Hard not to be anything other than deflated by the Stan and Josh press love-in that went off yesterday.
Even worse, Ivan Gazidis trying to communicate that Arsenal actually overachieves in today’s feisty AGM.
Arsenal are suffering an ambition drain. We’re in denial about how bad we are. Steve Jobs could use denial in a positive way, the employees at Apple called his version the RDF (Reality Distortion Field). He’d convince people of the impossible, he’d dare them to think bigger, and he’d achieve the impossible. If you read anything about Elon Musk, he’s of a similar mindset, he’s trying to save humanity, and you’re either in for his batshit crazy vision or you’re expendable.
Then there’s Arsenal. Arsene Wenger, Ivan Gazidis, Stan K and his son Josh have been on a mission to attack our view of success for 10 years now. We’ve been convinced top 4 is a trophy. That being FFP compliant had us ahead of the curve. That having values was somehow compensation for a lack of winning mentality. The Kroenke’s have been training us to be grateful for their lack of investment, disconnected management style, and slow slide into mediocrity.
The two of them are so mediocre at running sports clubs, they even try and present the fact they never sell as an achievement, as they simultaneously take credit for buying low and letting market forces increase the value of their asset with almost zero input, innovation, or investment.
“Just go look at our history,”
“We get into these things to try to grow them. You don’t see us selling things. We are committed long-term. That [selling] is just not our model. I’m at a stage in life where … what good does that do? I love Arsenal, love being involved with Arsenal. There’s no finer feeling than going out and winning like we did with the FA Cup … the feeling is contagious and it makes you want to keep doing it. There’s so many easier ways to make money, I can assure you. Much, much easier.”
Even their take on Arsene Wenger is weak. They’re trying to communicate that changing coaches is an easy thing to do.
“It’s easy to change coaches and people do it all the time … an easy answer is to do something. It’s harder not to do something. We have dealt with this a lot in different organisations and we just think that Arsène is doing a great job and he’s the right guy. I’m sure he was thinking through if he wants to go on. We have a lot of respect for Arsène – we are not going to be pushy about things. I think he treated us with respect as well. I think he is more focused than ever. Focused on winning. I really think I do see that.”
The simple truth is this. Arsene Wenger is the perfect coach because he’s not going to rip up the rulebook. He won’t make demands. He’ll keep his mouth shut providing he’s given absolute power.
Here’s the thing though – and you really have to take this point seriously – we’d have a lot more time for Stan and his offspring if they shipped Wenger on. Keeping Wenger onboard isn’t loyalty, it’s laziness and it reinforces the notion that they’re massively disconnected from the club and the game at a broader level. However, they’re not shy spenders and boast attributes everyone was pro in an era of Abramovich firing managers on a whim.
- Arsenal are the 3rd highest net spenders in the league
- We have a £200m wage bill
- The manager is given complete autonomy to do what he likes
If you hired Jardin or Sarri along with an exBarca sporting director, and gave them specific swimlanes to work in … well, you’d see a far more competitive output.
So whilst I’d love to bash the Kroenke’s because they make me sad, you do have to be real here, they’re not profiteering from the club. Bar £3m here and there, which in the grand scheme of their wealth is a bit like Bill Gates borrowing £50 from petty cash at Microsoft.
Still, fan discontent is having an impact. This is Ivan on the noisy internet.
‘There are many agendas at play and many stories during a transfer window – only a fraction of which are accurate – but which play their part in inflaming emotions, as we can hear in the room today and driving opinions and narratives,’ said Gazidis.
‘In that environment, it becomes very difficult to see clearly through the noise. Fortunately, there is one very accurate and objective way to assess how well and how consistently clubs perform in this area [transfers] over time. “
‘This method is accurate enough to be the industry standard way to analyse the efficiency of spending of football clubs. It is very simply to compare team performance by a series of objective metrics, usually league position or points, against expenditure on transfers.
‘No club has a perfect record every year under this scrutiny but Arsenal has probably been, of the big clubs certainly, the most consistently over-performing team over time.
‘That is, despite the criticism we get and the emotion here in the room, and despite some very loud subjective narratives and a great deal of inaccurate information; in fact, on an objective basis, we perform very well and have over a long period of time.
‘However, I agree completely that we have to find ways to perform better. We want to compete at the top of the most competitive league in the world and that’s why we are making investments and giving deep thought to how we can and will improve further in this area.’
This is Ivan using his platform to reframe failure and take pot shots at websites like Le Grove because they call Arsenal and Stan out on their weaknesses. Arsenal has a terrible record on transfers over the last 5 years. This summer was the first time we’ve sold a player for more than £20m since Robin Van Persie. Wenger spent £140m on Xhaka, Mustafi, Chambers, Lucas and Elneney… all of which have totally tanked.
We haven’t overperformed by any metric, especially in an era that has seen Spurs maintain a title-chasing squad during a stadium move as well as Leicester winning the league… both on significantly lower budgets than Arsenal.
Anyway, the AGM sounded awful. The shareholders voted against the appointment of Josh and Keswick, but Stan overruled them. We were also informed that Usmanov won’t be given a seat on the board. Sounds like a total car crash. Which is exactly what Arsenal are in 2017.
They’re never leaving though. Even worse, they’ve invited some of the tabloid hacks into their circle, so expect a full-on assault on your minds over the next 12months as you’re told they’re actually incredible owners by weak hacks unable to offer critical discourse.
Anyway, I’m off. Very depressed, but I will once again reiterate my commitment to the notion that we will become a massive success post-Wenger. The money is there for transfers, the wages are there for big players, and if our hiring of Raul Sanehli is anything to go by, there’s an ambition there to make things right post-Wenger. That’s the guy who landed Neymar (SHUT UP ABOUT THE CORRUPTION) over Real Mardrid and oversaw transfer policy at Barca for 15 years.
Think happy thoughts, or take some Xanax.
Also, know that your continued pressure is working.
“The best thing is the rabid fans… the worst thing is the rabid fans.”
Keep it rabid.
See you in the comments.