The Sound of Silence is Giving Me Tinnitus
By Charles Brooker
Time for Arsenal to make some noise
Gooners are currently at loggerheads with one and other over a range of things - Wenger Out, Wenger in, Black Scarf Movement, Usmanov is a naughty man, Kroenke is a naughty man, or just Piers Morgan using his media persona to spout rubbish about Arsenal. Either way, it isn’t a very united front.
The biggest problem is the lack of knowledge anyone has. Any paper can pull out a story with a “club insider” – The Mail tend to do this best, when they publish a totally unverified pile of tosh on which they don’t even have the guts to put the name of their journalist, just a blanket of “Sportsmail Reporter”. But you can’t really blame these hack journalists (yes I am writing an article having been sat in my bedroom for four days in my pants like a true blogger!) because they want to write about it but can’t because of the club’s lockdown on information.
Red and White Holdings have obviously caused a storm with their open letter, but I don’t want to get bogged down in the details of that because I am not aware of enough of the facts or truths of it, and it would be irresponsible of me to do so. However, from an uninformed perspective, a number of the points did strike a chord, even if it was deemed opportunistic.
The club’s lack of transparency is the real problem. I understand that Mr Kroenke has this “Silent Stan” reputation to protect, and he doesn’t want to open himself up to abuse, but I really feel his silence is damaging his own reputation more. Most importantly it is damaging Arsenal Football Club. There was an excellent article by Amy Lawrence about the damage done by the boardroom rift. (Ed's note - for html coding reasons I won't bore you with, I can't link to the article, so just google 'Amy Lawrence Arsenal Owners' and it will show up at the top of the list) It is obviously causing the players to feel that the club is unstable, and I don’t even know if Arsène Wenger is fully aware of what the plan is.
The worst thing for the supporters is not knowing. You just have to look at any forum or comments section to see people tearing strips off each other about various hypotheses and what might happen. A lack of information tends to lead to people becoming hysterical.
The Club are their own worst enemies, though. Arsenal.com seems to win awards hand over fist for being such a good website but, if Alistair Campbell was half as good as the Arsenal spin team, Tony Blair would still be grinning smugly and probably be facing 98% popularity ratings as he becomes PM of Europe and the Euro problems have disappeared because they have accepted the Pound! There are a number of things that stink about the current Arsenal setup - the ‘new’ badge was the start of commercialisation but a necessary evil; at least we still play in red and white (and blue) unlike the Cardiff situation.
The real pet peeve of mine is the stadium announcements of seat numbers. This has been addressed by the Chief Executive and he said it is because “the club get complaints from fans who couldn’t get tickets. With all due respect, this is utter nonsense. I bet the first thing Mr Gazidis looks at on a Monday morning is the REAL attendance. This is about the most important factor for the club because it is such a key figure in terms of revenue and fan satisfaction. After all, if people are shelling out £30-60 on tickets and not even turning up, it speaks volumes. The club don’t want this information to be shared because it can be interpreted. This sums up the club’s media policy. Oh, and anyone who ‘likes’ Arsenal on Facebook will be aware that they only update on the score when Arsenal score. This is so pathetic. A good example of this would be the 8-2. You would have got an update at half time saying “GOAL Walcott has scored, 3-1”, then have to wait until the 74th minute for “Goal RvP has scored, 7-2”. I take back pathetic, pathetic doesn’t cover it. How about pitiful, tragic or moronic.
It is slightly different with transfers, I like that Arsenal keep quiet about how much they spend on players, sell players for and the salaries; it shows class.
Whether Stan Kroenke is looking to asset-strip Arsenal, make a tidy profit by hovering in the Champions League positions, or just build up funds for if Financial Fair Play does take hold, then spend the enormous profit we have been making recently on making Arsenal unstoppable, it would be very nice to know.
Robin van Persie said it best when he said "This is an update for the fans about my current situation. I have kept quiet all this time out of respect and loyalty for the club and as agreed with Mr. Gazidis and Mr. Wenger, but since there is so much speculation in the media, I think it is fair for you guys to know what’s really going on at the moment.”
Come on Mr Kroenke, Its good to talk!
18th July 2012
User Comment and Reaction
User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.
Peter Wain 10:58am 18th Jul 2012
Waste of time Stan is in it for the money not for the good of Arsenal. We cannot win anything or even compete to win anything under the present set up and the top management do not care about this. They will do anything to prevent this comming out. - Post No. 27002
delgooner 11:10am 18th Jul 2012
I think that gooners have to realise that Kroenke has no interest in Arsenal other than money. He's a businessman and its in sport, he knows that people are passionate about their teams and will always support them through thick and thin as with Arsenal at present. He didn't buy into the club because he was a fan, it was a good business proposition for him. He's never in the country, let alone at any home games and I don't think he gives a **** about the club and supporters. He can't go wrong! If it all goes tits up, he just sells his shares. - Post No. 27003
Bard 12:18pm 18th Jul 2012
I get the idea, but think its gone too far. Stan has been in the sports buisness for a long while nothing is going to change and the reason is simple, it doesn't need to. While the club are still packing the stadium and making a tidy profit he as happy as the proverbial pig. What you rightly point out is how manipulative the club have become, attendance figures are a small part of the scam. What needs changing is for the club to come clean over its ambition and objectives. They won't because they wrongly believe we fans are stupid and will just suck it up. If and when RVP goes and we get on the wrong end of a few predictable defensive lapses it may all go belly up as far as the fans go; Stan may have to come out of his hole. But don't hold your breath. - Post No. 27006
Tony Evans 12:48pm 18th Jul 2012
Lies, damn lies and untrue statistics sum Arsenal up for me now. You are right, Charles, in that most of us with half a brain are totally confused by our football club and in particular the manager. I have long since given up on trying to understand Wenger. Where is his will to be the best gone, why does he persevere with so many truly awful players, why does he not do more to make us tighter at the back and is he really happy trailing in 20 or 30 points behind in the league as long as he delivers Kronke the CL money? As far as Kronke is concerned he is well named as 'Silent Stan' but he is not such a mystery as Wenger. Obviously (to me anyway) we are just another business to Kronke and how we do in league and cup competitions is immaterial to him as long as the money keeps rolling in. No, the real mystery is Wenger and why he is happy managing a club that just about stumbles over the line season after season. I just do not understand what happened to the pre 2006 Wenger, it is almost as if he has had a brain transplant and become somebody else completely. - Post No. 27007
What was the point in leaving Highbury? 12:52pm 18th Jul 2012
I think actions speak louder than words. It's clear to me that the club couldn't care less what supporters want. They aren't interested in keeping their "audience" happy. It's a situation that suits the main two players at Arsenal. Wenger is old and about 7 years past his sell by date. It suits him to hide behind the FFP rules and City's wealth becuase then he doesn't have to win anything just collect the biggest managers salary in the Prem with the only expectation on him is to come fourth. Meanwhile, the ignorant Yank sits back safe in his bunker over in the good old U S of A not giving a second thought to Arsenal other than the monthly balance sheet. If thats healthy then all is well. And in some ways I dont blamce him. He isn't here becuase he loves Arsenal. He doesn't want a toy to be the best in the playground like Roman. He's not trying to promote the Middle East like the Arabs. He is here for one thing. To make money out of Arsenal. All he cares about is the bottem line. However, its a flawed business plan becuase without us he doesn't have a buisness. There is surely only so much we can take of the lies, unambition, selling our best players, the cover ups and paying a fortune for the privelage whilst being told that we are great. We have become an Ajax or Porto. Buy them cheap, build them up then sell them on for a tidy profit which disappears into miscerlanous heading in the accounts (around £20M which is never explained). The one thing that the Red N White letter did highlight was Stan took out a loan to buy Arsenal which he made a fuss about saying its not debt leveraged against the club. It may not be directly but I bet you any money it's Arsenal's money being used to service that debt. After all, all of the aquisition cost has been taken from Arsenals accounts to cover HIS costs of buying us. Please, please, please can we take no more and actually stand up and be counted this season. I wouldnt urge people to miss games but dont buy anything whilst your there, make a noise when your not happy and protest when they are organised. Stop moaing about Wenger and the board on the internet and actually try to get them out of OUR club before it really is too late - Post No. 27008
Sparksy 13:21pm 18th Jul 2012
The line that says " i have kept quiet........as agreed with Gazidis and Wenger" tells you everything. - Post No. 27009
jj 14:38pm 18th Jul 2012
The manager has always kept the fans in the dark and obviously thinks we're all idiots anyway.Dein was his voice to the fans but now we have no link with the club.Gazidis talks a good corporate game but when he speaks you know he has little empathy with the supporters.Nor did Edleman.They just see us as customers.You can't blame them as they are outsiders.You've either got the club in your blood or you haven't.It's interesting that Dein has not joined the board of any other club depite numerous offers.It's simple,he's a Gooner and that's that. - Post No. 27015
Ron 15:21pm 18th Jul 2012
Its just 'Arsenal investments' now im afraid. SK is in it for cash. End of. The clash exists between businesman and fan priorities really and hes got all of the aces. I reckon Wenger is just seeing out time there to be honest. Hes lost his mojo for football glory, but on his salary, hes happy to wait till the Boardroom changes before he slips away quietly out of the back entrance. The Clubs stagnant and nothing will change while they keep limping into the top 4 each seasons end. - Post No. 27017
maguiresbridge gooner 15:42pm 18th Jul 2012
R&W certainly have them sitting uncomfortable at highbury house the first time that has happened for a long time.Silent stan's probably not to worried as the dough continues to roll in.The silence from the club is deafening the RVP situation is another good example of the fans being treated like mushrooms with the spin he's going on tour we'll be having a meeting with robert and his advisers in due course no doubt the out come of that will be spin RVP blew the spin out of the water the last time maybe he'll do it again. - Post No. 27019
DW Thomas 16:04pm 18th Jul 2012
We all dream of an Arsenal that is strong, compelling to watch, has character in the team, a never-say-die squad attitude, a manager who is open and honest, and an owner who knows the game and how to win--team investment! We can all dream on I think until Wenger leaves and maybe a new owner/board. I am tired of getting my hopes up for let downs. Maybe, just maybe we get some new blood and with Pod and Gir they can push for something. I want to see more than anything consistent effort and attitude like Sagna when he scored the thumping header to turn the game around vs. Spurs last season. We deserve more of that, so do the players. Yes, they are talented, not all world class, but they get every luxury in life, even if they were on 10K a week. That's still a ton of money and they don't have to pay for medical stuff, masseuses, meals, travel, etc. What a joke our once glorious team has become lately. Arsenal fans should demand more. I am not impatient. But my tolerance for BS has dried up. Wenger, Kroenke, the board, players. They all need to stand up now, this season, early on and be counted. - Post No. 27021
GaryFootscrayAustralia 16:17pm 18th Jul 2012
It would be a bonus if Amy Lawrence posted articles on here. Then again, she deserves to be well paid for her level of analysis. Whether the current "custodians" of New Arsenal deserve to hoover up as much cash as they can get their hands on is another matter. - Post No. 27022
Mandy Dodd 16:57pm 18th Jul 2012
Would not hold your breath on Kronke talking. Unfortunately, looks as though the board at the time took a look at the two suitors, two polar opposites - and maybe..or maybe not for very good reasons, went safety first. Unfortunately, I doubt there was any part of the deal set up that required Stan to talk, or invest money in the team. Shame they could not find some happy medium really - quite a length to go to to keep Usmanov at bay. Stan Kronke - he does what he likes - because that is the deal he was given. If he is just sticking to what was agreed, he is not really doing anything wrong in the strictest sensec- if you want to apportion blame, it belongs with the person/persons who set up that deal for him. If however he is asset stripping, that is a completely different matter, I cannot believe that was part of any deal. I am not standing up for Kronke, he would not be my choice, but I have yet to see any real evidence he is actually taking money out of the club. - Post No. 27025
Fergie for glory, Wenger for the @£!$= 17:31pm 18th Jul 2012
Just as a cursory input, I note the press is running a story on SAF-who is on record stating his intent on further EPL glory. greedy bugger. I believe you Al, as you'll be back, as always. ''Don't believe what you read in the papers I hear.'' FYI I don't need to on this one as the records speak for themselves. Shame the days when AFC could also signal their intent are fleeting memories. Oh, and I won't go and support Manure, or Chavski. I live in N7. You go and follow your local clubs awright! - Post No. 27029
Joe Fitzpatrick 20:43pm 18th Jul 2012
BREAKING NEWS - Van Persie signs new two year contract! With Vodafone. £35 a month, unlimited calls, 1GB of internet and 500 texts a month. - Post No. 27036
Wombledin 21:32pm 18th Jul 2012
A naive fan. Why should he say anything when we finished 3rd ("Its not like we got relegated!" said P Hill-Wood) and there are 30,000 people queued up behind you to buy your season ticket. As long as the seats keep getting sold and the dosh keeps rolling in, we are nothing more than cattle in a paddock momentarily noticed by Kroenke looking out the window of his luxury gravy train. All aboard! - Post No. 27037
GoonerGoal! 22:00pm 18th Jul 2012
Can I believe my eyes? Can it possibly be true? Is Mandy Dodd finally on the turn? - Post No. 27039
GoonerRon 7:44am 19th Jul 2012
I agree Kroenke being visible than he is now may help give some clarity on things. That said, he has a CEO who is in charge of the running of the club on a day-to-day basis who does part of that for him, clearly that's the way he prefers to operate (rightly or wrongly). I think I remember a big interview Kroenke did last year that was picked up and published by the media, so it's not total silence. In that respect, I think it's a fine balance as I wouldn't want a Dave Whelan or David Gold scenario, tweeting every two minutes about transfer targets/negotiations etc, that just doesn't feel right to me. - Post No. 27042
Andrew Cohen 20:33pm 19th Jul 2012
The badge wasn't a necessary evil as we won the case regarding our right to use the old crest on appeal. Our former chief exec simply changed it to ensure that a few street traders couldn't sell their own versions at Highbury on a Saturday. If I came upon a couple of billion lying in the street and bought the club the very first thing I would do (before Mr Wenger's televised Disciplinary Hearing) would be to have the players wear a proper kit with a proper badge. I'd do it straight away and any member of the commercial department who told me that the style wouldn't go down well among the "kids" in the former soviet central asian republics would be politely asked to go and join the commercial team up the road. More seriously, I'm afraid that all of this stuff is simply going to get worse and worse. The club has been sold to people who care absolutely nothing for the traditions of the club and we can look forward to a change of name and kit and cheerleaders and a stadium share and amalgamation with Spurs and West Ham to form the North East London Football Club followed by moving to Welwyn Garden City. - Post No. 27078
CanadaGooner 2:45am 20th Jul 2012
time to speak out? i think NOT. his bank balance is doing the only talking he wants. - Post No. 27086
Moscow Gooner 11:41am 20th Jul 2012
We need a huge 'Sack the Board' banner to do the rounds at the Sunderland game, plus a coordinated minute of jeers/boos, concluded by a sustained chorus of 'You don t what you re doing'. We have one season left to save our club - and drive out Kroenke and his acolytes. And the aim should be to make it too uncomfortable for any board member to attend any home game until changes are made and Usmanov is on the board. If we sit on our hands any longer there s going to be nothing left to save. (And can the AKB brigade please go off and support Lille or Auxerre or someone while we sort this out?) - Post No. 27111
Brigham 22:38pm 20th Jul 2012
Get him (Kronke) out NOW - Post No. 27135
willie's ghost 14:28pm 21st Jul 2012
I rather have Kroenke pack his bags and eff off. Bloodsuckers! - Post No. 27146
GG89 0:47am 22nd Jul 2012
Why do you want him to say anything? He knows less than I about English Football... he´s just going to look foolish if he tries to court the media. He does the same in his other enterprises, says nothing to the media. He doesnt seem to enjoy his time at The Emirates when the cameras pick him out in the crowd. Those who believe the asset stripping idea are being proved right for now... RVP, Cesc, Nasri, Clichy etc But...he paid 600m plus, that´s much more than the parts he can sell and the more it goes on the lower the sale value of the club. I don´t get why he bought the club. This is what he sain to Bloomberg last year about the Glazers control of ManUre... “Maybe I am saying too much but I think they ought to think a little bit about who invests in these clubs,” “In the States, you would never get this dialogue that you and I are having. He took money out of the club. So what?” And here he is talking about his sports philosophy in the same interview.... “I would be much more proud if all our leagues were developed with the idea that you are competing on the basis of intellect and work and effort instead of just simply ‘I am going to throw dollars against the wall,’” Sounds familar... - Post No. 27152
26th January 2015
Online Ed: Déjà vu in Sussex