Why I believe in ‘My Arsenal’ – Value not Price!

A second guest post in a week on ‘1nildown2oneup’ Am I getting lazy? No I have written 2 articles this week myself, but I am always delighted to support and give the voice to those who have supported my writing and this blog. That is why I am delighted to welcome back Ronan Kilduff, better known to most of you on twitter as @Bradyesque7. Ronan has encouraged my writing from before I launched this blog and his musings are always welcome here. Today’s piece is emotive writing straight from the heart. I could have edited but it would have detracted from the passion….

Arsenal Football Club is my great love in life and if you’re reading this, I’m fairly sure it’s yours. It is for this reason that I believe in, and support the philosophy and strategy of our great club. We will not spend money we don’t have on players we can’t afford and I, for one, take great pride from this. We have a manager with a scouting network who can find players that represent value and we compete with the biggest spenders on the planet because of them.

 We all remember, and long for, the great days of league titles, cup glory and even an unbeaten league campaign but the landscape has changed since then. We have seemingly unlimited budgets to contend with in Chelsea and Manchester City and attempting to compete pound for pound with these serial spenders would only lead to ruin. When Chelsea owner, Roman Aramaic came on the scene in the Summer of 2003, he set about authorising a net spend of £153m in his first season, bringing in players like Arjen Robben, Claude Makelele, Damien Duff and Adrian Mutu, to name but a few. Although Chelsea have never quite spent this much in a single season since, they have by no means become shrinking violets of the transfer market having notched up a total net spend of £447.5m since the Russian bought the club. Then, of course, there is Manchester City. Taken over by the Abu Dhabi United Group in August 2008, they’ve overseen net spends of £117m, £99m, £117m and £48m. Crazy money, I’m sure you will agree but I feel it’s worth mentioning than Vincent Company (their best player) was acquired for just £6.7m. So what is a self-sustaining club like ours to do? Well, in a year when Jordan Henderson and Stuart Downing were bought for £36m, we spent less on Mike Arteta, Gervinho and The Ox at £10m, £10.6 and £12m respectively. Of these three, Arteta is the only one to have settled fully and made a consistent impact this season but the quality of the other two is there and will, hopefully be proven. We have an excellent first choice back four that has cost under £30m with Alex Song sitting in front of them. Alex Song came to Arsenal for £1m. Compare the Song price tag to that of Gareth Barry for a chuckle. A Barry Chuckle, if you will.              

      Barry Chuckle                       

In the absence of a (for me, unwanted) sugar-daddy, intelligence is key. We must aim to be astute in every transaction. Of course we will sign players that don’t work out but then so do the bigger spenders. See Adebayor at City. Bought for £25m (thank you very much) and now seen peddling his wares for any smaller club who’ll have him. Roque Santa Cruz set them back a few quid too.

‘Adebayorcash’                             

We will not enter into the world of the £30m and beyond player and I’m glad. A club like ours cannot afford to pay £50m for a striker may or may not rack up eight or ten goals in a season. Nor can was afford to run out and spend £35m on a horse named Andy. I believe that it is the primary role of a manager and board is to safeguard the future of their club for the generations of fans after they’ve gone and as we are about to enter another transfer window, with players needed, I feel confident that this responsibility is taken seriously by those in charge. One of the many reasons I’m proud to support Arsenal Football Club.

Andy Carroll – £35 million ????             

As my esteemed host has already suggested on this very blog, we won’t sign Yann M’Vila unless he is coming for a fair price that we can afford. The asking price being touted for the Frenchman does not represent the value we look for. We won’t cripple the club in unserviceable debt in order to appease the baying crowds. We’ll simply look for an alternative that suits us on the pitch and on the books. History suggests that we’re more than capable of this. When I consider the great Robin Van Persie came for the paltry sum of £2.75m., Thierry for a little over £10m and bargain of a lifetime Bacary Sagna at £6m I can only have confidence that the people at the top, know a thing or two about what they’re doing. Having already announced the signing of German international Lukas Podolski, the transfer window already looks like an exciting prospect. We’ve had our predictable signing early and as all the speculation over which £20m or £30m superstar we will break the bank for, Arsenal will go about their business, bringing in the player that you did not guess, at a price for which great players are usually not sold. With a lot resting on who will, and won’t, be sold on in the Summer, and the uncertainty over Champions League qualification, we will need a steady hand to guide us through another window of huge importance. I trust that we have exactly that.

I’m not saying that cheaper players are better footballers, but I am saying it is not the price that is relevant but the value it represents.  The signing of Lukas Podolski for a fee of around £10 million will I know prove my point further in 2012/13

Thanks to @goonerdave66 and I look forward to reading your comments or catch me on twitter @Bradyesque7

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20 comments

  1. True, very true. That’s how we do it, it’s the Arsenal way, and i can proudly say i support our philosophy.
    Great article Ronan.

  2. For you then 3rd (or 4th) and no cups either will be yet another triumph. You seem to have ommitted a whole string of other purchases and / or young players being developed who have been a complete waste of space. Several we cannot get rid of.

    While we have been extremely careful about transfer fees …. we have blown unnecessary wages left, right and centre. That’s why we have some 70 registered players and one of the highest overall wage bills in the EPL and yet can’t pay top players enough to attract them or keep them.

    Go and get a reality check.

    1. Chris from Cambridge, I do agree that our ‘egalitarian’ wage system has led to some issues, especially an overall inflated wage bill and inability to move underperformers on to other clubs due to wage demands. That point is valid.

      There have been bad purchases also (Chamakh/Park mainly) but City and Chelsea have had terrible purchases too, the difference is we don’t spend extravagant sums on these ‘failed’ signings which mitigates the impact somewhat.

      Of course I would love to see Arsenal challenging for the League and UCL crowns but we have managed to remain relatively competitive whilst absorbing the costs of a stadium move, which is somewhat extraordinary. Look at some other clubs who spent recklessly-Leeds, Portsmouth, Rangers etc. Where are they now?

      Also remember that we were one Nicklas Bendtner toe poke away from knocking Barca (a much stronger Barca than now) out of the UCL and an Eduardo leg snap derailed a genuine title challenge.

      If the club were to spend extravagant sums of money, but finish up 3rd, or 4th or 5th, what happens then? Spend even MORE money? Cripple the club financially even FURTHER? I believe in our philosophy in general (although some tinkering would help) and will only make the success that will eventually come all the more sweeter.

    2. You are more in need of a reality check. Wake up and look at facts.

      Our 71 players includes EVERYONE in the youth, reserves and first team. Basically every player on the wage bill at the club. If you think this is higher than everyone else, think again. United and Liverpool have 65+ themselves too.

      As for the highest overall wage bills in the EPL…our wage bill is 4th in the EPL and at least 40-50mil a year behind people like United or City

      As for unnecessary wages — hindsight is always 20/20…last summer we game Wilshere and Szczesny new contracts at 50k a week after they both had a break out season. That same theory was used for Denilson and Bendtner in 08/09 and Diaby in 09/10. Sure it might look like we paid too much now but back then it was essential to pay well to hold on to a promising young player who had consistently shown ability across an entire season. This was the only way to avoid scenarios like Flamini where the player was underrated, and then when he had a break out season it was too late and other teams swooped in with MUCH bigger contracts (Milan pay him 4.5mil a year).

      Would you claim that the contracts to Szczesny and Wilshere are unnecessary wages? Of course not, you believe they’re the future and they should be retained and their ability and potential should be rewarded. Some even talk about the Ox getting a similar pay hike. But in 2-3 years if these players don’t fulfill their potential would you come back and claim that we wasted wages left right and center?

      THAT. IS. REALITY.

  3. You omit to mention that since we moved into the Emirates, the then directors were only interested in making millions for themselves(very successfully) and cared nothing about the club winning anything (that means investing in players).As a result we have the worse side we have had for 15 years,some of the highest ticket,prices in Europe,an absentee owner, a useless chief executive and still lumbered with Hill-Wood.

    1. If you cared to spend even 5 minutes looking at the club’s finances, you’d realize that this whole idea that the directors are making millions is complete bullshit. All they get is a salary for being on the board. Every penny of profit made by the club, goes back into the club. The way we’re run, all the income we get, from the ticket prices to the TV viewership money allows us to just about break even.

      Our profits come from player sales and property sales, the latter of which doesn’t happen every season. Every player we’ve bought, comes from this profit we’ve made and in case you haven’t noticed we ARE buying players within the limit of what we have. And to be honest, I’d rather the board oversee us in a way that we have a long term future, than go all out and rack up half a billion in debt like Chelsea have and then suffer under the shadow of that.

  4. as long as you don’t mind going another 7 yrs without trophies. Funny you only point to other clubs transfer failures and forget that the collective price of our failures is a lot. Squillaci, park, gervinho before i go into the other ‘free’ players on huge contracts that we will find difficult to move on. Are arsenal ticket prices cheaper than man city’s? Whn do you think is getting their money’s worth? Wenger has no problem taking home a huge salary, higher than Fergie’s. Sorry but you’re wrong, such thinking has been the downfall of arsenal

  5. i agree with most of whatyou wrote the arsenal way,i too believe that the people in charge of our great club have our best interest at heart even though sometimes it makes me “unhappy” for a while.these days “gems” for a decent price are rare,you are talking about players like henry & co but the difference is that when he first came to england wenger had the whole french market to himself since then everybody took notice like man u,chelsea.scum,newcastle.back to hazard he said he wants playing time in a team that plays attractive football which points towards arsenal but somehow doubt it!!

  6. Thanks for a nice piece guys. I fully agree with this! But I do want to play devil’s advocate a little 😉 I love that we sign unknown players for dirt cheap (that blossom into world beaters), but maybe we do need a “Podolski signing” every now and again. Inverted commas because I’m trying to higlight the fact that he is a well known player, proven on the international stage and in his domestic league. I just think that it lifts the fans (who can be fickle at times, especially with regard to our transfer policy) and most likely the players (although I haven’t asked them). It creates excitement around the club. Does it create a bit of apprehension amongst our competitors? It probably does – most know Podolski by reputation. It just adds a little something. I’m not saying go and spend millions on Benzema or Higuain. I’m saying, go spend 10 million on Podolski. I’m saying it is nice to know that we have a proven goalscorer in the ranks for next season. I believe it will help to start the season with confidence amongst players and fans. With that said, I still agree with our transfer policy. Football is the world’s most popular sport. Messi’s’ equivalent is probably playing in my local park as we speak. Its just no one’s noticed.

  7. Excellent article, very interesting read. It’s a pity that the 2 viewpoints i.e. yourself and PositiveGunner are not merged together by the powers that be at Arsenal. Yes it’s great that we can be an almost self sustaining club but the fans who are paying through the nose for their tickets want that extra bit more and that is silverware.

    How many times do we look at the team and say 2 or 3 really good players (and I’m not saying super-stars) would make that bit of difference that would help us REALLY contend for some trophys? That’s all we want, don’t break the bank it isn’t necessary but please show the team and the supporters that Arsenal mean business once again.

  8. Editors comment. Thanks to Ronan for the passionate article today and thanks to you all for the comment. Yes we have 70 odd players on the books but that is not unusual and a new Pro in league 1 is on the same money as our 1st year pros so we are not paying over the odds there. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and yes Denilson and Bendtner etc appear to be on high wages but they appear so as others have improved. it was only a few years back when Deni played more ganes for Arsenal iun the EPL than any other player.

    Th reality check is that we are where we are and things are looking considerably better than they were in August. You can criticize and call for big money signings but those you yearn for are also young and unproven at the top level. No Podolski is a good start and I sense we will have more in soon of quality and the right price

  9. We can talk all we want about being self sustaining nd financially independent but the truth is that as fans of Arsenal our wages come from knowing that at the end of the season, our team has won something and for 7 years we havnt being paid. Yes we have stayed competitive in the league and UCL but that means finishing third nd fourth nd loosing cup finals. We have bought unknown players for cheap all these years and maybe what we need to really grab a trophy is that extra BIG player and thats why the Podolski signing is such a boost. Who cases if Chelski nd Citeh have a hundred failed big shinings our success should not be based on their failures what should be of concern to us is our club nd how we can improve it. I believe in the Arsenal model its one of the reasons why we are still a force in Europe but as fans, we deserve some silverware. Thats where we get paid for buying season tickets nd chantin in the stands and in our homes nd if a player is worth 25 million pounds nd can guarantee it then so be it am sure Arsenal FC can squeeze the finances a little to accomodate him.

  10. On point here. Wenger is an Angel in disguise and arsenal ll regret if he is forced out of the club. U only need to look at how Florentino Perez is always talking up le profeseur and always looking for oppourtunty to grab him from our hands. That’s the same Manager arsenal fans wants to hound out of the club. Let’s be reasonable and make a slight comparision: Mourinho can’t work without loads of cash to get the best in the world and so is Mancini. We are all a witness to how united is wobbling when fergie decided not to flash the cash for the first time in years.take a look at Daglish with the amount of millions spent and you can’t help but be thankful that we have monsiuer Wenger, the only manager that has managed to rub shoulder with Europe elites even with minimal investments

  11. A great article, you have said everything all gooners feel and have undoubtedly steered those gooners who had lost their way into the write direction. I hope many more Arsenal fans give this article I read and remember what sets Arsenal apart from the rest

  12. i am a Nigerian, pls tell wenger to sign ike uche, dt boy is better than gervinho and walcot, he is currently in grenada. He is even betta than osaze on d International stage.

  13. Its like you read my mind! You seem to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit, but instead of that, this is great blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

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