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Arsenal: The Last Big English Club

As the news filtered through of the sale of England's most successful ever football team this morning, something dawned on me.....

Arsenal are now the last of the big teams to be domestically owned.

Ok, so maybe 'The last of the big teams' is a little provocative, but the theory is still the same.

Out of the current top four of the nations Premier League, two are owned by Americans, one by a Russian, leaving only the Gunners who are run by English employers.

We, as Arsenal fans have suffered taunts & jibes at the hands of our rival fans because our 'team is not English' for around the same amount of time Professor Wenger has been at the helm in N5, but ironically, these self same fans are now supporters of clubs which should be considered 'less English' than our own.

Vital Arsenal, and 99% of other Arsenal supporting dudes have championed the 'player over passports' row for nigh on and ice age now, where as other fans (rather idiotically) believe 'true English grit' triumphs over 'smarmy foreign skill' seven days out of seven.

I find it amazing that these people believe it more important to have English players at their respective clubs than actually being English in the first place. When all is said and done, players come and and players go, they can be replaced when they get to old or if they simply aint good enough, but the core of the club changes hands rarely, if ever.

The board and the owners of a club bring their own traditions, thoughts and theories, regardless of what ever promises they make upon purchase. Boardrooms across the world are run in different manners from region to region, some like to be more hands on, some even like to pick the teams, but here in England the norm has always been to let the managers manage.

Roman Abramovich has already proved he's only willing to play house Russian for a certain amount of time before he wants more. Shevchencko being a prime example, an example of how not to run a club in England.

We are fortunate enough to have a board who knows what we want, what their manager wants and what the players want. Peter Hill-Wood has already told of his ambition to make sure our club remains in domestic hands, and our glorious gaffer has spoken of the importance of English clubs remaining English.

The heritage we have at Arsenal is a fantastic one, everything we have we have earned through hard word & fantastic football. We have a team of people who know that their business is just that and leave the football to the football people.

So it is with a proud Gooner heart that I thank my lucky stars that Arsenal have become the last big ENGLISH club, and pray that my beloved Arsenal never ever fall into the dirty hands of the moneymen who seem hell bent on getting a piece of the action before leaving our national sport in a state of disarray.

The next time one of you rival supporters think about berating our 'non-English' Arsenal, take a quick look at the birth certificate of the name of the owner on the lease of the club you support.






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The Journalist

Writer: Rocky7 Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Wednesday February 7 2007

Time: 12:16AM

Your Comments

can I just say BRILLIANT piece! This is easy THE article of the week, month, season, whatever. Read mine and the minds of all the Gooners across the globe. Congratulations.
G4L
This whole country has been sold down the river, its bones picked and cleaned by the big money vultures, football, our national game, our love and passion was the next obvious step, sorry to be the harbinger of doom but I can't see how it won't happen to us, its a given. It may not be for months or years but it is now inevitable, I'm not sure if this is a passing phase who knows in five/ten years these dollar/rouble ridden ******s may tire of their new plaything and sell back to English ownership/consortiums. I can't say I'm overly optimistic of the condition they'll be returned in.
nikolaijns
In fairness to Randy Lerner who bought Villa of Doug Ellis at the start of the season, one of the things which appealed to him was Villas history, since his return Sir Ron Saunders of Aston has visited Villa Park for the first time for 30 years. The club is getting ready to celebrate their winning of the European Cup in 1982 (something the previous owner banished from the clubs records for personal reasons) The club now have members of the board "the General" speaking with the fan on a regular basis, a supporters forum is now in place to listen to the supporters. If this is because Villa have been sold to fireign owners then all I can say is every club should try it. Finally Randy Lerner has not plunged the club into massive debt to finance the purchase or transfer kitty for new players. P.S. I do like this board as its alot like Villas and always has some thought provoking articals. I Salute you...... a bit
col8
5 Live have just reported Arsenal will be £385 million in debt by the end of the season......
col8
I believe that this Arsenal board had everything planned out and left the risky part to the most reliable person - Arsene Wenger. The financial construction was/is in place and this debt will be massively reduced in the very near future. What is left in the hands of Arsene Wenger is to build a young and very competitive team and ensure Champions League football in the coming seasons with the first priority being the domestic and the champs league trophies. Everything on top of that would be a bonus. So I am keeping faith in the Board and Arsene - they are yet to persuade me that I am mistaken to do that.
G4L
It is somewhat good to hear that Villa's fans are pleased with the improvement of certain aspects of the club, but one cannot say that regarding results. Yes it is too early, but the current Villa playing staff does not look like challenging for honours and I am not trying to insult anyone. Everything has to balance out - the investments and the success. If Lerner had brought in more players and spent more cash Villa could have been lot closer to the top, that would have probably taken a toll on the internal atmosphere in the club (Chavs and West Ham Vikings). What matters is that some think that buying their way into the top makes them a big club - and theya re very very wrong. Me, I am just proud to be a Gooner.
G4L
He only bought your club back in August Col obviously the honeymoon period is still in full swing, not wishing any ill but its very early days, still all the best with the sex mad scholar (Randy Lerner)
nikolaijns
You might consider that many Arsenal fans aren't English. Most of the players aren't English. I don't think the nationality of the owners matter anymore than the players. As long as they provide stability and support Arsene, what difference does it make? Seems pretty strange that you talk about the superiority of the 'players over passport' point of view and then turn right around and castigate foreign ownership as inherently bad. That's dumb. Owners can be bad foreign or English, just as they can be good.
bobc
A thought provoking and articulate piece as ever Paul. From this lifelong Gooner you have my complete agreement. I would certainly not desire short term success over long term stability in any circumstance. I will be a staunch Gooner for the rest of my days as will my children and I want the same for them as I have enjoyed for the past 27 years. Col8, regarding the debt, that figure has not taken into account the 130 million that the redevelopment of Highbury will generate and the fact we have an asset in AG worth far more than that figure. Also, if you had a mortgage spread over 25 years the figure sounds huge, when you break it down to say 20% of your monthly salary it comes into context a little. It is exactly the same with our new stadia.
hatespur
i think, bobc, that more to the point, Mr Mustchin was pointing out the lunacy of clubs castigating US for having foreign players on our books, when their club, from the very top down, is in the hands of a 'johnny foreigner'. We have, for the last few years, been p[utting up with this sclock about us ruining the national gam, and it is merely a way of pointing out the holes in the (incredibly dull) arguments of the people who throw such mud at us. »»Arsene Knows««
Wingston75
Bingo Wingers! (Not the flappy bits of skin under mi nans arms) The irony of Chelsea, Man Utd& Liverpool fans taking the ***** when in the blink of an eye all their English players could be sold and players from the countries of their owners brought in, just because they can, is something never thought about when these dudes mock us. The foreign owners could concievably take these club out of the lague and put them elsewher, afterall, it's their toy now. Oh, and with regards to the debt, we have a section of around 1600 seats (I think thats the amount) at AG called 'club level, these seats alone bring in more cash than every other clubs entire stadium on matchdays, with the possible exception of Man Utd and maybe Newcastle (when full) As some has pointed out, it's a mortgage. If you bought a house on a mortgage for £200,000 would you go round telling everyone you were 200 grand in debt? Of course not. There are no problems with money in our neck of the woods.
Rocky7
Oh, and it's good to see the Villa fans are happy with their new owners, but give it a while, I bet people were happy with Ellis when he first bought the club.
Rocky7
LD, did you go to the Grove last night??? It didn't look much of a game in fairness. I hope you booed the diving sideshow.
hatespur
It was an o.k game, typical friendly, but with some brilliant showpieces. I won free club level seats, so that side of it was awesome. I actually didn't boo Ronaldo, I was a neutral at the game and as such, I felt that this was my first chance to see Ronaldo objectively and appreciate what an excellent player he is. I wanted to see a good game and felt Ronaldo would be a key to that. On the ownership thing, we shouldn't get too complacent, we could very easily be taken over. Most of our majority shareholders are over sixty, Nina Bracewell Smith and Danny Fiszman have stated they would sell for the right price, David Dein is non committal on the issue. It could happen.
Little Dutch
Very good article Paul. Sadly football in this country has been ruined by money.
bmb
If it does I hope the new owners would keep Double D at the helm.
hatespur
We certainly could get bought out at any point, but the comforting thing is that it is on record that the current board want to keep the ownership of our club in domestic hands. In the mean time I'd like to enjoy my time up here on my high horse!! :)
Rocky7
i'm darned outright ecstasic.. nobody can throw jibes and taunts at us of not being "english" anymore..
go4it_adi
Wingston75, Fair enough.
bobc
Great article, long overdue. I do believe that these "non-English" jibes are based on nothing more than pure jealousy (have you noticed the clubs these criticisms are coming from are more than happy to accommodate foreign players when it suits them. Can you say that they would turn down players of the class of Henry just because he isn't English? I think not. They'd sell their granny to have a player that talented that loves their club as much as TH loves Arsenal) I think alot of fans get confused between nationality and spirit. We all know that every club has it's own 'personality' or character - prioritising different attributes, placing importance on different qualities, different ways of doing things. I believe that what fans actually look for in players is what we call 'English spirit' (think Terry Butcher, never-say-die, unquestionable loyalty, get stuck in, etc.), and that the influx of money into the game has 'watered down' the amount of visible players who possess these qualities (diving, cheating and conning are more abundant as some players do not have that "I'll fight to stay on my feet" mentality, thinking more along the lines of "I'll get that penalty/free kick if I flop over like an oscar nominee") It's seriously misguided, though, if we think that all English players possess these qualities and no foreign players do. I have no doubts about the character of the players that AW has signed - I actually believe that the character of players is as important to him as their playing skills (who wants a flash diver that thinks he's bigger than the club he plays for, no matter how technically brilliant) For all the money that they earn, I have seen most of our players kiss the Arsenal badge on their shirt, proud to wear it - that's the kind of player I want in an Arsenal shirt. Our players possess what we term as English spirit, despite not been born here - it's definately about character and not nationality. With regard to our board - I have been proud that they have conducted the growth of Arsenal Football Club in a very intelligent way, and am proud that we are still domestically owned. I do worry about our future - they must at some point be looking to retire - I just hope that their love of Arsenal (and I do believe that AFC is as much in the blood of the board as it is in the fans) will have some influence as to their decision, as and when they make it. Just an afterthought - all this criticism of us being non English - if I remember rightly our 1979 FA cup winning side had 7 non English players, I don't remember any jibes then.
BergkampsBoot
G4L Randy Lerner took over Villa at the death, 1 day before the start of the season with no time to Invest by buying any players. 4 players in during this transfer window, 10,000 extra on the gate. He may not have done a CSKAchelski but it was clear from the on-set this was not going to happen. It is going to take a couple of seasons before Villa progress to the top of the table.
col8
 

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