How the Chelsea implosion affects Arsenal and the wider football community

PART ONE by Jon Fox

Writing as a Gooner, on JA for many years, who has been constantly warning against the huge financial corruption around the obscene money in football and, in particular, how almost all the profit ends up with players and in their disgusting agents greedy pockets, I feel heartened and vindicated, now that the dreadful creature Abramovich has had his long overdue comeuppance.

On a related theme, we at Arsenal have had a close shave with the other creature Usmanov, about whom It should be thought that our club directors and owner have had more insight in blocking his attempt at ownership and being on the board too, than many of us did at the time. A close shave indeed!

In life we all make mistakes. Most are “not evil with intent” mistakes but merely wrong decisions, though usually made with the best of intentions. Mature fans allow for that and know that we are ALL included in that summary. But when an “evil with intent” event happens, such as we are now seeing all too horrendously in poor, brave Ukraine, then decent people recoil in horror and decide to make a stand against it.

THAT is exactly what SHOULD have happened back in 2003 when Abramovich and his well-known dirty money came calling at Chelsea. They SHOULD have said “thanks but no thanks”! But they chose not to do, as they ought to have done, and thus sold their soul to the Devil and now must reap the consequences.

Now, I wish to, at least in part, exclude the more unworldly wise Chelsea fans at that time of 2003 from being unfairly demonised. It is not a given to all fans, in fact to most I would suggest, to be acutely aware of all the evils associated with oligarchs. We are football fans and not politicians. Yes, some of us may well be acutely aware of what is happening all around our globe, politically speaking, but we have not the right to expect all fans to be interested in world politics. And so, I exclude from blame those Chelsea fans who were guilty of being no more than naive at worst. Others though, will have just chosen to turn a knowing but wilfully blind eye and those are complicit up to their guilty necks IMO.

I have no knowledge, merely my own hopes and likely conclusions, about what will happen in the short to medium term to Chelsea FC. But I hope and expect that the liberal democracy which applies in Britain and which some of us foolishly take for granted and undervalue in it’s importance, will now steadily decide to hasten the process, already begun, of increasing regulation of our elite level sport. I am sure Chelsea will survive and so it should. But its obscene hold on an oligarch’s personal wealth to aid it, is now, one hopes, broken for ever.

Next stop Man City and the equally ghastly ownership of Newcastle. Citizens and Geordies should be hanging their heads in shame, IMO!

In my ideal world I would LOVE to see all billionaire owners, including our own, banned by law from owning clubs and all clubs owned by at least 51% by supporters, and in the sense that we fans, without 51%, have a golden share which will prevent dictatorial owners from making obscene profits at our expense AND which will drastically, by law if necessary, reduce by perhaps 90%, ALL current world wide elite player salaries.

Of course, that will involve the reconstitution of that corrupt entity FIFA, likewise UEFA, first and before any of this can happen. But I suggest that the fall of Chelsea and its owner is the first small but mightily important step in that optimistic direction. A direction that, as a lover of fairness for all, I crave with every fibre of my being.

My friends, the world is changing fast, faster than many of us realise. All around us is chaos but also there in droves is human kindness, decency, and a fast-burgeoning love of fair play. (I put a great deal of this evolvement in humankind directly down to the increasing, and immensely welcome, though long overdue, influence of our female sex on society in the free world. In Neanderthal countries though, woman are still, as in their long miserable history, still chattels. Sigh!)

We see goodness, decency and COMPASSION in all nations. Even among the non-deluded section of citizens in Russia. Let us remember that all dictators eventually fall. History proves that fact. Democracy will ultimately prevail, in sport as much as in any other walk of life. The only question is how long will that tortuous process takes to complete in our own Premier League, among others too? On that question my fellow Gooners, everything relies!

The second part of this article, concentrating directly on how Chelsea’s fall and other hopeful optimistic developments on how owners operate, affects us all at Arsenal, will follow very soon.

Jon Fox

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  1. I beg to differ on this sentence “Democracy will ultimately prevail, in sport as much as in any other walk of life”, because there are other systems that have been working well for decades. Besides, a pure democracy could also be viewed as the legitimization of the majority’s power over the minority, so I’d prefer a mixed system

    As for Chelsea, they have surely realized the consequences, when they received a lot of money from a man who’s well-connected to the Russian government and military. This is why I oppose any idea of Arsenal being bought by an oligarch

    1. GAI.
      Exactly right, Democracies fail because they are “majority rules” in other words “Mob Rule” and minorities in all aspects lose representation.

      A responsible and honest representative government seems best.

      Until corrupt FIFA and UEFA change, the leagues are still under their glove and suffer the consequences. Their hold must be broken.

      1. I hope UEFA cancel their Europa Conference League next season. I think the big European teams and their fans don’t consider the competition seriously

      2. Durand, I differ totally from your first paragraph and would suggest that a majority democracy IS precisely what your second paragraph seeks to achieve. That does not mean that even a democracic country has all the answers; I never said it did.
        But it is infinitely better than depotic rule or minority rule.
        Your last paragraph we do of course both agree on!

        1. Jon history has shown such is the case, and it will always fail for that reason. Political minds have written on this in the past, and have explained the dangers.

          Ancient Athens is a great example of this failure, and perhaps the best example.

          I prefer a Constitutional Republic personally, but even that is rife with dangers and concerns.

    2. gai, Believing as you do, can you then please give me any example of a country where a non democracy makes its citizens more happy and content than a democratic country does?
      I will be very interested to see if you have the wit reply and even more interested to take apart any example you may – though probably will not – put forward!
      Ther have indeed been other “systems that have been operating for decades” and even centuries.

      But “working WELL,” is plainly not true!

      1. My country of residence is a monarchy and its people are happier, content and it’s government is just compared to my country of origin which is a democracy but the poeple are less happier and far from content and the government is corrupt.

        I believe as long as the government prioritize it’s people interests it doesn’t matter what kind of a government it is.

        1. HH my country, Britain is also a monarchy AND a democracy, where voters can change the Parliamentary government at regular intervals, if the majority wish it.

          I am grateful to live in a country where we cizizens have a say. ALMOST all non democratic countries deny their citizens that right. China for example and Russia, both run by despots where ordinary people are marginalised and treated as idiots and fodder for the ruler’s will. (That last sentence is for the naive got an idea to read and digest).

          1. My point is merely that having a say is less important than people’s quality of life. What is the point of having a say if poeple are struggling to make ends meet?

            As long as the government put people’s and country interests first, it doesn’t matter what type of a government it is.

            1. HH you make a rather pointless point . No one wil disagree that all people interests matter. But in a democracy, people can ensure , by elections , that theparty inpower is accountable. In a non democracy how can that be done! It cannot!

              The point being that NON DEMOCRACIES DO NOT PUT ALL CITIZENS INTERESTS FIRST! PERHAPS YOUR OWN COUNTRY, you do not say which it is, does things differently. I doubt it somehow, as you say it is not democratic!

              1. The country I currently live in as an expat is a monarch in which they do things way way way better and their people are happier and content than my own country which is a democracy.

                We have more than freedom of speech and we exercise that freedom more than necessary in my own country but I don’t see it doing anyone better.

  2. So I read Chelsea faces points reduction if they go into administration by not being able to pay salaries. Any truth to this?

    What does this basically mean? They have no income. Will they need to get new owner before running out of cash reserves or what?

    1. I guess if they don’t find a new owner or it takes a long time to find one, then you’re right. Although any points deduction won’t happen until next season, as will with Everton for breaking FFP rules.

  3. Fun fact: if we can keep 5 more clean sheets this season, Ramsdale will become the first Arsenal goalkeeper since David Seaman (98/99, 19 CS) to have more clean sheets than 16.

  4. Very good article, thank you. One for deeper thoughts.
    Personally, I don’t think we are moving towards banishing wealthy owners making more money through football.
    But I do think, we could be moving towards a state, where fans, sponsors and maybe even some players one day will refuse to be associated with owners, who are morally corrupt. In that way, the “power” could actually be more in the hands of fans in the future.
    The fact that “3” has removed their logo from Chelsea’s kit could of course be down to their own moral values, but it could also be down to a fear for a backlash from football fans and other consumers.

    1. Anders, In my part two of my article, which I will be sending imminently, I wiil go into far more detail of exactly why I so agree with you on the way fans, players and even sponsors, en masse, will IMO, refuse to accept corrupt owners.

      We are sadly though, not there YET, as Newcastle alone shows, that being the most recent of the despicably criminal owners to have bought a top club.
      But I have huge faith in the steady evolvement of human ideals towards a better world and theUkraine catastrophy is, I believe, a seminal moment in speeding up that refusal by all decent folk everywhere to ally ourselves with criminal owners and unspeakable people.

      I am hopeful for the games future, in cleansing of the corruptness. But what no one can accurately predict is TIME!

      The cowardice that the Prem league showed when it meekly submitted to accept the Saudi takeover of Newcastle will be, IMO, the last time this type of blind eye turning by clubs and authorities will be happening. I may be being naive, some will think and perhaps that is so, but I sincerely believe that world wide catastrophies alter public thinking and move on the evolvement of our species a pace or two.

      I much appreciate your own wise input.

      1. Overtime I enjoy reading from John Fox not just for his ideas about football but his personality and art of writing. I’m a student in your school John Fox

  5. Just praying the uk government does’nt sell to the saudis because their financial prowess might make chelsea a lot stronger come to think of it since the govt are in charge of the sale, is the club going to be sold to the highest bidder or how are they going about the sale?

    1. FK, to answer your question, I believe it politically impossible, esp in the present climate, for even our present government, who so often break their word, to sell Chelsea to a SAUDI led buyer.

      I believe it will be bought by a USA LED CONSORTIUM or to THE CANDY BROTHERS.

  6. I don’t understand why fans should have controlling stake in a club – just because you like football or feel something for a team doesn’t give you a right to decide what it does. And banning ownership by law is crazy – how is that Liberal?
    It’s the same with salary caps – I’d love for clubs to impose their own caps but I don’t think it’s right to force it via a higher power.
    Ultimately what it comes down to is: if you find something about football really distasteful, don’t support it. If you can’t be without football, follow smaller teams. If everyone did that, things would sort themselves out, but they won’t.

    1. This is an area I think Wenger could have an major input its years Wenger has been preaching how the beautiful game should played run and managed.

      Wenger was certainly ahead of his time in this regards

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