Yes Wenger may not be a Failure to Kroenke but he would be to Abramovich

Yesterday’s article from @invinciblog caused quite a stir. Most understood that the author had done the research to understand by Stan Kroenke might want to keep Arsene Wenger as his manager. The arguments was compelling but as one Gunners Town reader pointed out in numerous tweets the view is dependent on the owner. A certain Russian across the way might have viewed things differently, Here is that readers response…..

I posted a response on twitter to the article “If you believe Wenger is a failure you’re deluded, here’s why”. (My twitter is @mic8408).

@goonerdave66 suggested I email it in so I decided to do so.

It is as follows…..


I’m sorry but this is a much blinded view of things.

Yes, you may have used facts but a top football club’s success is based on more than an average performance over a period of time.

Your whole article is from the viewpoint of a Kroenke type businessman. The type of owner who is ONLY involved with the club for profit. Not an Abramovich type owner, an owner who wants his club to be the biggest and best in the world.
Under such an owner, all of those facts would mean diddlysquat.

They would also take into account other little bits of info in those stats.

For example, our average league position during our “feast” years.

You have us on a higher average position than Utd, which is a rose tinted stat.

I find it interesting that you went up to 05, and then included the most recent season. It seems you have done this in order to inflate our average position over Utd, as without those 2 seasons included Utd would have been above us (considering they won five titles to our 3).

Now I will give you the FA Cup, we have excelled in that competition under Wenger and what he’s done in it won’t likely be repeated, but even that wouldn’t save him under an Abramovich who wants to be the best and win the big trophies.

Excelled in FA Cup

I am going to ignore the league cup. It is not a big trophy and even then, despite apparently out performing other teams, we have not won it.

Which brings me nicely to the Champions League.

From a Kroenke point of view those stats and (until this season) that consistency (and flow of money) are great.

From an Abramovich point of view, not so much.

Yes like you said you have to be in it to win it, but for the last few embarrassing years its felt to me and probably most fans as if we’d actually have more chance of winning the lottery than seeing Arsenal win the CL.

The top five clubs in the world would not accept our recent performances in the CL.

The top 10 would not tolerate not even qualifying without the manager’s head rolling.

Despite the stats you presented, the fact remains that we have not won it, only even come close once whilst being in it every year, while we have seen the teams we have apparently out performed (MUFC, CFC, LFC) actually win it.

Kroenke does not mind that but Abramovich would.

Now to back up a bit to your opening paragraphs.
They sound like a rant from an EU remainer with a hint of Trump thrown in for good measure.


Now while the media have been ravaging Wenger like a pack of starving hyenas, they have not influenced results.

Image result for bayern 10 arsenal 2

The media did not hammer us 10:2 on aggregate. They did not cause our defensive naivety that saw us concede numerous goals to teams like West Brom & Bournemouth. They did not cause us to throw away dominating positions v LFC, an out of form City and Everton sides.

Moreover, they are not the sole cause of fans unrest.

The results are.

Which brings me to another point,


No supporter HAS EVER turned on a winning team. It just does not happen like that.

The bad support this past season was a direct result of poor performances from the team and manager.

And the extremely short fuse leading to bad support from bad form is a direct result of the frustrations at similarly poor performances over the last few years that a couple of FA Cups just can’t balance out.

Many fans are not happy.

The club made promises to compete at the very top with the elite and those promises have thus far been empty.

Now while you may think fans our entitled to their opinion but in the grand scheme, it is meaningless, you are wrong.

As wrong as wrong can be.

We are fans yes, but from a business point of view (as per the basis for your article) we are customers.

We do have an investment in our club.

In addition, we do have power over it, not just a little either but ultimate power.

Without customers, a business does not exist.

Without fans, stadiums are empty.

Without readers, the Harry Potter movies would never have been made.

No books no movies

Therefore, you should not be so quick to dismiss the importance of the role fans (customers) can play in the running of any football club.

Anyway, I am about done with my rant, but just for the record, I am neither AKB nor WOB. (Even if I am guilty of angry Wenger out rants after bad results)

I am on the fence and can see the positives & negatives of keeping Wenger or not.

I agree he has done so much for our club and achieved great things but I strongly disagreed with your article.

Your stats, although factually correct, are blinkered to reality.

And in reality it will take a lot more than those stats to appease a lot of the disgruntled fans right now who have more in common with an Abramovich type owner than a Kroenke one.”

That is it from me so I hope you enjoy the read. Thanks for posting it.


Richard M. (@mic8408)

Our thanks to today’s guest responder, 

Richard Mychajliw
I am a 32 year old warehouse worker from Bedford. Married with 2 kids, both boys (wife is a Leicester fan, that was fun!!). I have been an Arsenal fan since I was a kid as my father is to, but I didn’t really start following football until I was about 11 (just as Wenger arrived). Sadly I don’t get to games  due to finances unfortunately so i may be classed as a typical armchair fan to some. 

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14 Responses to Yes Wenger may not be a Failure to Kroenke but he would be to Abramovich

  1. graham perry July 12, 2017 at 9:58 am #

    I am pleased you have contributed to the Arsenal Debate but I am afraid I do disagree with your profoundly.
    There are lines to be drawn in the sand. There are things which are not acceptable.
    Success at all costs brings its problems.

    Before you embrace Abramovich read the widely circulated Times exposure of him and how he made his money. Read it and I assure you will be embarrassed to be linked with him.
    It reminds me of a recent Maigret when a murdering jewel thief used his ill gotten gains to buy favours with showgirls – when they found out how the thief paid for the furs and the champagne they turned on him

    Abramovich is not a murderer – not at all but read how he acquired his wealth. You will feel awkward.
    In life there is success and success.

    Some of Kroenke’s money is his own and some is his wife’s but no one has done an expose on him.
    He is clean – good news – it matters

    Chelsea have been more successful than Arsenal – does that men we have to follow in their footsteps.
    Would you like an Abramovich or a Mourinho.
    I made a stand when it was rumoured AFC were to buy Lee Bowyer who paid £1m legal costs when found not guilty of a racist inspired affray in Leeds – the Judge did not believe Bowyer’s evidence. Bowyer did not belong at AFC – the transfer did not proceed.

    As a Club we are so different from CFC – long may that be the case.
    We have tradition and standards and respect – do CFC?

  2. Hobart July 12, 2017 at 12:08 pm #

    The three era’s of Wenger

    1.1996-2005 – Pre Emirates financing – Avg Net spend on players £6.1m – 3 leagues and 4 FA Cups won.

    2. 2006-2012 – Emirates Debt with no sponsor income – Avg Net spend on players minus £5.75m – Won nothing.

    3. 2013-last season – New sponsors and Income – Avg Net spend on players £49.3m – 3 FA Cups.

    The three era’s of Wenger at Arsenal. If you give him the cash he will win trophies. What most people cant forget or understand is that for 6 years in the middle he had nothing to spend, because we were building a stadium with that money. They want to believe the spin that we always had money to spend. We didn’t but if the club admitted it there would have been uproar.

    The question people should be asking is why the board didn’t do a rights issue to raise cash for the club instead of walking away with millions in profit.

    And in case you want to look at those 6 years in detail he kept us in the top 4 with a smaller transfer budget than EVERY other premier league club. Including those that were relegated!

    • Batmandela July 12, 2017 at 2:01 pm #

      Thankyou, James.

      Finally someone who can take an objective view. Don’t forget that the CL qualification during the second era earned us £ millions.

      Also – we never got to capitalize on our amazing squad and milk them for trophies. We sold them to Europe’s top clubs and they benefitted. Throughout the modern era, keeping your trophy-winning squad (even past its sell-by date) is the key to success.

  3. Richard M. July 12, 2017 at 12:33 pm #

    Abramovich was the most obvious example i could think of but you could switch him out for any owner/chairman or a top club and it would be the same situation.

    At Utd, City, Real, Barca, Bayern it would be the same. Wenger wouldn’t have survived at those clubs with his performaces in recent years.

    The main problem with the original article was that it put average performance over actually winning trophies.

    As fans we want trophies.

    And most owners/chairmen want trophies to (depending on the level of the club and realistic expectations).

    My overall point was that the statistics used only show Wenger as a success in the eyes of someone like Kroenke.

    • Batmandela July 12, 2017 at 1:58 pm #

      “The main problem with the original article was that it put average performance over actually winning trophies.

      As fans we want trophies.

      And most owners/chairmen want trophies to (depending on the level of the club and realistic expectations).”

      We won 3 out of the last 4 FA Cups. Are you blind? Or do those trophies not count? And you say I’m the one with an agenda? Jeesh.

      • Richard M. July 12, 2017 at 7:37 pm #

        They count but not for as much as you seem to think.

        Had we put in convincing showings in the league and CL whilst winning them they would count for more but like i said in my original reply they simply are not enough to offset the dissappointing results in the two competitions coveted most by the big clubs (including us).

        Again, had any manager at any of the other big clubs around europe performed how we have recently the managers head would roll.

        Need proof?

        Look no further than Utd.

        Won FA Cup, finished 5th, sacked their manager.

        Same would happen at any club aiming to win league and CL titles.

        • Batmandela July 13, 2017 at 9:19 am #

          I like how you have become the arbiter for what counts and what doesn’t. It makes debating with you interesting to say the least.

          I think we’ve milked this enough, don’t you? 🙂

          I appreciate your response(s) to both the original article and these comments.

          Tell me, though. I’m curious: do you think Wenger is a failure?

        • Batmandela July 13, 2017 at 9:22 am #

          Do you want to blog regularly, Richard? Or perhaps you do already?

          Let us know.

  4. Cent July 12, 2017 at 7:42 pm #

    Very simple retort to this article; has Wenger ever been given Abrahimovic money to spend on assembling his team?
    Want to compare him to Man City? Same question; has he ever been given Sheikh Manor money to spend?

    “No other top 5 European club will accept his results” Have we ever been, even for just 3 consecutive years, a top 5 European club? Those years that your mind as when we came close, who was our manager and how much did he spend to take us there?

  5. Hari July 13, 2017 at 12:43 am #

    Just comparing what two owners would expect from their football teams isn’t enough to support your argument unfortunately, in my humble opinion. It has to be also looked at from the context in which the two clubs operate. I don’t doubt that Abramovich wants his club to be the biggest and best in the world and I agree he has done everything in his power from a financial perspective to make sure his club has the footballing resources needed to be the best. However, let’s not forget that this is a direction he chose i.e. to pour his personal wealth into the club. When you compare it with Kroenke, as much as I’m not a fan of his, he has every right to operate the way he has been. Any ambitions the owner or board has, has to fit within the criteria of spending only money earned by the club, with also the near to longer term in mind (hence, there has never been a “war chest”). If I was owner, I could also want my club to be the biggest and best and at the same time decide that my route to that goal will be to use only available resources of the club and not my own. They’re not mutually exclusive.

    Also, let me respond to a couple of things you mentioned:
    “Your stats, although factually correct, are blinkered to reality.” – It is strange that you say the previous author’s stats are blinkered to reality without providing any comprehensive stats/evidence to the contrary. Sure, I take your point that stats can be massaged to fit a particular narrative, but then there is NO such thing as an objective stat. Even something like like GDP takes into account so many assumptions. If GDP was the single best indicator of a country’s progress, why is it then that a country like the US has growing inequality? GDP is still widely accepted. Whether it’s the right metric to indicate progress is a different story.

    “And in reality it will take a lot more than those stats to appease a lot of the disgruntled fans right now who have more in common with an Abramovich type owner than a Kroenke one.” – People have more in common with Abramovich because his pouring of personal wealth into the Chelsea has resulted in success. As fans, of course we want to win, to succeed. We have seen with Chelsea that pouring money into club = success. Therefore it’s only normal that we have than in common with Aramovich. We all want to win. This is a FACT.
    I’d love us to win everything under the sun. I’d dearly love that. However, outside of United who have historically had enormous commercial income, the only two other clubs to have consistently done well over the last few years operate within a completely different context of unlimited funding. We’ve decided to live within our means (an admirable choice, in this day and age) but how does that equate to not “wanting” to win? In fact, if we’re using money spent as a parameter to measure “want” or “desire” to win, we’ve gradually increased what we’ve been spending since 13/14 when the stadium debt was paid off.
    If we as fans are disgruntled, does that automatically make us right? If the club were to change direction every time a section of fans were disgruntled, will they ever satisfy everyone? Unlikely. We have a voice and it’s good to raise our voices through the channels we have, but it doesn’t always mean we’re right.

    On the point of the big defeats. Yes, they hurt. A LOT. The Bayern result was one of the worst I’ve ever experienced, after the 8-2 against United and 6 shipped to Man City, Liverpool and Chelsea at various points.

    The big defeats can partly be explained with Wenger’s approach to football. He goes all in to win, irrespective of the opponent and when his teams go down a goal or two, he doesn’t opt for damage control. He instead opts to go even harder to come back and ends up conceding more ground. I’m sure those margins would be smaller if his approach was different (we probably would have lost those games anyway as in most of them we were outplayed). This is a question of philosophy and there is no right and wrong. Does anyone expect a Mourinho team to do anything other than damage control if they’re on the receiving end? No. He has his more pragmatic approach to football. Fair enough.

    In the domestic league our record against the Big 5 hasn’t been great. However, if we compare the eight seasons from 05/06 to 12/13 with 13/14 (used this since we signed Ozil that season, which was a sign that the purse strings loosened) onwards, our record against Chelsea and United (the only two constants among the big teams) has actually improved in terms of the % of points we’ve won from those available, albeit marginally. The improvement has been very gradual but if you look at our spending we’ve rarely spent a huge sums in one transfer window either. Ozil, Alexis, Xhaka all joined in different summers and as we’ve got GRADUALLY stronger the results are GRADUALLY improving against the top teams. Man City, Liverpool and Spurs cannot be included for the full analysis because for example, City only really started doing well from 2009 under Mancini. Our record is good against them but I didn’t use it since you might argue that a higher proportion of our wins against them came when they weren’t at their best in terms of their squad. Similarly Spurs have only in the last 3-4 seasons come to the fore. We’ve dropped off against Liverpool strangely which is the only really big surprise for me. If you do want to see the actual numbers, they’re here.
    If we can keep Ozil and Alexis and with the addition of Lacazette i.e. proof of the incremental team building over the last few years, I expect these numbers to improve.

    Yes. An undeniable truth. A FACT. Before you bring up Leicester, I think we can all acknowledge that it was an exception rather than the norm. I think we could and should have done better that season. But again, while I acknowledge we had two huge missed opportunities in 08/09 and 15/16, there are also external factors which contributed to our inability to compete better over the years.

    As much as people call it an excuse, it is a FACT that Arsenal had to pay off the stadium. For this Champions League revenue was crucial. Adding to that the endless money pits at Chelsea and Man City and United’s huge commercial income, it was about right that we were finishing in the top 4 every season. Whether you like it or not, this was a REALITY.

    The other big factor, more recently, was the TV deal between BT and Sky. This meant that the financial impact of not being in the CL was lessened. More teams had more money. This meant fiercer competition and more level playing field (for everyone except Man City and Chelsea again). This also is a FACT.

    Both these factors could not have been predicted before they happened. I’ve not seen a single expert who claimed they knew these would happen. In the years from 05/06 to 12/13 as if the debt wasn’t enough we also had the billionaires. Without the CL money those years, it’s likely we’d have taken longer to get back to where we are and that we probably wouldn’t have signed Ozil and Alexis when we did sign them. So taking everything into account we’ve done reasonably well but yes, one or two big seasons would have been grand.

    I’d like to clarify that I’m a huge fan of Arsene Wenger. I have no qualms admitting it. He does frustrate, he is stubborn etc. but there are too many reasons why I admire the guy. I do appreciate his faults too and I was genuinely on the fence about his stay being extended before it was. I’d have been happy to see a new person at the helm and would have supported the team anyway. However, I can see why Wenger has been given a new deal too. In any case, I intend to back the team unconditionally, to the end.

    A lot of fans have been arguing the pros and cons like this is an issue of black or white. There are some valid points on either side but in the grand scheme of things, we’re not having it as bad as people make it out to be. Arsenal is our hobby. Let’s back our team when they’re on the pitch. Let’s try to enjoy our hobby while we can.

    Finally I’d just like to add that one of the things that makes sport what it is, is its uncertainty and/or unpredictability. In business and other walks of life, you can predict and forecast at least to some extent. If everything about sport was as certain, then the life will have been sucked out of it. Managers and football administrators strive for the certainty of winning, but alas, they will never be 100% successful. Let’s remember that the only person who came closest to achieving that certainty by not losing if not by winning every game, for one season at least, is the man in charge of our club.

    I’m @hramacha on Twitter (but post only occasionally so maybe not really worth following)

    • Hari July 13, 2017 at 12:58 am #

      This is the current link with Arsenal vs. the Big teams

    • Batmandela July 13, 2017 at 9:21 am #

      This is a fantastic comment. Thanks.

      I’m tempted to post it as an article. 🙂

      If ever you wish to wrote more regularly Gunners Town would be happy to have you. Thanks.

      • Hari July 13, 2017 at 11:46 am #

        I’d be happy for you to use it if you like, although maybe I’d rework it a little so it’s less of a response to a post and more of an opinion.

        Not sure I can commit to writing regularly (not because I’m busy, but because I’m lazy), but can write some ad-hoc pieces. 🙂 Will that work? Only post it on the site if you think it’s good of course 🙂

        • Batmandela July 13, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

          If you’d like to rework it so that it fits into an Arsene Wenger critique, that would be awesome…

          Regarding writing – let’s discuss in an email. I’ll DM you on Twitter.

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