Mertesacker On Defence, Ivan’s Not Sitting On It

No Big Al this morning so it’s just mee. Where to begin? Well, it seems to be about communication. What’s being said and more to the point, what’s not being spoken of but has crossed someone’s mind.

On the pitch, the ability to communicate is being lost. Understandably, with so many Per-mutations (chortle) across the back four – something like 9 or ten different back four combinations have been used in the last dozen games. No surprise that chat is in short supply.

Despite not having a Per-manent (ho ho) base, new centre back Mertesacker is looking on the bright side,

We have many new players, but I feel that we have integrated very quickly. I still have communication problems, but given the circumstances this is inevitable.

There is stereotypical efficiency about his comments, were he English it would be almost phlegmatic. There is more upheavel to come with Bacary Sagna’s absence and the return of Thomas Vermaelen. Which is leaving aside the questions which are being raised about Carl Jenkinson. It is a sad state of affairs when his own supporters are not actually giving the lad a chance to prove his worth before dismissing his entire career out of hand. The constant changes leave understandings short; inevitably there will be some more uncertain times defensively. Some tolerance is required but I am not sure that is going to be forthcoming.

Where Mertesacker is per-haps (ha ha) surprising in his views is confidence. Speaking via the DFB, the German international observed,

There is no one here who is not certain that the success will return. We have a talented team with a lot of potential lying dormant within us and it’s only a matter of time before that comes to the surface

Which is just about the per-fect (You slay me, Greavsie) answer. But it boils down to time, meeting the expectation of a top four finish that both the manager and Jack Wilshere alluded to recently.

Ivan Gazidis was bullish yesterday over the club’s financial policies. As with anything, there is nothing straightforward about events at Arsenal. Several board members families were involved with the club in the post-war period when the club was in dire financial straits. Not so much the Bank of England club as the Bank of Mum and Dad. Even if those memories are not fresh enough, they will certainly remember 2004 and not being able to afford to sign Robin van Persie, the transfer completed in the summer rather than the original January window intended.

Gazidis has not said anything new, nothing which is contradictory to what has gone before. He has tried to dispel a myth along the way, outright stating that there is no salary cap at Arsenal, simply a limit that the budget will allow as a total cost. Keith Edelman noted that the budget planning necessary for obtaining the finances to build the new stadium was calculated on a break-even scenario, attendances of 40,000 at each home game.

But there was more to it than that. In a presentation to potential investors during July 2006, Arsenal provided an insight into the level of detail undertaken. Key to this aspect is on page 26:

click to enlarge picture

Essentially, the financial strain is built into the models. Whether it holds true still remains to be seen – I suspect it does in some shape but the presumptions about what The Emirates would do for Arsenal are wide of the mark in the context of ‘close rivals’. It was an interesting document to revisit, providing understanding and a painful reminder of the ‘symbiotic’ relationship that The Emirates was supposed to bring to the fore,

click to enlarge

The vicious circle of the English Premier League. It is ironic that the raison d’être was to make money. The one aspect that was supposed to bring joy to the hearts of the faithful is now gnawing at the soul of one of the prime movers which saw the breakaway from the Football League. Some of those in power then whose influence was neutered will possibly be enjoying the discomfort of Arsenal.

If I have a concern about the club’s power-brokers, it is about Financial Fair Play. Too much stall is being put in this levelling the playing fields. There will be pain for some clubs in the short-term but with players contracts signed before June 2010 excluded, many high earners will not be affecting the first period of regulation. Manchester City’s recent stadium and complex deal highlights that the clubs are being cautious around how their finances are structured, the Eastlands club took high level advice specifically on the new rules before the paperwork was completed.

There is little danger of that sponsorship deal being curtailed. Which puts Arsenal in an invidious position. Do they adhere to the rules, losing out whilst others stretch the boundaries but at least we will occupy the moral high ground? Or should they stoop down to the levels of others, ensuring that they are competing on a level playing field. It is a tougher route taking the first option and I am not sure there is any gain in doing so. The rules that so many have put faith in are unlikely to be the saviours they were initially thought to be.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on October 7, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 116 Comments.

  1. I don’t think anyone will say much about a moral high ground should the club splurge on new players. Any detractors have no high ground themselves from which to hurl their invective.

  2. yeah very nice and everything, YW, but where is darius? i miss stone cold friday? i am worried about him, his last post on his site was a bit worrying and quite a while ago now, just want to know he’s alright, he does’nt even have to write again!

  3. good morning all. nice post YW. OUR GERMAN CB sound like a very intelligent young man. realistic too. nice group of guys our team. very happy with their all around talents and personalities one and all. i did have faith in ffp rules but as the saying goes they won’t (uefa,FIFA) won’t want to kill their golden gooses which are the moneybah teams so like you I’m in a quandary. do we chuck it and or stick with the road we are on for principals sack. I’m inclined to stay the course. not least of all ,because even if we wanted to we Cant compete financialy with some of the other teams. and i also think if we played it right fortified the team with so strategic buys here and there we can compete with most of the teams ON THE FIELD OF PLAY. in short AW might have to bend some of his ideals but not necessarily break them. we havcome realy close on more than one or two occasions. it is up to him to give the team a hand, advantage if you will, to at least have the necessary arsenal when they step on the field of play. time is the answer. how he buys this time for them is the question.
    its ironic isn’t it. the only team in the league with not one but two suger psppas and we stay away from their money. stay away from the shinanigans of others trying to buy their way to the top. can’t help but smile and admire the ARSENAL for that.. let hope and pray our guys come back from the international all in one piece and ready to roll. UP THE GUNS!!!!

  4. condolences to Tomas Rosicky and his wife. realy was saddened with the news. more strength to you .

  5. Kudos YW. You should right for the daily rag. You make so much more sense. I would agree with Per the potential is lying dormant within the team hopefully over the international break, minus injuries, the team can give themselves the proverbial ‘Slap in the face’ and get back to winning ways with 3 tough looking home games in a row. It also gives the fans a break from recent dissapointments. When is vermaelen expected to return? He is without doubt the leader and gladiator in defence who would compliment Pers languid style and his presence has been sorely missed. On the plus the Ox hit an amazing hatrick for the U21. What a player he is going to be. Onwards and upwards. We still believe.

  6. I don’t think that the only consideration is ffp. Two weeks ago AW was predicting a financial collapse in Europe, I think, within 3 weeks to 3 months. Once that happens, many of the clubs presently living beyond their means will be required by their banks to reduce debts and expenditure. I think that Arsenal is budgeting for hard times.

    If Arsenal survive whilst over extended clubs like Barcelona and Real Madrid collapse, the guardians of our club’s finances will have done very well. And looking at this week’s financial news, the predicted collapse of banks and governments may have started. That’s something for the Doomers to get their teeth in.

  7. I don’t think both concept are mutually exclusive. We can still play by the rules and still be competitive. We just have to do what we have to do as quickly as possible. This team is suffering now because we waited at till the last minute before making a move.

  8. YW – Great post, yet in as much as I agree with what you said I do think you are missing the real meaning behind the “salary cap”. I never really gave cradence to the salary cap belief as it was presented, as I always thought it was being used as a way of (almost) discrediting The Arsenal. Our so called salary cap is only in place in an over all capacity. What I mean by that is that is (I believe) we have a limit to the amount we can pay out in a given year and we try not to go over that. I think this rule of thumb was exagerated when we built the Emirates. Yes some players left because they wanted more than we could pay but that was happening as younger players were being promoted and being rewarded and we could not afford both. Flamini? Hleb? Nasri? To name but a few. Replaced by Coq, Frimpong, Wilshire, Fabregas, Szez, Song, Clichy.

    We watch as these players mature and tantalise us with their respective gifts. Some leave but some stay. But always we have even more chomping at the bit to get even a sniff of a chance to show us what they can do. Will we win the league this year? Will we win the FA Cup this year? Will we win CL this year? Will we win the Carling Cup? Maybe. That is the only answer there is. Amazingly it is the same answer every club can give. Maybe. This time last year Hansen and Co. had already gifted the title to Chelsea. They did not receive said gift. Nor did we. But that is life.

    I love The Arsenal. I do not know YW if you read Arseblog’s posting the other day but it was all about why he loves The Arsenal. I have only ever espoused 1 other blog on here and that is Sian’s and I only did that because she is endlessly positive and deserved it. Yet I feel his (fellow Dub that he is) deserves it.

    I hate the Doomers. Not because of what they write but just the fact that they take the time and effort to write it. Plus the fact that then I have to go and read it. Trust me I have too. (Just like YW has to go and read The Mirror) Oh yea and the Yankees lost tonight. Not good but at least The Girlfriend has promised me steak dinner tomorrow night and then a ………:)

    COYG!!!!!

  9. Irish

    Wot you said:

    >Our so called salary cap is only in place in an over all capacity

    Wot I said:

    >is no salary cap at Arsenal, simply a limit that the budget will allow as a total cost

    Same thing, different way!

    YW

  10. Blah blah blah

    Meertesacker says everything will turn out alright.It fucking better it cannot get any worse.Just 19pts out of the last 18 games is barrel scraping form

    What everyone is missing is had our manager signed Meertesack in July he would have had a pre season to bed in.No Wenger signs him 3 games into the season.If the champions sign their new players on July 1st why cant Wenger.Phil Jones looks like he has been a Utd player for years.Why because he had a pre season with them.You cant just sign players and throw them into the team and hope they perform

  11. Irish

    The problem is the gap in wages between our best players and our average players.Cesc Nasri and RVP were great players but were not even earning twice as much as average players like Diaby Denilson and Bendtner.RVP is on 90k a week Bendtner was on 52k.does anyone except Bendtner and Wenger think Bendtner is worth half as much as RVP earns?
    Pay our best players 150-200k a week and our average players 10k a week(thats still half a mill a year) then we may keep our best players.Because you can bet next summer someone will offer RVP 150k a week

  12. Gordonh

    It’s probably escaped your attention but Steve Bruce thinks Bendtner is worth something more than you. He’s on loan at Sunderland.

    HTH

    YW

  13. Nice post as always YW.

    As that great football plundit Alan Partdrige would state:
    Ah ha! A self declared realist has visits the forum. Their sacred grove & graoning pastures don’t really seem to do it for them. Poor lambs.

    No mention of the impact that losing the teams best and moxt consistent Defencer ovcer the last several seasons has had on certain games so far this season in their expert analysis. You want inspiration and leadership, well losing Bacary and Vermaelan doesn’t help. Unlike Rio and chums, they’ve not been living off the fumes of the officals these past few seasons as they ponder their next move/pensions. Poor Bacs. Ah well. We shall survive.

    Anyway, any ‘realists’ want to know why AOC might not be starting 60+ games this season. Answer number one is that he is in his first full season at this level, unlike, say, little Jack last season. Answer number two is that, if all opposing ‘keppers played like this fellow below at the new Arsenal Stadium, The Arsenal’d be laughing (at Mike Riley).

    http://blip.tv/arsenalfc/alex-oxlade-chamberlain-hat-trick-vs-iceland-under-21s-5620694

  14. groaning even.
    Oops. Lots of typos there.
    Enjoy the goals. (Off twitter).

  15. YW, do ypu reckon that Mertasacker would be the Per-manent(ha ha) defender even when koscienly and Vermaelen return?

  16. YW

    Are Sunderland paying the whole of his wages?

  17. Not sure what Gazidis’ intentions were with that statement. If he is trying to spread the word that we CAN afford to pay- e.g. Juan Mata – the same money he is on at Chelsea and that we CAN compete with the big money boys then the proof will be in the January window. Trouble is as we all know if the club does offer a new signing £120-£150k a week the rest of the squad will be at the door for a pay hike and the turnover-salary bill ratio will go out the window tout suite. Don’t see it happening, I think Gazidis comes from the ‘say it often and always sound positive’ school of management bullshit designed merely to keep the troops (ie us mugs) happy for another few months.

    Truth is the damage has been done over the last several seasons and the fruits are there on the pitch and in the declining numbers that turn out at the Emirates. Think about that – people who have actually pre-paid for matches no longer want to watch them.

    I don’t know what the blockage is (Arsene?, the board?) but if you ignore the head-in-the-sand optimism for a moment it is clear that the wheels will come off the entire project if we don’t qualify for the CL. More players will leave and less good ones will come- getting back into the CL in ensuing years will be well-nigh impossible. Then the income dives and within a few years we will know exactly how sustainable AFC is with crowds of 40,000. Then people might start wondering why we moved from Highbury in the first place…….

  18. seriously, what ever happend to Stone cold friday posts??? we miss Darius

  19. Jeff

    Yep, I believe he and Vermaelen are the first choice partnership.

    YW

  20. UEFUDGA and THIFA rules are there to be……….laughed at: Michel puts the Plat in platitude and Sepp’s Blatter takes the piss.

    Until these organisations are there to serve the game, and not individuals, their policies will be utterly dysfunctional and self serving.

    The reasons I am against the Billionaire model of football is complex.

    I don’t want to buy stupidly priced footballers and pay them stupid salaries. They get enough and have for a long time. Above a certain level of recompense they are just prostitutes.

    I don’t want to do it with stolen money or money that it irresponsibly paid to some moronic chief whose family happened to pitch its tent over some precious mineral reserves and does nothing for the benefit of their people and the rights of those people.

    I don’t want some absolutist gangster running The Arsenal that can dictate that the best manager in the world is not good enough and four years later, after a manager a season, appoint his understudy.

    I don’t want to pay 50 million for Luka Modric

    I want to support a club that takes on these thieves, that supplies its owners with an income long term, that is financially secure in its own right and that plays fantastic football and has a philosophy.

    Until these governing bodies are serious and take on the issues that matter in football, for the befit of football, they and their rules have to treated like the Billionaires themselves…….with utter contempt.

  21. A teaser for tomorrow – “The Cross Of Changes”.

    An esteemed guest poster and it’s already lined up, fired up and ready to go. Be up at 6am GMT tomorrow.

    YW

  22. Jeff

    You get Big Al instead this season. Unfortunately personal circumstances prevented him from contributing this week.

    YW

  23. Simply put, until we review our wage structure we wont be able to pay anybody like the other “big” teams. for instance, we sign M’Villa in January and give him £90k a week. How about RVP(best player) on 90k? Verm on whatever his is on(probably less than 60k), song also and the other to players.

    we need to let the players know thier roles eg: key players should earn between 150k and 100k, importnat first teamers someting like 60k – 80k, back ups: 30k – 40k, rotation players and fringe players even lesser (30k and below). This way we can afford to pay top players what they get paid at other top clubs.

    if a player is a back up to the Ist team and earns 30k, and wants to earn 70k like and important Ist teamer, simply tell em “show us why you deserve that, play to be valued at being an important Ist teamer.

  24. Koscienly and Vermalean are beast of defenders, i know Per is good but kos is more mobile and proved himself for us last season. kos is on par with many of the so called best defenders( i rate him more than David luiz and im not being baised), Did you see our defence in the pre season when kos and TV5 played, the newcastle game, their perfomance agianst liverpool till Kos injured? they were forming a formidable paternership

    those two are a beasty combination

  25. one more thing, screw internationals

  26. It didn’t take long for the Per puns to come out 🙂

    Well done to the OX who apears to be flying at the moment. If he is good enough, then he is old enough. Between him and Le Coq, we have two confident youngsters, on form and who look up for fighting for a regular chance in the first team. Exactly what we need right now. Hopefully it will give some of the others a mental kick up the arse.

  27. Yeah saw the game last night, the OC should get some PL games already. Not sure where he would be best though. He would probaly be best as second striker, but that is the role they all want (VP, Wally, Gervinho, Arsh) so he’ll probably have to play wide like everyone else…….. Shame we don’t actually have a first striker or anyone who even could make a fist of that role.

  28. agree about Koz, he with tv are good enough for me. Koz over past couple of games has not looked himself, glad tv back, concirned about right back now though, cant avoid that one im afraid the boy doesnt have the quality or the composure and imo he never will, still this is our reality at the minute. We have some winable games this month and if we can get diabi back n fit and on form then i believe our midfield will improve hugely which in turn will take some pressure of the back four i think. 2012 is our moment of truth and if we buy correctly i still think a top four place is reachable. fpr might help with a level playing field but to be honest i dont care if we have the moral high ground, use loads of money to buy the best we can in the winter window, loads, as an insentive to the selling club, there doesnt have to be a huge salry to go with it, get the russan and the yank to chip in with a hundred million as a gift to the club, a gesture which speaks louder than, we dont need cl to survive, thats a doomer statement !

  29. Sorry Jeff,

    but if you knew someone who was paid 5k a week would you rate him as:

    a) Just one of the lads

    b) Not having to worry about the cost of petrol

    c) F’ing lucky

    When has being paid 90k or 190k per week ever made a difference to anyone? It is pure ego.

    One year for a footballer at 90k per week is equivalent to someone in the top 2% income bracket working for 52 years and they get the money up front. If they want more money for their retirement drive a bloody Prius and learn about investments.

  30. Boomer

    Steady on re Jenkinson. Others – such as the Finland U21 coach – seem to think he is a player so lets not write him off already! I was amazed that Walcott (of all people) was having a go at him at Old Trafford, and if that day don’t sear his mind and make him a better player i will be very surprised.

    I agree with you on the money tho’ – f*ck the moral high ground, if we don’t spend this season we could be in the wilderness for a decade. If we can afford £6m a year for Wenger why can’t we pay the going rate for players that will get/keep us in the top 4??

  31. it think jerkinson would do ok

  32. regardless of salary caps, financial fair play the fact remains that our team quality has been eroded and diluted over the past few years.

    We will have to pray we are within touching distance come January to make the top 4 because reinforcements are surely coming.

  33. “Others – such as the Finland U21 coach – seem to think he is a player”

    Thank god for that 😉

    I was worried that he didn’t seem nowhere near ready, but now I am not as worried.

  34. Anyone who thinks Mertesacker won’t be first choice is dreaming. It will be him and Vermaelen once the Belgian is fit.

    YW, I for one am not dismissing Jenkinson’s Arsenal career, but he has been thrown in at the deep end due to unforseen circumstances and it shows. Top level football is no place to be learning your trade. I think the manager mad a bit of a rick there, he’s not ready to be backup yet, never mind that he’s now first choice until at least January. He’s one who should have been signed and then sent out on loan to a championship side.

  35. gooner andy

    Yeah, yeah, very funny. But give the guy a chance eh? He as bought as long term back-up and cos of injuries and Wenger’s insane optimism that no-one will ever get injured,ever, he has been thrust into the cauldron too soon. Might make him, might break him, but it is way too soon to tell

  36. not having a go at jenks, i look at him and i do not see the potential that some including the finish coach believe he has,do you really think ile complain if im wrong ? lets wait n see but i stand by the comment while at the same time hoping im wrong but at this time i dare anyone to show the evidence to back up a claim that he is quality. Its not a witch hunt agin the boy its an opinion, and just like arse holes we all got one

  37. Cappa Don – I have nothing against Jenkinson, indeed quite the opposite. Even when he was getting tortured in the Manure game and we were getting properly spanked, he never gave up or hid (unlike the likes of Theo in certain games). I like that about him.

    He is nowhere near ready to play at this level, but as you quite right pointed out, that is not his fault.

  38. I think the opinion of Jenkison has been well documented. Great lad, superb effort, but not ready to start for one of the best sides in the EPL.

    His first team experience and his first experience of the EPL has resulted in being utterly destroyed at OT, and being exposed by Bale at the Lane as we went looking for (without actually shooting) the equaliser.

    I’d be very very surprised if, considering the inherent mental fragility throughout this squad, that these games have bettered him as a player.

    Confidence shattered, no leaders to look to (both are injured) and probably questioning his own ability.

    Natural for a young kid thrown to the lions – in all walks of life, not just elite level football.

  39. Also, in the presentation referenced in the post, page 17 is essentially what I and a few others have been screaming for.

    Use your resources available (huge cash surplus from player trading over the last three years) to improve the squad as best as you can.

    The fact we have generated huge profit over the last three years, missed on Cahill, Jones, M’Vila and Goetze, and landed Chamakh (free), Kolscieny, Squillaci, Mert, Santos, Arteta & Yossi (loan) – I find it very difficult to accept we have done what we promised and set out to do through the stadium move, despite being in the desired position (low debt, cash rich).

    Where has the stumbling block occured? Board tieing Wengers hand or the great visionary becoming self obessed ?

    Personally I feel the sole title challenge of 07-08, with the side maturing together saw the club re-align / or wenger re-aling its strategy.

    I fully understand why – if we were able to keep hold of that squad and ADD to it, i have no doubt we would have won the title in the interim years.

    We carried on, trying to achieve the unthinkable, with a lesser sum of parts – which is the birth place of frustration (NOT poor support), frustration of our current predicament.

  40. Unfortunately it is the one area of the pitch without adequate back up. Most clubs would have gotten away without an injury there, but predictably we didn’t.

  41. Luke – “I fully understand why – if we were able to keep hold of that squad and ADD to it, i have no doubt we would have won the title in the interim years”

    Yup.

    Adding being the key word. I can’t remember the last time we kept a squad together and then suplemented it. We do add new faces, but in the same timeframe lose 1st choice players. The squad never improves and the status quo remains.

  42. With the exception of Cesc,our midfield is better now than in 08

  43. Bonjour tout le monde

    Any good news.
    Its been depressing really,
    Any1 no the real news with our apparently want away captain

  44. when was that 1908

  45. George – So our midfield is worse than in 08 then. The Cesc factor is huge.

  46. And added to that 08 does not matter. It is last season that we desperately needed to improve on, and we not done so.

  47. Adding being the key word. I can’t remember the last time we kept a squad together and then suplemented it. We do add new faces, but in the same timeframe lose 1st choice players. The squad never improves and the status quo remains.

    True Andy,but that is the blave new world of Oily Football.
    No one is to blame,

  48. Andy,Yes .sadly Cesc gone = poorer, no doubt about it.

  49. http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2011/10/arsenals-finances-21-questions.html

    Interesting read, if you can be arsed.

    Thanks again Yogi, your consistency is rivaling Sagna’s at this point. Just don’t break your fingers…

  50. Good post, YW. Why do you think “the raison d’être was to make money”? From looking at the presentation, it seems to me the goal is/was to create competitive advantage (on the playing field), and the extra money is a means to that end. With Chelsea and, in particular, Man City doing what they have been doing, we haven’t (yet) gained the advantage, but the income from the new stadium must be some help in avoiding falling further behind.

    @Gordonh

    What is your source regarding Bendtner’s salary?

  51. Love that comment at 11.16 SA Gooner.

    Spot on.

    All this bollocks about a sportsman’s life being short and they have to ‘maximise their income’ is just an excuse for greed and egotism.

    We are not talking about the likes of John Radford who opened a pub after his career was over or even Peter Storey who turned to, ahem, more creative ways of earning a living.

  52. … and by “playing field”, I mean the literal one (ie the pitch), not the figurative one that needs levelling. 🙂

  53. Limestonegunner

    Interestingly, Wenger is in no way opposed to footballers getting great wages. He is only concerned that they put in the effort and performance–give everything–to earn and justify their wages. When Anzhi payed Eto’o unholy sums, journalists rushed to Arsene’s press conference to get his opinion, assuming he would come out with some statement criticizing the state of football finance and the greed of players and indiscipline of clubs. They got nothing of the kind. He believes that the players are the great asset of the game and deserve their compensation if they train hard, play hard, show commitment and loyalty to the club that is paying them well. The difficulty is when wages balloon out of proportion with the resources of a club because there is financial doping. That is a separate issue that relates to revenue and its sources–it is management of clubs and not the demands/rewards to players. Wenger believes that players deserve a certain high proportion of what the game produces–the problem is when the rewards are beyond what a club actually generates as income.

    What he has consistently been opposed to is the inflations of the transfer market since this is, to his mind, wasted money that should rather be put into wages and player development. It is money that goes to your competition and not to rewarding your major asset. There are two ways to acquire good players: develop young players or pay another club for them.

    To him, player wages is a red herring. To a large extent, I agree. It is much easier to target greedy players and make them the villains rather than the club officials and sugar daddy’s who are inflating the market by using resources not related to football and how that can be reformed.

    FFP is an attempt, but as YW has alluded, it is and will be a flawed attempt that may moderate some of the excess but not genuinely level the field in the way it sometimes seems our club officials (Gazidis and so on) are counting on.

  54. Geo, thanks for the link I read it with interest. I would like to point out that the large decline in revenue from 2010 to the 2011 results is of course the final sales of the highbury development. It is difficult to view Arsenal accounts from a year to year basis due to the Highbury development, that said year and next shall indeed paint a better picture because that aspect of the business has been concluded.

    Arsenal’s turnover of 250+ million is far from a bad figure, it may look so in comparison to United but we can all agree that they have a global profile out stripping almost every other sporting franchise not just Football.

    The article mentions Arsenal’s reliance on selling players to balance the books, and it is a fair point. The reality is for all football clubs this is a requirement with the exception of the Sugardaddies FC’s. What the accounts really tell us is that the upward pressure on the balance sheet of player salaries is making the game untenable going forward. We may all look at Man City with a certain amount of envy due to their star players, but it is being achieved on the back of an unsustainable model with FPP on the door step. Man City cannot afford to pay every player they have 200,000 per week, even after their “interesting” commerical deal with cousin dearest. Man City have had numerous issues already trying to shed players no longer required, because of the inflated salaries in question. As I see it they are trying their damnest right now to achieve for success before limitations become more telling for them in a market where Sugar Daddy Dearest is not going to be able to drop another sack load of cash to bring stability.

    Soccer really is on the cust of a financial meltdown, clubs are running at losses year upon year and FFP is a noble aspiration to address the issue. We are not so foolish to think that FPP is the saviour some may have hoped, there are of course loopholes to be exploited.

    FPP is essentially a soft salary cap, and it is needed.

  55. Limestone, if the players are in fact “greedy” as you put then they are a part of the problem still. If Arsene can see how damaging it is for these sugar daddy teams, to do what they do and cares about it, one has to wonder why the players dont see it the same way. Most couldnt care less, even players like Clichy who seemed so against what City were doing.

  56. Limestone, I don’t think players are greedy. What I believe they are is self entitled. The game has been financial doped for success, the concept is not new but the impact now is more telling because the sums are so much more disporportionate. The funny thing about entitlement is that we all feel it, the players in salaries and the fans in successes.

  57. It remains to be seen how this will pan out at the end of the day but the NBA is on course for a lock out in no small part due to the players not recognising that fans are hurting in a climate of a potential double dip recession. The average salary in the NBA for 2011 for around $6 million per season. For fans the idea that there may not be any basketball due to millionaries complaining about how many millions they’ll make, smacks of pure greed. The players don’t see it because they feel that they are entitled to 52% of the league revenues, and therein we have the issue in a nutshell. Football is no different, players feel they have a right to inflated salaries, they don’t care about the real world because they don’t actually live in it.

  58. Miami, I dont agree with you, some players as with all people are downright greedy. If no football players are greedy then greed doesnt exist. As a matter of fact, self entitlement and greed can be synonymous in certain situations. When a man can do anyhthing he wants in life and still feel “entitled” he is greedy.

    Nothing in me believes that I should be making more money, it would be nice to, but I am not entitled to anything apart from what I have agreed to with the company that pays me, these players agree with clubs and then want out.

  59. Paul-N, you see it as a culture of greed, I see it as a culture of entitlement. We don’t always have to agree. I certainly do agree that at times entitlement and greed seem to share the same bed.

  60. I am sure that both are at work Miami. The more I think about it, its hard for me to see one without the other.

  61. Paul-N, you could see in Nasri that he had made up his mind about how much we considered he was worth and told Arsenal pay me this (which I assume he considered market value) or I going to leave. I guess when I look at my sentence above I personally see it as greedy, then again I have no doubt that he saw it as what he was entitled to in the current market.

    Rising tickets prices are going to further push fans away from the game, something has to give.

  62. Limestonegunner….indeed these resources that are non football related cannot be relied upon especially during the current financial meltdown occuring in Europe and elsewhere in the world. What is happening at Arsenal is sound, sound, rock solid. To absolute Hell with paying these obscene wages to football players who in the main do not contribute one iota to the well being of any being other than themselves. A fair wage that is related to what the market will bear is all that they are worth. No footballing fan would be able to pay what Chelsea and Manchester are giving their players. Therein lies the absurdity of it all. We are rapidly finding out in the European community and North America about spending beyond our means.

  63. I agree Miami, there are elements of both in certian situtions, especially when one is already making huge amounts of money as far as I see it.

    “Rising tickets prices are going to further push fans away from the game, something has to give.”

    That is the worse part of the situation, while the players want more and more money, it is the “common” man who cannot and/or will not be able afford the product. The players say how much they love the supporters but do they?

  64. I miss the days when I player would kiss the badge and you just knew he was here for the love of the team and the game… yes, they were paid as well but in some players you can just see that fire in their eyes, that passion that drives them on to become a legend.

  65. Limestonegunner

    The players are most responsible for the value of the game as competition and entertainment. They aren’t solely responsible–it takes many people and many skills to make the game of football what it is. However, they are the key asset. For that reason you can understand why they feel entitled to a large share of the revenues generated by the game of football–the TV revenues, the gate receipts and even the commercial endorsements. All of that depends primarily on people wanting to watch the players play football. Individuals may be more or less greedy, but if the game is generating billions of pounds in tv rights, commercial revenues, and gate receipts, the players have a legitimate claim that a large proportion of those revenues should go to them. That is structurally a pretty reasonable view. What that proportion is and how it gets divided up and distributed to clubs and within clubs among players is always going to be up for grabs, negotiation, and so on. But the principle that players deserve lots of money if football generates lots of money isn’t really assailable. Within that principle, it seems pretty fair as well that the best players should be rewarded more handsomely because they contribute even more to fan interest and a club winning.

    I think greed among players is only a serious problem in individual cases where a player becomes less motivated to play and compete at a higher level or seeks money out of proportion with other considerations like the opportunity to play first team football, at a high level in big competitions, and so on. If they give their best to fulfill the great talent they have and contribute to their team, I don’t have a big problem with them being richly rewarded. It is a problem when the culture of football players seeks to establish status and standing (and ego and pride) through how much they are paid compared to other players over success in competition and accomplishment on the pitch. We see some cases of this certainly.

  66. Paul-N, mate I agree whole heartedly… there’ll be a watershed moment at some point because it is not sustainable in its current guise.

  67. That’s it Two Owls, somehow the players are taking their cue from how much Chelsea and City pay. How can a handfull of clubs dictate what is right for players to be paid?

  68. Lime, sage words but I just cannot place any player before the entity that is the club.

    The term “key” may work for individuals where the product is some how being “substantially” improved with their personal performance, or indeed the product does not exist without their presence at all. The problem with that is if that player is paid a salary “commensurate” with their ability then that ability should be on display every moment that the individual is representing the product. Lets be frank, no player turns in a sublime performance every week and mere presence on the field does not on its own guarantee a win. If anything, mate, you put out a strong argument for why salaries should be more base lined but with attracted and lucrative performance guarantees.

  69. Limestonegunner…It is interesting that just about all the major sports in North America are resorting to a salary cap. It is the only way that a level playing field can be achieved. The truly good coaches and organizations can be quickly found out. It does appear that the NBA who do not have a salary cap are on their way to not having a season. Even though there are these salary caps, the cost of going to a game is in many ways still quite prohibitive to a family man in North America.

  70. Limestonegunner

    Paul-N, that’s a component of a self-sustaining model. Either a sugar daddy, corporate sponsors or the fans pay. Bayern Munich has a better balance for their fans. Ticket prices are comparatively low and their TV deal isn’t so lucrative but they have superb commercial incomes that allow them to pay top wages and transfers to supplement their squad at the highest level. The only other way is to have a sugar daddy subsidizing the costs. And even this will be harder to do with FFP coming in. We’ll soon see more of the ticket rises that Chelsea fans are starting to have to pay for this very reason. Perhaps this new TV ruling that the Premier League lost will affect TV revenues which has also propped up what is available. The other solution is a UEFA wide policy that would require a turnover/wages proportion that clubs could not exceed–say 60%–and that FA’s would have to enforce with points deductions and so on. That would cause clubs to be more cautious in what they offer players in wages.

    It is interesting that there is some rumour around that Arsenal are looking into renegotiating our deal with Emirates early. This would be a big help to the club if we could come closer to matching our competitors. What I don’t understand is why we are doing this at this time when our position from which to renegotiate is at its weakest in the last five or six years! If we recover to get a top 4 finish and do well in the CL, it will work out but if it is renegotiated when we are a lower table side and might be struggling or, God forbid, failing to get out of our CL group, I can’t see us reaping the most rewards. Hopefully, we do come back strong and negotiate a better deal on the back of some success, as this will give us greatest leverage.

  71. I remember the first time I went to an Arsenal game at Highbury, pulse racing, nervous, excited it was all there. I saw Vieira and Henry, alas also Jeffers. I want to see my Arsenal, I wanted us to win and tried as hard as I could to sing the songs of those around me when the chants went up. I loved every second I had there, and it was all because of the Arsenal. No player no matter how great or good has anything on my Arsenal.

  72. I think 60% is considerably over the threshold, it shouldn’t be any higher than 45%. I believe that the NBA was 52% and they are now trying to shrink it to 47%. It is time for common sense to play a part.

  73. Limestonegunner

    Miami, I think appearance and performance clauses would certainly be helpful but that would create management problems with some players playing selfishly for statistics. I think team performance bonuses would be valuable in this regard, perhaps.

    I agree with many of the points you are making Two Owls, but what is required is leadership and vision from the regulating and organizing bodies of the game and some leadership from the clubs themselves. I only see Arsenal at the top end as providing that. Lyon in France but few other top teams. A club like ManU doesn’t need to worry too much because it is such a big club and has such large revenues built from their historic and continuing success that they can match the sugar daddies, but I am surprised that clubs like Everton, Aston Villa, Spurs, and so on have not come together with Arsenal to promote within the FA measures to rebalance the game’s finances.

    However, I do think all of us are far quicker to blame individual players as the villains or the players as a collective group as the “problem.” I think this overemphasizes their role. The clubs are handing out the contracts, the FA and European bodies haven’t done anything significant or credible to address the situation, and fans have continued to pay increasing prices in England and Spain and elsewhere without organizing themselves either.

    In the end, the players as a group are who we want to watch and I think they will always deserve a very big share of whatever revenues are generated. Perhaps we need to moderate the “star” culture somewhat, but sport is about appreciating the brilliant talent of players doing extraordinary feats. We will always acknowledge the greatness of the best players in some fashion.

  74. Limestone, as far as the PL. Are the ticket costs that much different for the top teams even if they have a sugar daddy or better sponsorhip?

  75. Limestonegunner

    Miami, we can quibble about the healthiest proportion but the point remains that players are who we want to watch. The point I am making is broader than the particular proportion–that is for the experts to decide or for the parties to negotiate if ever any leadership is demonstrated. The larger point is that leadership has to come from many groups who have not been exercising any rather than placing all the responsibility and/or blame on “greedy” players. Don’t forget that there are greedy tv execs, agents, managers, board members, football executives at club and FA and UEFA and FIFA levels, corporate advertisers, and on and on… It isn’t something we should place exclusive focus on players, which is where this all started. Comments that targeted “greedy” players without wider analysis that I am suggesting needs to be incorporated as well.

  76. Very interesting post Yogi. Thanks. You are always a great read.

    Interesting discussion about players salaries and the righteous indignation we feel as Arsenal fans because we are on the wrong side of the tracks compared to the Man City, ManU and Chelsea’s of the world. Unfortunately we are stuck with the system as it currently works and I don’t really any major change in the near future. Unless we can somehow increase our revenue, either externally or by management putting money into the pot we are probably stuck with living in the 2nd tier just below those “top” teams. If thats the reality then we as fans will have to get used to fighting for 4th – 6th place which isn’t really that bad a fate.

  77. Limestonegunner

    Yes, Paul-N, there are genuine differences in ticket pricing. Even at the top level. Chelsea and ManCity prices are lower than ours because they haven’t needed to squeeze the fans to fund their outrageous spending sprees. But I bet you this will start to change a bit and FFP will be the reason–Chelsea has already started to raise CL prices and their fans are complaining.

    ManU’s season ticket is hundreds of pounds cheaper than ours still. They have a bigger stadium and double our commercial revenues. Their new training kit sponsorship is bigger than our current shirt sponsorship. There have been price rises there as well and perhaps there will be more in the future, but you can see that the commercial gap and sugar daddy gap has been the difference–Arsenal has relied on generating the second highest matchday revenue in England, with twenty thousand less seats than narrow leaders ManU, from its fans and from the corporate/club level. That means higher ticket prices.

  78. I see!

    Thanks Limestone

  79. Lime, I like your thinking in many respects but lets not also recognise that without the organisation the players have nowhere to showcase their wares. The relationship between players and the clubs are oh so important but artifical market influences are playing to much of a leading hand in determining what is or is not fair value. I still think that salary costs should not exceed 45% of a businesses turnover in football, that still allows for extremely generous terms for players whilst ensuring the product is largely staying within reach of the consumer. There should be clauses and caveats in every contract protecting the interests of both players and clubs.

    I do agree that more needs to be done from the point of view of governing bodies with regard to the game but FFP is a start.

    I truly hope that football does not tip in to the abyss just because some want to ignore that it is staring them in the face.

  80. The culture of excesses seems to be starting yet another grass roots movement here in the US with the occupy wall street people, much like the tea party.

  81. Limestonegunner

    Bill, regarding revenue, one issue I have wondered about is that the board was averse to something like a rights issue to help finance the stadium or to make sure funds would be available for investment in the playing side to insure that we could keep veteran players or buy quality players to challenge for the league and CL. We almost did it anyway in 2007-08, which would have been tremendous. But, wouldn’t it have been fair to expect that share values would go up with the building of a huge revenue generating stadium in North London, a major major asset in property and income for the club? In fact that is what happened and all their self-sustaining policies really were practically guaranteed to have that predictable effect. Supporters have had to pay more to attend and that has been a sacrifice supporters have made in moving to the new stadium. Wouldn’t it have been reasonable for major shareholders to finance investment based either on putting in money to hold onto shares whose value would skyrocket or open up for new investment from outside based on the notion that they wouldn’t be losing value ultimately because their diminished shares values would rise proportionally or better? This would have allowed us to hang onto some big players to have a better mix of youth and experience or allowed the club to replace players through crucial purchases when times were very tough budget-wise. As it is, shareholders have been rewarded handsomely by building the new stadium but the team wasn’t sufficiently re-invested in along the way.

    Now it might be too late for that. The previous big shareholders have all cashed out and that money has left. There is no way Kroenke is going to put in a penny on a rights issue after having spent what he has on expensive shares. I don’t see any other way money can be put into the club now with FFP requiring higher revenues. So new commercial deals and smart ideas on how to market the club further are the only opportunities that can be exploited now.

  82. I have attached an interesting article I read some time back about German football for those that care, it takes about how they have the cheapest tickets for games in Europe etc…. like I said it is an interesting read for those who like to get a look at footbal finances etc.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/blog/2010/apr/11/bundesliga-premier-league

  83. Limestonegunner

    Miami, I agree that the players don’t generate the value exclusively. I stated that at the outset. You have to have referees, you have to have the clubs, you have to have managers and coaches, you have to have physios, you have to maintain and keep up a stadium, you have business costs and lawyers/administrators to process payroll, you need marketers and webdesigners and ticket sellers, to some extent you need regulating bodies. But in the end, none of us would pay a tupence without the players playing the game. And no one is going to dedicate their youth to training and honing their talents and skills without a sense that there are great rewards for doing so. Whether the proportion is 45% or 55% is really not the issue as this is something to be negotiated or examined by the regulating bodies based on an intimate knowledge of the various costs and best practices for administering a club and the game. They also need competition, so the model of sharing out tv revenues to members of a league in some reasonable fashion is important, and la liga suffers from an inequitable distribution. It isn’t a game if there is no credible opposition, after all.

  84. Paul-N, thank you for that video… no’s 18, 21 and who could forget 24, absolute pearler’s

  85. I agree Lime, nicely put. wasn’t there a strike over wages or industrial action in some regard in Spain this year?

  86. It is probably pointless to blame players they regularly show that, like the rest of us, the ones that choose to come to the EPL are a bottomless pit as far as money is concerned. (I mean if someone was willing to pay us more and more for sitting in front of a computer we would lap it up until we exploded)

    So what is a realistic cap on the amounts paid. It is not unrealistic and happens naturally in every league of which the Bundesliga is a prime example. I think Chelsea spent more on transfers than the entire league 2 years ago, yet there are few German players that want to come and play in the EPL. That is a combination of player values and a natural cap.

    If we say that a football club has to be profitable to be in the league that is a cap. But in the EPL the clubs that spend the most are the poorest clubs in the country – the fact that their debt is to their owner is neither here nor there. So they invent the marketing deal and the balance sheet looks rosy again, but it is not. The owners of Etihad are the owners of city and as such should be treated as the same entity in terms of profit and loss and the laws governing this should take this into account.

    A lot of naval gazing has occurred about Arsenal’s Emrate deal as a result of what the owners of City have done, but you will never get that kind of deal in the real world and as such it tilts the playing field to a level which is obscene.

    EUFudgA and THIFA could easily do something about it, unfortunately they are of the same mould.

  87. Limestonegunner

    Indeed, we have a lot to learn from the Bundesliga. And Bayern is a club that built a new stadium in the middle of the last decade as well but has sustained great success domestically and in Europe and manages to attract as well as develop great players.

  88. Limestonegunner

    Paul-N, ditto–what a wonderful video. Miami pointed out some of the really amazing goals–the flying volley from the top of the penalty box still stuns me beyond anything.

    My favourite one of recent vintage is his goal against Barcelona, plus his celebration was lovely!

  89. Miami Arsenal @ October 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    I think you are on to something. The fans have a huge input into what makes a great club.

    Maybe a share in TV revenues?

  90. Limestonegunner

    Miami, yes and there was almost one in Italy too. Serie A has moved to more collective sharing of tv rights, so we’ll see how that affects the clubs like Juve, Inter, and Milan who benefited greatly from selling broadcast rights more individually. Perhaps we are already seeing the effect in that Udinese, Napoli, and Genoa are doing so well.

  91. Miami: “The culture of excesses seems to be starting yet another grass roots movement here in the US with the occupy wall street people, much like the tea party.”

    Actually, no. The Tea Party is a well funded corporate front acting as a grass roots movement. Occupy wall street has no funding from corporations at all. Also, unlike the Tea Party, the occupy Wall Street people are being arrested and pepper sprayed. When did that happen to the Tea Baggers again? Please don’t conflate the two.

  92. SA Gooner, the thing is, all players dont run after more money. In my opinion, its never good to paint everyone with the same brush. We wouldnt all just run after more money however most people behind a computer cannot afford anything they want while most of these footballers already can.

  93. Limestonegunner

    Very cogent analysis, I thought:
    http://www.7amkickoff.com/2011/cesc-by-committee/#comments

    Yesterday I watched some of those videos by Dr/Mr Renoog again and noted how many through balls Cesc created. We are still playing that formation and style but not yet producing those opportunities. 7amkickoff’s conclusion is that Arteta should play more forward and Ramsey and Song behind. I’d agree with that if we don’t expect to use a 4231 with Arshavin/RvP in the centre of the 3. That isn’t realistic, so I would have to go with 7am’s suggestion. I also think it is incumbent on more experienced players like Arteta to step up to these responsibilities–he might feel as a newcomer to the team that it isn’t his place, but hopefully he will feel comfortable soon doing so because in the first couple of games he created some good attacking opportunities in the first half before withdrawing to a more defensive role, it seemed. By now he should be a little more used to the way we play.

  94. Limestone @ 4:24:

    I suspect many things would have been done differently if we could turn back the clock. Its probably not fair to criticize in retrospect because no one really knew what would happen.

    Ultimately I hope to see some sort of hard salary cap. Salary cap has certainly has helped level the playing field in the NFL. However we have to remember that despite all our complaining we are way ahead of 16 or 17 other PL sides. Anything that levels the playing field will bring the “big 3” closer to us but will also have to bring us closer to the rest of the field and probably make it harder to stay in the top 4 consistently. Is that good? I guess we have to be careful what we wish for.

  95. Anyone who ever dreamed that FFP would change things dramatically has been very naive.
    By the way, how is paying Almunia £60000 a week, Denilson £57000 a week, Diaby £56000, Bendtner £52000 (all approx) plus ridiculous wages for Rosicky, Squillaci and many others staying on the moral high ground?

  96. Ramgun, care to explain the last part of your comment?

  97. How is making up numbers to support your own argument supposed to be credible Ramgun? Also even more laughable is that you could pick any 8 of our players, add their wages together, then compare that with the wages of 3 random Man City players.

    Oh wait I forgot, Yaya Toure totally deserves a quarter million per week.

  98. For those in the US, espn3 has quite a few matches on.

  99. Limestonegunner

    Finally got around to reading Swiss Ramble’s posting on Arsenal finances. I think more commenters here should be reading it. He makes a number of suggestions that I agree with: 1) re-examining the wage structure and club policies to create more flexibility at the top end 2) attempting to re-negotiate the commercial deals with Nike and Emirates and 3) targeting top talent in the January window. Another suggestion that I would consider but am a little less sure on is exploring a rights issue or major shareholders making funds available against future increased commercial revenues as a temporary means of redressing the financial and competitive gap.

    My previous post to Bill pointed to opportunities in the past that were missed and that we should learn from. There is such a thing as an opportunity cost, something that doesn’t seem to figure directly in most discussions of Arsenal’s self-sustaining model.

    FFP may help some in the longer term, but there is just no substitute to having on-pitch success on occasion to boost the self-sustaining model. The vicious circle YW posted today is also a virtuous circle when it works. To increase fan numbers and support levels, the marketability of the club to commercial sponsors and tv audiences the club has to challenge and occasionally win cups, the league, or in Europe. We haven’t managed this and arguably could have given ourselves a better chance to do so with greater investment in players or getting a better mix of expensive experienced players and cheaper younger players or preserved continuity between our winning sides and younger players. Now, there are fewer opportunities or choices–to turn what could be a vicious circle around into a virtuous circle is success on the pitch. Even a domestic cup and 4th place would be a start in that direction. A cup and third is even better, plus a deeper run in the CL. If trying to do this means having to make some adjustments of our policies, renegotiating previous deals, or floating some extra resources now that can be slowly paid back, it could be worth it. If it doesn’t work, we slip down and have to fight a difficult battle back into the top 4 from a position of weakness without CL money or attraction. Gazidis says we can survive, but again there are opportunity costs. Will we attract the best players, will we get the best commercial deals, will we create large numbers of new and young fans which is important for the long term health of the club?

    We have a distinctive identity as a well run club that plays good attacking football. That’s a strong “brand” in the world of football, but it would be immeasurably enhanced by actually winning something, so it is worth stretching as far as we can within our self-sufficient model to do it–I wish we had done it more the last several years because we had a stronger chance. But the longer we delay, the more ground we will cede to our competitors.

  100. Limestone @ 8:30:

    Virtual 10 minute stand ovation for you and that post.

  101. Meant to say standing ovation at 8:53. Sorry. (embarrassed little smiley face)

    Great stuff Limestone.

  102. and Rooney gets a red card for kicking a player for no reason at all.

  103. Limestonegunner

    Thanks, Bill. I should have posted that earlier so that others could respond, and no doubt tell me how wrong I am and how I am sacrificing our principles in order to lead us down the spend-spend-spend heresy’s path of perdition that will lead to us collapsing into bankruptcy like Leeds.

    I just think that if we had done it earlier we wouldn’t even be close to the position we find ourselves in right now and probably would have a league title and a cup or two helping power us through, giving confidence to the young players coming through the academy and bolstering our revenues. Wenger is a great manager and judge of talent. That is an advantage the club has used to stay in contention but even more has been needed–I trust him to identify young talent between 20-24 better than anyone and think we should go back in for those players in January. We had bigger profits the last several years and the league was up for grabs. Now it is crowded at the top and our profits are down and real estate revenues are going to be coming to an end. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do what is needed. It is taking a small risk but the risk of not doing so is serious as well. Correspondingly the rewards would be great and set us up for self-sustainability at a higher level.

    Good luck against the Tigers. It is nice to see the big spenders going down once in a while!

  104. FFP was always going to be a pipe dream as MC have proved and Chelsea will confirm with ‘Roman’ on the front of their shirts (alright, it may be a little more subtle than that).

    Limestonegunner makes some salient points as well and the expression ‘speculate to accumulate’ springs to mind. Project Youth would have worked just fine I feel, had it only been blended with a little more experience and a lot more continuity. My biggest immediate fear is that we will have trouble attracting the top talent in January, because they won’t want to come to a team in 12th place.

    I’ve no doubt the club can survive without CL money, but can it prosper? Can it come back? If reality comes back to football maybe we can, but will the billionaires suffer the same reality the rest of us are about to?

  105. I do think a mistake we made was getting rid of some of the more mature players too early – Gilberto and Pires are the ones that stick out to me mostly.

    If Liverpool are not see as dead in the water, there is no reason why we should believe Arsenal will be if we are not in the CL next season. I keep telling people but no one seems to believe it, but we are the brink of a golden generation Arsenal that are way more committed than some of the players who have left. Its not about how much a player costs, lets not forget that.

  106. Limestone:

    Thanks. Always glad to see the moneybag Yankees and thier $200M payroll go down. I really believe they would be been much easier to beat then the Tigers. Yankees pitching would have come into the ALCS in total disarray and some of their key players were choking violently on big stage last night. However we do get home field and I get to go to the home games on the weekend instead of midweek. Goooooooooo Rangers.

    Regarding your post its a very slow day today. Lots of time in the interlull. Why don’t you copy and paste it again sometime next week when the topic would get the discussion it deserves. I suspect you would get some of the negative reaction your describe. However, your ideas would get a lot more acceptance on this blog compared with a year of 2 ago.

  107. Can anyone tell me what is the fuss about Gary Cahill? I know he can play football but certainly not a solution to our defensive problems. he is poor in the air and does not lead at the back. Bolton have been leaking goals left right and centre and tonight he hardly impressed . Some players are a bit like fashion trend. their names get on the news a and all of a sudden they are special. certainly not a 17 million player at all.

    Rooney is a mug

  108. Paul N.

    Golden generation?? Is this group really better and deeper then the last golden generation? Hope springs eternal I guess.

  109. Yes Bill, Golden generation, I fully believe it. All of the players have not made it to the first team as yet but I expect them to very soon. This team will be great and yes, better than the former team.
    The most important thing is that they are committed to the cause.

    This is not some blind hope, Arsenal have the best reserve team going, dont you expect these players to step us as others have? I do. I have heard it so many times, that this is how Barca achieved their current status in world football, the backbone of the team came through the ranks.

  110. Paul N.

    The players you are counting on are mostly still in their teens. Other then Messi, Barca’s backbone did not mature until their mid 20’s or later Xavi, Iniesta, Puyol, Pique etc. and they supplemented their backbone with a lot of big money signings. In football a few years is a lifetime to wait before this next generation is ready to become golden. Even if these players are as good as you think, history has shown that a lot can and will happen to the individual players and the team that could derail the train. All that said, I really hope you are right and you truly have the patience of a saint. Unfortunately as Limestone has pointed out, patience is not always a virtue.

  111. Limestonegunner

    Good points there, Bill.

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