Liverpool and Spurs shame our owners ambition (Long Read)

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To make a bad weekend even worse, tragic news just dropped the Jose Antonio Reyes passed away after a car accident. A tragic loss of a young life. He was one of the most exciting ‘out of the blue’ signing from way back when and certainly an unsung hero of our invincibles era. Thoughts are prayers of everyone at Le Grove are with his family right now.

Onto football.

I took a pretty big swipe at our ailing manager yesterday, and many people felt I should focus more of my energy at the family running the show.

So let’s talk about what running a club with vision and purpose looks like. What better place to look than Spurs and Liverpool? (I know, it hurts so bad)

5 years ago, Arsenal had just finished the season in 3rd place. Spurs and Liverpool had finished 5th and 6th respectively. Neither team had broken 60 goals.

Arsenal were ahead of the game. We had built our stadium, we had better players, and we were still enjoying our superb run of Champions League football.

So what happened? As we wrote extensively at the time. The Kroenke family were happy to watch their fortune grow because they are real estate people. Sadly, they didn’t pay attention to the reality of what was going on pitch side. They couldn’t recognise the decline in the football, they didn’t understand what the influx of money was going to do to the competition in the league, and they only paid attention to the standard health metrics of the business… namely, that all financials were ticking upwards.

That said, here’s where so many fans get things brutally wrong. They’re not bloodsuckers. They have invested ample funds in Arsenal. We have had exactly the same chance at greatness as the rest of the teams around us. The single biggest failure of Arsenal was to keep Wenger on way beyond his sell-by date, the second biggest failure was on Ivan Gazidis for his cuck like behavior in not at the very least building an elite team around him. The third was the missed opportunities. Sign Sven Mislintat and Jurgen Klopp 5 years ago when we could have, we’re talking about a different Arsenal. We could have had Pep Guardiola. The list goes on.

Ivan didn’t have a real football vision for the club. He had some really nice platitudes that he’d parrot at the AGMs, but there was zero know-how for delivering his substanceless proclamations that we’d become like Bayern Munich (‘be like them’ isn’t really a vision).

No vision, no philosophy, no structure, and a bad manager was a recipe for criminal wastage… not just that, we had a placid fanbase that didn’t understand the damage their father like manager was doing (even now, people still talk about him like he’s an absent dad and it’s f*cking creepy).

Spurs and Liverpool didn’t have the same issues. They both embarked on a similar plan of attack. They hired in two managers that boasted vision, coaching skills, outrageous charisma, and absolute belief in the project they were taking on. A manager is step one, it’s always the simplest way to impact a club. Know what you want to do, then find people with the energy to deliver it.

Spurs wanted to bring through young players and coach them to elite levels. They wanted a core of British players that loved playing with each other and felt deep affinity to the manager and club (Arsene > Project Youth). They had a good crop of kids that blended in with very smart buys from around the globe. The football might not always be that technical, but the work ethic is a sight to behold. Their players are more than the sum of their parts, they are an uncompromising beast of a team.

Liverpool, it was simple, they wanted to play heavy metal football. Klopp made great strides in season one and slowly built players around his exciting vision. Power, pace, flair, aggression and warlike mentality from everyone was the absolute standard. No one has more fire than the manager, he’s someone they all love, and he loves them back.

Also, the fans knew what was coming, they bought into the energy and they saw actual progress on the pitch.

Both managers galvanised the fanbase.

‘But, but, but…’

The money, right? Stan K doesn’t invest, he’s a leech, he’s going to bring us down…

Not quite my friends. The Kroenke’s biggest weakness now is the one that’s going to sting them very badly moving forward. They didn’t take the time to understand what was going on at shop level. My guess is they haven’t wanted to be bothered because they’re making magic with The Rams. They don’t really get football, they’d like to succeed, but they’ve entrusted average people with the fortunes of the club, which was fine when elite average could get your top 4 every year, now the bar has shifted.

Arsenal has a net spend of €288m over the past 5 seasons. We’ve dropped almost €500m on players.

Liverpool, a team everyone calls cheque book these days, has a net spend over 5 years of… €204m! €84m less than Arsenal! Their outlay over 5 years is €710m, but 50% of that has come in the last two seasons because… the vision they implemented started reaping financial rewards!

Spurs success, as much as it pains me, is even more staggering. Their net spend sits at €42m over 5 years. Think about that, we’re out here crying that poor old Emery only had €83m to spend last summer! Spurs total player expenditure over a 5 year period has been €328m. (Numbers sources from Transfermarkt)

Wages paints an even starker picture. Liverpool has spent £990m on player wages (Swiss Ramble sourced) over 5 years, with Arsenal right up behind them having dropped a STAGGERING £975m. Spurs, a team in the Champions League final, having just built a new stadium, have spent £576m!

Let me put this into a harsher light… Spurs wage bill is actually £18m lower than ours was FIVE YEARS AGO.

Our weak leadership has consistently thrown their hands up and said we can’t compete because of money. As you all know, we’ve been saying that’s a loser mindset. The best thinkers always find a way to at least get themselves into the mixer. Atleti, Dortmund, Ajax to name but a few.

Luckily for Arsenal, all is not lost.

I have very little faith that current leadership is going to fix this mess. The vision for the club is meek at best, I don’t understand the action plan, and there’s no timeline against it. The shift we made this year is at least there’s now a loose idea of how a football club should be run, the problem is I’m not sure we have the expertise to deliver, even to the ‘proud’ part of it.

We’re going to feel the brute force of how a well-intentioned structure will always fail when average people are attached to its success. Arsenal is littered with people that don’t know what they’re doing, don’t understand the values of the club, and will ultimately fail. Also, please don’t think I mean that about everyone, the club is also full of a lot of absolute heroes who love the club and want to make it better.

There is hope. We are an institution, we are London based, we generate tremendous revenue streams, we have class, values and integrity… and we are a beautiful sleeping giant. When the Kroenke’s finally wake up, pull the wool from their eyes and take positive action by making people truly accountable for something exciting, we’ll be able to make the climb back up to the top.

… but what we can’t keep doing as fans is continue to celebrate average. We can’t keep groaning that it’s impossible to attain greatness. We can’t have such embarrassingly low standards.

Strong leadership shouldn’t be hard to find with the resources we have available. An exciting vision isn’t that hard to formulate if you are talented and ambitious. Moving Arsenal up a level in every department should be low hanging fruit.

… I just don’t think the reality has kicked in with those that own Arsenal.

Today is a dark day for Arsenal. Two teams that five years ago were in much worse positions commercially, financially and on the pitch are in the final of a trophy we’re not even good enough to qualify for.

The exec leadership can either lie down and accept it, or they can pull their finger out and get a little more serious about implementing an exciting vision for the future of our great club.

Let’s see where this summer goes, but for now, let’s all hide in a box and pray the worst doesn’t happen this evening.


797 Responses to “Liverpool and Spurs shame our owners ambition (Long Read)”

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  1. Emiratesstroller

    I have been always a fan of Ozil, but rather like Wenger 10 years ago he has reached his sell by date.

    The player can no longer handle the high tempo games in EPL and the rest of
    the team is no longer good enough to keep in the squad such a “luxury” player.

    Shifting such a player particularly after writing off both Ramsey and Welbeck
    in this transfer window is a massive problem.

    Let’s get real we need our limited transfer budget to BUY new players and not
    to pay out Ozil’s contract.

    Ozil has made it clear that he will not go to China. So the only other options are
    in my view Italy and Turkey. The problem is that it is highly unlikely that any
    other major club would spend £350K pw on his wages.

    I do not know what is the financial set up in Turkey. Is their any club there which is closely linked to the Government in that country? Since Ozil is a close friend of their President perhaps he can secure a financial package there.

    Otherwise I fear that we will have to keep him on the books.

  2. David Smith

    You look back over the last few years, and the club has made one completely unfathomable mistake after another. Players going for nothing, Wenger and his yes men kept on for too long, 35 million for Mustafi, Ramsey, Alexis, Ox and then Ozils contract.
    It is incredible the owners allowed this, they should be embarrassed.
    What were the club thinking? And why did it need a Josh Kroenke 3month review to get to the bottom of the obvious?

  3. Vivek Arulnathan

    It truly amazes me how meek Pedro is when talking about the owners.

    He was criticizing Wenger for about 10 years, rightly or wrongly. He didn’t give the man a break. He never gave him the benefit of the doubt. And I can understand that. From his standpoint, nothing Wenger did showed he was going to change or improve.

    Now Emery. He’s had one year. I don’t agree with Pedro that he should be sacked now. But I get where he is coming from. Emery’s weaknesses are historical. He has a muddled philosophy that probably belongs at a mid table club. So I can see why one would want him out.

    But when Pedro talks about the Kroenkes, what they’ve done and what they are doing doesn’t matter. They kept Wenger beyond his sell by date. They appointed Gazidis, who you championed until he fucked of to Milan. They appointed Emery. They signed of on Raul, who got rid of the one good thing going for us – Mislintat. They have signed off terrible contracts, the buying of a data company that has presided over failed expensive transfers, the failure to compete commercially, and the club’s descent into mediocrity. But sure, they’ll wake up one day and realize they’ve done a mistake and all will be fine.

    All those above mistakes might be attributed to someone, but the common thread is that the Kroenkes were top dogs when all that happened. They dont provide leadership. How many years of bang average did the Rams endure before this new turn of fortune? And dont try to sell it as the Kroenkes masterstroke. They moved the team to LA, a city that wouldn’t have taken the Rams to heart without an exciting project. They reacted to the circumstances.
    And to say they haven’t taken out money is a lie. They took out 6 million. Only pushback from the fans stopped them doing it. But now that they’ve taken over the club in full, I wouldn’t put it past them to leech money from us. For basically doing nothing.
    The Kroenkes have no history of running teams that were successful on the field, unless you count moving a team to another city. And they’ve lorded over every bad decision you have ever criticized. Just like you backed Gazidis and blamed everything on Wenger, here you are backing our soulless owners. The Spurs and Liverpool projects you refer to came from strong leadership at the top. FSG and Levy. Forget the money FSG have put into the club. Without their vision, this Liverpool project doesn’t exist.
    So maybe it’s time you stopped giving our corporate overlords a free pass.

  4. Cesc Appeal

    The level of press attention for Liverpool’s win.

    Again…just thank goodness. Can you imagine?

  5. Bankz

    Remember when most Arsenal fans thought Klopp wasn’t a massive improvement on Wenger?
    How times exposes all lies.

  6. alex cutter

    “Remember when most Arsenal fans thought Klopp wasn’t a massive improvement on Wenger?”

    If by “most”, you mean a vocal minority of special needs AKBs. I remember “most” seeing Klopp as a huge improvement.

  7. Words on a Blog

    “So maybe it’s time you stopped giving our corporate overlords a free pass.”

    Amen to that.

  8. azed

    Getting Ozil out should be an easy job for Raul .

    Ozil is a proud and lazy cunt so the club should attack his pride. See how Germany got him to retire from the National team?

    Step one: take the number 10 from him and give him 57, 48 or any obscure number.

    Step two: Leak to the press that we are about to do a deal with Aston Villa for Jack Grealish with Ozil and 5M going the other way.

    In a bid to salvage his pride, watch Ozil and his agenst get a club in Italy as far as we don’t ask too much in transfer fees.

  9. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    We are going to get 5m

    From ox being in the squad winning big cup

    Up to 50m

    I will suggest a fav we can stick it on at 2/1
    150m war chest

  10. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    I suggested earlier that we stop ozil of a squad numbe4 looks like u all agree,


    Now the fav thing

  11. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    Youngsters are so impatitence that could be true,

    So roll the dice sling them all in

    All or nothing as Steve Marriott would sing….RIP

  12. jwl

    I convinced myself Klopp was coming to Arsenal when he took break after Dortmund, I thought Klopp was taking one year sabbatical to get some rest and study Arsenal squad, and Wenger would be allowed to retire with dignity and one year remaining on his contract. I was wrong to get my hopes up.

  13. englandsbest

    Vivek Areuinathan

    Every word of your post is spot on. Problem is that I, and others, have been saying much the same for years and years, and still Pedro cannot see further than the manager.

    He will take this as a defence of Emery. It isn’t, and if Emery doesn’t do the right thing this summer, I’ll be saying so.

  14. Valentin


    I don’t find that story funny, I find it alarming. It means that inside the academy the best prospects have made up their mind that they will not be getting a fair crack and that leaving is the best think to do for their career.
    Last season, Reiss Nelson had to be convinced. He only signed under the assurance that he would go on loan and that the following season he would be integrated in the first team.
    After the season they had, do you think that Nkethia, Willock will trust Emery? If you were any of them, would you trust Raul wirds or would you look at what Emery did one year after he made the same promises? I know I would not.

  15. Receding Hairline

    Valentin right on cue

    How many youth players have Pep played at City

    How many are in the Liverpool first team?

    Lots of youth players played for us in the cups, most will go on loan to Germany as the club seems to fancy that country now for loans.

    You seem to believe our U23 is filled with world class talent, I don’t think that’s so.

    Why should Amaechi expect to be on the bench for the finals of a competition he didn’t play a second in? Why do you encourage such entitlement?

  16. englandsbest

    I have never been a fan of Ozil. Not even when Germany was winning cups galore. I accept that I am in a tiny minority, and that there is something I’m missing about him. Evidently he must have some special quality. Darned if I know what it is.

  17. Valentin


    You are mistaken if you think this is just about the final. This is how they have been treated all season long. Emery personally intervene to stop Nkethia loan to Germany and then ignore him for the rest of the season.

    They train all season long with those guy. They can see that they are better than some of the players who the coach would rather use than them.

    Anybody can see that Willock is a better choice than Özil as a high energy midfielder to man-marking Jorginho. Nkethia with his pace is clearly better than Mhikitarian as a right winger.

    Now with Bayern, Barcelona, RB Leipzig, Dortmund sniffing around our best prospects, they know that they have an opportunity to make the final step to fort team in an environment where they will be trusted. On top of that it’s not like it is Accrington Stanley that is chasing them.

    You were the first to complain about the fact that Serge Gnabry is now playing for Bayern and that we got only £5 millions for him. With Emery in charge alienating them, we are likely to get even less for our best prospects.

  18. Marko

    Valentin I think he meant it was funny because it comes across as totally absurd. That an 18 year old who’s not ready for first team action would take not being part of a squad for a European final that he was not supposed to be involved in so badly is laughable.

  19. Marko

    With Emery in charge alienating them

    This season he has played Guendouzi (3,000 minutes), AMN (2,000 minutes), Pleguezuelo, Nketiah and given debuts to Gilmour, Medley, Saka, Smith Rowe and Medley. I’d say for the first time in a number of years there’s an actual path forward to the first team for young players. For some obviously not all because most of them will not make it here.

  20. Jamie

    Xavier Amaechi 4 goals in the under 23s all season.

    Between him, Nketiah and Willock, they haven’t scored a combined 20 goals all season in the under 23s.

    Play kids because we might as well (and bin the overpaid seniors), not because they’ll instantly improve us. They won’t. They’ll probably make us worse in the short-term.

  21. Valentin

    Imagine you are an 18 year old player. You have been ignore all season long by the head coach.
    You are told that instead of going on holiday or play international football you need to stay at your club to sit on the bench of the Europa League. The coach tell you that as the regulation allow for 12 substitutes, you are definitely in.

    You invite you family to that momentum occasion. And then at the last minute , you are told that you are surplus and you need to go and sit in the stand.

    Now a few days later, those same people ask you to sign an extension to your contract. Trust me, we’ll look after you, they say. In the meantime, big clubs have made it known that they want you. Those clubs have shown in the recent past that they give real opportunities to young players. Deeds not words.
    Of course for at least a couple of days you are going to be raw and study the offers brought to you.

  22. Marko

    The coach tell you that as the regulation allow for 12 substitutes, you are definitely in

    In the know alright. Is this from the same person who told you that Steve Rowley was back at the club.

  23. Valentin

    Pleguezuelo signed for FC Twente.
    AMN was already a first team players.

    Guendouzi started the season because of the world cup, Torreira, Elneny were not ready. Since the beginning of the calendar year, he is firmly on the bench. Moreover young players bought tend to be given more chance than equivalent players from the academy. I like Guendouzi, but right now he does not deserve to be in the first team more than Willock. He does not have the strength and awareness to play a ‘defensive’ midfield role.

    You may see the path to first team, but they don’t. And that’s concerning.

    Xavier Amaechi stats are 4 goals and 5 assists in the time equivalent of 13 games. That is quite good for a right winger.

  24. Receding Hairline

    You invite family to watch you on the subs bench?
    Saka was on that bench and he has actually played in the first team.

    Really don’t get your obsession with U23 football. You just declared most of them better than the first team.

  25. Valentin


    The initial team sheet published by the club had him in the bench. That’s the one that every newspaper were Peking from.

  26. Valentin


    I don’t declare the U23 better than the first team.
    I have only champion 4 players.

    1) Reiss Nelson who should not have been sent on loan. We had no right winger with pace. Mhikitarian has no pace and AMN is viewed as a defender.

    2) Nkethia

    3) Willock

    4) Osei-tutu : who as a trained right-back know how to defend. Round peg into round hole. Even if he had been as positionally suspect than LICHSTEINER at least he would have had the pace to recover. I also doubt that he would have had as many brain farts than Mustafi.

  27. Jamie

    Adam Idah, 12 goals and 4 assists in 19 appearances in the PL 2. Real Madrid will be sniffing around with those kinds of numbers. I hope Norwich ties him down to a 7 year contract quick smart or they might lose him for nothing because he’ll soon be embarrassed at sitting on the bench while his granny watches from the stands.

    This is a crazy discussion. Who’s even heard of Adam Idah? Bayern are not interested in Amaechi. Walcott > Amaechi at the same age..

  28. Valentin


    Of course players invite their family the first time they are put on the bench. Even if they have no chance to taking the field, this is a great occasion for any player.

  29. Marko

    You may see the path to first team, but they don’t. And that’s concerning.

    Oh they don’t. And who exactly is they? If they’re stupid like you then yeah they’re probably going to miss that really obvious path to the first team that Reiss Nelson and Emile Smith Rowe are currently taking. Valentin you try too hard to paint the current manager as someone who doesn’t use kids. I’ve given you examples of him playing youngsters and in Guendouzi and Kimpembe, Rabiot and Lo Celso’s case actual trust in young players

  30. Marko

    I read an article on Ameachi around the time that the Bayern rumours were coming out and they talked about his potential but they also talked about how he’s not a 90 minute player he drifts in and out of games and he doesn’t make smart decisions at times. Basically he wasn’t even remotely being close to being considered for the first team.

  31. Marko

    I personally wouldn’t lose sleep either way with regards to Ameachi. Saka and Emile is different.

  32. Receding Hairline

    Nelson faded badly after September, his loan move was the right call and the coach there hinted he has a lot to learn

    Nketiah won’t make it at the top level, seen enough to know we will be moving him on soon

    Wilock will go the way of Hayden, tidy player good squad option.

    This Osei-tutu kid I am beginning to think you have links to him, you are literally the only one who mentions him

  33. Champagne Charlie


    The next time you feel the urge to speak about other posters being rude or condescending pricks I’ll remind you of your constant attitude towards Valentin.

    It’s been an embarrassing read, and he’s done nothing but offer up a view you disagree with. He’s not been abusive, but you can’t help yourself.

  34. Jamie

    Serge Gnabry is 24 in a month. He’s not far off Bellerin’s age, older than Iwobi, Guendouzi, AMN, Rob Holding, and Torreira.

    If Gnabry was one of our hot prospects who had his head turned due to lack of playing time, how come 6 players his age (or younger) feature regularly in our setup?

    If Amaechi had sauce, he’d be playing. He probably gets skinned by Elneny in training, which is why he’s never made an appearance in the PL.

  35. Guns of Hackney

    Our “could of had” managers list is nearly as impressive as our “could have signed” footballer list.

    It always really amuses me when I see our name linked to players Barca and Man yoo are after. It would be like Mila Kunis being linked with Gary Smith the gas fitter from Pontefract.

    No self respecting player is coming to us. Period. As I’ve said a million times, players after quick cash before retirement or broken ones are our bread and butter.

    We are light years away from being a decent club. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the price of tickets, we would be Doncaster Rovers.