An older Gooner’s personal lament against greed and cheating in the modern game

“An older Gooner’s personal lament against greed and cheating” by Jon Fox

My friends and fellow Gooners, the regulars on JA will know me as a fiercely plain speaking, independent minded fan who is unafraid to speak my true mind and who does not mind standing out from the general view, even when and if such a view exists!

For many years. I have become increasingly almost a voice in the wilderness, standing against both the greed culture and cheating so endemic in our global game. I will state at the outset that I still value and cherish the many millions of good people in the game, be they players, managers, coaches, admins, owners, fans or anybody else (kit men, tea ladies, match day volunteers and so on).

However, you would need to live in a cave not to have seen how the harm that increasing greed and love of money – above being an honest sportsperson – has so damaged all that surrounds the actual game itself. Even oldies such as I will freely admit that cheating within the actual 90 minutes is nothing new. Players in general have always been fierce in their determination to win – thank God too- and have often gone outside the laws and the even more important spirit of the game. That happened way back then and still happens and always will. More on cheating later though.

Sportspeople, in fact all people, are not saints and in a way that is just as well. Our race has never been perfect an only a fantasist would dare hope for human perfection, and I do not either, as we would lose our essential humanity were that to ever happen. Thankfully it will not.

But in this ever more materialistic world in which we in the so called “advantaged” countries dwell, love of money and wealth has IMO made our human spirit poorer, not nicer. Please accept that I say the LOVE of money and still more money, not money itself. I believe in ethical capitalism and recognise that money and our global capitalist system is the only fair and sensible way to live.

I love football, Arsenal, sport and our human race in general but the last one has to come first for me. As Gooners, we belong to our own tribe, but we also belong to myriad tribes in our own individual lives but who among you would value Arsenal above your own family?

What if you regard all humanity as your REAL family, as so many countless millions are now in this modern era, increasingly doing? Those who wish to save our species from itself by not continuing to destroy our home on Earth, for instance, surely that should be all of us, does it not!

Greed and the obscenity of more and more money for a privileged elite, at the expense of our fellow humans is dividing our race more and more each year. Witness the medical heroes, who we all recognise and cherish as such, who have fought so valiantly under immense pressure to save lives in this ghastly pandemic. They have freely and lovingly put others needs before their own wants and even above their own private families in many cases. THEY are real heroes, as are many millions of lowly paid and even unpaid volunteers in all walks of life but many of them struggle to keep body and soul together for lack of enough money to live on.

And my friends, while this is happening, here and now, today, tomorrow and the next day, thousands of top footballers (and agents!!) the world over is holding society, which means us all, to ransom, wanting, in fact demanding still more wages to agree to play for the clubs they profess to care for. I say this is a despicable and corrupt “my first and your poor mugs nowhere” attitude that needs to b defeated and gone for ever from all our hearts and minds, for the future of all humankind.

Please consider this question, who among you shed a tear for MESSI when he was “forced” by Barca’s lack of ability to keep paying his many millions a year wages til he retired (thus “forcing this multi-millionaire to leave his “beloved” Barcelona and accept PSG’s obscene contract).

Messi, had he wished, could easily afford to pay Barca for the privilege of staying and playing for them. However, he chose still more greedy wages instead. But he shed tears when leaving! Does that tell you anything, or did you simply not notice nor even care? What it tells me is that Messi loves Barca – BUT he loves greed far more. Do you agree? Or not perhaps?

This antipathy toward greed was behind my distaste – I could in all honesty have used a far stronger word – toward Ozil and to all plays who blithely accept huge wages but who do not consider their part of the bargain is to bust a gut to pay back, in sheer continued and committed hard work, the love and money that the clubs, which indirectly means we Gooners, freely give them. We have others here today who are doing as little on the field as they can get away with and who are cheating us all. Auba for one! Our club is far from alone in this, sadly!

Some suggest that we should lay off him, as he lost his mother and contracted malaria. These are facts, BUT they do not explain or excuse his laziness prior to that or his obvious uninterest in the team right now. I say he is another greedy self-centred multimulti-millionaire who is playing us for fools. And there are very few fools among us, I suggest, certainly not when it comes to assessing character. But there are still SOME!

When I began following football back in what seems like Mediaeval times now, I was still a young boy and had the attitudes and starry-eyed love of a game that I thought back then and still think, was the golden age of football, as a sport. The game itself was obviously light years behind the far superior and faster game of today, apart from all the other improvements in the technical side of football. But what we had back then was a game where the love of obscene money had not yet come and ruined the sport.

There were still star players. We had in the early sixties such as George Eastham and Joe Baker as our two outstanding players, plus the mighty Jack Kelsey in goal, who sadly retired in 1962 when injured playing for Wales. Jack was a great club man who stayed around for many years and ran the club shop in Avenell Rd. It was a small shop back then, not a colossal store, as the Armoury is today. They all earned a decent, but far from obscene, living wage and lived a comfortable but non excessive lifestyle They were normal decent humans and represented our club with pride and credit.

They remain my real heroes; they and many like them, from, Bob Wilson to Geordie Armstrong and such as Martin Keown too. None of those fine men ever short-changed anyone and gave 100% each and every day of their life, because they had honour and pride in our shirt. And they had it in spades too, which is why they are true legends! (By stark contrast, I mention though with distaste, the dirty name of Ozil!)

That is the nostalgia type section that Ken, in particular does, and so much better than I ever can.

More now about cheating as done today. In the golden age most cheating amounted to stealing yards at throw ins, appealing to the ref for free kicks, corners, etc when the player knew they were not true. Diving and throwing oneself to the ground and feigning injury were considered contemptible and cissy. It was a man’s game and essentially honest in most respects. I do not pretend our players back then were saints; of course, they were not, but they were good people with only a tiny few exceptions. Diving for pens began seriously with Francis Lee who played in the successful Man City team of the late sixties and seventies.

Franny Lee was a top player, a feisty man who scared some,t his regular “LEE, ONE PEN” lines in the next day’s papers became a sort of perverse, almost humorous saying. He was the first of the notable named notable cheaters who regularly dived for penalties.

Cheating has mushroomed more seriously since the Prem began in 1992 and was largely brought in by foreign players, esp from Italy and Spain, and later on South America, where a more ‘win at any cost’ attitude drove out our British former concept of fair play. We still applaud, rather quaintly and hopelessly IMO, when a team returns the ball to the opposing keeper after an injury. (Something deep inside us still knows the vital necessity of playing fairly, but few of us have the character or backbone to insist on it when it adversely affects our team.)

That is laudable but sad. Sad because it is one of the few regular occurrences where sportsmanship and playing in the spirit of the game is still alive. Had I the power I would use draconian but effective measures to outlaw deliberate diving and would ensure a mandatory six game Prem ban for proven cheating, plus a red card in the moment. Then double that ban to twelve games if repeated. No slap on the wrist, near useless yellow cards, as at present. No wonder they cannot stop it. You will never stop a fierce tiger with a water pistol; you need to use weapons that work.

My next lament is how refs are automatically treated as cheats and that cry of “cheat” goes forth on this fan site as on all fan sites, when the “nasty, biased refs who naturally hate AFC on sight” give a decision against us.

I much agree that, in general, the present standard of Prem refs is historically poor. But the regular cheat accusation is IMO complete nonsense and a totally out of order, IMO legally actionable, charge!

Were I am Prem ref and was openly and in print called a cheat, I would certainly start legal proceedings. I await the first ref to do so with hope, and urge them to do so. The law is for anyone, be they ever so powerful or ever so humble, as the saying goes. Of course, if one is poor, then recourse to law is far more difficult but that is an inequality I will not tackle here and now.

I have far more that I wish to say but will go no further in this piece. I am not known for being brief, God knows, as I like to debate fully, sensibly and that needs words and details.

I hope you will forgive this long piece and hope I may, just may have sown a seed or so that one or two of you may consider in your thoughts. I realise most will slate me and my views but that has never stopped me from speaking MY truth, as I honestly see it.

God bless and lets all hope and pray this under-siege manager of ours comes up with the goods this season.

I propose to wait and see with hope, but in all truth, not overmuch conviction!

Jon Fox

117 Comments

  1. Adajim says:

    It’s really lamentable. You have exposed the dark truth of humanity- Greed

    In terms of players wages, we can’t say much , as you rightly said, no one is saint and in today football, money is the motivation, clubs milk fans, use huge fans base to get endorsements and promotions, so the players and their agents wants share of the pie by demanding huge wages, because without these players clubs has no ground to cheat fans, imagine the price of shirt Messi sold

    In today game it’s difficult to know the best coach , because we can argue one coach gets better funds than the other, Give Pep arsenal players and see if he will make top 4, Conte left inter because he felt his multimillion squad was getting disbanded.
    Viera signed for palace and after a defeat start begging for more transfer, was he not aware of palace situation before taking up the role? – this is just an analogy nothing personal

    1. John Ibrahim says:

      exactly….

      if fans stop buying shirts, they cant sell it at a high price

      the same goes for the billion dollar tv rights..

      its supply and demand….

      throw in greed and there you go…….

      its the fans that drive up the cost

      1. Pepe says:

        Is this a lecture note or an article
        This article looks like someone is trying to show his English skill than trying to put up an article….
        With fee points made in this article one has to wonder why make it so big and boring to read…
        I bet 85% of the readers will likely not read to the middle because these is mostly a boring note more like a lecture note.
        Keeping it simple and direct is always welcomed by most online readers who doesn’t have the amount of time as the writer
        All the same good read but boring

        1. gotanidea says:

          I’ve seen bigger articles about less important topics

        2. Ozziegunner says:

          Pepe, do you sincerely believe that your comment on jon’s article is fair? If you do I believe you need to seriously rethink!

        3. guy says:

          Not a cool comment, Pepe. Maybe read the other responses below and reconsider.

          1. RichSAAlao says:

            Obviously @Pepe is relatively new on JA. That’s how Jon Fox writes/comments. And how on earth should you expect ” a stereotypical narrative” from different person.
            Nice, really nice BUT it’s time to leave Ozil alone now.
            Amazing you are religious man

        4. Mambo says:

          Somewhat agree, read a sentence skip a few etc.

        5. Kieron Blandford says:

          I totally agree and suggest that Jon is a socialist and humanitarian?
          Also agree the article was a little long and my mind started wondering before I’d finished.
          It’s true though ita goes all the way down to kids grass roots football and pressure on parents to get little Johnny the same boots as Messi etc.
          On money and spending a lot as per next article it’s not purely that the Kroenkes don’t spend that the fans object to its that they rarely step inside the ground and have little to no connection with the fans and staff etc.

          Compare a well run club like the Leicester run by the Thai family when they win things the chairman is getting thrown in the air, soaked in champagne and hugged by everyone.
          Can you imagine that with Kroenke?!
          This is why I’d like to see the African Or Swedish Billionaires take ownership as both are fans

          In auba I do partly feel he’s had a tough year but also he is a visible sheep of the noney culture by all the modded lambos he’s drives and owns.

          The poisonous antics in the modern game I used to put up with due to the love of watching my beloved Arsenal but atm the argument to switch off or do something else, (anything less stressful) is a strong one in favour of the power off button.

          1. Ozziegunner says:

            👍

  2. Reggie says:

    A nice read of your thoughts jon, it shows just what i said earlier, you are a good poster, just stick to views, challenges and your posts are thought provoking. Back to your article and all i can say is, i agree with a lot of what you write but alas times are changing, we as a race will end up wiping ourselves out with our attitudes, there is no stopping that, whatever we think.

  3. fairfan says:

    John you have finally made it.
    Your article published at peak viewing time too.
    Football is one of lifes many opiates.
    Religion Politics Alcohol Dope Food Exercise Books Radio TV Internet Social media Mobile phones Video games Music, The arts Net flix
    Food Shopping Cars
    and one more John
    Nostalgia 🙂

  4. Wolfgang says:

    The headline is absolutely correct. Now with the pressure of winning so great, cheating and fouls will grow as the rewards are so great for the winner.
    Now the game as sports in general revolves around money. As for Arsenal, it has fallen off the pace and unable to challenge since the US owner took charge.
    Once Arsenal gets sucked into the less premium clubs,it will be extremely difficult to get back in to the top 6,let alone the top 4

  5. Joe. S says:

    Had the same reaction as you Jon when I heard that Messi had signed for PSG. At his age and given his wealth he could have played for half the money and still be wealthy, while playing for love. As for PSG,I wish them the worst and hope that their megastars will trip over each other, with lots of bloated egos and not enough players to do the hard graft. Anyone who celebrates their success is anti football.

    1. SueP says:

      Interestingly I was listening to the topic of Messi at Barcelona. He offered to drop his wages by 50% and I think I’m right in saying that playing for the love of them wouldn’t have satisfied la Liga in some way or other (tax possibly- I can’t remember now)
      He did look happy on a £1m a week after tax in Paris though which rather means that money is the be all and end all

    2. siamois says:

      You’re wrong even he had decided to play for peanuts Barca wouldn’t have been able to register him!also let me remind you that PSG fans are like us regular people and them celebrating their club’s success doesn’t make them anti -football!did fans from Chelsea City UTD stop supporting their clubs when they were bought by their owners?if you’re going to bring up PSG what about Barca with over a billion in debts? I’m pretty sure they were buying success don’t you think?what about RM who for the last 2 seasons have been selling loaning players to trim their bloated squad ?if you’re going to bring up PSG don’t forget the other clubs like it or not PSG are no exception!

      1. guy says:

        Agree Siam – it’s not something we should be picking on PSG for. Other clubs have done the same in the past and I’m sure we would all love it if an Oil State bought Arsenal!
        The issue is the lack of a salary cap.

      2. Joe. S says:

        Haven’t forgotten the other clubs mate, but I still wish PSG and their sheiks the worst.

        1. guy says:

          Lol (me too Joe but don’t tell a soul)

    3. VasC says:

      Please check my other comment to get a better insight on the Messi-Barca situation, if you’ve got the time.

  6. guy says:

    A good piece Jon, and pleasantly different to the topics we normally see here. Some nicely worded responses too .I particularly liked Fairfan’s – nice comment my friend.
    I have lived in both socialist and capitalist society’s, and both have the same weakness – human nature. If we have nothing we believe a little is all we need, when we have that we want more. There is rarely a ceiling, although Bill Gates may argue. In socialist societies it manifests itself as corruption, but it is also greed. You never have enough. Global marketing has exacerbated it exponentially. I also grew up in an African country with poor but honest people and almost no crime. Then western advertising came, and the jealousy, avarice and crime followed. The people are now unrecognisable to me. The same happened in Russia when communism ended and the Americans moved in.
    In the west it’s simpler – children are shown “Wall Street” and hear Gordon Gecko’s words and a Margaret Thatcher speech at an early age and it’s job done. No need for large scale criminal corruption here – it’s legalised.
    Footballers are normal human beings so will react the same as the rest of society. Indeed more so, because there are three more factors to keep them focussed on that pound sign:
    1 They know their capacity to earn last if injury and success permits, only up to 15 years. After that, as with my old Pal Peter Marinello, they could be driving an ice cream van.
    2 They now all have their own personal Lucifer, also called an agent, to ensure no sentimentality creeps in
    3 When I started watching, players commonly spent the majority of their career at one club, often in their home town. This established loyalty both ways. As with other jobs now, a permanent worker gets paid less than a contractor due to security of tenure. How can we expect players to accept lower pay now when they may be at the club (often abroad) for 1 or 2 years, and can be sold on a whim? I expect effort from every player, but I cannot in all fairness demand that they are either loyal or ask for any less that they can get. After all – that’s what the rest of us do.
    Clubs can attempt pay caps, but as they are purely internal, they don’t work when Man City pay twice the wage.
    The only solution, which I know Jon echoes, is a mandatory pay cap across either the EPL or Europe. Will it happen? I very much doubt it. Rich clubs will fight it as it takes away their advantage, players and agents – nowadays the two most powerful groups in the game will too – probably invoking illegal restriction of earnings or similar, the EPL can’t adopt alone as no top player would then come here, and UEFA is too corrupt, inept, weak and afraid to bring anything in to rock the boat.
    Lamentable, Jon, but I can’t see anything but wages continuing to spiral until the game is bankrupted. And I can guarantee that, like global warming, there will be squabbling between the parties, cries of scaremongering, and any eventual action will be too little too late.
    Then we can all start the cycle again, beginning with amateur teams from The Royal Engineers, to build football up whilst hoping that meantime snooker or darts have not replaced it as our national game.
    Will the last person to leave please turn out the lights…?

    1. jon fox says:

      Guy, I thank you from the bottomof my heart for this astute but sobering reply. It was essentially an article -and a tremendous one – by itself, more than a reply post.

      People such as you and many others who really think before writing, are the whole reason I remain on JA with all its and our petty squabbles, about in the grander scheme of things, nothing much at all.

      And I say that as a dedicated Gooner but one who recognises how trivial much of our daily debate is. And in lifes grandplan , how basically meaningless.
      Though I do naturally accept that all activities play their part. I simply WISH I could have written “all NON CORRUPT activities instead, ”
      Sigh! .

    2. Sir Michael says:

      guy I agree with Jon’s article there will never be a pay cap because the UEFA are corrupt We have always known it but our hands(the fans) are tied. We cannot do nothing unless everybody in every club stood together and then I doubt it will change

  7. gotanidea says:

    In 1959, George Eastham was frustrated with his contract situation and was not satisfied with the conditions at Newcastle United. This led to a revolt and he decided to go on a strike

    Newcastle was left with no other choice than to sell him, therefore he was later sold to Arsenal for lower than his actual value. So player power is nothing new

    Aside from greed, I believe the high-profile players’ money-oriented attitude is also driven by their short careers and the dynamics of football business. If they can’t fully recover from injuries or if they’re slowing down due to aging, they will be hounded by the fans and sold or released

    1. VasC says:

      So, how’s the “positive constructive piece” we talked about shaping up?

      1. gotanidea says:

        As I said, I’ve always tried to post constructive comments

    2. Sir Michael says:

      gai player power proved that with Emery

      1. gotanidea says:

        True. I’m glad Emery has proven his doubters wrong

  8. JW says:

    Mr Fox, I noticed you mentioned George Eastham as one of Arsenal’s greats.

    I watched him play in a pre-season friendly against Charlton Athletic, down at the Valley (in 1960 or 1961).

    For those of you who do not know, George Eastham played for Newcastle in the late 1950’s. Arsenal offered Newcastle around $45,000 for him, which was a tidy sum in those days.
    Eastham was contracted to Newcastle, but wanted the move. There was a clause in his contract that Newcastle used to stop the move.

    Eastham downed tools and left Newcastle, going south and getting a regular job.
    In addition, Eastham sued Newcastle over the contract clause.

    So Newcastle had no player, no transfer fee, and a lawsuit.

    Using the old adage, its the money stupid, they agreed to the transfer, Eastham went to Arsenal, and I got to see him play against Charlton.

    He continued with the lawsuit and won in court.

  9. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

    There’s no doubt in my mind that a salary cap, preferably a “hard” one, would provide some considerable financial relief to the current system, that appears to be spiraling out of control…unfortunately, unlike in the professional Leagues in America, players move between differing Leagues, which are largely independent financial entities, thereby making it exceedingly more difficult to achieve, from an obvious logistics standpoint

    the second most plausible option would be to have standardized contracts, predicated on uniformly-based salaries, with bonuses tied intimately to individual performances, which would establish a logically-derived meritocracy of sorts…of course, in this age of analytics, a formula for determining said bonuses could be quite easily established, so that each position would be fairly represented, much like in the NFL, where previously underpaid players, like Offensive lineman, who don’t generate the obvious numerical statistics of say a QB, are now some of the highest paid players, due to a new set of evaluation tool variables…the beauty of this system is that those who are the best players, in each given position, are likely the highest paid, which brings an obvious sense of logic and fairness back into a game that seems relatively devoid of these once highly-valued traits

    the biggest losers in this equation would be firstly the Agents, who quite frankly have not only become an incredibly problematic and divisive force, but who no longer adhere to the “spirit” of their original intent, to protect the naivety of a previous generation of players who were taken advantage of by a potentially manipulative owner, and secondly, the underperforming or oft-injured player, who would be suitable compensated, based on a variety of logical pre-determined variables, but would certainly receive less than under the current flailing model

    now, of course, the likelihood of any of these things coming to fruition is slim to none, but not for the reasons you might think…most would say these aforementioned idealistic notions run counter to the very ethos of this presently monetarily-consumed society, which is correct to a certain extent, but the biggest factor has nothing to do whatsoever with the how much but the who, as in who’s actually paying for our new and quite economically disturbing reality

    the current mythology suggest that without these nouveau riche Billionaire’s willingness to shell out seemingly exorbitant sums, the whole thing would come crashing down, but that’s simply not true…as is the case with our club, our owner risks nothing, has everything to gain, even if we crash and burn, considering our financial model, so the burden is simply spread somewhat evenly amongst every one of us, as supporters…we buy the tickets, the merch, the expensive cable packages and the associated products and services, without which everything would implode…we risk everything, have the most at stake, as everyone else is handsomely paid and increasingly transient, yet we have no functional say whatsoever in the process

    so when we talk about getting this player or that, under a self-sustaining model, it has infinitely more to do with our purchasing power than those with the most to gain….this is why fair and right and logic have no place at the table when it comes to discussions about the footballing world at large and most especially at this club, as it presently stands

    1. The-Real-Vieira-Lynn-4ever says:

      sorry about the lengthy response Jon, but your article had me thinking, so I just went with it…Cheers

      1. jon fox says:

        TRVL, Please never apologise for such an in depth, intensely detailed and superbly constructed piece. I thought it firmly among the VERY BEST I have EVER read on JA.

      2. jon fox says:

        TRVL, I do hope my long reply to your terrific post re-appears . My posts so often disappear , sometimes to re-appear later, sometimes not! A marvellous reply though.

        1. jon fox says:

          “to your long and terrific post, NOT “my long reply”!

      3. guy says:

        Superb reply TRVL. I was totally unaware of how the US system works. Really interesting and food for thought. As we are all aware there are too many powerful forces with vested interests for any radical changes to be likely, but if we can keep putting it out there as often as possible it may eventually, via all the fanbases, move up the pyramid and reach somebody who can actually force top level action. Unlikely, but we can hope, as the alternative is that so much cash will be extracted from the game that the golden cow that is football will devour itself.
        Again, respect to both Jon and yourself for your thoughts, and my appreciation to the other posters who are willing to consider the bigger picture rather than complain that its not another article about our internal woes.
        It shows we have a solid core of people here who both think and care about our game. Nice to all talk with the same voice for a change!

        1. Sir Michael says:

          guy TRVL Hit the nail on the head just like jons article Well said both of you. The Arsenal board finally got shot of Ozil then signed Auba on a massive contract and are now willing to listen to offers. When will they ever learn

    2. RichSAAlao says:

      @TRVL4ever
      Yeah salary cap, is relevant today and as of necessity to save mega clubs from death. Though it has to be done to guarantee motivation and pursuit of excellence on the field.
      When the great Arsene, appraised the way clubs were using their financial resources to serially ward off competition, he warned that it was ”financial doping” , though uefa tried to do something but gave up. But like the real doping, financial recklessness has put Barcelona in a situations that nobody believed could happen.

  10. RW1 says:

    Jon nice piece and it is true we are all prisoners of hope … but Arsenal’s plight right now is well beyond divine intervention … and kroenke is the last person on the planet to deliver that .. though he could do the right thing still … I am just hoping that arteta sees his own predicament and leaves with a touch of dignity as he seems to be a decent person who is desperately out of his depth

  11. Glorious says:

    Mr Jon Fox, l actually read your long article or lecture from beginning to ending. Your opinion was well opined and l agree with some of your view on this notable game except the fact or view on referees performances on match days. Since, you believe that there is greed and cheat in the game, then the referees can not be exonerated of this. They are humans too, they have their favourite club secretly and that is why you see what you called poor officiating from them regularly. The bet companies also contribute their menace on the outcomes of several matches. The greed and cheat in football game can not be underestimated in modern time we are. Kudos to you on this long epistle on JA.

  12. Phil says:

    So Jon, basically George Eastham should be up there with Messi, Aubamayang and Mesut Ozil if your convictions are to be considered equal. Is that not correct?
    The player was under contract but wanted a move to Arsenal. He went on strike. He engineered his move. I have that as being far worst than anything you feel the three players I have noted have done. Yet you don’t? Is that correct?
    How can you preach morals yet completely overlook the fact on George Eastham?
    A bit more research next time. Get your facts right and paint the full picture next time and those many supporters too young to have even heard of George Eastham will be able to make their own decision on the player. You have very conveniently misled them.
    Not surprised. It’s you. Only ever get half right at best

    1. Thumper says:

      Sadly Eastham also went to play in South Africa during some of the very worst apartheid atrocities.

      1. Phil says:

        He did you are right- not too hot on his morals was he?

    2. jon fox says:

      Phil, So you seriously equate what Eastham was forced to do in the bad old days of retained contracts by clubs, to the modern players you mention? I see no true resemblance at all and for this particular reason; in those days, ALL the power was with clubs and that was grossly unfair. NOW the pendulum has completely swung to the players and agents to hold clubs, but esp WE FANS to ransom.

      I will always try to stick up for the so called “little people” in life and I loathe and detest all unfairness and one sided battles between Davids and Goliaths!

      We may need to accept, dear Phil, that we come from different life philosophies.

      1. Phil says:

        But Jon- you attacked Ozil daily for not leaving his contract. But it was ok for Eastman. Ozil never once went on strike. Eastman did. Cant have it both ways

        1. jon fox says:

          Phil I maintain that Ozil DID go on strike. But in a differErnt way . His strike was a long winding down that meant he appeared on the field but did not compete properly and fully, as all elite athletes should, whether highly paid or not.

          I give him full marks for astute financial cunning and staying within the “legal”terms of his contract.

          I much believe we should have challenged in court that definition of “legal”.

          Looking ahead in how football is going, re. ludicrous salaries, some form of legal challenge to change this farce is essential. Only a matter of WHEN it first happens IMO.

          That is when the gloves will be truly off and football may implode and either destroy itself OR reset true values.
          This is a far wider topic than simpy Eastham, Ozil, Messi etc. It affects ALL OF US.
          My piece was simply an attempt to sow some seeds among a few fans about the need for change. If you chose to reject those seeds as it seems, I can do nothing to change that. I do not have that power and nor should I, even were I to wish it. Which I DO NOT.

          1. Ozziegunner says:

            Just remember Ozil’s “effort” in the Baku Europa League final against Chelsea; that’s enough.
            The fact that sports people, entertainers and their ilk can earn obscene money compared to others carrying out essential tasks, notwithstanding their limited careers is an obomination. How much money and how many houses, cars, boats, planes can any person use in a lifetime?
            One only has to look at major cities in the western world, where the people who provide the essential services, teachers, fire-fighters, police, nurses, transport and local government workers etc can’t afford to live anywhere near their workplaces.

          2. VasC says:

            I wonder how a guy who always try to stick up for the so called “little people” in life can detest the first guy who offered to pay the salary for a “little person” called Mr Jerry Quy when he was undeservedly laid-off after over two decades of loyal services citing lack of funds by an organisation that just paid some 45 mils to secure a player.

            I’m not a Ozil fanboy. But, his gesture deserves respect. Not one person associated with Arsenal have stepped up for Mr Jerry Quy in a constructive manner before Ozil did. Everyone was just blaming the club which wouldn’t do any good to Mr Jerry Quy in real life.

            Just a thought, Mr jon fox. And nothing cynical about it.

          3. jon fox says:

            Vas C, Oh PLEASE!!! Do give this paying out mascot remark some PROPER thought.
            Do you not realise that what Ozil was doing with his £350, 000, PER WEEK, not month , not year, not career, but a mere WEEKS ludicrous salary, was done to stir up trouble?

            He cares nothing about Jerry Quy and to write in such a naive fashion as you have done is hugely disappointing to read. Esp from someone who is regarding himself as a REAL thinker.

          4. VasC says:

            Had Ozil not kept his part of the bargain, if our management acceded to his wish, then everyone would have known for certain that what Ozil did was just to stir things up. Since, it didn’t happen, anything anyone says about the situation is entirely speculative.

            Why didn’t Arsenal’s perceived saviours Daniel Elk and the legends who backed him like Henry, Bergkamp and Vieira didn’t come forward to extend their support to Mr Jerry Quy, a legend at Arsenal in his own right? Aren’t these guys as privileged as Ozil? If it was for not wanting to stir up trouble at the club they love, then why did they start stirring up now with a bid to buy the club this summer?

            I wonder how would you, Mr jon fox, take someone who swears by “money alone is not wealth in this world” and yet take great pains to conspicuously point out “£350, 000, PER WEEK” in a discussion.

          5. SueP says:

            VasC
            Jerry Quy was an employee at Arsenal along with many others who were made redundant. He was over the normal age of retirement and would have received redundancy pay as would the others. Can you please tell me what makes him more special than any of the others apart from long service and for being Gunnersaurus? I didn’t notice Ozil offering to retain them. It was a matter for the club and had nothing whatsoever to do with Ozil.

          6. VasC says:

            @SueP
            What I simply meant was Ozil deserves respect for what he did on and off the pitch during his time here. Constantly picking on him for what he deservedly earned at Arsenal is tasteless, even after his association with the club is officially ended. I assume, the question about what makes Mr Jerry Quy special is just an attempt to distract from the main topic, that is, Ozil.

            If all those who were made redundant were to get the redundancy pay and that’s a very normal happening at any club, why was the entire footballing community shocked at the news when it came out, including players, pundits and seasoned fans who know exactly how the industry functions.

            p.s: Forgive me for being “blunt” in my reply. Being non-English and not knowing you personally, I didn’t know the proper respectful prefix I ought to use while addressing you.

          7. SueP says:

            VasC

            There is no problem at all with your addressing me in the way you do

            If you remember, Ozil was having a difference of opinion with the club. It was a very clever use of his worldwide popularity to offer to pay for Jerry who was Gunnersaurus. If he felt that strongly he should have considered Jerry’s other colleagues too. It became a popular anti Arsenal theme at a time when Ozil had been dropped. Some agreed that he deserved to be and others did not. I agree with Jon that Ozil’s PR people did a very good job to make one man feel badly treated when in fact he was treated within the law of the UK. I hope I have been able to put my side of it🙂

          8. Sue says:

            How do you know he didn’t consider Jerry’s colleagues? Same old same old

          9. VasC says:

            @SueP

            Allow me to refresh your memory, please. It was our club that initiated a difference of opinion and not the other way around, when they distanced themselves from the tweet he made about something related to China and his personal religious belief. I read that one of our club sponsors even threatened to withdraw their association with us because of that tweet. You may check the timeline too, through Google to have a better understanding.

            Ozil never said anything against our club or committed any deed that brought disrepute to our club. Our management utterly failed in profiting from the investment they willingly made. Putting the blame on the player is just trying to mask our club’s failure.

            I concur with @Sue’s response for the question about the other colleagues.

    3. guy says:

      I take your point Phil and probably Eastham was a bad example as it appears to be in direct contradiction of what Jon believes. But as I am sure you understand but are choosing to ignore, the contexts could not be more different. Eastham broke new ground in the same way that Bosman did, in breaking clubs’ almost total subjugation of player rights and freedoms. Whilst of course it was primarily seen as a monetaryy issue as he sought to recoup lost wages alongside his prime aim of ending the option of clubs to retain for life the players registration – a case which he won morally by causing the end of lifetime contracts but lost financially as he didn’t receive a penny), isn’t everything monetarised in some shape or form, because that is the standard way society measures and compares, compensates or punishes?
      The fact is that Eastham by his court actions, regardless of why he took them, largely removed the rights of clubs to keep a player at a club for their whole career even if the player wanted to leave. Indeed asking for a transfer allowed the club to not only keep the player, but stop paying his wages too for the whole of his career. The only difference between this and slavery was that they could quit football altogether (which Eastham did) in order to earn the money to live. It is also worth noting that, even if paid, footballers had salary caps, usually earned less than many of the spectators watching, and had second jobs to make ends meet.
      Lets look at Ozil. He earned more than 99.9% of Arsenal supporters. Even if he asked for a transfer (which I believe he never formally did, indeed he refused a lucrative transfer to the Middle East) he retained the bulk of his salary. When selected (allowing for frequent absences for a recurring “back injury”) he performed well below his previous standard – sufficiently so for him to be detrimental to team performance and morale and so be dropped. Ozil, unlike Eastham, could walk away and join another club at any time, but he would have foregone future salary, although Arsenal would not have invoked a buy out clause.
      This is not a criticism of Ozil – he loved living in London and could by some be lauded as an honourable player for wishing to see out his contract. Is club loyalty not what all fans want? Only until the fans themselves don’t want the player – a prime example of double standards! No, Arsenal screwed up big time, much more than Ozil did.
      The point is the cases are wildly different. Conditions now favour players financially, whereas previously the Club held all the cards. So for either you or Jon to compare the two is not reasonable. Chalk and cheese.

      1. jon fox says:

        guy I am NOT and did NOT compare the two My whole contention was that they are OPPOSITE ends of the spectrum. Phil was equating the two, while ignoring by choice, as you said, the context and totally different circumstances. I was simply pointing this out to him, as I OUGHT. There can be NO SENSIBLE COMPARISON WHATSOEVER!

        Phil and I have “history” between us in our previous debates which were often heated, to put it mildly. He was IMO simply trying to point score, though he failed to land a blow, by choosing a false and foolish comparison in this case.

        1. Phil says:

          Foolish how Jon? I disagree I was only attempting to point score. Believe me when I say you have embarrassed yourself enough over the years without me needing to resort to that.
          Your article was about greed. Eastham knew he could get more money at Arsenal than he was getting at Newcastle. He went on strike. Got his move. Got his money. If this action was not for greed then explain exactly why.
          You won’t. Because you can’t

          1. Dan kit says:

            175k a week as footballers have to pay 47-48% tax just like the rest of us

          2. jon fox says:

            Phil If you are being fair and honest you will see yourself, as an intellegent and mature man, that to compare Easthams situation with Ozils is pointless , inaccurate and faintly ridiculous.

            During all our previous arguments many heated words were said by us both.

            But I never thought then and still do not now that you are unintelligent. So there must be some other reason, unknown to me, for your attempting to link Easthams case with Ozils. There is no true and sensible comparison.

            And even if there was , which there is not, to drag up a player from 60 years ago is a rather pathetic attempt to make your case, don’t you think!

            I am talking of greed in the modern football era. Nothing I wrote denies that in the distant past there were individuals who were greedy but it was not ENDEMIC, as now. THAT is chiefly why your Eastham argument is ridiculous.

            I AM SURE YOU KNOW THAT PERFECTLY WELL BUT WILL NOT ADMIT YOUR ERROR IN LINKING THESE TWO CASES FROM OVER HALF A CENTURY APART.

  13. AndersS says:

    A great article.
    Football has in many ways lost its’ moral compass. I agree with the Messy example. Just the same could be said about Jack Grealish and many before them.
    Personally, I don’t understand why football (fans, authorities, players and everybody else) seem to accept, when their own player cheats by walking 10 yards further op the pitch for the throw than where it should. Or when player’s from both teams raise their hands to get a corner/goalkick, when cleraly it can only be one team, that is correct.
    And why is a player allowed to continue playing for a team, if he clearly has taken a dive to try and fool the ref? Shouldn’t the coach/manager show some standards and take him out of the team?
    I think football could start by cleaning its’ own house in so many ways.

    1. jon fox says:

      Anders, Yes, all your examples are precisely the sort of general cheating that WE ALL SHOULD come down on like a ton of bricks!
      In bowls, which I play actively, such cheating attitudes would be scorned and anyone trying to do likewise would be banned from the sport and club they played for .
      In golf too and in cricket, open cheating is still scorned.

      But in football, the world sport, where all the big corporate money goes, CHEATING is downgraded to that ludicrous description of “gamesmanship”. Pundits routinely excuse a “professional foul”.
      It would massively help if all of us called it for what is IS, which is CHEATING!
      BTW, there is massive money in top level golf but they do not cheat, as they have honour and self respect, as well as respect for their sport and their opponents. Different life philosophies!

    2. GoalDan says:

      I would add that messi could of felt let down by Barcelona that they could not of found away of keeping him until he retired, I mean the man was kicked to death for years but rarely dived or moaned Compared to lots of players in continental football.
      And we can argue about he’s wages but I bet he made a thousand fold more money than he was paid plus the trophies and the pleasures he bought to 10 of millions of fans, Messi and Ronaldo
      Should be exempt from there high salary accusations because they delivered all there footballing lives.. how I wished they had played for us…

  14. MJCool says:

    Thank you for a deep hearted article but still as you wrote, none of us is a saint and never will meet one.

    How can you dare compare Leo Messi with our cheating stars like Mesut Ozil who has given almost nothing to AFC!? No, honestly we should stick to our own issues and stop comparing our failed project to others.
    About Messi playing for 0€, everyone knows that it wouldn’t happen based on the Spanish law and of course Barcelona FC isn’t his property, period.

    Analysis your post, full of nostalgia, our beloved can reclaim its deserved winner’s circle if only its management admit their failure and accept drastic so needed change from the top.
    Actually, many of us if not all know that when the head/brain suffer it’s all the body that fall.

    Thanks

  15. Eddie says:

    Jon, just like others have said.
    I must congratulate you for churning out your thoughts on this issue.
    Greed will always be a part of human nature, and thank you for explaining the situation just as it is in today’s modern world.

    Also, this comes different from what we are used to on here. So I did enjoy reading something as new as this, and dont care about the length.
    All in all, keep on saying your truth and never stop being the fierce man you are.

  16. Thumper says:

    Thanks for taking the time to write the article Jon.

    Cheats do prosper it seems, whether we like it not.

    I guess life’s not fair so why should anyone expect professional football to be.

    But we still don’t have to accept Arsenal’s slump to mid table performance.

  17. ThirdManJW says:

    Greed has destroyed football, and has pretty much finished Arsenal as the club we once loved.

    Not because we’re on such a barren run (all clubs have gone through long periods of regression, and as fans, we stick by our clubs during these dark times), but because of greed.

    Our already rich former board members sold out because they wanted even more money! And the worst of it was when Kroenke purchased the fans shares against their wishes, once he had 90% ownership of the club. What soul was left had forcibly been removed from the club.

    Arsenal, as with many other clubs, are now probably finished forever, as how the club should be run. Instead of having a custodian in charge, along with a board, who understand and respect football, the culture, and the club’s history, Arsenal will forever be tethered to a rich dictator.

    Because even if Kroenke sells up, only another rich billionaire can afford to buy, and he/she will also want full control at that price.

    1. Ozziegunner says:

      TMJW, I will never forgive Kroenke for enforcing his corporate legal right to compulsorily acquire the minority supporter shareholdings.

  18. Sean Williams says:

    Of course you are right in your view. The world hovers between kindness and the wish to help others, and greed, selfishness and the big ‘I am’s’ on the other hand. The era of helping others, such as the idea of the NHS and a roof over everybody’s head, is now dissipating, and giving way to selfish oligarchs who earn as much as small countries. Kindness, compassion, equality and joy for the welfare of others are our meaning, but in our present society they are around in very small measures. Politics should light the path for social welfare but here in GB the political light now shines on self interest. Good morals and ethics though, Jon. Until the supporters have and active role in clubs, ‘greed’ will be the main motivation for many owners. At least if some owners choose ‘glory’, supporters will still get some satisfaction. Good to raise very human ethical issues.

    1. jon fox says:

      Sean So grateful for your thinking reply and I re-read it several times. I love your soul, IF I may say that first! I am though a litle saddened at your view that ” the era of helping others is dissipating.”
      If we are speaking of simply big footballclubs and in particular the BILLIONAIRE owners and certain(though not all) players , then I could agree.
      But in life as a whole I am far more hopeful! When I look at our race as a whole, I see goodness and compassion everywhere and massively less judgemental and bigoted attitudes now than when I was young.

      Only this morning I was privileged to see the splendid Tom Daley on BBC tv, speaking with such overt goodnes of his soul and a mature, mesmeric wisdom. And he is, I think, just 28. That is a massive plus and there are countless Tom Daleys everywhere, albeit without his amazing diving talent.
      For each selfish billionaire who has enriched themself at others expense, there are countless ordinary but also extra ordinary good souls who are doing good in their daily lives.

      So please never lose faith in mankind. I am one of the most severe critics on here but I have not and will not EVER lose faith in our human race. There is too much constant evidence of our collective goodness.
      PERSPECTIVE is so important in life SEAN, isn’t it.

    2. Ozziegunner says:

      The actions of many pushing “individualism” above the “common weal” has been there for all to see during the Covid19 pandemic.
      Greed has really morfed into a “dog eat dog” mentality to the detriment of society as a whole.

    3. guy says:

      Well said Sean – nice piece. Covid has made the schism in society more apparent. Some people have become much kinder to others – Covid has after all caused much soul searching as we re-appraise what is important. Others have unfortunately become more selfish, hedonistic and cruel. I recall for example on three occasions in lockdown being threatened with violence in supermarkets when requesting people to put on their masks.

      1. jon fox says:

        guy, do you then disgree with me when I say the good people among our race massively outnumber the bad people? We all meet occasional fellow humans who we do not think good people. But my point is that we NOTICE the bad folk, while taking the vastly more good people who are in all countries, for granted and so they are largely “unnoticed”.
        The media daily news has hardly ANY TRUE PERSPECTIVE of how humanity(collectively speaking) REALLY is!

        I’d really appreciate your answer to my question, guy!

        1. guy says:

          I concur Jon – of course one unpleasant event stays in our memory far longer than 100 small kindnesses. Yes there are far more good than bad people out there. But while the good by definition try not to unduly impact on others and therefore remain largely unnoticed, the bad relish being noticed.
          By nature we (with the exception of sport and temporarily the penchant to report great kindnesses during covid) expect and seek out almost exclusively the bad news in our media. I will give two small examples:

          In the 1930’s depression, a publisher (I believe in the USA), feeling there was too much pessimism around started a newspaper printing only good news stories. Nobody bought it and it went bust in a few months.

          If you watch the regular BBC news, it is inevitably bad throughout, bacause good news is neither interesting nor memorable usually. The BBC has traditionally kept the final segment for a good news item – akin to “cat rescued from tree” to give some “balance”

          So yes, most people ARE generally good-spirited. But we just don’t notice them.

          1. jon fox says:

            A reassuring reply guy as I hoped. Little I can add to what you so rightly say.

            I did though take note of your inclusion of “sport” in your second paragraph and that has given me the germ of an idea for another article on the vital importance of ALL sport, provided it is essentially ethical.

            So, many thanks dear fellow.

  19. Highbury Hero says:

    Life evolves and things keep on changing, even faster now with globalisation and tech advances. As part of life football will keep on evolving for better or for worse. The era of pure football ended and now we are on the era of what you have said in your article.

    We either accept it or stay out of it. Money has ruined (or at least has changed) football and it will continue this way until all teams go in the way of Barcelona which is not any time soon. Things never stay the same.

    About referees yes they are cheats against us and had they been fair towards Man Utd in the Wenger’s glory years we would have had one or two league trophies more. I will accept legal challenge and hire Untold Arsenal as my lawyers, pro bono.

    1. guy says:

      Lol HH – hang in there – I’m sure your friends here will chip in for your defence. My autographed photo of Theo Walcott is up for ebay auction as I write. That should raise… ah sorry, no bids, (:-((

  20. VasC says:

    So, Mr jon fox has, in a matter of days, transformed himself from a “supporter” to a mere “fan”. (Yeah. I read the SUPPORTER VS FAN thing and unfortunately, remember it now too.)

    “ethical capitalism” got me thinking about the reply you posted, when I wondered how someone can welcome Amazon Prime’s All Or Nothing, while being vocal about the obnoxious salaries players are paid these days.

    Our club’s official YouTube channel posted a series of almost an hour length documentaries about our legends last year. Now, that’s “ethical capitalism”. But, this Amazon stuff is just pure “greed”, IMO.

    I was laughing while reading about Messi and his press conference. And like most people, I truly believed that Messi could have stayed at Barca, if he had the will. But, unfortunately, even his 50% wage slash wasn’t enough for Barca to keep him at the club beyond this summer, if they wish to play in La Liga this season.

    I read in an article that Spanish employment law states that an employee can take a maximum 50% wage slash and anything above that is an offense. Messi may agree to play for free. But, Barca will be penalized for that under Spanish law. Also, with Messi on-board, Barca’s expenses was 110% of their revenue and 95% without Messi. Even with a 50% wage slash, Braca’s expenses would be 102.5% of their revenue with Messi which will not be approved by La Liga.

    Constantly chiding the players for their exorbitant wages the club gave them in the first place is distasteful and a ploy to mask the management’s failure in getting the best out of their investments. All these come out only when the team is losing.

    p.s: Just like you, jon fox, I’m just “blunt” in my sayings. Not the cynical type, especially after knowing that my correspondent is senior to me, both by age and knowledge. I may be wrong, but always willing to listen when pointed out.

    1. jon fox says:

      A thought provoking reply and thank you for taking the time to give a detailed one, Vas C.

    2. guy says:

      Hi Vasc – I think we can spread that blame even further! I recall when both Ozil and Auba’s previous contracts were up for renewal, fans IMPLORING the club to pay anything to keep them. Seemingly, now the “anything” paid is deemed by those same fans to be too much. We demand only the best and are then shocked when we have money problems.
      In what other business would we expect contractors (these guys are here for several years, not for life) to take less than the maximum they can get? Players are negotiating with huge conglomorates to whom they owe no long-term allegiance, they are not ripping off their dad’s family corner shop here.. Would any of us take less in our jobs? Of course not.
      So lets put the blame where it belongs – everywhere! Owners, management, players, agents, fans, the capitalism and it’s marketing that teaches us to always want more. Only cure is some form of mandatory wage cap (unlikely), because we all want different things.

      1. VasC says:

        Like I said before, guy…
        All these come out only when the team is losing.

        Had we won convincingly enough, say 3-0, against Brentford, do you believe that we’ll be having these discussions now? Unless and until the team return to winning ways, the blame game will reach unprecedented levels.

        1. guy says:

          Yes and no. As Arsenal there is (in my opinion) the unreasonable expectation amongst many fans that we have a divine right to be top 2 in the EPL, play the most exciting football, have the best players, and the funds to buy them, year in, year out. “Transition” periods are not acceptible. I recognise football as being cyclical – every dog has its day, but equally we must suffer for periods.
          Even a 3-0 will not stop many from complaining. If we get top 6 it should have been top 4, if top 4 we should have played with more style etc
          I can’t see Arteta making it and would like him replaced, but if he does he and many of the players will forever be criticised because too many of our fan base are spoiled, entitled and unrealistic about both where we are and where we can get in the short term. Only after a prolonged period in the wilderness will this element of our “fan”base start to realise where we are now, get behind the team and help us climb out of mediocrity.

          1. VasC says:

            So true. Most fans these days don’t know about this period of transition. Our fans are yet to go through what Leeds went through in the last decade and a half, before they made it into PL last season.

            When I started following Arsenal, there were Blackburn, Bolton, Charlton, Birmingham, Middlesbrough and the likes. Many of those clubs were not even in the Championship these days.

            I don’t mind us doing a “Liverpool”, waiting for more than a couple of decades to clinch the title again. But, I’m worried we may do a “Leeds”, especially with Edu at the helm when we are in transition.

          2. guy says:

            My fear too Vas!

    3. guy says:

      Always enjoy your posts Vas. I can’t believe anybody feels sorry for either Barca or Messi over this. Barca has been spending above their means for a couple of decades now, and ruling Europe as a result. Despite numerous blind eyes being turned by Spanish authorities because of their high profile and status in the Catalan community, but it was unsustainable, and its possible Real will follow. Theyve had their day in the sun now they can pay the bill.
      And Messi – such hardship awaits him! He must go and live in that horrible Paris for a couple of years, earn another fortune (over £1m a week) while playing alongside two of the world’s best forwards (I wonder if he will try to conceal his image rights income there like he did in Spain? Quite understandable on such a low income). At the end of that he must return to his mansion in Barcelona. Poor little mite – not surprising he cried at such a harsh sentence.
      Of course you’re right about Arsenal – we gave them the contracts its our obligation to honour them.

      1. VasC says:

        As I’ve commented in another article, Barca as an institution lost my respect when they started using cheap tricks by employing their players to state publicly wishing to play with players contracted to other clubs. It wasn’t an just an one off case. They lured players like Cesc, Pique, Hleb, Suarez, Mascherano and a few others by this trick. So, it’s always “FCUK Barca!!!” for me.

        The only downside was, still is, I had to wait for weeks together to celebrate a Barca loss.

        1. guy says:

          Agree again. This prectice of using their players publicly to attract others is despicable. It’s ironic that a club with an unsurpassed repuation for playing beautiful football is almost certainly the most unethical of all the major clubs.

  21. ozziegunner says:

    By the way jon, things are so bad at Arsenal, that the President of Rwanda is concerned about being a sponsor of and being associated with the Club.
    Professional sport has gone a long way since the Rugby League broke away from the Rugby Union in 1908, to ensure that players had their medical bills paid and they were compensated for time off work in their day jobs due to injury.

    1. guy says:

      Oh well. I hear Naura may be keen to come on board? I know they only have 12,000 residents, no airline and no tourism, but their skipjack tuna exports apparently need promoting…

    2. Sue says:

      Still managed to renew the deal by 2 years though, Ozzie, with an option of taking it to 2025 available..

      1. guy says:

        Great – that’s another £10k stashed away then. Slump over – who shall we buy?

      2. Ozziegunner says:

        Yes, Sue their discomfort wasn’t enough to sto them forking out another £10 million per annum.
        I’m interested that no one commented on the Rugby League/Rugby Union schism? The wheel has turned full circle, with the “lilly whites” now full time highly paid professionals, when 40 years ago you had to be reinstated if you had played Rugby League.

  22. Davi says:

    When people talk about salary caps, I just think that puts even more money in the hands of the clubs (incl owners/shareholders) – is that better?
    Unfortunately football is too big now, and the excesses in terms of money are inevitable. I don’t like it either, but I don’t see a viable alternative unfortunately, aside from switching our attention to something else (different sport or lower league).

    Regarding the diving – I was shocked particularly last season with just how acceptable it is now to “go down easily” it even win a penalty by hanging out a leg to get the all-important contract. I remember a game where Leicester had 3 penalties and all would have been seen as soft, with the “victims” called out for potentially diving, only a few years ago. Now it’s just accepted as a mistake by the defender even when they did absolutely nothing.

    1. guy says:

      Yes Davi it is better. Club owners have a vested interest in remaining solvent, in improving their teams, in bringing fans it. Whilst never enough for fans, they will reinvest sufficient funds to at least guarantee the club and game’s survival. Players have no such agenda. They won’t be around or involved in 10 years, so their income leaves football entirely.
      Clubs typically try to keep the ratio of wages to revenue at 70% or less. So perhaps 30% stays in football for transfers, stadia, dividends etc . A 2018-19 survey that this is not always possible – for example Everton’s wages were 85% of total revenue. I can only imagine the covid percentages
      Lionel Messi earns 600 times the salary of the British Prime Minister. The average EPL wage is over £50,000 A WEEK – almost 100 times more than for a nurse. As a theoretical (meaning I see many positives but know it never truly succeeds) socialist I find these figures truly abhorrent.

      1. Davi says:

        Thank you for an interesting reply. I’d have thought that owners already have the incentives you list but choose to keep offering increased wages nonetheless. If we wanted to, we could impose our own salary cap and stick to it and would be better off, certainly in Arsenal’s case. Players only have power because it’s given to them by weak leadership.
        I also don’t think it’s necessarily bad for the players’ income to leave football. Maybe, but I’d have thought that benefits people more than it being held by clubs and owners?
        (I am trying to play devil’s advocate a bit here – not 100% convinced by my own case)

        Btw I like your self description as a theoretical socialist. I think many find the ideals of socialism appealing but don’t understand the reality of it.

        1. jon fox says:

          davi and guy, Like you both I would be a socialist in a heartbeat, IF I thought it could ever work.

          But my own long and varied life experience has amply proven to me that it does not work and that whereever it has been tried, the poorer people (only in money and possessions though, NOT nn heart) are worse off and so I have to promote capitalism as the only way that benefits ALL of us.
          Though I much prefer ONLY ETHICAL capitalism, as NOT practised in elite level football.

          1. Davi says:

            Hi Jon, thank you for the article – it has provided and instigated some thought provoking comments that extend well beyond football.
            I’m not sure I’d commit to saying I’d be a socialist if I thought it could work, though – in my mind socialism is anti meritocratic, which is not acceptable to me, as I don’t think that would enable a truly fair society. However, guy’s comment has made me think I should look a little more closely. Always good to get another perspective.

          2. Ozziegunner says:

            Democratic socialism does work in many countries. Except for the weather I would have lived in Norway. Unbridled Capitalism certainly isn’t the answer, with failing infrastructure, transport, health care, education and utilities like water, electricity privatised.

        2. guy says:

          My latte father in law was a communist, and yearned for those days to return. People were not rich, but they all had guaranteed jobs with similar salaries (interestingly soviet belief was that manual workers, having a tougher life, were paid slightly more than professional or clerical workers, whereas managers or doctors had higher status and better houses. Everybody was housed. There was no inflation, and no jealousy. Neighbours helped each other. Both education and medicine were and stll are much better than in the UK.
          The closest here I can imagine would be our wartime spirit. Then communism fell, western advertising hit Russia and it all changed. And contrary to western propeganda, they are not a warring nation. The US has over 100 overseas military bases. Russia has one (Syria). Unlike the UK they are surrounded by fundamenalist republics. Almost 50% of the Ukraine is ethnic Russian, and since independence they have been persecuted, including a massacre of 42 Russians in 2014 in an arson attack in Odessa. Ukraine was an integral part of Russia historically, and Kiev was also the Russian capital for a period. It is not all as portrayed by the media. Their constand demonisation, primarily by the USA and UK is a source of both bafflement and sadness to ordinary Russian people, who despite that are still incredibly hospitable to English visitors. They are not saints in Russia but it is and always has been a two way street.

          1. Davi says:

            An interesting perspective that has opened my mind a little. I have to be honest and say that I do believe that the Soviet Union was overall an awful experiment but in truth my historical knowledge is not extensive, especially post Stalin. I will certainly spend some time learning more about it.
            That’s not to say I disagree with your comments on the west at all. The consequences of western nations’ fear of the spread of communism (particularly of course from the US) has caused massive and long lasting harm as well, which is largely overlooked. I do believe that the cold war was a war of ideologies in which propaganda was used inwardly and outwardly on both sides, and it’s significantly impacted the ways that people think. critically, I think that it’s conditioned people to be more accepting of wars and military interventions that they might not have otherwise.
            My honest opinion on this is that the capitalism-centred systems have generally been better for societies, however the influences of large businesses with governments is difficult to avoid and has led to a great proportion of the societal problems that exist today.

        3. guy says:

          Great in principle Davi. But if Arsenal are the only team with a salary cap we will lose a lot of potential players to the clubs without caps. It needs to be more mandatory across the board.
          Appreciate your point about it not being important if players or club get the lions share of revenue. I agree that with Kroenke holding the purse it may not be so advantageous, but I don’t think deep down you believe that.
          Businesses normally take money out or pay dividents after necessary expenditure – even Kroenke. Arguable what is necessary but the obvious example is Covid. If revenue drastically decreases you must continue paying players you have and that alone means you make unsustainable losses. No money available so we will sack all our scouts but the players will still earn their millions. No new players but who we have get their salaries. Essentially everyone suffers but the players. Lower player wages, we have a bigger buffer for emergencies like paying staff. Shareholder dividends are not the big concern when times are hard. We are not accusing Kroenke of sucking money out during covid, but we are suspicious of how much he is putting in from his own very deep pockets to help us out. The less he puts in, the more high wages cripple the club.

    2. Ozziegunner says:

      The worst thing about diving is the play acting of players going down, like having been hit by a truck, to con the referee into sending off a fellow “professional”.

  23. Sid says:

    A good, no scratch that, a great read Jon! I always look forward to different articles like yours, which give a lot to think about. Right now as I hear and read about the terrible situation in Afghanistan, I wonder about the line you have spoke about regarding treating all humans as family. ‘My first and you poor mugs nowhere’ attitude that you spoke about, just how far can we take it in life? Can we remain apathetic to maximum situations in life, just like the one in Afghanistan, if it doesnt directly affect us? Would it be humanely possible for normal people like me to actively involve themselves in such situation and achieve something worthy, inspite of just plain hot air? Isnt it the work of the Governments? This pushing of responsibility is what, IMHO, stops an ideal world of equality appearing.
    This line of thought is what currently drives me to remain apathetic in situations that dont affect me directly. All the situations that you mention, like the club vs player debate with Messi’s example, I am afraid these dont affect me that much. But I hope this apathetic attitude of me towards the things I love should change, and I hope articles like yours come along and change my perceptions. I really admire you for being straightforward and unchanging in your values, and that is why, inspite of sometimes having way different opinions to yours I always pause and think about your words.
    Stay safe Jon and keep writing! Waiting for another one of your articles!
    COYG!

    1. jon fox says:

      Sid For whatever reason, I am assuming you are still a fairly young and healthy man. If that is so, then there is no reason why you should not get deeply involved in ANY humanitarian matter that you wish.

      Consider this advice, which I was given when very much younger. The advice was this; “merely to have even the desire to help others, even if you have not YET the knowhow of how to accomplish your desire, sets you apart from those who have no desire”.

      That advice SID, initially given to me in a theatrical context by a far older director whom I much admired and said so, was a seminal moment in my young life that I thank God for each day of my life.

      I have accomplished only a very tiny fraction of what I once hoped for but those fractions add up SID. There are close to 8 billion in our race and well over 7 billion are a lot of good intentioned “fractions”.

      If I am ever fortunate enough to be able to lay on my death bed and have time to consider my BIGGEST regrets, they will all be things I have NOT done and opportunities missed.(I will also have thousands of regrets about things I have done but far smaller in import).

      My sincere advice is, do all and more than you feel you can do and do it now. All great deeds first begin with a thought and then a plan to follow. The knowledge of HOW comes along later. You learn by doing!

    2. guy says:

      Good stuff Sid – merely to have mentioned what you did means you are in the right place. Don;t be so hard on yourself, it’s a collective responsibility and your day will come. It’s a world full of horror if you want it to be, but equally that same world is full of wonderful things. The same world, just different perspectives.

  24. guy says:

    Agree Jon. Although I usually don’t think so at the time, my biggest regrets are what I have NOT done, not what I have done. We learn far more from one mistake than from 100 things we do right. Our screw ups are us as adults continuing our education. What seems horrible at the time also gives us a treasure trove of funny stories to pass on.
    I think it’s obvious from the extremely complimentary messages that your post was a huge success, in my opinion because not only was it well written and obviously heartfelt, but also because it was not Arsenal-centric and took us to ethical and moral places we have not necessarily been to before. Some of the posts were also brilliantly written – we have a very eloquent bunch of hooligans here, and it was great that you found the time to respond to so many .
    But, as with all writers, the follow up to the original is always more difficult, so get to work.!

    1. jon fox says:

      Spot on post guy. I too am heartened that we have so many deep thinking and literate Gooners on here, so I will follow your kind advice my friend.

      Ad PAT once told me that JA has a world wide reach of approx 200000 readers. THAT IS QUITE SOME THOUGHT!

      1. guy says:

        That can’t be true Jon??!!! You better get onto Faber and Faber about that book deal sharpish then! And I will have to mind my Ps and Q’s… Mind you, if they’re all in China maybe they don’t understand and just look at the pictures! Not many responders from 2ook readers. Maybe they all swear a lot and Pat blocks them? Lol
        PAT – if you read this, is that number true?

        1. VasC says:

          One look at BBC comments will be enough to convince you, guy. Number of comments doesn’t always reflect the number of readers. And the majority of the comments being blocked is a genuine possibility, like you said. How can anyone be sane and polite, after watching the state of affairs at our club these days!!! 🤣🤣🤣

    2. VasC says:

      “eloquent bunch of hooligans” – Nice touch, guy!!! 🤣🤣🤣

  25. VasC says:

    One look at BBC comments will be enough to convince you, guy. Number of comments doesn’t always reflect the number of readers. And the majority of the comments being blocked is a genuine possibility, like you said. How can anyone be sane and polite, after watching the state of affairs at our club these days!!! 🤣🤣🤣

    1. jon fox says:

      VasC Like guy, when I was first told by Ad Pat of this large readership, I had doubts. But then I really thought about it and so reasoned as you do. I doubt anyone knows even a TRULY close figure but I am sure we reach a far wider readership than many on here imagine.

      If it was as parochial as some might think, I doubt this site would be financially viable, But it seems to be, so I have drawn the same conclusion as you.

      As to how many comments are blocked, I expect they are numerous but many of them would not be adding much intelligence or insight therefore to our debate, I suggest.

      Ad Pat may at times seem an over zealous protector of his site but overall he does a MAGNIFICENT JOB and it is beyond high time that I , OF ALL PEOPLE, publicly said so!

      Ad Pat runs this site for love of club- I do not doubt that- BUT, it is also a BUSINESS, and I do not forget that !

      1. VasC says:

        “I doubt anyone knows even a TRULY close figure”

        For once, I choose to disagree with you Mr jon fox. In this modern age, there are tools to tell exactly how many people visited the page, how long they’ve spent in the page, how far they’ve read through the page and a dozen other trivial things.

        If you make a request to the admin on the performance of your article, beyond doubt he’ll provide you one with the details with such high accuracy that you now believe isn’t possible.

        Please don’t forget that to run a successful business like this, one must need stats to back their claims, at least, in this modern era. And I trust our admin has all the stats about this business, since it’s inception.

        1. Admin Pat says:

          True facts VasC.

          Jon, 3001 people have read your article so far….

          1. jon fox says:

            Thanks for this interesting info both PAT and Vas C.
            I’d have loved to know what effect, if any, my piece had on the other 2900 or so. If any have reconsidered some of their previous opinions perhaps. Or not !

            We will never know that of course and perhaps, for my ego, just as well. Though I am almost impervious to insults, EXCEPT where they think me unfair or not compassionate. Then I would really worry.

  26. gerry burke says:

    jon fox, once again may i congratulate you on a splendid article, you sir, have a gift for writing, there is no doubt. i know that you speak for many of us, but ,you are too polite to admit that.to watch the arsenal ,on, and, off, the pitch,is now becoming a task.there is no enjoyment in our team making fools of themselves, and,by our team i mean the entire club.all of this bad dealings has been festering for some years now, but some on here are way too stubborn to see that.but i am not going to go there as my time is way too precious to become involved in school playground antics.i thank you once again, you are the voice of reason on here,you say it as it is despite the negative feedback of , but a handful. keep it up jon, please, if only for the sake of stirring it up, something which i know you would never do .

    1. jon fox says:

      gerry, what a generous reply. You are a really kind hearted man.

      I findit upsetting to see so many fine Gooners who all love our club being so frustrated by how our club is run these last few years. I naturally share and understand that frustration.

      I suggest we keep the faith and the good times will come again, as most things in life are cyclical and a dose of patience does us all good. I am more impatient than most, so need to take my own advice.

      1. gerry burke says:

        thank you jon, there is nothing surer that our great club will rise again, we have to keep the faith, in the club, at least.

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