TGIF: Remember real fans like The Bear…

TGIF-thank Gooner it’s Friday, returns after the International break, and with the amount of tension in the air that befits a real crisis at Arsenal. Crisis on the field through injuries, crisis in the stands with fans divided, and crisis in the Boardroom as the prospect of a Boardroom struggle becomes more possible than probable. It is not a good time to be an Arsenal fan, and as with most divided empires, if it continues, there can never be victory. We will all be the victims. However it need not have been like this, and some highly paid people in the club really ought to look in the mirror. I blame most of all Ivan Gazidis, our highly paid CEO who has collected a massive bonus and pension for failure, and as he presides over an unrivalled low point of Arsenal in the football world, he seems oh so quick to take the praise when things go well, I sincerely hope that he will fall upon his sword if the nightmare scenario arrives at the end of this season.

Recently NewsCorp shareholders were being advised by a number of influential individuals to remove the family linked directors who they feel have been associated with the events that have led to the proud name and assets of NewsCorp to become devalued. They cite a failure of corporate governance as key the decision to make such directions. What is Corporate governance? A definition can be obtained from the Business Dictionary which states

The framework of rules and practices by which a board of directors ensures accountability, fairness, and transparency in a company’s relationship with its all stakeholders (financiers, customers, management, employees, government, and the community).

The corporate governance framework consists of

(1) explicit and implicit contracts between the company and the stakeholders for distribution of responsibilities, rights, and rewards,

(2) procedures for reconciling the sometimes conflicting interests of stakeholders in accordance with their duties, privileges, and roles,

 (3) procedures for proper supervision, control, and information-flows to serve as a system of checks-and-balances.

 

The Arsenal AGM approaches and the minor shareholders may well reflect upon this definition and they might just might that Arsenal’s Board have a lot to answer for, but given that Stan Kroenke the “owner” of the Club (Has he actually finally finished paying for the shares that were transferred to him yet?) who appears to have Arsenal “only” as part of his share portfolio, how can he have any credible love for this club? He is an American who loves American sports first, and Arsenal appears to come low down on his list of priorities if his attendance at games is anything to go by. The death of Danny Fiszman propelled him into the limelight, almost as though he was the “Stop Usmanov” candidate.

The reason why I have turned against Kroenke, was his silence and absence when the club was in absolute disarray after the Manchester United defeat. He had more to say to his NFL coach following poor results over the pond. Stan Kroenke is a man who could have afforded to use his private jet to make a whistle-stop journey to London to give morale support to the fans. He chose not to, and as far as I am concerned, he turned his back on us in our hour of need, so he has forfeited any loyalty from this Gooner.

I have decided that with Stan Kroenke in charge, we will be going absolutely nowhere, as his stated reason for acquiring the club was for business reasons. i.e to further his own interests and in the end make money out of all of us. Strong words? Well you judge for yourself as he is on record as stating

“I wouldn’t want to be involved if I thought we would struggle”

One has to wonder where Stan and his Board of Directors thinks Arsenal Football Club will be in five years time? Do they have a plan? Do they care?

If Teflon Ivan Gazidis can say

“We would rather qualify for the Champions League but we have a really stable model that can cope if we don’t qualify”

“And we could not only cope, we could do well and compete. It would be very foolish to build a business model that relied on being in the Champions League for perpetuity. I don’t think any clubs do that, and if they do then they probably aren’t being run as responsibly as they should be.”

“We have a very sophisticated business model that looks at what we need to do to compete today, next year and five years from now.”

“I am comfortable we will be able to be competitive in whatever [economic] environment there is.”

 

Errr Ok Ivan here is why the sums don’t add up if we fail to make the top four this season.

Ordinary Squad player contracts are so overpaid that no clubs lower down in the Premier league or the Championship can afford them, and with a C.V. to die for in terms of trophies won, the foreign clubs will cherry pick the likes of Wilshere and Oxo and Szcznesy and will not want anyone else. That leaves a £100 million wage bill to cover.

The loss of broadcast revenues and Group stage income will lose us another £45 million.

There may be contracts of sponsorship which may be dependent upon the club being involved in the CL, which we will fail to attract.

There may be a loss of Corporate takeup of the lucrative boxes at the Arsenal, after all who wants to be associated with failure and an absence of star players? This loss of income will not be defined until the season following the loss of CL football.

Season ticket renewals are a major revenue stream, whilst we have a burgeoning waiting list, the apparent breath taking complacent view is that any non renewals will be immediately taken up from the waiting list. Well I have to disagree Ivan, in an economic climate equivalent to the last great depression, people are rapidly forced to make choices, and when faced with a choice between paying the costliest tickets in the Premier League for seeing live football as opposed to paying for the mortgage, heating and credit card bills, I think that my analysis is closer to reality.

Coming back to Governance… the definition states

(3) procedures for proper supervision, control, and information-flows to serve as a system of checks-and-balances.

Ok Ivan Gazidis received a huge bonus for doing what precisely? Spending 3 million on Takeover by Stan Kroenke who was already on the Board,??? why didn’t you just pick up the phone and ask him the questions you wanted answers to? But this must be good corporate governance? Increasing the staff wage and pension bill and then only making a 2 million profit on an overseas tour that saw 250 thousand chinese sign up for membership. If these are the green shoots of the expected commercial new revenues due to come flooding in, then expect a barren harvest if he can only make £2 million from an Asian tour! He has also presided over the largest divisions within the Club in my living memory, add to that he managed to fail to make the crucial summer transfer window deals like Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Gary Cahill. I am very angry but I shall say no more as I have to be careful about making statements which could land me in hot water.

Arsenal Football Club only have themselves to blame for the current divisions. In a recent AST survey 70% expressed the view that Alisher Usmanov should have a seat on the Board. I wish they would go further. Alisher Usmanov cannot do any worse than Kroenke surely? He needs just under 300 shares to make 30% and I hope that he does. We need balance at the club, and having someone with different views would help remove the complacency of the current board.

Come Alisher… MAKE MY DAY!

“It’s time to focus. To get three points”

Arsene Press Conference….

4 players still injured, Vermaelen will be back in 2 weeks, Wilshire Diaby & Sagna continue recovery.

Old Boy revisiting  –  Sebastian Larsson has done well

Fabianski speculation about leaving? AW thinks that he is happy.

Home form is quite good, stable defensively at home.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been very comfortable, he has the talent.

Dennis Bergkamp feels that RvP is being played in the wrong position, AW feels that RvP can be played in any position, he has scored 26 goals in 32 games, so his current position cannot be that bad. AW put him central because he is a good player.

Arsenal have good potential, we are not in a position to make long term plans.

We have to respond quickly and we need to reduce that gap as soon as possible.

AW has found it hard, but is very determined, as this team will surprise other teams.

AW is convinced that other teams will drop points.

Niklas Bendtner will not be playing on Sunday, If it right for him to return to Arsenal one day it will depend on the player not just the club, one can never say never.

Walcott versus Oxlade-Chamberlain different types of players. Walcott more attacking, Oxlade-Chamberlain more a midfield/build up sort of player.

 

Game on Sunday

Let the people who really love the club for richer or for poorer rally together. Arsenalfc_notplc (who ever they are? Had their 15 minutes of fame by having access to a banner that says au revoir to our manager. It was going to be displayed at the game, but the powers that be have decided to intervene. You won’t see it at the game however as the Club emailed the group who go under the name Arsenal FC not PLC the following:-

“Thank you for your further communication regarding displaying banners at Emirates Stadium.

While recognising your right to express your opinion, we cannot allow this banner to be displayed at Emirates Stadium. As a club we fully support our manager and so this is not appropriate for display. I must inform you that if you were to bring this to the stadium, it would be confiscated by our stewards for the duration of the game.”

Listen before you all start complaining, remember that Arsenal Football Club have a legal duty to prevent crowd disorder, and I am convinced that this is the right decision, as I have already seen Gooner against Gooner where I sit in the Stadium on the subject of Arsene Wenger. Some would try and tear it down, others would try to keep it up, and fights and disorder would follow. Protest if you must outside the ground. But inside, let’s support the players and try to be real supporters.  I expect that we will beat Sunderland, but I expected us to beat Spurs so what do I know?

In case you haven’t see the banner, here it is just for you…

E.I.E

E.i.E is not around this week as he was in mourning for  Dainton The Bear who died in a tragic car accident on October 5th 2007. Dainton was a bouncer for the Petshop boys and I shall reproduce his obituary as carried in the Guardian.

When Dainton Connell, Arsenal fan and security man for the Pet Shop Boys, died aged 46, his funeral drew such crowds that one half of London’s Holloway Road had to be closed for the procession. Among those mourning his death in a car crash in Moscow were former Arsenal players Ian Wright and Lee Dixon, boxer Frank Bruno, musicians Chris Lowe and Neil Tennant (of the Pet Shop Boys) and Carl Smyth (of Madness), artist Sam Taylor-Wood, journalist Janet Street-Porter, and comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams. Robbie Williams sent flowers and former Sex Pistol John Lydon played tribute on his website.

Connell was born in Brighton to parents recently arrived from Jamaica, but lived in north London. He left school at 16 and took up scaffolding. Known to many as “the bear”, he may not literally have been the first black skinhead, but it was this part of his life that nudged him into the public eye, when Street-Porter interviewed him for LWT in 1977. Meanwhile, he became a figure on the Arsenal terraces.

Escapades from his youth, not all innocent by today’s standards, are remembered with nostalgia. But his presence had beneficial effects. At his wake, the sentiment was widely echoed that the failure of the National Front to infiltrate the Arsenal terraces in the late 1970s was principally down to the strength of Connell’s personality.

In 1989, Connell was employed to do security for the Pet Shop Boys’ first tour. He showed a marvellous aptitude. Despite his size, by now his chosen instruments were words rather than muscles. He had an unconventional eloquence, and on the rare occasions when intervention was required, he preferred to charm people into order.

During the 1990s, he appeared in a number of Pet Shop Boys videos, beginning with So Hard. In the summer of 1997, he also became part of their Somewhere residency at the Savoy theatre, taking his place at the front of the stage. It was there he met Taylor-Wood, who had largely conceptualised the show, and she photographed him with a 360-degree camera dominating the foreground of her 1998 artwork Five Revolutionary Seconds XIII, reading a small book of poetry.

As the number and diversity of Connell’s mourners attested, he had the kind of ease with people of all races, sexuality, celebrity and class to which many aspire but few achieve, and was loved accordingly. He is survived by his wife Mandy and their two daughters.

 

This is when the real supporters of Arsenal will realise that supporting a club is more than about shares and bonuses, it is about having the spirit of the past heroes whether they be on the field or on the terraces in your hearts, your minds and soul.

As I said when I wrote my call to arms,

It is our heritage, our club and our desires that keep us going, that make us very special, for WE ARE THE ARSENAL!

Ok now let’s get it on! Let’s kick some ass! Let’s move FORWARD and let’s get VICTORY THROUGH HARMONY…

Yes we may lose some battles, but we will always win the war. That is one thing that no-one can ever take from us…

Our faith and our pride because WE ARE THE ARSENAL!

 

E.I.E!!!

Please keep supporting the team when they play. Don’t Boo, Don’t jeer. If you can’t cheer or sing, then STFU!  Remember that some great people who loved the club with every fibre of their being have died, they are not just ordinary supporters, they include Danny Fiszman a director, David “Rocky” Roecastle a player, and Dainton the Bear a fan. The thing is, being in love with Arsenal should bring people together, it is up to the leaders of the club to make the right decisions to bring back unity to Arsenal Football Club.

I dedicate this blog to the memory of Dainton “The Bear” R.I.P big fella!

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