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Why Wenger Hasn’t Been Spending And Why We Care So Much

by on February 24, 2012

Why Wenger Hasn’t Been Spending And Why We Care So Much

Do you remember the good old days? The days when Tottenham actually were in our shadow, the days when Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungberg, David Seaman and Tony Adams all played for us, the days when we were the biggest club in England? Being honest I was quite young then but I remember feeling like I was a part of something special living in Highbury. The day after the FA Cup final in 2002 I went into the local post office with my grandmother. Her and her friend mentioned Arsenal winning the cup and, not knowing the difference between the league and the cup, I said “Didn’t they win that last week?” But that’s how highly I rated them, as a 6-year-old, I thought if any team could win the FA Cup twice in a week it was Arsenal. Then of course there was the double winning parade, one of my fondest memories. At the time I was in awe; seeing Arsenal, THE Arsenal, in my neighbourhood! I looked at the bus from the pavement, completely ignoring David Seaman trying to throw his scarf to my mum, and I thought “This is the best team ever!” At the age of 6 I didn’t take the likes of Real Madrid or A.C Milan into consideration but that didn’t matter.


This was probably the best time of my life. I didn’t care about dividends, player wages or transfer fees. I just knew Arsenal were great, and I knew Arsene Wenger was great. Now before you start thinking this is some pro Wenger propaganda being spoon-fed to you by a ‘keep the faith’ Arsenal preacher, I would like you to know this is exactly the opposite of that. OK maybe not the exact opposite because this isn’t pure anti Wenger hatred either. Consider it a well educated rant, but the sort of rant you enjoy reading. That aside, Wenger brought all that glory to Arsenal. We actually were, for a period, INVINCIBLE. Name a manager who’s done that (except Villas-Boas who doesn’t count). Sir Alex didn’t and neither did Jose Mourinho, who would probably commission a statue of himself if he could. I know exactly what you’re thinking, “Wow this is boring!” OK that’s not what you’re thinking, at least I hope not. You’re thinking “But that was back in Highbury!” and you’re right. As I hint at in the picture above, we haven’t won a trophy since 2005. Which means we’ve won nothing at the Emirates (except the Emirates Cup thingy,  but that means nothing and won’t even be taking place this year).

We’re almost 2/3s of the way through what will have been our seventh season without a trophy, for a club of Arsenal’s size that’s a painfully long time. Many Arsenal fans, including myself until recently, blame and have blamed Wenger for our lack of silverware. Some Gooners even think we’d be better off without him (no that was not meant to be patronizing). In our trophyless spell we’ve been in the Champions League final, you can’t blame Wenger for us not winning that, and two Carling Cup finals. I think it’s hard to blame Wenger for a lack of success when he’s taken us to three finals in six seasons, that was the players’ fault. We’ve also had quite a few league campaigns where we’ve been in the running for the title and fallen at the last hurdle. In honesty that is no-one’s fault, the players were young so they lacked mental strength; Wenger took the players at the club further than anyone else could. Now some people (again, I’m not being patronizing) would say, “Hold on a second, surely it’s Wenger’s fault that the squad was too inexperienced?” Being honest Wenger’s signings have been too young, very technically gifted but too young. Most of them have become key players at Arsenal. Unfortunately because of our young squad we’ve failed to win trophies and because of our failure to do so, our young signings tend to leave just before their peak. So why would our most successful manager let this happen? Some say he’s too cheap. But remember he never used to have a problem spending money. Before Arsenal moved to the Emirates Arsene Wenger made a net loss of £53,126,000 in the transfer market at Arsenal, after the move he made a net profit of £48,900,000. So did Wenger just lose the plot in 2006? I doubt it. When we built the Emirates we took on a debt of £750,000,000, that debt has already gone down to approximately £360,000,000. This is down to what the board call ‘responsible’ levels of debt repayment. This makes me think Wenger has less money to play with. Unsurprisingly this huge cut in spending has resulted in Arsenal’s squad weakening, hence the lack of silverware. How many managers could’ve kept Arsenal in the top four in a new stadium with a budget essentially in the minuses? I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about that.

The Arsenal board have announced the slowing down of debt repayment and the club (according to projections) will be debt free within the next two decades. In the mean time this allows more money to be invested in the squad. According to reports Arsenal will have approximately £50,000,000 to spend in the next transfer window assuming we get a top 4 finish. However, with financial security in mind, if we fail to make the top 4 our budget for transfers will be closer to £11,000,000. But, as Wenger has proven, £11,000,000 can go a long way.

Written by Thomas Munson, tweet him @Eltomo71 and have your say


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  1. Yassin permalink

    amazing article, and finally somebody just get the point.
    but to blame is just wenger needed one of to methods to win a trophy:

    1- buy 2 or 3 experienced players who won a trophy before and still young enough.

    2- buy a well strong defence line cause young talents arsenal have can score easily if they only have trust in the back line.

    in addition, i would prefered wenger had bought english more english players cause they may be more faithful to the club and not leave to barca or real or any where else

  2. Maverick permalink

    ummmm, would like to know where you got your figures from. We actually took on about 400m of debt and now we are only about 93m in debt which is paid yearly at a rate of about 10-15m. We will not be paying it off ahead of time, its a low interest mortgage which we can easily handle. Apart from that we are debt free on everything else and can only make a profit on unsold developments and flat.

    The reason why we are debt free (apart from the emirates mortgage) is literally because we have not been spending any money on transfers we actually sell more (IE Cesc and Nasri cost more tan what we spent in the summer) than we spend. The good thing is though we will have a new shirt sponsor in a couple of years and also we are starting to be able to spend better, also this summer we will likely get rid of more deadwood so there is room to sort out the wage structure better so we no longer have dross on our books at 60k a week.

  3. right_mr permalink

    A post by a true arsenal fan. I salute you sir.
    I dont always agree with some of wengers decisions but all I can say is I doubt very very much that any other manager could have achieved what arsene has achieved and continues to achieve.
    Rottenham have 1 good season,yes 1 good season and the doom mongers are out with their pitch forks. Tottenham are going to end up like portsmouth

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