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Behind the Scenes Arsenal 2007-09-23 13:19:00
Tomorrow the Arsenal financial reports will be released. They are expected to show that Arsenal have surpassed Manchester United as the richest football club in the Premiership despite the debt incurred from the Emirates stadium. We've also supposedly jumped from eighth most financially stable club to second, right behind Real Madrid. It's no surprise then that the sharks are now circling Arsenal to get a piece of the action.

I'm not sure if any of you have heard about the allegations that "Alisher Usmanov, potential Arsenal chairman, is a Vicious Thug, Criminal, Racketeer, Heroin Trafficker and Accused Rapist" by Craig Murray, a former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan. Apparently, Usmanov also got his lawyers to take down any critics (unintentionally deleting Boris Johnson's blog which is a laugh). If he was innocent of the charges laid at his door, surely he would not be using such disgusting tactics. There is such a thing as freedom of speech. And Murray actually invites Usmanov to settle the case in court, which the latter refuses to do.

I know many Arsenal fans have been worried about Stan Kroenke but it looks like the sale of David Dein's shares to Alisher Usmanov of Red and White Holdings (blasphemous name!) is even more of a problem. Usmanov is a thoroughly dodgy character, and I can no longer trust Dein for bringing Arsenal to his notice. I am even willing to open talks with Kroenke if it means keeping Arsenal safe from the clutches of a person a million times worse than Roman Abramovich. Certainly, the Board itself is preparing to get Kroenke on some deal not to sell to Usmanov and company.

Are you guys worried about these behind-the-scene developments? Is there something we can do as fans to make sure Arsenal keeps its identity etc? Should we even bother or care?

I think we should get the word out about David Dein's pact with the devil. Someone write a letter to the FA though I doubt that would do as much good. Anyway, I'm glad this chaos is not bothering the players and Wenger.

Arsenal 5-0 Derby, good job boys.
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2007-09-23 07:48:33
I am worried too, but not just about Arsenal Football Club, but the Premiership and western European football in general.

What just happened to Jose Mourinho is startling enough to make me realise that football in this country is going down the drain - fast. It has made me question a lot of things. What has this whole thing - football, the love of it and the lifelong support of a football club, become about? As more and more traditions fly out of the window at each club, with less and less local investment, fewer local players and local fans at matches and fewer local owners what is it that will hold me to Arsenal Football Club (or anyone to any club), for better or for worse? Is money the only thing that makes Arsenal better than Tottenham?

These teams are becoming corporate entities to the extent that I now feel that I might as well support a bank or an agrochemical in their bid to become number one. Arsenal has not yet succumbed entirely, and there are other teams out there with a much bigger transnational identity. But now only a handful of things need to happen to turn us into a thoroughly soulless club and it does scare me.

A few things need to happen:

1)Continued and strengthened investment in local community projects

2)Improved and strengthened investment in youth teams and women's team.

3)Growth and encouragement of English players. (It irks me that England never has an Arsenal player in their starting XI).

4)Rejection of foreign ownership.

5)Continued creation (not acquisition) of star players.

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2007-09-23 09:34:23
Growth and encouragement of English players. (It irks me that England never has an Arsenal player in their starting XI).
What does having English players related to Arsenal the football club? We have Theo and Hoyte, and they're good players with immense potentials but what does it matter if they start for England or not? Arsenal's first team players start for Brazil, Spain, Czech Republic, France, etc., and I think that's just as important.
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2007-09-23 09:44:53
It matters for several reasons, most notably Arsenal is an English club. It's all part of keeping this club from becoming a soulless behemoth like Chelsea, Juve or Real Madrid. It shows a club that does things not only for it's community but for its country. It endears a club to the British press and the rest of the British public. As much as people hate Man U, supporters from all clubs hold their breaths when a crunching tackle goes in on Wayne Rooney. No one apart from Man U fans gives that much of a shit when a similar tackle goes in on Ronaldo.
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2007-09-23 10:17:17
are you in England? Unless they're Man U fans, nobody gives a shit about Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney.

It could also be argued that Chelsea have Frank Lampard and JT, and Juve have Alessa del Piero, and Real Madrid have Iker Casillas and Raul. So, according to your reasons, they have "soul" because they have quality players from their own country.

The last time we had an international England player was when Ashley Cole and Sol Campbell were still here. One was released because he wanted to go abroad only to turn up back in the Premiership. The other - well we all know what Cashley did.

Arsenal as far as I am concerned are still an English club. Our talismans may not be English but since when were they, recently? Our last, great great English players were in The Great Back Four. And I wouldn't swap Cesc Fabregas for anybody else in the world right now.

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2007-09-23 17:40:53
Don't forget Chelsea also has SWP, Joe Cole, and now Cashley on the National Team. They had 4 starters on the last Euro qualifier, and they have the freakin England Captain! But that doesn't change the fact that "soulless Chelsea" is the most hated team in England.

Of course, it's nice to have English players, but they're boring, overrated and expensive. No way should pressure get in the way of Arsenal's functioning.
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2007-09-23 11:45:21
Are you joking? I fucking love it when somebody goes in hard on Rooney and I wish people would go in hard on Fat Lumpard more. With sticks. Big sticks. Due to a number of things, chiefly the England team being managed by an incompetent and the vast majority of the England players being utter pricks, I have no time for England anymore and I daresay there are a few like me.
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2007-09-23 20:17:30
Of course teams like Arsenal will continue to create and invest in youth teams, for the same reason that companies pour money into R&D departments; it pays off in the long term. Similarly Arsenal's community projects are good PR and good business sense, creating a new fanbase who'll go on to spend money etc. And to be fair to the Arsenal they did offer season tickets to Islington residents before they offered them to anybody else when they built the new ground.

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on the foreign players thing. I see nothing wrong in the influx of talented foreigners; it's up to English players to be as good. It's simple competition and competition is beneficial. Arsenal have always been a cosmopolitan club and it makes me proud that we refuse to take the easy, safe route of insular nationalism. Good players are good players, whether they're from Islington or Iran. It's an obvious point as well, but we can't really help the fact that some of the few English players we've had through our ranks turn out to be utter cunts. On the same principle of good people being good wherever they're from, I see nothing wrong in foreign ownership. Of course Roman Abramovich is bad for the game but was Ken Bates any better? Risdale? At least George Gillet, Glazer, Randy Lerner etc aren't running their club into the fucking ground, hilarious as it is to see Leeds absolutely fucked. Frankly, I think an injection of sanity from foreign parts (with the exception of hulking oligarchs like Abramovich and Usmanov etc) is welcome.
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2007-09-23 11:55:07
Of course we should care, if only for selfish reasons. Chelsea may have swept to two tedious titles - god I love alliteration - but they've also just got rid of the best young manager in Europe, purely on the whim of their idiot owner. Chelsea fans long ago lost the moral high ground when they welcomes Abramovich as a saviour, no questions asked. Now that he's fucking up their club (and, according to today's Observer, giving tactics advice to Michael Essien via Andriy Shevchenko) they can only sit and watch.

This is one reason why Usmanov has to be resisted, but there are many others. That the present structure of the club works is the key reason I think. We are not in need of investment (David Dein's Judas-like entreaties that we need to spend more to maintain our prominence look hollower by the day) like Liverpool were. We are not on the verge of complete collapse like Chelsea were. We are not a PLC like Man Utd were. Indeed, if the results are as good as we all think they will be, we are an exceptionally well run club. We don't need the instability and uncertainty of a takeover and certainly not one headed by a sinister, bloated Uzbek of dubious repute.
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