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Arsenal Fans Need A Reality Check !

Before I go into anything today, please understand that this article is not a defence of Arsene Wenger. It has nothing to do with him, nothing ! OK?

I am going to lay out, in the most simple of terms, why Arsenal should not be expected to win the PL and ECL, and using very basic figures and analogies.

First off, no one is yet to give me one logical reason why the fourth richest club in England should be beating the three that are, even now, considerably richer.

There have been studies done that show an 85% direct correlation between spend and success, across all major leagues. This isn’t my opinion, it is fact. It may be a sad fact and one we wish didn’t exist, but a fact it is and being a fact, we have to acknowledge it and until it changes, accept it. In simple terms that leaves you a 15% chance of beating the odds. So yes, it can be done. Again I ask though, not why Arsenal ‘could’ be the team to do it, but why they ‘should’ be the club to do it?

People will point to Atlético Madrid as an example of how it can be done. Yes, but they are the 3rd biggest club in Spain and have done it once in 20 years. That is 5% of the time and within the previously mentioned 15% window.However that simply proves the maths, it does not mean they (or anyone else) should be expected to do it. Just that its possible. No one is saying its impossible.

But what about MUFC this year ? They had the most expensive squad and the highest wages, and we finished above them, I hear people say. Again, this is true, but lets consider why. They have had to pay massively inflated transfer fees and wages to attract players. So their wages are not actually a true reflection of the worth of their players. Lets say £250 k pw each for Falcao and RVP. That distorts things considerably. However, as a rule, given half decent management, the wages are a reflection of quality. MCFC came into huge funds and wanted to join the party. In order to attract better players they had to massively over pay, in terms of fees and wages, in order to attract better players like Ade (coughs). So for that period the spend was not a true reflection of quality. And yet once they were in the ECL they bought truly top class players, their spend became a reflection of quality and they won the title, twice.

Chelsea in the early days went on the biggest spending spree (in real terms) that football has ever seen. Their spend became a reflection of their quality and they won the league twice. Then they stopped spending at those levels , the team got older and the wages were no longer a real reflection. What happened is they came 5th. What happens next?  Yes, they went on another spending spree and they won it again. That they finished above MUFC and MCFC with a slightly lower wage bill is because of where they are in the buying cycle. City are heading towards the point where Chelsea were before the second spending spree. Make no mistake, another spree is coming.

The ECL is even more of a challenge. Not only do we have to try and overcome the odds against the three  other richer English clubs, but there is Barca, Real, Bayern and PSG. Its no coincidence that in Europe the winners are also the biggest spending clubs.

That’s the bad news. The good news is the 15%. That means winning is a possibility.We should be doing everything we can to get nearer the spending of these clubs and exploit the advantages Arsenal have. Like stability and a long term plan. We should hope to overcome the odds. But when hope and desire become expectations and demands that is when logic flies out the window. That is when we become unreasonable entitled halfwits.

We have to accept the reality of the new football world. Despite the additional income from the stadium,we are not one of the elite clubs. We are getting there, but as of yet we are the level below. Since the move was planned Oil money and revenue from TV and commercial deals have reduced the advantage we could have expected when the plan was hatched. Its sad for Arsenal , but the fact is the landscape has changed. What we were doing in the early part of the century is as irrelevant  as what Liverpool were doing in the eighties. But just imagine where we would have been without the move?

We have to hope that Arsene and the club can and do find a way to overcome the odds (and I do) but it will be against the  odds. If we do it , it will be an incredible achievement. Its not something we should expect or demand.

Tomorrow I might write a blog on why I believe we will challenge and the reasons I believe we can, but it would be from a position of understanding the difficulties and accepting the realities. If I back a ten to one shot in a race, I do so because I hope and think it can win, but I understand that its ten to one for a reason. I won’t call the jockey and the trainer useless if it doesn’t come in.

26 comments on “Arsenal Fans Need A Reality Check !

  1. Yes, I know you lot all know.

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  2. but George “I want” and that is all that matters

    on a different topic, there must be a lot of Liverpool fans at the Ireland v England game, as Sterling is getting booed every time he touches the ball.

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  3. I would like every commentator (and there have been a few) who have said that in finishing third (and winning the Cup) we have underachieved to explain why in their view Man City overachieved last season, and if they can’t do that explain how we should finish higher.

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  4. George – You are preaching to the choir here. To be controversial, if Hunter was still around he would contrive an argument that Ivan and the Board are betraying Wenger by failing to buy Cech, or some some other proven winner, even if they are overpriced. He and others fail to understand, if you are financially weaker than your opponents, you cannot play their game of spend-hit-miss-spend, as you will eventually end up like Liverpool or worse. For those who conveniently forget, Liverpool has not won the league in over 20 yrs, fluked the champions league in Istanbul, flirted with bankruptcy under Hicks and Gilette, qualified once in the last 5 yrs for the champions league, constantly selling its best players and no new stadium to attract and capture new fans at higher prices. Meanwhile we are now the complete opposite, a club with an identity of playing the most attractive football in England, stability, and financial strength which is a magnet for star players who aspire for more than the chaos and media carousel at some of these big spenders.

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  5. Where is Hunter, when you need him to answer these pressing questions… PG, let him in and get your answers as proposed by Shotta. LOL.

    Much of what is say is about having perspective which many seem to throw put with the bath water!

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  6. I thought we were close to signing Benzana? Now we hear he wants to to retire at real and when he signs a contract extension, it will be that we have missed out on him… really? were we in for him?

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  7. I was warned about watching England friendlies, I even warned myself to avoid them.

    But what did I do ?

    It seems almost incredible that so many apparently decent footballers can serve up such a disjointed slow and disappointing game. And yet it happened again in Dublin.

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  8. It is odd money, and the logical assumption is if you are a very wealthy club that there is an 85% certainty, or arguably more than 85% if you take in things like CL qualification, that you will carry on successful season after season.
    So whatever happened to both the Milan clubs ? Both have surely not fallen on such hard financial times to justify their recent mid table status ? Milan have been a Euro giant for four or five decades – I can’t remember when their position has been so low as to struggle to get in top half of Serie A and fail year after year to enter CL or Europa

    That can’t just be about money can it ?

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  9. No Andrew, Gross mismanagement can do the trick.Any team or club can fuck up, its being successful that’s tricky.

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  10. Although the maths are correct it is only injuries that’s ensured we haven’t made a laughing stock of the numbers. If you also add in the ref bias (explained by Untold and Benitez) then as a club we are truly the greatest team the world has ever seen.
    Great piece George, as was Steww’s , Muppets x2, and A5. I haven’t been able to comment much because I’ve been working on assignments so I apologize.
    To be honest P.A. continues, like ARSENAL, to over achieve

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  11. Andrew & George

    I’ve plenty of English stag dos in Dublin with more footballing nous than that shambles today, fair dues to the republic for playing down to the same level.
    At least Jack & Theo didn’t get injured.

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  12. Eddy
    Half of Dublin considers itself Scouse.

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  13. Arsenal have won 13 top division titles in their 127 year history.
    That’s damn close enough to a ten to one shot alright, George.

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  14. *129 now.

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  15. George, I would dispute that the Arsenal are the fourth richest club in England!

    This, has nothing whatsoever, in any shape or form, with Mr Wenger.

    Deloitte’s Football Money League, excludes among other items, transfer fees.

    The Arsenal, as their transfer spending is usually “even steven”, because of the VAT impact.

    Liverpool and that lot across the road, ADD the transfer expenditure by those 2 clubs, and The Arsenal slip down the table.

    Extract fro Deloitte, always ignored !

    – Revenue excludes player transfer fees, VAT and other sales related taxes. In a few cases we have made adjustments to total revenue figures to enable, in our view, a more meaningful comparison of the football business on a club by club basis.-

    Always, read the small print.

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  16. lately (well since we won the FA Cup last season, and more so now that we have retained it this season), the AAA have declared that its no longer a worthwhile/meaningful/major trophy, so that leaves only 2 worthwhile/meaningful/major trophies that Arsenal can win, but these AAA still insist that we SHOULD be winning at least one of the two each and every season.

    One of the first posts I wrote on Positively Arsenal was about how the AAA move the goalposts, a few years ago all that was wanted was for us not to sell our best players and maybe win a trophy now and again, then when we stop selling our best players then we must win a trophy every year, then when we win trophies this is not good enough, we must win the BPL or the CL, and I’m sure if we do win one of the BPL or CL then it will be demanded that we win both in the same season, and if that is achieved then it should be a treble.
    The fact that we are up against richer clubs never comes into their way of thinking, there is no reality to it at all, which is quite funny as they keep telling the world that they are the realists.

    As I inferred in my first post of this thread, only two matter to the AAA – “I Want”

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  17. Spot on George and thanks for continuing to fill the void (as it were) with intelligent and interesting posts.
    Fans come in all shapes and sizes and each fan wants something slightly different out of the experience of following a team. I used to think it was to do with age (and it clearly has a lot to do with that) but now I realise it is a lot more complicated than that. I am only guessing here, but I sense that The Arsenal has a wider range of fans than many clubs, and when I have less time I will try to put a few thoughts down about that. But what I do think is whereas many who follow this blog have learnt to be patient and seem to understand the notion of deferred gratification there are equally fervent fans who need to have instant success and feel pretty cross when results don’t come immediately.

    And clubs need to have both types: you can’t only have those who are happy to wait until tomorrow season, just as you can’t have only those who need success every match. It is probably the same in most walks of life to be honest. The best organisations somehow manage to keep both reasonably satisfied, and I think that is exactly the case with The Arsenal.

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  18. Like this one a lot.

    I’ve learned that it almost always works better when you can keep things cool with your arguments- the better to lure em in , momentarily confused by the lack of the vitriol they are accustomed to causing and dealing with , to elaborate, and in so doing expose their weaknesses- and these are the sort of notes you need to hit in order to achieve that.

    It’s also probably better for you if you manage not to get too angry.

    Alas, a good sound argument doesn’t do what you’d really like it to do, i.e., win, and force people to concede where they are wrong.

    But, still, if people will keep talking shit someone has to keep fighting the good fight against it.

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  19. How come the by far the richest football club in Germany, who have turned their domestic competition into a series of training sessions, and about rated the 3rd most powerful on the Forbes and Deloitte lists can’t win the Champions League every season?
    Bayern Munich can’t manage it, but Arsenal should be strolling to it?
    That’s entitlement overdosing.

    Juve got there with a team I would say fairly matches our own (Buffon aside) but that’s a one-off for them, and they were out matched by a much more potent Barca side who didn’t play that well to win the cup.
    Never mind that Juventus had their own league wrapped up months ago.

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  20. I understand the limitations of club wealth but I do feel the greatest detriment to Arsenal is the on-field tilting. We have on-field tilting versus Wenger’s ability to produce brilliant football teams. I am betting/hoping that the wily old Fox will have the last laugh. I dearly would like those of ill-repute to have the smugness taken from their grins.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. According to reports the French midfield consisting of Matuidi, Cabaye and Sissoko were flattened by the Belgians last night, led by an angry Marouanne Fellaini.

    No doubt Le Coq watched with interest

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  22. If you ever want to know anything about the Champions or Europa League, the teams, the schedule, the rules, past results and matches look no further than this site;

    http://kassiesa.home.xs4all.nl/bert/uefa/index.html

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  23. One of the best articles I’ve read all year, as depressing as the premise kinda is, loool.

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  24. Outstanding post George, very well done.

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