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They Were Only Supposed To Blow The Bloody Doors Off!

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Something rather wonderful is happening in English football.

It’s suddenly become interesting again.

Yes, I know, it crept up on me, too.  And it’s been going on for a little while, as well.

But on Monday a line in the sands of footballing expectations was crossed.

Along with a fair few million around the planet, all tuned in to watch Leicester’s splendid dismissal of Chelsea 2-1 on Monday night, only a small minority would have genuinely anticipated a victory for the plucky visitors from London. Perhaps a majority might have gone for a draw but hang on, this is newly promoted Leicester, playing the current Champions of England.

What on earth is going on with the once mighty blues?

But wait – it’s not just Mourinho’s Meltdown providing the fun and (lost) games for Chelsea.

Over at Liverpool, a turgid early season start saw the dismissal of their formerly high-flying manager, and a stubborn anchor remains, resolutely digging the club into 9th place, for now, at least.  Up at high spending Man United, few barely recognise a club that once won everything with Louis van Duul seemingly in a race with The Special One to be the next manager out of a job.

Yet everyone, including the current leaders, have been dropping points like confetti since the opening days of the season and the truth is, the league – and access to the prize of those precious top four places – feels wide open, certainly going into the Xmas period.

(Okay, 16th-placed-Chelsea, maybe not THAT wide open, but you get my drift.)

With the possible exception of games against Aston Villa, it truly feels as if any side, on their day, could beat any other.

So what’s happening?

Well, possibly everything – or nothing.

It is possible – even likely, perhaps – that the Leicester’s, Palace’s, Watford’s and West Ham’s of the world will slip back down to a more ‘normal’ looking mid-table berth by February/March. The arguments about squad depths are usually corralled at this point and there is much truth in the squad depth based arguments.

But it is the sheer numbers of established ‘bigger’ teams doing badly against the so-called smaller clubs that catches the eye. Clubs that have had multiple seasons’ EPL pay days to bolster their squads to presumably challenge for trophies and league places alike are proving the real puzzle – Villa, Sunderland, Chelsea, Newcastle, Southampton, Stoke, Everton, Liverpool – all are (or have been) struggling to a certain extent – and some struggling badly – given the funding that has gone their way in recent seasons.

And on the opposite side of the same coin, by contrast, the sheer number of recently (or quite recently) promoted outfits who appear, so far, to be doing very nicely indeed thank you – tekaboo Bournemouth, Watford, Palace and of course Leicester in particular!

Simply put, we appear to be in the eye of a revolutionary storm that is sweeping over English football – and indeed, the rest of the footballing world.

To get some context to what is happening it’s worth remembering that round the year 2000, Premier League TV income was around £670m which was considered a staggering increase in the figures for 1991-97 which was set at £191m, itself a sum considered by many as being likely to prove ruinous to the beautiful game. By 2004, the figure had soared to £1.024 billion, a number itself up, by 2013, to £3.018 billion and all set, finally, from 2016-2019 to hit £5.136 billion pounds.

The beautiful game appears to have been well and truly supplanted by the ugly cheque book.

By 2013, a number of football clubs’ business models had been put on notice. By 2016 those same set ups may well be considered somewhat, well, irrelevant – possibly even redundant.

Let’s pay some kind of tribute to those models, those systems of funding that made amateur accountants out of so many of us and at least one of which seemed to fly in the face of the now almost quaint-sounding ‘financial fair play’ regime of the largely discredited Platini ‘led’ UEFA.

It all seemed so important up until very recently.

My personal least favourite was the Oligarchy/Sovereign Wealth funding model used to float the likes, of Chelsea and Man City.

‘Grudging’ respect is granted to Man United’s towering commercial team, largely unrivalled in the footballing world in as far as their fortune was (at least prior to the Glazers’ arrival) entirely self-generated.  Today, even as a non-United fan, one can only wince at how the hard-earned advantages won in the 1990’s have been squandered in recent years thanks to a spending spree that can only be politely described as careless, short-termist and profligate.

By contrast, the Self-Sustaining Model of Arsenal Football Club was the one most mocked by rivals, commentators and indeed some of the club’s own fans.  Trophy-less for a few years, in some ways, it was the most ‘English’ of business models – one of those principled, plucky, fight-them-on-the-beaches kind of models that dominated the moral high ground, if little else.

But all three modus operandi can be considered somewhat out-dated in a world where even the smallest clubs of the league – such as little Bournemouth – have valuations in excess of £100 million and all 20 clubs in the EPL are now in the top 40 revenue earners in the world, at least, according to Deloitte.  Even the mighty German Bundesliga at £1.7 billion has been dwarfed by the EPL’s value, already in excess of £3 billion – and that’s before the latest new deal has kicked in.

Of course, should the cash somehow run out one day, we all know which model we’d prefer our own club to be sheltering under.

Okay, enough (almost) of the numbers – what does it really all mean?

Well, it’s interesting that despite Man U having the highest revenue at £433 million, with City on £348m, and Chelsea on £324m, the (relatively) smaller English sides are now earning enough to buy – and pay – players of a sufficient quality to cause real problems for all the ‘big’ clubs.

Don’t be deceived by the headline transfer figures that dance before our eyes in the dreaded transfer windows – very decent players indeed are heading to the likes of Leicester, Bournemouth and Watford not merely to admire the shire views.

The real impact of the ‘new money’ is in the salaries the clubs can now afford and it is this that is likely to cause chaos in the European leagues over the coming seasons.  Leagues that now threaten, in my view, to become zombie affairs as their best talent heads north.  Apart from the risks presented to the English national side by the influx of foreign talent, the softer, slower and less competitive leagues of Spain, Italy and France are unlikely to be firmed up in the foreseeable future.

Many of their best players are already bidding farewell to the somewhat sunnier climes of Europe and Latin America in favour of the highest weekly wages on the planet and the grey skies of a tiny island nation which somehow once again finds itself punching well above its sporting weight.  All this no doubt to the consternation of a largely rudderless UEFA and FIFA, who are both as powerless to intervene in this new world order as the moral vacuums they inhabit are empty and valueless.

And where does all this leave Arsenal?  Did we just waste 10 years buying a shiny new stadium when really we could have been (over-) spending on players and shiny old cups? Is there any way any of this could have been anticipated?

Surely, somewhere, somehow, there is a way to cast blame and demand ‘Arsene out’, if only for old time’s sake?

To be honest, it’s not an argument I want to fully address as we will never really know what we might have achieved during the years of austerity had we stayed put at Highbury and thrown all caution to the wind.  One suspects the likes of Chelsea in particular would not have had things all their own way and City would have never got so far ahead. Maybe we’d have not lost some of our better players to Man U, Barca and others.

Regardless of the rights and wrongs of that particular argument, the Emirates Stadium, apart from almost doubling the numbers of spectators actually getting into games, has another more symbolic importance.

Aside from being one of the most modern stadia in world football, Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium represents the club as being the most forward looking, advanced and prepared club in the country – and, very likely, in the world.

Not only do our ever-improving training facilities in London Colney represent the absolute cutting edge of sports science, but there is talk, in some ‘in-the-know’ quarters, of Arsenal presently looking around for a new site to build a second stadium – this one for our U21’s, U18’s, and other squads to be able to play in front of smaller but no less enthusiastic crowds of spectators, fascinated to see, in a competitive setting, the very best in world youth.

But over and above all this, our development and investment in data analytics – something few properly understand – is already placing our club in the driving seat of talent assessment and acquisition.

Because, when everybody is firing £20 notes from their TV-rights funded tanks, you have to be able to spend wiser, not greater, in order to secure competitive advantage.

A lesson the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea, to name just two, do not appear to be learning any time soon.

Yes, something rather wonderful is happening to English football.

The old guard is no longer having things entirely their own way and whilst few will refuse the new money, there will be many nervous eyes cast in the direction of the explosive impact all this cash will have on the cosy cartel that once dominated English football.

Yes, they were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off, maybe.

But now everybody in the League have got their hands on the loot.

As the prospects for the biggest clubs hang in the balance, everybody has a chance to win again and, happily, things may never be quite the same again.

About ArsenalAndrew

Annoying, perennial optimist and lifelong supporter of the finest football club the world has ever seen. My support for the club manager and every single player is non-negotiable, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Retain all options on fellow fans.

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84 comments on “They Were Only Supposed To Blow The Bloody Doors Off!

  1. No Eddy, plenty of better days. Usually involving that factor that Jose found alien: the football.

    E.g. The day AFC won the title unbeaten.

    Etc.

    Like

  2. and to think this is the sort of owner so many gooners want at Arsenal

    Rob Harris ‏@RobHarris 5h5 hours ago
    Abramovich preparing to make the 10th managerial appointment since buying Chelsea in 2003

    Like

  3. Oldfirmfacts ‏@Oldfirmfacts1 5h5 hours ago
    Jose Mourinho proved wrong those who said he could only be successful with money, by being unsuccessful with money.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. fins I did not say “the best day in the history of the BPL”, just “one of the best days”,

    of course what happens during the games, the winning etc, are great days for who ever wins,

    but for me what makes this one of the best days in the History of the BPL, is that it transcends individual club loyalty, and when considering the BPL as a whole, the fact that one of the snidest, most ignorant, most egotistical, nastiest cunts that was ever employed by an BPL club has been sacked, has to go down as one of the best days in the history of the BPL.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. so how long till mourinho becomes man utd manager.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well done, Andrew.

    The new money coming in to the English Premier League, means that NO club will wish to be relegated.

    The current members of the EPL, have all acquired a lottery addict’s wish come true.

    With the FA Cup starting in January, it is question of whether or not, the three clubs still in the Champions League will wish for a long run?

    As for the Special One, it would seem Dr. Eva Caneiro wished for a complete and unequivocal apology? Before returning to work at Chelsea F. C.?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m not sure about the “can’t win without endless money” bit. He did after all win the CL with his Porto team.
    One thing he is good at though is making sure he’s signed a new, 3 or 4 year contract just before he gets sacked – did the same at RM.

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  8. porto under him where by far the biggest spenders in Portugal, not only in transfer fees but in wages too.

    there is no doubt that jo say knows how to win trophies, but there is also no doubt that he can not sustain or is not prepared to try and sustain success at any club, and he falls out with players, staff and journos at the first sign of things not going his way.

    for all his success with CFC, he has jumped ship both times they have had a poor run of form

    Liked by 2 people

  9. If it wasn’t for Roman’s money. Mourinho would have blown up Chelsea completely . Doubt me, look at Inter today, 6 years after Mourinho, a pale image of the dominant European club of the 90s and noughties. Porto and Real were really big clubs in their Leagues and had the means to survive the devastation although Porto is still a selling club 12 years later.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. this interview on chelsea tv about the sacking of jo say has not gone down well with their fans

    Liked by 1 person

  11. by the way the interview was with the Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo

    Like

  12. I hope chamberlain starts!

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  13. A game soon.

    The City game is coming up.
    Of late City’s hardest opponent in their own words this game will be a massive test for AFCs squad.

    Cazorla for one will not be happy to be missing a game between these two teams managed by his most important managers. It’s a blow but this math is also another opportunity for flamini to further increase his legend. Flamini to score the winner.

    Like

  14. > City players commenting that AFC have been their toughest PL opposition.

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  15. Jose Mourinho sped off so fast down the motorway after the sacking from Chelsea ..he finally picked up 3 points.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. It was chamberlain who drove home the first stake

    I believe that Mourinho tried to impose some kind of curse upon the player which would explain his lurking presence as the players came down the steps at Wembley.

    Logically it therefore follows that now the curse ( deflected OG’s etc ) has expired.

    Chamberlain to score the winner against City after coming on as a sub.

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  17. Probably the best summation I’ve read of the marvellous decline and fall of Jose Mourinho.

    The greatest revelation possibly being the number of players wanting out last May, despite being champions, none of whom were permitted to leave …

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/managers/jose-mourinho/12056813/Revealed-The-inside-story-of-how-the-axe-fell-on-Jose-Mourinho-at-Chelsea.html

    Like

  18. I heard José tried to catch the bus home, but he forgot that he had already parked it at the Emirates or somewhere else and security wouldnt let him in when he claimed it was there.
    The security guard said “cant you read mate? No mercenaries here” and pointed to the to sign that said `No mercenaries`…”anyway we sent that parked bus dahn the scwap merchants ages ago. nah sod awf, it wasnt worth nothing, two rubles fifty”.

    Like

  19. Afternoon all,

    All very quiet today with no Arsenal news that I have seen and the aftershock of Jose’s departure gently wobbling across the Premier League. I am with Fat Sam when he says he does not know what to expect tomorrow at the Bridge.

    As for us I see it is more than two years since Citeh manage to beat us in the bizarre 6-3 goal fest at the Etihad. I can’t see a repeat, I really can’t.

    Like

  20. A rare moment of self awareness from some of our rivals fans.

    http://theboyhotspur.com/spurs-shamed-by-arsenal/

    Like

  21. SpursNews ‏@SpursNews1961 22h22 hours ago
    Chelsea fan on radio, not even a hint of irony, “We gotta consider that bloke at Leicester aint we, unknown but done a cracking job…”

    Like

  22. Quite so DC – bloody joke that not only is there zero social housing but that the mugs residents of Haringey are actually subsiding the project to the tune of £16-£17 million – one of the poorest boroughs in London subsidising a business owned by a Bermuda based billionaire and which pays its employees six figure sums each week.

    Welcome to the new now.

    Dont get me started on the local MP though David Lammy.

    Lammy has the Dianne Abbott of Method of Speaking ” – oh- so – slowly – and – precisely- so – that – all – you – simple – morons – listening – to – me – can – u-n-d-e-r-s-t-a-n-d- what – I – am – saying ”

    “Nicking a fucking living” its called. Filthy Western bourgeois puppet that he is.

    Anyway I hope the people of Tottingham recover their revolutionary spirit and burn the place down in a spirit of righteous fury.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. POWER TO THE PEOPLE

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Andrew – late to the party but I really enjoyed your piece. Like you I’m enjoying the openness of the season not just because the door is ajar as much for us as anyone else but because of teams like Leicester and Bournemouth too.
    Shame that Mou has gone I could’ve coped with more of his twisting on the hook but revelling in someone else’s discomfort is unseemly isn’t it?
    Mills – who?

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Steww—Rick Astley!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like

  26. one thing overlooked about the Mourinho sacking, the effect it is having and will have for some time on his most loyal fans/supporters. Put yourself in their place for a moment, here we have a group of people who admired the man, nay adored him. They could list more facts, figures, stats, every achievement, not only what he managed at Chelsea, but his whole career. They could prove how he really is the special one.
    For them he was their wet dream of a manager, a tactical genius, transfer God, man manager supreme, greatest ever motivator, a man who speaks the truth in the press, who tells it as it is, he sees what his team needs, then he goes out and gets it, the builder of the perfect squad (why wouldn’t the perfect manager have the perfect squad, it only makes sense).
    To a disinterested onlooker, so many of these people seemed willing to sacrifice their first born, in their defense of, and their extolling of his undoubted greatness. So I say to all here at Positively Arsenal, it is nearing the time of year that is called the time of peace on Earth and good will to all men, we all have to in the spirit of Christmas, take a moment, think of their sad loss, think of the confusion that they now suffer from, anyone here who has lost a loved one, or someone dear to their heart, will not need telling of the utter devastation and the grief it caused, and that is very akin to what the Mourinho fanboys are suffering from at this time. So all I ask is that you do not go out of your way to make it harder on them, do not rub salt into their open wounds, do not taunt them with the big names being linked to their club as next manager, do not remind them that their club is in terminal crisis all season long. Just leave them to support their club in their own way, let them have the hope that Jose will one day return to the BPL to manage their club to league titles and cups again.

    so to sum up, leave the WOB/AAA to grieve in their own way.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Bellerin proves he is quicker than Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Andrew that article was quite excellent. Glad I had the chance to pop back in.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. In the great scheme of things it wouldn’t necessarily be the worst thing in the world for us should Chelsea now go on a bit of a run and start beating all and sundry (as long as they don’t beat us of course ).

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Arsenal are reported to be close to tying up a deal for Chile U17 captain Marcelo Allende, the 16 year old midfielder plays for Alexis old club Cobreloa.

    Here is an article about the lad from a few months ago

    http://www.conmebol.com/en/10152015-1950/chile-marcelo-allende-belief-beyond-his-years

    Like

  31. Well, just look at this footage of Serge Gnabry in our 2 nil victory over the spuds. He was awesome. Let’s hope he returns to that form soon. My word he looked good…

    Liked by 1 person

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