ARSENAL CULTURE WORKSHOP: WHAT IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE

by .

Arsenal is hiring a corporate culture consultancy to help them with the mess at Arsenal HQ. I’ve been hearing rumblings for about 6 months about some of the things that have been going on, it’s not great, a lot of demotivated people, and some grim people fired and replaced already.

Man like Matt Kandela, a business owner and a corporate operator thinks this is a good thing. I can see the upside, there’s a messy corporate environment, and Arsenal is facing up to it and taking action.

However… the leak is there to damage Vinai. The reaction online today is probably what that person wanted. No one tells David Ornstein things are so messy on the corporate side we need a consultancy if they think that’s a positive story. It means there’s a lack of leadership and worse: the tools to repair it aren’t readily available internally. Ivan Gazidis has been gone since 2018, Don Raul has been gone since 2020, and only now are we getting to the business culture? Not great.

Anyway, better late than never.

The club is calling the program ‘The Arsenal Way’ which sounds like a pretty decent name for something that has certainly been lacking since Wenger went.

Before we get into it, I’m going to defend the company looking after the project. It does not matter if they don’t have football experience. It doesn’t matter if a strategist on their team supports Chelsea. All that matters is they know how to extract the right information that will help our leaders get to the best possible outcome.

As Arrigo Saachi once said, ‘to be a jockey, you need not to have been a horse.’

Some things to nail down before we get into this.

Culture is a set of principles and behaviors that guides the employees of a business. To be effective, they are usually closely linked to the mission of the club.

The Army builds its culture around discipline. Why? Because if you don’t listen to orders, someone might die. 30 seconds late to a meeting and you put your whole team at risk. If you are not prepared at all times, it’s life-threatening. The army in the old days would go out of its way to beat the individuality out of you so you followed orders without complaint. Everyone had the same haircut, everyone wore the same clothes, the same rations went to everyone, the same discipline was meted out if you broke the code. Thinking outside the box was not the job to be done, following orders was.

Facebook started out as ‘move fast, break shit’ because global domination could only be achieved if they grew at an exponential rate.

Netflix has a ‘no rules rules’ culture. They believed that to dominate entertainment and the tech that underpinned it, they need to hire the best people in the world, pay them more, and give them total accountability for decision making. They chopped back all the rules, reduced bureaucracy, and held great people to high standards. If you don’t hit the mark at Netflix, you get a nice severance and big ‘see ya.’

Apple worked off a Think Different mindset. When Microsoft was selling its software to go on other systems, Apple revoked all the licenses so they could control the whole experience. When companies were inventing MP3 players, internet machines, and dumb mobile phones… Apple put them all in one place on an iPhone. Everything they do is underpinned by elite design. I’ve pitched to them and if you have a single error on a deck, it will derail a whole meeting because they are obsessives when it comes to the details… because that is ingrained in their culture.

When you know what you stand for, you build a culture around that idea. You hire people that want to be part of that culture, that understand the rules, and want to live in that world. It’s a sorting mechanism internally, if you don’t agree, go somewhere else, because the reason for being is in a culture deck you live by.

I once wrote a culture deck and someone on my team said it felt like I’d written the rules for a cult, my response, ‘kind of.’

I’ve written extensively about the lack of honesty Arsenal have had for who they are and where they are in this modern world. We have gone through a very public identity crisis over the past 20 years. Ideals that kept us at the top for a long time changed because the world changed. Stability was a point of pride, but it eventually became the reason for stagnation.  Class was used to differentiate us, but it eventually ended up as an excuse for not competing. When we slipped out of the top 2 clubs for wealth, we didn’t accept that drop in class, so sat in denial for many years.

To get to culture, we first need to know what the mission of the club is: GETTING BACK TO THE TOP OF FOOTBALL BY WINNING BIG TROPHIES

Nothing else matters. The number 1 priority should always be about what happens on the pitch. Football clubs exist to win trophies. A club as steeped in history as Arsenal needs trophies to progress and grow. If we’re not striving to do that, commercial revenue will dry up, new fans will stop feeding into the system, efforts in the community will be limited, our influence will wane, and we will eventually fade into the background of elite-level football.

We need to be honest about who we are:

  • We are not the richest club in the world
  • We will have to create a sustainable model of football. i.e. self-funded
  • It will take time

What do we have going for us:

  • 60,000 seater stadium
  • A club name that still cashes cheques
  • The best online fanbase on the planet
  • A loyal IRL fanbase that will still buy tickets and support a project they understand
  • We are based in London
  • We have a prestigious history
  • Players and managers still want to come here
  • Elite London corporate folk would take pay cuts to work at the club

There are also softer elements that might play a big role in establishing some of our cultural pillars. The consultancy we’re using should meet with fans and ask what makes Arsenal special.

We are class. Arsenal do things the right way.

We are diverse. Our fanbase has always been reflective of London.

We are great in the community. Arsenal PR pays attention, we invest in locals, and we try and do the right thing.

These sorts of ideas might stop the club creating a WIN AT ALL COSTS culture deck. That’s not us and it’s not who we want Arsenal to be.

Some more truth:

To get back to the top, we’re going to have to innovate, we’re going to have to be smarter than our opposition, we’re going to have to make money work harder, and we are going to have to be fucking relentless in the pursuit of our objectives.

Football-wise, we’ve already moved to the honesty phase:

We signed a hot shit young coach with the hope of him growing with us vs signing Jose Mourinho or Carlo Ancelotti.

We signed young players with 2 years of experience under their belts with the hope of them reaching their peak with us in 3 seasons’ time.

We leaned into our brand to attract them, promising them a platform to succeed they wouldn’t get at other Premier League clubs.

If that is our football objective, what does it mean for our corporate culture? What does it mean for The Arsenal Way?

If you can’t be the richest, you have to be the smartest.

That means you have to hire innovators.

That means you need to create an environment where innovators thrive.

That might mean you don’t hire sportspeople who say ‘well, that’s just the way we do it’

That might mean the ‘Bank of England’ baggage of the past needs to be shaken from the board of directors because banks are not innovators, they are supposed to represent stability. Well, our stability has gone, so being likened to a bank has to die. Who are the best sports execs in world sport? Who is doing hot shit in football that is putting a small club on a higher level? Who is the best technology person in the game that can upgrade our app?

That will mean a different marketing story, that will mean a different pitch deck from the sponsorship team who have been selling the same boring story that hasn’t moved our commercial revenues in the right direction for a long time

If The Arsenal Way is about innovating our way to success, it shifts the entire vision of the corporate structure. It sets the tone for who you hire, how they operate, how they are rewarded, how they are judged, and the behaviors they need to elicit to win at Arsenal.

When you establish a clear vision, it also tells you who needs to leave a business. At a very famous hedge fund that has a book about culture, they have a process of ‘sorting’, they go through the literal scores of staff and clear out anyone not cutting the mustard. That might not be The Arsenal Way, but when you reestablish a culture, you need to be ruthless about who works in it. Because, like sport, a couple of bad eggs can bring down the performance of everyone else.

Arsenal are not risk-takers, we haven’t been demanding of ourselves, we haven’t been good at holding ourselves accountable to a higher standard, we haven’t done a good job with our fans, the most interesting thing we’ve done in 15 years was last summer on the sporting side. Stan Kroenke has treated Arsenal like a piece of property he has accrued, as long as it gains 5% every year, he doesn’t need to worry about what’s going on. Well, other clubs in the market are gaining 15-20% a year and we have been left in the mud.

Fixing the culture at Arsenal is about so much more than people feeling good. It’s about making people understand the direction of Arsenal and giving them the tools to succeed at delivering the vision.

… and I know there are a lot of people saying you don’t need a culture deck to succeed, which is true, but without doubt, the very best organizations in the world have the very best cultures. Customer service can be automated or it can be John Lewis. Payments systems can be something boring, or it can be Dan Price of Gravity payments who gets on the Good Morning America show because he believes paying all his staff $70k makes for better business.

Culture isn’t necessarily about feeling good, it’s about knowing what the job to be done is and what behaviors will be rewarded. All the best managers in the world of football will tell you that culture drives performance. Even the managers that aren’t good will tell you the same. If you think it’s just tactics and a smack on the arse that has Pep Guardiola’s team dropping 100 points per game you are very wrong.

So in short, it’s good that someone at the club has recognized the culture is bad, and it’s good they are moving forward with fixing it. I’m just not sure it shines the brightest light on our inexperienced leadership.

547 Responses to “ARSENAL CULTURE WORKSHOP: WHAT IT MIGHT LOOK LIKE”

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  1. TheLegendaryDB10

    I did a bit of net searching re the Arsene quote about how one of the loan conditions waa that he had to stay for another 5 yrs.

    https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/36172291

    And here is another article written 2 yrs later on how our loan repayments were hamstringing the club’s ability to spend.

    https://www.beinsports.com/us/premier-league/news/wenger-arsenal-limited-by-financial-restricti/769639

    So the loan restrictions were effectively very real.

    To me though, what really hamstrung us was our inability to sell players at a high rate. We really had a habit of under-selling our players.

    2 examples spring to mind:

    RVP whom we sold to Manure for mere £24 million to a rival.

    Or Henry to Barca whom we sold for €24 million.

    I am sure that in both cases we could have sold them for far more considering the calibre of these 2 players.

  2. Tom

    Pedro took exception to my earlier comment we were in a top four fight curtesy of United, but it’s totally true.
    Had they kept Ole and resisted the Ronaldo transfer there was absolutely no reason they couldn’t have repeated, or got close to their last years 74 points tally and the GD of 29.
    As it stands, they are, like us, on 54 points and a GD of 4.
    United didn’t just wave the white flag yesterday at Anfield, they had waved it for this season with the Rangnick hire, who’s now talking about letting as many as 10 players go and pretty much a total overhaul of the club.
    Maybe even a culture reevaluation lol.

    But apparently I can only say this sort of thing on line because in real life I’d be laughed out of a the stadium, or even worse, god forbid, a pub.

    Here’s the fun part; when Ole was let go United were 12 points off the top. Now, they’re 22 having played one game more than most.
    Can you imagine the amount of Pedro jibes had it been Conte failing to arrest United’s continuous slide and not his favorite Rangnick?

  3. Tom

    Klopp is hands down the best in the world but no point in beating ourselves up over missing out on him.
    Kroenke was still all on Wenger then and that’s that.

    Posters keep talking how Pool have gotten their transfers right but 90% of that success rate is down to Klopp.
    He didn’t want Salah but has made him one of top three players in the world.
    Arteta can’t even make players he wanted work in his system. He probably would’ve had Salah tracking back all the way to our corner flag to cover opponents left backs.
    You know, to improve the D.

  4. TheLegendaryDB10

    GoonerDave

    It would have been spectacular if it worked out – a real success story. It’s a shame really.

    Well let’s not get too ahead of ourselves on waving goodbye to Arteta.

    We still in top 4 contention and the season isn’t over.

    Let’s wait until the end of the season to make a final judgement on whether Arteta has totally fucked up the season (below 8th) or did OK (4th – 6th) or was meh (7th – 8th -> did not move the needle).

    And he won’t get sacked unless we lose every single game between now and the end of the season.

  5. Mark

    https://www.hitc.com/en-gb/2022/04/19/newcastle-arsenal-darwin-nunez/

    Looks like Nunez wants to play Champions League football. Who would have thought it eh, finishing outside of the top four will have a negative impact on our striker plans. (Obvious really) but there are still some trying to say it doesn’t matter, wait until summer when we buy our new elite striker…

    People need to add up all these things, rather than looking at them in isolation or ignoring them. Then again if it goes against your agenda, I can understand people trying to ignore the obvious.

  6. Tom

    Klopps handling of Jota for me is one of the astonishing price of business. I dotn think anybody saw that Jota would be so much successful when he was with Wolves. That has to be one of the best value for money signings within Pl clubs easily topping the every other signings like macguire, grealish, white etc.

    Madhu, its bad form to keep bragging about things but you keep asking the question, so Ill repeat my answer……… I called it at the time of Jota transfer against all others bigging up the likes of Adama Traore.
    Jota was Wolves best player and an ideal candidate for Klopp’s system.

  7. Valentin

    If ManUtd had been smart, they would have kept OGS and install Rangnick as DoF. That would have given him 1 season to learn and evaluate what needed to be done.

    For example he is learning that because of the competitiveness intensity of the league and the lack of a proper winter break, you can’t train as hard as you would in Germany. You also need a squad with greater depth.

    The problem with Rangnick is that he is a great DoF, but a so-so manager. He needs a team of young, fit, hungry, willing to listen and die on the pitch players. Where at ManUtd, all he has is a bunch of primadonna, hasbeen, neverbeen, over the hill and permacrock.

    He has been plunged into a very competitive league that he does not know at a club whose recruitment has been shambolic for a while now.

    With a dedicated manager helped by a great DoF, ManUtd should be much better next season.

  8. andy1886

    With all due respect to the some posters I’ll take Swiss Ramble’s summary of our financial position over theirs and he often stated that we could have spent more than we did and comply with any restrictions.

    As for the alleged requirement to keep Wenger for five years has that ever been verified by anyone other than Wenger himself? BeIn Sports is just a Wenger mouthpiece as we all know. On the surface that claim would be counter to employment law, you cannot restrict any individual’s right to leave their employment in that way, effectively you are requiring an employee to stay in position beyond their contracted term.

    Sorry, but that little snippet sounds like Wenger BS to me. Just like “I built the stadium” as he once said….

  9. TheBayingMob

    Partey had a so-so debut campaign in the Premier League, but he has improved a lot this season. Without him in the middle of the park, Arsenal have lost their driving force from deep in Arteta’s favoured 4-2-3-1 system and this has a damaging effect on the team as a whole. Arsenal’s win ratio drops from 65.2% to 25% when Partey does not start. The number of goals they score decreases (from 1.83 to just 0.38 per 90 minutes) and the number of goals they concede rises (from 1.09 to 1.50 per game).

    Partey makes them tick. He has a better dribble success rate (81.4%) than any of the 158 players who have attempted 25 or more dribbles in the Premier League this season. For Arsenal, that is streaks ahead of his closest competitor, his midfield partner Granit Xhaka (65%), and even that is from just 20 attempted dribbles.

    https://www.theguardian.com/football/who-scored-blog/2022/apr/19/thomas-partey-injury-arsenal-batlle-fourth-premier-league

  10. andy1886

    I’d also add that a major part of any financial restrictions were self-inflicted. The so-called ‘socialist wage structure’ that paid the likes of Bendtner £60k per week and a huge wage bill far in excess of the talents of many of the players concerned. We wasted tens of millions there annually and it’s something that even now we are only just getting back under control.

  11. raptora

    Tom,
    Yeah, I’ve said it multiple times. Rangnick with a multiple times worse managerial career was touted by Pedro for reasons unknown, yet the serial winner of trophies was hated even before he was signed by the Spuds.

    Rangnick turned out a horrible appointment. Zero understanding how to work with stars, zero experience in the Premier League, last trophy won over 10 years ago. Rangnick might be an excellent Director of Football but as a manager at one of the biggest clubs in the world, he has an appaling win rate of 41.67%. The likes of Moyes have a 52.94%, Van Gaal 52.43%, Mouninho 58.33, Ole 54.17 there while Rangnick didn’t even have the new manager effect going for him. Lampard has a 52.4 in his period managing the chavs, Arteta is rocking a 53.2%.

    41.67% is an atrocious win % anyway you look at it.

    Conte would have cruised not only into 4th, but probably snatched 3rd away from the chavs with this Manure team.

  12. Valentin

    The difference between Jota and Adama Traore was decision making. Adama Traore has all the technical and physical ability of the world, but his final ball has always been poor. he crosses without looking, and when shooting he always go for power instead of placement.

    Jota on the other always had good movements. So Klopp has transformed a good player into a very good player. He can with freedom, intelligence and composure. At Arsenal Arteta would have restricted him into a single area of play.

  13. Valentin

    Andy,

    Your source also stated that before 2014, Arsenal would have been able to spend more.
    Regarding Arsenal having to stay on board that has been confirmed by David Dein as well.

    Banks would not have lent that money to Arsenal if Bruce Rioch had been in charge. So from the bank perspective keeping him in place was vital. As David Dein stated, Arsène Wenger had the offer to move to Real Madrid which he refused. Had he accepted the offer, Arsenal would have been in big trouble.

    Contrary to what you believe, this is quite common when a bank lend money to a big project whose success they think reside in one key man.

    Most Hedge funds get their seed money on the understanding that the main man/woman will stay at the helm. If he/she were to be ousted, then the seed money can be reclaimed at a much higher pace than normal clients can.

  14. Tom

    Valentin, I don’t think Adama Traore is as technically sound as Jota.
    Klopp’s system depends on quick interchanges, which in turn depends on close, instantaneous ball control………..and Traore doesn’t have it.

    With the ball at his feet and in space he’s unplayable. For speed and power there aren’t any better but that’s about it.

    He got good reviews the season Jimenez was climbing over defenders to every 50/50 Traore cross, but once the Mexican git injured his assists dried up completely.

  15. Valentin

    correction: Before 2014, Arsenal would not have been able to spend more without breaking covenant.

    As stated by Gazidis, that is when the financial restrictions started to be lifted.

  16. Tom

    raptora, what United served up yesterday was nothing short of diabolical.
    They didn’t belong on the same pitch.
    Loved every minute of it though.

  17. jwl

    LegendaryDB10/Andy1886 – Ive always believed Wenger was overstating what was agreed with bank to get loans. Surely forcing Wenger to stay in a job for five years breaks human rights/employment laws. I can see Arsenal agreeing to covenant that they wouldn’t fire Wenger for five years but forcing Wenger to stay would be illegal.

  18. raptora

    Tom,
    Not too hard to look super bad vs Pool when they want to humiliate the team against them, which they totally did. But a big club like Manure has to do much, much better. They did look diabolical. Absolutely worthless. It was a joy, no doubt.

  19. Tom

    “Yeah, I’ve said it multiple times. Rangnick with a multiple times worse managerial career was touted by Pedro for reasons unknown, yet the serial winner of trophies was hated even before he was signed by the Spuds.”

    raptora, surely you’re not suggesting Pedro has an agenda, surely.

  20. TheLegendaryDB10

    Andy1886

    I can’t disagree with what you are saying. With Wenger, he always wanted to be front and centre with all things Arsenal. So who knows how true this all was.

    Who knows AW made this up to validate his stay at the club beyond what he should have. Maybe the club “lied” to him on this as they never even considered life without AW and just wanted to make sure he stayed to keep raking in top 4 and ensure CL money was rolling in for next season.

    We’ll never really know.

    And yes, our wage structure was indeed a bit insane under AW. We had average players on elite paychecks. This made selling players and making a profit on them virtually impossible as well as they were never worth the paycheck they were on in the first place.

  21. WengerEagle

    ”Klopp is hands down the best in the world but no point in beating ourselves up over missing out on him.”

    Well, him and Pep I assume you mean?

    Both are head and shoulders above the rest. Pep is the most influential figure in modern football I would argue. You now have the Goalkeepers and defenders in a rainy Newcastle vs Wolves playing out from the back and that is all from Pep’s influence on the game.

    I still remember the outcry when he benched Joe Hart who was a world class GK at the time.

  22. Valentin

    Tom,

    that was Wolves game plan. Plan defensive football and then try to lauch a quick counterattack by isolating their fullback in a 1v1 against Traore who could then cross to Gimenez.

    He is finding that at higher club, he does not have the first touch and vision to fit into more precise team. He was brought as a replacement for Dembele and things are not working out for him.

    I think that je had been badly advised. His move to Barcelona was never going to work. Has he gone to Spurs, Conte would have made him his new Moses and he would have looked like a world beater.

  23. WengerEagle

    Adama has done pretty well at Barca when started. He just hasn’t had many opportunities as they now actually have some decent depth across the frontline with Ferran Torres, Dembele, Memphis, Auba.

  24. Tom

    raptora, Klopp was actually talking about the humiliating aspect of it and he said that’s never on his agenda.
    Competition for places, the drive to keep the winning form going, and third, give people what they want.

  25. andy1886

    @DB10, I think in summary it’s fair to say that the finances during that period both on and off the pitch were managed very badly. And we weren’t always talking big money, I recall that we refused to pay £4m for Mark Schwarzer and instead stuck with Almunia which was a disaster.

  26. andy1886

    I seem to recall that when Klopp left Dortmund and many of us on here where suggesting he replaced Wenger there were several posters that claimed he was a ‘busted flush’. Needless to say it’s unlikely that those concerned will own up to their (extremely big) mistake on that one…

  27. Valentin

    jwl,

    you can’t force anybody to stay in employment
    But you can appeal to their sense of loyalty and ego.

    If Wenger had left, most loans would have been recalled and the club in tatters. That would have ruined his legacy, just to take a job at Real Madrid with the well known risk of the Real Madrid revolving door.
    I don’t think he could handle leaving Arsenal and destroying what he had build to chase a Real Madrid pipe dream.

  28. WengerEagle

    Yeah Andy, quite a few turned on him in that last 14/15 season because they lost the plot in the first half of the season.

    Pretty sure by the Winter break they were bottom of the table. Finished 7th IIRC so they basically reverted to their previous level after Christmas which was ignored.

  29. Valentin

    Tom,

    I agree that Spurs January recruitement had been excellent. They have added smart players at reasonable price.
    If they repeat that feat this summer, I can see them making very bid strides for 3rd place next season.
    Chelsea will be in a state of flux. ManUtd should do better, but will need time to adjust to their new manager.

  30. WengerEagle

    Tom

    Pep’s achievements and influence stretching back to 2008 are greater than Klopp’s imo although the latter can catch him and isn’t far off.

    He will have won 4 of the last 5 PL titles if City do not slip up in their last few matches now. In another CL SF and heavy favourites to beat Real Madrid. Yes he hasn’t won the CL since 2011 but he has dominated domestically everywhere that he has gone and Klopp himself has won the CL once to Pep’s x2.

    How many managers have we seen crash and burn at elite clubs? Just take a look at PSG or Manure. It’s incredibly difficult to do what Pep has done at City, if spending heavily equated to success than why have Utd not won a trophy for x5 years?

  31. Tom

    Andy, there were Pool supporters and media pundits questioning whether Klopp could adapt to the PL, having finished 8th his first season too.

    And there’s been Arsenal fans who said Arteta was on the same trajectory as Klopp.

    Football is full of crazy opinions and that’s what makes it fun.

    I do hope Villarreal beat Poll though…….and City don’t drop points to Brighton(WARNING! a major banana peel), so Arteta doesn’t nave to follow Klopp’s quadruple trajectory.

  32. Nelson

    If Leicester won the European Conference League, they will earn a spot in next year’s Europa Cup competition. I wonder where the team finishing in the 6th spot will play?

  33. Tom

    Weagle, Pep is easily top two and its very close, so I won’t put up a huge fight, but for my money (the non oil rich type) Klopp is better.

  34. WengerEagle

    And it’s not just that Pep is dominating, it is the way in which he is dominating.

    City are playing the best football that we have ever seen in the PL and that our own best teams.

  35. WengerEagle

    Tom

    And that’s fair, I love Klopp and can see why you would rate him above Pep. It’s about perspectives at the end of the day and personal preference they are that close. Just take a look at their H2H record alone.

  36. WengerEagle

    Klopp deserves most of the credit but there are some behind the scenes guys at Pool that deserve their flowers too.

    IIRC Klopp wanted Julian Brandt over Salah for example. A very good player in his own right but not even close to Salah good.

  37. Tom

    Weagle Brighton will take the game to City and press them all over.
    It could end up 5:0 but If I’m Coty, Brighton is not who I want to play right now.

  38. andy1886

    I don’t know Tom, Pedro seems convinced so maybe the quadruple is on the not so distant horizon for us..

    Seriously though I cannot stand City, a corrupt club relying on lawyers to escape sanction for financial doping. Not that I want ‘Pool to win a quadruple, just beat City to the title and force Pep to spend another billion or two.

  39. WengerEagle

    I’m sorry but I don’t care how scummy Citeh’s suits are, I couldn’t stomach a Liverpool Quadruple.

    Far too many Bin Dippers over here, literally 50% of football fans over here support them. The banter from people I work with/friends would be never ending.

  40. andy1886

    WEagle, sounds like a copy of how it was over here in the UK during the late seventies/early eighties. Pool fans everywhere most of whom couldn’t find the city on a map if their life depended on it.

    I’d be okay with them winning a domestic clean sweep (the other option being Chelsea which is a no-no) and hoping for a Villarreal miracle in the CL (Pedro imploding as a result adding to the joviality).

  41. jwl

    Valentin – I always thought Wenger was being too much of a martyr with his ‘I could have gone to Madrid, Bayern ….. anywhere really but Arsenal signed loan agreement that said I couldn’t leave’.

    While we all know Wenger didn’t leave because he liked his cushy job and five year youth projects and the pressure to win would have been too much for him at other top tier clubs.

  42. NORG

    WE

    Liverpools DOF is currently on Garden leave until the end of June. Their chief scout is the cousin of a friend. Together with another scout and the DOF practically all of the signings over the past few years have been sourced by these three.

  43. S23

    Oh no,a team desperately searching for a positive result with a striker out of sorts.
    Step forward Arsenal to face the resurgent Utd with hat trick hero Marcus Rashford-you just know that is how it is going to go.
    Fingers crossed Tuchel rests some of his players tonight and the worst we come away with is a draw,but I feel we need to start seeing something after the last 3 woeful performances from our team.
    It is always the hope that kills.

  44. Ishola70

    S23

    “Step forward Arsenal to face the resurgent Utd with hat trick hero Marcus Rashford-you just know that is how it is going to go.”

    That sounds like you rate him. How so?

  45. WengerEagle

    Andy

    Yeah it’s a combination of culturally you have a lot of Irish/Dubs over in Liverpool and their great teams in the 70s/80s had plenty of Irish players and obviously how successful they were too.

    Dad’s passing down to their sons and all that. There wasn’t much for the modern Liverpool fan to shout about before Klopp came in besides the Istanbul miracle/fluke though.

  46. WengerEagle

    NORG

    Interesting and yeah I have no doubt that Klopp was heavily involved in the process but it just shows you that the manager alone cannot build an amazing side.

    Arsene had David Dein working with him to build our great sides and when Dein left it started going downhill in that regard because there was nobody to reign Arsene in.

  47. Dissenter

    Valentin
    ‘ nks would not have lent that money to Arsenal if Bruce Rioch had been in charge. So from the bank perspective keeping him in place was vital. As David Dein stated, Arsène Wenger had the offer to move to Real Madrid which he refused. Had he accepted the offer, Arsenal would have been in big trouble.’

    Love you man but I have ti call hogwash on this
    What do you mean by ‘banks’, maybe one bank would have demurred but you can’t speak for the totality of banking.
    What is strange about a sporting institution seeking to build a stadium a mile away from their old grounds. A sporting institution that had existed for over 110 years at the time we started the stadium.
    London s biggest club wanted to build a stadium and they had to have one manager to vouch for them? This was a time when the premier league was beginning to explode with record revenues.

    Sorry that’s hogwash and I say that respectfully
    Which manager guaranteed spurs, super expensive stadium build by the way, or the other stadium builds that have since happened

    Why would banks demand for a legally unenforceable covenant to give out a major loan, when Keeping Wenger in charge could have made it harder to pay the loan back [had he failed]

    Arsenal didn’t need Wenger to get a bank loan.if the RBS consortium had declined,Arsenal would have gone to Deutsche Bank or other lenders. This was the era of cheap money when banks were throwing crazy money into property.

    Wenger regaling us with that story if just part of his god complex, the same reason why he refused to leave even when he was spent.

  48. Janky

    I was ruminating on our current striker situation and Darwin Nunez, whom we have about as much a chance of signing as we have of signing Erling Haaland, and I just can’t get over the fact that we paid an elite striker to leave in January and are letting two more go on frees this summer.

    Who does that?

    That is basically all of our first team center forwards and we will collect not a cent from their exit. In fact, we’ve paid good money to get ourselves into this spot. I know it’s been covered, but how unbelievable is that from a business standpoint?

    I’m not sure a culture expert is what we need. Maybe just a dude with a calculator.

    Or, you know, a new manager…

  49. DigitalBob

    Nelson – 6th place goes into the Europa Conference League next season if Leicester win it this year.

  50. Dissenter

    Janky
    For the benefit of your emotional health, stop trying to rationally understand Arteta’s managerial decision.
    Pedro will have you believe we didn’t have a top class finisher but you know better.

  51. Janky

    Right, look, I siloed Arsenal a long time ago so as to maintain my sanity, not just to maintain emotional health.

    I know Pete is balls deep into this whole project idea, but where’s the money going to come from? We’ll need two center forwards realistically. We could do with Balogun, but that’s kind of like Loko, he won’t be the finished product and consequently not consistent. Add that to all the other needs, squad depth issues, and the probability of inflation in the market, it just doesn’t make sense.

    I love suspending my disbelief as much as the next fan, but this might be a bit too far.

  52. DigitalBob

    Dissenter – In theory it would be the same, 5 teams in the champions league, the top 4 and west ham. Leicester and 5th place in the Europa league and 6th place(man utd) in the europa conference league.

  53. Mark

    15 games since one of Arsenal’s strikers last scored a goal from open play in the Premier League…

    Doesn’t fill me with confidence about tonight’s game. can’t see where our goals are coming from. Eddie can score but he’s not been able to build any consistency due to lack of mins.

  54. Madhu

    Tom, this is precisely the reason i think Martinelli will be tapped during this summer by Klopp. There is every chance that a big bid might come in. I see that Martinelli has regressed and his end product has virtually dried up. His unpredictability and natural talent is stymied. Klopp will be in his ears telling him that he will liberate him and make him a great player. We have a challenge on our hands to keep him this summer. If we don’t get into Europe and if Pool wins CL or PL, there is every chance that we will loose Martinelli.

  55. WengerEagle

    Hadn’t even thought of the possibility of Pool poaching Martinelli to be honest. Not the craziest shout if you think about it, how often does Klopp wax lyrical on opposition players on multiple occasions?

    Diaz-Martinelii-Jota could be a brilliant long-term replacement frontline for Mane-Firmino-Salah. Still think the latter frontline of Mane-Salah have another 2-3 years at their current peak ability, Firmino will be phased out sooner, arguably already has been even if he is still an amazing player to have in the squad.

  56. WengerEagle

    Diaz has been superb for Liverpool, has come in and fit like a glove and they don’t miss a beat when he is slipped in for Mane or Jota.

    £40m and only 25, lol. These are the kind of players and deals that Pool are just so much more ‘on the pulse’ than we are to quote a Pedro favourite.

  57. Habesha Gooner

    Weirdly I am eager to watch how we respond tonight. Our response will determine if we even can finish even in the top 6 comfortably. Lose and top 4 is basically done. I predict a 3-1 chavs win but I am hoping our players surprise me. On decent news for us though Tomiyasu is back and he might gamet some game time tonight

  58. raptora

    WE,
    I was just asking the same question last night. Klopp and co scouted and bought Jota and Diaz, while we were buying the 20th defender. Another special by the great eye for talent that is managing us.

  59. DigitalBob

    Yep agreed Nelson! After yesterday it would be thoroughly unacceptable for that Man Utd team to firstly beat us over the weekend and finish above us in the league. We may not be in form but that team is diabolical!

  60. Nelson

    ” I predict a 3-1 chavs win”
    ————————————-
    I start to think that we should try to get one point with the following lineup
    Ramsdale
    Tomiyasu, White, Holding, Gabriel, Saka
    Elneny, Lokonga, Xhaka
    Martinelli, Eddie

  61. Marko

    Word is Liverpool (and Dortmund) are after that Adeyemi lad at Salzburg who’s supposed to be red hot. We’ve been linked but you know we’ll probably end up paying 3 times the amount for Calvert Lewin while this lad joins Liverpool.

  62. InsideRight

    Football London were speculating the other day that there could be “a mass overhaul” of the squad in the summer. Elsewhere there’s a lot of focus on the lack of striking options we’ve been left with.

    For me, we could change out every single player and bring in a completely new squad, but if the ones coming in are told to play the same way Arteta has the team playing now, I can only see the same problems continuing.

    We need a change of approach and a change in the coaching. The way we play is causing us problems and reducing our threat. If Arteta wants to demonstrate he is learning lessons, he need to start with fixing that.

  63. Nelson

    One thing we have learnt is that Ode is ineffective against team with low block. There is no passing lane for him and his long shots are just average. ESR’s linkup play is faster.

  64. Madhu

    InsideRight – absolutely agree with you. I would wager if you give Liverpool squad to Arteta he will make this boring. What Arteta needs are 11 robots programmed by him to play in an algorithmic manner.

  65. InsideRight

    raptora, it’s Football London mate, not exactly the most authoritative outlet on the planet.

    It was funny after their summer of stories about us pursuing James Maddison and how far negotiations had got and what the sticking points were, that Brenda came out and said Arsenal had never been in touch, never made a bid and there were no negotiations. And still they kept going on about how we nearly signed Maddison. Joke media.

  66. Marko

    But janky early on brought up a good point what other major club puts themselves in a position where they need so many strikers in the summer because they allowed themselves into a situation where all 3 leave for nothing. It’s unheard of. 2 frees and a release that will need replacing and that’s not taking into account the potential for some others leaving too. We’ll need stan to take out another loan to cover our negligence yet again.

  67. Valentin

    Dissenter,

    Most of the tome I agree with your post, but with all respect you are talking hogwash.

    Arsenal did not borrow money from a big bank. They had multiple loans. Each was syndicated and each had different terms, covenants and different collaterals.

    I know for a fact that one had Wenger in its covenant, but also David Dein. There was a third name who might have been Danny Fitzman, but there were for a shorter period than Wenger.

    If either of those men were to leave at least one of the loans could be recalled with a 90 days notice. Try to organise 100 millions on a 90 days notice on such complex project when of the key man is leaving. No chance or you have to accept punitive rates to give time to arrange a better loan. 100 millions bridge loans do not come cheap.

  68. Pierre

    The thing is, we have been in a similar positions a few times since Arteta took over..

    The start of the 20/21 season up until Christmas was a disaster and the writing was on the wall for Arteta until Smith Rowe appeared on the scene to basically save our season and the good form continued until the end of the season.

    Jump forward to the start of this season and defeats in the opening 3 games had us languishing at the bottom of the league.
    Again Arteta pulled things around albeit with an easier run of games, and by the time we arrived at the new year thw confidence had grown to such an extent that champions league football was a distict possibility

    January this year and again a poor run of form where we struggled to put the ball in the net , resulting in elimination from the fa cup and league cup as we oy managed one goal in 5 games.

    Yet again Arteta managed to save himself with 5 wins in 5 and with that many were believing that we were certainties for a top 4 spot .
    Again it was turned round with an easier run of games.

    We have now lost 4 out of 5 with 2 goals in 5 games , so can Arteta do it again and silence the doubters.

    This time could be different I’m afraid , this time we don’t have an easier run of games or a smith rowe to come in and hit the ground running.

    Chelsea, united, west ham and Spurs await us and if Arteta comes out smelling of roses this time, he will deserve all the plaudits that come his way.

    I’m not sure he will be able to get the necessary points for us to qualify for the champions league .
    Confidence is the key and after watching the performance v Southampton again , i would say we were sloppy in our passing, sloppy in our control of the ball , sloppy in our defending and sloppy in our finishing.

    If we are sloppy tonight against chelsea then we could be punished, we need many things to go our way to get a result including refereeing decisions and we need to see if Ramsdale is as good as some seem to think he is .
    .
    We need big performances from Odegaard and Ramsdale , 2 players that i have not been totally convinced of despite Le Grove building them up to near world class status ..

    It could be a tension filled evening.

  69. Valentin

    Tonight is a big chance for Arsenal. Nobody expect us to play fluid football and win. So Arteta can set the team in a defensive shape.

    We must not let them score first or we are likely to be deflate and lose. Chelsea will then toy with us and pick us up like Liverpool did to ManUtd.

    One of the damnest stats is that when the opposition scores first, we tend to lose. 8 losses out of 9 games this with the 2-1 victory against Wolves being the outlier.

    I am hoping for a undeserved, lucky, fluky 1-0 victory.

  70. China1

    For me Klopp is the undisputed better of the two managers.

    He has on occasions bettered and regularly competed with Pep repeatedly over a period of several years without a bottomless pit of money to blow on even bench players. As well he’s won the league and the CL, and in one season when they came second it was still just a couple of points off city and one of the highest points tallies of any team ever.

    We can talk about the titles and the great football at city Bayern and Barca and pro deserves an enormous amount of credit for not only his quality but also consistency BUT pep has never in his career been an underdog. In every team and every league he sits with the best squad with the deepest pockets. At Barca in spite of his greatness he had the best squad of all time, ofc they were dominant – and even then mourinho took the title off him in just a couple of seasons. Bayern are a giant fish in a small pond, they’ve won a comically large % of all the titles in German history, ofc he continued that just as every manager before and since has besides the odd off year. At city he can blow half a billion on his bench ffs. That certainly helps

    Meanwhile besides klopp’s liverpool exploits he even won titles and competed in Europe at Dortmund. Would Pep have done that with Dortmund or liverpool and their squads and respective budgets? Highly unlikely imo. Pep hasn’t been able to get over the line in the Cl even with relentlessly world class squads since he left Barca.

    As genuinely great as pep is, klopp beats him hard imo

  71. S23

    Dear Ishola70,
    I dont rate him,other than being Walcott like in terms of speed and poor finishing ability.
    We must be on every club/striker going through a barren patch wish list of team to face.
    Look at players like Ayew,Chieck Tiote,Nayim, and many others that pop up,score a highlight reel goal against us and then go back to medicroty.

  72. China1

    Btw guys, great news

    I think we’re going to lose badly today!

    And my predictions are always wrong 😃

    So bet big on an arsenal win

  73. InsideRight

    Thanks China! Lol.

    I never include Arsenal in fixed odds any more. I refuse to bet against us, and I’ve been let down too often when I used to bet on us to win.

  74. WengerEagle

    China

    Could push back on that and say that Liverpool have hardly been paupers in Klopp’s time there even if they haven’t spent City money.

    They spent £100m on their frontline, £150m on Van Dijk and Alisson, £100m on Keita and Fabinho, £45m on Jota, £40m on Diaz, £40m on Oxlade, £40m on Konate, list goes on.

    And let’s not pretend that anyone has ever dominated football like Pep’s Barcelona side did from 2008-2011 in particular. 3 league titles, 2 CL titles and another SF that took a miraculous defensive effort from Inter Milan and some dodgy officiating denying Pedro’s winning goal at the end to out Barca through. Won every trophy available in 2009.

    And did it all playing the highest quality football that we will likely see in our lifetime. They hammered a Real Madrid side with Ronaldo, Benzema, Higuain, Ozil, Alonso, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo, etc 5-0 at their peak.

    The group didn’t really change too much when Guardiola left Barca in 2012 and they were never the same again and as dominant. Beating Barcelona between 2008-2012 basically took all-time great defensive performances from Inter Milan and Chelsea that will be talked about for years to come.

  75. WengerEagle

    I love Klopp for the record and for me him and Pep are 1a and 1b as the best managers in the game.

    I just don’t get how you could rate one hard over the other as both are such phenomenal managers.

  76. TitsMcGee

    I remember there were quite a few that said they didn’t want Klopp when it was rumoured he’d be leaving Dortmund.

    (Not speaking about Gambon btw)

  77. Kegunner

    For perspective let me nose dive with where Arteta gets it right.

    RIGHT
    1. Arteta starting with defence was a right call. Look at any great rebuild you begin with your defence.

    2. Clearing out players was a right call. The club was just delaying the inevitable with many exits. Better get it done quickly.

    3. Sticking to his guts was a right call. Great coaches stick to the guts. He might not be getting it right at the moment, but its a sign he can get his process together at a point in time.

    WRONG

    1. Trusting youth will surely get you fired. Difficult to perfect unless you are already a dominant team in a less competitive league with a sprinkling of seasoned players.

    2. Not replacing players was also wrong. At worst he could get a budding striker and midfielder on loan and roll the dice on them with an option to buy. Everybody loves you when winning they will come for your neck when your losing.

    All in all with the players he has and given our start to the season Arteta has done a miracle at the club. Not having any more information on what exactly is happening at the club it will be difficult to conclusively state exactly what is what.

    If Arteta pulls off a European position by the summer then he needs to evaluate the real position of the club. He needs top quality hires and kids may be mesmerizing in certain games but will be prone to blow outs which he needs to handle.

    Touch wood Arteta might proceed but he needs to use his squad better and employ more creativity in situations. He sometimes gets tense in games and that will spread to his team. Compare that to Viera in the Crystal palace game. He spent time evaluating his team and consulting with his bench. Arteta needs more experience around him especially staff who will take him on and change games.

    Arteta is a young coach and is learning on the job. He has delivered it all in bursts . He has been beating big teams, he has steam rolled smaller teams. But he also likes settling in a winning rhythm and is afraid of on the fly adjustments. He has shown that he can get specialist managers – set piece coach – to great effect. He needs to get staff who will complement his strengths and cover his weaknesses.

  78. Terraloon

    Valentin

    “Seems also that people don’t understand the concept of rolling treasury cash. The covenants dictated the reserve of cash, but because the timing of the bonus, the fees, the player purchase fee reliquat the account always showed cash well in excess of what is really available.The same way, some people are flushed with cash on pay day, but broke the fay before. Arsenal pays a lof players purchase fee in instalments, so let say that the €90 millions paid for Pepe is paid in 1 upfront fee and 5 installments of €15 millions. At the end of the UK fiscal years, Arsenal will likely show reserve of €15 millions for that installment, but that’s not really available. When adding up all the installments, you end up with reserve of up to £90 millions that were never real reserve”

    This to a degree is where the big problem is today.

    1) The accounting year ends at a very convenient point in terms of cash flow in that the norm is that the reserves were inflated due to the fact that season ticket renewals and advances from principal sponsors is included in the cash position at the end of the accounting year.

    2) Historically Arsenal always had as I have said before had to keep a cash reserve

    So just to empathise how poor the cash position is here’s the cash on hand being reported over the last 5 reported years
    2016/17£227.5 million
    2017/18 £231.3 millio
    2018/19 £166.9 million
    2019/20 £109.9 million
    20/21 £18.7 million

    For the first of those years 2016/17. The accounts report that of that £227.5 million £42.7 million was owed in respect of historical transfers and £85.1 million was respect of 2017/18 season ticket and main sponsors money for 2017/18. So that left £100 million cash on hand. The debt reserve was £35.9 million but that was still Arsenals money it just couldn’t be used.

    Fast forward to the 2019/20 ( the last reported year ) There was only £18.7 million. You can’t now establish how much has been received in respect of ST and sponsors money but with the two elevated main sponsors deals the sums stated as deferred income was £122 million . Add to that £133.1 million was at that point owed in respect of historical transfers.

    .

  79. andy1886

    True enough that while we (some of us at least) are talking about getting that striker in the summer we actually need two, and both need to be first team ready. Imagine our new great hope picks up a long term injury in August, straight away that’ll be the excuse to write off another season.

    Given the long list of clubs that we’ll be competing with I have no idea how we’d find not just one but two strikers of sufficient caliber to challenge near the top of the league (and possible in Europe and the cups too).

  80. andy1886

    Makes you wonder if our cash position was so poor back in the day how it was reported at one point that our cash reserves were more than every other PL club combined.

  81. Valentin

    Andy,

    “Makes you wonder if our cash position was so poor back in the day how it was reported at one point that our cash reserves were more than every other PL club combined.”

    Was it reported by the same people who were arguing that Barcelona financial situation was healthy, less than year before it was announced that they were teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and insolvency?

    Not so long ago, I was criticised for daring writing that Messi was taking Barcelona for a ride with his incessant wage demand and that the club would be better by letting him go and rebuild from sane basis.

    People can choose to ignore reality, but financial reality has a tendency to always have the final word. Football clubs may think that they are giant entities, but in the grander scheme of thing the EPL is just a medium sized business.