Did it all go wrong for Arsene when he became an Arsenal Fan?

Wenger became a fan

Wenger became a fan

This piece from a fan Graham is in direct response to the much read piece from Gary Lawrence entitled ‘Where did it all for Arsene? – It was left in the comments.

The article is an interesting read and highlights some of the issues, but for me it doesn’t paint an accurate enough picture.

The reality of where we are today is partly created by Arsine’s success in his early years, the mismanagement by the previous shareholders and the sense of entitlement many Arsenal fans feel. The sense if fuelled by irresponsible journalists who see Arsine as an easy target and know Arsenal fans will lap up all they write because of the desperation for success.

Firstly, I hear people constantly talking about David Dein. I appreciate he was good at his job, but let’s not forget he was the one that brought silent Stan. I wouldn’t go as far as calling the fallout a vendetta. It was a difference of opinion. Dein wanted us to move from Highbury to Wembley, an absolutely ludicrous plan and Fiszman wanted us to build a new stadium.

Dein and Fiszman - Different plans

Dein and Fiszman – Different plans

I do agree that what is missing at Arsenal is a true football man which Dein was. Alex Ferguson’s success was partly due to having a CEO (David Gill and Peter Kenyon) that understood football and football financing. No one currently at Arsenal understands this so Arsene has to do more than he should. People see him as taking absolute control, but if his employer will not employ someone in that role then he has to do it. This means he is not able to concentrate 100% on football coaching and management.

The role of the previous shareholders including Nina Bracewell-Smith – The financial management for the stadium move was mismanaged and the club had to sell players to keep the banks from the door. Their negotiation of sponsorship deals was also poor in the extreme. I would actually argue that Stan is better than all of them because he is actively trying to negotiate these deals and getting new ones. In terms of sponsorship revenue Arsenal is way behind its main rivals because of the poor stewardship of previous directors and shareholders.

Let me move on to player acquisition. I have seen for several months this figure of £200m mentioned. I am an Accountant and I can tell you this figure can never be available for player acquisition because the difference between our current assets and current liabilities was only £47m, so at most we had that amount to spend. We also have instalment payments to make for players we recently purchased. The reality is that we don’t have as much money for transfers as many fans have been led to believe.

Building the new stadium

Building the new stadium

Many fans have also been fed the lie that the stadium debt is fully paid or almost paid. If you call £200m of debt almost fully paid then ok. The reality is that as at the end of November 2015 the club still had over £190m of long term debt associated with the stadium. Why is it taking so long to pay? It’s because of the incompetent management we had at the club for many years. Increasing our revenue and accelerating the repayment is proving difficult. The old saying that good thing can be damaged in an instant but can take many years to repair. I don’t know the exact phrase.

Left to fund stadium debt

Left to fund stadium debt

The assertion that the club did not invest is not entirely true. The reason Nasri and others left was to meet a shortfall in our financial commitment to the loans provides for our stadium Arsene said so himself recently.

The article also claims he did not invest in new players when we had all the money to spend. While I am not party to the inner workings of the club do we actually know if Arsene was ever given a sizeable transfer fund?  I don’t.

Fans are also unhappy with Stan because he won’t put his hand in his pocket to fund transfers. Why should he? He is a businessman who has acquired a good business with tremendous potential and is cash generating. He is doing what any other businessman will do. Let’s be clear here, he is not a fan and has never claimed to be one. He is going to get the business to a valuation that suits him and sell. If we don’t like it we can all try and acquire the business from him. I don’t like it one bit but it is what it is. He is not Abramovich or Sheikh Monsour who were both looking for expensive toys.

That said, I think there are issues at the club that have been there for a long time and have not been addressed. The first one is the endless injuries we keep having. This has been going on for many years and there appears to be no solution. Another is player scouting. I don’t consider our scouts to be at the level of other clubs that can be considered our competitors in EPL or Europe. It needs a complete overhaul. I think fitness also needs to be improved.

Player Issue
RARE player issue shirts at clearance prices here  

So who is to blame for where we find ourselves as a club?

I think Wenger must share a large part of the blame. He has shown incredible faith in the players he has bought even when they have been shown to be poor and not up to the task or good enough for Arsenal football club. His decision making is also becoming increasingly questionable. However, I will not question some of the so called strange comments he makes. He has to be positive.

One more thing on Arsene – I think he has committed the serious error of becoming a fan. This, in my opinion is also clouding his judgement. It should be a job to him and nothing more. Becoming a fan of the club means he wants the best for the club at all levels, on and off the field. He should be much more selfish in the Mourinho mould and spend, spend, spend.

Too involved

Too involved

Those responsible for the club’s finances and the running of the club must also share a portion of the blame. The club’s finance is not as healthy as it should be, but I accept that the likes of Gazidis are making efforts to improve it, but I think this is at the expense of neglecting the football side of the business. Arsene needs a football man on the board, so will anyone that comes in after him.

The fan must also share part of the blame. Season after season or away record is one of the best but our home record is average. This cannot be a coincidence. The players always appear tense when playing at home because the fans are unforgiving of even the most basic error and demand perfection. The level of support is also far less than expected where away fans are louder than us. There is also a sense of entitlement among some fans. They believe we should be winning the league every year, competing for it is not good enough.

Arsene is in his final year and I think he has earned it. This summer he needs to be brave and but quality players that will genuinely improve the team and be less loyal to the underperformers. He also needs to show many players the door and bring a few of the high achievers in the under 21 side to supplement the team

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13 Responses to Did it all go wrong for Arsene when he became an Arsenal Fan?

  1. A April 28, 2016 at 9:13 am #

    Interesting article

    If wenger had left when arsenal were moving to the emirates and told he would have no money , sell his best players, develop and sell the young talent and qualify for the champions league i don’t believe arsenal would be in the financial position and safety we have in paying off the stadium and big sponsors.

    We would have been a mid table team for the last 10 years

    The fans would have blamed him for leaving us in such a mess

    But those who want him out don’t appreciate that they say they do but they don’t. They prefer to listen to the media who say we haven’t won the title in 12 years but never point out in those 12 years the effects of the stadium paying off and realistically how many of those years did we have the money .

    Last 3 seasons we should have done better but don’t say 12 when we didn’t have the resources to do so. Boo the players walcott, mertersacker, giroud and ramsey. Wenger’s problem is his faith in players who don’t repay him back with season long performances.

  2. R,G S April 28, 2016 at 10:23 am #

    Great Read & well written should be given to all our fans R.G.S

  3. Victor Thompson April 28, 2016 at 10:33 am #

    I do appreciate the points in this article but I personally began to doubt Wenger because of his own statements. The Stadium is a historical achievement for which alone, he would deserve a statue. but his lack of tactical nous, his adherence to a 70 min substitution and the absolute incomprehensible choices of of some of them together with negative, half speed football convinced me that he is no longer a serious manager.

    Add the absurd statements that his teams have great strength, great desire, great quality, great resolve etc. which are just too ridiculous to take seriously. Finally when he admitted after the Swansea match that he does not listen to the opinion of fans that was the last straw.

  4. Francis lancs April 28, 2016 at 10:37 am #

    What you stated above is an interesting read. I want to believe they were opinions but at least you blamed the right persons that is Arsene and the board and identified the lack of a sporting director or is it called a director of football. Are you telling me we do not have the money to hire one? I don’t think so. Every other club has one and has not done without it in the last 12 years including the heavyweights like the Barcelona, Madid, bayern, Manchester United, Chelsea (theirs even joins them on the bench every match) and we can go on and on. So we is ours different?

    You mentioned something about there being no cash to spend. I respectfully disagree with you. I do not have the figures but cast your mind back to the sums spent on Ramsey, chambers, chamberlain, walcott and generally the under performers at the club is is not surprising the sum total is about twice expensive than the Leicester team and this is connected with scouting and the unbelievable and disastrous faith wenger give these players. Let’s not forget you stated wenG is becoming a fan of the club. That is incomplete. It is that went er is becoming a fan of these players I am referring to above.

    Please explain to me why Ramsey should continue to be a starter and in fact when he is to be substituted it’s in the 82nd to 86th minute when magic has become a myth.

    This is a manager who has stated consistently that he knew of Ronaldo, ibrahimovic, Kanye, cech (before he came to england) and the likes. Okay, look at the suarex situation. Our coach decided to ridicule Liverpool with the manner he bidder for suare and by extension he jeopardise our chances. Securing him that summer would have sen us having this attack sachet and him with oil behind them. Believe me we would not have regretted it. But our manager taught otherwise and decided to toy with such a serious addition to our squad. Is that a manager who wants to win, with oil having created the most chances than any other in Europe with a disastrous conversion rate. And please do not mention he behaviour, it has been contained and that shows he is professional.

    You referred to our scouts as inefficient. If that is the case, shouldn’t they have been replaced but I doubt the truth in that a serious. In fact our manager has on copious occasions told us he has the best scouting network. You know why we have a problem? It is an indisputable fact that the work of a scout is to identify a player and bring it to the attention of the manager (at least that was how he got to know of the ronaldos, ibrahimovic, kantes etc )but not to approach the board to buy, that is the work of the manager.

    Our manager simply likes it that way and he wants the fans to take it love that. If there is a problem there are solution and it is redundant if you decide to create for for yourself rather than take that solution.

    Have a good day. I cannot finish my tot here got to go somewhere.

    • Graham April 29, 2016 at 10:38 am #

      Francis, it’s good to have difference of opinion. Many people mention Leicester, but this season is one that will not happen for another 50 years, so let’s not use one anomaly as the basis of a discussion. If Leicester win it next season or qualify for champions league then I will be wrong.

      The players you mention above were bought when young with the hope of them developing into good players, but we all know there is never any guarantee how a layer will develop. I still think chamberlain can still develop into a good player. He needs a good run in the side. Ramsey is a good player if he can keep reminding himself it is a team game. Theo is the only that I think has not developed into what we all hoped.

      You also mention that Wenger ridiculed Liverpool with his offer. I don’t where fans get this impression that it is the manager that does the financial negotiation. It is not.

      Now let me move onto money. I said the club does not have as much as people think and the only way it can spend substantial amounts on transfer is to increase its debt and only one man can make that decision, Stan. I often hear people mention , City and Chelsea, even Barcelona, Madrid and other European giants. What they all have in common is that they have mountains of debt and the debt was not from infrastructure improvements but from player acquisition. City’s owners have put a fortune in and have written off a lot of it which they are allowed to do. Stan is not going to do that, which is his right as the owner.

      It’s interesting no one has touched on the fans role in all this. Why our players are so nervous when they play at home. It is supposed to be our fortress, instead it feels more like a torture chamber for them. I appreciate it is not much fun for the fans to witness a poor season, but the players need our support. We need to lift them at every home game, not them lifting us.

      • Francis lancs April 29, 2016 at 7:05 pm #

        Mr. Graham, thanks for leaving a reply but permit me to further respond to your reply.

        The last time that something like this happened in the premier league was sometime between 1992 and 1993 to Blackburn Fc and that is less than 25 years ago so believe me we may not have to wait for another 25 years before this repeats itself again and we are again the main subject of ridicule.

        But more than that is the fact that everyone had already admitted that the title was ours to lose and we did not disappoint on that front as we do every year. We lost it in the same fashion and all the features of our failure were evident. I will dwell on this later.

        The simple fact and we should appreciate and learn from it is that Leicester played like champions and they deserved to win. They fought for each other and there was always passion as well as determination in their play. Winning 1 nil is the stuff of champions. That’s all.

        Your opinion that this miracle may not happen in the next 50 years which I have contended is that it also applies to us, specifically in the champions league. When are going to do a Leicester or a blackburn?

        The players I mentioned (that is kantes, ibrahimovic, Ronaldo etc) were young at the time wenger ignored them. You did not properly address ramsey’s non substitution at matches this season despite his apparent loss of form if that is what you want to refer it to. Should we wait for him (and those other players I mentioned) to regain form or technical ability at the detriment of our title ambitions and fans? I verily disagree.

        It is not in contention that Stan belives in wenger’s choices and or that the board trusts the footballing side to wenger. Sincerely, if wenger in desperation; borne out of the believe in suarez in an arsenal shirt just like Ferguson demanded of manchester united’s board with our van persie, had approached the arsenal board including Stan to finance the purchase of suarez and the success he would bring us. Do you honestly think that offer would have been refused wenger?

        I still maintain that wenger had no respect not only for Liverpool or the fans but particularly for suarez and he is disrespecting us with the likes of walcott, chamberlain, chambers, Ramsey and gibbs in an arsenal shirt.

        Just like he has always done with the January transfer which he is the first to criticise and ignore. I have always seen it as our bonus. Wenger has been a coach at arsenal for the last 20 years. Did he really think carzola would have returned in January or February? The fact is that he knew but continued to lie to us as he has always done. He is aware of our mid-season truma and time it takes the medical team to discharge it’s patients. So why not do the needful that is between shaking up the medical team, buying quality players who are strong technically and physically or improving on his training methods which have come under criticisms and I agree on this view.

        You mentioned the fans role in this. As a business owner, would you not have turned against your employees if they repeated the same mistakes for more than a decade, when rather than accept their fault they turn around to still blame you for lack of support despite your support for the last 9 years and 4 months.

        Their was no complaint at the beginning of the campaign why now? For the last 12 years with the increase in price tickets and wages of players what does the fans get in return, 4th place. And come next season Emirates stadium is filled to capacity at every match day, what more do the players want.

        I will repeat it again that money is not all and I really agree with wenger. The problem is with wenger and the choices he makes. Dont tell me you have not been left confused with his selections and substitutions and it turned out you were right to question them. Mr. Graham that’s has been wenger’s way. He cannot be the most talented football coach so he should listen to other who have offered objective criticisms.

        Leicester and atheletico Madrid have opened our eyes let’s learn with submission.

        I Must mention it is nice having this views expressed by everyone connected to this football club and we should not allow a few people ruin it for us.

        That’s you but I need to go now will add further comment if and when necessary.

  5. Richard1977 April 28, 2016 at 10:39 am #

    Actually a great sensible piece of writing, balanced reasonably if not completely unbiased. You are right Wenger has made mistakes but those are compounded by those above him. He assumes the responsibility never hides from the criticism and protects his superiors and players well. Every fan knows at one point in time Wenger will have to step aside his age dictates this, the question should be when. I am in the camp that for all he has done for this club he should be allowed to decide his time to walk away from the club. Yes the last few years haven’t been trophy laden but you have four trophies a season to compete for but only one team can win each of those trophies so it’s harsh to expect to win a trophy every year, in the years we didn’t win anything we were in finals and competing we were just a little short in the end. The two recent fa cups show Wenger still has ability to win things. Yes in hindsight this year can be disappointing that we didn’t win league. But Leicester have shown to be the most consistent team in the league losing three times this season so far with only us doing the double over them. I will wait and see where we finish season and what happens in transfer window but I expect us to be challenging for silverware next season as well.

  6. Graham April 28, 2016 at 9:23 pm #

    I am the one that wrote the comment. Thanks for publishing it. I just want to add further to my comment.

    The reality is that Arsenal do not have the sort of funds that many fans think we have. Do be able to purchase the players we need the club needs to take risks and increase its overall debt by borrowing to purchase players. Only one man can make this decision, Stan Kroenke, and he is simply not prepared to do so.

    I believe the future is bright for a new manager. Our youth system appears to be more serious about developing players that can really get to the level we require. The scouting for and development of youth players has improved a great deal because we recognise we can’t compete financially. I look forward to see some of these in the first team.

    Back to the present. I think our performance this year has been the poorest in many seasons. Teams we had in the past that fell short between 2007 and 2013 would have won the league this year.

    Like many fans I am extremely frustrated at how this season has gone. I have replayed many games in my head over and over, away matches at Norwich, Southampton, United, West Ham, Tottenham and home matches against Chelsea, Palace, West Ham, Swansea. So many points unnecessarily lost.

    • Dave Seager April 28, 2016 at 10:27 pm #

      Thanks Graham. I thought it was our own Graham Perry when I posted it so apologies for not thanking you earlier. Dave

      • Graham April 29, 2016 at 12:08 pm #

        not a problem. I feel privileged.

  7. Alexandra Anderson-Field April 29, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

    to be honest I don’t really care if you are an Accountant or not i can look at the published accounts and find the 200 million so it is there its not the contingency fund either.
    Please have a very long hand look 47 million absolute rubbish and you a gooner I think maybe you need to re take the balance sheet exam again as you do not appear to be reading it correctly or have an old copy.
    I don’t think the directors or Gazidis could come out and say we have 200 million if we have not !! we have but Arsene wont spend it

    • Graham April 29, 2016 at 1:22 pm #

      If we spend this £200m, how will the players get paid? How will the installment on the stadium debt get paid? How will the general running costs get paid? The £200m includes all sponsorship and season tickets paid in advance, so the level of income for the rest of the year will not be sufficient to pay these costs. I know what I am taking about. You have every right to disagree.

      I tell you what, ask your employer to give you 80% of your annual income this month and spend it on a sports car. Then try and pay your mortgage and other bills for the rest of the year on 20% of your income. If you can do it you are a genius.

  8. andy1886 April 30, 2016 at 7:47 am #

    It’s a bit disingenuous to say that the £200m is all the income that the club will have to pay debts and players wages during the season. Not all seats are pre-sold season tickets, there are additional unsold seats that bring in income during the season and additional matches that are not covered by the season ticket anyway. Add in match day spending inside the stadium and at the club shop and it’s clear that there are significant additional income streams that you have not taken into account.

    For a proper detailed analysis of our financial position I would recommend The Swiss Ramble who estimates that we have around double what you suggest to improve the squad:


    Regards our relatively poor record at home I think the idea that the fans are somehow responsible is nonsense and shows a lack of understanding of the way we, under Arsene, play the game. The fact is that our slow passing game is ill suited to breaking down a packed defence which is what most teams will present away at the top sides. Away from home teams attack us more which makes it easier for us to breach their defences. The fact that everyone knows how best to counter Arsenal at home, and that Arsene has over many years failed to find a solution, suggests that it’s the manager not the fans who need to take responsibility for our failings in this regard.

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