How do you prevent an Arsenal disaster similar to United/Liverpool?

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Try your hardest to be non-partisan during this post. It is after all non-partisan day.

I went out to watch my boss have a fag the yesterday, if he can take fag breaks, I can take passive smoking breaks. I’ll be damned if anyone is going to tell me otherwise. We got chatting about football, he’s a scouser, we’re sharing similar pain at the moment, though it has to be said, we’re suffering a paper cut compared to the arm Liverpool lost in the shredder.

Anyway, talk came onto the plight of his club financially. He spoke of it being a good thing for the club, he said relegation might not be such a bad thing either because at some point they’ve got to start from scratch and find their way as a club together.

 

Sad times for our bindipper friends...

 

He doesn’t feel sorry for himself noting that Liverpool fans pined after a new buyer for 4 years before the Americans came in. Looking on green eyed at the spending of United and Chelsea, seeking similar gratification for themselves and hoping they too could be elevated to the next level and achieve success on a par with what was standard for them in the 70’s and 80’s.

It didn’t work out that way though did it? The Americans came in, promised new players, a new stadium… all with no LBO. Theys did ok for a while, they received planning permission to build on Stanley park, they lent the club £140million to buy Rafa a bunch of average players and they finished 2nd in the league. Regardless of success, my colleague said as soon as that sale happened, the club lost something more important than success and shiny new players… it’s soul.

Something it hasn’t been able to claw back since. Even the players seem to hate being there…

Liverpool were an institution similar to ours before the Americans came in and butchered it in the space of 4 years. They were lauded for doing things the Liverpool way, for caring about the fans and creating an amazing atmosphere to watch football. According to my season ticket holding boss… that’s all gone.

I wrote a pretty strong post about this subject a year ago to much derision. However, I think it’s more pertinent than ever to reiterate that my biggest fear as an Arsenal fan is that we have no way of controlling our destiny. The board can sell with the best intentions just like David Moores did… but after that cheque is signed and the reigns are handed over, the new owner is free to do as he pleases.

Since the influx of foreign owners in the Premiership, who has done well? West Ham nearly went under, Newcastle were relegated, Portsmouth flunked out of the Premiership, City originally sold out to a fugitive who didn’t have the cash, United are nearly bankrupt… the list of failures is certainly more impressive than the list of success stories.

Allegedly things are so bad at United, it’s widely accepted internally that it’s over for them. The players hate each other, the staff don’t get on and the money has well and truly dried up. The only thing holding them together is Ferguson’s iron fist rule. Theirs a whole in the side of their titanic ship, it’s the size of a coke can at the moment, once he leaves, that hole is going to burst open and sink one of the biggest footballing super powers of the last 20 years. Who’d have thought such a destiny were possible 10 years ago when they were making so much profit, they struggled to spend it.

Bebe and Hernandez are not shrewd buys, they’re desperation buys. Giggs, Scholes and Hargreaves haven’t been replaced because they can’t be replaced. Watch this space, it’s going to be car crash.

Villa are supposedly one of the success stories. They owe Lerner £60million though and they’ve now had to accept mediocrity after he reigned in the purse strings. Birmingham are doing ok so far. Obviously the stand out is Abramovich who has stuck by his investment. He’s still lumbered with a club that’s probably never going to give him a decent return. City could be deemed a success in the making,  I’d like to see if they Sheikh’s are about in 10 years time. City fans should enjoy the good times while they last, that’s the trouble with sugar daddies, there’s always a more exciting propostion awaiting. At least City have history… something Chelsea struggled with.

So what do we hope for? Kroenke doesn’t have the finance to take us to City’s level of spending and he doesn’t appear to have the cash to absorb the cost of the club. This worries me. He doesn’t talk of his intentions and he doesn’t have an emotional attachment to Arsenal. Those two ingredients are very scary especially considering the Americans reputation in the Premiership so far. If you’re over here, it’s for the pay day, if you think otherwise, you’re being naive.

Usmanov? Well, everyone hates him… A mixture of nasty allegations, a murky CV and obviously he’s eastern European. If you look like a Bond Villain, chances are you are, right? Well, I’m not so sure he’s the worst option. He’s an incredible businessman, he has re-amassed his fortune since the markets collapsed and he’s close friend of Abramovich. They all knock about in the same circles, I can’t help but think he’d want us for the same reasons the Russian in West London wanted Chelsea. A bit of an indulgence. A nice company to have in your portfolio. Collapsing an amazing North London club in front of your mates would be pretty embarrassing wouldn’t it?

Then there is Jay-Z. What to make of his interest in the club? Undoubtedly a businessman with a keen eye for a good deal, amassing a fortune of nearly a billion dollars…  However I’m not sure a £4.5million stake in the New York Nets qualifies you to even entertain the idea of running the greatest club in the world.

For me, what will define the club for the next ten years isn’t how quickly we pay off the debt, it’s who takes over the reigns when the board call in their pay day. How can we as fans be assured that this whole stadium move process was in the our best interests? At the end of the day, forget what the board have done, we’ve paid the extortionate ticket prices, continued buying the shirts and supported a flawed on the pitch youth project.

We allowed this to happen, without the fans, the club is nothing. Therefore I think we deserve assurances this debt repayment malarkey isn’t going to be a cyclical norm in the future.

Paying down the debt just for it to be topped up to the tune of £600million once the board have sold out is not a proposition I relish. The new stadium might lack soul, but the club still retains it by the bundle… what are the current board going to do to preserve and protect the soul, future and everything that is great about our club?

I’ll tell you on the 22nd of October because I’ve submitted it as my question for the AGM.

Check out Kyles Euro 2012 piece over at The Real Arsenal for a bit of international reading.

I see everyone’s reporting a fully fit squad after the international break? LG told you that two weeks ago here… stick with us, you wont go wrong!

See you in the comments!

258 Responses to “How do you prevent an Arsenal disaster similar to United/Liverpool?”

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  1. SurferX

    There is no evidence to support many of those assumptions though gambon- its simple doomongering (if that isnt a word it should be).

    Man U could be purchased. Maybe not. They could be purchased with more gearing. Maybe not. Complete speculation on your part.

    Chelsea have no debt- correct. But they also have maximised their commercial revenue (whereas we havent- as weve discussed before). They could of course build a new stadium. Then again, they cant fill the one they have at present. The upside growth of AFC financially is far in excess of Chelsea. And as you point out, they still need to cut costs by around £50pa to do so.

    Citeh are growing financially- its true. The ‘could’ get where they need to be by 2014. However- they wont do it if they have another summer of spending like the last two. Plus- there is a long way to go to catch up with an £125m operating loss (especially given player amortisation will begin to bite).

    As for profits of £50m each year- the jury is out on that. As Ive said before- this summer we turned a corner financially with regard to our cash situation. The question isnt whether we’ll make £50m profits every year- the question is what are they going to do with all the cash?

    Extend the stadium? Pay Denilson £150k per week? Buy a GK? Only thing that is very likely is they need to do something with it- paying off the long-term debt doesnt make any sense (indeed they may not be able to for another 10 years or so).

    Profits have largely been an irrelvance to our financial position. They have helped as pay off the operating debt. Great. Now what you going to do with it boys? Bank it at 1.5% bond rates? I dont think so…

  2. finestcuts

    To answer the question posed in the headline of this post, it is to make the club fan owned.

    All of the threats outlined in this post are valid, they are completely beyond our influence, all we can do is to talk about them and watch the plot unfold.

    To change that, concerted action would need to be taken. Fans would need to put their differences aside and take appropriate action ie. stand up as a group which outnumbers those pulling the strings by many many times and demand that the fans control the destiny of the club rather than it being run to enrich the few. How? By refusing to fund the operation until certain reasonable conditions are met.

    And those in power know very well that it’s highly unlikely that the vast majority of supporters will work together to take such action.

    Are they mature enough to put their differences aside? A large amount aren’t, they’re too impulsive and short sighted to make the necessary sacrifices for the long term.

    Are they brave enough to do so? Unfortunately most aren’t, their greatest fear being that they might be seen by others to be doing something unpopular.

    So to summarise it, those at top level know very well that they can do as they please with little or no resistance and the fans have to rely on good fortune for things to remain stable/successful at the club.

    With the new financial rules coming in, I doubt LBOs will be seen as an acceptable way of taking over clubs since as correctly outlined, they pose a massive risk to the future stability of the club and could lead to a situation where the club is no longer able to meet it’s financial commitments, and I am of the understanding that the rules are intended to prevent such scenarios from occurring.

    The new rules will vastly reduce financial corruption within the game and while not dictating to owners that clubs should be aiming to win silverware at the expense of high profits, they will certainly prevent some of the gerrymandering we’ve seen in recent times
    and ensure that clubs aren’t skating on the thinnest of ice or folding should they fail to win a certain amount of games with long term sustainability of clubs being the intended aim.

  3. gazzap

    But SurferX – I assume you are broadly supportive of a Stan takeover if there is to be one? If he has to buy the club using loans – that he then funds out of the clubs turnover, how can this be better than having a cash buyer? (forget the personalities involved for a moment).

  4. SurferX

    Well- Im not sure whether he would, or whether he wouldnt. Or rather, there is a long slding scale of gearing- at one end borrowing £230m at 5.25% over 21 years (AFC current gearing). At the other, borrowing £700m at 16.25% (Man U gearing). Not all debt is bad- United’s is!

    In addition, you make the assumption that Kroenke would saddle us with debt- yet Usmanov wouldn’t. It seems to me your only evidence for that is that Kroene’s cash is all tied up in sports franchises- whereas Usmanov’s isn’t. This just isnt true.

    The large majority of his fortune is made up in a large equity stake in Metalloinvest. So the assumption you are making is that he’ll sell a big chuck of that to fund the AFC acquistition. Maybe he would? But its as likely as Kroenke doing the same.

    My point being- ultimately the relative resources of each individual make the deal less likely to be made at the type of punative rates Glazer got hit with. As I recall, one of Usmanov’s only suggestions so far has been to let him have a bit more equity and pay out dividends from profit? This hardly seems the magnamous jesture of an ‘Arsenal fan of 7 years’ (my kids have been fans longer)…

    So- outside the personalities (which still plays a key part); a lot comes down to business profile. And I trust like the look, style and investment track-record of Kroenke much more than Usmanov.

    So I woudn’t say Im supportative yet. If / when one of them crosses the 30% line- they each have to come out with an offering to all shareholders that should detail their plans for the company. Thats when I’d say. But right now- based on what I see.. yes Id rather Kroenke.

  5. gazzap

    Or rather Stan’s £1.2b is tied up in a variety of places and Usamanov’s £8b, I am guessing is slightly more liquid because to sell shares in a successful metal company on the stockmarket would be a piece of cake (abramovich didn’t struggle with this aspect). Let’s not ignore that Usmanov is 7 times wealthier.
    What’s more doesn’t stan already have loans outstanding on his US sports franchises. I am pretty sure I read he used a loan to buy the Rams. Is he geared up to the eyeballs?

    I believe the Usmanov offer of cash to buy players was purely a PR exercise to get the fans on his side. Also he knew 100% it would not be accepted – always easier to make such an offer when you know it wont be accepted.

  6. Mayank

    So I read it and I’ll be honest it does seem feasible, but there’s one flaw with his hypothesis. It assumes no further investment in players and Mancini achieving success.

    If they’re pipped for 4th again they’ll replace the manger and the new manager will require different players. Even if they do have success they’ll have to go on another spending spree to guarantee a CL q/f.

    Possible yes, but still improbable.

  7. SurferX

    Your figures are out gazzap. Forbes valued him at $2.7bn , with his wife at $3.2bn. Which you should include as ultimiately it will should reduce the cost of financing while they remain a couple.

    http://www.forbes.com/profile/stanley-kroenke

    And, he has been reported as never gearing any of his sports franchises at all (though I do not know the terms of the recent rams 60% acquisition- just that he plans to do it in two installments).

    And exactly Mayank. Shows it can be done- but will it?

  8. Mayank

    From a non-financial point of view it seems the Sheikhs bought City as sort of a dick waving gesticulation.Sort of a ‘Look we can take a nothing club and make it better that all of yours.’

    Now, the FFP rules were introduced after they’d bought it. So one can assume they must’ve acted on it immediately to ensure CL qualification. But now that leaves them as a club capable of breaking into the top 4 but perhaps restricts the sort of spending they would still need to become what they originally intended.

    This makes me think that there is a very real possibility that the Sheikhs might lose interest. Roman was lucky in the respect that he got what he wanted very quickly. And was able to show off whic I assume was his initial intention. City on the other hand have struggled with their targets (much smaller than Chelsea’s) so far and might not realise that qualification to the CL isn’t as glorious as it sounds. As our friends are finding out right now.

  9. gambon

    Mayank

    People have been saying Roman/Sheikhy would lose interest since the day they bought their respective clubs, its straw clutching.

    What has been done at City is nowhere near as daft as people like to think. What we have seen is they have spent shit loads on players & wages. What has gone on behind the scenes is the investment in facilities, youth, commercial people & the pushing forward of the club off the pitch.

    Certainly they need to be in the top 4 pretty quickly, but their gamble may pay off yet. They have taken big strides commercially & are a very well supported club.

    Also its naive to think they literally have no idea what they are doing re; the financial regs. These guys are the most highly prized private clients in the world, they would have the best advisors money could buy.

  10. choy

    Mayank,

    Shitty have a good young team, they’re not going to lose interest very soon.

    They only bought the club.. what 2 years ago? They’ll def get CL this year.. they might even with the damn league!

  11. Kushagra India

    Well Done Pedro
    U rightly summed up Thaksin but is Usmanov really different and most of the times u will find evilly generated money often doesn’t succeed

  12. Kushagra India

    Gambon,
    correct they are walking on tight rope and they will succeed, in my opinion they will sell a lot of players to increase profit and reduce salary in next few years without weakening the squad as such

  13. Surferosa

    Got to agree with gambon there- but for a slightly different reason.

    Its not so much that they’ve got the best advisor’s etc (although undoubtedly they will). Its the fact that they can afford to take whatever action is necessary to comply.

    So if UEFA say- “OK, youve over-spent by X, but you have reduced your loses (which they will becuase of thier income growth). You need to demonstrate further reductions in operating loses in future years to maintain CL entry” they can say “fine. No problem. We’ll cancel the contracts of 5 players- meaning they’ll be better off with wages and salaries in future years at the cost of talking an immediate hit on player amortisation”.

    UEFA have said that they want to encourage clubs to meet the guidelines- I dont think they going to go for instant bans from Day 1. But, spending on the scale we have seen by Chelsea, Citeh, Barca, Madrid, Milan, etc just wont be supportable in the long-term. They’ll get away with the odd time- but not to the tune of £125m every season.

    Thats the big difference from the climate of the past 10 years.

  14. Mayank

    I never said they have no idea about what they’re doing. Even if the Sheikhs don’t they’ll have people that do. Also, I never said they’re being daft. But in the end you have to realise that the mega-rich will only be interested in making a loss on an enterprise if it delivers a)entertainment and b)a symbol of their financial power.

    Mourinho was fired from the Chelsea helm for not really fulfilling a). Coming 4th in essentially a 3 horse race(at a stretch) will hardly give the Sheikhs b)

    All I’m saying is the regulations put a spanner in their works. They now need a longer term plan to become CL contenders than originally intended. Will they be willing to make losses for 2-3 years to achieve that. Maybe, maybe not.
    And as I said Chelsea were lucky in that respect that they got success very fast.

    Of course all this could mean nothing if they were to come 3rd this year which would place them above either Man U or us(or in a rare scenario Chelsea). That would provide make them hungry for more.

  15. Kushagra India

    and we are better without any foreign owner right now its a double edged sword,one may never know .U have to admire Wenger for that we are really self sustainable.Usmanov finances were related to drug trafficking ,even we are relegated I don’t want that type of money

  16. Baafuor from Ghana

    I think our current model of ownership is the best and we should try as much as possible to sustain it.After everything that has happened to these clubs, I am really terrified by just the thought of us ending up in the hands of a single investor.

  17. Surferosa

    By the way gambon- I wouldn’t call what the Sheik is going a ‘gamble’ or clever.

    A gamble is something where you risk something in order to get a return. They have so much money they dont care about it- its less a gamble than something they dont care about being wrong (ie if UEFA do throw them out and they dont like it- then they could walk without giving a crap).

    As for clever- theres nothing clever at throwing money at a problem (which is all they’ve done to date). What would be clever is if they do manage a cumulative loss of £49m for the 3 seasons to 2013/4 (given their current losses of £120m pa and including the salaries of Yaya Toure, Mario Balotelli, David Silva, James Milner, Jerome Boateng and Aleksandar Kolarov).

    Actually, that wouldnt just be clever. That would be miraculous!

  18. zeus

    Best post of the week by far.
    Quality Pedro.

    Not so worried about the potential sale though. We are a club that does some serious vetting before we even allow someone on the board, I doubt that the majority of the board members would sell a significant enough stake in the club to the highest bidder just for a payday.

    These guys are money grubbing gold diggers for sure, but money grubbing gold diggers that love the club. How many times over the past 5 years could anyone of them be it boardmember, groundsman or tea lady could of come with………..
    ‘Arsene has lost the plot, he needs to buy players or the board should sell the club to get money’?

    Only Dean came out with that line of argument. EVERYONE ELSE (for good or bad) held to company line because they believed in Arsene Wenger or his vision of things to come.

    We have that togetherness that Pedro spoke of in the post, and we are too family orientated as a club to throw that away.

  19. Surferosa

    One final thing then got to run guys.

    The other thing that hasnt been mentioned on all this is the pressure from the other clubs. What do you think Chelski, AFC, ManU, Barca, Madrid, Milan, etc, etc are going to be saying if (say) Citeh come in at another £150m loss for that period- while all the rest comply?

    Maybe the same thing they did when they got stroppy at getting knocked out of CL in the first round of knockout? Which was basically “sort it out, or were off!”

    The same would happen here. It will be “expel Citeh from CL, or were off!” UEFA will be under as much pressure from them as anyone else.

  20. zeus

    This Shawcross should have his forehead rubbed b4 some1 puts him down.

    I suppose its not his his fault, he’s an incompetent, fumbling oaf of a thug and he has been schooled by another muppet who likes to walk around stark naked, CUNT PULIS. And when did he make captain.

    De Jong has rightly got a lot of abuse for breaking Hatem’s leg, lets hope that this brings out some serious action of change from the FA. Not holding my breath.

    English NT will not amount to anything until a few Arsenal players are in it, and idiots like Shawcross are exiled to the 3rd tier of football.

  21. MickyDidIt89

    Surferosa,
    Today you provided the single greatest contribution to Arsenal blogging that I can remember. Fantastic work, and very informative. Thanks.
    Interestingly, the mouth breathers have vanished. Must be all the joined up writing!

  22. Dave T

    What still interests me about the current situation is niether the yank or Ruskie have actually put any of thier money into player buying. We have two of the richest men in the world on the board yet we spend as if we are owned by a vegetarian co-operative. We have the sugar daddies to equal both Chelsea and City let alone Man U yet we act as if we are Bolton. Its as if both sugar daddies are refusing to spend until they are the only sugar daddy. Both want control but for what purpose. If they really wanted the team to win things surely they would have been able to say to Wenger ok, so here is the deal we want you to name any five players in the worldd you want and we will buy you at least two of them. Both could afford to do it without lumbering us with any further debt. Instead its as if they have said you get no more pocket money until you have cleaned you room (metaphore for clearing the debt). Why, is it that in reality they are after a debt free club to buy and then once owned either to load with debt for other purposes or to then sell on at a profit. based on an increased share price once we are debt Free?

  23. zeus

    DaveT

    Even if they wanted to invest, then the board wouldn’t allow it. That money would come with many a string attached.
    I doubt either of the men would be willing to inject a serious amount on money into the club without a much strengthened position in the day to day running of the club.

  24. gambon

    Dave T

    Why should they spend their money on a club they dont own that already have £130m and a manager that wont spend.

    I own 100 shares in BHP Billiton, but i wouldnrt give them £10k to buy new machinery.

  25. zeus

    Geoff says:
    October 7, 2010 at 09:54
    Eduardo, your Aunty has a dick? Blimey!

    A, perhaps I should get a loan and buy Nina’s shares, wouldn’t that be funny, imagine Wenger’s face if he heard Le grove are taking the club over!
    *****************************

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. CLASSIC.

  26. zeus

    Anyone know how the Arsenal Fanshare thing has been going? If the ‘inevitable’ Arsenal sale can be delayed, the Fanshare (though it would take a ridiculous amount of fan involvment) could ensure we have at least have a say.

  27. Delia--Block 112

    I drop in from time to time . I am a fan of Wengerball so normally this site isn’t my cup of tea. However, today’s posts have been most enlightening, really enjoyable.
    COYRs

  28. David

    Vito is absolutely right.

    We never lost a game when we played.

    He made 1 or 2 errors and we only dropped 2 points…mostly because the ref was a c8nt

  29. David

    yeah zeus

    I was having a debate with surfesoa yesterday and i dont want the American running the club.

    He couldnt care less about what happns on the pitch. That image of Fizman having to explain what was going on on matchday during the game says it all for me.

    How will he invest in players when

    A. He hasnt invested heavily in players for the St Louis Rams

    B. He hasnt invested heavily in players for Denver Nuggets

    C. The Rams are shyte and what is he doing about it?

    D. Knows fuk all about football so really what does he care except its to make more money?

  30. luke

    GK
    Sagna-Squilaci-Verm-Clichy
    Cesc-DM-Wilshere
    Nasri-RVP-Arshavin

    Subs: Almunia, Eboue, Koscielny, Diaby, Song, Walcott, Chamakh

    This team could challenge the best. 2 signings.

  31. Mayank

    David I read that the rams won in 99. Under him.
    And isn’t the player trading thing much stricter in the US.

  32. TOM TOM

    Great post Pedro,my thoughts exactly and I hope what you say about united is true but I think they will be ok as they will find a new buyer pretty easy. I really think the board at Arsenal will sell up when they clear the debt and we will feel very stupid for paying the outragous ticket prices so they can have a big payday

  33. TOM TOM

    Didnt Mannone cost us three points at west ham when he fucked up a free kick that cost us a goal and got west ham back into it? We need to sign a quality keeper and stop fucking about with teenage goalkeepers

  34. Championship

    All underground manipulations are intended for making profit. Not for the players&club/supporters but for the big boss. I agree with David and I saw what american does for Nugets NBA team -absolutly nothing-
    An average team in the best basketball world league. I am afraid to not have the same atitude here in the football PL.

  35. David

    Mayank

    Yes the Rams won superbowl 34 and have been utter shite since before and after that.

    They made their first super bowl appearance in about over a decade and then as soon as they won it they let go of their star players to save money.

    The NFL is a ruthless business…and its you just have to look no further than Kurt Warner who was 2 time NFL MVP at the time as well as superbowl MVP for the Rams winning the game for them they let him go and they have been shite since then.

    Do we really want someone who will make us win the EPL and then make us shite after that?

    Actually we already have someone doing that.

    Just kidding.

    We arent shite.

    Just quite not good enough

  36. TOM TOM

    yeah but he still made a major fuck up David. If we did sack Wenger I think Gus Hiddink would be a good manager for us.

  37. Chris beef

    did you read the danny murphy article on ss?

    Fulham’s Danny Murphy believes managers must take more responsibility for a rash of dangerous tackles that has blighted the Premier League in recent weeks.

    Murphy believes the managers at Stoke, Wolves and Blackburn are to blame for sending out their players too pumped up for action.

    Cottagers striker Bobby Zamora suffered a broken leg in a challenge by Wolves’ Karl Henry and the same player was fined two weeks’ wages by his club after another savage tackle on Wigan’s Jordi Gomez.

    Newcastle have writted to The Football Association to ask for action to be taken against Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong for the tackle which left Hatem Ben Arfa with a double leg break.

    Murphy called some tackles “ridiculous” and “brainless” and said managers had to take responsibility.

    “Your manager dictates what your players do and how you behave,” said Murphy at Leaders in Football Conference.
    Pumped up

    “You get managers who are sending their teams out to stop other teams playing, which is happening more and more – the Stokes, Blackburns, Wolves.

    “They can say it’s effective and they have got to win games but the fact is the managers are sending out their players so pumped up there is inevitably going to be problems.

    “Every ship has a captain and that’s the manager who is in charge.”

    Murphy said there should be tougher sanctions for dangerous tackles – especially for repeat offenders.

    No brains
    “The pace in which some players go into tackles now is ridiculous. There’s no brains involved in the players who are doing that,” added Murphy.

    “I don’t believe players are going out to break another player’s leg but there has to be some logic and intelligence involved.

    “If you are going at someone at a certain pace and you don’t get it right you are going to hurt them.

    “Players should be culpable for that, in terms of punishment I don’t know what – but they need to show a little bit more intelligence, especially the ones who are doing it repeatedly.”

    Fulham always topped the Fair Play league during Roy Hodgson’s time as manager and Murphy says that was no coincidence.

    “If you have a manager like Roy Hodgson in charge you don’t get discipline problems,” noted Murphy.

    “If you have a manager that’s in control of the team and doesn’t allow these type of things to go on then you are going to have a more disciplined team.

    “I’m not saying tackling is a bad thing but we want to watch the best players on the pitch.

    “Under Roy Hodgson at Fulham we were always top of the Fair Play league because he wouldn’t accept talking back to the referee and he wouldn’t accept stupid tackles.”

  38. neveroutgun

    well said danny murphy.

    hope supid pullis, the fat walrus are getting fat fines in the near future.

    and i wish the law could suspend de jong until ben arfa comes back from injury as well as that cunt karl henry.

    and oh, give few months to the honest lad ryan shawcross

  39. TOM TOM

    De Jong is a tramp,the FA really should give him a very long ban. This problem will only be sorted when it happens to Gerrard or Rooney and then the FA will act on it

  40. in wenger we rust/AKB HATER

    I SPOKE ABOUT ALL THESE ISSUES OF BOARD-OWNERS-DEIN AND RAISED THE QUESTIONS IN THE LAST BLOG CLEARLY, CANT BELIEVE YOU MISSED IT PEDS OR GEOFF!

  41. SurferX

    Well said Danny Murphy.

    Its actually pretty freshing to hear an English player come out with a view like this, instead of spinning the usual bullshit rhetoric of ‘its a mans game’. Yer well, so is boxing- and, your still not allowed to throw kidney-punches in that.

    Maybe there is some hope after all.. get his email Pedro / Geoff and ask him if he’d care to be an ambassador for the KKO. Maybe a quote for the website…

  42. DaleDaGooner

    I haven’t read anybodies post in regards to Pedro’s mini article. The interesting thing is Liverpool will be taken over by another American business entity who have success in running a “bigger” franchise in the Boston Red Sox. That being said…I am sick of Brits who moan about Americans owning their football clubs, this paranoia is very insulting to we Americans, Hicks and Gillet are not the best examples, but my goodness, Sunderland, Aston Villa are owned by Americans and they aren’t crying rape…yet, they seem well run and we all saw how O’Neil bitched about not getting enough money, well, that’s a business, spend within your limits. You folks need to understand the dynamics of todays sporting business, I think many Brits mix the emotions of a football club and the business side of it.

    Yes i don’t want Kroenke owning Arsenal, just because he isn’t passionate enough to do right by Arsenal, but can you guys bring forth the British billionaires to buy your cherished football clubs? Instead of selling them off for profit and watch them crash and burn? I am happy for the Hammers, they got rescued by 2 British guys who “love” the team, BUT Newcastle United is still owned by a brit when they suffered a melt down…lets put things into perspective before we point accusing fingers.

    Jay Z isn’t buying the whole Arsenal, he is willing to invest into a club he adopted to support, he likes the team and wants to genuinely put in his 2 pence. Usmanov isn’t different from Abrahimovic in terms of background, one just got dumped on harder than the other. I like the setup, but it is inevitable that Arsenal will attract a buyer, not an Arab sheikh willing to splurge without fear, but it will be a Randy Lerner kinda take over.

  43. timao

    i’m sure we used to go whole seasons without any prem players getting a broken leg – now they seem to be happening every two months with double fractures, open fractures and dislocations being more common than simple single breaks. something must be going on.

  44. steven

    Agreed dale I live here in Denver and kroenke just handed the nuggets to his son and could care less, they couldn’t add wing man so melo is out and its back to being laughable.

    it is funny and I’m not talking about people on this site, but how many people think there are billionaires around the corner who happen to bleed the same colors as they do. I wish

  45. Marko

    IT does get a bit tedious people making out all potential american owners are gonna be like the Glazers or Hicks and Gillet. It’s being consider american owners don’t care and are dodgy or whatever and british make better owners but you look at the clowns Gold and Sullivan running West Ham and they’re dodgy as fuck. Sometimes it seems some want less foreign players and less foreign owners too. It’s a connumdrum for sure.

  46. steven

    Ya if the arsenal would’ve spent the coin that pool have spent unde hicks cud u imagine a striker the caliber of Nino wow

  47. DaleDaGooner

    Time for Europe to ring in the Salary caps, level the playing field, you will see more stable clubs.. steven, sad how Kroenke runs his franchises, I mean if there were relegations in NBA and NFL, his teams would def be relegated.

  48. AA23

    Wasnt Wenger attacked for trying to talk about bad tackles?
    All other managers, all of the fucking scum press in England called him every pussy cunt under the sun.
    Now Talkshit, other players, even sly sports are all over it.
    And not a mention of our manager who has been fighting it for ages.
    Eduardo, Diaby and Ramsey get fucked and the thugs that did it are called up for England and hero worshipped because they “arent that type of player”.
    So Glad its come back to haunt these shitcunts.
    Pulis, Alardyce, Moyes, Mcleish, Ancelotti and all you other fucking cheats can wallow in this.
    What goes around comes around.
    and don’t come running to us when your player is the one on the end of a shocker.
    All Arsenal fans said…
    “as soon as it’s a foreign player that breaks a leg we will see a different reaction from the press”…
    Shawcross got hero worshipped but De Jong is an animal?
    Do fucking Rooney next, someone please, for the sake of English football.
    We might actualy see something get done about it.
    And his missus will be pleased as well.

  49. AA23

    Kushagra
    say something good about the team mate.
    sick of this shit
    so easy to slag our players off.
    say something good.

  50. Kushagra India

    AA23
    just get the international lull out of the window I will be again gung ho and that article was not criticism just an observation and ur Damn rite I will try to do the same 🙂

  51. Kushagra India

    that’s what Rosicky is capable of ,he needs a bit of confidence and more playing time ,our constant failures on big stage has shattered some of our players’ confidences

  52. Kushagra India

    Manure have been punching above their weight for the last 2 seasons because they expect to win just like the Germans on international stage,that’s why I believe we need to win Carling this year and our season can kickstart from there .Our team will become sum of their parts or a big victory against a Big side can also have the desired effects,confidence is so important in today’s sports which Clichy Rosicky et al seem to be lacking,c’mon u gooners rape the shitty we will see a different team.

  53. dennisdamenace

    The worse thing about all this is the fact that the punishment very rarely fits the crime, and the FA (as per usual) sit on their fucking hands, and do nothing, stating that ‘the referee has already dealt with it’.

    Maybe he did, but it doesn’t make the process of punishment correct. For instance, the De Jong assault (because that’s what it was a fucking assault) on Ben Arfa will go unpunished, because the referee ‘dealt’ with it by reporting he saw it and decided it wasn’t even worthy of a freekick!! Far be it from one of these pricks in black to admit he was wrong.

    Two wrongs don’t make a fucking right! The FA should over rule the know, relegate him to lower league football and administer an adequate punishment.

    In fact the FA should do what they are paid to do, run the game, and run it for the greater good.

    Start introducing retrospective decisions, for or against the referee, sod them, put a bit af pressure on them to get their decisions right in the first place. Ban these thugs after the event. Paul Davis got a nine game ban for decking Glen Cockeril, can anyone tell me that what he did was any less behaviour than that of Karl Henry so far this season.

  54. Socrates

    Morning all, I’ve read that le grove is not in the top 20 of blogs(by wikio),strange rankings as there are 10 Arsenal blogs on that list, ha ha , someone must not like you Geoff/Pedro, le grove is the no.1 blog -easy, whichever the criteria!!

  55. Geoff

    Kick racism out of football, that’s far more important than people being crippled by thugs, well that and respecting people that earn a £100k a week, they deserve it.

  56. Geoff

    I’ve written the post but Pedro has just found a widget he wants to put on it, so it may be late, that or he’s just woken up!