How To Kill A Club

Online Editorial: HMS Arsenal continues to sink into the mire at home to Man City

How To Kill A Club

I sit next to the Highbury Spy at home matches. He has a general policy of getting me to find a buyer for his seat for Grade A matches, which are invariably on the TV. That adds up to a reduction of £420 a year on his season ticket (which from memory is around the £1300 mark). For yesterday’s game, I decided to sell my seat as well. Having watched Arsenal’s football this season, I figured there was no way they could prevent Man City outscoring them, and had no desire to watch an inevitable defeat on a chilly December afternoon. Seeing footage on Twitter of fans queuing to exit the stadium at half-time, I have no regrets about not attending.

This is a dangerous sign. I’ve missed home matches for holidays and work-related training courses in the past, but never chosen not to go to a game I could make. With the number of tickets available for any match (and the number of empty seats that mean that you can always sit with someone you know even if your seats are not together), there may come a time when I don’t even feel the need to renew my season ticket. This is not a matter of me stopping supporting the club and not wanting them to win, just an acknowledgement that you don’t need to have a season ticket to get into any home game you wish to, as long as you are organized.

I suspect the powers that be at the club are not too worried about the above – although it is a growing trend for season ticket holders not to attend by either selling their seats or leaving them empty. But what will be more apparent to them is the difficulty they are experiencing selling the lucrative middle tier seats, in club level and the hospitality boxes. At the moment Arsenal feel a bit like Woolworths. Failing to adapt to the times, and gradually sinking as less and less people frequent their premises.

I’ve written enough about the culture of complacency over the years, so don’t need to repeat that. It’s allowed poor decision makers to continue in post, due to an unambitious owner whose priority is simply that the club remains in the Premier League because of the broadcast income it guarantees. Champions League football is nice, but as long as profit is made, it’s not integral. Arsenal are now posting losses, so expect profit to come via the transfer market – as young talent that interests bigger fish gets sold off. Gabriel Martinelli will be in Spain by the end of 2021, for example.

Arsenal will bobble around the top ten between fifth and tenth, a bit like the early 1980s. They won’t have the funds to rebuild in the way that Liverpool have because the owner will insist on profits rather than re-investing transfer fees paid for outgoing talent. We are watching the consequence of a gradual decline that started when the board of directors failed to see that change was needed back in 2009 after a disastrous conclusion to the season. For those who don’t remember, in less than a month, Arsenal were knocked out of the FA Cup semi-final when the manager dropped his best player, humiliated at home by Manchester United in the Champions League semi-final, and defeated 4-1 at home to Chelsea. They also conspired to concede four goals at Anfield, in spite of Andrey Arshavin doing all he could to demonstrate why Arsene Wenger had been mad to drop him for the FA semi. It’s been downhill from there, although three FA Cup trophies masked the reality that the club was no longer competitive. It didn’t matter – they were posting profits year on year.

Is a football club about making profit or chasing glory? Fans don’t give a fig about profit, and as a consequence are now deciding they can do other things with their time rather than watch the consequences of what happens when a club puts profit before glory. In the end, things decline on the football front, and profits turn to losses. The latter will be turned around with player sales, but forget the football now. Arsenal need a different ethos from the owner, such as actually investing money in the club rather than siphoning it off. Stan Kroenke’s focus is his American Football Team’s new stadium, the only hope for Gooners is the unlikely prospect that things in Los Angeles become so stretched he is forced into selling the club – that’s unlikely.

Changes at boardroom level are likely to be announced at some point in the not too distant future, although the board are effectively already figureheads, so it is difficult to see what this will achieve, other than perhaps placating the fans with a popular figure who can act as a paid mouthpiece for the owner.

Anyway, a few reflections on the game yesterday. Martinelli came out of it with some credit, as did Bernd Leno and Emile Smith Rowe. It was interesting to hear Kevin De Bruyne explain post match that they were aware three of the four forwards weren’t interested in tracking back (i.e. Aubameyang, Pepe and Ozil) so they knew there would be space to create attacks for the deeper players. Either these players aren’t being coached in the idea of the team defending as a unit, or they can’t be arsed. And if it’s the latter, the best coach in the world can only not play them. There are some highly paid players nicking a living at the club right now, and the fans reacting to the highest paid of them when he strolled off when rightly subbed at the pace of his choosing was reminiscent of both Baku and Grant Xhaka against Palace. Quite simply, Arsenal are now at a stage where they need to roll their sleeves up and battle, and a youngster like Smith Rowe is going to give the team more than Mesut Ozil.

Still, let’s look on the bright side. Chinese based Gooners were spared witnessing this horrowshow as the country took the game off air after Ozil’s tweeted comments on the human rights situation there. It certainly ensures no offer to pay him even higher wages to move to Shanghai or similar is now going to happen. The player is comfortable collecting his wages in North London for another 18 months, the decision to keep him when Alexis Sanchez was sold now looking like possibly the worst waste of money in the club’s history, although the overpriced purchases of Shkodran Mustafi and Granit Xhaka in the summer of 2016 come close.

On a technical side, I noted that City move the ball into space and were far less static than an Arsenal team that invariably seem to play to feet. There’s limited movement off the ball. The third goal happened when Kolasinac came off but Saka was not ready to come on. Martinelli filled in at left back, but had no influence on the goal. In all honesty, there could have been a full complement on the pitch, and I doubt it would have made too much difference. At that stage you feared for what might happen, but fortunately, Leno pulled off a wonder save to prevent it becoming 4-0 before the interval, and the visitors were respectful enough to use the second half as a training ground exercise, with Arsenal in opposition as opposed to eleven dustbins.

Couple of things I will relay from different sources. Patrick Timmons on Twitter (@PatrickTimmons1) – When Arsenal used to lose, it would ruin my mood for days afterwards. Now, I don’t feel anything. I go in expecting a poor performance and result. We come out with a poor performance and result. The majority of the players don’t care. The owner doesn’t care. It’s genuinely awful.”

A WhatsApp message from Ian Crawford (who gave up his season ticket several years ago): “Yesterday was perhaps more embarrassing than the 8-2 at Old Trafford. Man City toyed with us. We weren’t worthy of a spanking. Not worth expanding the effort. We’re no longer a football club - we’re a shell of a club going through the motions. All Arsenal does now is exist. Exist to give Kroenke a return on his investment. I’m not sure how much more of this I can watch. It’s like seeing a loved one get Alzheimer’s. They look like someone you love but they are withering away. Occasionally coming out with something but don’t kid yourself - there’s an inexorable decline. Bring on the European Super Leagues and we won’t be a part of it. A sad old unloved thing that has been left behind.”

Arseblog tweeted last night - Told that news about the next manager is ‘imminent’. I don’t know any more than that, who it might be, or what that news is. Whether it’s the new man, or Freddie till the end of the season.”

It’s unlikely to be Freddie, given recent results. And that’s no reflection on him. Whoever comes in has a hell of a rebuild job to do, and working with an owner like Stan Kroenke makes a return to the good old days unlikely. Football moves in cycles, but Arsenal’s may still be in descent for a while yet unless there is a change in approach at the top level of the club. As for the executive team, Kia Joorabchian is the agent of both David Luiz and Edu. What players the club do buy going forward may not be purely based on good footballing decisions, assuming there is anyone capable of making those anyway. It feels like the club is rotten from top to bottom at the moment. Let’s see what they do next…

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64
comments

  1. itsRonagain2

    Dec 19, 2019, 13:58 #115889

    Hi Cyril - I hear all of that mate. Its a bloody awful place to be brutally honest. The stadium is poor design for the UK, the food and drinks are poor and an utter rip off. The general ambience of the place is a flat as a witches tit an as you say, the worst aspect of it is that theres no camaraderie or bonding amongst the customers. I know the latter isnt totally Arsenals fault, but whilst ive not been inside the place since 2013 i have been to 7-8 other stadiums since then to see games with supporters who follow other clubs and ive tagged along as well as i still used to go to a few of our away games each season until 2015. I have to say, that The Emirates is the deadest stadium of them all. Theres more animation and atmosphere at Cheltenham Town. Wengers brand of football all of those years didnt help and it ll take a massive change of approach and personality at Arsenal to change anything there.

  2. Cyril

    Dec 19, 2019, 6:10 #115885

    Hi Ron- ONJ and JT are on the promo trail of the classic musical film Grease at the minute. Hopelessly devoted to you springs to mind but Ron, then I woke up! No club has a guarantee of profit making - even the Arse. Er, just to clarify I gesticulate about the owner. I notice more and more at games unfamiliar faces in my stand. The tide is really turning. They will run out of support if this continues. What’s to like at the moment - the product has crashed, the stewards are a joke at times, the beer is still not great and nobody can be bothered to sing up. I have sadly left at half time for the last few games as I can’t bear to watch. Where’s the midfield- last seen on a mad frantic rush down to a coastline in Wales or on safari in Tanzania. Oh well, I might stay a little longer next game and treat myself to a slice of pizza for about a tenner. I’m reporting this stuff as a consumer now as you can tell. It’s full of spite. Oh, what have you buggers done to the faithful masses!

  3. itsRonagain2

    Dec 18, 2019, 22:01 #115884

    Hi Jason. I m not sure the failure of a player is quite the same as that of the man at the helm as the buck stops with the latter doesn’t it. However , yr post is a good one especially the last sentence. That’s the straw that is likely to break any coach s back at AFC. Yr quite right.

  4. Jason

    Dec 18, 2019, 17:42 #115883

    Although I agree giving Arteta the job is a gamble, I do hope everyone gives him a chance. Surely gambling on Arteta is no different than taking a chance on a young footballer. Sometimes whether it be a footballer or a manger, if you don't get in early you may never get another chance. There has been loads of young footballers that we were unprepared to give a chance on that were successful elsewhere and then were unobtainable. Arteta could be the same. If he went to Everton for instance, and was hugely successful, the chances are we wouldn't get him next time around. Anyway, Arteta is far more likely to fail at Arsenal due to a lack of backing from our tight-fisted uninterested owner than any lack of ability on his side.

  5. markymark

    Dec 18, 2019, 13:25 #115882

    Radford - you’d also then need to consider sacking Bellerin for his anti Boris tweet. Sacking someone for sticking up for human rights would be a PR disaster . Ozil will understand this as he has already won a complete social media PR war against Emery . That’s why I suggested at some point it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he gets a patronage leg up from Erdogan. He’s a natural strategic politician

  6. itsRonagain2

    Dec 18, 2019, 12:24 #115881

    Cyril - think of the 'brand', think of the ' brand'..... you must renew! How else will the 'Emirates experience' prosper! Seriously mate, i suspect that you've gone through the same questioning exercise these last few years as most of us did before dropping the ST charade/rip off? I think that you ll find yourself wishing you d have done it years back once you eventually do. Its like a release from purgatory!

  7. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 18, 2019, 12:09 #115880

    @Mark, slightly misleading language to say that the Chinese view Ozil's comments as a 'threat'. They view ALL dissent as a 'threat' in the sense they're a totalitarian regime, but that doesn't mean that all cases of dissent actually practically undermine them. If it did, then there would be obvious empirical consequences which could be cited. As for the money being just the owners’ concerns, I think actually it’s as much the fans’ concerns, otherwise they wouldn’t chant ‘spend our f---ing money’. There is an ethical case for breaking connection to any party that takes part in behaviour of which one disapproves, even if there are only negative consequences which can emerge from that. I understand why some might feel like that, but for me Ozil’s behaviour was selfish and not in the clubs’ interests. Again, there are many other connections football clubs have to dubious institutions that neither he, nor many fans, have spoken out against – ones that actually could be practically countered.

  8. Cyril

    Dec 18, 2019, 11:53 #115879

    I have serious doubts that Arteta can bring the good times back. I’m pleased the decision has been made at this time and not the end of the season as at least I will be able to make an informed choice on renewal of my ST. Sadly, it’s not looking good. It looks like check mate against the strategists as they would not want to be in this position. Let me assure you , I will not be the only one giving up my ST at the end of the year. I just hope I do not witness the team being relegated in front of my eyes this year. When I have pulled myself out of this negative vortex, I will be able to close my ears and eyes to it all. What a terrible shame this all is. Unhappy loyal fan base 1 Emirates Arsenal 0.

  9. Radfordkennedy

    Dec 18, 2019, 11:08 #115878

    Surely there's a case here for getting rid of Ozil on the cheap. Don't all companies now have contract clauses which state ' dismissal where comments made on media sites bring the employer into disrepute ' or words to that effect

  10. markymark

    Dec 18, 2019, 7:53 #115877

    Anyone had the feeling that Mesut could end up as President of Turkey? Wouldn’t be at all surprised if he becomes a populist politician with patronage from Erdogan

  11. markymark

    Dec 18, 2019, 7:06 #115876

    Arsenal Magna - I still contend if you are taking part in state sponsored shirt burnings of your team and let’s face it is state sponsored, then you can do without that type of support. Suckering up to dodgy regimes never works well. If Arsenal did once stand for anything it was a pride of its UK roots common decency etc . Indeed that is still a big selling point in itself. Let the Kroenke’s worry about financial loss. The hit in the pocket might even make Stan “Elephant killer” wince. I’m more than happy for Arsenal to miss out on Chinese surveillance and talk of Ants (Ants can be crushed can’t they ) The Chinese worth supporting are those who secretly celebrate Ozil’s postings. We should also remember that constant issues with Russian authors and refuseniks undermined the USSR to an extent. If China wasn’t worried it would simply ignore a “Silly Footballer”, punishing and threats also reveal a threat to the regime itself. As for Ozil he’s a right pain in the arse and probably best sold at some point. Trouble is even right pains can sometimes see and call out an issue. His issues with Erdogan haunt him but as I said previously we are so lucky in the UK they we do not have to wrap ourselves in powerful patronage. We live our lives free

  12. markymark

    Dec 18, 2019, 6:45 #115875

    CG - Gegen Press , Heavy Metal football You need to be ‘Woke’ to this! Our family recently had a get together and played bullshit bingo whilst liberally pouring drinks. All those words , phrases appeared . We’re still none the wiser

  13. Bob Bayliss

    Dec 17, 2019, 20:35 #115874

    If Arsenal go for Arteta as the next manager it would be the equivalent of Labour choosing John McDonnell as their next leader. More of the same, when the lessons of the past decade are that something fundamentally different is needed.

  14. itsRonagain2

    Dec 17, 2019, 20:26 #115873

    CG. Perhaps it’s something to do with ‘game management’ mate? Or even perhaps associated with ‘ turn overs’ ? ?you never know whether yr watching a game of monopoly or rugby union these days. Some of verbose bollocks they come out with , ‘ the press’. ‘ they’re poor without the ball’. ‘ contact’. Zzzzz.

  15. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 17, 2019, 19:57 #115872

    Mark, take your point about Erdogan, but my gripe with Ozil doing what he did is that there aren't any real positive ethical consequences which can be brought from what he did re: his comments on China, but certainly bad ones for gooners. If his action had helped those suffering under the regime in Xinjiang, I wouldn't have minded, but it didn't, nor could it. Our business there wasn't contributing to China's human rights violations, nor necessarily strengthening the regime in any way. This is China we're talking about - the joint most powerful country in the world - how often have they adjusted their domestic policy because of world opinion? How much awareness was spread of an issue which is well known worldwide? Arsenal's not being in China just means that the club will have less money from a booming market which others will benefit from, which could adversely affect our 11 million+ supporters in terms of their enjoyment of watching us play. I support bans on alcohol and gambling advertisements in football etc., but these are in areas where we CAN make a difference.

  16. CORNISH GOONER

    Dec 17, 2019, 19:56 #115871

    Well after wading through all these posts, it has to be a "Stanley Out" campaign next doesn't it? On a totally different tack, I am a really old bloke & can someone please take the time to explain to me what this new (to me at least) word "transition" is all about & does it mean that all the old stuff we used to believe as the best way to play & manage footie is now obsolete?

  17. markymark

    Dec 17, 2019, 19:41 #115870

    Seeing how I’m reading that “Senior Arsenal Players wanted Carlo” has now put me firmly in the Arteta camp. half the team are only acting on 90% (if that) basically not putting in shift. If Arteta is the real deal it’s he and not Carlo who’s the the new Clough Big call from me, preparing for egg on face

  18. John F

    Dec 17, 2019, 19:11 #115868

    Great post Don Howe ,it shows the club are beginning to panic at the sight of so many empty seats.

  19. markymark

    Dec 17, 2019, 19:06 #115867

    Arsenal Magna - I suspect Erdogan is a big problem to Turkish sportsman and personalities at large. Get on the wrong side of him and you’re stuffed. Fancy sending your uncle to prison? Just have a go at him online. Think your safe in America? Maybe until Trump needs a favour and then watch him attempt to send you packing whilst you pray for a Republican to maybe break ranks to save your skin. Alternatively you can embrace him as the father of the people . Within Turkish culture this has been happening since Attutuk. Obviously a quiet distance from Erdogan would have been far better from Mesut, but we are very, very lucky in the UK we don’t have to make these choices . The Uighur are treated appallingly by a viciously controlling regime. They may even be the victims of body harvesting within the prison systems. Yes think of that dystopian horror for one minute . A science fiction nightmare played out right now to us This potentially may come out with the Eric Abidal trafficked liver transplant allegation. Meanwhile Chinese “Supporters” burn Arsenal Shirts . Excuuthe language but that type of supporter can go fuck themselves. I’m afraid Arsenal not Mesut are losing the PR battle on this one. It’s tough though because obviously it’s only affecting Arsenal . No one will back us on this one. Do I care for China’s money ? They can stick it where the Sun don’t shine

  20. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 17, 2019, 18:17 #115866

    The support for Ozil's criticism of China on here is, at best, misguided. Ozil, don't forget, had the anti-semitic dictator Erdogan as the best man at his wedding, so he was happy to turn a blind eye to the Turkish president's many appalling policies. Ozil's condemnation of China was supposed to achieve what exactly? If even part of what is being reported about China's repression of Muslims in Xinjiang is true then it is of course awful, but his adding one more comment into the fold is not going to make any positive difference. All it has done is adversely affect our club's position in an exponentially expanding market. If you think it's better not to be involved in China given that country's policies, maybe check the status of football's moneymaking in general. You have FIFA's corruption, plus a huge number, perhaps the majority, of corporations which are the lifeblood of modern football, whose activities are unethical in one form or another. Addiction-exacerbating gambling sites feed off football, then you've got companies who neglect workers' rights, use their profits to back corrupt leaders in different countries etc. Furthermore, plenty of owners who have made their billions immorally benefit from their club ownership. The people cheering Ozil don't seem to have mentioned these facts much over the years...

  21. Pauljames

    Dec 17, 2019, 18:09 #115865

    Arteta is obviously a gamble as he hasn’t managed before but who knows, it might pay off. Gerrard and Lampard are of the same generation and have both done rather well.I hope he begins to reshape the squad in January , as much by getting rid of a few players as bringing new ones in. Easier said than done given the wages the older players are on mind you.

  22. Goonhogday

    Dec 17, 2019, 17:30 #115864

    Id prefer we were talking to Chris Wilder now. Perhaps the face doesn’t fit but he’d sort out the dead wood and built a spine back in the team.

  23. Don Howe

    Dec 17, 2019, 17:18 #115863

    Ozil is a disgrace. The PRC's need to be obeyed and be seen to be obeyed is just a fact of life. I wonder if they would make an offer for Arsenal just so that they could haul Ozil in on a Monday morning, sack him and tell him to sue them if he felt himself hard enough. That would offload £350 k a week of dead wood overnight. We need someone who will drill that defence. Freddie still talks about " transition". I don't know what that means. I do know what a well organised defence means. So do Wolves, Sheffield United and Leicester. It's basic stuff and the absolute refusal of lightweight so called professionals to make a tackle or subject themselves to basic disciplines is contemptible. I received an email from AFC this pm encouraging me to sell my seat for games I can't attend. Sell it. I can't give it away. WE ARE ARSENAL. F*CK*NG DEFEND PROPERLY. Excellent report Kevin. The legacy of the worst, the very worst manager in the history of AFC grinds on.

  24. Moscowgooner

    Dec 17, 2019, 15:33 #115862

    I am not Mezut's number one fan(!) but the Club's cringing apologetic attitude towards his comments on China is a disgrace. This may not the biggest issue on our agenda at the moment - but in the longer term it may be the most significant. Will China be able to scrutinise our team line up for political correctness in ten years time?? Frankly we would do better to stay out of that market entirely. If Chinese nationals want to support Arsenal, come what may, great; but when it comes to tours/marketing merchandise etc we should stand clear and maintain our integrity as a Club. We've prostituted virtually every other element of it...

  25. TonyEvans

    Dec 17, 2019, 15:31 #115861

    Ron / Paul - I may be being too pessimistic but if Arteta does get the nod all I can see is us slipping further downhill. The right coach now is so important and that is why Arteta is way too much of a gamble as far as I am concerned. As you say, Paul, a good coach could make a massive difference, even to the shower we have masquerading now as an Arsenal team. Ron - how I would love to see Cloughie in his prime come in and sort things out! A travesty he never managed England.

  26. itsRonagain2

    Dec 17, 2019, 15:13 #115860

    True Paul. Cloughie and Ranieri didnt brook wall flowers in their squad though as we ve done for a decade plus if they didnt perform under Cloughie he sold them. He actually had really god players who careers had gone into slumber or had poor attitudes at the clubs they were at. He tidied them up and simply told them to love the ball, to play as they could, pass to a team mate and shoot when they saw the whites of the posts. in addition he had fighters and scrappers who didnt flinch in a battle. Big difference. Same applied to Ranieris really in a more modern setting. A coach cant give players character and the motivation comes from within.

  27. itsRonagain2

    Dec 17, 2019, 15:03 #115859

    Tony - yes. most certainly. Even during those mid 70s flirtations, we still had quite a few players who we could actually still respect plus in going to the games, we didn't used to predict and fear the likelihood of cricket scores against us did we. At that time, apart from Liverpool all of the other top clubs had gone into hibernation with us and in the some cases, they were getting relegated themselves - Spuds and Man U. We could hold onto that as our salvation back then at least. Both then and in the mid 60s, (though i never attended my first game until 1967 when we stated to re emerge) the feeling of us being utterly atrocious/hapless/feckless wasn't there much of the time. The team never looked like it had simply given up the ghost as it does now. Personally, i think Arteta might be making a career booby by joining us under ths owner as his first crack of being head coach. If succeeding PG is a likelihood, im sure the sensible advice he ll get is to stay there. City are a club who are there for the long terms now under those owners and they seem very well set , well ran and sure footed as to where the clubs future lies. Titles and CL s are there for them now i think. In fact, i think theyre a shout for the CL this season despite their injuries. Imagine the players they ll buy to replace Silva, Aguero, Fernandinho and Co? Does he really want to work with ours instead? He could well swerve Asl yet i think. He ll know that our plight isnt just an aberration. Its been 10 - 12 years of decline in the making. He was part of that decline in fact. If i was his agent, i know what i d be telling him. Hes only 37 after all.

  28. Pauljames

    Dec 17, 2019, 14:47 #115858

    I get the argument about the board but it’s a mistake to think it doesn’t matter who the coach / manager is. A good coach can improve players quite a a lot and the history of the game is littered with coaches who have punched well above a clubs weight from Brian Clough to Claudio Raneiri. It should also be pointed out that we still have a higher wage bill and net transfer spend than all bar the top 3 or 4 PL clubs, so it’s not quite the poisoned chalice it may appear.

  29. TonyEvans

    Dec 17, 2019, 14:47 #115857

    Hi Ron - I read Merson's comments too and he's bang on the money re Arteta isn't he. I think Arsenal now are in about as bad a place as I can ever remember (just a bit too young to remember the mid 60s, but even then there must have been light at the end of the tunnel with the emergence of the double side) and that includes the mid 70s when we flirted with relegation. Somehow where the club is now seems so much worse - there is no light at the end of a tunnel which has been growing longer and longer each year since 2009.

  30. itsRonagain2

    Dec 17, 2019, 13:17 #115856

    Tony - agree with you that i didnt and im pretty sure not many others thought of Emery as a safe pair of hands. To be honest, he was only slightly less underwhelming than would be MA. Its just cost there. As long as they get some one in whos cheap and looks like he might assuage the fans do ok, theyre happy. As Merson said, the owners not fussed. Its as plain as a pikestaff what SK and his crew are all about. Wihtout investment, no coach going there is going to change very much. The calibre of footballers at Arsenal has gradually slipped hasnt it this last 10 years. I think we re at as lower level now as its ever been this last decade. The club cant even sell at good prices now to boost its profits or to use the cash to buy new players any more either, as the main assets have all been sold over the past decade.SK has asset stripped the place. He wont put any cash of his own in so in all, the club doesnt have a pot to p--s in. I dont care who the Coach is, he cant pull up trees against that backdrop. Do you recall when we used to get harangued on here for saying Arsenal are heading happily towards mid table and deserve to? Its not nice being proved right is it, its painful really. I do wonder whether had Wenger been sacked in 2011 would have altered much? Would the club have ever gone for a re vamp under a bona fide top coach? I truly doubt it really.

  31. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 17, 2019, 12:58 #115855

    Interesting comments on Sky re: this situation, saying that given the structure of the club now, the search is for a coach rather than a manager, hence Arteta being coveted ahead of Ancelotti. This is all very convoluted now though - we need someone who's between a coach and a manager, who is happy to work with limited funds, and who lets the club higher-ups have the final say on who is sold/bought. The club needs a fundamental restructure.

  32. itsRonagain2

    Dec 17, 2019, 12:56 #115854

    Tony - i read Mersons comments earlier. I dont usually take too much notice of him as he plays to the crowd and trots out horseshite usually, supposed to be funny but rarely is, However, his take on it regarding MA is about how i see it too.

  33. TonyEvans

    Dec 17, 2019, 12:40 #115853

    Ron - I agree with you that Arteta is the easy option for Arsenal; as you say I don't think many of us see him as the right option though. Hibeegunner - I still think Arsenal are a big enough draw as a club for a top manager, it's the lack of funds that will put off some of the bigger names. GoonerRon - I never saw Emery as the experienced steady hand - no experience of the Premier League and an appalling defensive record as a manager; that's why Benitez would be my preferred pick, short of attracting the likes of Allegri. Obviously, like you though, I wish Arteta well, if he does get the job, and I hope he surprises us with what he can do.

  34. itsRonagain2

    Dec 17, 2019, 11:32 #115852

    GR - All true matey. I think most fans will give him support as you say. Perhaps he has a harder exterior than looks to be the case. I hope so as he ll need it to jolt some of that lot out of their torpor. You could be describing Billy Wright, Bobby Charlton there or Bobby Moore and more recently Graeme Souness, all catastrophic managerial failures. 'intensity' though? Dont hold yr breath with that one. Im pretty sure hes not the type and absolutely sure few in that squad have even heard of the word. Teams always reflect their managers persona in the end and thats what will happen under MA.

  35. John F

    Dec 17, 2019, 11:21 #115851

    The board are after a manager in name only what they are really after is a head coach who will allow them to control transfers and negotiate wages, a hangover from the Wenger total control days. Arteta fits the boards' criteria as not many managers would accept such limitations.

  36. GoonerRon

    Dec 17, 2019, 11:16 #115850

    I should also say that his mentorship under Guardiola should give him a blueprint for how to press teams properly. Without big investment in better defenders and midfielders, for me leveraging the energy and pace of our forwards to create more transitions higher up the pitch is the single best way to improve the quality of our chances and reduce the shots we face. Getting the team to press with intensity, in unison and knowing when to push up or drop off are things he can work on with this group from day one, and in theory shouldn’t require big investment in the playing squad to do so.

  37. GoonerRon

    Dec 17, 2019, 11:02 #115849

    Arteta is undoubtedly a risk and could well have been selected because he’s cheaper and more malleable than other experienced options - but that doesn’t mean he can’t be a success. In his favour he’s spent 10 years or more in PL dressing rooms so he intimately knows the dynamic of English football, the culture and what it takes to be a successful player in this league. He’s played under a range of managers with very different styles (Bielsa, Moyes, Wenger) so is likely to have learnt a lot from them. He’s had over three years at close quarters with one of the best coaches ever, someone who is a perfectionist and meticulous, he is likely to have shaped his managerial style considerably. He can articulate himself perfectly in English. He was an intelligent player and I’m sure will no doubt see the problems we have and have a plan that aims to rectify it. He’s been our captain and I’m sure will be cognisant of what it means as a player to represent Arsenal. Truth is it might not work, but it seems everybody who’s worked with him says he will be a great manager - and in the cold light of day we’re not a club that is attractive to great managers at this point - so taking a risk on a potentially great manager now is probably about our level. Anyway, many thought Emery was an experienced steady hand and look how that turned out. I’ll give him complete support if he gets the job and see what he can do.

  38. hibeegunner

    Dec 17, 2019, 10:55 #115848

    Morning Tony Your expectations are too high if you think we could attract the calibre of manager you suggest. We are an average club now and therefore we have to lower our expectations of who might come in. We have a poor owner a poor B of D and poor management structure and a lazy bunch of senior players. The club wants ripping apart from top to bottom and until that happens we will remain an average club.

  39. itsRonagain2

    Dec 17, 2019, 10:14 #115847

    I think most people are Tony if theyre honest. Hes a nice guy buts hard to see him making much of an impression there. Hes another comfy cardigan for the regime, Mertersacker will be promoted to be the new slippers on the basis that hes Arteta s mate. All nice and calm. The social club continues unabated and even better, as cheap as they come. I ll give him 12 months and he ll be gone.

  40. TonyEvans

    Dec 17, 2019, 7:21 #115846

    I don’t know about anyone else but I am completely underwhelmed by the now likely arrival of Arteta as manager. Whether Arsenal even tried for Allegri, Pochettino, or Simeone is doubtful (either one would have done for me) but to go for a punt on potential when the club is crying out for an experienced steady hand seems madness to me. I would have preferred Benitez, at least he has experience of managing at both ends of the Premier League, and at the moment we are definitely more Newcastle then Liverpool.

  41. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 16, 2019, 21:45 #115845

    Just found an article which did quote mine and found that 5 years ago Arteta laid out, on the official Arsenal website, what his managerial philosophy would be: "My philosophy will be clear. I will have everyone 120 per cent committed, that’s the first thing. If not, you don’t play for me. When it’s time to work it’s time to work, and when it’s time to have fun then I’m the first one to do it, but that commitment is vital. Then I want the football to be expressive, entertaining... I cannot have a concept of football where everything is based on the opposition. We have to dictate the game, we have to be the ones taking the initiative, and we have to entertain the people coming to watch us. I’m 100 per cent convinced of those things, and I think I could do it". I suspect that entertainment is more important to him than defensive stability, and if so it's more Wenger-esque management.

  42. John F

    Dec 16, 2019, 21:02 #115844

    I am sceptical about Arteta and his lack of managerial experience but I have been reading some good endorsement s about his character and the way he studies the way other teams play.He has been credited with the way City have exploited Arsenals weakness although a five year old could probably do that.

  43. Paulo75

    Dec 16, 2019, 20:54 #115843

    If it is Arteta he deserves the fans support. He will have an acute awareness of our very immediate shortcomings and I wager a strong coaching background that should go a long way to eradicating at least the very basic errors we continually make all over the pitch. Although quietly spoken I do think he has that winners mentality and I would hope a degree of ruthlessness in his character. Whether he can restore the club to the top 4 anytime soon is a big ask and also encompasses many other factors - Club owners ambitions being one. His choice of backroom staff, if appointed, will be very interesting.

  44. markymark

    Dec 16, 2019, 19:16 #115842

    Jason / AM - one area where pressure could come onto Kroenke is the expenditure and also legal action surrounding the LA Rams. I can’t be totally sure but I’m getting the feeling he is getting squeezed. The way he used to make money via Shopping Mall development feels very 90’s and Walmart are being squeezed by Amazon ( hence his Trump love in, who in turn hates Amazons Jeff Bezos) However even if you push him out be prepared for some very dodgy owners a number of shady regimes are looking to follow the Emirates lead in sports washing . What better prize than Arsenal.

  45. Jason

    Dec 16, 2019, 18:21 #115841

    All this talk about whether Arteta is the right man for the job or not is completely futile. Whoever the new Arsenal manager is will not get Arsenal back to where us fans feel the club should be whilst Stan Kroenke is the owner of the club. There will just not be the investment required. With the probable lack of any European football next season, and even poorer ticket sales, things will probably get worse. Our only hope is that Kroenke sells up, and that’s probably not as stupid as it sounds. When Kroenke first got involved with the club things probably looked all to easy to him, sit back in America counting the money and leave Wenger to virtually run the club, guarantee top four finishes, sell 60000 tickets every week at top dollar prices, whilst selling our prime assets. It was unsustainable. Kroenke must realise by now that those days are gone. The club will never get back to where it was without him investing money so why will he bother as he has zero interest in the footballing side. I’ll put it out there to those with superior knowledge. Can Kroenke continue to make money from a mid-table team, playing in front of half empty stadiums, with no European football. Also, will the value of the club dwindle. I assume that’s what it will come down to??

  46. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 16, 2019, 18:19 #115840

    @Mark I'm pretty sure the Kroenkes haven't sunk a penny in of their own cash? Swiss Ramble had a chart produced in the summer showing we were the only club without owner investment. I said before that the EPL and Financial Fair Play rules do limit what an owner can do, and that there aren't actually many affordable players that could add to this squad (which I actually think has a lot of potential), so take your point. That said, I feel like we need as much investment as possible, and owners who actually show ambition.

  47. markymark

    Dec 16, 2019, 17:53 #115839

    A reminder of some figures that I know will go down like a Lead Balloon but are still fundamentally true The Kroenke’s have sunk net $330m in the squad over the last 5 years. That’s more than double Liverpool ($123m), Leicester ($163m), Spurs ($120m) and Chelsea ($140m) have spent. That is not the spend of a guy who is just content with premiership football. It is I admit extremely inefficient spending and a likely result of Wenger and Ivan following an ultra cautious spend policy and amateur contracts management, which cost millions as we were unable to leverage any asset value on players. To remove Kroenke you’ll need some major financial impact on him that sadly will likely put us even more in a mess ( relegation an obvious) If Arteta starts turning things around very few will be bothered about Kroenke. Quite frankly I just want Arsenal better coached and there’s only so much the Kroenkes can do about that .

  48. CORNISH GOONER

    Dec 16, 2019, 16:29 #115838

    A really top class editorial. Realistically, we are going nowhere, except downwards probably, until we have decent owners & a Board with teeth ( or re-instating old, Old Etonians with false ones but who are at least "proper chaps") I could see Arteta making immediate improvements because he is generally reckoned to be a good player's coach & some of our many faults are very basic things - like not bothering to close mark or get a boot in when defending but, conversely strolling around close to THEIR marker when they should be making runs. But as a Manager? Huge doubts & also he will not have his own team to bring in. Nice & cheap for Stanley but not the way things are generally done these days.

  49. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 16, 2019, 15:47 #115837

    The fact that Freddie has publicly said a decision needs to be made now on the next manager, and that we have up 10 candidates (encompassing a huge range of different approaches), shows how rudderless is our leadership. It could be that at this stage we'd be lucky to get almost anyone, but last month or the one before we could have got Mourinho. News is that Arteta is one of the few potentials happy to work with virtually no money for transfers, and presumably that includes his wages too! Call my cynical, but I wouldn't be surprised if getting in a string of mediocre coaches makes us focus on them and not the ownership... We did the right thing getting rid of Wenger, but as others have said before, he created and was part of a structure that was fundamentally flawed. We need a footballing board, a less divided structure at the top, a team that is happy to ditch the deadwood in order to revamp the dressing room culture, even if it means limited funds being raised (I'd sell Mustafi for £10m and pay Ozil off next summer, just to help create a new culture in the dressing room, for example), and the Kronkes need to go. Now is the time for us to focus on them. Look how sensitive they are to fan pressure - empty stadiums quickly saw Wenger and Emery let go, they invested a fortune this summer (albeit it wasn't their money) to get the supporters off their backs. Their gamble of spending big hasn't worked: they were hoping that paying for some big names over several years would bring success and shut us up. Now is surely the time to mobilise vs them? They haven't got enough money to invest themselves, and they'd prefer to sell now than sit on an asset which depreciates and tars their reputation more and more.

  50. itsRonagain2

    Dec 16, 2019, 15:32 #115836

    Exactly that AM. Add to the mix too, the unquantifiable element of how much the younger have been tainted and tarred by the bad habits and attitudes of the older players. It would be a miracle if some of them have seen whats happening and thought they ll do the same. Their young and human. As some of us did at 17 or 18 years old while taking engineering apprenticeships and so on, if we worked with an older, long in the tooth lazy slacker who couldnt give a f---k, we did the same and thought it was a good skive until we worked with a taskmaster who kept us on our toes.Its the same for them. Yr point though is dead on. A good many see AFC as their passports to seek better clubs and higher riches. In fairness to him, it was this that Wengo could never grasp or factor in as he tried to build project youth and became dismayed as they jumped ship.

  51. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    Dec 16, 2019, 15:04 #115835

    Well written piece Kev - the second half was more embarrassing than the 8 - 2, Citeh felt sorry for us and gently warmed down in the second half. AFC treats football as a non contact sport and has done for over 10 years, that culture is now in every part of the club and will remain whilst under present ownership. I believe a 5000 attendance is coming soon - all the ingredients are there to make it happen.

  52. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 16, 2019, 14:43 #115834

    Ron, interesting and well made points. I felt that academy players might be the way forward, given that they and some other younger foreign players, like Martinelli and Guendouzi are the only ones showing real commitment (a few senior players aside). Then again, once they've become millionaires or realise they're good enough to play for a bigger club, there might not be enough depth to their commitment to the club to keep them retained/motivated anyway.

  53. TonyEvans

    Dec 16, 2019, 14:32 #115833

    Looks like it's going to be Arteta - so we are likely now to be going forward with an unproven manager, backed up by an inept Board and an absentee owner who cares little for the club apart from it being a useful revenue stream for him. I am trying to find some positives but there simply aren't any - dark days ahead for sure.

  54. itsRonagain2

    Dec 16, 2019, 14:30 #115832

    AM - HI mate. Players dont love these clubs anymore, if indeed they ever did. Theres no emotional attachment at any level, no loyalty. They just pass through as do owners. Most of all theres no pride in the clubs. They dont need to show any as they have no emotional bond. Its about the money and doing as little as possible to get as much as they can. Its a problem thats endemic in society in this Country at large. Ask any employer. The bigger clubs like Arsenal are more prone to these issues than are the smaller clubs who can foster some common spirit and bonding as they fight the larger clubs with unity in their ranks to get a slice of the action. Personally i think London clubs are in a worse position than are those larger clubs in provincial Cities. In these Cities, there is s till a bonded football community who follow the clubs and accordingly make demands on the clubs. Not in London, the support there is now disparate and temporary and very fragmented and such support as there is are often not from London and have no connections with London either historically or presently. It ll be many, many years before any London Club wins a title in my view.

  55. Nigel

    Dec 16, 2019, 14:26 #115831

    The job is a poisoned chalice and it will take a manager with huge balls to want to come in sort that lot out. I think that Arteta witnessed enough yesterday to rule himself out but alternatively he might think he can see what is needed and that he does have the balls to do it. Guardiola must have a mean streak he has learnt from. Although it's not an endorsement for the job he did demonstrate the last defensive intelligence I have seen from us when he dropped back into the space that Song used to leave when he went awol.

  56. Newpark

    Dec 16, 2019, 13:56 #115830

    The manager choice is an obvious one and its Pochettino. 1) He's a proper coach, who improves players and isn't afraid to put the kids in and weed out the bad egos. 2) He knows the league and the demands. 3) Arsenal are in such a bad state, his organisation and firm hand is needed. 4) He's even an ex international centre half to maybe help our backline out. I for one don't care that he's ex Spurs, I don't care that he hasn't won anything. Arsenal are a project that is in dire need of someone like him, and the job he did at Spurs in the early years was massive. Similar to what he will be presented with at Arsenal. Will we do it? Not an effing chance!! We will go cheap, we will go inexperienced and gamble rather than pay the wages he would deserve. It will be Arteta, Freddie or Vieira, a low cost gamble.

  57. Goonhogday

    Dec 16, 2019, 13:48 #115829

    I think Citeh barely got into top gear yesterday after going 3-0 up! Men against boys stuff.

  58. Pauljames

    Dec 16, 2019, 13:42 #115828

    I agree with Ron about Arteta. It’s gonna be more tippy tappy playing it out from the back type football,and our players just aren’t good enough to play that way.If it was me I’d break the bank for Allegri, but that’s not going to happen.

  59. TonyEvans

    Dec 16, 2019, 13:26 #115827

    I could hardly be bothered to find out what the result was, such is my apathy now - I was just mildly curious to see how many goals we had lost by! Very sad times indeed which many of us on this website (me included) predicted years ago - no satisfaction whatsoever in being proved right though.

  60. itsRonagain2

    Dec 16, 2019, 12:59 #115826

    Not sure about 'its Arteta they want'. More like hes all that they can get. Either way, its hardly inspires does it. They can say all that they want about him being ready etc etc, the fact is can anybody imagine him doing a total re build job? I cant. He comes across as a quietly spoken gentleman who ll all in all probability will carry on the Wengo legacy but try a Man city light version of wengos barca lite. Hes just what Arsenal dont need in my view. Decent player and nice guy no doubt. Arsenal and that bunch of shirking wasters needs a b-----d to go in there though and rock the foundations that creche. Ozils actions yesterday sums up that club to a tee.

  61. Radfordkennedy

    Dec 16, 2019, 12:53 #115825

    Afternoon all...bang on comments by all as usual, there is one thing that I don't know if anyone else had noticed is the way this team is allowing opposition to take absolute liberties with its team mates, Pepe had the shit kicked out of him by West Ham and Martinelli was given the rough treatment yesterday and not once did any Arsenal player come in to back his team mate up and get in the face of the opposition other teams are laughing at just how easy it's all become

  62. ArsenalMagna

    Dec 16, 2019, 11:42 #115824

    It really does feel like end times for our club right now. A few extra things to mention, Kev: firstly, Torreira was as bad as tracking back as anyone else, plus he failed to block passing lanes or make quality tackles - he is out of his depth. Ozil summed up himself and the club's rotten culture with his recent behaviour. Staying politically neutral is part of being a proper professional, and nothing was gained by his tweet vs China, but much was/could be lost. Our managing director described the Asian market as "critical" and said "We look at China very positively and feel there is a huge potential to grow even further in the years ahead". Seeing him throw a big strop at being subbed, after casually strolling off again shows how far player power has gone. Imagine if a player did that in front of SAF during his time at United... The culture of complacency at Arsenal is a more serious version of a wider problem in football these days - too many players just don't want to do the hard work on defence, which is certainly one major cause of the generally terrible state of EPL defending. Add to that the fact these guys are all made for life aged 22/23, and are simply not obliged to turn up if they don't feel like it, as well as too many coaches disregarding the importance of defence, and fans/TV baying for goals and open attacking over balance, and you've got a wider problem in the game that is very difficult to solve. The game I grew up with in the late 90s/early 2000s is gone - I know the change has been far worse for gooners older than me too. The only hope for the future is to get players who love playing for the club, who are committed professionals, who have grit and who have high work rates. I read years ago that clubs really want to be able to examine players' psychology more before buying them but can't, for obvious reasons, a sad reality as player personality is more important now than ever before.

  63. Pauljames

    Dec 16, 2019, 11:33 #115823

    Sounds like it’s Arteta they want, and if that’s the case I don’t really get the delay. God help us if we don’t get a new manager bounce when he does take over, 40 points looks a hell of a long way off right now.

  64. itsRonagain2

    Dec 16, 2019, 11:22 #115822

    Hi Kev. All of your comments are bang on. I was too young to go at the time but it makes you wonder if things are heading to a repeat of 1966 when about 5000 turned up in a game v Leeds doesn't it. To be honest, it what it needs. The whole match going fan base to boycott it as many of us have this last 5 or 6 years.