The Arsenal Apocalypse – We Want Our Arsenal Back

By on November 13, 2012

A distant memory

As the critical state of the Arsenal empire draws ever closer to a spectacular implosion, it seems every football fan under the sun has an opinion of just what has gone wrong in these last 7 years. Well if you’re looking for some fresh new stories circulating the football world, turn away now because here is another set of whinging opinions from another disgruntled Arsenal fan.

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Criticism seems to have peaked in the last couple of weeks as Arsenal have had their worst start in over 30 years, it’s clear that something is wrong with the current team, but something has been wrong with the team for a long time and future progress is contingent on addressing these underlying problems.

As a life-long football fan I have always supported the view that the bare minimum required from the board and managers of a team is to preserve the status-quo, something exemplified no better than by Sir Alex Ferguson who has carried countless United teams through 26 years of footballing success.

It seems that the shock of going from a team of unbeatables to a team of farily-easily-beatables has been diluted by a mortilisation process that has extended over a seven year period. So much so that if you now ask an Arsenal fan why we don’t compete for top players or are why we are unable to mount anything near reminiscent of a solid title challenge, it’s more or less accepted that Arsenal are simply competing at a different standard.

And the truth is we are competing at a different standard but we shouldn’t accept it and as fans we shouldn’t rest until immortality is restored.

Business as usual

You always need to be careful when reading football news, sifting through the daily tabloids could leave you believing that Usain Bolt was genuinely on the verge of joining Van Persie in a striking partnership for Manchester United.

And bearing this in mind, caution should be exercised when claiming to know what exactly is going on behind the scenes at Arsenal. However, earlier this year Arsenal fans were gifted a credible source of inside knowledge when 30% Arsenal shareholder, Alisher Usmanov, wrote a letter to the board which was made publically available.

Regardless of whether Usmanov had ulterior motives for writing the letter (such as galvanising support for a place on the board) it highlighted that something at the top is very wrong. Key members of the board have left, proving that it is not only the fans which have become disillusioned, there is an obvious lack of ambition and the financial structure is severely flawed.

Both the Board and to an extent Wenger, have argued for a system that, as Usmanov puts it, advocates ‘prudent financial planning’ and whilst it is sad truth that the past decade has been characterised by an attitude of, ‘let’s just buy all the best players in the world until we start winning stuff’ (not to name any names), the Arsenal camp need to start seeing things for how they actually are, quite plainly, that the footballing gods aren’t going to reward us for having a tight-knit cash flow statement.

Arsene Wenger has been shackled by this current financial arrangement imposed by a self-interested and unambitious board. We are priced-out of bidding for the top players, even if we could, under the current regime, we cannot support their wage-demands and this has also meant we are unable to hold on to top players who can simply earn more elsewhere.

Despite this, inconsistencies remain within the wage-structure. Whilst it appears as if Wenger is unable to offer players a contract exceeding £100,000pw, he is the second highest-earning manager and Ivan Gazidis, Stan Kroenke’s very own Alistair Campbell, is the highest earning chief executive.

And to top it all off, to really throw salt in the wound, Arsenal fans have to pay more to watch the team than any other Premier League side despite not having won a trophy for 7 years!

All this doesn’t mean we should suddenly turn blasé about our finances, of course it is important to run a viable business, but the wage structure and its inconsistencies evidently need revamping. It has also been a mistake and continues to be a mistake, marginalising Usmanov and the potential investment he can bring.

In Arsene we… hope

Arsenal fans generally accepted that a post-unbeatable era would require some sort of a rebuilding process but patience has been tested to boiling point. And whilst a lot of blame can be put on the board, even Wenger is no longer immune to critics. A pragmatic solution would be to suggest that both parties have been partly to blame.

It is an obvious logic that if you get rid of one of your best players and do not replace them with an equally good player then your team will not be as good as it was originally. Equally as obvious is the fact that Arsenal have been unashamedly guilty of this.

For all the great qualities the manager possesses, it cannot be argued against the fact that Arsene is a stubborn man. And I can’t help to feel that this stubbornness, combined with the stranglehold imposed by the board has meant Arsenal has lost out in past years.

Depending on the sources you want to trust, Wenger’s lack of ruthlessness has meant that we have lost out on several players in the past. Cristiano Ronaldo, Juan Mata, Gary Cahill, Eden Hazard, Ryan Babel, Petr Cech and Nuri Sahin are just examples that I can pluck from the top of my head, some perhaps more credible than others, but the point still stands. The same goes for contract negotiations, although no one really knows what is going on behind the scenes and the board clearly have a lot of control, it feels as if Wenger has, at times, been overly stubborn.

This is by no means a call for Wenger’s head, he has produced some of the finest players the Premier League has ever seen and the club will long be in his debt for what he has achieved during his tenure. But he needs to adjust his attitude. We need to fight harder to keep players, and if players do leave they need to have sufficient replacements. The time lag between losing experienced players and developing younger ones means that larger investments are sometimes necessary.

Where do we go from here?

Finally, all this brings us to where we are now, mellowing in middle-table mediocrity, 11 points off the top spot and enduring our worst start for over 30 years.

There are dreams of dishing out 30 million big ones for a player of the Falcao variety. Just Dreams. Only Dreams. Maybe are more realistic suitor would be someone like Huntelaar.

We could talk all day about players and tactics; Ramsey shouldn’t be played out of position, Wenger should give Theo a chance down the middle, Giroud doesn’t suit our style, Oxlade-Chamberlain should start, Andre Santos shouldn’t… but perhaps these are points better left to be discussed over a pint.

What we can safely say now, is that there is something fundamentally wrong at Arsenal and we need to get to the bottom of it before true progress can be made. Unfortunately as mere fans there is only so much we can do. For now we just need to carry on voicing our opinions and keep shouting until silent Stan is forced to speak up.

What are your feelings about the current state of AFC? Get involved in the comments section.

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42 Comments

  1. Ogejohns

    November 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    If giroud does not suit arsenal, then should it be ramsey who suits arsenal play. You Brits are always biased when it comes to the issue of Ramsey. Is Santos not more useful to arsenal than ramsey.

    • Charlie

      November 14, 2012 at 7:21 am

      I don’t think we are biased towards Ramsey, in fact i’d say nobody has had more criticism and I for one think he needs to go. I don’t think the author is right to say that Giroud doesn’t suit Arsenal but I do think certain players need to learn to feed him to his strengths. Other than that small point I do agree with the article. Thanks Arsene, in many ways you have been a vicitim of circumstance and your biggest impact will be felt over decades as a result of the new stadium. I think it’s time to go though, the team will not snap itself out of this defeatisit attitude until there is a change of leadership.

  2. sanity

    November 13, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    I have always and I will continue to ask for a change of attitude from the management to the board to coaching staff and to the players themselve, cause every one of us the fans are tyred of this disgrace our club have to confont us season in season out.

  3. skins

    November 13, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    fantastic and alarmingly correct piece.

  4. smokey

    November 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME ARSENE WENGER
    WON MANAGER OF THE MONTH

    • must_rich

      November 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      arsene wenger has lost the cutting edge,he doesn’t even know how to build a good team
      anymore.it is sad to say but i think wenger needs to go. he is also contributing to the downfall of the club. we need a manager who can tell the board we need this player and get it done

  5. Ofem5

    November 13, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    We want our arsenal back..101% of the problems we are having the board knows alot about it,i think its high time fans react more wild nd the club needs prayers.

    • must_rich

      November 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      the club doesn’t need prayers what the club need is to get rid of those owners, they are ruining the side for their own greed.

  6. Enkuneh

    November 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

    these bloody owners and the manager surrounding arsenal are washing their feet in a pool of our inner power. now a days arsenal became a land where the most disgusting philosophy run in “CL qualification is a trophy” I am afraid they will force players in order to falsely confess they lift the so called 4th spot cup in public.
    what the f k is going on?
    is that a big deal to qualify for CL with the class like Madrid and Barcelona?
    if they need 100% business, why are they not leaving the club and do some minning investment in Africa and call their company Arsenal? there is a good saying in my country Ethiopia “ejigim silet yikedal afot” means (as it gets too sharp, it will tear it’s case) it’s about sword blade against it’s case.

    • Saminho

      November 13, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      Well said bro. 7 years after David Dein left the club and Arsenal FC has become a overrated sides in Europe.

  7. Cynick

    November 13, 2012 at 8:01 pm

    Great piece. One point I disagree with you on is regarding the power of the fans. I believe there is plenty we can do. For example I would start with bonding as a unit of one. Then when th unit is big enough to start boycotting matches without reselling tickets a d without prior warning. Then I would start boycotting arsenals sponsors. No more emirates and Nike and O2 and carlsberg etc. the important thing is first becoming a coherent unit otherwise this will backfire. I have become indifferent when watching matches and on Saturday I am going to the park!

    • Aussie Gunner

      November 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm

      Well said Cynick, i agree with what you said 100% about fan power,remember what Man.U fans did few years ago when they weren’t happy with the way the club was being run? Liverpool supporters when they were few hours away from extinction, they had forums,suporters groups, newsletters circulating around, encouraging everyone to become one voice.
      Although i live a world away, i’m still very passionate about my club, i don’t want this once a powerhouse club in the world to become a player feeder club to the clubs that are owned by oil sheiks.
      We as supporters need to take our own clubs destiny and take action, whatever that decision maybe.
      Let’s not forget one thing, Wengers and Gazidis,and others will come and go, but true supporters will be there generation after generation, rain hail or shine,by the way putting the already inflated ticket prices STINKS.
      GUNNERS ALWAYS

  8. Philip Phillips

    November 13, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    A well written and thoughtful piece. Absolutely spot on. Kroenke has no knowledge or back ground in soccer, he is only here for the money and as long as Wenger keeps delivering Champions League nothing will change. Hill Wood is not the brightest as proven by what happens every time he opens his mouth. I am afraid that until Kroneke is ready to walk away with his money nothing will change

  9. ken lo

    November 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

    What a load of tosh..not only the article, but also the early replies.
    Do any of you actually go to the Emirates and watch a game?
    I have three season tickets that cost £1700 and that is FACT.
    This ticket includes all PL, CL and FA cup games unlike Chelsky Spuds etc so please do your homework before twisting facts to suit your arguments.
    you are so like todays society..I want it and I want it know..otherwise I’llspit out my dummy!!!
    Support your team like
    Manure supporters did when Fergy became their manager with nothing for four years, or Shitty did until the Sheik’s money arrived, Spuds for the last fifty years and still counting or Pompey have as they tumble down the leagues.
    Support your club or just f**k off, we dont need the likes of you!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • mos

      November 14, 2012 at 9:24 am

      Get real without Usmanov to put money in this board will be enriching their pocket.Money speaks in football now.Look at Chealsea,Man City .We are nowhere at d moment until we leave in real World of football

    • Bangladesh

      November 17, 2012 at 8:33 am

      LOL what a mug, your not even an Arsenal fan so what is this b*llsh*t your banging on about? Stop lying you have never owned any season tickets, no mug would pay £1700 to watch Djourou, Squillaci, Santos etc
      And the fans are complaining because we were one of the best teams in the world during invincibles and now we’re mediocre even Spurs have a better team, fans like us have to pay the highest ticket prices to watch average £7m players, but it’s ok for you because you stream matches of your laptop so it doesn’t bother you if they charge high ticket prices.
      WENGER OUT, GAZIDIS OUT, KROENKE OUT, PETER HILL-WOOD OUT!

  10. Akintade olusoga

    November 13, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    The problem of arsenal fc is the fan that still pay such amount of money to watch. Let them stop paying for tickets until there is a change. And let us see if there will be changes.

  11. sidneyc@berkeley-seymour.co.uk

    November 13, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    So True

  12. Angelo

    November 13, 2012 at 8:43 pm

    Huntelaar for a start. Fellaini and Dawson should follow. Ben Arfa, Nani, Jose Enrique & some premiership-tested goalie to join the mix. M’vila should cap it all up. All are realistic buys (since we’re never gonna buy the costliest). Deadwoods should be released for free. Let’s count our losses.

  13. Archimedes

    November 13, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    Great piece. Key point is Kroenke’s lack of trophies in the US as the evidence of his mediocre ambitions in football. AW social wage structure attracts and retains journeymen while stars leave in disgust despite 3rd highest wage bill and most expensive tickets and CEO wage in the league. Chronically worst injury record in the league means medic team is incompetent. Current league position is expected with no real hope of closing the gap to top teams. It is all too sad to watch.

  14. Bharat Patel

    November 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    I was wait listed for many years before I was offered my season ticket this term. I have to say I am starting to rethink my decision. Where has Arsenal gone, we cant fix basics, goal keepers , defenders , substations , positional play basic tactics .

    How on earth can we have a so called scouting team who spot / pick up substandard players and we actually go and buy them. That is not sound business practice .This can only be described as total negligence starting with the manager and throughout the club. If it is one we can accept it, but at Arsenal we have five to six unwanted players and getting paid for the privilege .

    With Regards to the article it is spot on. Unfortunately I do not believe anything but voicing our dissent within the stadium will have an effect . If we the supporters unit and let them know every week how we feel it may affect the sponsors , media and only then the stubborn Owner, stubborn Chairman, stubborn CEO, stubborn Manager . Outside we have no power and are easily ignored. It may affect the players but so be it , we are all in it together change or else ????

  15. Angelo

    November 13, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    That you pay as much as you do to watch Arsenal play football doesn’t make you a better fan. That you’re willing to go 50 years (like $hitty) without a trophy doesn’t make you a better fan either. Arsenal makes a lot of money from all kinds of peeps. Whether the money is generated from peeps like you or those you’re obviously hating is none of their business. We are fans not fanatics. We should therefore realise that football to the Arsenal board is simply business. Money is all that matters. Period.

  16. mark BIAS

    November 13, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    its really too long 2 wait 4 change at aclub dat has unbreakable history ov unbeaten run,today Arsenal has no ovious wins just like it used 2 be 7 years back,Wen 2 goals up or even mo i still panic en become emotional ov feelings dat my team will loose da lead,There many problems at da club right now but da biggest is dat players luck motivation within themselves,dis alone has caused havock in dat players are all almost quiet at da field,dis is not da Arsenal ov da likes ov Henry,Pires,Ljumberg,Lehman en 2 mention but afew,we really need 2 ressurect da team,its tyme 2 change

  17. ken taylor

    November 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Arsenal won’t win anything until AW goes,it is a disease in Arsenal and a cleansing is required.Arsenal fans are cut up in the old glory regime.

  18. Asena

    November 13, 2012 at 9:12 pm

    Am not at all angry at our board members neither am i angry with asene wenger or any players,am only angry at all our fans in England dat could easily be listen to if their angers are vented.show to ‘us’ arsenal fans all ova d world dat u r angry by stop watchin our match at d stadia.Dont let d stupid board members make money at of u again

    • jama

      November 13, 2012 at 10:03 pm

      200%%

    • must_rich

      November 14, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      i think thats the solution, their should be empty stands when arsenal r playing then they will know that the fans are serious

  19. ken taylor

    November 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm

    Please get a grip on reality,the true fans in Uk are really angry because of the direction the team is going.Let’s call a spade a spade,AW needs to move with time.We should wake up and smell the coffee.

    • MACHANGI

      November 14, 2012 at 11:35 am

      WHY cant you people in UK join the protest march in december 1 before the swansea GAME.Then BOYCOTT the game altogether that way wenger and the board will get the msg,but if you go to the game,plese chant things like,,hill wood must go….gazidis must GO..kraonke must GO..

      but these are just wishes,if we beat tottenhan and EVERTON,everyone will be praising Wenger

      we forget all evil the board has done and we are back to square 1,,i think we THE fans are to BLAME!!!!!

      • must_rich

        November 14, 2012 at 2:38 pm

        so true 100%

  20. Chidebem Ugunner

    November 13, 2012 at 9:28 pm

    Fellow gooners what really has wenger added 2 d club.a bunch of domestic titles and an unbeaten streak?when last hav we watched gunner’s game without our hearts in our mouths.we watched as chelsea came 4rm depths 2 win d ucl.when last hav u comfortably placed a bet on arsenal ?gooners ,WAKE UP!

  21. James

    November 13, 2012 at 10:07 pm

    It is time that the board of Arsenal FC understands that we support a football club because we want it to win trophies and not to make money. This football team primarily benefits Wenger, the players and the directors. It is unbelievable they just don’t care about the people who bring in the money: the fans. They just take us for granted. It is not going to happen again with me as I am cancelling my subscription with Arsenal Player (it is no longer attractive as it only brings back bad memories) and will not spend even a penny again on Arsenal, as this makes other people happy not me.

  22. FabianMc

    November 13, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    The only solution is for the fans to stop buying tickets at least let there be shortage of income to the management; only then can they know how we(the fans) feel.

  23. Allan

    November 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Good article.there is something we can do. Boycott the arsenal shops and food and bar facilities at the club. We can still support the team to the full. The boycott will hit the board where it hurts most.Their pockets

  24. arsenal george

    November 13, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    i can’t beleive the arsenal fans who are in total denial about the direction this team is going. who sells there best player to a arch rival….wake up fans… nothing changes till kroenke goes and we have a owner who wants to win

  25. doneg

    November 14, 2012 at 1:13 am

    Agreed. So how many more season away where we become mid table?
    .not winning games you should
    .not replacing gd players with equal talent
    .not winning trophy
    .not advancing with times

    Next it’ll be not attracting gd players anymore, and not finishing above spurs.

  26. harj

    November 14, 2012 at 2:35 am

    Wtf? We want our arsenal back. Is that the George Graham Arsenal? Or do we go to the early eighties Arsenal?
    Arsenes only crime is spoling Arsenal fans and now a vocal lot of you are just spoilt. In the seven trophy less years we have still challenged at the top at least once and been in finals (CL and league cup). When we go on a winning run you will all change your tune and if Wenger goes you will lie awake at night wishing he would come back. Just support your club and be proud of the legacy being built all around you, its a pivotal time in Arsenals history and you all all witnessing it unfold.

    • Aussie Gunner

      November 14, 2012 at 3:20 am

      Wtf? We are one of the best clubs in the world, we don’t settle for the second best, you can if you want.

  27. Jay

    November 14, 2012 at 3:52 am

    I don’t think AFC and its owners have ambitions like other clubs. In the whole of Europe AFC is the only club that loses big players. Most of them have come back to inflict serious injuries on AFC. RVP of recent got his earliest goal if not in his carrier then in the season against a team he laboured for in the last 7 years. Most players who have left have had a feel of what it’s like to embrace a trophy. Just one year ago Nasri left, he’s won the EPL title. AW says qualifying ECL is like winning a trophy. So AFC has 15 invisible trophies in its cupboard cherished by AW and his board members. As AFC fans we’re yet to know where our problem is. It is either the management board or the manager. We want our Arsenal back.

  28. kass

    November 14, 2012 at 6:46 am

    With this run,I don’t see us winning any major trophy for the next seven years.

  29. MACHANGI

    November 14, 2012 at 11:49 am

    WHY cant you people in UK join the protest march in december 1 before the swansea GAME.Then BOYCOTT the game altogether that way wenger and the board will get the msg,but if you go to the game,plese chant things like,,hill wood must go….gazidis must GO..kraonke must GO..

    but these are just wishes,if we beat tottenhan and EVERTON,everyone will be praising Wenger

    we forget all evil the board has done and we are back to square 1,,i think we THE fans are to BLAME!!!!!

    i have an idea LETS CREATE a FACEBOOK PAGE,titled KRAONKE,GAZIDIS,HILLWOOD..OUT..so that many fans even in abroad can join

  30. john

    November 14, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    gazidis and kronky out and if arsene wants to go he can f43456k off out

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