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Beware Brand Arsenal

By Derek Wilson

Words of Warning

Ed’s note – This was actually an email received for the onlinegooner podcast back in July. It now seems somewhat pertinent

What I want to state, plain and simple, is that Arsenal Football Club is in a spiral of decline that is being underestimated by most fans.

The problems are complex and, when they are discussed, confusion reigns as to the root of what is happening at the club and where is the club going.

My conclusions are these -

Corporate Strategy - The Board
1. Brand Arsenal as a global entertainment brand to replace Arsenal Football Club as an entity
2. Do not over-resource
3. Appease fans with a charismatic leader
4. The dream scenario

It is clear now, I feel beyond reasonable argument, that Brand Arsenal's main reason for existence is to finish in the top four of the EPL. 70 points will achieve a fourth-place finish; therefore only resources that will achieve that outcome are needed at the club.

The desire to win trophies requires significant resources, and the risk/benefit analysis views this as having a negative effect on profits.

The First-Team Manager
1. Must have a link with the past
2. Must buy into the corporate strategy
3. High remuneration

In all that has happened at the club in the last seven years, the first-team manager has only ever been questioned on the performance of the first team on the pitch and his transfer policy.

It my belief that a much more covert and cynical game is being played here.

Wenger is living on history in terms of success on the pitch, and is redefining the term "success" annually to match Arsenal's achievements from 2006 to 2012. He has been successful in keeping the club in profit in those years but his primary goal now is to develop young players to be sold on for a profit and to finish fourth in the EPL.

Wenger cannot really claim Champions League qualification as success on three levels -
• Arsenal have qualified for the Champions League for 16 years in a row with only one Final appearance
• The current squad has ten players earning approximately £30 million per year (which is the bulk of the Champions League annual income) who do not contribute to the first-team squad and cannot be sold as there are no buyers for them (Fabianski, Squillaci, Djourou, Denilson, Diaby, Bendtner, Park, Vela, Chamakh and Arshavin)
• Wenger has never won a European trophy in his career. Arsenal's participation looks more and more tokenist.

Wenger is paid in excess of £6m per year for meeting the Board's targets and going "native". He is like the Alec Guinness character in Bridge Over the River Kwai and has lost the perspective of his early Arsenal career.

The Fans
The current downward spiral will not be ended by the Board or Wenger. Both are too comfortable with each other. It can only be ended by the fans not playing the Board’s game, basically by not going to the matches.

If you keep doing what you have always done, you will get what you have always got. If Graham had not left, there would be no Arsène Wenger. OK, we suffered Rioch but at least he brought in Dennis Bergkamp.

Do not be afraid of change.

Oh yes, and what is the Board's dream scenario? To see Stan Kroenke's American Football team playing eight games a season at the Emirates and training at London Colney.

BEWARE BRAND ARSENAL

19th December 2012

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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.

Jumpers for Goalposts  9:56am 19th Dec 2012

That article was written in July but it is absolutely spot on. I asked David Dein personally in 2007 "Is the appointment to the Board of Stan Kroenke the start of an American takeover?" Dein's answer formed part of my article in the Gooner magazine in May 2007 - basically he said "NO. We're looking to make lots of partnerships all over the World". Since that day I haven't believed or trusted anything that our Board or Manager have said. It's quite obvious that Arsenal are being re-branded into something that we do not want. The arguments about who is responsible should stop because the Board AND Wenger are in it together. The only way we'll get change is to protest over and over again. - Post No. 32522


Angry Dave  10:23am 19th Dec 2012

Here here, spot on. Change is required ASAP, immediate surgery needs to be undertaken on our light-weight squad and we need a Manager of top-quality that will stand up to the board (which the fans will appreciate) to steer us in the direction all Gooners want and no doubt deserve. Enough is enough, we can't put up with this charade any longer. - Post No. 32523


GG89  10:25am 19th Dec 2012

The flaw in Brand Arsenal is that if they win nothing then the brand will be worthless. - Post No. 32524


VP  10:47am 19th Dec 2012

Effective strategy relies on all members working in unison. I can't remember the club being so divided, how has it come to this and who's to blame? Here's i see it. The division amongst the faithful is a direct consequence of the lack of transparency and accountability of the board. What’s more, they do nothing to better our understanding, leaving us to fight it out amongst ourselves. Let’s use the most high powered positions in any given organization as examples- CEO and Chairman. Firstly, the reluctance of our CEO to take full responsibility for our investment decisions, by shifting part responsibility on an employee at operational level (Arsene Wenger) is a an important example of how the board DELIBERATELY evades its duty of accountability. This, not only allows the actors at the top to act with impunity, but also allows for high powered individuals to pursue personal agenda at the expense of the organizations strategic aim. We are not a Cooperation, we're a football club, binded by an unwritten constitution to serve the needs of all members and act in the public interest. It is not only the shareholders that the board are accountable to, and they need reminding of this. Secondly, It is the role of our chairman to ensure that both the board and the members (us fans) move together in the same direction. This can only be achieved by promoting greater transparency . The fact that he speaks to us like ungrateful children who know nothing about economics (when all we seek is reassurance) does nothing to build trust and strengthen our bonds. Despite having full knowledge of the civil unrest amongst the fans, the board continually shows reluctance to add clarity to matters, often maintaining its position of concealment (i.e. the uncertainties regarding the loan used by Kroenke to purchase the club). Usmanov has the right to have his voice heard and have some input in the club's strategy.To deny any person of their corporate rights, irrespective to whether they have a criminal record, is totally unacceptable and only alludes to further suspicions of concealment. Furthermore, it would be extremely beneficial for us to have one of Usmanov's representatives (Non Execs) on our board- the guys derived a fortune of 18 billion dollars. Moreover, this would create more independence at strategic level and allow for closer scrutiny of executive decisions. This in turn would help realign the strategic interests of the club with that of the fans. The diversity and the makeup of the board is another big problem. Any effective board should consist of directors from different backgrounds, age and skills/experience and should be reflective of the people it serves to ensure that everyone's voice is heard. The effectiveness of the board, coupled with the lack of transparency and accountability are the fundamental reasons as to why the fans are getting pulled further and further apart. The Kroenke vs Usmanov debate centers around us having access to reliable and the relevant information. Greater transparency and accountability lie at the heart of this. The complex and unorthodox manor in which our club is governed mean that nobody really knows what’s best for the club. We can only make subjective intelligent guesses and opinions are inevitably going to differ. There is surely one thing that we should all agree on-The board need to start showing more corporate social responsibility to those who grant the license for the club to exist, us fans! - Post No. 32527


Dan h  10:49am 19th Dec 2012

100% agree with the article we are guilty like many other clubs of just being a brand now the ethos of what we were about has long gone.The DDT sees us more as a franchise just like the NFL being played overseas the mooted 39th game could become a reality sooner rather than later.In coporate speak brand expansion.The PL as a concept should be wary of taking the paying attending supporter for granted.TV may be the big payer but advertisers like to buy into full stadiums it looks good for the overseas market.The demise of seria A happened amongst off field issues but sponsors were also put off seeing the likes of Juventus playing to a half empty stadium .Arsenal quite happy to tell it's supporters be carefull of what you wish for should really practise what they preach. - Post No. 32528


Rocky RIP  11:39am 19th Dec 2012

I hate how modern football/Arsenal has re-branded itself. Fans have become 'customers' and are treated like donuts who are delighted to spend on merchandise and an over-priced hotdog. It's all so patronising. Whoever wrote 'your hero's name on your shirt' on the official website doesn't understand fans. Do they assume we gullibly adore every player in an Arsenal shirt? Weeping at the feet of Chamack and Gervinho in the Armoury as they sign something. They have to earn the right to be a hero. Who of the current lot are anybody's heroes? The strategists must just sit there and discuss this mass of people - ie. us the fans - and break us down into preferable demographics. Who will spend the most, make the least noise and be the easiest to control? The passing tourist is targeted over a local working class fan who has been priced out or simply made to feel they don't belong any longer. The cartoon crest sums it all up. The people's game no longer belongs to the people. The corporatisation of football stinks and Arsenal are more guilty than most. Our new stadium doesn't feel like a football club belong there. It feels like a means of making money. A corporate cash cow. Fans need to feel wanted and an integral part of the club, not mere cheque writers. As I've said before, I'm with the BSM on all this. Alienate your core supporters and you've got big problems further down the line. I sometimes look around and don't recognise the club I fell in love with. Where has our Arsenal gone indeed? - Post No. 32530


billthered  12:19pm 19th Dec 2012

We are being over run by the profiteers,it will sink in one day that we are foremost a football club and new supporters are either handed down through parenthood or earned with trophies.I never thought I would see the day that Chelski or Citeh shirts would be on sale abroad but they are,it used to be the domain of Man Ure,Liverpool and us with one or two others but now look it has something to do with trophies. - Post No. 32533


AnONYmous  12:24pm 19th Dec 2012

Let me play the Devil's Advocate....... 1) As Arsenal Holdings is a plc, its primary objective is profit like any public listed company in the UK 2) Say what you will, as a plc, there is more transparency and accountability than a private entity whose owner in not accountable to anyone 3) Like any plc, there are boardroom intrigues and its composition is at the discretion of the board and stakeholders only and does not need to pander to others. 4) Finally, anyone can vote with their feet if they cannot stomach the happenings. As a fan, 1) Sooner or later, I see Arsenal on top by default as I do not believe our rivals can continue having losses indefinitely especially with FFP. 2) I would love to own a few shares of Arsenal Holdings and see their value rise to compensate for the on field performances. - Post No. 32534


Old Gooner  12:37pm 19th Dec 2012

A number of the points you raise are exactly what I have been saying for some time. Interesting that you compare Wenger to the Alec Guinness character in 'Bridge Over the River Kwai' as I have used that analogy myself. I am waiting for Mr Wenger to suddenly realise the damage that has been done to the club over the last few years and his part in it. - Post No. 32535


numb  12:42pm 19th Dec 2012

I agree with the article and VP's article (spot on)! I have to say the more the day goes by the more i don't feel Arsenal and the less i care!!! Did i want this surely not!! We have said pretty much that needed to be said on this blog or somewhere else one way or the other but FANS can do one thing......don't spend on Arsenal brand and don't attend matches!!! I know things seemed to have calmed down when we win one good match but we will be talking about the same thing in a couple of week times...and so on but the club will not change.....!!! - Post No. 32536


Moscow Gooner  12:48pm 19th Dec 2012

GG89: unfortunately you re wrong: AFC have won nothing for eight years but with astute marketing built around the 'finishing 4th is a trophy' theme continue to sell out the stadium and grow the international fan base. Not happy to admit it, but I was staggered when changing planes in Houston recently to see so many people wearing Arsenal merchandise; was in Dubai earlier today, the same. It seems as if the new global support have swallowed the board s approach hook, line and sinker. And the cartoon crest - which I detest - is part of this global appeal. We re no longer a North London club, not even an English club - our centre of gravity lies somewhere out over the Pacific between the US, Asia and Australia. The bubble will burst - eventually. Whether or not any of the hard core support will still be around to pick up the pieces remains to be seen. The Walcott transfer saga will be an interesting test - but I think in our hearts we all know how it will end: losing RvP was no surprise but why Song as well? To return a profit for Kroenke and co. This is why Walcott has to be offloaded rather than being allowed to run out of contract or re signed. And I assume Wilshere will be the next to be lined up on the chopping block. Meanwhile AW has become the arch collaborator - comparing him to the character in the Bridge Over the River Kwai is too kind. Then there were lives at stake; now we re talking cash, pure and simple. Wenger is in the business of developing talent to the point where it can be flogged off to earn a few quid for his masters - and keep his own bloated pay cheque in place. But by renewing our season tickets season in season out, aren t we also collaborating in the destruction of the Club we supported through thick and thin? - Post No. 32537


OrangeburgGooner  13:55pm 19th Dec 2012

Arsenal is moving towards the Kroenke sports-ownership model, as this article suggests. The weakness in that model is that it is based on an American sports paradigm - no geographical competition (maybe two teams at most in the largest cities) and no relegation. I now live in the US and see the differences very clearly: with six PL teams in London, the attending public is spoilt for choice and the finely-tuned Arsenal P&L will suffer for it with any fall-off of support. Relegation is not a realistic issue, but who knows whether it might become one in the future? - Post No. 32538


maguiresbridge gooner  13:58pm 19th Dec 2012

Quite right the club has being in decline for a while now, but more and more fans now realise it and are no longer willing to put up with it.Even when all our resources took to the pitch the other night against Bradford we hadn't enough and were humiliated.Top four trophy is the height of our ambition it would be a terrible blow to brand arsenal and profits (not to mention ego's)if we weren't to achieve it.But no doubt we'll scrape through and lift our usual pot and all in the board room will be happy targets will have been met, profits will be up, bonuses paid with pay rises all round. - Post No. 32539


Anon  14:45pm 19th Dec 2012

The real profiteers are the players, at all clubs, they are the people who have taken all the money out of the clubs. Kanu suing Portsmouth over unpaid wages when it is due to trying to keep people like him that they are bust. Look at Walcott asking for 100,000k a week, for what? Using the footballer/copout mantra of "I let my people deal with it" as if that will relieve you of the fact that you are holding the club to ransom - Post No. 32540


GaryFootscrayAustralia  15:05pm 19th Dec 2012

The worst part about the re-branding for me was the changing of the cannon and the loss of Victoria Concordia Crescit. I also remember how weird it felt to see an Arsenal shirt that didn't have JVC on the front. At least we haven't (yet) had a kit manufactured by a supplier called Pony, unlike another club I could mention...I shouldn't tempt fate though, they are an American sport brand that has supplied a lot of NFL teams down the years, and that's the sort of "franchise" the club is morphing into. Make no mistake about the "franchise" bit, that's exactly how Kroenke, Fox and Ollie Gazidis will be referring to the soccer arm of the business. It's a far cry from the days when we all laughed at the blue and bottle green away kit as being some kind of bizarre experiment, which let's be honest, some of us bought out of some perversion for dreadful away shirts. Now we get offered a new jockey top for an away shirt every year, that apparently "goes well with jeans". Lucky us. I reckon the kids in West Africa and South East Asia wearing blatant knockoffs instead of them or their families giving to Nike money they don't have or can't afford have got the right idea. - Post No. 32541


GaryFootscrayAustralia  15:22pm 19th Dec 2012

@RockyRIP - you said "Do they assume we gullibly adore every player in an Arsenal shirt? Weeping at the feet of Chamack and Gervinho in the Armoury as they sign something", and I belly laughed. Funniest remark I've read on here in ages, and even more pertinent because it's true. I mean, we are now observing a phase in footballing history where transfer rumours are started by who is or isn't in a calendar - in comparison to that, the attempt to market Chamakh & Rick James and any other average duffer to the kiddies seems quite sensible and reserved... - Post No. 32542


Ron  15:30pm 19th Dec 2012

All business however small need a 'brand' these days so to appear unique. Its the way of the busiess world and 'customers' expect it.The bottom line for any business as well though, is that if youve lost or are perceived to be losing your 'customers' via over pricing for your brand or whatever other reason, then the value of the brand takes a massive hit. This is happening at Arsenal as we speak. Just look at Marks and Spencers a few years back. They had become known as the Co who sold baggy nylon bloomers for 68 year old women, woolly jumpers for nerds and cords for old blokes with a min 46 inch waist. All that in a time when they had actually started to modernise, but the perception was there and gaining credence. WE MIGHT NOT HOLD ANY SHARES MR GAZZA BUT YOU IGNORE US AT YOUR PERIL! - Post No. 32543


Ealing Gooner  16:01pm 19th Dec 2012

Interesting that the first comment quotes David Dein, I remember reading an interview with him about 20 odd years ago in which he waxed lyrical about American sport and how well they treated their "customers", this is where we are now with English football in general, and Arsenal in particular. The brand now seems more important than the team, I read today that one of the reasons for Theo asking for £100k a week is because he is the face of our commercial operation in Asia, which seems to take preference over actual performance on the pitch in England (though to be fair, Theo is having a good season so far). On the website and in the programme, we are bombarded with opportunities to buy things like stones outside the ground, or the 4th different home kit in 4 seasons. In exchange for our dosh, we get patronised at the AGM for taking an interest in "our affairs". As for the Premier League in general, all we hear nowadays is Scudamore boasting about how many billions they get in TV money and high "seat occupancy" percentages, ignoring the fact that many supporters are being priced out of going to the game, TV is taking over the fixture list, and the decline of English teams in Europe is glossed over by a few crazy scorelines in the Premier League, which perpetuates the myth that the Premier League is the best in the world. Don't get me wrong, I don't want to return to crumbling terraces, crap pitches and the threat of hooliganism, but the actual game itself now is secondary to how much dosh the clubs can squeeze out of us. - Post No. 32544


Stroud Green Road Boy  16:33pm 19th Dec 2012

All we can do is stop feeding the AFC plc cash monster. I realise for a lot of people it's hard to stop going because they have all their life and their social life revolves around it. The way around this is to meet friends in the Finsbury Park / Holloway Rd area and watch the games in the pub. Even the Sat 3pm matches can be found on many pub TVs now. Somewhere like the 12 Pins actually has a far better atmosphere than the Emirates, a bit like the terraces in the old days (though it's got a bit quieter as the team has got progressively worse). Doesn't cost £50-100 to get in and you can have a drink whilst you watch the match. - Post No. 32545


Highbury Boy  17:04pm 19th Dec 2012

I assume the writer is taking as a "given" that the first corporate strategy aim is to make a profit and with that in mind the CEO needs to work closely with the Manager to decide which assets can be sold to produce such profit. There's no point in selling Gervinho for example as his written down value (wdv) is probably now around £6.5m and if you could sell him it would be at a loss. Theo ,however,is another story as his wdv must be close to nil because his contract expires next summer. A sale at around £15m would be a nice little earner going straight to the bottom line after a slice by way of bonus to the CEO who would say thank you to the Manager for allowing Theo's release ( on footballing grounds?) by extending the Manager's contract on increased terms. Since this article was written the Chairman confirmed at the AGM that the CEO received his bonus in 2011/12 because " we had a good year"(?!) while Stan did not rule out paying dividends. Even if dividends are not paid out (because of the risk of Usmanov obtaining goodwill by voting against ) Stan is happy in Brand Arsenal building up cash so that he can sell the shares at least for double what he has paid. There doesn't seem much we fans can do because the tickets have been sold (at least for this season) and if we don't go to matches to show the empty seats we're cutting off our nose to spite our face. The cameras won't show the empty seats anyway and the attendance will still be shown as 60,113 or whatever. We have a problem when the absentee owner is not a genuine fan but a value investor. We might just as well be owned by a Hedge Fund. - Post No. 32547


goonercolesyboy  17:33pm 19th Dec 2012

Interesting comment about going to watch the game in the pub...ever thought what happened when sky etc or the internet didn't exist? Listen on the radio, watch Match of the Day or heaven forbid actually buy a ticket...Wherever you watched the game you were paying into the corporate coffers, BBC or AFC...it is no different nowadays, just more expensive and more choices, but the money still goes into the same coffers plus sky etc, your pint's cost, 3-4 quid, is relative to the cable that is beamed into the pub. I am lucky enough to be able to afford to see us play home and away and it is my choice BUT I will never stay away because we haven't won a trophy for 7 or more years or hope we lose games just to change the manager or board. I hate the badge too and hope that common sense prevails and we get our original crest and badge back, it was so classy, but will anyone listen? 6am departure on saturday is a pain, thanks sky, but if the same midfield/forward line is selected then it should be worthwhile. - Post No. 32549


Big Andy  17:44pm 19th Dec 2012

I agree with every word of this post. Like many other Gooners, I refuse to hand over a penny of my cash to Mr Kroenke. If we are going to save our club then we need to get specific about what we want. For me, this means Kroenke out and Usmanov in. The next time the Yank turns up at Ashburton Grove he must be made to understand just how angry we all are. Only a new owner - followed by a top-quality manager - can restore us to where we should be. We are in a mess right now. - Post No. 32550


Rocky RIP  18:02pm 19th Dec 2012

@Ron - fair enough all businesses need a unique brand image, but we had a brilliant one and changed it to the current tacky nonsense. Our old brand image oozed 'history, class, tradition' all backed up visually by a design classic in the 30's art deco crest. That's the real Arsenal that we all loved. Why f*** it up for this cheap drivel? - Post No. 32551


Nick  19:32pm 19th Dec 2012

Man Utd are where they are today in part because theyve always been the media darlings since the tragedy of 58 , in part because their seen as the glamour club of England , mostly due to the George Best effect, in part because theyve never been afraid to spend big , but mostly because of the continuous stream of trophys ,and that they STILL realize that is their most potent weapon in the battle for sponsership money, you simply dont sell the amount of merchandise you could, when your constantly winning nothing and seen by many as no hopers, kids in the main if they dont follow their fathers or mothers. teams support the ones winning things , because they dont want to be one of the only ones at school following a team that is seen by others as a laughing stock, i remember being surprised at the amount of new supporters springing up during Wengers early years, i shouldnt have been , sucsess begets sucsess our board seems to have forgotten that and live only to line their pockets today and in the near future, where will the support come from when many of us old timers are gone ? , the new breed of modern "fan" (how i hate that word) will not spend their hard earned money on mediocrity for ever, if somethings not done to make us winners again very soon, the future for our beloved club is bleak indeed. - Post No. 32552


maguiresbridge gooner  19:50pm 19th Dec 2012

Derek i'm surprised we haven't seen the yanks dream scenario already the reason for that is most likely the emirates turf,so they've had to make do with Wembley. - Post No. 32553


GG89  20:05pm 19th Dec 2012

Moscow Gooner.... I stand corrected, guess I'm out of touch with the current fan base.... But if they did win something then that means more $$$$$s, No? Why cant that be a bigger part of the boards strategy? - Post No. 32556


Joe S.  20:46pm 19th Dec 2012

Love the comparison with the Alex Guiness character in " Bridge On..... ". If only Wegner were as sympathetic a character. For me this has been the been a key factor for turning against the man and the lack of trust. I can take fourth place or below but not the complicity and double speak of a man who tows the company line to his own personal gain. - Post No. 32557


Gare Kekeke  21:33pm 19th Dec 2012

Good article. It’s very ironic that the board are looking to enhance ‘brand Arsenal’ at a time when we have a squad that these days very rarely compete for honours and even when glory is in sight, they choke. Even Terry Neill’s Arsenal competed more than this lot at a time when we were in the shadows of the good/great teams from Nottingham Forest, Ipswich Town & Aston Villa. I won’t bother mentioning Liverpool because everybody was in their shadow during that time. Even then we could still point to just the one FA Cup win. One comment I saw on this site recently is when people say they ‘want their Arsenal back’, it’s things like a proper Clock End at Ashburton Grove, the old badge and not the so-called ‘cartoon’ crest we have now and as I suggested recently, a return of the yellow shirts and blue shorts for an away kit. As long as Kronke is calling the shots, this is what we’ll have to put up with and if most of his sports franchises in his native US are anything to go by, our team will just make up the numbers in competitions without really showing intent on winning. As for me as a fan, I will never respect any board member as they to me are mercenary, patronising (remember that we as fans are showing interest in their affairs) & really don’t give a damn about match-going fans like me who aren’t Platinum members. - Post No. 32558


Mark  21:41pm 19th Dec 2012

i heard 5 really good young players just signed for arsenal ? any one know anything about it ? im sure its not a marketing stunt but its real isnt it ? - Post No. 32560


Any Old Iron  23:13pm 19th Dec 2012

Very good article. Whilst some erstwhile change is inevitable, too drastic a leap and you omit the stepping stones of familiarisation. The football club needs football success. That's the animal that people know and love; that they can undertand. Not a capital corporate behemoth. In that respect, they 'the powers that be' have deferred, forgotten, overlooked, that the core tenets of a football club is...football. Arsenal are a lesser football club because of this, not in spite of it. I do not relish like some, how well we're run off the pitch, but famished on it. A massive imbalance which needs addressing. It's high time Wenger became more circumspect and accept the challenge posed by the speculate to accumulate teams he's confronted with. I'd respect that much more. There are few if any excuses now. Arsenal can mix it with the best of them, if they have the will to. The means are there. The rest is bs. Up the Gunners! - Post No. 32562


John C  0:59am 20th Dec 2012

Like it or lump it Arsenal have to work on thier Brand to compete in the modern enviroment. Money is the bottom line for any business and if Arsenal don't generate enough they can't compete. It's as simple as that. I for one find the model Arsenal are using preferable to the Chelsea/Man City one, we just have to be better at doing it. Too many people on here haven't accepted that football has moved on and standing still isn't an option. Gone are the days of fan's/customers being prepared to sit in the East stand of Highbury with pillars all over the place obstructing there view, having inadaquate toilet facilties and a cup of bovril, people expect more for thier money. Football has become a far more professionally run business and i for one am happy with that. So for me the brand/image of Arsenal isn't the problem, there is a problem with the lie's and profiteering, which, if we're honest isn't new to football and didn't start with the invention of the premier league and sky. The maximum wage ran from 1901 until 1961 everyone! So please enough of this "i want my Arsenal Back" nonsense and harping back to a by gone era which never exsisted. To the Board and owners we've always been customers, and it's always only ever been about the money. All thats happened now is it's international and the numbers are bigger, whilst before it was local and the numbers were relatively small. - Post No. 32563


Wombledin  8:37am 20th Dec 2012

Spot on. Tom Fox's recent pronouncements basically confirm what you are saying. - Post No. 32564


Mike  8:41am 20th Dec 2012

@Anon - agree with you 100% -people blame the board/manager but it has gone totally belly up with players/agents wage expectations - that is killing the game -Ballotelli is being fined K350 000 for his misdemenours, which sounds a lot until you realise that it is less than two weeks wages. By the way, wasn't David Dein one of the architechts of the EPL as we know it today. With that type of money being thrown at it, it was always destined to be about shares and revenues.I live in a very remote part of Africa and Arsenal shirts are in abundance. Must add though Barcelona and Real are by far in the majority - Post No. 32565


Rocky RIP  9:12am 20th Dec 2012

@JohnC - fair enough the game has moved on and certain things have improved massively, such as comfort and safety. However, people wanting 'their Arsenal back' or wondering where it went is NOT nonsense. A club's identity and fabric are based on things that are very real, tangible and not illisionary things we hark back for - strong examples being a proper crest, a cannon facing the right way, a proper clock end in terms of the people and its spirit and a yellow and blue away kit. Things that have Arsenal's identity stamped all over them and make us the club we are, or were. None of which is irremediable or woolly, sentimental nonsense. We are talking about brand image after all. Those are Arsenal's unique brand indentities, why toss them away? - Post No. 32566


Red Member  12:39pm 20th Dec 2012

this is a very good article and I have been saying the same for about a year now. Moscow Gooner makes some good points - his last sentence especially about season ticket holders. Their blind loyalty is one of the main reasons that the club is now in such a mess. To ensure real change they need to look at the bigger picture. And there is no point boycotting the club shop if you pay Stan Kroenke £1000+ each summer anyway is there? - Post No. 32573


John C  12:49pm 20th Dec 2012

@Rocky RIP - the clubs crest has continually changed, and if go back far enough the cannon has in fact been put back to face it's orginal position. If you look on the Arsenal website you'll see the crest has change no less than 9 times, which version of Arsenals identity do you believe we should refert back to? - Post No. 32574


Amos  13:22pm 20th Dec 2012

If Wenger is a character from 'Bridge over the River Kwai' then the writer of this piece is the shop steward from 'I'm alright Jack' wailing that the world won't stand still for him. Of course Arsenal's brand has evolved. If it hadn't we'd still be called Dial Square FC or Woolwich Arsenal. We've had more than one logo in our history too. As the game changed though so did the club. The Football League was rebranded as the Premier League of few years back too. AFC are the only club to have won trophies in each of 9 successive historical decades. Largely because the club continued to evolve to meet the operating environment. The simple truth is that if you wish to follow Arsenal now and to continue to celebrate success then you should want them to be a successful business because on pitch success on an enduring basis is impossible without it. - Post No. 32576


Rocky RIP  15:05pm 20th Dec 2012

@John C - yes, I am well aware that the club's crest has changed over the years and that the cannon has moved back and forth. All I'm saying is the current one is cheap, tacky and not representative of a club with a rich heritage. Does anyone look at it and feel proud? The version of our identity we should revert to is one of a club with a proud tradition but with vision. We've managed to combine both tradition and be visionary, to the envy of other clubs. That's what's made us a special club. This isn't reflected in our current branding. (We look like a club which began in 2006 and have no silverware.) Of all the badges we have had the art deco 30s one is by far the best for me. It's a design classic. Timeless and 100% Arsenal. We don't see it enough at our new home. I'm not saying we should revert fully to all things art deco, but to go from such pure class, to a mickey mouse crest is a betrayal of our rich heritage. The other version of Arsenal I'd revert to is one who had an away kit that all old school Gooners adore - the beloved yellow and blue. Also, as we've said, re-introdcing a clock end with bona fide 'clockenders' in it. All these things (plus more) made people proud to be Arsenal, but have been pointlessly taken away. - Post No. 32584


Mandy Dodd  16:35pm 20th Dec 2012

GG89, have to disagree wih you, not all of the most successful brands are actually especially great products....witness Harley Davidson bikes, Cadillacs, or cigarettes and chemically sped up cheap beers in general. I do not like the corporatisation of football any more than most on here, but the fact is - it seems that way, or a rich and for whatever reason, generous SD is the only way to get to and stay at the top these days. Despite current trials and tribulations, it seems Arsenals brand has never been stronger...worldwide that is, like it or not, our club is a global brand, and was always going to be so. - Post No. 32591


Rocky RIP  17:27pm 20th Dec 2012

@Mandy - I'm not against us being a global brand. That's the only way we can compete in the modern game so good luck to those at the club extending our reach in the global market. I am however bothered by the brand image we've adopted, to the neglect of what I believe gave us class. We've been accused of being a soulless corporate entity, and who wants that? Sorry to bang on about the crest, but if it was down to me, I'd get the top designer available to rework the 30s art deco crest to give a a modern edge, without changing it drastically. Just look at REDaction's crest, or the BSM's, or visit the Arsenal Collective site, to see how it can sit brilliantly in a modern context. Tradition with vision is what we're about. It needs to be reflected in our badge. - Post No. 32597


Jason B  21:36pm 20th Dec 2012

While i agree on certain points,I'm afraid all you are doing is raking over old ground.Nothing different to what i've heard seen and read many times before on this website.zzzzzz - Post No. 32609


Alan Alan Partridge  22:16pm 20th Dec 2012

They've re-badged it you fool! - Post No. 32610


Mandy Dodd  22:42pm 20th Dec 2012

Cannot disagree with any of that Rocky RIP, whatever we are or will become, tradition is important - Post No. 32612


LJB  0:59am 21st Dec 2012

Amos,i think you will find that the club has not won trophies in 9 successive decades;nothing was won in the 20's or the 60's.Question is will the club win anything THIS decade? - Post No. 32614


Amos  12:48pm 22nd Dec 2012

LJB - I think you'll find we have indeed won something in each of 9 historical decades. The gregorian calendar (that's the one we use in the western world) doesn't have a year 0. The first decade started in year 1 and ended in year 10. Therefore we would have won something in the 3rd historical decade of the last century which started in 1921 and ended in 1930 when we won the FA cup. We also won something in the decade starting in 1961 and ending in 1970 when we won the Fairs Cup. The current decade started in 2011 and ends in 2020 so there's a chance we'll win something yet. - Post No. 32650


Issue #243 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

28th July 2014

A Load of Bull?

Online Ed – Arsenal lose in New York

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