TGIF: Welcome to Lala land!

I went into a state of utter despondency at the end of this transfer window, even allowing for the entry into the Champions League stages failed to lift my spirits. The 8-2 thrashing by Manchester United rubbed salt into very big wounds. I took a break to reflect, the International Break helped in a sense, to enable common sense to dawn. One of the worse aspects of our current demise is when a manager like Alex Ferguson begins to feel sorry for us and hopes that his team does not score anymore. Had his team been able to score two more goals, it would have comfortably been our worst defeat ever in the clubs history. The 8-nil thrashing by Loughborough in Division 2  December 12, 1896  as the Annals tell us. Contrary to the prevailing consensus I disagree that the match against Swansea will give us an opportunity to show what we are made of. If we fail to score at least 5 goals it may tell us about the absence of striking options. If we concede it will reopen questions about the defence, for we shall have a scratch back four once again. With Mertesacker no doubt combining with Koscielny.

I am convinced that I have been transported by Dr Who’s Tardis to LaLa Land, a land where everything is incredible. Arsenal have after 4 weeks of the new season started where they left off. , Arsenal face many weeks without key players either due to long term injury, the African Nations Cup, or through not being match fit for the Premier League. Even when I look at Arsenal’s official website, I must have taken leave of my senses, as I see the introduction of gossip features, Twitter feeds, talking heads with Bloggers, and release of information about players expected to sign with an astonishing piece on Chu-Young Park’s transfer. Arse com used to be an institution of quality and Rip van Winklesque inertia with regard to breaking news stories. We were once told that when a Player officially signed for the club we would see it first on Arse com, Everything now seems to be less about success on the field and respecting the Arsenal way, and more about increasing facebook hits and advertising revenues. Anyway back to reality?

Arsenal’s transfer window

Utter farce, panic and ineptitude sums up for me, Arsenal’s performance in this window. In my view Arsene Wenger takes the majority of the blame but I wish to suggest that he is the easy target and in fact Ivan Gazidis is as culpable for the mess we now have to deal with. I have formed the view that Ivan Gazidis is no longer acting in the interests of the fans of Arsenal Football Club, neither is he acting in the interests of the players. I have formed the view that his interest is not even the long term heritage of the club itself as written in the annals of football history. What I see is purely and simply someone acting in the interests of maintaining the value of the investment of the current largest shareholder at Arsenal, Mr Stanley Kroenke.

The Chief Executive Officer must carry the ultimate responsibility for events at the club and it is a position that according to the published accounts, he is handsomely rewarded to the tune of nearly two million pounds annually after bonuses.In my opinion a CEO is obliged to represent all stakeholders, not just the interests of the major shareholder. The CEO is also required to advance the company interests as a whole. The CEO is also required ideally to ensure that the image of the company is enhanced, and in so doing preventing or correcting any adverse public perception of the company. The smooth running of the company and the advancement of the company objectives are also under his remit I would argue.

I would also argue that there has been much concern about the club openly expressed by fans, smaller shareholders and the media. In particular this has centred upon how the club is being run. I suggest that the public perception is that the club appears to have become confused or even incoherent in applying it’s key objectives. One of which is to provide a team squad of the calibre required to make serious attempts to win major honours. This apparent failure has resulted in the reputation of our great club suffer humiliation on and off the field. in this way. If I am being unfair, please correct me, but I see chaos where there should be order and panic where there should be well thought out application of previously formed plans.

Reasons for the mess?

One question that Ivan Gazidis side stepped at the AST Q&A meeting last season was who was responsible for monitoring player contracts, and how was it that a major player was able to enter the final year of his contract, to the disadvantage of the club? Ivan now mirrors Arsene in giving scarcely credible excuses. During the window we lost Juan Mata having failed to pay the first buy out clause to Valencia, and why? With substantial transfer funds at his disposal according to Ivan Gazidis, surely added to the expected income from the departure of Fabregas and Nasri, surely key signings like Juan Mata and Gary Cahill could have been made? Nope, the interests of the Board must come first. We have refused to examine novel ways of increasing income or revenue.

We have rejected a public rights issue and also my suggestion we ask our two Billionaire Shareholders to pay off the Stadium loan. A proposition that Ivan Gazidis rejected saying that it would be too expensive to pay off the existing loan on the stadium due to the cost of bank penalties. I seem to recall him saying that this was approximately in the range of £150 million. In terms of the amounts that the two Billionaires have invested in the shares of Arsenal Football Club this is a paltry figure, but in terms of the impact upon the increase in net revenues, it would at a stroke release in my calculation £20 million which would have gone to the banks. This money could have funded the inflated player contract demands which we currently see without breaching the UEFA fair play rules or more importantly the self sustaining model of financing the club.

The Solution?

It is the strict adherence to the self sustaining model which presents a major barrier to the advancement of Arsenal Football Club’s aspirations to acquire major honours which would themselves in turn enable Arsenal to attract players of the highest quality. Of course these new players would arrive with accompanying inflated wage demands at present, and whether we agree with their demands or not, this my friends is the prevailing market climate that we exist in. I am calling for a revision of the policy to take account of the inflationary fevered wage demand culture that we exist in, so that until the impact of the UEFA fair play rules come into effect, we should decide to lift our current wage ceiling and attempt to compete with our rival’s wage structure in the short term.

This action will reduce in my opinion the disadvantage that the self sustaining model gives us in respect to our rivals. But this needs to be accompanied by changes to Arsene Wenger’s influence, as he is responsible to a great extent for the current predicament that we find ourselves in. I have named his wage philosophy the “egalitarian” approach, meaning that we pay very high wages relative to other clubs for unproven or not yet matured young players in an effort to reduce envy. This has the effect of excessive wage costs to the club. I believe that if these “differentials” were not maintained with new contracts, then the impact of changing the wage structure could be near cost neutral in the medium term.

The next change must be to separate the money for renewing existing contracts and paying wages from a proper dedicated transfer kitty. The fans would then know exactly how much we had to spend and more importantly, how and when we choose to spend it. It is important to state that I do not agree with the excessive wages being paid to professional players, but perhaps they have learnt well from Company Directors and CEOs of the most profitable concerns who continue to claim that high quality candidates can only be attracted by paying premium rates as determined by market forces. This “Going Rate” argument is used by Bankers in respect to their bonuses and Companies in justifying the high remuneration of Company Directors. Looking at Mr Wenger and Ivan Gazidis’s remuneration in the published accounts, what a pity it appears that we don’t practice what we preach with regard to the wage structure at the Arsenal.

“Blame the Medical Staff at Arsenal…”

I had wondered if our current training methods are responsible for the recurring crop of injuries at the club, but I recall Eldo71 revealing that players are not allowed to tackle robustly during training at Arsenal, so one can only hope that our Medical staff are of the highest standard. Nowadays the players tend to go to their own specialists. What we all know is that an alarming number of players once injured spent several months unavailable to the club. Manchester United on the other hand seem to be able to turn around hamstring injuries in under five weeks to full recovery. What ever the real cause, something has to be done to get these important players back to fitness more quickly. It would be great to see a full strength Arsenal team take to the field at least four games in a row, or is that too much to ask?

Peter Hill-Wood waded into the debate about Arsene’s future predictably and in his trademark use of the understatement. He branded doubts about our manager being able to survive at the Emirates this season…

“It’s complete and utter rubbish and absolute nonsense. I think he is happy enough and we are happy enough,”

Now exactly what I have come to expect from a Board Chairman who remain unaccountable to it’s fans and refuse to fund the wages of high profile players, preferring instead to bankroll the proceeds to maintain share prices and use Arsene Wenger as a willing and compliant human shield. you can tell that I am NOT happy this week…lol But RTK has always been in Lala land some would suggest.

“Our squad is stronger than last season”

When I heard Arsene Wenger say this at today’s press conference, I knew that I had really and truly broken back into the Asylum. Will someone please tell me how the loss of key players like Fabregas and Nasri can be be reversed by the current signings? Arteta is class, but when Benayoun is not lying on the physio couch, can he really be spoken of in the same breath? Mertesacker’s performance during the International week reminded me more of Phillip Senderos than Tony Adams. But hell what do I know? As for our Asian duo, Chu-Young Park hasn’t been seen at Arsenal since he signed and is somewhere in France trying to sort out his Visa , and Miyaichi is sidelined through injury. Listen they don’t write books on fiction that even comes close to this reality…

Lalalalalalalalalalala

Where I am heartened is with the performance of Aaron Ramsey, the welsh wizard will mature into an excellent playmaker, and if he can remain free of injury, he will be a key player this season.

Press Conference Roundup

The signings in the last few days were not a reaction to the Maqnchester United defeat

Andre Santos is in the squad but not quite ready (match fitness?)

Ryo Miyaichi has picked up a calf injury

Diaby & Vermaelen are injured

Frimpong’s decision to play for Ghana ahead of the African Cup of Nations is understandable and good luck to him

Arteta and Benayoun are technically gifted players who will make a big impact at Arsenal this season.

Swansea are no push over and have high pass completion rates.

Gary Cahill is still liked by Arsene Wenger, and all of his acquisitions are his current number one preferences.

Swansea will be beaten if we have half the quality on show from our fit players. The questions that will be asked of our defence will be opportunist and centre on set pieces. After Manchester City’s demolition of the swans 4-0 is the benchmark, I’m hoping for six or seven to erase our 8-2 drubbing at Old Trafford. We have the mouth watering prospect of Arteta and Ramsey dominating the tempo of the game tomorrow, and I hope that Theo Walcott lights his afterburners and shows tenacity in his finishing.

Happily Where Has Our Arsenal Gone (WHOAG) announced on the 6th September that apart from the negative billboard hire near the Emirates, they will not be mounting loud protests at the game. They correctly point out that the team need support. Perhaps they are right after Old Trafford, an outbreak of unity for the players and Manager will help, but the Board had better make good use of it’s reprieve.

For the second time I am using this spot to kick one of our own. Last time it was Na$ri, now it is our want away striker Niklas Bendtner, who I have repeatedly chastised for his lack of a decent first touch and failure to show the potential world class form that Arsene Wenger saw in him.

“I will never go back to Arsenal. If I can have it my way, I will never play for them again,”

Poor arrogant Dane, as if we would ask him to come back with memories of his inability to score a cast iron chance at the Camp Nou last season which would have eliminated Barcelona…

Or maybe we would not have you back after this little escapade?…

Ermmm was the caption

Taxi for Mr Bendtner?

Aint payback a bitch…

 

Feel Good Moment

 

Video of the week

Sayoud hits the deck and gets booked

Now that is the way to miss a Penalty, but to get booked for unsportmanslike conduct…hahahahahahahahaha!

OK, I have my rant, and believe me my stupor doesn’t get any better.

E.i.E is on holiday, but hopes to return in time for the game tomorrow.

Until next Friday then…

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