Arsenal’s downfall has been caused by gross mismanagement – A few examples….

Arsenal are the masters of their own downfall by ThirdManJW

Although super rich owners and the big TV deal, have reshaped the landscape of English football, I have to come to realize that Arsenal’s deep and long regression is actually down to the decisions made by those running Arsenal. All clubs get it wrong from time to time, but Arsenal have made such huge mistakes, with such consistency, and that is the reason why our club is a joke!

An absent owner, a once great manager who lost his way, a clueless CEO, and rubbish players, is why we are a complete mess. This didn’t happen overnight either. It’s about 12 years in the making. There are just too many different areas of mismanagement to cover in just one article, so I thought I just take a look at some of our most shocking decisions made over the years in regards to the players, and I dare not imagine the amount of money wasted, and missed out on.


Patience with injury-prone players was taken to the absolute extreme, time and time again. Mainly during the Wenger era, given he had his favourites. Arsenal became more like a charity than a football club, with contract extension after another, for players the club knew would rarely be available. It was a complete waste of money, and replacements were often not made quick enough.


Letting a world class player, or any player at Arsenal for that matter, run their contract down would become a very familiar theme at Arsenal. RVP’s contract situation should have been resolved at least a year earlier because he then had all the power in his final 12 months. Selling him to Man Utd was a disgrace! Any club bar Utd, or Spurs I could have handled.

Sylvestre, Welbeck, Gallas, Luiz, Cech, Mhki, etc…

I have decided to put all of our rival’s ex-players into one category to save time. It’s another area that has severely damaged the club’s reputation. Our rivals only take our best players, whilst we keep signing up their rejects. This policy has been an absolute disaster! We can only pray that Luiz will be the last time this happens.


Even from day one, this signing made no sense, because we had only just signed Santi a year earlier. Santi had already proven to be our best player, and one the best playmakers in the league. So why on earth did we need another playmaker, especially as we also had Rosicky, Wilshere, and Ramsey that play in similar positions? Was Ozil even an upgrade on Santi? Not from what I have seen from the pair of them in an Arsenal shirt.

Another playmaker should have been at the bottom of the list in terms of what positions needed fixing at that time. We desperately needed a top-quality CB, DM, and CF at the time, amongst other positions. Then we have Ozil’s insane contract extension, which is another example of gross mismanagement. He hadn’t done enough to even earn a new contract, let alone a monstrous pay raise. Why was he allowed to get down to the final 6 months of his contract? His extension will go down as the worst contract in our history, and in the history of English football.


Like Ozil, yet another one of our high valued assets is allowed to get down to the final 6 months of his contract. Unlike Ozil, he was our best player, and one of the best in the league. We turned down 60 million, for then Wenger to use him sparingly over the next 6 months, and then swap him for yet another one of United’s rejects. Zero logic in that at all! About as bad as it gets! To compound matters, Mhki then flops very badly.


The world class striker we had been begging for since RVP left, but yet again, what sense was it in spending over 50 million on striker, when we had just spent almost 50 million on a striker only 6 months earlier, knowing we always have a limited budget as well? Hardly any managers used two upfront any more anyway, including Wenger (who was our manager at the time), which meant more unbalance to the team. Similar to when we spent big on Ozil, so many other positions needed strengthening first. I love Auba, but yet another bizarre signing.


One of our most illogical signings of all time! How was a poor defender ever going to improve a terrible defence? If a team is lacking goals, do you buy a forward that rarely scores? This signing literally made no sense at all! Yet again, our rivals have the last laugh!

There many other examples of player debacles within our club: Koscielny situation at the end, Ramsey on a free, Perez, Walcott’s crazy extension, the Cole swap, and so on… Like I said before, all clubs make mistakes, but Arsenal are the King of mistakes by an absolute country mile, and we now have Auba and Laca down to the last 12 months as well! Will this nightmare never end?



  1. It’s embarrassing…. why do we never learn from our mistakes? No other club is run this way!
    As has been said many times before on here – we need a major overhaul, from top to bottom.. easier said than done, I know, but it has to happen…
    I honestly want to cry at how awful we’ve become….

    1. Sue, one thing is certain and that is the overhaul. Whether major or minor we will know when it happens. My fear is we are going to replace the shipped out players with players that have passed it and aging like William or players with question mark over their qualities.

      1. That wouldn’t surprise me, M… as lately we appear to be some sort of retirement village 😆 To think long term would be nice, rather than opting for the safe option of a freebie that may give us one last season before hanging his boots up! Urgh…..

        1. I completely agree with Sue,for few years now Arsenal has become a retirement club or as Sue puts it village,the Luiz,Pete C…signed for us just to stay in London and still on good wages,there is a reason that Chelsea would let them go and that reason is they were past it,last summer we chose Luiz over Cahill a free agent who is exactly the kind of defender we need and he’s been great for Palace,I am going to repeat myself but the only solution is a proper clear out in the double digits even if we get small fees or even none,thinking of Ozil,freeing up a place and saving on wages,the clubs needs no has to be ruthless and MA should have the last say on the signings until then nothing is going to change!

    2. Managerial inexperience cost us against Brighton..we needed a midfield straight swap after Pepe had scored to compile the pressure and finish the game off. A triple change would have secured the points had lacca come off for Eddie.. but Arteta hasn’t the drive to upset some egos to do what the team needs.
      An experienced no nonsense boss would sort this team out..but as mentioned we chose another apprentice..

      1. Ozzy
        Who would you have in mind ?
        Allardyce is a no nonsense kind of guy with bags of experience and I think he’s available. Arteta is just starting out in very difficult circumstances and I’d like to see him given more than the disjointed half season so far. I don’t think it’s possible to write him off so soon

        1. I wish it were that easy Ozzy. Doesn’t matter who the manager is right now, the carpenter ants have eaten the house’s framing. No amount of paint or decorating can help.

          There is always room to debate decisions and selections but the team is so weak right now in so many places that it is impossible to “get it right” especially against any team that is organized or really good. Brighton is organized and MC is really good.

  2. In general, I agree.
    The fact is, we have actually had the third highest nett spend on transfer over the last 5 years, and we have been near the top in wages too.
    We have still managed to be overtaken by clubs, who have spent considerably less.
    So there is really no other explanation, than others have managed their teams better, and they have been better at buying the right player, developing the right players and also at selling the players they could replace.

  3. Every word written is the truth! Except the Luiz signing, it all points finger at one man named Arsene Charles Ernest Wenger who lost his identity, reputation and legacy by remaining in office longer than required. And there is no reason for Wenger to return at any level, we had enough. Now I feel that the mis management – Socrates, Luiz, is due to Raul, and I want him out. too. Where are we headed to next season with Hart (??), Belerin, Mari, Saliba, Kolasinac ? I hear Tierney is wanted by LC. Saliba is his first season here. Top 17th trophy, eh?

  4. This almost says it all is a great read and very true if we are not careful we may down in a season or two and yes I am being real.
    The yank who owns us and that is all he is interested in is our profits not our postion we could end up being the next Leeds UTD his yanky teams are not fairing very well either.
    PEA is leaving for some reason Arteta seems to be throwing around he is boss and not playing Martenilli once PEA leaves we are almost done no goes bad defence last of the big spenders Arsenal lols charity FC

  5. Just seems like another personal rant from
    A writer-poster ,who seems to hold a massive grudge of what has happened in the past ,
    I knew what we going to be written before I got to it ,the same stuff talking about money like it’s his own personal wealth .
    Sorry not having a go but another negative article that as been written countless times ,nothing new to read .

    1. Spot on nothing but , everything is Wengers fault again.Sorry the club has given money and time to players to say players should do more is what you could have said in Arsene’s time as well.People keep saying Arsenal have been the same for 12 years well that goes for the bloggers as well.Nothing but doom and gloom whilst arguing that Arsenal aren’t doing enough as a club.Well why was it so difficult to understand this before?

    2. @Dan kit

      If the truth is negative, then so be it. So exactly what positives should I be writing about when looking at Arsenal over the last 12 years or so?

      1. There is no point asnwer you Thirdman because you never listen to what anyone says .
        For me to answer would then lead to you countering it and once again we go on a roundabout of arguments.
        You seem to have a massive grudge (,most noticeable wenger and Ozil)against 90%of the club members ,be it players ,coaches ,ball boys ,canteen staff. I can’t have a serious conversation with someone who doesn’t like his own club .

    3. Dan, my question to you and others, is why didn’t Arsene Wenger, with all the power and credibility he had accumulated as the successful manager of Arsenal stand up to the Board and the executives such as Gazidis?
      It has been reported that when David Dein was forced out, Arsene Wenger offered to go with him, but Dein told him to stay. Later on when things continued to decline Wenger did not threaten to resign to force change. By this time he was a rich man and we are led to believe that he would have had managerial offers from across Europe.
      Instead he stayed the complicit company man and stayed silent.

      1. Ozzie @
        How does anyone know what has gone on in that board room ,it’s one of the most secretive places on earth .
        I can’t asnwer that question because I do t have all the facts and neither do you so to asnwer it would be false on my part .

      2. OZZIE, HOW TRUE! Somewhere along the way Wenger lost his scruples and became a company stooge. For the money then? Certainly looks like it to me! No plausible other explanation ,sadly!

    4. Dan kit, like you I knew what was going to be said, but TMJW has given his thoughts in a reasoned way, but still fails to answer one important question.

      What I have always tried to debate with him, is why, if everything he says is true, we never talked about relegation issues, why we were always a top four club and / or winning trophies despite being the worst run club in the Premier league?

      Why were we able to finish in the top four year after year x twenty?

      What were clubs of the calibre of Liverpool doing, if we were outperforming them during this time?
      How come the spuds were always behind us for twenty years?
      What about the other premiership teams who saw us as a top club and always had capacity crowds when our club came to town?
      Was it to see a badly run club, or did they come to see a brand of attacking football that had propelled our club to be recognised as one of the consistent top four clubs?
      We are the third most successful club regarding league trophies won and the top club in the world’s oldest Cup competition in the world, second to Real Madrid for featuring in the CL, never been relegated since we gained top flight football and our lowest Premier league position has been 6th under AW… yet we are told that we have been the worst run club since 2008!!!

      There is not one single club that has not had the same issues that TMJW describes, just ask manure if their reported £500,000 a week was an insane contract when they signed Sanchez?

      Hindsight is the most wonderful tool when making a case, either for or against an act – I clearly remember the clamour to resign Ozil, whatever the cost, in order to prove we were a big club…. have we learnt from it? No, because we have fans now saying “Give Auba, whatever he wants” as his current contract has been allowed to run down and yet AW had this issue taken from him two and a half years ago, so who do we blame and was the architect who took over this role still influencing the club today?

      I’m sure TMJW never experienced the time of supporting our club when we were finishing 12th under GG or 17th under BW, that was gross mismanagement, with the former actually defrauding the club – yet he is named as a person to be compared with AW!!!

      I am now experiencing relegation thoughts from the fan base, some of whom say it is all down to AW – so please explain why this was never even discussed in the time that TMJW believes our club plunged into the depths of “gross mismanagement” because that’s where we are since he left.

      I am fully aware our club, players and management have made many mistakes and acknowledge them, but unlike others, I don’t believe its just our club that has done this, a reality check needs to be taken, along with the fact that kronkie is the single one owner of our club.

      1. He does answer you in the article and in earlier posts. The answer is clear – Wenger lost his way. He was a great manager – he was revolutionary and he built really solid teams that had an edge, flair, strength and talent. The only unbeaten and untied team with strong contenders on either side of that year.

        But things slipped. For sure, some of it was due to the Emirates, but it was not just money. He got away from the core pieces of his teams, especially in central defense and midfield. And the gaping holes are still there, unfixed.

        There was enough residual skill and there was cash to keep us competitive and near the top, an occasional FA cup. But he never reinvested in the defensive middle.

        I don’t think Wenger is evil or horrible, he is just a really good example of somebody staying in a position for too long – happens in all walks of life and all levels.

        It is our obsession because he was in charge at Arsenal.

        1. Stewart, sorry but you haven’t answered any of the questions I posed either
          You gave me your opinion on how Wenger lost his way and didn’t identify the areas that needed strengthening – my question to you then, is how did he manage to stay in the top four year after year, with all the examples TMJW gave and your own views?

          Remember that the oil money and Russian roubles were buying the top players, along with the Emirates, which you acknowledge.

          If we were this disfunctional club, with awful players, that is being put forward as all down to AW, what reasons can you give for us still being able to finish in the top four and win the occasional fa Cup?

          Please remember that I am NOT saying mistakes haven’t been made, but to describe AW’s time since 2008 (as TMJW has done before) as the main and overwhelming reason we find ourselves where we are today is patently incorrect.

          1. You’re spot on Ken. First post on here that makes sense in my opinion. I really don’t get why Wenger is being blamed as the main reason for this downfall.

            I agree as well. Mistakes have been made. I think AW was a terrific manager, capable of developing talent as almost no other. The downfall started when we were moving to the Emirates and money was coming in less and also when Dein left. For me AW should have had someone above him handling the transfers. Someone with an eye for talent, someone like Monchi for example. IMO we got that guy in Sven Mislintat and I was really hopeful when he joined. IMO we should focus on promising, young players and develop them into stars. Something we’ve been doing for years and it worked. I’m still sure that if Cesc didn’t leave that year, things would’ve really different. But that’s an if now unfortunately..

            When we stopped buying young players, and we started buying these “stars”, that’s when we went downhill. We have a terrible record in buying players that are supposed to be in their peaks, like Mustafi, Xhaka, etc. Sometimes it worked (like with Santi for example), but most times it didn’t (Squillaci, Andre Santos and tons of others).

            Also to say buying Ozil was a mistake is a joke. I still think he can add so much to our game, but people just use him as a scapegoat because he earns too much. Ozil can’t help it either that he received such a payrise. In the games he hasn’t been playing, you can see we really miss him, we miss his link-up play. To me, the reason he’s hasn’t been playing that well is also down to the fact that there’s almost no technically gifted players in our team anymore. I’m 100% sure if you put him in a team with better players around him, he will do well again. But I’m sure this will not be a popular opinion as Ozil will forever be a scapegoat to some, as will AW.

          2. Mr Lucky, if you can see what I am getting at, why can’t those who I ask with different opinions, always fail to answer the simple question–how did he do it?

            It’s the same thought process when we are told it was only two teams back in 2000…the question of why it was only two teams is never thought through – it was because the two best managers at that time had made it so.
            Somehow Wenger and fergie had completely eliminated every other premiership club, the likes of pool, leeds etc etc.

            Thanks for the message as well, I appreciate it.

  6. Well elaborated it la my prayer that the top Management of Asenal take time and read that article line by line ,word by word may be they may revise there Management policies Not only improve the Arsenal team but also to heal wounds all Arsenal Fans World wide.

  7. Great piece third man,100% correct in every way,our board have been a joke ever since Kroenke got his grubby mits on it,and to be honest i can not see things improving until he starts showing an interest in the club and giving Mikel what he needs.

  8. Good article TM penned from the heart of a fan who obviously cares about his Club.As you say a root and branch review of the Club’s structure and Management should be undertaken, headed by a respected professional who is not in any way linked to the Board.I agree with virtually everything you say apart from your comments on Sanchez , who when he left Arsenal was already a busted flush.This has subsequently proved to be the case as fans of Man Utd and Inter will confirm.During his last season with Arsenal he played well on only two occasions, against Everton and WBA.The buck of course stops with our absentee owner, who , if he really cared about the Club, rather than his “investment”, would have cleared the decks from the top down.We need fresh blood on the Board as a first step in the snake up.Dare I say it, we need a David Dein.

    1. I agree with Grandad when you build a team-first you need a strong spine ie Goalkeeper top-class centre half top-class midfielder top-class striker then you add the branches to the spine it is not rocket science

  9. Agree with the article, there are probably too many mistakes, mismanagement or misjudgments to write about but it iall very damning and all very poor.

  10. Thank you TMJW. Kroenke is a businessman, who obviously has had the intelligence to make a fortune, build on it and keep it and the luck to marry well. To do this he has needed to employ executives, who are managerial and financially competent in the industries within which his businesses operate.
    And then we come to the Arsenal, part of the professional football industry, specifically the EPL. Unfortunately as set out TWJW, myself and others the executives and Board selected and retained by Kroenke, since the departure of David Dein, have failed him miserably. My concern is how and why a businessman of his standing cannot see the damage the ineptitude of these people are doing to his Arsenal asset?
    Surely Stan and Josh cannot be oblivious to this? Maybe they need a proper “heads up” from the match day supporters.
    By the way one issue not mentioned by TWJW, was the positive results achieved by Arsenal’s Academy team, yet the senior team seems to not reap the full benefit. Players like Gnabry, Barema and now Saka have been developed yet not resigned to extended contracts and if sold, no options to buy back or sell on clauses are included in the transfer contracts.
    Why can other clubs do this and not Arsenal?

  11. This article is very much debatable but i respect all opinions

    I have seen some gooners making scapegoats of xhaka and ozil most of tge time we suffered a loss but the last 2 games proved why we need them.Neither guendouzi nor ceballos could do what xhaka was doing under MA.And the downfall in fluidity,creativity and link ups is very much visible in ozils absence.

    I hope the youngsters will stand up in their absences cuz they will not be here always.
    And to call the ozil signing bad is a joke

    1. Ozil signing based on his personal quality was good, but based on what we needed. It was a bad signing

  12. Excellent article especially on the woeful signing that was Ozil. I never believed in him or his abilities. Santi was a far far superior player with greater attitude. Ozil will go down as the worst signing of Wenger career imo.

      1. Hindsight Dan, hindsight.
        What a wonderful gift in a discussion – how many fans crowed about getting their Arsenal back and rejoiced in the Unai Emery appointment?

        Yet now it seems, nearly everyone knew it was a cheap appointment by kronkie.

        1. Ken, do you honestly believe Kroenke signed Emery? He is a businessman, who owns Arsenal as an asset in his portfolio, knows nothing about football and employs the Board senior executives to manage it football and finance wise. The mistake to employ a head coach with poor English communication skills in Emery or an inexperienced head coach in Arteta was theirs.
          You don’t own a dog and bark yourself. Kroenke needs to get rid of his dogs.

      2. Excuse me? I never liked Ozils numbers because he was only useful given last balls. We needed, as at that time a maverick character who could both provide goals and assists. I saw Ozil in 2013 as another poor man’s Hleb /Nasri who was exceedingly goal shy but happy to assist. If you watched man utd teams of Ferguson, everyone could shoot. I knew Ozil would amount to a some sort of failure and I was right.
        I prefer sanchez/mane type players to goal shy Ozils. Hope I clarified that for you.

        1. Mind you, I never liked Nasri either. like Klopp I prefer ghenghen players to neat and tidy ones that littered the arsenal team for a decade or so. the only exception was Hleb. He was goal shy but more than made up for it in attitude. Never liked Ozil. Never liked Nasri.

          1. Tolu, respect your opinion and I’m sure Ozil will reflect on your views when he retires and looks back at his career.

            Unfortunately, Santi, it is claimed, was one of those players who AW gave too much time to recover and UE let him go as one of the first decisions he made.

            I guess you would agree that we should have been just a little more patient?

            As for comparisons, what that achieves I have no idea – Henry was leagues ahead of Auba (in my opinion) but they are both great players and we are lucky to have had them at our club.

  13. I think the owners vision for the club matched Arsene Wengers ideology and frugal spending over the years. How would a club sell their best players “Fabregas & Nasri” and refuse to invest until we go thumped 8-2 by our rival resulting in a deadline day panic buy. That shows lack of vision, lack of leadership, mismanagement, lack of respect for the fans. Wenger was like a king in his last decade, no one dared to question his decisions. He even had the temerity to say 4th place is like wining the title but guess what Leicester proved him wrong.

    1. There was very much a feeling that AW held a lot of power over and above his role with the players. There was an impression given that he could choose the timing of his departure from the club. This obviously backfired in the end, but there was this general feeling

    2. Will never forgive Arsene Wenger for that 8-2 Old Trafford Mauling in 2011..Had resources to buy d likes of Gary Cahill from Bolton Wanderers n Phil Jagielka from Everton but showed foolish Obstinacy..
      Took Djourou, one Miguel to Old Trafford n humiliated Arsenal!! Later rushed to buy Jekinson n Mertesacker!! A terrible for me as a Goober..Sadly enough, Arteta seem not to have learned from Wenger’s woes!!
      We have decent CB such as Dunk, Michael Keane, etc..Why go for Mari n the likes??

  14. Its difficult to make an overhaul because Arsenal fans still support under performing players. They pressurized Emery to include Ozil in his squad. With this kind of mentality, we not gonna progress

    1. I don’t think that we have that much power. Late stage Wenger, Emery and now Arteta are desperately trying any combination possible to get some results.

      Emery had to try Ozil – if nothing else, if he had played better he might have been saleable with some type of salary discount from us. I would have done it too.

      As long as Ozil is here with ancient form and a huge salary there will be temptation to play him – especially because we couldn’t break down the junior girls team I coached a few years back (but they were pretty good for 15 year olds).

      Wrongly or wrongly, I expect that we will see him sometime soon. And in a way, what is there to lose?

  15. Luiz makes even less sense when Cahill was available on a free at the time. Many Gooners didn’t want him but look who has done best as a defender. As a short term stop gap he would have been perfect.

  16. I would have liked to jump in and tell Pat how wrong he is and that he is just a negative type but he’s right.

    And that is so so sad for Arsenal…

  17. Threre is one cause of all this for me: The American owners who are busy building a 5 billion dollar stadium for their American Foorball Team. Kroenkes Must Go!!!!

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