage; simply persuade him to talk for a few seconds to them.

  34. I find it baffing that so many fans have such a naive relationship to money. That they talk about 35m as it is nothing. That city’s money use are the norm. That 120k a week is somethin any good player should get.
    Until this year people saw a.cole as a greedy bitch. This year people say why did we not pay him 5k more a week? it’s nothing! Surly he was worth60k a week. Chelsea was right we were wrong. What is happening? Why do people suddenly think a.cole was right ??

  35. Fantastic article! super writing. i think its a new mentality for fans to get into and really back the team this year. come on you goooners

  36. Excellent article, but I can’t help thinking that the club would have been better off investing the £65M that they received for Cesc,nasri,clichy and eboue, on 4 players of quality before the season started, rather than the £55M that they have spent on 9 new players of variable quality.
    The world and his uncle could see that we would lose Cesc and nasri, so there is no excuse for not securing quality replacements back in July. If players will not sign because of the wage structure then change it. We could have signed Enrique and Mata for £30M, and for another £40M we could have signed a striker and the player from Rennes that we were supposedly interested in.
    As it is we did nothing got hammered by Manu and the panic bought at the £1 Shop

  37. How in the blue fuck is LeGroan a “respectable” site? And how in Zeus’s buttcrack is Tim “Harry-Redknapp-is-better-than-Wenger” Payton the “voice of the fans”? The same LeGroan who compared Chu Young Park to cheap pig kidneys they bought once? The same Tim Payton who abuses any Gooner who dares to contradict him and told me that I was no Gooner since I wasn’t born within spitting distance of Highbury?

    And Robbie Savage?! That’s the same Robbie Savage who said Mertesacker was no good as evidenced by his dodgy spell in Real Madrid? The same Robbie Savage who Theo had to call up and set straight on the phone once?

    What is this world turning into?

    All that bullshit aside, top post OoU. Though I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the image of Arsenal as the predator who can only go after the weak and infirm, I believe it’s only a matter of time before we’re bringing down giraffes on our own.

  38. Your website has been a guiding light for me as a Arsenal supporter over the past 3 years(only found it then). It’s very easy to loose sight of the bigger picture and the last few weeks have been hard but today’s post is like a renewing of vows. Thanks.

  39. We have had an attidute clearout as much as anything. Most of the players that have left the club (not all) were all decent players, but with questionable mentalities IMO. Bendtner, Denilson, Eboue have all had this leveled at them from various sectors of the fansbase; maybe there was some truth in there?

  40. A great read Yogi… Wish Arsenal the best!

  41. Great! You’ve told the truth!

  42. Fantastic piece Big Al, superbly written, better than most editorials the daily rags can produce.

  43. Excellent post…

  44. Btw I tink we started out as well as united and city last year. Some good goals the first month.

  45. Well Darius, I think andy might have touched on something there.

    It occurred to me while abusing Reith’s famous prescription for a future BBC that Savage doesn’t inform or educate and he only amuses in the sense that lunatics in asylums were once seen as sources of fun for paying visitors.

  46. Good post OOU

    A new look Arsenal with passion and aggressiveness and a new look Wenger prepared to do the dirty over other teams as they have done to us. The start of a new Arsenal age……….

    I hope during the next Transfer window Arsene employs someone especially to monitor Man City and the Spuds, and everytime they put in a bid for someone, we do to and scupper their bid.

    I think we are about to see a new revolution at the Emirates, on and off the pitch. We now have a team with depth and therefore, injuries shouldn’t be a problem for the rest of the season. But I hope players can stay fit.

    Can’t wait to see Wilshere play alongside Arteta and CY Park alongside RVP and 3G’s, these combinations are going to set the EPL alight.

  47. Highbury Tealeaf

    Really Really a fantastic blog…So refreshing after the staggering lack of originality being shown by our so called jornos, for whom ‘Reactionary’ seems to be the current buzz word. Perhaps they should take a closer look at their own work to better understand what it actually means…

  48. Some good points there. There was a cursory lumping in of Man Utd with Chelsea and City early on though that was conveniently dropped later in the piece. United generate their own money in much the same way we do except their commercial activities make them look like Harrods in comparison to our Trotters Independent Traders. In fact, you could argue they’ve been just as much hampered as we have with our stadium development since the Glazers took over when they saddled the club with a huge debt and took out money by the shovel load. and they are the current champions, not City or Chelsea. So it is possible to compete, but the club needs to get it’s sponsorship (I accept there is a reason for this, but these are coming up soon for renegotiation), merchandising, investment and PR arses in gear and quickly if we are not to be completely left behind and render all of Wenger’s great recent work bringing through talented young players redundant.

  49. YW

    Barcelona dont spend as much as City Chelsea and Madrid.Yet they are the best team in the world.

    Its not all about money its about having a good manager and great players.And sadly Wenger hasnt been a good manager for 5 years and all our good players end up leaving

  50. Never Stop posting! A cultured left foot is the BEST Arsenal blog around, anther well written and enjoyable post!

  51. amit

    The minority owner is not even on the board. All he has is a financial stake, he is irrelevant , has zero say in anything and it does not matter what money he has, it will never go near Arsenal unless Stan says so. Minority shareholders do not often occur as they end up with a large investment over which they have no control.

    As the Glaziers know 51% is all that matters – they are currently trying to raise the money they borrowed to buy the whole club by selling 49% shares in it, to the gullible? – you do the sums. In Arsenal, Stan had to be prepared to buy the whole shebang, but only needed 51% to run it. Financial regulations insist that a top price offer is made for the whole company precisely so peoples investments are not stranded in Usmanov’s position.

    The fact that Usmanov chose to keep the investment shows that he really is rich as he does not care. As Nancy B-S found the 15% she had was virtually useless and unsaleable on the open market without alliances on the board or until one of the big players could reach 51% with her shares.

    So to Stan, he has not got the money of Usmanov and by all accounts is interested in Arsenal as a going concern and not as a fucking vanity toy for pimps and prostitutes. (not that I have anything or enough, against the real ones) So it would appear that until Stan’s vanity gets the better of him and/or he decides to have a ‘who has got the bigger dick competition’ with Etihad or Abramovich, we are in the same financial position as we were previously.

  52. Sorry erratum.

    Did I say ‘a fucking vanity toy for pimps and prostitutes’?

    I meant “tax right off”.

    Do accept my appologies.

  53. GREAT article.

  54. Fuck off Brian, you useless tool. Why come on here and bring the vibe down. Cretin.

  55. Forgetting the new signings.At least Wnger has started to clearout the deadwood.Denilson Eboue Vela And Bendtner.But still Squillaci Diaby Rosicky and amazingly Almunia remain.How many premiership games will they start after the Summer singings.Rosicky wont start before Benayoun.Squillaci is now our 6th CB!!!!

  56. Excellent post Big Al.

    I agree with PB about Brian. Wasn’t he the slimy snail in the Magic Roundabout?

  57. Well, well!

    Ponyboy has dragged himself from the beaches and bars to honour us with his well crafted and targeted wisdom.

    How are you my man? Life still holding up on your island?

  58. Brian

    How the fuck is never finishing below 5th, not being a good manager? By your logic there are only ‘wealthy’ clubs (x2) and Ferguson in the Premiere League that qualify. All the other managers are ….shit?

    Think before you spew.

  59. There is so much to admire in our club. Shame about some ignorant “fans” who fail to understand the meaning of the word “support”.

    Big Al: are you suggesting we will go in for Cahill in Jan? I had assumed we were all set in defence following Per’s arrival. Maybe JD is going to make way?

    What does everyone think of our options at centre forward?

    Loving our midfield possibilities now. Thanks Yogi, OOU and Darius for everything you do in the name of supporting the Arsenal – it is appreciated perhaps more than you will ever know.

  60. Wonderful writing, Big Al. Sums up the journey with wit and insight.

    Shame about one or two of the comments and the ignorance displayed therein.

  61. Despite being a Spurs fan, I still enjoy reading this blog and this article in particular was very good – despite that little dig at the start…

    I know we’ll always have our bitter rivalry, and long may it continue(!), but I can never say a bad word about the way Arsenal as a football club is run. No true football fan ever could.

    Spurs has a similar ethos that I am also very proud of, we just need a little more in the success department……… all part of being a fan though, right?

    Any victory for Arsenal over Manchester City will get a cheer from our corner of North London, that’s for sure.

  62. The money asked for Cahill was too much for a one year contract. 17mil

    Cahill had a choice, insist on going to the spuds for 4 years or wait and come to a proven club in Jan or on a free next year.

    For Everton if they are in a survival race in Jan they will keep him to the bitter, but he will be coming our way in Jan for 6-8 mil if they are mid table.

    Either way I think he may be coming. We need him now just to keep Djourou off the pitch, but February is the cruelest month!

    Actually I have stopped feeling the need to preach about Djourou since people started noticing that something is amiss there. So I take that back.

  63. “Highbury to Ashburton Grove – a short walk in any other circumstances, but a brutal slog across uncharted terrain for Arsenal FC.”

    Brilliant OOU.

  64. SA – Do you mean Bolton? (not Everton). Cahill would be mental to take a move in Jan anyway. If he becomes a free agent he is in for a very big payday.

  65. Just Another Luke

    SA Gooner

    I’m confused how Everton comes into the picture for Cahill, unless you’re referring to Tim Cahill whom we are not interested in signing. In my view, our interest in Gary Cahill may drop unless it is for an attractive fee.

  66. Chris

    Sorry, I had no idea you had just posted that before and I would have been a little more respectful if I knew it was going to come out like that. No direct offence intended.

    Have a good season and we promise that Ade will be treated with the utmost passion when he drops by.

  67. Yes sorry.

  68. Yes Luke.

    Sorry about that too. Lots of mistakes this morning.

  69. Respect to SAGooner.

  70. slight hint of plagiarism? but a first no doubt. thanx for that.:-)

  71. Chris – Fair points.

    I would wish you good luck for the season, but we both know that I wuoldn’t mean it 😉

  72. @tateezee 7:07.
    You forgot one thing:
    5) Prime Minister and First Lady.

  73. @tateezee 7:07.
    You forgot one thing:
    5) Prime Minister and First Lady.
    Thanks Big Al, what a nice post.

  74. useless mobile phones.

  75. I love your work! I shall never visit Arseblog or Arsenal Vision again! Despite the horror start I predict Top 3 in the Premier League, an FA Cup win and a Champions League semi final.

  76. I hope we go for Cahill in January. I think Kozzer, Djourou and Squill are playing for the 2 backup places from now until then, whereby Squill will most likely move on. While i rate Cahill i also find it funny but totally predictable that the english press can find more fault with a 75 cap german international than they do with a 3 cap english backup international. – i listened to a podcast the other day where a reporter from the daily mail actually said he was almost past it! At 26 hes almost past it!

    A nice stat on Per i heard from the arseblog – since hes broken into the german national team (at 20) Per has missed about 10 of all games played by Germany.

  77. Darius/consol,

    Unfortunately these days even critcising shitty journalism/punditry is reward enough for the fuckers to continue doing it. The B-B-C knew full well what they were doing when they hired a complete moron like S-a-v-a-g-e.

    Similarly D-a-n R-o-a-n chose to include in his blog comments from the two most negative Arsenal fans in the world to generate hits. It worked. Most of us visited his blog, shit I even posted a link! Granted, I left negative feedback but it’s still feedback, and just a drop in the ocean when you look at the morons who comment. “We missed out on our number 1 target – Scott Dann!”. Fuck me.

  78. haha yes indeed goonerandy.

    Of course it should go without saying, but my hope and good will towards Arsenal beating Manchester City doesn’t extend to the upcoming Swansea game! 😉

  79. Top writing. In such dark and materialistic world, it says true about our principle.
    Arsenal run on sweat not oil, so true. Granted some few mistakes that would have made success seems so closer rather yet so far, we are on the right track.

    If there’s another 1-2 more sheikh own a football club in England, i might give up football anyway. I saw how beautfiully Man City spanked Spuds – but still no respect from me or what so ever. Would you respect a 100M race winner while using doping?

    Such a naive world we’re living unfortunately. So much, for fair play.

    Last year was the best squad we have post Invicible. Unfortunately, we are rebuilding again. The way i see it, we have a great foundation. With the way Wenger handle the crisis, I have never been prouder as Gooner.

    Once again, top writing, I am fan.

  80. OOU,

    Great article, really well presented.

    If Arshavin is the only player in the top 100, then we must must be paying fringe/youth players extortinate amounts. Diaby, Denilson, Bendtner, Almunia, Rosickyall recieved extensions and pay increases (reportedly) over the last 24 months. Perhaps, Arshavins sole inclusion in the top paid list puts weight to this rational fear.

    Additionally, we were able to pay Henry, Campbell, Vieria bigger wages before the stadium move, so again, there seems to be rational thought behind our very flat, yet expensive wage structure.

    I’m not looking to start a riot on here, as I certainly agree with being priced out of many a move. however, a player like Juan Mata, whilst a club record signing and at the high end of our wage structure could have been affordable, if we didnt have such a small jump between lowest and highest earners?

    Ramsey was reportedly offered 20k/week to come to Arsenal ahead of the £5k at United. We are renowned for landing top youth talent for development and financial purposes. Perhaps a rethink of our wage structure will allow us to compete for the likes of Mata, but we will never be able to land an Aguero / Yaya Toure untill the laws of economics rebalance the football bubble.

    Deficit fiscal policy to be apparent in Saudi Arabia by 2012 will spread through the region like wild fire, with only weakened montetary policy available to appease further uproar amongst a social underbelly swelling with increased living costs and unemployment, reckless games like football clubs, formula 1, £100million horses will surely have to slow down?

  81. Talking about plagiarism.

    I heard there is a new blogg coming out that features just the Super clubs that have billionaire funding. It is called Vanity Fair. They realized that there was a possible overlap with another publication, but got agreement to run with the title as long as they stuck to their main subject and did not cover things like cosmetic surgery and implants of the owners, wives, family or players – like hair or buttock implants. Or talk about anything relevant.

    Or maybe that was Le Grove

  82. Lets take on the challenge. Its too early to say woooohhh. Go arsenal go gooners we shall have it all.

  83. “Our wage bill is now comfortably fifth in the Premier League. Even after this week’s business we have made a big profit on transfers in the last eight years. Only two Arsenal players are among Europe’s Top 100 best-paid players – and one of those is Arshavin. We are now firmly second tier; rogues, out there hustling on the streets, while Chelsea, Manchester City and those self-styled paupers, Manchester United orgy in their penthouses like Caligula at Studio 54.”

    That sentance convinces me that project youth is far from dead for the foreseable future unless we join the ranks of the massive spenders and shell out – even then its still going to be difficult as those clubs can feasibly come up with even more imaginative ways to attract extra investment (man city naming rights, man utd share foatation).

    The fact that we have been fruitfull in unearthing the likes of Fab, Clichy, wilshere, ramsey, walcott, gibbs etc and have made profits on the majority of them is incentive enough but also that we will struggle to match transfer fees and wages in the face of competition from the other 3 clubs for established talent.

    We may buy 1 stellar name in a season but the lists people expect (hazard, mata and whoever) , i cant see that happening for a while, thats why we will continue to buy young (potential, ryo, chamberlin, jenks) and supplement with a bit of experience (rosickys, eduardo’s, squilachis, artetas, benayoons etc) the same as previous yrs.

    Could be our Ajax moment – when they went from europes elite to 2nd tier in europe but hopefully our managers experience and know how should keep us competitive for the forseable future – after all he is one of the greatest managers out there and Arsenals best ever manager.

  84. I think our ploicy of paying wages to youngs players has pro’s and cons. It ensures that we will attract younger player, and also keep them in their development stages. The problem is that invairably when a contrcat is renewed, the wages go up. Which mean by the time a player is in the 1st team squad they are on huge sums of money, for a player which may not have developed and achieved very little in the game.

    It is when we deceide we do not want these players any more that this becomes an issue and is probably hte reason both Bendtner and Denilson have gone on loan rather than being sold; I would be amazed if any club would match their wages. I read yesterday also that the likes of Almunia are on £60k a week. Who else is going to pay that for an average goalkeeper?

    I am all for remwarding our players, but lets wait until they have done something to reward them for eh?

    In short, we have too many average players on high wages meaning we will struggle to offload them.

  85. OOU, you are class, Arsenal quality.

    You reminded me of something I’ve wanted to share about this TDD. How come no one has given kudos to Ivan and his management team for the fantastic work they did to pull off these signings? The same Ivan who in the run-up to the window was maligned and slandered by the blog-whores and the anti-support as being useless and out of his depth. Unlike the mendacious media and the stupidly naive, the club could not have signed four quality players in two days without intense preparation, stealth and plain bloody-mindedness. Note none in the media nor the the financial big-three had the slightest clue about our targets until our deals were almost done and dusted.

    Most of all, despite the stupidity of those who believe we should overpay and blow our entire surplus on transfers, nobody was able to screw the club with extortionate demands (I am thinking of that jackass, Bolton’s Phil Gartside) as the management team stuck to its budget and its valuation of players.

    May this be a signal lesson to many well thinking supporters who have been suckered into believing that the inflation in transfer fees and wages fueled by City and Chelsea is sustainable. None of these clubs are remotely self-sufficient and the day their billionaire sugar-daddies bail-out the whole house of cards will come tumbling down. In the mean time other less endowed clubs are being driven to the wall as they desperately try to keep up (read Bolton and Everton). Due to the usual secrecy between bankers and their clients none of us will ever know how many other clubs are running on fumes rather than sweat or oil.

    Big up OOU.

  86. Delia--Block 112

    What a super post today, a true reflection on our situation. I have found the vile language aimed at Arsene on the Arsenal blogisphere totally repugnent and those responsible cannot be considered as true Gooners. Perhaps it’s my age but some of these cretins are beyond the pail.
    A pity there is so little time for everyone to gel before the Swansea game but those with PL experience should be up to the challenge from day one.I do worry a little that our Brazilian LB might take a while to settle in. Any Portugese speakers left at the club?
    Can’t wait for Next Saturday. Everything crossed that the boys get back from the Interlul unscaithed.
    As always COYRs

    PS : Loved Oxo last night, at last a winger who can acurately cross the ball. Thought Lansbury MOTM. Will be flicking channels tonight .

  87. Et tu Bendtner!
    You didn’t get more games because you didn’t deserve it. Now you are playing at your level, enjoy.
    What a tool?

  88. Brilliant analysis.

    Project youth is not dead – I think our transfers are a great blend of youth and experience – and we have home-grown youth coming through who most supporters are not yet familiar with (eg Afobe). A shame though that someone like Lansbury can play so well for England and look ordinary in the (admittedly limited) chances he has had for us…

  89. Just Another Luke

    On young players’ wages, the step up in wages was to incentivise exceptionally talented players like Cesc to sign the long term contract that he did. Mind you, this happened before Cesc was recognised as an exceptional talent by the world at large, one able to step into the boots of the legendary PV4. So what if there were 3 misses for every hit. That single hit made us tens of millions. The long-term contract gave us a fair amount of leverage to keep Cesc for as long as we did. Similarly for Wilshire whose wage was also stepped up when he was promoted to the first team at 16 (?).

  90. I think the players we signed explained the reason it was all done so late (surprisingly to some it wasn`t incompetence on behalf of AW or IG or the board), I am of the opinion that we were trying to get the balance right between players with EPL experience and better value overseas players. So when we didn`t get Cahill we went for Metsacker, this had to be balanced by Artetas EPL experience over an non-english based target.

    In January if we are there or there abouts and need a boost to the squad how about a cheeky bid to bring back Anelka? Still clinical in front of goal and not lost his pace yet, can play up front on his own as well as central or wide as part of a 3


  91. the fact thqt AW has brought in two midfielders with combined ages of 60 should inform project youth is not dead otherwise he would have spent the money on a world class replacement for Cesc, but he didnt. he wouldnt want ramsey to be ousted where as i would sell him tomorrow. players in i like, gervino, better than naz in terms of attacking providing and scoring goals. santos, gibbs for me is cer5tainly not ready, havnt seen him play but he has a good track record. pers, time will tell but he must be better than djouro. chamberlin, this boy is good and will go far, must admit i was dissapointed with the other players when he came on as they didnt seem to want to give him the ball, or maybe that was just me. i see him as a replacement for ramsey. i wont discuss my dislikes cause its friday and im in a good mood, lets wait and see

  92. Wengers dream was to have players all trained by Arsenal and only know Arsenal with the intention that they would bleed Arsenal and be loyal. Thats all well and good but human nature isnt like that. Sure some will be what you want them to be, but others wont give a shit about the club in the way you want. Sometimes a player bought at the age of 29 will hold The Arsenal closer to his heart than a player at 23 who has been 6 years at the club. Thats what Wenger has lost sight of i feel until now …. ??????

  93. Shotta

    Another post attacking fans, really?

    You are king of the gloat old bean, I hope your having fun.

  94. At the risk of an argument with you shotta, my friend, I don’t think the case for Gazidis and his corporate team is yet made.

    They delivered in the window, to what degree we will never know, but they did deliver. Credit for that.

    I wait to be impressed by his leadership skills, communications srtategy and income generation

  95. Well of course Bendtner had options while at Arsenal. He could have banged in afew more goals for a start.

    Never got a fair chance! Pfft!

  96. Lovely bit of writing OOU and the “runs on sweat, not oil” a beautiful phrase

    I trust you will not be inconvenienced if I steal it !

    The only point that struck me, as it did a few of the readers, was on occasions just a few more drops of sweat and we would have got what out efforts deserved – perhaps not the trophy but the satisfaction of really feeling that we had produced the very best we could.

  97. The greatest post Arsenal blog post EVER, Big Al, and I mean that. You know where to find them, YW…

  98. I agree consolsbob, the the jury is still out on Gazidis and his team, credit where its due but they have work yet to do

  99. As normally, a brilliant guest post. I think it’s been an excellent choice by Yogi to have guests, and he really can pick the gems – that’s a bit Wengerish, isn’t it. 😉

  100. Re: Gazidis and co…

    The impressive performance on deadline day quite clearly shows the pace at which transfers can be executed – especially considering we moved for multiple players. It was refreshing for see.

    They have been poor thus far in growing our commercial revenue, especially as we have had Tom Fox on board for nearly three years. United have dwarfed our main sponshorship deal by branding thier training tops.

  101. If Wenger regrew his hair and grew a moustache he would look like a pale Ron O’Neal. That would make one hell of a touchline figure.

    Its nice to see a ruthless (but legal) attitude by Arsenal in the transfer market. If only Arshavin would rediscover his form we would have another new signing for free.

  102. As has already been said, excellent article OOU. Really well written from start to finish.

    This transfer window has been a huge success imo. People were talking about the lack of effort/mentality/complacency etc last season, and i think Wenger has planned this summer brilliantly – in that he has gotten rid of some of the more ‘damaging’ and/or aloof personalities. This is a bit of an assumption, as i’m obviously not privvy to what goes on behind the scenes, but feel that now we have these players out of the way, we will have a much more cohesive team on and off the pitch. And by the sounds of what the new signings are saying, they have wanted to play for us for some time, and truly appreciate the Arsenal way. Wenger always makes a big thing of the ‘types of personality’ that he has in his squads, and when some got a bit above their stations, he shipped them out for players who don’t think they’re more than the club, or think they are better than they are.

    With the lovely blend of experience and youth that we have now (or seeds and soil as Andy put it!) I feel we have a team ready to challenge again on all fronts for the next few years. Keep this current crop, and with one or 2 top quality signings each year, we will be dominant.

    On this wage structure malarky, I have a feeling that in a couple of years, once we are completely debt free and our sponsorship deals are as lucrative as they should be, we may see the board go for a bit of a shift in the structure. i.e. upping the more established player’s wages to narrow the gap with the big spending clubs (was just thinking over the £100k mark, not the ludicrous amounts of Citeh & Real Madrid) while leaving the squad players wages as they are – which is great pay for people not guaranteed to play.

    Don’t know how they’d implement that without pissing off the squad players, but I think something along those lines will happen, the richer we get as a club. What do you think?

  103. Arteta soundbites on his move to The Arsenal on SSN now

  104. Excellent article, every word was a joy!

    I have to say Bendtner limited his own chances imo. If his attitude was right he could have and maybe still be a good player for us. Chamakh has good qualities about his play – his aerial ability, his link up play, he isn’t a Van persie but when the team ticks he will get goals. Maybe more so now as we seem to have improved our crossing ability. He could prove to be instrumental in games when Van Persie is absent and we simply need to graft to find a goal. How many times have we seen shite teams grab a set piece against us. Now we have Arteta as well, its another area we will certainly improve. Set pieces have been pretty poor over the last year or so at the Emirates.

    Going back to Bendtner, he WILL get goals at Sunderland, no doubt about it. It is a huge shame how things turned out. Some may not feel that way and be glad to see the back of him, but he is a rare breed of a striker. 22 yrs old, built like a tank, good feet for a big guy, great in the air, and has a great scoring record. Anyway, Chu could prove a wise signing, and offer that experience and reliability up top when we need it. We have Chamakh as well if we ever need a plan B. His confidence has dropped, you could argue the teams has as well. Van Persie’s penalty? one of the poorest I have seen from an Arsenal player in a long while.

    The new signings are just what we needed, the likes of Ramsay, Gibbs will be able to play football without such a burden now.

  105. Anicoll5

    ‘Runs on sweat not oil’ is not his phrase – it’s what Wenger said!

  106. @ hkm | September 2, 2011 at 8:09 am

    “Obviously he knew that he needed to strengthen, but while everybody else is focused on Mertesacker and Arteta and Santos and the game next weekend, I think that Arsene is out on the back porch smiling happily about Jack, Ramsey, Oxo, Ryo, Frimpo, and the others.

    He will feel that this injection of experienced players will hold the fort just enough to get us through until the newest batch of young ones emerge, ”

    I agree – Our most talented players are the youngsters Jack, Ramsey, Oxo, Ryo, Frimpo,- also gerv though he is slightly older.

    the new signings were as much about given the youths the time to develop with out too much constant pressure to perform ( they under pressure to hold down a team place anyways but to push the team to challenge for trophies is asking a bit much at the mo for 19,20,22 yrs olds).

  107. It was always gonna be tough after d “Fabnas” debacle. But we’v done a pretty good job strengthening the squad. Our players don’t lack d talent but rather concentration and the fighting spirit necessary to overturn difficult situations. That is what AW has broght into the team. We look forward to a better structured defence and midfield. these will combine to improve our natural flowing attack. I’m positive we could nik something this season……just being rebelliously optimistic.

  108. consolsbob | September 2, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Never got a fair chance! Pfft!

    I know i found his comments strange – he had the chance but often got muscled of the ball by a 5 foot full back.

    For his size and bulk there was not enough fight if compared to someone like Ade”show me the money”bayor

  109. Big Al……you are ‘Big Al’

    Brilliant write up!

  110. Curses RGG – you caught me there – I should have recognised the Gallic lilt !!

    ( I’ll still steal it though)

  111. Brilliant, just brilliant.

    Caligula at Studio 54? Urrrgh! but brilliant.

    Agree with ZimPaul – this is really up there.

  112. Nice one, Deise. We’ve backed a winner in JuJu. Or kidnapped him from the train station in our fedoras…

  113. hkm | September 2, 2011 at 8:09 am

    “He will feel that this injection of experienced players will hold the fort just enough to get us through until the newest batch of young ones emerge,”

    Thats how I looked at the signings…….taking the pressure off our youth.

    In addition, I can see having this level of experience from Arteta, Santos, Benayoun (all or some) on the pitch will only bring out better performances from Arshavin – Rosicky – RvP.

    Ditto for Mertesacker’s influence on Vermaelen, Kos, DJ,& Sagna.

  114. consolsbob | September 2, 2011 at 11:26 am
    Fair points re waiting to be convinced of “leadership skills, communications strategy and income generation.”
    But give jack his jacket. It was said Gazidis excelled in the MLS when it came to contract negotiations and driving a hard bargain. Seems this was the mindset of his team.

  115. Brilliant OOU. Simply too good.
    And I’ll tell you what hats off to YW for giving other writers the opportunity. Last year Darius, this year One Of Us. If I had a blog I’d be too jealous of your writing to let you play on mine!

  116. Writers & Pundits.

    These punks get awards for reporting and writing and little do they know that in reality they get outshone every day by a dude who calls himself Yogi with far less tools for the job than they have.

    Truly remarkable article.

  117. I wonder. If we could snatch rodwell if everton continues their financial mess Nd rodwell develops positively.

  118. Hola! Consols… just before hitting the beach for a few cold doing well, my friend – excited and positive…lost it a bit with the sad Life of Brian, but generally all is well in the AFC and ACLF firmament.
    Per – what a Per! – and Arteta (anyone think of a good name for the Spaniard ?) – love the fact that every single signing is WANTING to wear the Arsenal shirt.. Good times are coming, but they sure [were] comin’ slow…

  119. Very good post OOU,
    We did indeed come close on quite a few occasions. Shame we lacked that tiny bit extra necessary to finish the job.

    I don’t care much than money is ruining the market. When the new commercial contracts come on stream.we’ll be joining the big boys soon enough ourselves. But unlike Chelsea and Man-City, we will be able to sustain our growth.

  120. I don’t want to put a downer on the positivness of all the current posters but I’ve been messing with team selection for the Swansea game with consideration to suspensions and injuries. I think Wenger is still going to have a problem on 10 sept. This is what I managed:


    ——Ramsey—–Diaby or Arteta——-Rosicky

    Walcott—————————————–Park or Ryo
    Bench: Fabianski, Kos, Diaby or Arteta, Park or Ryo,
    Arshavin, Yossi, Oxo

    That would be a 4-3-3, can people understand what I’m saying and can anyone come up with a better suggestion. 🙂

  121. Parting sentiments from Arteta. He seems like a classy bloke.

  122. Northbank – Frimpong is back aint he? He got a 1 game ban as it was 2 yellows? Right?

  123. Deise – Thats right.

    I reckon:





    Will start.

  124. An exellent post from a writer’s writer. Has off to you, sir.

  125. @Deise
    You may be right…. it was two yellows…… phew, I was starting to panic, no back up FB’s, no DFM’s
    Wenger still has a bit of a headache for selection though.

  126. Fantastic post Big Al! It is a compelling argument you make, one that is likely too subtle to be understood by those who would choose to support their own ideas over the club’s.

    A true representation of what it means to be a supporter of The Arsenal.

  127. Lovely piece. Flawed logic in places, perhaps, but gorgeous writing.

  128. Mate very well written article…thank you for this.. it has been upsetting seeing how so many fans have become so critical of Wenger when he is the one man who has kept us afloat.

    I think there is so much that goes on behind the scenes..

    Thank you for this..I cannot wait for the season ahead.

  129. Very interesting article, Big Al. I think you are absolutely correct. We have developed an alter ego and are now taking other peoples stuff. A kind of hierarchy of takers if you like with Chelsea and Manchester City being at the top of the pyramid. It must be said, however, that Manchester United is aother team that is living on sweat, staying at the top of the league through the guile of an excellent manager.

    The Spanish and English Premier leagues are extraordinary examples of non competitiveness. One wonders why they are in business if we understand year after year who is going to win the League. A few teams live in a world of their own bolstered by income from oil wells and other sources not available to other members of their leagues. On some rare occasions a lesser financed team comes into the picture and smites one of the giants but it is a rare event indeed.

    It is a fact that the dice have been loaded for quite some time. I wonder how long this state of affairs will continue given the unstable nature of the countries from which all this money is originating. In addition, the unstableness has crept into the financial markets of Europe in general. Spain, Italy, Greece and Ireland to name a few, are struggling just to remain afloat. In fact, the signs of discontent have hit the streets of England! Football operations are seemingly occuring within a vaccum and how long can we expect this to continue?

  130. yeah Northbank still bit of a weak bench as those available to start will have no choice but to start …. BUT … from there on its all gravy 😉

  131. Excellent stuff, particularly this: ‘That doesn’t mean our club can’t take care of itself either – we’ve suddenly got all streetwise’. I love that analogy, it really fits.

    This post is so good, I had a cheeky little click on Limpars link and read it all over again. Perfect.

  132. JuJu hit a hat trick. Casual.

    I love the way we use football and hard work to compete, while the other fuckers just spunk some other other fuckers money.

  133. Too much otherness there…

  134. Alright, mattyboy? What link… you on twatter?

  135. tateezee @ 8:28 am,

    I agree. Long may it be so!

  136. An article without an iota of truth in it!

    When Villareal cry about the disparity in Spain, it’s truth. What has Arsenal got to do with it? You guys are among the 10 most earning clubs in the world, hence money is not the problem. Your problem has been always that you guys got your priorities right. Trusting the youth and the youth system is the right decision. But blindly believing that the youth alone will emerge and take you to promised lands is foolish. It’s an injustice done to these promising talents. No team will win with youth alone. You need to have a mixture of both. You complained about wage structures being too high and you guys being kept out due to spiralling transfer fees. I do agree with that, it’s insane now. But the real quation was that in how many of those deals were Arsene actually interested. His stubborness to admit the short comings of the team is not fault of others. Even when cesc and Nasri left he was in no mood to sign anyone, had it not been for the 8-2, there wouldn’t have been much signing.

  137. Lovely stuff! Got a link to any highlights Limps?

  138. You’ve definitely got a way with words, OOU. Fantastic piece.

    Some good stuff in the comments, too. I especially like people like Chris. He may be a Spud but he’s got a bit of class and respect that.

  139. Man Utd are the guys living beyond their means with three credit cards and mounting debts. Man City the greasy oiks who have got lucky and won the lottery, buying lavish goods they know nothing about. Chelsea are the new money, drinking skinny coffee on the Kings Road without a clue of the real world, not knowing who they are or where thay are going. As for us, we are the naturally cool guys, who work hard and live within our means. We have a clear plan and will enjoy the ride. Everything we do oozes class and no amount of money can buy that.


  140. “Even when cesc and Nasri left he was in no mood to sign anyone, had it not been for the 8-2, there wouldn’t have been much signing.”

    I didn’t know you were Wenger’s counsellor Bibin. Any other nuggets to share with us? Who’s in the starting lineup for the next match? If only you were around with your access to his thoughts and moods during the transfer window, we would have known his intentions all along, and many would have been far less stressed about the whole thing.

  141. No offense Bibin but you must be ‘blind’ as you say or just very confused to have missed out on our 06-08 squad that included in the first team the likes of Adebayor, Flamini, Hleb, Rosicky & Eduardo to name a few. All in their mid-twenties. Ohhh, nearly forgot Gallas. And the others.

    Injuries, slightly vain egos, injuries and the rest deprived us of those players at a time when a stadium move and a protracted games of musical chairs in the boardroom meant that money was to tight to mention.

  142. Bibin, your knowledge of Arsenal is right up there with my knowledge of Barcelona. And that’s why I don’t write on Barcelona fan forums.

  143. Well said Finsbury.

  144. Hey LA, hows it going? I was talking about your Curtis Mayfield link. Great soundtrack to a great piece of writing. Really enjoyed them both.

    I’m not down with twitter yet I’m afraid. I’ve been relying on Fungunner and other to provide quotes from Little Jack and the rest.

  145. Bravo! splendid piece of writing.

    If only half of the Gooners out there who go badmouthing the club they supposedly support had a little more perspective to see things in a less emotional way.

    Keep up the good fight!

  146. “I’m not down with twitter yet I’m afraid. I’ve been relying on Fungunner and other to provide quotes from Little Jack and the rest.”

    same here mattyboy. Do love the stuff lil Jack comes out with on there though!

  147. Haha… oh right. Cool, I would do that myself but I can’t use my speakers now. Quiet time. Boooo.

  148. I advise you all take to twatter on whatever small raft you can… like Dunkirk…. more like Pugwash actually… we’ll sail around in a big ragtag ACLF armada slagging off people like Bibin and shooting twats like Spectrum with elephant guns. It’ll be fun and productive.

    (I realise this isn’t a great advertisement, but it is truthful)

  149. Excellent post OOU!

  150. Fuck off, Bibin.

  151. @ Geo – Jacks tweets have been inspiring lately and very funny. He has Arsenal DNA for sure!

    Slightly off topic, but I have noticed the pun potential has vastly increased for this season. I can see a few amusing ones developing, if thats your thing. What with having Per, ARTeta, park/ju and an Ox. Not discounting Santos scoring around Christmas time either. YW seems to enjoy a good pun now and again.

  152. As soon as I heard that Park, was kidnapped by Arsenal’s Men In Black. I thought it’s about time we took off the famous gentleman’s gloves and get a bit nasty and dirty like everybody else. It didn’t come easy but, others have been doing it to us for the last 10yrs.

    Well done Wenger. They really have pissed you off.

  153. in fairness to Bibin this is bang on ‘Trusting the youth and the youth system is the right decision. But blindly believing that the youth alone will emerge and take you to promised lands is foolish. It’s an injustice done to these promising talents. No team will win with youth alone. You need to have a mixture of both.’

    And has been seen to be the driving force behind our deadline day dealings – Ju is 26, Merts is 26, Santos is 28, Arteta is 29, Yossi is 31 – even Gervinho is 24

  154. Best week ever capped off by Bendtner declaring that he’s not coming back!

    Brilliant. Everything I have wished for regarding the team in the last 6 months have happened or in the process of happening.

  155. OOU:

    Well written article. The financial self restraint shown by the club has been remarkable and overall the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. Lots of great things for the club to be proud of. The way that Abramovich changed the landscape could not have been predicted and the way he changed the English landscape has made it very difficult for us. Some miscalculations have been made such as our unusual wage structure but the reasons for doing that seemed logical at the time it was being done. The financial frugality and the dependence on youth went a little overboard and hopefully we can learn a lesson from past mistakes.

    For the long term I think it will be difficult for us to compete in the top levels of European football as a self sustaining club. “Sugar daddies” are now a part of the landscape and biding our time waiting for those clubs to implode is probably not a reasonable strategy. We will have to get our wage structure close to what those clubs are paying and we have to starting winning some trophies relatively soon if we want to keep our best players. I am not sure a club that has a management structure like ours can do the former. Myself I don’t see anything wrong with Stan or whomever owns the club to be adding some money to the transfer and wage pot, but thats just my opinion.

  156. OOU,

    I believe I gave credits to the wrong person for the article.

    Apologies, you are all good at your job and really do shit all over the so called top writers and pundits who actually make a living out of the shit they write up everyday.


  157. You are super star, Big Al

  158. Yeah but Rosicky, Squillaci, Almunia, Clichy, Sagna, Arshavin, Silvestre, Van Persie… not to mention all the names FInsbury mentioned that have gone now. None of them are spring chickens. There’s always been a mix. Whether or not all of those players were good enough is another question.

  159. There is no ‘stubborn insistence on youth’. We have lots of young talent coming through and if they are good enough they come into the team, often supplanting older heads.

  160. Anyone given thought to the possibility of Frimpong getting called up by the Ghana senior team. We might have a serious dilemma in the DF position come January – when the league would really heat up. Coquelin doesn’t seem to have it yet and it doesn’t seem JD or AD can hold fort till Ghana or probably Cameroon’s exit from the ANC and to think of the possibility of injuries. We should be looking out for a loanee or out of contract DM.

  161. a mix yes but an imbalance i reckon

  162. Top draw.

  163. Well either way we’ve certainly just brought a lot of it in as you say so we can’t complain.

  164. Deise, I think it was more to do with an imbalance of ego’s vs abilities. We have had a fairly good mix for a few seasons really. With more people with delusions of grandeur leaving, and enthusiastic youth and arsenal fans arriving, I think we have struck a very nice balance indeed. Looking forward to seeing this new look squad in action…

  165. Cheers Deise, Ju showed some great all round forward play there. A towering header, a poacher’s finish and a great drilled low strike from the edge of the box. Looks very handy. will be good to see how he fares against better opponents…

  166. LimparAssist | September 2, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Feeling that

    found this too

  167. @ LimparAssist | September 2, 2011 at 2:26 pm
    and LimparAssist | September 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Correct. And last season, for the first team, we bought Kos, Chamakh and Squillaci. All experienced players. The difference this time is the turnover – seven first-teamers out and nine first-teamers in, either on loan or permanently in both cases. And two of those outs and ins were forced on AW.

    @ Bill
    We already are in the position where we cannot compete financially, which is why we have stuck with project youth. The wrongness of the sugar daddy model is that it signals the death of football as a genuine competition on the pitch and becomes a competition about who has the deepest pockets. Some people also find it distasteful that the unearned mineral wealth of other countries is squandered to feed the vanity of club owners. We are a self-sustaining club, and regardless of whether you think this is good or bad, it is not up to us to change it. SK or Usmanov will only invest any money in the club if *they* choose to. They bought in on the basis that it was a self-sustaining club which did not require investment in and would not pay a dividend, so you can’t really complain.

    Wages are on an upward spiral and in time we may have to move further towards the top payers. But there will be no point in doing so if we cannot afford it. Therefore, the short and medium term objective has been to increase our revenue.

  168. I really don’t know what I will moan about this coming season. All the players which I didn’t rate and regularly moaned about have been shipped out. I could not be happier. Shit players out, new defenders in, and able bodies coming into midfield to replace the two that we sold.

    Good times 🙂

  169. If we are posting vids, how about some slide guitar goodness from the king of the riff himself:

  170. Hmm, can’t seem to embed. Still, watch it anyway, it is class.

  171. Frimpong has to choose between Black Stars and Three Lions one day very soon. He had a call-up for the England U21s but didn’t make the game last night – supposed injury but some think that means he’s erring on the side of Ghana.

    If Alex and Manu are both their then that’s what – 3-4 Arsenal games and that’s if it’s a Cameroon v Ghana Final.

    Coquelin without any hesitation for me.

  172. both *there

  173. The england media circus is in town, hide your football progidies.

    Everytime england play it’s the same thing. Seriously what is it with these people?

  174. @ LimparAssist | September 2, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    “Frimpong has to choose between Black Stars and Three Lions one day very soon. He had a call-up for the England U21s but didn’t make the game last night – supposed injury but some think that means he’s erring on the side of Ghana.”

    I think so too – shame for the English but I applaud him for following his heart.

    “If Alex and Manu are both their then that’s what – 3-4 Arsenal games and that’s if it’s a Cameroon v Ghana Final.

    Coquelin without any hesitation for me”

    I’ve always rated Le Coq. He was ahead of Frimpers in the youth team but I think Frimpong showed more confidence and composure and leapfrogged him. So I would be happy with him and Diaby (assuming he’s fit).

  175. If there was a hall of fame for quality posts this would be in it Big Al.


    As far as experience that has never been the problem, I dont believe imbalance has anything to do with it either. Song said what he thougt the problem was as far as last season, the players didnt have the same focus for every match. I do see a danger in lumping all of these prior seasons together though. If we go through each season we will see that there were various reasons as to why things didnt work out.

    Oh, and it is a big fat lie that Barcelona are not big spenders.


    Have Blessed day all!!!

  176. Three lions is a ridiculous emblem for England. Lions haven’t lived in these parts for several thousand years. Should be a local species, a dragon, gryphon, jabberwocky, Cheshire cat that sort of thing.

  177. well, if we’re gonna have a music session instead of a football session……. seems like a good idea to me as whilst I’m talking with good old Herbie Chapman, I’m listening to this guy:

    get on down and boogie….. this one’s dedicated to Chu Young Park

  178. Great post OOU.

    I have often toyed with the idea of writing a blog, but reading YW, OOU and Darius’ post’s generally remind me that I would only end up embarrassing myself.

    Does the January transfer window open on the 1st?

    If so, maybe Darius’ thoughts of another player coming in then might solve the potential issue of both Song and Frimps going to the ANC.

    M’Vila coming in first week of Jan? (I am still dreaming aren’t I!).

  179. Three dormice might be very helpful to those trying to save the poor creatures. Seriously endangered. Crop circles have done for quite a few.

  180. Absolutely loving the amount of positivity on here today, keep it up boys and girls 🙂

  181. irishgray

    your wish is our command.

  182. Unbelievable that Steve has named himself after such a miserable affliction. Steatorrheaic Steve might be more alliterative and is just as unpleasant to sufferers and observers alike.

  183. @ Frank | September 2, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Three grass snakes? Three slow-worms? One massive badger?


    I love Miquel – he’s just said that he didn’t want to be at the U-19s Championships because he wanted to cement his place at Arsenal! (But he had to put that out of his mind and concentrate on the tourney, he said.)
    INTERVIEWER: I suppose your big dream is to play for the Spanish national team?
    MIQUEL: No, to be fair I don’t think about it. I want to fight for a place here.

  184. I have a feeling that Arteta is going to be great for us. The new player I believe is going to shock many though is Ju. I can see him scoring many goals for us. Many players need to be in the right system to hit their peak and I believe (from what I have seen) that he will fit perfectly.

    Make no mistake we have on heck of a team!

  185. They certainly set the bar very high, Matt. Don’t forget LimparAssist, too. Dude is no slouch with the pen himself.

  186. Very true, there are a number of very good, eloquent poster’s on here, which is why it is pretty much the only blog I frequent these days.

    Everytime I hear the slightest whiff of a moan at the ground I recommend people to come and take a look at YW’s site, the positivity displayed by the masses on here is uplifting and a refreshing change from the mass media.

  187. Absolutely brilliant piece!
    Has given me reason to still believe, let’s just hope these new signings don’t just turn into useless panic buys rather than a bit more Wenger genius!

  188. @Paul-N

    With Arteta and CY Park I believe we also have the solution to our free kick problems. Both can hit the target from just outside the box. Something we don’t get with RVP. Can’t wait for the first foul outside the Swansea box…….. and either of those step up to take it.

  189. OoU, interesting perspective and a provocative post. I haven’t had a chance to read the comments yet, so I apologize if the question I raise has already been asked and responded to. What I wonder about the narrative you have constructed to explain the position that we find ourselves in–firmly in the second tier, as you put it, having been priced out of the very top rank–is the role of our manager. I’ll grant you that the board doesn’t have a genuine football man involved and hasn’t since David Dein decided to cash in his shares to bring in a sugar daddy/patron/billionaire owner. But, apart from very recent hints that he has wanted more flexibility in the wage structure or at least its ceiling, what reason do we have to think that Wenger isn’t in fact an architect or at least principled proponent of the strategy rather than a silent suffering soldier since 2003 of the board’s unbending alternative path? I am not quite sure it is so unambiguous. Obviously Wenger believes in the philosophy. The question is what adjustments or refinements would he want to make in light of what he has learned from the past four or five years and what limits and constraints have been imposed by fiscal realities and/or boardroom demands upon him?

    I am not sure we can really know. The questions for the future remain–apart from your sage observation that we will have to practice the ruthless taking of the advantages that might remain to us against weaker or less prudently administered clubs. The big future question is what if anything can be done to reverse our second-tier status either organizationally or in on-pitch performance?

  190. Thanks a lot for this great peice of work. Arsene knows best.

  191. I humbly submit, we are not the richest in wealth but the most endowed verbally – let a cheksea or man city fan explain their allegiance to me with words that do not include”money”.

    To post, and cappuccino to you sir. Le grove, you are fodder for FOX, two steps from being murdochs 85th love child

  192. I can’t fucking wait to play City.

  193. Same thing occurred to me, LA.

  194. My first suggestion to the above is that the club is already on the path to redressing the gap on the pitch by maintaining its development of talented youth but by balancing it with some judiciously chosen experienced quality. I don’t know if we can overcome the points deficit in the league to win the title this year or if we can make it to the semis or final of the CL, but I am pretty sure we will be stronger and more competitive overall than last year and could seize a domestic cup. Plus we have the resources for reinforcements if warranted in January.

    The club did very well with Mertesacker and Arteta. Santos will help a position that was weak and could make a major impact. Park is industrious and physical at the minimum and might show real quality up front. Benayoun is experienced in the CL and a tricky player so enhances our depth.

    Things are looking up and Jack, Ramsey, Frimpong and the other young players have a real chance to develop in the next year or two. Well done, Arsenal.

  195. Super fly? What is it? Large bluebottle? Particularly athletic? Trouser opening, perhaps made of velcro? No that would be a super safe fly. Roomy aircraft? Come on what is it?

  196. LA

    We’ll get our chance on the 17 sept at the ethirabadad stadium………. hope we’ve got a full strength team on that day, then we should have no problems.

  197. That should have 17 december…….. my ethirad.. bad

  198. @ Limestonegunner
    “But, apart from very recent hints that he has wanted more flexibility in the wage structure or at least its ceiling, what reason do we have to think that Wenger isn’t in fact an architect or at least principled proponent of the strategy rather than a silent suffering soldier since 2003 of the board’s unbending alternative path?”

    I also thought it was not quite right to say that the conditions were imposed on Wenger by his naive masters – it was not naivety and Wenger saw the necessity for the financial constraints – but I’m not sure that OOU is going as far as to say that AW is a “silent suffering soldier” of the policy. It seems to me that the article is commending him for embracing and sticking with it – that a lesser, or less committed manager would have walked away from a near-impossible task.

    Hope you don’t mind me jumping in there, OOU!

  199. Oh I see it means ‘excellent or wonderful’. Excellent, wonderful Arsenal. Superfly, YW, Absolutely superfly.

  200. Superfly, Big Al. Really really superfly, son.

  201. I can accept we are behind City ,Chelsea and even United.That is just how it is ,Its wrong ,but hey,what can you do?
    What I find harder to come to terms with is the amount of our fans that can not see this reality.Or worse ,can see it and want us to join in.
    There seems to me,to be many fans that would happily see us hundreds of millions in debt in the pursuit of a tin cup.
    Worse still is media , particularly Sky,who tell fans that this is the way forward.
    And the saddest thing of all is that ,it would seem,many fans are to stupid to understand what is happening to them,
    I don’t agree with Frank.I don’t think we have the worst fans.I think we have the dumbest.

  202. Brilliant OOU by the way

    Here is another great read

  203. It’s a bit premature to be talking about making up the point difference in the league isn’t it, Limestone? It’s early doors, man, anything can happen at this point.

  204. Fungunner @ 2:52:

    Everything you say is true. Its all a matter of your preferences as a fan. We are currently a “self sustaining” club and the problems with that model have been evident in the last few years. I don’t think our success would be any less sweet if our owners do put in some of their own money into the pot as long as it does not put us into debt. I agree that we need to move towards increasing our revenue streams and increasing our wages to come closer to the big money clubs but thats going to take time and is by no means a sure thing. I don’t advocate abandoning other means of increasing our revenue or putting us into debt but I see no reason to have huge transfer profits, While we are waiting to see our other revenue sources increase whats wrong with Stan or some of our owners throwing some money into the pot to help us get there quicker? We will have a lot more success improving our other revenue streams if we have a full trophy case. The struggles we have gone through in the last few years have not made us stronger, they have just delayed our success and in reality decreased the chances of ultimately having success we hope for.

    Thats just my own opinion and I certainly won’t try to tell you that you are wrong or begrudge what you say since it is nothing more then opinion.

  205. Shaaaaaaaating!! At last a Gooner who isnt related to Victor Meldrew……….. best blog by far over the past 6months, kinda like the sound from opening an ice cold can of beer!! Bliss!!

  206. I just saw clips of Mikel Arteta talking on Sly Sports News. He was asked when he knew about Arsenal’s interest and he says it was several days in the making.

    What is clearer is that all the players we bought will have already been scouted and marked.

    The interesting thing to note here is the sheer scale of the clear out and the new bodies that have been brought in. You can’t overhaul your squad like that when you’re panicking now, can you?

  207. Bill – how often would you spend your own money to keep ploughing into a business that is already self sustaining? The answer is not a sugar daddy – its commercial success. I know it’s tough for you since you have to wait for the stadium to be paid off and for the next round of commercial sponsorship negotiations. But expecting people to flood their business with new money for the sake of chasing Abramovich and a sovereign wealth fund – think of it for a minute – the Abu Dhabi Investment Corporation that owns Man City is not an individual. It’s a frigging country’s sovereign fund. Why do you want us to chase waterfalls.

  208. well said darius

  209. well said once more

  210. FG, I think you are right that the post certainly commends AW for sticking with the club despite all of the difficulties, and we all should really celebrate that and appreciate our great manager. He is indeed an inspiration through his principles and integrity. He certainly could have and could still take one of the numerous offers that come his way, and I am grateful that he has stuck with Arsenal.

    I am only responding to the sense, very recent on here and implicit in the post, that the board/admin/Kroenke is limiting the managers desire to be able to pay higher wages to players he’d like to recruit or keep in order to narrow the gap that the freespenders are offering to our disadvantage. That seems like a genuinely possible point of tension that has emerged recently. What I am not sure we can do is retrospectively change the way we understand the last several years on that basis.

    As far as the rest of my comment, I am genuinely interested in what can be done. I don’t like the idea that we would become or stay, if we agree with OoU’s characterization, a “second-tier” club as he put it. Perhaps we’ll have to accept that finally, I don’t know, but it is galling that despite being 5th in turnover and ranked as the third most valuable club in the world, we are losing ground to the financial dopers and operations debtors on the one hand and outpaced by the few (genuinely there are few) clubs who are legitimately bigger than us historically and in support (ManU are the only ones domestically, though Liverpool could someday re-establish its status there?).

    Luckily, our manager is a smarter judge and developer of young talent than almost anyone else, but for how much longer will Arsenal enjoy that advantage? A couple years? 6-7? There will be very big shoes to fill when AW is no longer our manager unless the situation in football or in our club’s resources changes much for the better.

    This is why I am heartened by the great job done in the last few days of the window in terms of signings and hopeful/enthusiastic for the coming season. Because if Arsenal can win something with a strong and balanced squad, our young players will become genuine stars and probably loyal to the club, laying a foundation of success on which to build sustainably. It is an important and exciting season ahead!

  211. @ Bill

    Putting money in or not is their choice, not ours. What would be their incentive? They bought in to make money, not lose it.

    Even if they had put their own money in the pot it would put us in debt – to them.
    There would be no guarantee of greater success, so the relative sweetness of it is moot. Plenty of other owners put money into their clubs without achieving success – in fact most of them have less success for greater outlay, so why are you assuming that spending at their level or getting into a small amount debt is the answer? The only clubs who finish above us outspend us massively. To buy success since the advent of the mega-rich sugar-daddies, you have to put in hundreds of millions, not tens of millions. I don’t think SK has that kind of money to spare and in any case, neither of them are inclined to.

    The self-sustaining model, with balanced books, is the only model that the club could have followed. It is not a gimmick or an affectation, not a self-inflicted hair-shirt to place us on the moral high ground. There are no other options.

    We are increasing our revenue – that strategy has already borne fruit in new sponsorship deals (details to be announced, according to IG), so why so doubtful that it will work?

    On the issue of the transfer profit – the signs are that AW bid for a very big player, someone on whom he is prepared to spend £30 million on, plus commensurate wages. We weren’t able to get that player this year, but the money is put aside for a bid next year.
    Also, if he is to achieve what we assume is his aim of increasing the wage ceiling, a lot of the transfers and wages pot will be taken up by that. Wages paid are far more important than transfer fees in determining the position of a club. That’s another reason why we need to earn more.
    I see no reason to spend another £40 million or so just for the sake of it – save it for a player who really merits it, or to reward players we already have.

    Finally, not all the money sitting in the bank is available to spend. Most of it is security for loans, which are still being paid off.

  212. I think as Arsenal fans we have been spoilt a little for years we have over performed under Wenger, particularly since building the stadium we have maintained a top 4 status and done very well competing while others have thrown money around while it is going out of fashion. I still think we are likely to finish in the top 4, the big fear for everyone is Liverpool might finish above us but from what I saw in out match against them we have nothing to fear we had half the starting 11 missing and they only scored when we went down to 10 men. Arsenal need to get through the next 2 seasons maintaining their top 4 status at this point we can re-negotiate our two shit deals, this is worth at least £25 to £35m extra a season, if I was Stan I would try to do it earlier like Chelsea did. In this window we have also managed to reduce the wage bill, increase income from ticket sales and make a profit from player sales, on top of the money we already had sitting aside. All in all this means we should have a min of £60m for acquisitions, with £20m or so a year profits which is a very health position to be in. I believe that fair play will help to calm things down and the effect of mega rich owners will be sum what reduced and create a more neutral playing field. We should praise ourselves for our efforts and stop listen to the junk that pundits and journalist keep throwing out there, the likes of Merson etc should not even be allowed on TV. Which self respecting player takes on the role as a pundit?

  213. Darius, I agree. The increased commercial success of the club is the next step. The best way to insure good deals is with great football that yields some clear successes in the next couple of years. Sponsors love winners, stars sell shirts, supporters pay to watch great victorious football. We have a strong platform which can be enhanced if we were, say, to win the league or make it back to the CL final again; Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott and Gervinho for example become big “stars” in the big games (CL and such); and we continue to play exciting attacking football the “Arsenal way”. Also, I do think the club need to market the self-sustaining philosophy and values of our club to potential sponsors that want to associate with that image of innovation, responsibility, character, self-sufficiency that distinctively marks our club.

  214. I genuinely don’t know what to expect from the squad this year. Battle for 4th, or, higher up the table? Considering the turnover in players I will be happy for a top 4 finish this season, but you can’t help wonder eh? What if we stumble on a formula that is really effective? Fingers crossed.

  215. If tropies are the only thing that matters, I would have to agree with Bill.

    It cannot be good to go back on your own beliefs unless your beliefs are proved wrong. If we join in we are no better and would have contributed to the demise of the sport that had been discussed.

    The Arsenal way is the best way and it is held up as a standard as to how a club should be run.

  216. Higher up GA!

    I think we are onto something really special.

  217. exactly Darius. When you work hard for your money you just dont throw it around willy nilly. Its only logical.

    next step is to try to play our asses off and stay in the champions league. I think we can do it. its too early for 8 points to mean that much

  218. @ Limestonegunner

    Speaking for myself, I think it is likely that AW does want to pay higher wages, but I don’t think there is a rift with the board because of it. I think they are on the same page regarding the fundamentals of the way the club is run – he wouldn’t have taken it on if this was not so – but perhaps they differ about some of the details.

    I think we’d all like to see a way we could keep up, frankly, but we have to face the possibility that there may not be one – unless we are bought by a mega-rich sugar-daddy, which is unlikely to happen, and I wouldn’t be happy about it for the reasons I stated.

    It may be that in the short and medium term we can continue to defy the iron law of the wage bill by offering other attractions to the very top echelon of players – like our style of football, our ethos – our brand, I suppose. And if we can win the league a couple of times, or the champions league, that might be enough to inject the extra power into the brand which would generate ManUre-levels of revenue in the long term. Paying off the stadium debt would be a huge boost as well because it would free up revenue and capital.

  219. Season defining blog post. Well done big Al.

    I think we’ll make up the points difference, or be a few points off the top two, by christmas and we’ll be fighting at the top come May.

  220. @ Limestonegunner | September 2, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Ah – I see we’re thinking alike on this!

  221. Limestonegunner | September 2, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    My own take, which I expressed earlier in the blog thread is that we are not going to be ‘second tier’ for long. The renegotiated commercial revenues will kick in soon enough and we can then, at least in theory, be on par with Manu. That is if Ivan, Fox, and the others do their jobs.

    I agree very much with your last paragraph.

  222. According to some of the comments, and the post itself, it is a good thing to finally join in some of the nefarious and unsavory practices of other clubs.

    Just sayin’

  223. We have still not lost a game 11 v 11 🙂
    Handy that Jenks got sent off.I love a good excuse.And I don’t care if people do laugh at me.

  224. Fun,we can not attract thevery top echelon of players ,Only ever have once ,.Dennis 10,Would you want to?

    I like the way we do it now.And further I dont mind not winning stuff.Would be nice but not top priority for ne

  225. B-I-G AL!!!!
    Truly one of a kind article
    Real top quality synopsis
    Well done.

    agree..can’t wait to play Etihad FC & say a big spank-u too to Man U @ our stadium.

    We lose #4 & #8…we give a #10 a chance to be our new #8 with 10m to help Moyes refurb the old engine??.
    …Classy. What’s there to critique about a club that cares?
    Love thy neighbour as thyself….honour among thieves….. SUPERFLY!

    u cracked me up with this one:
    What is it?
    Large bluebottle?
    Particularly athletic?
    Trouser opening, perhaps made of velcro?
    No that would be a super safe fly.
    Roomy aircraft?
    Come on what is it?

    It is Big Al
    It is ARSENAL
    & its ACLF RASERS!

  226. You are the best Arsenal writer i’ve seen by a country mile. You get me every time.

  227. @ george

    I said “offering other attractions to the very top echelon of players” – ie give them other reasons to stay with us and not be lured away by the extra money offered at other clubs.

  228. As I remember correctly, the only thing keeping us from reaching manu revenue levels are our commercial income. Leaving the shirt and stadiums deals out, they aggressively market their brand way more than we do. Manu branded school bags (originals, not rip-offs) are sold in a local supermarket chain here in SA. They also sponsor TV competitions with local telecom brands. We don’t need to win trophies to do stuff like that.

    Real Madrid have shown that one doesn’t need a recent trophy haul to raise commercial income. We may not have their history, but we certainly have the name recognition everywhere across Africa.

  229. @Limestone.

    I think there is a determined focus to break into the Asian market big time. Apart from Manure, Arsenal has a very significant following in Africa and Asia and I think this is what the commercial team are hoping to build on.

    The signings of Ryo and Park are very deliberate in my view as it gives us the platform to promote Arsenal better particularly in South Korea and Japan, but in general in the region.

    Fans around the world are crazy about Arsenal, most supporters in England would get a shock to realise how popular we are – but Manure have been at it longer than we have, and we need to catch up.

    Apart from merchandizing in Asia and Africa, there are new opportunities with global corporations like Samsung, Hyundai, LG, and other mega brands in Japan, Malaysia, etc.

    We need to strike a balance and get the success needed to leverage our commercial capability abroad, and if you take that together with the organic funds that will be freed after the stadium is paid down, we are on track to have a hefty war chest every season to invest in player acquisition and wages.

  230. FG,
    I’m not sure a little extra money would have made much of a difference to our want away stars, especially to clubs like Barca and Man City. We can’t compete with the formers popularity (or DNA) and we can’t even dream of matching the latter’s wages.

  231. “Real Madrid have shown that one doesn’t need a recent trophy haul to raise commercial income. We may not have their history, but we certainly have the name recognition everywhere across Africa. ”

    ….and Asia too, as the recent pre-season trip showed.

  232. @ Limestonegunner
    Do you live in America, btw?

  233. @ Henristic

    I don’t think you have understood my comments.

  234. Big Al & Darius,
    Almost feel like “we” should loan you out once-a-month to the best Everton blog to write some superflyesque pieces that’d help attract 1 or 2 billionaires to help them out.
    I really appreciate the way they do things & the shift Moyes has put in over the years.

    If Arteta helps us win the CL & PL we might have to send Yogi down there to do some upgrades

  235. @Fun – I think Limestone lives in Canada – and most definitely has the most vile, crooked toothed punk of a manager who happens to be a Spurs fan…LOL – I’d throw a grenade in his office.

  236. corr:

    If Arteta helps us win the CL & PL we might have to send Yogi down there too to do some incisive system upgrades!

  237. Darius, I disagree. Saying that Wenger bought Ryo and Park for the merchandising possibilities they provide is like saying he bought Kanu to increase Arsenal’s appeal in Nigeria. If you’re thinking business why would a Japanese or Korean company tie up a multi year sponsorship deal with Arsenal when Ryo and Park can be gone next week? If Arsenal gets these deals it is because of its global appeal and huge following. Not because we have a couple of actors playing the role of football player.

  238. @ Darius | September 2, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks – iI had a feeling he was NorthAmerica based, just got the wrong bit!

    @ Darius and Gainsbourg69 | September 2, 2011 at 6:39 pm.
    I think AW is simply delving one of the last untapped markets for players. He has made comments in the last 18 months about the footballer development in Asia having matured – that nowadays Asian players are established in European teams.

  239. “delving into” – sorry

  240. I think we look more and more like United. they like us have maybe one word class player in Rooney we got RvP. The rest is solid PL standard. Nothing uber exciting but solid stuff.

  241. GA
    “I genuinely don’t know what to expect from the squad this year. Battle for 4th, or, higher up the table? Considering the turnover in players I will be happy for a top 4 finish this season, but you can’t help wonder eh? What if we stumble on a formula that is really effective? Fingers crossed.”

    you have passion for the club, but you must stop drinking from the bottom half of the glass……

    We are Arsenal!

  242. I agree, Fun, but tapping that market for quality players is different than signing a player because they can bring in revenue from advertising. If that were the case why not bring Hidetoshi Nakata out of retirement and have him on our bench? The guy is an advertising gold mine and can play a few minutes here and there. I just find it hard to believe that one of the most promising Japanese players and S.Korea’s captain were brought in for anything other than the fact that they’re quality footballers, full stop.

  243. GB69
    agree….. (imo) fans that appreciate Arsenal style of play, aren’t consumed with the cultural ties of it’s players.

    Arsenal need to achieve some success, without sacrificing our flowing play; the fan base will continue to germinate.

  244. Son of a B!!tch…that was good!

    …the gift of clear sight – wonderful to behold, yes?

    Thanks Big Al…I shall now listen to the Boom Boom Satellites and feel better.

  245. G69
    ” I just find it hard to believe that one of the most promising Japanese players and S.Korea’s captain were brought in for anything other than the fact that they’re quality footballers, full stop + posterboys for new market revenue”.

    is it not another coincidence that AW signs a lot of good looking QUALITY footballers?
    even the ones he tries to sign tend to out-dish the rumoured??
    ….oh, whatever (u say)
    but really Cahill or Samba?
    Santos or Baines?
    Arteta or Barton?

    (such light banter in the wake of a job well done as of 23:00hrs August 31st, 2011)
    ……my POSITIVITY is being minisculed by the doomers’

  246. so who is Englands creative force today? barry??

  247. this england team looks about as creative as stoke :p

  248. AS, Wenger was a manager in Japan and probably knows that market better than any other person managing a big club. If he wanted to go in the direction of bringing in Asian players for their market appeal, he would’ve done it years ago and not waited fifteen years into his tenure to do it. The likelier reason for Ryo and Park coming here is that he planted some seeds in Asia (scouts, contacts at academies, etc.) and these two are the first fruits he has picked off that particular tree. The only way I see Darius’s point being true is if Ryo and Park were picked from a pool of players with equal quality and were brought in because of their revenue appeal. Other than that I just don’t see it. As a foreign fan it would be a slap in the face if Wenger bought an American player that does nothing for the squad just so he can sell shirts here. Now, if he brought in Maurice Edu (full USA international) because he plays very well for Ranger’s and has CL experience, then I’d be over the moon because he’s quality.

  249. Excellent well thought out piece OOU. Understanding the current realities of our position and backing the manager to find a way to continue to compete is the best thing we as supporters can do.

  250. I have to agree with you Gainsbourg69. I think Inamoto may have been bought for that reason, but I’m sure being Asian is a bonus for 2 quality players rather than the main criteria. I really believe Arsene when he says he looks for talent (and value) not passports when buying players. Why would this situation be any different?

  251. Aman, with the exception Ribery, Rooney and Tevez, very few football players are bad looking. Even Zidane, the poster boy for male patterned baldness, has female admirers the world over. I doubt Wenger picked Jack at nine years old thinking he’d be the next face for Vidal Sasoon.

  252. FG, American living in Canada who lived in London as a student a long time ago. And Darius has been very sympathetic about my Spud boss!

    I take it you are in London–lucky!

  253. Loved this post, best I’ve read in yonks, if not ever. Really told the whole story and evoked deep feeling. Splendid!!!! Can’t wait for tomorrow’s installment.

  254. @Gains. My sense with this issue is that its both/and as opposed to either/or. They’re not mutually exclusive.

    The primary consideration is definitely the footballing qualities, but I would suggest that the conversation about the marketing potential was also deliberately considered.

    Even before Kanu came to Arsenal, Wenger’s biggest import from Africa was George Weya. He was undoubtedly chosen for his talent, but the Liberian became a brand in his own right and was the pride of many – including big name African musicians using his fame to spice up their records.

    The secondary value of players from niche markets cannot be ignored simply because they are a factor. But I agree, the football has to be the primary consideration.

  255. “That’s right; we took their stuff. After years accused of being too wide-eye and quixotic, Arsenal has developed an alter ego – the kind of club that strikes a clandestine deal for one of Barcelona’s best prospects, and, when they protest, takes another one for the hassle.”

    Please do not pretend that this is new to Arsenal.. That alter ego comment is all bullshit!.. As your club has been doing clandestine deals for years.. But no other club whine´s and cries more than Arsenal when you lose a player.. I enjoyed this piece of well writen hipocrisy, as well as the rest of the article..

    Oh, and since were all getting real here.. Have you seen Cesc on the bench at Barcelona?? lol!!.. Remember how all of you said he would be perpetually benched?? LOL! This just shows you boys, that you do not know everything, youre just very good at pretending that you do..

  256. @ Gainsbourg69 | September 2, 2011 at 6:58 pm
    I was agreeing with you, G69 – all I meant was that the reason it’s happening now is because football in Asia has matured and so players of the right quality are around.

  257. Creative force?

    It is all about valuing your no 10, or no 4 as we knew him. I had to tell my eight year old he went to go and play with the Gods and he is watching over us from football heaven.

    While we had a God on our side I worried about godly silver -ware- linings. Now we need lessons on how to down a Cup of Carling.

    Heady heights nonetheless. Bring on the season and remove my sudden melancholy.

  258. Yikes. Give me a Spurs fan over a Barca fan any day of the week.

  259. @ Limestonegunner | September 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    An ex-Londoner, now.

  260. Wow. Chile is knocking it right now. Spain look second rate.

  261. G69,
    was simply having fun.
    I really can’t get over the sheer weight of negativity that’s been lifted all across GoonerEarth since the transfers.

    what are we going to be discussing tomorrow?
    ….why 3G’s could be a perv with his knee-high socks?
    emphasizes his elegant strides
    ..wonder what AA would look like in knee-highs?

    JY scores a hat trick
    Cpt Robin scores for the Dutch on 7″
    MetSack’s on the bench
    …what’s going on with Theo & England?…ooh, Cahill netted….

  262. cuervo, we were right had cesc left earlier he would have been benched and the test will come later in the season

  263. Well done to Ju I know it’s weak opposition but he looked like he knows where the goal is

  264. Bradys right foot

    Cuervo | September 2, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    “But no other club whine´s and cries more than Arsenal when you lose a player”

    Your lack of self awareness is stunning it must be the DNA.

    Big Al legendary post mate.

  265. aslong as we get the playes back uninjured thats all that matters in the international break 🙂

  266. you know one of the coolest players there is is van der Wiel, i would love for him to come to Arsenal. Unfortunatley we got full cover in his spot pluss hes very xpensive. Still really like him though

  267. 4 goals so far for RVP!

  268. Why didn’t they take RvP off after his 4th? I really have a problem with van Marwijk.

  269. No doubt if we had signed mvilla and one of goetze,hazard or Marvin Martin in that plus the defensive cover brought in we would a dead certainty for a top three finish, with the current signings we have given ourselves an excellent chance to steady the ship and move up the table. If in Jan we can get one of the marque signings plus cover for departing players to the anc we could be laughing loudest come end of the season

  270. (imagine the commentator from Liverpool 4-4 Arsenal)


  271. brilliant!!! I wish the authors of supposed supporters like Le Grove who obviously have readers with IQ’s around the same as a plant would come here for inspiration!!

  272. Cuervo la puta que te pario, canchero, la concha de tu madre!

  273. Neo

    please don’t bring them here , don’t want to spoil this nice blog now do we? LOL

  274. My god,

    Never have i seen so many deluded football fans in one place..

    It’s a shock to the system to know your type still exsist.

    I guess we wont be seeing any of you at the armoury roundabout on the 10th…?

  275. Rune, we have a team to challenge for top 3 right now. Its not about just about big Marquee signings. If the team gels and fights we will surprise most.

  276. Wonderful, absolutely wonderful. After the, relative, highs of Wednesday night I needed someone to lift me even higher (apologies to Jackie Wilson) to alleviate the gut-wrenching crap we’ve suffered for far too long.

    Thank you for your prose. After Arteta, Mert etc. I wanted a big, huge dose of objectivity, and you supplied it handsomely.

    Thanks mate.

  277. @ Gains69

    Am off to bed now, but did you see my post earlier? I was actually agreeing with you about the purchase of Park being on merit – read my comment again.

    I guess Robin vented some of his frustration about the other day – FOUR GOALS!

    Good night, all.

  278. RIcky, I’ll be there to watch you and your pathetic band’s attempts at a protest. If it wasn’t so pathetic it might even be funny.

    In the spirit of this blog…….Fuck Off!

  279. I am always at the Armoury Roundabout before a game.

  280. Ricky shut up for crying out loud, miserable blow wow.

  281. Evening. Any injury news? *crosses fingers*
    Just watched the england game and above all what I left the game with was the feeling that the new England top was designed to be worn with jeans

  282. Fun, I saw your post. We agree on everything. The Asian market is producing quality footballers and that’s why they’re being brought here. Hence my comment about Wenger planting a seed while he was over there. That they have marketing appeal is awesome, but not the primary driver for their coming to Arsenal.

    Rune Breaker, no creo que ese hijo de puta sepa hablar castellano. Te aseguro que es de la India o de la China o peor, un gringo pelotudo. Me encanto lo de canchero, concha de tu madre. El Argentino no te pudo haber salido mejor, hahhaha!!!!

    Cuervo, where does Cesc play when Xavi and Pique are fully fit? Will Pep drop Pedro?

    Ricky, I hope someone throws a bag of shit at you mugs.

  283. Darius

    What has happened to Stone Cold Arsenal?

  284. Bradys right foot

    Ricky | September 2, 2011 at 9:50 pm
    I guess we wont be seeing any of you at the armoury roundabout on the 10th…?

    Course you will mate well be at the counter march.

  285. Bradys right foot

    Where has my Arsenal gone, no balls anyone of you. I’d have more respect for you if you just came out and said you wanted the manager sacked. Black scarves and billboards are not going to change the economic realities of the club.

    Deluded cunts having a go at the current board in its first year while the previous board all cashed in their shares making millions from the club, not a fucking peep, not a voice raised, not a black cravate waved in anger. Of the profitiers did they leave the club anything did they fuck, Bracewell smith did she fuck did the great David Dein did he fuck. Gazidis is actively working on a number of commercial deals which will be roled out in the next 12-18 months which will put us on a much more competitive footing but why not sack him instead. A bunch of toxic self important “uber fans” driven by a sense of entitlement based on Wenger achievements. Wher has my Arsenal gone, Your Arsenal crawled up your own self important arse.

  286. Brf, I think Jabba will be attending both.

  287. BRF I hope it comes to fisticuffs.If they are as slow with their fists as they are with their wit’s,they will get battered.

  288. Bradys right foot | September 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

    Absolutely 100% correct BRF

  289. The stupid fucks should be tarred and feathered. The whole lot of em.

  290. BRF,better and better mate

  291. Be glad they took RvP out. even though it is nice to see him score for Holland we want him fit for us! 🙂

  292. bleh i bet they took him off cos they were afraid he would break the van Basten record of 5 goals fron 1990. Sneijder would have been so jealouse

  293. chew park with three goals.

  294. Regards the article. It’s no good complaining about the inequality within the European football leagues when your on the loosing end of the arrangement. If you were happy to keep quiet about it whilst it was benefiting you.

    Sometimes it’s good to stop sniffing your armpit long enough to have a sniff of someone else’s. It makes for a more rounded take on the smell emanating from your own armpit.

  295. Oneniltothearsenal

    F***ing fantastic article, two thumbs up

  296. @ Darius 6:09pm – You mentioned that people would be surprised how popular Arsenal are outside of England and that I think hits the nail on the head re: marketing. I live in NYC and I can tell you firsthand that when it comes to the average American sat in a bar with a “soccer” game on, there are very few teams they recognise. Happily Arsenal is one of them and they are quite happy to watch them play. No, they do not for the most part have any vested interest in whether they win or not but they instantly know quality when they see it. (But they are getting there!!) I personally have turned many of my American friends into rabid fans of Arsenal. The reason is simple as they love the style of play we are renowned for and the fact that there is almost always 1 or 2(if not more) teenagers thrown into the mix.

    I remember the WC Final last year when Cesc was brought on for Spain and ended up with the assist for the winning goal. Even I was amazed at the amount of Americans who knew who he was and whom he played for. I have to admit to feeling immense pride in the Arsenal right there and then 🙂 In Europe we are constantly called “Barca-lite” but over in the States we do not have such a negative and, in my mind anyways, derisive label attached to us. We are simply the Arsenal. I also take great pride and must admit to a certain amount of smug self-satisfaction at the amount of English Ex-pats who, whilst being Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool etc. fans, have no qualms sitting in a bar to watch the Arsenal.

    Any bets on how much per year the new sponsorship will be? I believe the last bet was for 20p no? I will stick my neck out and say $40 million a year, about 30m pounds. Any takers? If there are I will get back to you tomorrow as right now I am headed out for some much needed libation!!

    For the less cultured amongst you, that means I am going out to get wasted 🙂 COYG!!!

  297. Hi just a comment for that moron Adam. ok we did buy 5 players without being ripped off.So numbers wise the squad is good and they were all healthy aquisitions. in terms of having 100 million to spend not entirely accurate but also if you spend 50 million for example on a player, then usually you have to give them more than 120 grand a week because of their status so that is why we are being priced out.It is not a question sometimes of the transfer fee but the demands that come with a player of that price.Nasri in L’equipe did an article which I read and agreed with the above article. And in terms of Almunia and Denilson if you look when they were offered there contracts they were both playing welland were in the starting line up. So next time you try and burt someones bubble you thick little moron try thinking about your response and wether it is accurate. Spot on on the article, brilliant read and a breath of fresh air keep it up.

  298. As for Ricky, hope he and his ignorant, narrow minded mates heads are crushed by Police horses.

  299. Just Another Luke

    Cesc scored twice for Spain in an international friendly win for Chile after coming on as a substitute. Final score: Spain 3-2 Chile.

  300. Just Another Luke

    Isn’t it obvious that we need to keep some cash in the bank account to prevent RvP, Theo, Bacary, TV, etc., from doing a Na$ri on us?

  301. Just Another Luke


  302. Just Another Luke

    A brave block from Mertesacker from a close range Tevez volley.

  303. Oou i know this has been said enough times but wat a masterpiece!

  304. Today’s low-key piece, following on from yesterday’s high

  305. Fantastic piece of writing.

  306. Sorry, it’s a nice theory – and it would make us feel better about ourselves, and it would make a victim out of a culprit, but it is an illusion – the ‘we can’t afford to keep up’ myth. First of all, lots of money doesn’t always guarantee success; if it could, Chelsea would have at least won the CL, or? Second, if we have the 5th highest player wages in the EPL, how does that make us ‘second tier’? Third, we have the highest ticket prices in the country – how can that be justified? If we stick with your money thesis works, then surely we should be in the top tier with prices like that? You can’t have your theoretical cake and eat it. Fourth, whilst only a fool would argue money plays NO role (otherwise the EPL and La Liga, etc. would be more open), it does not explain Wenger’s atrocious tactical errors (e.g. playing a high-line against good teams and never changing tactics. Nor does it explain his panic buying, nor signings like Bendtner and The Ox for 12 million! Neither does it explain the abysmal form of players like Arshavin. Something is definitely rotten at Arsenal and it cannot just be explained by lack of funds.

  307. I hate to keep houndig this point but the maount of money spent doesn’t nessecarily translate into wins on the pitch. There are a lot of factors that go into building a winning side. I hope to heck these moves work out. My main point is this Wenger has lost the respect of the players. This is a truth that no-one even in the lame stream media won’t dig into or look at. I can see it on the TV in the USA.I want my Gunners to win-but I live in realville.

  308. Simply brilliant, keep it up!

  309. Sent here from the Guardian – great post. I’m a Liverpool fan but I’m not blinkered to the merits of other teams or managers, and Arsene is one of the greats. I wrote similar sentiments the other day : “Arsenal have basically suffered from spending of 100s of £ms by oil billionaires. What they need is their own Russian oligarch. …wait”

    That doesn’t mean I think they should be a team along the lines of Chelsea/City – but I think Arsenal will be very competitive again when the financial fair play rules come in. Let’s see City try to nick a Nasri then.

  310. Wow..that was as rousing a riposte to every arsenal slating journo as anyone could wish to read,feeling more positive about the season from here already..all the buys he made we needed,they are all experienced with the youngest like you mentioned being 26 and i read before that all of them (bar andre santos) have captained at either club or international level.Yes there not direct replacements for cesc or nasri but there were always going to go so why compare? All i would say now is to maybe try out 4-4-2 again? (at the very least against the teams in the bottom half who come to the emirates to defend and sit back,therefore making it almost impossible to break down) either way,its going to be a lot more interesting then the first few weeks..up the arsenal.

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