The last 5 years have been Wenger’s best

March 27, 2011

You would need to be serious numbskulls to not believe Wenger has excelled himself by creating a squad based primarily on players who have been promoted through the Academy and brought into the club at a very young age.. at a fraction of the price we would have paid had we signed them a few years later.

Let’s get this bit straight… to build such a competitive squad in such a way, in light of the billions spent by Chavski, City, Spuds, Utd & Co in the same period, has been nothing short of genius.

Stick it and get off this site right now if you think Fergie, Mourinho or any other manager alive today could have mirrored this… you are beneath the required intellect level to proceed if you do not think this to be the case.

Yes, tyranny rules OK.

Joking aside,  what does “competitive squad” mean?  Well, I grant you this, we have not been a winning squad, but you cannot deny the fact we have been right up there in the league for most of the last 5 seasons… with every chance we end this season as Champions.  Falling away in the latter stages of the Cups in these lean years has been gutting to the maximum…. but at least we got to the latter stages.

We have had no right at all to be top four, let alone competing for the title, with the money we have spent in comparison to the clubs around us in the table.

Since 2006 and the move to the Emirates, Wenger has made the club a £27,850,000 profit…. that’s right a PROFIT.  In this same period of time City have net spent close to £400,000,000.  They will do well to scrape into 4th this season…. challenge for the title?  Do me a favour.

The Chavs and the Spuds are next up with both spending just shy of £100,000,000 net.

The list goes on…. by taking into consideration the current 20 clubs in the Premier League, only Newcastle sit below us in 20th position in the net transfer stakes… and this is only just by virtue of the thirty-five odd million they have recouped on Andy Carroll in recent weeks.

Just think about those figures closely, clubs like Spuds have busted a gut and a few lines of credit just to scrape into 4th, while we have effortlessly strolled in, and competed for the title a few times… whilst making a profit.

I can hear the doomsday plums screaming “SO WHAT… WE WANT TROPHIES NOT PROFITS”

My simple riposte to these mental lightweights?

That shiny new stadium you sometimes sit in was not donated to us… you know!

It had to be paid off, and it more or less has… and NOT at the expense of competitive football.

We are Arsenal and we should not just be competing… but winning.. I hear you now say…. and I 100% concur with this view… but one must always pay close attention to the reason why Wenger has had to build a squad in such a way, the finances involved with the global recession in play and a new stadium always get a very cursory glance… why?

Why when he spent plenty of loot at Highbury?  He is not trying to prove any point, he has spent money in the past…. but it’s just not been available.

The relevance of this period will become all the more clearer in the years and decades to come.

Yes I get annoyed with certain transfer market dealings, or none dealings… and yes certain players in this squad are clearly not up to much cop… but overall I am a very happy bunny.

You see, I get the bigger picture… I understand where the club is headed… the problem for some of you “Wenger out” brigade is that it is very hard to get this bigger picture…. when you have such a small screen!!

Supporting a club like the Arsenal is for life.. not just for a few choice glory, trophy-laden years.


35 Responses to “The last 5 years have been Wenger’s best”

  1. Arsenal Oldie said

    Bless you Hawke.

    An excellent way to start a Sunday morning.

  2. PositiveGunner said

    Very well written. Too few care to think about the big picture and even fewer understand the economics of moving to the emirates (they think it just appeared out of thin air for free or something)

  3. gingergoon said

    Every fan should read this! Well said

  4. James Hickey said

    A grown up and well put article. I go to the Emirates with family and friends. Its a fantastic matchday experienced except for the toxic atmosphere generated by the moaners and Wenger out brigade. I have been a fan since Wright days (Billy that is not Ian) and visited Liverpool, Aston Villa, Spurs, Man/City/Utd, Chelsea grounds. They are not a patch on the Emirates. What they wouldn’t give to be in our position. That’s partially the reason why they try to kick us to bits. Jealousy.

    We have brought players to the club who I can only describe as dubious. Players who after shining brightly for a year or so spend a year out and never come back the same player. Rosickey Vermarelen both out with injuries no can understand nor work out. Are these players subject to doping controls when out injured.

    Wenger is a genius Man City alone prove you can’t buy success, Chelsea struggle to sell tickets to their games, imagine if they tried to fill a 60000 seat stadium. Same for Spurs,Liverpool, Everton, Aston Villa et al.
    Supporting The Arsenal is simply more that just doing football

  5. Karthik said

    This is the first time I’m visiting ur site, and it certainly will NOT be the last time! Brilliant. In Arsene We Trust.

  6. Borkus said

    I agree with the article and definietly believe that no other manager in world football could have consistently kept us in the top 4 and challenging on such little resources. Wenger is indeed a genius and i would want him to remain manager for as long as he wishes. I do think though that what irritates some fans and has started to irritate me is how tantalisingly close we are to the finished article. We could still end up winning the title this season despite our injuries but i cant help think that if we dont, it will have been a huge missed opportunity. I think if we’d signed Schwarzer and Cahill at the beginning of the season we would be out of sight already. So frustrating

  7. king gooner said

    controversial?def not what the johhny come latelys want to hear!

  8. Zakk said

    A view from a longterm supporter…

    Excellent article from start to finish. It is not a divine right for our club to win everything each year. We have been close on many occasions and are competitive as one of Europe’s top teams.

    Wenger has built a legacy that generations will enjoy the benefits from in years to come.

    Sadly you cannot please everyone – even if we win the league this year a lot of people will say ‘worst team ever to win a league’

    We know as fans we have something very special that is ensuring that AFC are a competitive force for decades to come.

  9. The BearMan said

    Man I read your blog with a smile! Now I am not one of those, you refer to as “The Wenger out Brigade”, nor for spending large sums of money as though it grew in trees. But anyone that calls themselves a supporter of the AFC and an a understanding narrow understanding of finance could tell you that we shot ourselves in the foot Again this season. We know where our weakness lie? The wastage on what I termed “Bargin Bucket Players”, whose only contribution is little more than picking up a weekly wage. What was needed was a little prudence, if Mr. Wenger had trimmed his squad and add one or two individual, the result would have been different. Repeatedly we all saw something is not quite working, but refused to take the appropriate action to address it. This for me is also letting down the players that are working their socks off and at the end having precious little to show for it. Then why the falseness in making everyone believe we are going guns blazing for all 4 trophies. Better be up front and say, our aim for this year is to finish in the top four and anything else we achieve is a bonus.

  10. Annony said

    An astonishingly accurate piece, author.

    I can say this, with great confidence, as I have been very close to the finances of the club since 1987.

    There is still not a budget in place that is anything like some of the figures bandied around the press, however there is now enough to at least buy some top reinforcements.

    Trust me when I say the man has taken far too much pressure off the board in the last few seasons.

    You are astute in stating the true significance of this period will not truly be realised until a time in the future.

    The truth will certainly be available, and only then will some come to realise what a man Wenger was, and how he saved the club from a tortuous future during the banking crisis of 2007-2009.

    The club were actually in a very big hole at one point, and the money from UEFA was imperative, as was the sale of top players every summer.

    This was never made public, nor did the manager ever wish for it to be made public.

    It is feasible to suggest managers from other top clubs, facing the pressure Wenger did, would have buckled and blamed the board, but not Wenger.

    Genius is simply not befitting enough of the man.

  11. rvpgunners said

    Eveyone knows that it may not be Wenger fault in the transfer market. Maybe we should ask the Board especially the bald headed Gazidis to get out instead.

    The fans like to see trophies and glory for the club. It is not nice to say such damning words to them even if they were to ask for Wenger head.It is natural in EPL to sack manager who is not winning after so many years. Good players will not like to join a club or my leave a club that is not winning and ex-players like Vieira and Henry said it all.

  12. george rodger said

    That is exactly what I would have written,if I was not such a dimwit.
    Thank you for this wonderful article

  13. Dean Jacobs said

    Thank you for writing what many of us gooners know and have felt for so long.

    This piece along with your “Barca won nothing for 6 years” are works of true art.

    Not only will Arsene Wenger be recalled for this period in the years to come, but also this blog.

    I cannot, and will not agree with all your posts, but then life would be utterly boring, but you do have the gonads to at least speak your mind and not pander to the doomers who seem to be in the majority on the internet.

    Well done and continued success with the blog, Sir.

  14. Zulu Gooner said

    How true. well said. great Blog!

  15. makara said

    i like it,but i also want to see Gunner be the Champion for this season….

  16. Hascim said

    Nice blog SH am Kenyan and without taking anything away from AW 4 trying 2 keep us competitive how much have we been let down by his stupid decision of not buying what the team ACTUALLY NEEDS (not saying 2 spend crazy money like the chavs or citeh)i.e. a good CH like David Luiz,a decent GK(Imagine 4 six yrs and we still rely on Almunia in the most important period of this season) and a decent CDM as a cover 4 Song?Instead he says we can win with Almunia,Diaby,Denilson,Squillaci(what criteria did AW use inorder 2 sign him honestly) giving them big money contracts 2 such mediocrity.He says project youth fine,but why not try 2 buy at least the best kids arnd like Edin Hazard,David Luiz even if they cost much.Imagine spending arnd £50m 4 just a season having such quality 4 many yrs instead u av mediocrity which wins fcuk all but still spend what ur afraid of in the 1st place on the contracts of such mediocrity.So the big qstn is how sensible and reasonable is that 4 real?

  17. arsenal4ever said

    what a bullshit article. you are a dumpass like Wenger himself.

  18. GF60 said

    Wish there were more like you Legendaire. Why can’t others see it?

  19. Orville said

    Whats the point of boasting a profit if Arsenal are not winning. Seriously.

    We make enough to repay the stadium debt. We sell a majority of the houses. Then the next thing is to strengthen the weak areas of the team.

    No one is asking Arsenal to do a Citeh or a Chelsea and spend 400 mill+. Or do a Spurs are bust out gut only to finish forth.

    But I will say 10 – 15 mil more every season for the last 3 years would have won us the title and more each year.

    Whats the point singing a Squillaci for 6 mil who has already (by my count) cost us about 7 points, when we could have signed a younger 10x better Mertersacer for 16 mil. I don’t get it.

    The last 5 years Arsene has lowered the bar and forced us to watch players like Almunia, Bendtner and Denilson. Players who would never have started that many games in the previous 6 season (1998 – 2004).

  20. The BearMan said

    Are you really saying Arsenal fans ought to be more contented and feel themselves luck their team finished in the Top 4? Was there absolutely nothing more that could have been done to achieve a better result without breaking the bank?

    May I ask: What about the option of taking one or two players on loan to plug the gaping hole at the back?

    Lesser teams have done that and achieved a result! Consider well Birmingham?

    Are we using our Reserves players for best advantage to the Arsenal FC?

    This has been my arguement before the last transfer window closed: What is the ambition of Arsenal this season? Is it simply to win the Carling Cup and finish in the Top 4? Then we needed not to spend as the players we have ought to have achieved that. However, if our aspirations were to go for everything, the past five year history have shown, we always burn out approaching the final hurdle. Arsenal needed four quality players to be in a fighting chance to win a maximum of 3 trophies this season. 2 x defenders, 1 x CM and 1 x hitman upfront. We needed very urgently to cut away all the dead wood and replace them with some quality players. When I notice we were not about to use the transfer window wisely, I suggested Mr. Wenger prepare certain Reserve players, get them training with the first team in readiness to bring them in, if and when needed.

    Any true football fan, can tell when some players are in holiday mode. We know when we will get precious little from an individual. Consider well, it was mainly a Reserve squad that knocked us out of the FA Cup.

    Now is winning such a bad ideal today? Maybe every British Athlete should not dream of winning a gold medal in 2012. Just be thankful for the new stadiums and for the opportunity of hosting the games. Does not Joe Public expect more? Then why are some Arsenal fans lacking that same ambition?

  21. steve. said

    At the end of last season,if Wenger had got rid of all his “CRAP PLAYERS”replaced them with,a good quality,
    WOULD HAVE PAID FOR THEM”.Wenger would then have,60,000
    happy suporters,but what he’s got at this moment in time,
    is about 4o,ooo supporters after his scalp,and i don’t
    blame them.Iknow lots of supporters don’t agree,but i

  22. 09 Segzy said

    Nice article,just unfortunate that i couldn’t agree with your excuses for not winning trophies because seriously they sound flimsy and pathetic…..Profit is part of the game plan but trophies should also be the management’ top priority(cos lately i don’t think it’s one of their plan). Shopping for a player or two in January would have changed everything by now. AW knew Vermalaen would be out for the season yet he couldn’t get a viable replacement.He also knew that we were short in goal-keeping position yet he couldn’t get anybody. Going trophy-less again this season would be very bad and honestly i cant see this injury depleted side winning something.

  23. Arseneknowsless said

    Very poor article.

    Wenger has chosen to go down this route due to his crazy obsessions & stubbornness. In 2004-6 Mourinho destroyed him, and he is now like the kid that used to get bullied.

    You talk about how we haven’t had money while failing to recognise that we have accumulated 110m in the bank. You also fail to mention that he has balloned our wagebill by 30m in 3 years, mainly on players that are useless.

    I do agree we are fantastically well set up for the future, however its always at the cost of today. Wenger to me is the best coach in the world, but also limited and a lousy manager. He needs a boss.

  24. Dean Jacobs said

    The 110M you speak of was used to pay off the 133M that was due this time last year.

  25. Arseneknowsless said


    No it wasn’t, your facts are wrong. The 133m was paid long ago. We still have 110m after repayment.

  26. Dean Jacobs said

    They are not my facts, they are the reported facts.

    The 133M was repaid in 2010, just last year.

    Could you let us know where you are seeing this 110M?

  27. Dean Jacobs said

    April 2010 was the date of repayment of 133M fwiw

  28. Arseneknowsless said


    We payed the 133m back by may 10. As of Nov 2010 we had 110m in the bank of which 20m is restricted.

  29. Arseneknowsless said

    …oh and its all in the financial report.

  30. Dean Jacobs said

    Yes I have just checked the last report, the figures suggest 110.4M cash for the group.

    The group being the operative word here, as it includes Arsenal the football club and Arsenal the property development business.

    As the blog suggests though, we are all now aware money is more and more available, but that has not been the case for most of the past 5 seasons.

    ANR says we have agreed to sign Gary Cahill, this would not surprise me.

    I think we will spend big this summer.

  31. gooner71 said

    Long time coming a blog of this nature.

    Well done String.

  32. 1NilToTheArsenal said

    Well said. I’ve posted on an another Arsenal blog that I think what we’ve done these last few years as you’ve articulated is nothing less than one of greatest achievements in modern sports.

    Wenger is not perfect, of course, but no other manager for any of the top teams could have done what he’s done, as you’ve also said. His scouting organization and his ability to spot and bring in talent is unparalleled, his belief in the team and his players is absolute (to a fault). His skills as a tactician don’t match his other abilities. I believe teams have us figured out to a degree and can and do intimidate us.

    Still, there is nobody I would rather managing my club. Long live Wenger and your excellent blog.



  33. SUGA3 said

    last 5 years, Wenger’s best?

    just like this squad is his best?

    now I have heard it all – dunno what is wrong with you AKBs, for you it’s either the way OGL is doing things now or ‘doing a Leeds’…

    even if I was to take your points, what about a bunch of ‘not fit to wear the shirt’ players like D******n, Diaby, Rosicky and Bendtner?

    and what about choking each and every time the slightest bit of pressure is on? even Wengr knows this, hence the moan about playing the run-in games on Sundays!

  34. SUGA3 said

    as for the ‘tyranny rules’: oh, the irony…

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