Gooners face a ‘Mike Ashley conundrum’

To attend and support, or to not attend to force change?

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Empty seats – Would these force Stan to sell up?

Those with a wider view of football matters will be familiar with Newcastle’s plight. They have a very good manager and finished the season 13th in the Prem. The fans seem not to have much time for the owner Mike Ashley principally because he doesn’t back Benitez with substantial amounts of money in the transfer window. The club currently are doing very little other than tread water.

Despite this state of affairs the fans loyally turn up to St James’s in their droves. But the obvious question, and it’s a difficult one to digest, is why would the owner pour money into the club?  The best they could hope for is a move from 13th to say 7th. Yes the fans would be a lot happier but it just doesn’t make any financial sense. Ashley, despite his wealth, is a relative pauper in financial football terms. He doesn’t have the money to compete with the top 6. The maths just don’t work out.

Higher up the table the same question applies to Arsenal. Why would Stan put substantial sums into the transfer kitty in an attempt to win the Prem? Yes he might collect another £50m from participating in the CL but at today’s prices that’s one decent player and his wages. No my view is that Stan has seen that City, Chelsea, Man U, and Liverpool (and maybe the Spuds) are all able to outbid him. And even if he did put some money in realistically Arsenal are still chasing 3rd/4th. Much better to act as if we are big club (decent PR) while paying and playing like a mid table side. The fans will still turn up either way. From his point of view it’s a win win situation. 

Our problem as fans is that we are in a deluded state. We live for the glory, the joy and the memories not for the money. What is going on at the club isn’t a vision for success or glory, it’s working out how to manage a slow decline while peddling us fans a vision of a glorious future. 

My view is that the only way to shift this is to force Stan to sell the club to someone with more soul and vision and the way to do this is to boycott attending matches. It did for Wenger because the brand is damaged as pictures of a half empty ground get transmitted round the world. No other strategy will work. If we keep turning up nothing will change.  


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  1. mbg

    May 24, 2019, 19:49 #113899

    The fans wouldn't boycott the club/matches when they wanted change with Wenger or new change was badly needed, so there's not much chance they'll do it now/this time.

  2. markymark

    May 17, 2019, 18:10 #113876

    Sorry some typos due to small screen and failing eyesight Wrong job, Of * or Spurs have list * lost

  3. markymark

    May 17, 2019, 18:07 #113875

    One thing to take into account is over at UTD they’ve got the right guy in the wrong job, of at least overstretched. Woodward has expanded UTD’s commercial partners from 9 to around 300. Yes of course UTD have huge pull but do we not think that a whole host of up market sporting / Drinks / lifestyle brands would not be interested in Arsenal? Of course they would and if it’s £250k to £500k per annum that’s actually huge money. Where UTD went wrong was putting Woodward in control of transfers , much as Ivan messed us up. The decision making so far is actually logical and reasonable. It’s down to each member of the exec to really shine . If not they go. Same with Unai as he really has a year now to shine. We really are now operating in the right manner so we have more chance of actually succeeding. Just a further point regarding the Spuds that some posters are currently tying themselves in knots about . Spurs have list to all of the top 7 and have also been pretty dire against the top 10. For Spurs to actually mount a title campaign would need massive improvement. They have effectively become an extremely good cup team which given their history is effectively reaching their peak.

  4. arrgee

    May 16, 2019, 22:12 #113873

    The Kroenkes are going nowhere, they are not selling any time soon, so we better learn to live with that. There will never be enough empty seats and there is always plenty of Premier League money. The difference between 1st and 6th in the Premier League is £10 million and Kroenkes aren’t going to spend big to get to the top. That written, top 4 matters because of the Champions League and that matters for the international profile of the club and the revenues it generates. I do believe that Arsenal can return to the top of the league and may even get another shot at the European Cup, but it will have to come from within and it could be a few years before it happens. Ajax showed what is possible this season.

  5. GoonerRon

    May 16, 2019, 19:44 #113870

    I’m certainly not a fan of Kroenke but I’m not convinced his ownership, whilst not in any way inspirational, is particularly holding us back. FFP stops owners ploughing loads of their money into clubs, but what money we generate seems to be spent on players plus upgrades to Hale End, Colney and Club Level at the Emirates. He has sanctioned £275m on transfer fees in the last three years plus the wage structure policy has been altered to cater for elite level earners - so he’s not exactly hoarding the cash the club generates. Would I prefer an owner that’s more outwardly interested? Yes. Should an owner being based in the States and seemingly taking a back seat on the day-to-day running of the club hold us back? No. What’s clear is commercially, in terms of sponsorship deals, we’re behind the curve. We also have performed terribly getting value when buying and selling players and our contract management strategy has been pants. These are things that Raul, Vinai and Huss (assuming they are the right people for the jobs) can and should improve over time. We should remember that the CEO off the pitch and CEO on the pitch have both left in the last year and the new football executives and coaching teams still have a lot to prove.

  6. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    May 16, 2019, 12:01 #113863

    I don't think Arsenal could ever be a Newcastle - simply because we are in London, and a good part of London for tourism and diversity. Organizing against SK would not be easy and to be fair our decline is less about money but more about playing personnel. The previous manager ignored very good opportunities, we could have signed Alonso but did n't, Suarez was available but we made a farcical offer and when Van Dyke was available we ignored his obvious ability for a collection of centre backs who are not CL standard. Our current position is due to 10 years of cleverly managed mediocrity and a manager who lost his drive and ambition.

  7. TonyEvans

    May 16, 2019, 11:03 #113862

    I'm not sure we have reached a boycott stage yet with Kronke - yes he's definitely not the owner I would have wanted as he has no affinity with Arsenal at all, but he has sanctioned relatively big money signings; it's just a shame the money wasn't better spent - Ozil and Mustafi spring instantly to mind. Conversely Liverpool and the Spuds have spent well, especially Liverpool who used the Coutinho windfall very wisely. The manager position is still the problem for me - yes he's better than Wenger, but Euro final or not I can't help but have my doubts - would a more defensively astute manager have achieved more with this squad? I am disgusted we are still shipping goals for fun - this needs sorting ASAP. He also seems very reluctant to give home-grown youth a chance, which is a great shame - I think we have maybe two or three to add to AMN who surely deserve their chance at the first team.

  8. ArsenalMagna

    May 16, 2019, 09:21 #113861

    I personally think it's easy to overstate the importance of the ownership at this point. Firstly, FFP, though not a huge factor, does seem to have blocked 'kamikaze spending' in the last few years. In any case, big spending by owners is getting harder and harder due to the spiraling cost of fees/wages, so in real terms, even billionaires' money doesn't go as far as it used to. Admittedly, Kroenke could pay off our stadium debt and wouldn't have to contribute lavish sums to help us financially, but it doesn't change the fact that there is a very small market of top quality players now, and it's not necessarily spending which will procure them. Look at United: spent a fortune for a big pile of deadwood. On the other hand, look at Spurs: spent not huge sums for a squad much better than United's (and ours) for a fraction of the price. Same with Leicester and Atletico.

  9. itsRonagain2

    May 16, 2019, 09:14 #113860

    The point is often missed by the modern Arsenal fan that despite the clubs proud heritage and wonderful honours list, its always been a Club who have done it with financial prudence. People keep wanting AFC to change its historical culture just to try and get closer to the top. It aint happening. Ashley gets stick handed down to him by silly fans and a daft media. The man isnt an Arab oil sheikh as you say. Why would he bankrupt himself to climb a few notches? At a higher level, why would SK really? Hes a poor owner yes, but lets face it what would we do in his position? Fast is, AFC have spent a lot under Wengo, a lot of it badly! Wengo was a genius at selling his duds at the right time. Not so clever at buying though.

  10. markymark

    May 16, 2019, 08:15 #113859

    I trend to think that you need 3 or 4 failed managers before the fanbase starts turning towards the board and execs . If you look towards UTD perhaps a better comparison to us than Newcastle, who though a giant of the game are parochial compared to both Arsenal and UTD. UTD’s Woodward is coming increasingly into the firing line, should OGS continue the failing run I think the Glazers may get rid of both of them. We have to remember that under Kronke we spent over a 100m on Auba and Lacazette. Mitty i’d say no, it wasn’t great swap business and £350k a week on Ozil, well it’s a drain isn’t it? I’m not going to defend Stan who appears miserably penny obsessed but he did actually open the coffers previously and can’t just whack in money without risking FFP. Manchester City still may suffer because of this with threat of a Euro Ban. Overall I’d prefer Arsenal without the Kronke’s. Josh Kronke though has been seen to take necessary correct action though last year with the removal of Wenger. I also suspect that Ivan might have been pushed once it became clear we were in an uneccesary financial bind due to the pairs cock-ups over contract negotiations and desperate over paying of Ozil. .Overall Stan Kronke will only come really into play, in my opinion if we start ending 7th or 8th. At which point Stan might parachute Josh into total control. That may or may not be a good thing. The only comment I’d add is the younger you are generally the more winning and acclaim is important to the self. Therefore Josh might show more ambition. The Europa Cup will be fairly pivotal it could create real green shoots . Let’s see what happens over the course of next season