I thought it was brave of Arsenal exec leadership to jump on Teams with the fans yesterday. Josh and Vinai fucked up. They have apologised to everyone and they took a whole load of questions on the chin.
The challenge with interview questions is that to be good at them, you can’t be emotional. Arsenal fans have been in an extreme pit of hell this week and I think the tension led to questions the exec team could handle.
We didn’t learn a lot from the call, only the things we’ve been talking about all week.
Arsenal didn’t lead the charge on the Super League, but they said yes. We didn’t break the windows, but we had our hands on the goods. The semantics of it don’t matter, we were involved, the fans busted the ruse, and now we are where we are.
There are a few things that don’t matter.
Honestly, who cares about trust? What does trust really equate to for us? It’s not tangible. It doesn’t make my experience with Arsenal that much better. It’s just not that important.
Trust, for fans in 2021 isn’t earned… it’s spent.
The stories spreading through the internet are that the club is going to heavily invest in this football club this summer to make up for what they did.
Hold on… what? As a reward for bad behaviour, ownership is going to invest in their own product to make it more competitive?
It’s absurd logic on many levels, but mark my words, if there’s a £100m summer incoming, no one will care about ‘trust.’
The struggle I have with Josh, Vinai, and the execs that went before is they create these weird battlefields in the minds of the fans.
‘Long-term heavy investment is not sustainable’
Firstly, football in general is one of the most sustainable businesses in the world. How many professional clubs went to the wall during the global pandemic? Not many. Football is robust, it never goes broke, it always survives.
Second point, long-term high-level investment is only unsustainable for clubs that don’t want to do it. One of the big issues in the game is that certain clubs use bottomless pits of cash as their weapon of mass destruction, that won’t stop and will always happen as long as there’s oil in the ground.
Third point… if Arsenal just did things properly, they wouldn’t need to keep investing at high levels in the long term because they’d have a sustainable model that buys low, sells high, and constantly feeds high-quality players into the first team or out the door for big fees to other clubs.
Josh talks a good ‘I’m the only sensible businessman in the room’ game but he doesn’t produce evidence of it in the things he does and signs off.
Signing Willian on a 3-year deal at 32 years old for £250k a week was not long-term thinking. We know Chelsea had £120k a week 2 year deal on the table. We know Spurs couldn’t afford him. We know the player didn’t want to leave London. With all that leverage, we still managed to pay double and give an extra year, and no one suffered the consequences of wasting £39m of money we didn’t have when it came to funding the Gunnersaurus.
David Luiz, on big, big money, at 34 is not long-term thinking. £24m all in to replace Koscielny in season one. Then we went in again after he had a shocking season. Will we go there again?
Auba on a mega new deal, at 31, was not long-term thinking. I understand why it happened, if he’d scored 30 goals this season, we’d be 4th, not 9th… but a disciplined businessman with a long-term view would have sold.
Crying about the mess we’re in when it’s of our own making is unacceptable at this point in time.
Here’s the thing, Arsenal fans constantly complain about investment without realizing we’re one of the highest net spenders in the league.
The problem isn’t money, it’s that we give that money to people that spend it badly. That’s on Josh and no one else.
If there’s money available this summer, then he needs to set some rules for how it can be used.
- No contracts to players over the age of 28. Harsh, but needed.
- No players over the age of 24 should be signed.
- Edu needs to shift players out of the club and raise capital. If we win the Europa League, don’t give deals to the bums that have us in 9th right now. Move them on. Be ruthless
- Every name we consider needs to come with a scouting report, no more deals with super-agent buddies.
Josh should get an advisor that has worked in football at a high level behind the scenes. A Chief of Staff type that can help him with decisions and call bullshit on people that don’t give a fuck. Edu cannot be trusted. Look at his relationship with Kia. Look at some of the financial decisions he’s made with certain players. How did the physio get his job in the medical department? Who vetted that? Who continues to let the contacts people do contacts things that look the same as the contacts person before? Where is the control in the system? What have we learned? Where are the checks and balances that stop this summer being a disaster in which we waste cash again because we’re so damn slow to figure out average talent?
Arsenal need structure, we need to get back to some basic principles, and we need to do things the hard way.
Joe Willock is pulling up trees at Newcastle, sell him. Eddie has prestige on his name, sell him. Sell Reiss, Mavropanos, Torreira, and Matteo. Do not give a new deal with David Luiz. Sell Lacazette at his peak and don’t be tempted by another player looking for that golden goodbye.
Then invest in the future. WIlliam Saliba is going to be one of our 4 centre backs next season, give him games. Martinelli, Flo B, Odegaard, ESR, and Saka are the exciting core of a team we should build around. Arsenal need to build on that ‘U21 minutes’ table we’re top of this season because it makes fans happy and the strategy of growing a team from youth level up is better than one of cobbling together old players that used to be good… ‘one last job for the boys’ is not a sustainable vision. What you want is to build towards the Champions League with young/hungry players, so when you get there, you can compete for 5 years.
I might be in the minority here, but I don’t want to see more of Josh. I don’t care what he has to say about his love for the brand. What I’d like is less talk, more action, smarter thinking. Don’t tell me you’re a loving owner, show me, with an exciting vision, paired with a disciplined plan, activated upon with brutal efficiency.
Arsenal PR needs to sit down with Arteta and use this crisis as an opportunity for him. Let him sell the future, give him better talking points, use the end of season to blood the kids and ‘maybe’ win a trophy. This whole debacle really does shine a light on what Arsenal is at the moment, I know many can’t see it now, but Arteta really is the least of our problems right now.
Time for Arsenal to stop making life so fucking hard on themselves. Make smart decisions, even if they are hard. Move the club forward. Build on the worst season in living memory on and off the pitch.
Josh K has the privilege of fixing the most exciting problem in world football. He’s barely 40. Fix it, and he’ll go from a football insurrectionist to a god. It’s that simple. Make Arsenal great. Give trust to those that deserve it. Get back to basics and stop trying to shortcut sporting greatness.
Time to move forward.
There’s some actual football later today. I’m hoping to see something innovative out there. No strikers, what are we going to do?!
See you in the comments. x