It is not all Black and White with Red and White – An open letter in defence of Gazidis




I and my website, ‘1nildown2oneup’ have tended to steer clear of the politics and the economics of Arsenal FC. There are others who cover these subjects superbly well and have far more knowledge and understanding than I. I am not naive of course and  am aware that what goes on, on the pitch, that I do enjoy writing about, is inextricably interlinked however with these other areas. It has been a week of bad news with our skipper effectively asking for a move in a cowardly fashion and then our 30% share holder Red & While Holdings choosing, quite cynically it would seem their timing to pen an open letter criticizing Ivan Gazidis and the present running of the club.  (Click here to read letter:  This of course engendered much debate, but what follows also takes the form of an open letter from ‘Positive Gunner’ (@Positivegunner) which looks to defend Gazidis and questions the timing and background to the R&W letter.

Dear Readers

For those doubting Gazidis and his abilities to run the club…know this

1. He was a big part of converting the MLS from a league of no consequence to something that is actually a legitimate destination for players to go to…Beckham started it off, Henry is there and Kaka has plans to head there as well

2. Manchester City wanted him to oversee their massive spending and project to take over the league. Arsene wanted him and he turned down City to join us.

3. Dein was an excellent transfer negotiator but he never had to face oil money so his relevance in this era is questionable…oil money is competition that Gazidis deals with on every transfer that he and Dick Law have to negotiate

4. Dein also was never hindered by the massive limits that were in play here at Arsenal. Especially after the move to the Emirates. Summer of 2009 and 2010…we spent a combined amount of less than what Liverpool paid for Andy Carroll…that is all the money we had for 2 summers. 35mil.

5. Gazidis, in his first month here oversaw the club record transfer of Andrei Arshavin, who changed our fortunes in 2008/2009 season and got us into the top 4

6. What Gazidis inherited from Dein and Edelman was a boardroom and club in an utter mess with half the players running into their last years of contracts. He renewed RVP’s contract in 2009. And despite the club being in turmoil last summer, got Wilshere, Szczesny and Vermaelen to agree new long term deals

7. Gazidis also knew his job well enough to ensure that once CL was confirmed last summer, we managed to sign FIVE players in 3-4 days time of whom FOUR played a vital part in our recovery from 17th to 3rd

8. People slate him for letting RVP and Nasri run down their contracts. Well know this. These players chose to do so. Contracts were offered to them early in the season. Van Persie turned down his offer in September/October and opted to wait till the end of the year (Theo’s depended on him as well). Nasri turned down his offer in December and did the same. You CANNOT force a player to sign a contract

9. Also if you doubt that he can’t sign players…we got Giroud when Chelsea wanted him and Gervinho when City wanted him…Arsene and Gazidis were both big parts of convincing them.

 Gazidis Transfer Coup

10. Take it from people who have met him (not me) and know that he’s a FAR more intelligent man than most of you give him credit for and he’s a better person to run the backend operations of the club than most people in the world.

11. His real test will be with new commercial deals for 2014 and from what I’m hearing, we might overtake Liverpool with the best shirt deal in the league (We’ve opened negotiations with Emirates for around £25 mil a year apparently)

So before you mindlessly slate him…ask yourself…do you know all this?

One more thing to explain the convenient timing of Usmanov. This summer and next are the last two where our more severe financial restrictions will be in effect. Especially with wages. This is when Usmanov can convince people that he’s most needed for AFC because all he wants is total control to turn us into his money making play thing.What he doesn’t tell you is this. Starting 2014, with the renegotiated deals in place. The below estimate (as I understand it) will be how much ADDITIONAL income we have every year compared to now. Increase in TV and Prize Money for PL/CL performance (~£30-40mil)
Increase in value of existing shirt and kit deals (~ £30mil)
Additional Sponsorship deals (~ £10-20mil)
Add up these three and you’ll see that from the summer of 2014, we’ll have an additional 70-90mil pounds a year…and this is a conservative estimate as there are new commercial deals being negotiated all over the world, 2 new deals in Africa only recently, and the value from additional deals might even be more. So imagine, 70-90mil extra a year. More for transfers and wages. Who would need Usmanov to spend money then? No one. That is why he’s making all his moves and announcements this summer and next. He is DESPERATE.
  Divided on whether Usmanov is hero or villain?

For those who think Usmanov is a saviour…please educate yourselves before spouting rubbish

The guy is nothing more than an opportunistic slimeball who wanted to get his PR move done when the club was down and RVP had successfully disrupted club harmony.

Read these and educate yourself. And if you doubt the source, Craig Murray is a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan

Well thanks Positivegunner. Food for thought certainly and one side of an argument that sadly divides our fan base. It will be interesting to see how the the next months pans out. Iam also positive that Arsenal will conclude the summer and be ready for the season stronger than at the start of 2011/12 and do believe that Gazidis and Wenger have a few rabbits to pull our of their hats yet. If you enjoy positivity about our club as I do please follow @Positivegunner

Until next time thanks for reading:

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  1. Decent write up but I beg to differ with you on a few levels.

    1. You say he is opportunistic. Let me tell you most business men are. Stan didn’t make billions by being a saint. Besides a mark of a good businessman is to strike when the time is right and make a move.

    2. You say the timing is wrong in the sense the club is down after the RVP announcement. I would say this was the perfect timing. He has given the club time to get things straight. Had he done it in preseason people would have said he disrupted the preseason and had he done in the middle of the season people would have criticized him for disrupting us mid season.

    3. Usmanov is no saint, but the only way for him to be heard was to write an open letter. I mean what else do you do when you won’t even be allowed to speak to the owner or offered a seat on the board being the major shareholder.

    4. Remember Arsenal’s poor sponsorship deals in 2014 and poor performance on the pitch has a direct impact on the share prices. He owns 30%, would he react now and try to stem the rot or wait till we are kicked out of the CL?

    5. A majority of the fans have the same questions he has asked in the letter and share the same discontent and at the end of the day the board is likely to react to a billionaire than a few fans who tweet or blog.

    1. Fair points mate with 1 and 2. But with 3. you do realize that my declaration of Usmanov not being a saint was more on the basis of his background that I have shared links for. We don’t need our club to be associated with someone like that. As for 4, we don’t look anywhere near likely to drop out of the Top 4 and a CL spot even though people have predicted we would every year. And I don’t see liverpool’s being out of the CL affecting their commercial deals since they now have the best shirt and kit deal in the league. I have nothing against the questions being asked (though the answers are quite easy to find), I do have something against the person asking the questions…thanks for reading

  2. Thank God, someone has actually written a balanced piece regarding Ivan. He has been cast as a headless chicken running around trying to hold things together, but constantly playing catch up. I would love every AFC fab to read this. They might then realise how lucky they are to love a club like AFC.

  3. Clap for yourself.its seems you are part of them.Turned the club into a money making venture.So tell me how many trophies your profits has bought (not) brought the club.

  4. Fans like you are the reason arsenal football club have gone downhill! from league winners to runner upsz, from champions league contenders to qualifiers,from being one of the biggest clubs in england to a feeder club,from playing to win the league to playing to qualify for CL!!!!!Young man,football have been commercialized,its either ivan and his bosses wake up and smell the coffee or AFC will continue on downward spiral while you and the others wait for 2014 for the implementation of FFF.thank you

    1. If you can find another period in our history where we finished between 1-4 for 15 yrs in the top division (apart from the 30’s) and i will agree with everything you said – but i doubt you will so your talking utter shit!!

  5. To disagree with the gentleman above! See if Usmanov had the best interests of the football club at heart he wouldn’t have criticized Ivan for contacting a Telephone company in Russia which he (Usmanov) owns! Ivan was asking for sponsorship if Usmanov really loved us he would have said c’mon give them a deal of £100m a year! But instead he devides to criticise people who are working behind closed doors to better the club

    Nobody is saying Ivan is a saint but he’s doing something right somewhat

    1. Would you not go directly to Usmanov though? Seems if he has a problem with Usmanov, this is a very childish way of doing business.

  6. the fact remains, as long as we have a man city supporter as our CEO we will never win anything. It pains me when we point fingers at Usmanov for wanting the best for our club, stop blaming him and direct your energy to Stan for turning Arsenal into a laughing stock

  7. a lot of rubbish met n insults to go with it, surely u can right better. what u say gavidis has done is the bear minimum expected from him. the fact is the board clampdown on selling there shares was only ment to make them money by increasing the value of there shares. why wait for 2 yrs to be competitive when u can be now? it doesn’t make sense? kroenke n usmanov should sit up n talk on taking the club forward like grownups,this infighting is only making the club look bad n it’s rediculous.

  8. Football business has gone beyond what Ivan and Kronke still does, all we are asking is using what you have to get what we want. We have Usmanov who is ready to put in the funds on time to match up with the oil rich clubs by way of right issues. We need to compete with the top teams in the world and not play catch ups or feeders team. We have always been regarded as top three in England and contenders of CL football in europe. We need to re-install back our glory days. Ivan and Kronke should grow up. We can not afford to be relegated before actions are taken like our old age Chairman just said…”we have not been relegated”. This words from the chairman has justify the ambition of the board being questioned by our RVP and our major share holder. We need our glory days be re install. Long life AFC.

  9. Its all good reading very well written posts and making clever comments about the contents and then waiting to see what happens next.. Well we all know what will happen next, because we have seen it year in and year out for the past 6 years at least!
    We are the supports and in a sense the real owners of the club and when every single member of the current Board has gone, we will still be a part of the club. That said we need to do something about this situation and to force the Board into acting in a different way. We have more power than the whole Board put together if we use what we have properly! Dont play the Boards game, which is to comment on all the lies and deception that they so regularly put out! Lets hit them where they will take notice!!! Start a protest that visible before the season starts and lets stop spending money, not because we no longer support the club, but to force the Board into changing their policies, or into getting lost and allowing Red & White in to spend some money instead of taking, taking, taking!!!!!!!!

  10. here in nigeria, i am a diehard fan of arsenal…but u wanna know what phrase i go by when fans of other clubs like city and chelsea(oh i can’t even bear that) are around? They simply call me ” Lack of ambition ” expecially when i’m wearing the arsenal jersey but they are saying the
    imagine what Hillwood said, ” @ least we are not relegated ” OH GOD HELP MY ARSENAL

  11. I’m all for positivity but sometimes people can’t see the wood for the trees. It’s all fine listing players who Ivan has signed how about a list who he’s missed out on? Or players contracts he’s rubber stamped that were far above what their abilities deserved? As for knowing people who say Ivan is intelligent I’m sure he is, the fact he oversaw Arsenal making contact with a company half-owned by Usmanov for sponsorship we can assume was an oversight. The facts remain we compete with one hand tied behind our backs regarding other clubs. We either join the dance or stand idle on the sidelines complaining we used to be able to jive with the best of them….
    Ivan is just Stans mouthpiece he says whatever Stan seems is the party line.
    As for Usmanov being opportunist ? At what point should a bloke who owns 1/3 of Arsenal actually speak? In my view he should have come out sooner.

    1. My comment on the timing was more about only choosing to speak up when things are down rather than actively engaging. As for the players Gazidis has missed out on, do we know these as facts or are they based on the links created in the media? And as for the investment part, I don’t think we need it…and as for Usmanov’s company…it only became his company in late April and we don’t know when the cold call really happened…thanks for the response though…interesting counter points

  12. Mr Writer, i only have one question for you, How much is written on the cheque given to you by Ivan or Stan to write this bulls**t? Can’t you see what arsenal has become? We are now LOSERS!!!

  13. Oh my God! I never thought this kind of writer are also there in a western world so Nigeria is not the only the place you come across this kind of paid-writer, i am disappointed.

  14. What i find disgusting is the belittling and lack of respect for the fact that we have played top flight football domestically and in Europe and been successful for nearly 2 decades – il say it again – nearly 2 decades!!! (15yrs) – only man utd can claim this level of success!

    but yet some of you guys treat it like we avoid relegation every yr and we are total losers (according to some) (some fans actually post that they want us to lose games) – its disgusting – show some respects for the clubs achievements without selling their ass to the highest bidder and bankrupting the clubs future.
    the fact some people want the club to whore themselves out rather than work harder for success makes me wonder do those people do the same in their own real lives to get ahead in life?

    1. Spot on Gee. Positive has done his research and formed his opinion and this site gives him a platform. Those who just slag of and sow no respect are not the type of fans our great club needs. I can assume assume they became fans between 1998 and 2005 and think we have a divine right to such success.

      I waited 3 years to see my first trophy, a further 8 years to be 2nd and from my first game to our first title was a 13 year wait. At no time have I waivered and I have certainly not called this club losers once in 36 years as a fan.

      Have an intelligent opposing view like @yorkshiregunner or please reserve you views for blogs that enjoy that type of thing.

      As for suggesting we get paid to write. Sod off. This is my hobby and my passion. Again go to the sites that are covered with adverts, that pop up when you are reading the text, before you question mine or Positive Gunners motives.


  15. this is a very good article written. theres always 2 sides to a story. a person.

    go find the 2nd side to usmanov please someone. that drug trafficking, murdering, racketeering accused rapist. oh he has £6 billion? yippee.

    if all usmanov is offering is £6 billion then he can piss off. the opportunistic uzbek prick.

    on gazidis tho i do agree he has a harder job than dein. some of which was caused by dein, edelman when it was their job.

    dont see how you can disagree with the 1-11 points made here or the 2nd bit of the article either.

  16. After reading all your comments and counter-comments, I’d be in my rights to say that y’all entitled to your opinions. Alot of us fans are vexatiously opinionated, especially those who easily look for who to blame when there is the slightest of turbulence. Like blaming Wenger for the present crisis and sh*t. I’ll count myself as a positive gooner too coz I believe in the club and what it stands for and would not trade that for the Man City style anytime any day. But (a big BUT here) that don’t mean I’m not getting tired of our lack of trophies – we could use the City and Chelski style to our advantage by sculpturing a hybrid form of their models. Usmanov is no saint no doubt, on the flip side, we can go out on a limb to say the same of Silent Stan. I’m of the opinion that we get the two rival gangs together and make the most of the situation. Imagine, Stan and Usmanov holding hands and waving to the fans before the start of our home games? For crying out loud, we can diplomatically use Usmanov’s Billions to the club’s advantage. All we need do is bring him to the board and get him to sponsor some deals in a mutually beneficial way where both sides will be happy. And I think the time to act is now b4 the financial fair play comes into play. Chelsea’s Roman wrote off over £800m of debt for them and City got a bogus stadium sponsorship deal worth around £400m from their oil money magnates. Why cant we do same. It’s a win-win situation. Stop the mud slinging and lets act to save our darling Arsenal. After all, we all feel the pain.

  17. Pancofm
    7 July 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Fair enough but this is the thing that get me is the notion everyone must have a sugar daddy to compete.

    what happens if all 20 teams in the league all had a billionaire to invest their personal wealth – not much of a competition there , the richest billionaire would prob win the lg. may as well buy the prem in advance every yr – forget playing games.

    i would rather us follow the brussia dortmund route than the man city\chelsea route but like you said everyone has an opinion on the direction we should take

    1. Yeah, you right there. Didn’t see it from that angle. Okay then, can u illuminate us on the Dortmund model? Coz I think Arsenal needs whatever will work that will not enslave us in debt like every other club.

  18. But that’s what we have been doing for some years now Dave, though profitable, but it has not really brought us that silver ware that we so desire. Several times we have been this close to touching it – like 07/08 and 09/10 reasons- but it always slips through our grips. Or where you seeing it from another point of view?

    1. To be fair it has indeed only nearly worked but Coq, Ox, Jack are a different level to Denilson, Vela and Nico. Keep the faith

      1. Yeah mate. But, ‘keep the faith’? Hmmmm! Maybe you’re undaestimating the power of being a gunner. I’m gonna be a gooner even if we dont win a trophy for the rest of my life. Even if we are relegated to the Slovenian league… Lol. Thats how much of a gunner I am.

    2. @Pancofm
      7 July 2012 at 8:05 pm

      Yeah, you right there. Didn’t see it from that angle. Okay then, can u illuminate us on the Dortmund model? Coz I think Arsenal needs whatever will work that will not enslave us in debt like every other club.

      the Dortmund model is very similar to ours as they spend what they earn, keep the wage bill down, have a good youth system and supplement their squad with quality player with the potential to be world class.

      Our problem is we keep losing our best players to rivals, injuries in key areas, also we have defensive issues as a team on the whole (amount of goals conceded) etc.
      Off the field our recent shareholder wars, undervalued commercial revenue stream, growing fan civil war and billionaire owners of other teams are a challenge we have not mastered.

  19. A whole lot there. If that’s the case, I guess we’ll all agree that Arsenal have not being doing badly but it just doesn’t seem to click for them. But again, Dortmund don’t have oil money breathing down their necks like we have here at the EPL. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that they beat the almigthty Bayern to the Bundesliga 2 times in role now. Seriously mate, I hope that whatever happens this summer, we win something and keep the haters quiet for good. On a lighter note, we sell RVP (even at a loss) to Celtic.

  20. Decent read, the article and comments above as well, but cant comment anything myself…really not into politics. I hope the management can sort out all the stuff before the season starts for the betterment of arsenal football club.
    It might be good thing for us [fans] not to write more about these political issues of our own football club…more rumors can conflict the things and make it looks like worse than it actually is. The articles in Media certainly gives pressure to the management, which maynt be good for long term future of Fc arsenal. Just my thought though!

  21. wow this article is just interesting,but though there are different opinions (every has their own)-its all coming down to wanting the best for the club and i hope wenger and gazidis find a way out. thats all that matters in the end.

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