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. Alexanderhenry

    David Smith

    ‘The longer the Kroenkes have been at the club, and the greater the control they assumed, the worse things have got on the pitch.’

    .. And there is the rub

  2. salparadisenyc

    Dear Jurgen,

    Not a big deal, its just Football itself thats riding on you’re shoulders.

    Side note hoping the Arya Stark ink job looks solid, now go slay those fucking white walkers.

  3. Alexanderhenry


    Spurs cannot win the champions league.

    It will give them the bragging rights until we win it, which looks as likely as a smooth and orderly brexit the way things are going.

    Liverpool are slight – only slight–favourites.

  4. TR7

    Imagine yourself as an equity investor who invests in stocks of various sectors -power, chemical, FMCG etc. If you don’t have much clue about say chemical sector but you are reasonably sure about long term prospects of the sector ,what are you going to do ? You are very likely to simply park a part of your fund in various stocks of chemical sector for long term without fiddling too much with the parked money with the belief that in the long term you will ultimately make money on the investment made despite a few hiccups along the way. You are not going to ‘speculate to accumulate’ given your lack of expertise in the sector. Now assume you have an extensive knowledge of power sector, you know the financials, management,strengths, weaknesses etc. of every company in the sector, what are you going to do – you are very likely to swiftly move around your investment across various companies reacting pro-actively to every news and event and make a great return on your investment in the process.

    For Stan Kroenke, his investment in AFC is akin to investment in chemical sector of which he has little clue but he is certain of making good money in the long term. He is not going to fiddle too much with his investment. Thus don’t ever expect Stan to employ ‘speculate to accumulate’ strategy when it comes to AFC.

  5. Cesc Appeal

    ‘Poch looking calm. Klopp looking tetchy’

    Nor surprised.

    Pochettino has nothing to lose. He has spent nothing this year and is going to be lauded regardless of the result tonight, hammering aside.

    Klopp really needs to win something, he’s spent a fair amount (I know the whole net thing) and now he needs to have something to show for it. He can’t bottle 6 finals either.

    This is his team, his buys, his image, lost 1 game all season in the league. Have to win.

  6. Jim Lahey

    @WE –

    “A little thing but he was the first name that I ever got on an Arsenal jersey, the 04/05 blue away strip.”

    Funny you should mention that as Reyes was the last name I ever had on a jersey. I can remember his debut like it was yesterday. Was so excited to see the guy play. What a player he was. R.I.P

  7. englandsbest


    Your piece reads like a grudging admission that Stan might, to some degree, be somewhat at fault. Man, he is the root cause of Arsenal’s decline and current predicament!

    I am not going to repeat all the evidence for that, evidence that has been accunulating since he took the reins. Instead, I want to talk about the misapprehensions you have about people like myself who have been warning about him for years.

    At no time have I said Stan should spend billions like Roman and the Sheikh. Indeed,to the contrary, Arsenal should remain as it always has, a self-sustaining club. But to do that effectively, it takes a committed owner.

    To put it simply, when the cat’s away, the mice do play. The mice being, of course, the ego-centric manager and the one-dimensional CEO. At any point, Stan could have stopped them in their tracks.

    There was nothing wrong with the deal he gave Wenger and Gazidis. Basically, whatever profit was made they could spend as they pleased. But the stadium annual payback was included in the expenses. That gave them the excuse they wanted.

    Even so they could (and should) have managed. But they took the easy way. Sold off the best players, kept the rest happy with bloated salaries. And Stan never looked further than the bottom line.

    As you say, he is in real estate. No sweat, AFC is an appreciating property. Okay, the guys running it have gone – they weren’t that great anyway – I’ll get some new boys in,

    He treats AFC like an apartment block, and he charges champagne prices for stale beer.

    If he’s lucky Raul, Emery & Co will show the commitment he lacks.

  8. Dissenter

    We need to stop carrying such large cash bank balances. The large balance is a statement of a lack of a vision.
    The assets of a footballing company ought to be on the pitch.

  9. Champagne charlie

    Such a wank pen to concede, would be salty if it was an Arsenal player. Ref standards nave been bizarre across the tournament this season.

    That said…..LOL

  10. Dissenter

    Honestly we really ought to not gloat when Spuds lose tonight.
    They’ve earned a massive amount of money and this final appearance will cost their drowning power for good players and commercial deals..

    We shouldn’t gloat but we all know we can’t help it.

  11. Dissenter

    It still seems to surreal to see Spuds playing a CL final.
    I’m pinching myself silly right now. This cannot be true.

  12. MGooner

    nice start. we do not wish the tiny totts to have bragging rights for a generation 😉

    They must be stopped

  13. Ishola70

    lol Hillwood I couldn’t give a fuck in whether it was handball or not.

    It looked very harsh that’s all.

    Love it.

    Hope the ref continues in this vein.

  14. Elmo

    How bad was that main camera angle in the stadium in Baku?

    Back in a proper stadium designed for football, much lower, closer main camera, and the speed and dynamism of the game is properly captured.

  15. Champagne charlie

    Unpopular opinion but Salah is a cunt. Right up himself, and screams of one of these guys who’s totally different off camera

    Humble Egyptian my nutsack

  16. Ishola70

    That was a very quick VAR check if there was one.

    Usually they take longer than that.

    Maybe the ref was very opinionated on it.

    Love this ref so far.

  17. Ishola70

    Let’s be honest as CC said it was a dodgy pen.

    The ball actually hit him just under the armpit and if there was contact with his arm it would have been a deflection from this area and it wasn’t intentional in a hundred years.

    As said love this ref. Keep it up son.

  18. Siddharth14

    Klopp was shitting his pants prior to kick off. The players were nervous too. That goal was a gift from the football gods !

    Pochettino looking very worried now. Guess the game plan went out of the window.

  19. Dissenter

    I’m always reminded of the Bayern vs United final game at the Niou camp ion 1999. Caarsten Janker lost 100 chances, Bayern dominated the game and then Solskjaer came in.
    The ‘spursy’ adjective shouldn’t change today

  20. Cesc Appeal

    Spurs are possibly the worst opposition for Liverpool.

    It’s physical vs physical.

    At Anfield Spurs were quite unfortunate I think.

  21. Samesong

    Spurs should of brought Kane on in second half. Son is always looking to thread the ball to him rather than being selfish.

  22. Champagne charlie

    Christ Jenas is insufferable as a commentator, put your Spurs hat and scarf away you melt

  23. TR7

    Not sure whether it was a good decision to drop Moura for Kane. Kane is quality but Son and Moura dribbling the ball from both flanks would have made things more difficult for Pool defenders.

  24. Un na naai


    Good memory
    Jaanker put them ahead against England too before their 5-1 drubbing. What a night that was. What a team that was. We should never have hired Sven. He wasted the golden generation
    Should never have sacked hoddle. I’m convinced chef he’d have won a World Cup with that team

  25. Un na naai


    He’s up there with Michael Owen and Robbie savage for me. Or down there. His voice just grates

  26. Champagne charlie


    Some do, some pundits/commentators are just wank because they cannot give unbiased accounts. Un naai names a couple there, Jenas is the same. It’s grating

  27. Siddharth14

    I’m getting a horrible feeling that Spurs are going to come from behind and win this. They have matched Liverpool physically and are starting to edge them.

  28. Dissenter

    Just look at the Liverpool players TALKING to one another on the field.
    Henderson yelling at everyone. We really are far from the top.

  29. Dissenter

    This time last year, ‘pool had Karius in goal
    Now it doesn’t seem like a goal is bound to be scored against them.

  30. Champagne charlie

    Game has been dirt.

    That pen killed the buzz and nervousness more than anything, Liverpool has sat back and Spurs are trying to find their feet in unfamiliar territory.

    Mank footy

  31. Dissenter

    I think it’s the long interval between the end of the season and this game that’s responsible for the lack of fluency.
    Too much nerves and rustiness

  32. HighburyLegend

    “There is hope. ”
    Not as long as the Kroenke family runs the house.
    Like leechs they are, and so it’s really hard to see any “hope”, anywhere.

  33. Dissenter

    Many people laughed at Liverpool when Henderson was bought but he has been a very effective player for them.

  34. Ishola70

    Shit final so far.

    Let’s hope it stays shit with the team winning now seeing it out.

    Liverpool are playing the percentages game and playing it safe.

    Let’s hope Poch keeps Kane on the pitch longer than he should. He has been invisible.

  35. London gunner

    Piss poor game.

    Final usually are tbf.

    You rarely get the best football played in the final as there is just too much at stake.

  36. London gunner

    You know lucas moura can make a big difference when he comes on. Guys got that lighting pace and cannon of a shot.

  37. Paulinho

    Extremely worrying.

    Liverpool have been as shit I was fearing they would be.

    Those in-play odds on Spurs of 12/1 look tempting as small comfort if the fuckers do come back.

    Liverpool need to score again. Can’t see them holding this lead. Spurs always get stronger.

  38. Dissenter

    What was Cissoko thinking
    He gave the referee very little choice .Chicken premier league refs won’t have given that.

  39. Dissenter

    I’m not watching the game fir entertainment tbh
    I’m watching it see the deflated looks on the faces of the Spuds fans when it’s over.

  40. Champagne charlie

    Kane isn’t fit, he’s got to get hooked for Lucas if it stays like this to 70 mins.

    Eriksen isn’t even playing, Ozil levels of big game bottle so far.

    They sort that out and it could get scary because Liverpool have been dogshit.

  41. Paulinho

    I’ve never thought Eriksen controlled game really. He just becomes extremely dangerous when Spurs pile on pressure and he starts shooting from every angle and sending in crosses.

    I hope Spurs do take him off but Pochettino will know his value in the final stages.

  42. Champagne charlie


    He’s got a final ball, but if they fleece Madrid for 100 mil the guy responsible is a fucking miracle worker.

    Eriksen masterclass incoming now of course fml..

  43. Paulinho

    Charlie – Yeah I’ve respected his technique over the years but never been the biggest fan. He can’t run with the ball.

  44. Champagne charlie


    Yea he’s like a budget CM-Beckham, a level above Sigurdsson for me I just don’t buy the hype. Never in your life is he comparable to the best-in-class.

  45. Spanishdave

    Poor game not a good advert for the Prem.
    Last ball is poor .
    At least or defence is entertaining

  46. Goonah

    Eriksen can score at any time from a freekick or longshot
    Kane unless totally out of gas will stay on

    It will be Moura on for Son/Alli

    Hope the fools are 2 up before that

  47. bennydevito

    Champagne charlieJune 1, 2019    20:14:50

    Unpopular opinion but Salah is a cunt. Right up himself, and screams of one of these guys who’s totally different off camera

    Humble Egyptian my nutsack

    Champagne charlieJune 1, 2019    20:31:58

    Christ Jenas is insufferable as a commentator, put your Spurs hat and scarf away you melt


    Lol! So true CC, so true. 100% in agreement for a change.

    Before you say it – I’ll put my pom poms away now. 😅

  48. Ishola70

    izzoJune 1, 2019 21:19:36
    “Trent Arnold has to be the best attacking RB in the world no?”

    No the other fella on the other side is just as good as him.

    And that’s just in the Liverpool team

  49. Elmo

    It’s just a shame there has to be a winner tonight. I think there should be the capacity for UEFA to state that there was no winner of the CL in a season, and pretend the whole thing never happened, when two teams serve up rubbish like this.

  50. Ishola70

    Great ball from Vertonghen has to be said.

    Game is opening up now.

    Can see Liverpool wrapping this up on the counter

  51. Champagne charlie

    Got a horrible feeling Llorente is going to come on and have a say.

    Fucking wake up Liverpool, you’re looking like Brighton

  52. Un na naai


    It’s a tense tactical final between two masterminds
    This is premier league chess

    We’d be 3-0 down by now to either

  53. izzo

    Game needs to open up. Pool have been too cautious. maybe Kane or another spud melt will score and then Pool just up the gears and blitz them which you know they’re capable of. Mane is a beast! You just know he’ll skin them and score with a faster pace.

  54. Elmo

    PL chess?

    The majority of the play is literally long ball, with the midfield being entirely bypassed.