They Say We’re A Selling Club. But We Are The Carthaginians Of Football!


Before we get into the meat of today’s blog ie “Are We A Selling Club” I want to jump ahead to a theme further down the blog:

Arsenal’s Teutonic Dimension

And a man who may play a big role for us this weekend against those Stoke bastards, Per Mertesacker:

Superb Graphic Work By @The_Zama

Right, then. Let’s get started…

They Say We’re A Selling Club

I see the discussion all the time among not only pundits but also supporters. Are we a selling club?

The Wall Street Journal no less ran a piece on how Arsenal was a selling club. But do they identify the real villains. Not a word. Far from it, in fact. The culprits are extolled for their virtue of ambition.

For Arsenal fans, it has become a way of life. Their club is, in some ways, a farm team for the competition. In fact, following the transfer of Song to Barcelona on Saturday the total value of all players the Catalans have taken from Arsenal since 2000 now stands at around $185 million. You could argue that, after Barcelona’s vaunted La Masia youth academy, Arsenal is its biggest source of talent, having dispatched seven players to the Camp Nou in that time.
– The WSJ.

Look, if Barcelona were not allowed to finance 1/2 a billion, yes, read that a second time, 1/2 a billion in subsidized loans, they wouldn’t be buying our players. They did not build a stadium with this. They have the highest wage bill on the planet. Higher than Real Madrid, who also owe nearly 1/2 a billion. We would not be criticized for being a selling club if everyone woke up and shouted down the real villains in this drama.

Subsidized loans? Yes, FCB has borrowed money and then broken the repayment terms on the loans. But the banks are Catalonian, and so they can’t touch FCB or their Catalonian customers will walk out on them,

We did not choose to have the game distorted by Oily Clubs and Spanish profligate bullies. And we must fight on in the face of it.

Are We A Selling Club?

Are We A Selling Club??

Are We A Selling Club???

No, mate. We are not a Selling Club. We Sell and We Buy. We are a TRADING CLUB!

We ARE The Effing Carthaginians of Football

We did not want to be a selling team but perhaps we were for a number of years. We had a stadium to finance, a stadium that is the envy of the footballing world.

We are not a selling team NOW, we are a TRADING TEAM, like Dortmund. We are the greatest of traders. We are THE FUCKING CATHAGINIANS OF FOOTBALL, pal.

The Carthaginians were Phoenicians, the great sea-traders of the ancient Mediterranean, famous for cedar ships, the alphabet, purple cloth, Carthage, Hannibal and cities in Lebanon. Yet they also created a strong and unique society that interacted with the great societies of antiquity such as Greece, Rome, Egypt, Persia and others. 


Yep, that’s us! And just in case you think the Carthaginians sound a little wussy, here are a few other facts:

Hannibal was a Carthaginian. And he kicked the might of the Roman Empire all over the Italian Peninsula for 16 years straight. He was a brilliant general, like Wenger. But his might came from the ability of the Carthaginians to trade. They bought shit and they sold shit. And what they sold was much more valuable than what they bought. With the revenue they generated, they matched the might of the Roman Empire. That sounds like Arsenal to me.

You are a selling club if you need to sell players to stay in business. That’s not us.

You are a buying club if you have surplus funds to buy from the selling clubs. Somehow that doesn’t really fully describe us either.

But there is another class of club. The trading club. That would describe Dortmund and The Arsenal.

The Dortmund/Arsenal Model for success:

Let me summarize it:

We cannot beat the Oilygarchs at pissing away money. They are the best at that. They will always overpay for top players, especially from us.

To win, we must out-think and out-trade the bastards.

From this year forward, we will effectively be running a surplus:

1. As Ivan Gazidis stated, they kept “some powder dry” from last year ie they carried forward some funds so that we could strengthen when the right player(s) became available.

2. The Queens Road property netted our coffers 30m this year

3. vP and Song netted us about the amount we spend on Cazorla, Poldi and Giroud

4. In 2014 our new commercial deals will start to kick in, which should generate serious additional revenues

5. In 2014 major additional broadcast revenues will flow to ALL of the EPL clubs, including Arsenal – a mixed blessing too be sure. But it will strengthen us against foreign clubs ie Barca.

6. Michel Platini’s maligned FFP has already started to kick in (witness Manchester City’s inactivity this transfer window.) How effective it will be, only time will tell.

So, we are already effectively revenue positive and revenues are about to become very positive indeed.

Will this make us a buying club? Many lesser clubs already consider us a buying club. It just depends where you are in the food-chain. We will generate strong revenues to strengthen the squad and we will further supplement it through continual development of young talent.

But the Oily clubs and the Spanish bullies will always have more money. So, they will buy some of our players. So we will always be called a selling club.

But don’t be fooled. If your sales all go to improve your squad, then you are a TRADING CLUB. If on the other hand, they go to pay the bank, you are a selling club. We used to be a selling club. We had a stadium to build.

Now, we look for value in the market to allow us to strengthen the team. They pay us 2.4 Poldis for a 29 yr old player with 1 year left on contract. We buy Cazorla and Poldi for the same amount and get them on 4 year contracts.

They pay us 1.5 Poldis for Alex Song, about whom Wenger has been scratching his head for some time. Problem solved! And we’ll add a midfielder and another defender according to Wenger. We’ll be laughing!

No one can say we didn’t strengthen our squad. Well, yes, those idiots will. But, we bought, we sold. We made 2 nobodies, bought for peanuts, into world-class stars (apparently) from unpromising beginnings and we generated nearly 40m which we then re-invested into quality which is reaching it’s peak:

  • Cazorla – 2001/11 La Liga Signing of the year
  • Podolski – German International current Top Scorer
  • Giroud – Ligue 1 Top Scorer for Montpellier and Ligue 1 Winner
  • +1 TBA Defender
Out-Trade The Bastards
Look, in an ideal world, we would have more money (and therefore trophies) than Barca, City, Chelsea and United so they wouldn’t weasel away our top players. But we don’t. So we must out-trade the bastards. We must use our Street Smarts and our Bazaar Savvy. We get them to pay us 2.4 Poldis for a player with 1 year left on his contract who we have only been paying 80k pw, or get them to 1.5 Poldis for a want-away midfielder and we re-invest smarter. And you can’t beat having some cash on hand because there is always another Cazorla around the corner.

So, what have we done with this money lately? Have you noticed anything about our Arsenal recently? It is developing a very Teutonic streak to it, and I like it.

The Very Profile Of An Arsenal Player 

Have you noticed anything about the players we have bought in the last couple of years. They are by-and-large top class, reasonable money, down-to-earth, committed and here is the most important piece…NON-WHORES. None will be found shuffling cards on Youtube, teasing us with which club they may deign to honour with their presence. Nor will their agent demand for the club to make him a separate 5-6m payment for selling his whore to us.

Remember also that it was the only club that Cazorla, Poldi, Giroud, Gervinho, Arteta, The Ox and Mertesacker wanted.

Ambition: Does Arsenal Just Want To Make The Top 4.

The Fox Soccer Report panel basically stated that Arsenal had already given up competing this year, and were only interested in a Top 4 finish. Arsenal is only a business, they said, and selling van Persie proves it. I got into a Twitter debate a couple of days ago. It had a simlar theme. We’ve all heard it parotted mindlessly and repeatedly. The club only wants to make the Top 4. That is the sum of their ambition.

In answer to those who are cynical about the ambitions of the board, I would say 2 things:

  1. Honestly, why would the board not want to win? It will massively improve our position when marketing our commercial rights.
  2. Much, much more importantly, Arsene Wenger is here and looking deadly serious. He can only be at the club for 1 reason.

There is only one reason for Wenger to still be here. He has been offered some of the best and most lucrative jobs on the planet elsewhere. This man built the Invincibles. This man has 3 EPLs, 4 FA Cups and a Champions League final. He’s not here to see how long he can keep Arsenal in the Top 4 now is he? Just like Fergie, he is only sticking around because he KNOWS he can do it again.

  • He knows much more about the board than you and I or Tim Payton will ever know. (Remember, he’s best buddies with David Dein so he knows everything that Dein knows and therefore everything that Usmanov knows.)
  • He knows much more about the club’s finances than you and I or Tim Payton
  • He knows much more about Kroenke’s intentions than you and I or Tim Payton could ever know
  • He’s not abusing all those water bottles because he loves coming 4th

So, if a smart, savvy man like Wenger who knows everything about winning and knows everything about the internals of this club is still here, shouldn’t we think that he likes what he sees? You think you want to win some Silverware? Arsene Wenger is ON A MISSION to show we can win, to show he was right.

Pundits and supporters forget that none of these players we signed this year would be here if we weren’t a Top 4 club. But don’t confuse our minimum goal with our maximum ambition. You can’t win the Prem this year if you didn’t make the Top 4 last year. It’s never going to happen. You’ll haemorrhage even more players and won’t be able to trade for top quality replacements.

For those who think Arsene is too soft on his players, and that he cossets them, better turn away from this movie. It’s about to get bloody. He’s going to be buying and selling his way to a trophy. The man has an iron hand in a velvet glove.

Ambition, Robin? Championships aren’t won by a player showing up for 90 minutes a week. They are won by a visionary manager who works 24 x 7 x 365 to build a winning team, a winning squad and a winning club. You left behind a manager and a squad every bit the match for the ones you took off to. Doh!

Beware the Ides of May, Robin.