Arsenal’s AGM meeting last week was same old, same old. The board members at the club and specifically Ivan Gazidis are doing a really good job of saying the same thing every year without actually parting with any usual information.

It didn’t help that at the time of the meeting Arsenal were coming off a shocking week of football. Losing home and away without scoring a goal or even managing a handful of shots on target should have been enough to set up a spiky affair. However, even if Arsenal had seen more favourable results on the pitch that week, specifically in the Premier League, it would have done nothing other than paper over the cracks again.

The suits at Arsenal managed to play out that old hit single, the one that is quickly turning into one of those terrible Phil Collins songs that fill you with rage more than anything else. The words “self sustaining” and “FFP” were quick off the bat, and it was obvious once again that nothing much was going to happen.

But Arsenal are so committed to this idea of financial fair play, so mesmerised and somewhat enslaved by it’s apparent charm, that you’ve really got to question if the club knows what they’re supposed to do next.

This is completely on the assumption that FFP does kick in immediately and have the impact that Uefa are promising. What then for Arsenal? Do the club actually have a set of plans, something concrete, a logical set of ideas that will take the club forward? We’re hearing a lot of talk about new commercial deals and the promise that Arsenal will be one of the better placed clubs in European football, but what happens when the clock winds down to zero?

There’s some sort of view that Arsenal will be able to compete with the biggest teams in Europe for the finest players. But I’m sure Arsenal fans were told the same prior to the move to the Emirates Stadium. And is the club really going to spend £20-£25million on a player when it’s absolutely needed? It seems the club are banking on everyone else dropping their bids for players and coming more in-line with what Arsenal currently pay. Regardless of FFP, can fans really envisage Arsene Wenger signing off on a transfer that not only breaks the club’s previous record but shatters it?

It’s been explored in the past that big clubs are going to find ways to circumvent the new rulings. After all, isn’t FFP just a device to keep the rich richer and the poor well away from anything worthwhile?

The thing is, it becomes increasingly worrying that an institution such as Arsenal are so far removed from it’s supporters that we on the outside don’t really have any idea where the club is going, and that’s regardless of Michel Platini’s brainchild. The club talk about ensuring the long term safety and wanting to remain competitive and be successful in the future. But surely Arsenal are the only big team in sports who have the resources to take another step further but choose not to.

It’s all about low risk and not taking chances—and I’m not necessarily talking about buying the most expensive player. If the club do have such a firm belief in what is going to come up in the next few seasons, and they can justify many of their actions of the last six years, then why not give supporters some real and valuable information on the workings of the club.

The problem for Arsenal fans is that there is no real pressure for the board to do anything other than continue on this path. You get the feeling that they’re enjoying this ride of waiting out the storm until FFP arrives, but at the same time are dreading it because they know they’ll have to take some form of action. Supporters aren’t going to run away from the club, and even those who do oppose the current board set up are vilified for being anti-Arsenal.

In 2016 with FFP in full swing (hopefully), does that mean Andres Iniesta can be bought for about £18million? Because technically, clubs have to break even and can’t spend £70million, for example, on a player. These are the questions: are Arsenal going to increase their spending or are they hoping that everyone else’s wanes? The value of a footballer is not going to decrease just because three invisible letters (sort of) are saying so. With that, how much is really going to change at Arsenal?

Arsene Wenger seems committed to this idea of bringing in young players, and with the funding that went into the training ground and into youth football, why wouldn’t he continue on that path? But there is a problem at Arsenal that won’t just disappear once FFP is in effect, from the team not turning up for games to the stupidity of £13.50 for fish and chips.

There is a view from within, and unfortunately one that is shared among certain sections of the Arsenal fan base, that everything will simply fall into place. The team will start winning, the youth set up will produce outstanding talents and the ticket prices at the stadium will be a much better reflection of the quality on the pitch. But has there ever been acknowledgement for the other clubs in the league?



  • Tom
    3 years ago

    The single most important reason for Arsenal’s lack of competitiveness is the ownership of the club , and no amount of FIFA regulation is ever going to change that. If there’s one thing that’s constant among Europe’s biggest clubs is that their owners love football with passion . Not the case with Arsenal . Kroenke’s idea of winning is making money , and a healthy bottom line is his biggest trophy. Wenger is the fifth most paid manager in football , not having won anything in seven years. Record like that hardly justifies his salary , unless he gets paid for managing Arsenal balance sheets rather than on the pitch affairs. And balancing those require selling clubs best players. If Walcot leaves in the winter transfer window, he will be the sixth first team player to have left the club in last two years. If that’s not proof enough that Arsenal are in trouble then I don’t know wat is .

  • Phil
    3 years ago

    A really good lucid and well written article. Also good comment from Tom. But how disappointing to see only 1 comment. I guess rational analyses is anathema to lots of web interest. Any way…
    The most damining thing about the last few years is the most objevtively apparent. We have gone from being in the top tier of English and European football teams to being 2nd tier and even worse a “selling cub”. It’s beyond argument and beyond belief. And the whole kit and kaboodle of obnoxious self-serving siuts that run the team, (Wenger excluded) show absolutely not 1 iota of passion for the rue values of sporting competitevness, team spirit and the essence of fan loyalty. How did we wind up here? Why are we watching Man U, MCFC and Chelsea, busting their balls, building team loyalty, longevity, and more practically brand equity based on supreme effort and achievment. And all we have is our truly great players wanting to ship out to go places to win things. I’m out of energy fightiung this. It’s like having an accident and not nowing how bad you are hurt until months and months later. We have been moratlly wounded by a facile greedy and hubristic board of directors who have used money and class distinction to bring a once great footballing dynasty down. The only thing die hard fans can say postiveky is – well we are in the black. While we lose great potential UK talent to teams who live in the real world of – to hell with everything let’s win at any cost. Coz at the end of the day nothing succeeds like seccess. And the job os suits is to tidy up the finances after picking up the silverware. Do you think that Man U fans give toss about how the Glasers have finced the growth – or are they more interetsed in the fact they are now the most valuable sports frnchise on this planet. And for £25mill they bought our CAPTAIN who has scored 9 goals this season. Who gives a shit how much we “made” on him. I give a shit that the idiots in charge coudn’t keep him or Cesc, or Song, or Nasri, or Tour, or Gallas, or Gilberto, or van Brockhurst, or Adebyor or or or…. Sorry about typos but it’s really hard to edit

  • Dave A
    3 years ago

    Oh well that means we just have to keep selling our best players for the next couple of years,great.

    You know Ive said it befor throw away on the pitch your RVP scarves hats and shirts let the board know how you feel,next week would be a good place to throw it and then when he comes to play against us,they might just think about not selling off our next best player.What do you think.Trow this Idea on twitter or face book or any Arsenal comment box anywhere,some may do it who go to the game at OT or the Emirates.The board might just get the point because the certainly dont seem to care about us over the last few years.

  • James Morgan
    3 years ago

    I am already worried. I believe the gunners short passing game is making the gunners too predictable.I know you can’t compare apples with oranges. You watch how MU score two goals past Chelsea. The speed of passing was such the Chelsea midfield players could not make in time to defend in numbers.But the gunners style easy to counter. Its obviuos to all but Wenger.Yet he shows no sign of changing.
    Competition for fourth will be vey tough, If the gunners can’t secure it,it’s best he goes.

  • gunna
    3 years ago

    give walcott a central role he is obviously our best striker and his finishing is improving. arsene – do the right thing! get rid of the rest of the squad except diaby, santi, sagna, jenkins, gibbs, vermaelen, podolski, mertasacker, gnarby, kosieiny and santos but only if you play him on the wing.