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The Broken Cannon; How Arsenal Found Itself In this Mess

As we ponder over the debris of yet another dismal Arsenal performance it’s worth going over exactly what got us to this point. Our good friend Darren (@DarrenArsenal1) had a thread of epic proportions that he has allowed us to try and serialize as an article.

Here we go.

Going back to selling the idea of the move to the Emirates, it was financed on the basis of Arsenal being able to build revenues based on demand which they’ve always had. Fans were unexpectedly gouged by pricing, direct quote was “we can’t leave money on the table.”

At the time most fans accepted this, as we were told at a shareholders meeting that “the new stadium will not impact the manager in the transfer market.” However, greed took over as the stadium was being built and we wound up with a situation Highbury season ticket holders were moved around the new stadium seating plan and essentially not allowed or not given access to sitting with friends (many who’ve sat next to each other for years) unless you moved up a category.

The direct result of this effort created the “soulless bowl effect” where we became a ground became with no atmosphere.  The club was then faced not only with paying for their move to the Emirates but the impact of  changing landscape of football which meant that Wenger was subsequently told club didn’t have funds to buy players  going back on earlier statements.  The player strategy evolved and we essentially needed to fast track player development from within.

This strategy netted little fruit and resulted with in the roster being supplemented with poor players being were over-rewarded and locked into damaging contracts.  The nadir of this being the signing of Manchester United’s Silvestre. Arsene bought into this philosophy completely he believed he could develop youth players who would grow as a core and gain valuable experience. As they matured the theory was they’d grow into a strong squad and bring back honors to the club.

Success is measured differently by all. But club, and it’s manager considered what was achieved during this period to be completely successful as although no trophies were achieved all ther internal targets were achieved.

But without the glory of silverware, players crave they started to see riches elsewhere and the manager’s loyalty to them wasn’t reciprocated. Cesc was asked to stay for one more season, he did, but at that “meeting” it was agreed he could leave club as long as a correct deal was agreed. But that was reneged on by player/agent (the infamous strike in his last summer) and club was stiffed by at least £10m.  Arsene felt let down as he was promised money to reinvest but because of the poor return on sale wasn’t.

RVP another one who angled away, primarily because of off the field disharmony. What was said in private was completely different than what was said in public, but again showed the manager’s unfaltering loyalty to all, which allowed Arsenal’s best scorer, player of the year and Golden Boot winner to be sold at a low fee to Manchester United team because that’s what he (the player) wanted.

Through it all he kept the faith in his “development” policy because he believed in the core and in he would in turn be proven right. In many ways that blind faith in himself that has been at the club’s expense.

He wanted to prove that as a collective the team could win without the need to spend outside money. It was a plan that was completely backed by our esteemed majority owner because that’s exactly how he wanted to enhance the club’s value.

However at some point the realization occurred that the spending of funds needed to happen and resulting in the purchases of Özil and Sanchez. World class players! With those purchases, fans saw and hoped for a new dawn. We were now a cash rich club could that could afford these types of transfer windows.

These purchases however, were more opportunistic than an actually strategy. They said more about the selling club’s desire to offload the player’s than Arsenal moving into a new direction. When you peeled away the layers, we weren’t buying players to enhance our selves we were merely presented an opportunity and took it.

This was reinforced by the summer of Cech.

We knew that we needed players to add to our two new world class players. But Wenger’s stubbornness got in the way as a failure to land his primary targets resulted in him not wanting to admit defeat and land on plan b purchases. The staff AND players were upset by this and it was the beginning of the end for Sanchez.

Always a winner at heart, Sanchez felt that there were players on the first XI and bench who shouldn’t be anywhere near a top side. When the wages landscape was changed at the club hadn’t offered the Chilean a new deal, even though it is thought he wouldn’t have signed it anyway. He saw what was around him and as we lost 10-2 to Bayern, Sanchez decided to move on.

What we see today is the result of one man’s stubbornness and the lingering results of failure left over from the summer of Cech. Avoiding purchases altogether rather than overpaying for a player became the order of the day and with a manager who had no checks and balances to hold him to account it was allowed to progress undeterred.

We know why Kroenke is here. We know that he was brough in via the purchase of Garanada share purchase with David Dein wanting someone with true money inside the club. Both Danny and David saw the writing on the wall re: ownership and out cash from outside the club and a different expertise were needed.

At the time, the boardroom feud between Dein and Fiszman initially had little impact on all the backroom mechanations at the time. But over the long term they began as Danny wound up selling to Stan rather than Usmanov.  Was it right or wrong? That depends on the perspective you hold?

Let’s ask ourselves these questions about Arsenal under Stan:

  • Have we as fans experienced price gouging? Absolutely
  • Has the club used all the resources at it’s disposal to improve? No
  • Has the majority owner allowed the manager free an unfettered control? Yes

So why has it all be done? There are many possible reasons why but the biggest is as it always is for Stan in these sports ventures of his – to enhance his ownership value. If it was anything other wouldn’t he have wanted to change it up?

Our board is a powerless board who have no ownership in the club. They can’t/won’t change our direction. This is a board who used the club’s own money to seek advice on selling to a fellow board member to tune of a few million pounds of advisorial fees. It’s a board, who then disgracefully didn’t this information with it’s shareholders.

They are also responsible for the one decision that was a huge detriment to the club in favor of Kroneke – share dilution. 10 years ago share dilution would have changed the landscape at Arsenal. You can take a KSE/R&W view of things but facts are facts.

Change is now in the wind and I (Darren) believe as do many that Arsene will go in the summer, but our board has been spineless, supine, self-indulgent and detrimental to how the club has gotten to where we are today since our Emirates move.

Yes, a new manager is needed but so is a sweep away of the incumbent incompetence. Bring in someone like Bob Wilson to join the board and start to get some goodwill back. Right now there isn’t any and not even a new manager will help repair that.

You can follow Darren on twitter at @DarrenArsenal1

Ed note: We’ve tried to keep this piece as “word for word” as possible. But if you’d like to see his full thread you can find it here:


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