Arsenal and Celtic are huge brands – but elite like Man United?

ARSENAL, A MASSIVE BRAND…..BUT AN ELITE CLUB AT PRESENT?…. by G.O.C.

A few days ago, an inappropriate debate, a truly insulting argument was witnessed in this very site. With all due respect to our wonderful Celtic friends and fans, I have to ask, would they honestly make that argument with Man United, Madrid, Barca, Liverpool or even Chelsea fans? I think not. I was truly aghast and perplexed. I am guessing that’s as a result of us not winning the top UEFA trophy. Still, that argument shouldn’t be had in the first instance. It’s a no brainer really.

Though we might be aeons ahead of Celtic as a football brand, the very assumption within us Arsenal fans that we are still an elite club is…well to put it mildly, debatable…

I have personal doubts about where the club is headed and activities of recent years solidifies my doubts..

Firstly, we have a nonexistent owner. Not ambitious, never bothers to watch Arsenal matches, decides not to put his money into the club (of which I don’t personally begrudge him for), but it’s the general lackadaisical and laissez-faire approach to such a huge investment that I can’t seem to wrap my head around. How envious I get when I see involved owners like the FSG group or Abramovich leading the charge for their teams. Man United and Liverpool are adopting the same self-sustaining model but they seem to be doing just fine.

Our supposedly ambitious owner left Wenger in the dugout when it was pretty clear to the rest of the world that a change was desperately needed. Our famed managerial stability was a tad overrated. We had that with Wenger and I wouldn’t particularly class it a 100% success. Clubs that chop and change managers have had unparalleled success. Chelsea, Man City, PSG, Barca, Real all change managers frequently and continue winning.

Secondly, the incompetent boardroom (of the former regime led by Gazidis and Co) and coach (Wenger), that ran the affairs of the club in recent years did us no favours. Their pile-up of amateurish inadequacies has left the new regime in a quagmire. They couldn’t seem to get anything right. Their transfer dealings and questionable contract handling, left a lot to be desired. Player sales has been a disaster. Our players are the cheapest in the market (that’s when they don’t go for free). That’s why I have a certain degree of pity for Unai Emery and will only make up my mind on him come May next year.

Players saw, and continue to see, Arsenal as a stepping stone. Henry, RVP, Nasri, Sanchez, Ox all left for rivals. One could argue their leaving was financially motivated, but that is just half the truth… We lacked ambition, we still do, they saw a greater chance at silverware with our rivals and we can’t match the wages they were being offered of course.. So we lost them on both grounds. All (Sanchez aside), went on to win major silverware (EPL or Champions league), while our drought goes on.

Our trophy haul since the Iconic Invincibles, is the polar opposite of what an elite club should be or look like. It’s appalling to say the least. No true world-class player would live and put up with such mediocrity. They will be out the door a lot quicker than it takes our defenders to clear a loose ball from our penalty area!

But the biggest issue remains the faltering commercial department. Don’t let the £300mil Adidas deal fool you, Arsenal’s commercial brand has massively underachieved and it’s not just down to on-the-pitch struggles. Arsene Wenger consistently refused to spend big in transfer windows and we were lead to believe he has been given the funds. It took intense clamouring from fans before Ozil, Sanchez, Mustafi, Xhaka, Lacazette and PEA deals were done, sparsely too. Where is all the money being saved all this while? One would think his frugality would translate to swelled up coffers.

Our new £60mil per season will be on par with what Chelsea and Manchester City are raking in from kit deals.. Liverpool’s is considerably lower (£45mil per season), yet the owners wanted a competitive team and wanted the big trophies. Hence the aggressive nature they went about closing the gap with Man City. Sure Coutinho (£106mil), plus ad ons helped but the acquisitions of Salah(£43mil), Ox(£35mil), Alisson (£65mil), Keita(£52mil), Fabinho(£43mil), Van Dijk (£75mil), Shaqiri and Robertson for a combined £336mil in just two summer transfer windows to back the ambitions of Klopp, says a lot about the intentions of the owner towards the club.

Same with Man United. The Glazers aren’t putting their money in either but the commercial side of the club is steadily driving their ailing football side in summer recruitment and transfers. Why we can’t do same, I can’t tell.

The only logical explanation would be that the incompetent bunch that run it’s affairs have seen both sides of the Arsenal brand suffer massively.. We both missed out on Champions League football, yet they are being linked with the likes of Wan-Bissaka, Bruno Fernandez, Maguire, Ndombele, Junior Firpo etc. They are all 50mil + players and we are linked with Saliba, Claude-Maurice, Praet, Martinelli, etc. Even at that, we are still penny pinching on the said cheap players. Something is seriously askew with Arsenal’s commercial department.

And don’t give me the FFP crap please. Because I don’t see our fellow top six sides in EPL looking over their shoulders. Maybe it wouldn’t be a problem if the business guys, did their job properly and maximized the Arsenal brand to it’s full potential.

Finally, our squads quality doesn’t exactly scream elite club calibre, does it? We blast Ozil, Micki, Xhaka, Kos, Kolasinac as being below average and they are frankly speaking. But I am amazed when some of us class the likes of Sokratis, Iwobi as wonderful players. It’s appalling. They are all average. Moreover, this average squad does our chances with these multi-billion companies no good. The likes of Adidas, Umbro, Nike and the rest crave superstars. The more deals they make with these individuals, the more money the clubs gets. Their global popularity is serious money to them. Arsenal is desperately in short supply of this calibre of players bar PEA to some extent, while Ozil has lost considerable appeal and popularity.

Against fans from other clubs, I vociferously defend Arsenal passionately… But alone with my fellow gunners, we tend to tell ourselves the bitter truth… Our club’s appeal to world-class players is drastically dwindling by the day. A non-existent owner, an incompetent board, disastrous player recruitment and sales. A faltering commercial department and an ailing team.. No ambition, no money, can’t compete in the transfer market.

A massive brand?… Yes
Should the brand be able to compete fairly and favourably with other elite brands?… Yes
Are they taking that path? An emphatic NO!
Are they among the elite clubs at present?… Well, I have my doubts, but I will allow you make up your own minds..

But if your metric for measuring an elite team are just social media following and global fanbase?… Then sure, we are an elite team.

G.O.C

Updated: June 25, 2019 — 5:23 pm

45 Comments

  1. ArsenalwinsWorldcup

    It could have been, it should have been, it would have been………

  2. A very lucid article.

    IMO I grade a football teams ‘elite-ness’ by their success on the field in terms of winning leagues and European Cups and not by the business aspects of the club not related to what it takes to procure and form a winning side.

    So for me AFC have for a long time, been a million miles away from being an elite club.

  3. How “elite” can we possibly be, if we haven’t won our own League in the past 16 years. Man United, Man City, Chelsea and Leicester City have all won the PL in that time.

    Liverpool, United, Chelsea have won Champions League. We haven’t

    We also spend the least out of us, Chelsea, United, City, Liverpool and Spurs

    We aren’t even the best in North London and 3rd best in London

    1. Arsenal are one of a few elite clubs in EPL that have not been relegated to the second tier league in the last 100 years

      We won EPL last time with a relatively unknown manager, outcasts, youngsters and cheap players. Whereas Chelsea, Man United and Man City won it with extravagant budget and top managers

      If those achievements don’t make Arsenal an elite club, I don’t know what else will do it

      1. You have a very broad and vague definition of Elite. A lot of teams are elite under your definition.

        If you haven’t won your league competition in nearly 2 decades, you don’t come close to winning Champions league, you don’t have as big names as real elite teams, then you aren’t Elite

        Arsenal is a big club with a big history but we are NOT elite. We were in the mid 2000’s. Not anymore

        Real Madrid, City, Chelsea, United , Barcelona, Bayern, Juventus are elite

        We are on the second rung, which isn’t bad

        1. This is basically how I see us as well. Early 2000’s you can say we were. Our business model was crap though and the transition from Highbury to Emirates has been pretty disastrous in terms of on field results. I’m sure all the accountants are thrilled with the results, but for actual football fans, Emirates era has been mostly lows compared to what we were achieving.

      2. Really?

        Having not been relegated..that’s your definition of an elite team?

        Moreover, the last EPL we won was with the invincibles and they weren’t a bunch of outcasts and youngsters like your suggesting pal..

      3. I’m afraid this is a flawed argument as it would mean you would feel Notts Forest are an elite club with those credentials.We ARE a big Club.We just do not act like one

  4. Arsenal did the right thing by letting Wenger go. Now they just need to sell Ozil ASAP

    Once they manage to ship out the useless no 10s and switch to 4-3-3, I believe we would see a more competitive team

    1. Yeah, letting Ozil go will suddenly solve our defensive ineptitude too!

  5. OT Kronke is being sued for $24 million buy St Louis ticket Licensing agency that had agreement for 30 years for Rams tickets when they were in St. Louis.

    Guess mismanagement of finances goes straight to the top. Guess Kronke forgot about that multi-million contract when he up and left St Louis, or thought he wouldn’t have to pay it back.

    Glad to see someone holding firm and not letting Kronke weasel his way out of paying up.

  6. Get Stan Out is the only answer. Saw an article earlier online of the top 20 worst owners & guess who was in the bottom 2, Stan the ConMan no19.

    All depends who owns the club as you mentioned the liverpool owners (J Henry) have been brilliant backing the team in the market. Arsenal is only being sold for nothing less than £2b and I dont see that happening so we are stuck with this tool with no ambition.

    Arsenal need new ownership that wants to win & get Arsenal back to where they should be & Stan Kronke is not that man. The potential of this club with the stadium etc..is not being utilised properly. Unai a good manager but needs money to rebuild it, at least have a go anyway.

  7. Arsenal are top six Just!!
    Emery has to be given £100 million on top of player sales,to stand any chance of strengthening
    this window. Even then with no champions league this year it will be hard to attract top players.

  8. I’ve visited this site many times over the years. Now it feels click bait putting posts up to get numbers through. This is a non article, adds nothing to our affiliation to the team, just commercially lead debate. 6 odd articles a day in a close season says it all, this will maybe not make moderation but it’s a fact. All negative and so disappointing now

    1. How can you say that? This is an honest opinion from a true arsenal fan. He didn’t write this for any click bait rubbish. That comes from the ?

      1. But it’s posted on here to make 6 articles a day that don’t really contribute to a constructive debate, it’s mainly negative or irrelevant with an occasional interesting post that’s worth a discussion. I can’t see how activity in the close season needs six plus articles a day with people posting mainly the same things. The site feels a bit to commercial right now rather than for the fans

        1. Always one, an absolutely brilliantly written article and up pops a negative comment. If we posted 1 article a day there would be one, if we posted 2, 4, 10 whatever, guaranteed there will be one. What was it you said? negative or irrelevant, yeah that about sums it perfectly.

      2. I would not say this is a “non-article at all.This is one of the best Topic Headlines for quite a while.It defines exactly WHAT we believe is a big club.
        As the 7th Richest Club in world football you would believe we would automatically and realistically feel we are thought of globally as a rich and powerful football club.But in reality it’s not working out that way.

  9. Well, it’s all subjective.
    Arsenal is ranked 9th best club in Europe by UEFA, only City is higher ranked than Arsenal in England.

    We have every right to be angry, we were promised a bright future after highbury exit, instead we declined and are even farther adrift the European elites.

    But it’s not all gloom and doom. With Wenger who had shielded Kroenke all these years by lying about the amount available for transfers for him gone, we can now focus squarely on Kroenke and see whether he gives in to the pressure and invest more on the club to help bring in more quality players.

    1. Unfortunately there will be no pressure on SK. Unai can’t do it as he knew he had pocket change to play with and is why he was called in (for his ability to create a winning team on a budget).

      The fans won’t do it as a lot of them are football tourists and the others have been programmed to accept mediocracy.

      No, SK will remain and we will continue to be under achievers IMO.

  10. Yes, Arsenal are a big club. Elite? No. Haven’t won EPL in ages, horrible European record, and currently we are in a bad place. But big and elite clubs don’t fall down in status over just a few seasons. Milan are still a big, some would even say elite, club despite their struggles. When I think elite club, I think European achievements instantly, and legendary players that the whole world knows and respects. Henry, Dennis, Vieria, and Pires are the last group of those players I feel we had that the whole world simply respected the brilliance of. Haven’t come close to that since. When people did Ozil/Bergkamp comparisons I wanted to weep. Not even close folks. Not even close. Neither is Auba or Lacazette. Both great players, but players that every club envies? Not quite.

  11. Any organisation associated with me is elite.

  12. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    G. O. C. Meaning, the General Officer Commanding Arsenal Gooners’ opinions. Right?

    G.O.C.; on a serious note, let me say to all and sundry one the internet without any iota of doubt in my mind that Arsenal are a North London giants global brand club whose following on tweeter is undisputedly unrivalled. Therefore, the notion doubting if Arsenal high global brand has dwindled is unfounded and is a liability for the doubters to contend with. For, as long as football is being played in the Premier League or in whatever name it is named in future, Arsenal will remain in it as a global brand playing in it.

    G.O.C., will that be okay? Okay then, let’s Gooners not lose our focus in our interest to see Arsenal sign the 2 defenders of Saliba and Tierney a centreback and a left back both of top quality whom they have fished out this summer exclusively for Arsenal to sign them but not any of their top rival PL club sides to snatch them away from us. Which if care is not taken by Arsenal, any of these rival top PL club sides to them could do so as they are capable of doing it.

    Therefore, if Arsenal are convinced these duo defenders will be of great helps to the club to win titles next season for us, Arsenal should do the financial needful that is required to enabled them sign the duo new players at maybe not more than £45m combined that will take the club’s entire budget budgeted for incoming transfers this summer.

    But how about the outgoing transfers and loan out deals where Arsenal could profit making money to recoup what they’ve spent to bring in Saliba and Tierney and further reinvest it to sign a top grade regular league goals scoring right winger and a number no 9 striker this summer too. The position vacated by Aaron Ramsey in the Arsenal midfield can be filled by the trio of Joe Willock, Emiie Smith-Rowe and Reiss Nelson playing in that role individually and in alternate next season so that none of them will be over played as the season wore on. So, to me Arsenal don’t need to replace Ramsey next season. Even they don’t need to sign a new goalkeeper next season as Martinez is at the club to replace Cech who has betrayed us by letting us down in the Europa League Cup final. But it’s Emery’s fault who should have started Leno in the final instead of Cech that will be going back to his former club Chelsea.

    So, Arsenal should hasten up to conclude their signings of Saliba and Tierney this summer as soon as they can.

  13. Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    G. O. C. Meaning, the General Officer Commanding Arsenal Gooners’ opinions. Right?

    G.O.C.; on a serious note, let me say to all and sundry on the internet without any iota of doubt in my mind that Arsenal are a North London giants global brand club whose following on tweeter is undisputedly unrivalled. Therefore, the notion doubting if Arsenal high global brand status has dwindled is unfounded and is a liability for the doubters to be contending with it. For, as long as football is being played in the Premier League or in whatever name it is named in future, Arsenal will remain in it as a global brand playing in it.

    G.O.C., will that be okay? Okay then, let’s Gooners not lose our focus in our interest to see Arsenal sign the 2 defenders of Saliba and Tierney a centreback and a left back both of top quality whom they have fished out this summer exclusively for us to sign them. But not for any of their top rival PL club sides to snatch them away from us. Which if care is not taken by Arsenal, any of their rival top PL club sides could do so as they are capable of doing it.

    Therefore, if Arsenal are convinced these duo defenders will be of great helps to the club to win titles next season for us, Arsenal should do the financial needful that is required to enabled them sign the duo new players at maybe not more than £45m combined that will take the club’s entire budget budgeted for incoming transfers this summer.

    But how about the outgoing transfers and loan out deals at Arsenal this summer where the club could profit making money to recoup what they’ve spent to bring in Saliba and Tierney, and further reinvest it to sign a top grade regular league goals scoring right winger and a number no 9 striker this summer too. The position vacated by Aaron Ramsey in the Arsenal midfield can be filled by the trio of Joe Willock, Emiie Smith-Rowe and Reiss Nelson playing in that role individually and in alternate playing next season. So that none of them will be over played as the season wore on. So, to me Arsenal don’t need to replace Ramsey next season. Even they don’t also need to sign a new goalkeeper next season in my view as Martinez is at the club to replace Cech who has betrayed us by letting us down in the Europa League Cup final. But it’s all Emery’s fault who should have started Leno in the final instead of Cech that will be going back to his former club Chelsea that was made public before the final was played.

    So, Arsenal should hasten up to conclude their signings of Saliba and Tierney this summer as soon as they can.

    1. Well, I believe the Article’s headline isn’t lost on you..
      That Arsenal are a global brand isn’t in doubt…
      The question is are we an elite club? Have we been acting like it?

      Saliba might be a good player sure, but Juventus, Barca and PSG are jostling for De Ligt…. Maguire is being chased by the Manchester clubs… is Saliba in that category?

      1. From his comments it’s clear he never read the article

      2. We are actually not an elite club for now. Our transfer businesses is a good example. We want to save money all the time but we end up wasting money more than any other team. We buy cheap but don’t get value for our money. For instance we spent about £18m on Lucas Perez instead of paying about 35m Lyon requested for Lacazette. Was Perez cheap, yes. Was he worth the price, no. Was Lacazette expensive, yes. Was he worth the price, yes. We later bought Lacazette for £47m the next season. Now add the 18m for Perez to 47m that is £65m. We actually spent more on a position we should have sorted out for less. That’s is just one of our many bad businesses. Elite clubs don’t fight for cheap deals rather they seek value. Until we start seeking value we can’t be address as elite club

  14. Definition of Elite= a group superior in its abilities and results:

    Therefore the only elite group within the premiership is manchester city.
    That also makes celtic an elite club in Scotland.

    Every other club is either very good, average, or very poor.

    Excellent article, much more thought provoking than all the rumours that’s for sure.

    1. Ken , I agree on the article being a relevant and good one. As for “elite”, that word is a poorly chosen word to describe EVEN most world famous clubs. Elite means the best and that can only accurately mean the current champions in any top level league and in any football passionate country. Elite by itself does not define world wide fan base, length of top level history nor even recent successes, save only the very latest title position when the “elite” club are champions only. This misuse of elite, in this article shows how important is my constant battle with people about using correct words for the point they are trying to make.

      Put even more PRECISELY, even Man City are not totally “ELITE” as they failed to win the CL. BTW, my own contention is itself arguable, as there is rightly some dispute over which of the CL and Prem winners is the more “elite” competition. Precision in choosing and using language is vital if misunderstandings are to be avoided. I have made this very point to Admin Martin on several recent occasions about his fan polls, which are poorly phrased questions at times and exclude some possible answers. Being a site moderator charges that person with a deep and correct understanding of language. Generally speaking, fans language is imprecise and thus many arguments ensue, which could easily have been avoided by the use of precise and unambiguous language.

      I seem to be the only Gooner on here who recognises how important this point actually is and that saddens me. I hope others will now take this onboard.

      1. Jon, I carefully mentioned the premier league when I discussed city as being”elite”.
        They won all three trophies on offer as did celtic in the Scottish premiership.
        That therefore means that both clubs are domestically elite.
        As the article was asking about comparisons between ourselves, celtic and an elite United, the CL did not come into my thought process.
        Why? Because we were in the europa league, so comparisons there were futile, misleading and unnecessary.

        I would suggest that most of the gooners who have contributed to this post would have also acknowledged this important fact and as a site moderator myself, surely the content in regard to the subject, is, at the very least, as important as the words used?

  15. spurs have agreed a deal for Ndombele for €65 million. Confirmed on Sky Sports.

    1. We are lucky to have an almost free run at Saliba.Other clubs are going to regret not signing him.He is potentially a 9/10 CB.He’s an elite talent

      1. Can’t wait for him to leave after 3 years due to lack of ambition by the club

      2. too bad we would likely loan him back even if we did get him. We need something now. Emery needs something now to save his job too

        1. RSH, why does “Emery need something now to save his job too”? Emery has a contract to the end of season 2019/20 only, with Arsenal apparently having an option to extend. If the board do not support Emery in the next two transfer windows, why would Emery waste his time staying? Even at a reported £5-6 million per year salary, a manager/coach of his age and experience won’t be short of suitors.

  16. A great time for this type of article. Off season is a good time to review the lines that make our starting position.

    I see it like this, Man U top historic club that kicked on then Liverpool Notts Forest Leeds didn’t. Arsenal could compete because we did it the opposite way to United. This made us start to catch them up commercially. Emirate was meant to suggest that, now we try to build as our status stagnant.

    We haven’t reached elite not because of value in club or being in the business end of honours. But actually winning the Champions League, League and knowing this could be sustained because of finances are there.

    Chelsea City and United have this. We don’t, Spurs don’t and Liverpool have really put in £75m in 2 seasons, because you take away the fees from countino and saurez…plus the minimal spend previously.

    In fact if you look at Liverpool pre klopp they invested steadily, klopp now wants to spend, and Liverpool have the luxury of giving £50m-£90m.

    Arsenal have some way to be elite, but equally, what Emirates was meant to mean is still in the growth…it’s just been static or a littte slow moving forward.

    I’m hoping 3 years is what it takes and not 6years for arsenal to be surprising people, and winning when losing is the expectations.
    In the meantime, we build for that and obtain diamonds

  17. The next step will be Kroenke redeveloping the Emirates for high priced apartments.
    Remind me again, Arsenal left Highbury and invested a fortune in building the Emirates on the promise of what exactly? To make the Arsenal not only the top club in the EPL, but also a power in Europe ie join “the elite”?

  18. jon, I get your idea of using words precisely and within it’s right contexts to convey one’s exact message in write ups, but I fail to see how that implies here..

    Your assumption that the word ELITE means only the best is narrow and way too streamlined.. Am sure your conversant with the ambiguity of words when used within in literal, figurative and contextual basis..

    For instance in a political or social setting, ELITE mean a group of the most powerful, richest, most educated or influential personalities in such communities… it isn’t just narrowed down to the Governor or the mayor.

    In UEFA club competition, the ELITE clubs could be taken to imply the wealthiest and most powerful clubs within the whole pool of clubs, ergo, the proposed SUPER LEAGUE that is being bandied around by a select few within UEFA…

    Thanks for the observation and criticism Jon..Will take them in stride and try to make the next one better and more precise in it’s lexical construction and connotations..

    1. 😆

    2. G.O.C. well said sir and, although Jon is correct in the literal use of the word, I don’t believe anyone misunderstood what you were conveying to you audience.

      My Collins Concise Dictionary will be used more than ever it seems!!!!

      An excellent article once again.

      1. Thank you sir..@ken1945

  19. Very good article. There is one thing I have a difference with you. I do begrudge Kroenke not putting his own money in. Football is for the supporters and not for the owners. Most owners recognise this and they court the supporters. Arsenal shareholders were always, always for Arsenal, because historically Arsenal were everything to the shareholders. Now we have a parasite/lowlife as an owner, who does not give an iota for the supporters as long as the pay their hard earned dosh…..and what do they get? Well the owners of the other big clubs are putting money in. Even lesser clubs. All big businesses borrow money against their business models and Arsenal do not have a low credit score. So borrow or donate Satan Kroenke. Look at the Colorado Rapids….then puke.

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