Over the years, my absolute loathing of the Arsenal board and the club’s American owner has become increasingly intense. There was the sacking of Wenger for the countless trophy-less seasons, which they had a hand in.
Then they embarked on a radical restructuring at the top end of the club and engaged in countless reshuffles that left Arsenal no better than they were before Wenger departed. They were responsible for shocking contract negotiations, baffling Premier League and Europa League performances and endless poor decisions including the termination of Santi Cazorla’s contract.
That’s not a dig at Arteta because he has worked miracles with what he has and introduced a team spirit and work ethic which was missing under Unai Emery. In terms of a board game, Arsenal are back to square one, undeniably flawed, in need of direction and signings that are fit for purpose which should be winning the Premier league ideally. Somehow we have totally seem to have forgotten that.
All this ineptitude is the work of Stan Kroenke, Ivan Gazidis, Raul Sanllehi, Vinai Venkatesham, Lord Harris of Peckham and Sir Chips Keswick and those other members of the Arsenal board that departed to allow this pack of financial parasites and commercial hyenas into the club including David Dein.
The Arsenal board wants a successful team, don’t doubt that. Perhaps not for the same reasons as supporters or to the same degree, but enough to facilitate commercial revenue to allow them to continue in the same way. An unbreakable spiral of deterioration perpetrated by a steady cash flow !!!
Raul Sanllehi was warmly welcomed to the Emirates and heralded as some sort of saviour, but having been in the post since 2018 with a less than impressive CV, he has made absolutely no difference apart from rubber-stamping the appointment of Unai Emery. That went well!
The man who replaced Gazidis was thought to bring about positive change but he has only added to the confusion and acts as the King in the King’s absence. Which is quite a lot.
Raul Sanllehi is the man who decides who comes in and for how much and he isn’t averse to completing deals without the agreement of the coach. He overruled Emery in the transfer market and wanted to be rid of Sven Mislintat to assume the reigns. I thought Arsenal wanted to fracture Wenger’s power base, not put in the hands of a man who now has more control than Gazidis and Wenger had combined.
Why has Kroenke given him so much freedom? Because he supposedly knows what he’s doing. Look up the various damning articles and you will see exactly what I mean about Raul Sanllehi.
Before anyone pipes up about the transfers he masterminded, allow me to add a degree of reality. Sanllehi has so far been responsible for acquiring four players on loan, none of which have made a massive impression. He’s added an incredibly expensive winger and purchased an unproven injured player. Surely his best decision was to loan an emerging world-class defender back to the selling club in the middle of a defensive crisis. Brilliant!
Furthermore, he is already sounding like the mouthpiece for the Kroenke’s, which will make him one of the main targets should Arsenal slip further into the mire. Let’s be clear, next season is crucial for him if he is to remain in post.
Examining some of the other culprits of the Arsenal board, it’s clear that one of them is only second to Kroenke senior and that accolade goes to Ivan Gazidis, the former Arsenal CEO. The South African businessman is not a passionate football supporter, but he is a fan of the mighty dollar and Arsenal have taken second place to his green goddess at every opportunity.
Worse still, he is a bluffer, a blagger and a bullshiter. Someone that tends to give the impression of being interested but, is really someone that you know couldn’t care less. Gazidis said in 2012 in reference to Arsenal’s relocation:
“As we look to the next two, three years we will have an outstanding platform on which to compete with any club in the world,”
“Now we are in that stadium, the first part of our vision has been realised. Now we are at the stage where some of the commercial deals that were tied into the construction of the stadium, and enabled us to take that first big step, will be renegotiated.”
“When that happens, we will take the second big step forward and that will be comparable in magnitude to moving to the stadium itself. At times it’s been a challenging project, but we will have catapulted ourselves into the elite clubs on the European scale and that, for us, has been what the last 10 years has been about.”
“Very clearly, it will push the club forward and put us into the top five clubs in the world in revenue terms, which will be a fantastic position to be in.”
Lies, all of it! The move to the Emirates sucked the team dry and overtime, Wenger couldn’t get the quality he needed with the money the club were prepared to pay. In 2013, the lie continued:
“We should be able to compete at a level like a club such as Bayern Munich.”
Another classic magic trick where you couldn’t see the sleight of hand and where the intention was anything but genuine.
Moving on to the big enchilada, invisible Stan Kroenke, the man with all the answers who continues to avoid all the questions. He promised to meet with the fans and six years after that promise, fans were and are still waiting.
He’s never spoken in-depth about his plans, never shown any passion towards his ‘product’ and has left it to deteriorate to become an average team with unrealistic and grand ambitions. He puts others in position at the target range whilst scampering about to avoid the shower of impending bullets. He always manages to find some way of justifying himself and will do again, probably by sacrificing another.
He managed to get Gazidis to get rid of Wenger and then did the same to Gazidis. Say what you like, but he isn’t a man to indulge in sentiment or loyalty. In short, the noises from the Emirates are the same as they’ve ever been since Kroenke’s involvement, it’s like that of a retired sportsman living off the memories of past successes, no longer able to compete at the highest level. Arsenal not only needs new players, but they also need a competent board and enthusiastic owner.