Look at that ‘selling club’: What exactly is the ambition of Arsenal’s board?

By Felix Chidemon

https://i0.wp.com/cdn.caughtoffside.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/PA-11722866.jpg?resize=336%2C228In hindsight, most Rangers and Portsmouth fans would care. The bulk of us simply don’t! There are no open top bus parades where club CEOs hold up the balance sheets while fans fill the streets cheering for the profits made that year.

And no matter how financially sound our knowledge of economics and business may become in future, that sight is hard to even imagine. Fans tend to find it more intriguing to talk about their team’s prospects on the pitch rather than off it. Who can blame them? I’d rather talk about the sex than the integrity of the condom too to be frank.

Every club talks at length about how they value their fans and want to make them happy. Arsenal’s board has always added its voice to this chorus but it would appear they have always done the opposite. Key players have been sold with startling regularity while profits have been declared. It would appear the board is only keen to stay relevant in business circles while the footballing side of matters suffers.

Arsenal CEO, Ivan Gazidis, has always put his weight behind Arsenal’s business model but he has failed to endear himself to the fans. He has on some occasions said that even if the club fails to qualify for the prestigious Uefa Champions League, the club will not be hit too badly financially. The fans haven’t taken this lightly and have accused the board of fleecing them of their hard earned cash and taking advantage of their love for The Arsenal.

Only the board’s craving for bumper profits has matched the fan’s hunger for silverware while Arsene Wenger has juggled both matters with admirable competence. There has been a steady rise in support for Uzbekistan billionaire, Alisher Usmanov, who holds the second largest stake in Arsenal after American billionaire Stan Kroenke. Kroenke’s reluctance to invest heavily in the squad and Usmanov’s conveniently timed condemnation of the board have been the main sponsors of Usmanov’s rise in popularity.

Many amongst the Arsenal faithful believe that with Usmanov at the helm, the club can compete in the transfer market with the big boys. It is an opinion that I also share but unlike many people I’ve encountered, I embrace it with some reservation. The current Arsenal board has made it clear that as things stand, it simply cannot compete. To this end, club chairman Peter Hill-Wood remarked in a recent interview, “At a certain level, we can’t compete.

I don’t think [majority shareholder] Stan Kroenke is going to put the sort of dollars in that [Roman] Abramovich or Sheikh Mansour are putting into Chelsea or Manchester City. That’s not the way he thinks clubs should be run. “Luckily, Arsene understands that. He got an economics degree from Strasbourg University so he’s certainly no fool. He knows how a club should be run. That annoys a lot of people but clubs have to be sustainable. We’re not going to go bankrupt in the way one or two other well-known clubs have.”

Under the leadership of the Glazer family, Manchester United has grown into the most valuable sports team. Although the Glazer family have saddled the club with their debt, United fans have little else to complain about as they have seen their club get accolade after accolade while slashing their new debts and recording profits. Such a situation has proved to be too much to ask of the Arsenal board and the club has slowly fallen to just above the level of the Tottenham’s of this world.

Its laughable that a highly praised business model such as Arsenal’s has failed to cater for its fans demands. Is it a question of Wenger failing the club by not winning anything under this model system or is it rather a case of the model not being as prudent as has been touted? Whatever your take on the matter, the writing is on the wall! Under the current leadership, Arsenal will flourish as a business but will continue to struggle on the pitch.

The tide of marquee players leaving shall not subside and the fans shall continue to be discontent with the way things are run. And the few of us who have bothered to care about how much money the club makes will start to care less and less. Having concern for the club’s finances is not a measure of one’s intellectual qualities and neither does the want for silverware regardless of what the books say mean that one does not care about the club’s long term future. The heavy presence of both these sentiments only suggests that the system is deficient of harmony.

It is the board’s vision to attain self sustainability and it is the fan’s dream to dominate world football. Arsenal must merge the two to restore harmony. True success shall lie within securing this marriage. While I might not care about finances as much as some of you, I care very much about your views on this matter and look forward to seeing them in the comments section below.

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35 thoughts on “Look at that ‘selling club’: What exactly is the ambition of Arsenal’s board?

  1. I honestly just wish all supporters would agree to a ticket strike because as things stand the board will continue to have full power and control over the club and continue to make senseless decisions that have led to us being in this position. Hill wood says we can’t compete in the transfer market,with the likes of Chelsea…Fair enough… But now we can’t keep hold of our current players either ? It’s Pathetic. If Usmanov came in to power it’s not like we’d go all out and splash outrageous amounts of money on players because that has never been Wenger’s style. We would have at least kept hold of Van persie and Song after bringing in the new trio and maybe added a DM. That would be a squad that could challenge for titles. It’s sad to say but with our current board I don’t see any silverware coming into the Emirates anytime soon.

    1. Kinda agree.
      Selling club also applies to why players want to leave and for all that i’d say na$ri and adebaywhore were the only ones who I think left for the money. Rvp, cesc, clichy, all left for genuine reason id say, the fact that some of their friends/players have left the club and have went on to be succesful with their respective clubs.

      Songs case is the best example as to why we’re now a selling club. Three years to run, no clear circumstances for his sale, whether it’s his laziness/big headedness or the clubs sunction for his sale we will never really know. Though as things have been going i’d side with song!.

      keep in mind the 50milli for transfers given, a huge chunk of that went back to the bank.(i guess it’ll get us trophies while there).
      Something obviously needs to change with this club. The board needs a major reshuffle, no way were moving forward with this profit making board. “Money first, to hell the fans”

      1. Even in that picture. Gazidis looks like he’s telling wenger.

        “The fans?, fuck em!, it’s business bro”

  2. sometimes you guys don’t have any thing useful to write about ,is it that you guys are bored or you just want to write stuff for writing sake.
    The same issue will be discussed over and over again, why can’t you guys just let it be.
    We have our model, we don’t spend money on average players cos they are worth 50 million pounds , we have our way of doing bizness ,we the fans have to accept it as it has been in existence before gazidis even came on board.
    Just get behind the team, all these too much stuff on how we operate is useless, it will be the same …
    RVP is gone , song is gone we should get over it. People now complaining why we sold them but forgetting that these group of players have been with us for more thatn 6yrs and they did not deliver not a single trophy.
    we have a new team , get behind the team and stop writing rubbish ,time aND TIME OVER,

  3. Why do you write blogs when all you support is winning a trophy and not the values of a club?? I seen a lot of people who send outta their means enjoy life and at the end of few years have to claim bankruptcy because they cant pay it off.

    Unless your strapped with cash like chelsea and ma city or you want to refinance your debt and win everything just to cry in the near future than you would do such suicidal stuff.
    If Arsenal can’t compete and you don’t like it than your not a true fan cause real fans support their teams through thick and thin.

    Wasting 30-40 odd million on a player with a 5-10 mill dollar a year salary makes no sense cause u end up wasting 80+ million on a player and how much can he contribute? can you recouparate that amount?? thats just one player and team has significantly more number of players than that…

    Let there be no trophies but i would support a club which buys short term success for long term misery and thank god from day 1 i have been supporting a sensible team!!!

  4. Let there be no trophies but i wouldn’t support a club which buys short term success for long term misery and thank god from day 1 i have been supporting a sensible team!!!***

  5. All clubs are “selling clubs.” Look at the long list of big name players sold by Manchester United between 2003 and 2009, from David Beckham to Cristiano Ronaldo. Players come and go. Also, as an Arsenal fan, I don’t want an Uzbeki “businessman” of dubious character at the helm of the club, no matter how many millions or billions he might be willing to waste in an effort to satisfy his own ego (besides, with the Financial Fair Play rules coming into effect, it’s a bit late to start dreaming of Arsenal going on a City-like spending spree). Gazidis was brought to the club precisely because all of the European leagues began looking at his successful MLS business model as transfer fees and wage demands spiraled into a Wild West show headlining at a Las Vegas casino. Arsenal is the club that other clubs will be looking to emulate in the future. Manchester City and Chelsea are not, simply because it is not feasible. Personally, I’m proud that Arsenal is setting a good business example. The long-term future of the sport depends on somebody doing it.

  6. You’re an idiot, please shut up and leave it to the fans who a) support the team b) at least partly understand football and c) have a modicum of fucking intelligence.

  7. the thing is people believe arsene and the board should change there model to bring short term success and risk long term disaster , arsenal hav never turned over the revenue tht the elite clubs like barca real and man united so unless we want some serious debt for a few trophys which lets be honest we in england hav chelsea man united an man city who spend stupid amounts of money and so winning silverware aka the prems isn’t easy even with oil money… now we’ve gne frm highbury to the emirates which cost money and so he had to adapt this new model, the stadium is almost payed and our revenue has increased due too our marketing, now people act as if we will never b able to compete and this drought will last for ever, simple fact is we are closing the gap financially so ur nasris rvps fabz song and so on dont jump ship because we can bring in added quality and compete in the wage structure, our sponsor renewal is up in 2014 which will probably see us generate an extra 40mil, not to mention the fair play rule which will benefit us dramatically, as far as im concern the board hav done very well and arsene is a genius, all will become clear next season. u may see other clubs adopting our model but remember we the arsenal did it first (pioneers),,,, by the way the media is contolled by higher powers who help brainwash people into thinking exactly what they want, so stop listening to pundits an tv presenters and start using ur intuition, ARSENAL HAVE A BRIGHT FUTURE

  8. Adebayor – Lost the fans, wanted to leave.
    Cesc – Wanted to leave
    Nasri – Refused to extend contract, forced to sell
    Clichy – Refused to extend contract, forced to sell
    Van Persie – Refused to extend contract, forced to sell

    Song – Sold, because Wenger choose to.

    Out of the all these player’s sold, the board and Arsene only wanted to sell 1, that was song. The other’s were sold due to forced circumstances.

    If a player want’s to leave you can’t force him to stay, that’s arsene’s philosophy.

    So saying we are a “selling club” is a bit much.

      1. I think the phrase “selling club”, is a journalistic canard used to wind up Arsenal supporters during the inter lull.

  9. It’s always wait till next season, then when we flop again with no silverware, then it’s wait till next season, your sounding like a broken record a broken record a broken record

    1. Loool,for the past 3 seasons i have been saying that. I give up now, let’s just see what they can do this season.

  10. Robin Judas had us all fooled into thinking he was a true gooner. in the end he just did as kees vos wanted. Wonder how much kick back he got in the deal?
    Anyway I’ve got a couple of billion sitting in the bank. I might just pop out to the shops a buy a couple of trophies to keep the simpletons quiet. They should just pop up the Sisters and join a buying club and enjoy their success.

  11. I appreciate the way we do things. Yes, i do believe we could make one or two more big signings and still break even but we do still have debt to pay off. The fact is though, until FFP comes in, no matter how much we spend, teams like City and Chelsea will always be able to go up one level more because they don’t have to worry about running at a loss. We do. In fact we have to be making money to pay off what we already owe. We’ve reduced the debt hugely, we have a massive stadium we own, a squad of talented young players. Once FFP kicks in, I honestly believe Arsenal will be the best set up side in the UK, if not Europe to dominate. Come on you Gunners!!!

  12. i just cant understand all the negativity.. henry, viera, cesc, rvp, clichy, adebayor, flamini, hleb. all these players were not marquee signings.. its wenger who has made them.. wenger in his entire career has followed the same transfer policy.. clubs like man city and chelsea are spending insane money that is affecting the entire footballing financial market.. players have become more greedy.. all they care about now is just money.. is wenger or arsenal board responsible for that? these clubs are buying trophies.. i mean come on after making losses of millions whats the good thing about winning a trophy? success that wenger delivered before 7 years was not by spending insane money.. it was purely on footballing terms.. he has made superstars.. why was he not criticized at that point of time? we arsenal fans who are always moaning should definitely have a reality check…

  13. Anyone who isnt happy with the way the club is run should take a walk. After all, there are 19 other clubs in the EPL to support. This reminds me of the classic case of cheating in school. Some people like to cheat on their tests in order to make a good grade while others like to study and try their best to get a good grade (and dont always achieve their goal). in this analogy, Arsenal is the student who studies and accepts whatever grade he/she gets while City/Chelsea are the students who must pass by any means, even if it means cheating. Take you pick.

  14. Fans will learn to also play the game. They will not renew their membership, purchase club shirts, season tickets until the start of the season when they see what team the club is about to field.

    More so the effect to the dressing room will continue when the best players are sold. Players will love Arsenal but grow to dislike the model. Earning below your potential and having nothing to show for it!!!!

    Arsenal just has to start winning and the board is fully aware of that. Both to fans and players.

    1. earn below their potential? What teams are all these underpaid players going to sign with? give it a rest, only Man City, PSG, can pay the really big bucks without government help (barca and RM) or Sponsorship help (Nike chipped in for Rooney and RVPs salary). Relax not everybody can play or fit into those teams. Unless Spain’s economy turns around, Arsenal will be picking up Barca and RM players on the cheap in the years to come.

  15. Many would say differently, but I guarantee, should Arsenal ever finish below 6th n under, even the Wenger faithful would start to revolt!!

  16. Another regurgitated AAA whiner writing unimaginative rants about the BoD, our sustainability model, how everyone leaves or is sold, blah,blah…..but nothing even remotely new here Mr. Felix the scat! This ¨article¨ from start to finish is excrement and offal tossed out on a weekend when everyone is bored watching shite internationals, because some cretin (Childemon) has nothing better to offer…..I suggest you all waddle on over to Untold Arsenal or LadyArse’s website if you want something interesting and intelligent to read…you won’t get it here.

  17. It’s no secret what we are in regards to being a selling club. We do get offered silly amounts of money for our players which is hard to turn down. If Man U want to payout £70m over 5 years for an injury prone 29 yr old then they’re stupid. On fuck all money Wenger may have somehow created the best midfield in the league this season (if they somehow stay fit), you got to hand it to the manager, thrifty git he is, he knows how to manage a club like no other.

  18. And the complaints keep rolling on. There are many other teams to blog about and support because some people will never be satisfied. Arsenal aren’t the only team selling players. Liverpool lost something like 13 player and brought on 3 since last term because they can’t even afford to buy average talent. Look at Tottenham’s turnover, they sold their best midfielder and bought 6 players none of whom have played together and haven’t had the time to gel. Is that what we want? Look at ManC, unable to offload fringe players because they overbought and overpaid. Has ManU not sold a player? Oh, it’s only us. Honestly, the hardest part of being a Goober isn’t the lack of trophies, there are only so many to go around. The hardest part is the so called fans and blog writers who bitch and moan incessantly. Please find another team to support!

  19. I think you English have lived in a socialist country all your lives so that maybe don’t understand that an enterprise that does not pay for itself is intrinsically weak. If you are in an enterprise that does not make a profit your business is a hobby not a business. No way do I want us to be like all the deficit spenders, one day their sugar daddies will die and their kids will take over and will likely mess the whole thing up. all the buying clubs except Man U are tens if not millions in debt. Man U is a financial basket case. I’ll stick with Arsene and the Board, all else is madness.

    1. no trophies from 1953-1971, then again from 1971-1979, not the first dry spell and certainly not the last, we have been spoiled in the 90s and 00s, quit your pissing and moaning and support the team COYG

  20. Does anyone else foresee a super league forming outside of the reach of uefa or FIFA if ffp is properly enforced…already barca & real are in debt & the other la logs clubs want a much bigger slice of the tv money, man city Chelsea & united would struggle under ffp because none of them have made a profit or even broke even since their take overs…so if the rules were properly applied…could u really have a champions league without 5 of the top teams in Europe not in it??

    I think arsenal should have bit the bullet years ago & realised that if you can’t beat them then you should join them & started to spend money like Chelsea & man city did…I’m not 100% sure that it would have won us a trophy or 2 in that time…but compared to the fact that we sold some wonderful talent in that time, never won anything & jacked up the price of the tickets to a ridiculous level means that the club certainly weren’t a worried about keeping the fans happy!!

    I think arsenal’s master plan is to wait out everyone, so when every other club is broke we’ll be able to buy the best players in the world for a fiver because clubs will be so cash strapped…but like with man city’s or Malaga or psg…there’s always some shiek out there with more money than sense ready to throw billions at a club without ever caring!!

    I don’t like kreonke, he looks like a weasel & I don’t trust him as far as I can’t throw him..,but I prefer him to the glazers or Abramovich who use the clubs as a play thing…with no real plan to the long term growth of the club & perhaps the future for arsenal fc might be a little bit better than most people in the media would have us believe!!

  21. Your blog says nothing we don’t already know. The Arsenal/Arsene lovers say the policy, the economic policy ‘live within your means is correct. To others, we should go for broke and win trophies. That the club doesn’t do the latter, means the club is going nowhere. The ship is sunk and only stupid people stay on board.

    Why haven’t we won a trophy in the last 7 years? Is it simply we don’t buy top players or are their other reasons? 4 times we have come runner up.

    Manc got the 45 000 stadium on the ‘free’ The other ‘got it right trophy winners big spenders’ don’t have a state of the art 60 000 all seater inner city stadium and if reports are correct would like one.

    The Arsene critics seem blind to the fact that Arsene is a bad loser, he hates losing. He loves winning. He hates being a runner up.

    Its easy to cheer a winner and glow in his triumphs The true supporter when the going is hard cos his/her team is not winning, toughens their support for those at the helm.

    You decide the type of supporter you are.

  22. It’s my belief that the selling club question is a media side issue. Questions should be focused on FFP will it work or not ? If FFP ends up being ignored (and that is looking more and more likely ) then the monetary prudence of Arsenal will look like a waste of time.
    From the articles I’ve read Barca, Real, PSG and others that spend like there is no tomorrow are likely to push for a new super league if UEFA try to enforce the policy, and at that point it is believed that UEFA will fold rather than see their cash cow dissolve.

  23. Interesting debate – as a Pompey supporter I am only too aware of the need for financial prudence and honest owners… I admire what arsenal have acheived with regards to the new ground and the servicing of the debt. The one thing I do not get is the board not competing but at the same time charging what I see as astronomical prices for tickets. As a paying fan I see that my ticket money is an investment into the club, if owners or directors are walking off with huge salaries and bonuses then I would not be happy to pay over £1K a year on a season ticket for a club that is not fully competing in the various competitions. Its a delicate balance but there will be a time fans will decide enough is enough and not purchase the tickets to service people in the boardrooms. Does anyone know the remuneration of the board at Arsenal – money earned at the same time as huge increases in the value of their investments through a hugely rofitable business?

    1. Pompeyweller…..you are making a number of false assumptions based on spurious rumours spread by anti-Arsenal media and fanboy sources:

      1) Ticket prices are high but operating costs and debt servicing are also very high so investing in your ticket doesn’t necessarily mean that your money will go directly to the Club’s transfer coffers.
      2) The owner and the BoD are NOT walking off with huge salaries and profits as you intimate….in fact the BoD and Kroenke are very frugal in their profit-taking as they have the same restraints as Wenger has due to our financial setup.
      3) Only a complete idiot would deny investors their profits, since the investors take all the risk and thus deserve to reap reasonable profits. You showed your total lack of knowledge when you asked if anyone knows what the compensation is for the BoD. The question is the answer…..NO….so making statements like you did, based on ignorance, is, to say the least, disingenuous and naive!

      AFC run their business and Sports Club based on three simple principles:

      a) Keep to a strict budget and never mortgage the future for short-term glory,
      b) On and off the field keep the team in balance and the management in equilibrium,
      c) Always support your players and your manager despite public pressure and short-sighted media madness.

      Seems to work well and is getting better!

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