Tag Archives: She Wore A Yellow Ribbon

Arsenal need to learn lessons from 2008

In 2007/08, we should have won the league.

We led for much of the season, only to capitulate in the closing stages of the season – winning just 5 of the last 12.

The season derailed following that game against Birmingham City. Eduardo’s injury and then a heads gone moment in the 95th minute that saw Birmingham equalise from the penalty spot.

Club captain William Gallas threw a strop on the pitch and the team never recovered.

We ended up 3rd, 4 points behind league winners Manchester United.

The lessons to be learned are not what happened during that season, but what happened after.

Arsene Wenger had built a team of the most exciting young talent in Europe.

2007/08 should have been the beginning of something special, not the best it would get for nearly a decade.

That young team contained the likes of Cesc Fabregas (21 years old), Robin van Persie (24), Theo Walcott (18), Gael Clichy (22), Alex Song (20), Abou Diaby (22), Denilson (20), Mathieu Flamini (24), Emmanuel Adebayor (24) and Nicklas Bendtner (20).

We were set up nicely to dominate English football – and potentially European – for some time.

Having nearly one the title, we needed a few tweaks. A bit of investment in some senior pro’s to guide the young squad.

Summer 2008 we bought French starlet Samir Nasri, Welsh teenage sensation Aaron Ramsey and Manchester United veteran Mikel Silvestre.

It built on the young squad with more undoubtedly young talent, but it was not enough and we ended up 4th, 18 points behind Manchester United.

Reportedly hamstrung by stadium debt as the UK entered recession, we were either unable or unwilling to spend. And the next summer everything began to unravel.

In 2009 we spent just £10m on you g Ajax defender Thomas Vermaelen. And then the exodus begun.

Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure were pochard by nouveau riche Manchester City. Both signed big contracts with their new club and it showed to the Arsenal players what they could earn elsewhere.

As the lack of investment continued, more and more players became frustrated about our transfer policy. We were simply unable to match our talented young players ambitions.

This was not just about what they could earn, but also what they could win.

We were falling well behind Manchester City, Man U and Chelsea, and we could no longer be considered one of Europe’s elite.

Every summer we failed to invest, more players departed – peaking in 2011 when Clichy, Fabregas and Nasri all departed.

Almost every one of those young players we that nearly took us to the Premier League title in 2008 won the league at their new clubs.

Cesc and Song at Barcelona, Toure, Clichy and Nasri at City. van Persie at Manchester United.

Had we matched their ambition when at Arsenal, they might have taken us to the title.

And that is where the lessons need to be learned.

Regardless of where we finish this season, we need to build on this young team. We can not rest on our laurels.

Manchester City will spend again. Newcastle are now financed by a country. Manchester United will come again.

If we do not build on this season, it will be deja vu.

How long will the likes of Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and William Saliba hang about if we do not match their ambition?

The likes of Manchester City, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Barcelona are already reportedly sniffing around our young talent.

We need to match their ambition on the pitch and in their back pocket.

Over the next two windows, I would expect us to spend £120m+.

A new defensive midfielder and more attacking talent – both centrally and wide – is what we need.

We also need to tie the younger lads down to long term deals, securing their future with us.

I am more confident now that we will do that.

The stadium debt is now more manageable, and in Edu and Arteta, we have an equally ambitious management team that won’t try and treat us like some sort of socialist footballing experiment.

Hopefully KSE have learned that to move forward, you need investment. You can not just rely on young players improving.

2008 will live long in my memory as a missing opportunity. What happened in the half-decade after that was simply disgraceful.

UTA.

Keenos

Arsenal for sale: Will KSE follow in the Glazier’s and FSG footsteps?

First Liverpool, now Manchester United.

Two big, American owned, English clubs are up for sale. Why is this? And will the Kroenke’s follow a similar route with Arsenal.

Value at their peak?

The feeling is, football may well be “at its peak”.

Many of the American owners of top clubs have made their money through the financial markets. They (and the people around them) are experts at reading the markets. Finding companies that are undervalued, and selling them when they think they have reached peak value.

Have these financial experts looked at football clubs and thought “they have reached their peak, time to sell”. But why have they reached their peak?

European Super League

You can only wring a cloth so many times.

Two thirds of a top clubs revenue comes from TV money and gate receipts.

Since the Premier League came into existence, TV money has jumped dramatically every deal.

Sky numbers have stagnated for many years, and due to the cost of living crisis in the UK, their subscribers are declining – a 255,000 decrease in the second quarter of 2022.

In the last decade, the increasing in TV money has mainly been driven by overseas deals.

With “the world now conquered” and Sky’s decline viewership, clubs had to look elsewhere for to increase revenue. That was the European Super League.

Fans swiftly shut the door on that idea, leaving clubs very few alternative routes to increase revenue.

Stagnating gate receipts

You feel gate receipts in England have potentially reached their peak.

Since the Emirates has opened, Arsenal have only had 3 (from memory) “real” price rises (excluding rises due to VAT or reversals from European football discounts).

The aforementioned cost of living crisis means many people do not have the money for luxury entertainment – football, concert and other sporting tickets, holidays, etc.

Arsenal are currently suffering from a huge supply & demand issue, but dramatically increase ticket prices will be a huge PR own goal just as fans are on side.

And even an increase in tickets will not do much – if Arsenal increased tickets by 10% it would only add another 3% in revenue. Not enough to increase club value.

The only way clubs are dramatically increasing gate receipts these days is to expand their current stadium or build a bigger one. But that in itself comes at a huge cost and adding up to £1BU in debt to your club will only reduce its value in the short term (Spurs owners are struggling to sell due to the levels of debt).

So with no huge increases in gate receipts or TV revenue, and the Super League off the table, you can understand why investors might think footballing revenue has peaked.

Chelsea

The recent sale of Chelsea would have made owners of other clubs sit up and take note.

The club sold for £4.25bn, with revenue of £428m.

Manchester United’s revenue is £583m, Liverpool £487m. So how much would they be worth?

It would be too easy to say “£5.8pm & £4.8bn” based on the x10 multiplier Chelsea were sold for. There are other factors to take into account.

Chelsea were sold as debt free, whilst Man U have over £500m in debt.

The buyer of Chelsea would know they are in desperate need of a new stadium (Stamford Bridge capacity: 40,000), whilst Liverpool are in the process of expanding to 61,000.

Manchester United have the biggest ground in the country, but it is outdated and in desperate need of investment. Some experts believe they might be best off pulling it down and starting again.

FSG paid £300m for Liverpool back in 2010. The Glaziers spent close to £800m on Manchester United.

Both would be looking at at least a £4bn profit on their investment if they sold. Huge.

Incoming global recession

As the world continues to financially recover from Covid, and with the war in Ukraine, we are facing a global recession (it is not just the UK suffering right now).

Prior to a global recession is a good time to sell as the value of the assets will likely drop. Likewise, the cash a sale generates will be king.

State investment

The final impacting factor is the rise in state investment.

With the likes of Newcastle, Manchester City and PSG now owned by oil states, it is becoming increasingly harder for “self sustained” clubs to compete.

Success and fan bases go hand in hand.

We already see more Manchester City fans across the UK than ever before (you never used to see a City shirt in London). And the same is happening abroad.

Foreign fans are often quick to jump onto the next “successful club”. With the swing of success from Man U to Man City, the red shirts are being replaced by Sky Blue.

It will take time, but if City’s dominance (alongside potentially Newcastle’s), we will begin to see the fan base of “traditional” clubs decline as new, younger fans begin supporting the latest successful clubs.

As the fanbase declines, so will potential revenue from sponsors.

The likes of Manchester United and Liverpool might currently be at their peak in terms of marketability. And they simple can not keep up with state owned clubs.

So what does this mean for Arsenal?

Reports are that Manchester United are looking to sell having spoken to FSG and found out the offers on the table for Liverpool. You would be surprised if the Kroenke’s have not had the same conversations.

But will that be enough for the Kroenke’s to sell? Possibly not.

Whilst Liverpool and Manchester United are at their peak, value wise, Arsenal still have room to grow.

We are on an upwards curve on the pitch (Liverpool and Man U are on a downward curve).

Our most recent revenue was £327m.

That is £100m less than Chelsea, £160m less than Liverpool and £260m less than Manchester United.

You want to sell an asset at its peak, not whilst it is on the up. And we are on the up.

If we continue on our current trajectory, and keep hold of our talented young players, success will follow. And with success will come an increase in revenue.

Champions League football, more from kit manufacturers, more from kit sponsors, new global partners.

If we go on the x10 multiplier of Chelsea, then we will sell for around £1bn less than them, and potentially £2bn less than Man U.

The Kroenke’s would be walking away just as we are on the right path back to the top, and would potentially be sacrificing bigger profits down the line.

The Kroenke’s will look at what others are getting, and Arsenal’s current revenue. They will know that if we get back to where we should be, our value will dramatically rise. They won’t want to “sell early” and miss out on further profits.

Manchester United and Liverpool might be sold over the next few months. I do not see the Kroenke’s walking away for at least another 5 years.

Keenos

Top Of The League FC becomes Top At Christmas FC

Morning Top Of The League FC. Or as we are now called: Top At Christmas FC.

It was Played No One Decent FC, then Collapse In October FC. After a draw away to Southampton it was Burnout FC. But here we are, going into the World Cup, top of the league.

What will be next? My bet is “Arsenal haven’t played Man City or Newcastle” or “they will collapse after the World Cup.

But let’s ignore the naysayers and just enjoy our Christmas dinners!

We have turned a brilliant pre-season into a brilliant start to the season. It is more than any of us could have hoped.

I still do not expect us to win the title. Very few Arsenal fans can say they are confident about us being Champions. Opposing fans will try and paint a different picture, that we need to be humbled. But the reality is we are just enjoying having a competitive team again.

We are too and we deserve to be there.

There has not really been a game that we have won that we didn’t deserve too (victory over Leeds the only one that gets close). We have not had those Spurs games where they have been behind, and just scrapped through.

And in the two games we dropped points, we can point to being on the wrong side of refereeing decisions (no penalty against Southampton and opening goal wrongly disallowed against Man U).

Opponents will point to the Liverpool game (when the referee got everything right) as an example of when we got favourable decisions. And Sky are trying to paint a narrative of us being lucky having spent half-time Saturday and 10 minutes after full time bitterly debating a possible penalty that was offside anyway.

We now have a little break for the winter World Cup.

Whilst people might think it will damage our momentum, I think it will have the opposite effect.

Just 10 Gooners will be going.

Over the 10, Bukayo Saka, Granit Xhaka, Thomas Partey, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Matt Turner are the only guaranteed starters. Gabriel Jesus and William Saliba are both 50/50 to start.

Of those 7, Tomiyasu, Xhaka and Partey will probably struggle to make the knockout stages, meaning they will be back with Arsenal in the first week of December.

Saka, Saliba and Jesus are the only candidates to be playing for their country come through quarter finals, and you would expect almost everyone back by the end of the semi-finals (14 December).

That will mean Mikel Arteta should be ready to face West Ham on Boxing Day with the majority of the squad having had at least 12 days without a game. We should be nicer rested.

A Boxing Day visit from West Ham is followed by a New Years Eve trip to Brighton. We then have a tricky period of Newcastle (H), Spurs (A), Manchester United (H) and Everton (A).

If we are still top of the league after the first 6 games back, then I might start believing.

In other news, Tony Adams was knocked out of Strictly last night.

Rumours are he had the votes that guaranteed him being through, but a “hamstring injury” meant he was likely to pull out. That led producers to make the decision to put him in the dance off, ignoring the vote. We can be proud of getting him so far!

Enjoy being top!

Keenos