Opinion – It’s the cancer of Player Power that Arteta has to cut out first

A cancer called Player Power by Lloyd Schatz

Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti. What made these managers so successful?

This is a question that most fans today, do not want to ask?  But It is quite simple. They had full control of their teams. They were the bosses, and they were in charge.

Today we have a different culture in football. It is called player power. It is a cancer that is ruining our game. Today it is players who are in charge and the managers are at their mercy. It is the players who dictates whether a manager stays or goes.

How did they get this player power?

Social media is the answer. These players can amass millions of followers on social media. These followers are predominantly fans of the clubs they play for. This gives them the power to manipulate fans. And obviously these fans are the ones that the media is after. So the media in turn will always tell fans what they want to hear. Because it’s all about ratings and money. And players have found a way to take advantage of this situation.

Then there are players forming cliques in the team. These cliques run the dressing room. And when there is a negative narrative pushed in the dressing room, you can be sure the manager’s days are numbered.

Alex Ferguson never allowed any player to think that he is bigger than the team. Neither did Jose Mourinho or Pep Guardiola. The amount of influence that Lionel Messi has amassed in Barcelona is ludicrous. With all the talent and money spent, they are now struggling.

This is the problem we had with Mesut Ozil. He was able to manipulate fans as he pleased. Fortunately not everyone fell for his tricks. These players are part of the problem that we are facing today as a club, and they need to be held accountable.

Carlo Ancelotti, as great a manager as he is, has been a victim of player power. Jose Mourinho has been a victim of player power over the years. Arsene Wenger allowed it to happen to him. He should have taken a leaf out of Ferguson’s book and been more ruthless, instead it came back to bite him in the butt. He was the cause (or the start of) allowing underperforming players to get away with murder at Arsenal. These players can and will destabilize the dressing room and get a manager fired.

Let’s just look at what Mustafi tweeted when Mesut Ozil left?

Mustafi’s Tweet read: ‘Bro, you have been the most unselfish player on and off the pitch, I have ever shared the dressing room with. You will be always remembered as the #AssistKing. Unfortunately, we as a team haven’t been able to assist you when you needed us the most. All the best.’

What did he really mean by that? Was the whole team supposed to get involved and underperform until the manager gets fired again? What was he expecting the players to do?

We the fans are sitting there watching the team lose and underperforming because players have decided to do so. Not considering your hard-earned money you spend to come and watch them.

This cancer called player power will eat away at the core of a team until there’s nothing left.

Dressing room politics; that’s what we are watching week in and week out. Pep Guardiola has managed his dressing room very well. And you can see how he shipped out players as soon as they become a problem or under-performs. Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti has lost that influence. Because of the media catering to fans who are influenced by player power. The media will put the manager under pressure.


What we need at Arsenal is players not Politicians. Look at William Saliba, week in and week out he is taking a dig at the manager. Don’t we think it is going to eventually affect the team?
What is his intention? The Manager had to choose his best and experienced team. Somebody had to be left out. Somebody was going to be unhappy. Instead of acting like professionals, they start their politics. We must just allow players like Guendouzi to keep going on a rampage and expect everything to be okay?


Today it is no longer clubs that run the show. It is players and their greedy agents. Look at Balogun and his agent. They want to hold the club hostage. This is what these players do; demand big contracts and under perform. Run down their contracts so the club, who gave them the opportunity, and put their faith in them, won’t benefit. Transfer Window opens and the team is picking up points, transfer window closes, team starts dropping points.


We see players performing only when their contracts are coming to an end, but once they get that new contract, the performance is gone. And we the fans keep saying, sign them up and yet they let us down. Auba is a good example.


What happened to the days when players played for the badge and for the fans who sacrifice to come and watch them, so they earn their fat salaries? Our team is being ruined because we allowed these players to do it.


We are looking at Unai Emery now and we are saying: ‘Hey wait a minute this guy was not so bad after all’. Look at Real Madrid and Barcelona – they are struggling because of the politics within. They have had the best Managers in the world. But the social network Mafia is ruining everything.


When last did you see Jose Mourinho make a substitution in like the first 30 minutes of a game because he can see the player is not up to it? No he can’t – they throw their toys out the pram and cause havoc in the dressing room.

Alex Ferguson would never tolerate that. Ask David Beckham, Nani and many others that came before and after them.


Mikel Arteta is showing exactly what needs to be done to get Arsenal back to where it should be. We forget that he has all the inside information and knows exactly what to do to solve the problem. That is why the influence coming from these players are so strong. They want to get rid of the Manager before he gets rid of them.


But I guess this is the new social media generation that is just oblivious to everything that goes on around it.


“It is always good to look at history, you might just learn something from it” – Lloyd Schatz

Tags Mustafi Ozil Saliba


  1. Great article and Mustafi’s tweet revealed the player power in the dressing room. Ray Parlour/ Liam Brady suspected there are cliques at Arsenal and I applauded Arteta’s guts in destroying those groups, despite getting backlashes from Ozil’s avid fans

    Even if Arteta gets the sack at the end of this season, the next manager would have a much easier job because Arteta has cleaned up most of the cliques

    1. Today you are on fire my friend. My respect meter to your comments have gone from 100 to 0 in a space of few hours.

      Mikel inability to get results is Wenger’s fault and it is more than likely he will get fired but you insinuate that the future more capable manager will have better results because of Mikel’s efforts?

      This is why I try to the best of my abilities not to take myself too seriously.

  2. And who was responsible for this cancer? Wenger and Gazidis.

    They consistently let players get down into the last 12 months of their contracts, thus giving the players all the power. No better examples than Walcott and Ozil on 140k and 350k respectively. It became the culture at Arsenal.

    To be fair to Arteta, it seems we finally have a manager who’s willing to take on player power. I have huge respect for that.

    1. Conquering player power and sit 10th on the table in February shows he hasn’t done anything. Its like colonising the Sahara desert. Last season excuse was he didn’t have full season. What is the excuse this season?

      When people glorify 10th place as if its the invincibles second coming it makes one dislike a manager even if they didn’t at first.

      1. HH
        Facts hit hard don’t they.
        Arteta hasn’t solved anything and we sit in bottom 10.
        Blame Wenger, Gazidis, Emery’s players, cliques, what next?

        Fact is we have no style, anemic attack at best, and Arteta looking every bit inexperienced and unable to improve the club.

      2. It is not always easy to get a good team just like that when so many things has happened in the past that need to be corrected before you can get the perfect team you wanted. And mind you Arsenal football club is not like manchester city who have all the money to get all the players the coach wanted.

      3. @HH

        You do not seem to have your history, and facts correct at all. Last season, there were not any excuses for Arteta, because he was brilliant!

        He was tough on the players, focused everything on improving our decade long shambolic defending (which was priority number one), and to win an FA Cup and qualify for Europe, given the state the club was in when Arteta arrived mid-season, was almost unthinkable!

        So in half a season, given what Arteta achieved with what he inherited, he deserves around a 8/9 out of 10.

        This season has not been great on the pitch I will admit, but the season is far from over, so lets judge him at the end of 20/21. However, the positives are that our attack has been improving a lot over the last 5/6 weeks, so there is progress on that front. More importantly from a long term aspect, Arteta has been making great strides in changing the terrible culture at the club.

        I cannot speak for others, but I am not glorifying 10th place, just as I never glorified 9 years straight without a trophy, or 14 years straight of not even being competitive in the league under Wenger, which is a massive reason we are where we are. To my amazement, some still defend this.

        1. Personally i see improvement in Arteta’s Arsenal than that of Emery.
          I see toughness and a more compact team irrespective of the personel deployed.
          I dont care what any other fan opinion is because am convinced we are on a right part even though recent result isnt great.
          This season for me was for clearing the underperformance and giving the team focus which i think Arteta is doing.

  3. I think this so called player power has its pros and cons.
    First of all they didnt beg any fan to follow them,they earned so i will leave it at that…
    Should a manager be ruthless?Of course but he should know that being ruthless alone is not managing,but just a quality.
    Lets say the manager and co got all the “cancer” out of tge club,can anyone gurantee that fans will be silent after a poor result…
    Or say that players of a team are not using social media,can anyone gurantee that there wont be a problem in the dressing room….
    Problems will keep on coming,if its not through social media it will be through something else.
    Thats part of the challenge
    Thats how we grow
    I think the main problem is Arsenal lack leaders,real ones.
    I like MA and i believe he will be a great manager and i believe every fan should atleast give him till the end of the season before judging him

  4. Good article, thank you.
    I also think, it has been a gradual development since the Bosman case gave the players more power.
    I don’t think the situation was fair to the players before that case, but I think we now have a situation, where players simply have too much power and their employers too little. A star player can to a large degree force his way out of a signed contract before time, and clubs have very little they can do to players not giving 100%.

  5. Great article. Spot on players have more power now than the manager hands down… manager will get sacked before a player does.

    The transfer market had had alot to say in it because as it’s got more expensive to sign top players, the owners will see the player as the investment to help the team and a manager is just someone to get it all clicking in their eyes. Results means managers heads unless that manager throws his players under a bus.

  6. Good article. Another sign of today’s player power is how they can look to negotiate playing time into their contract, or that the club doesn’t appear to be able to put more emphasis on performance related pay, leading to questionable self motivation. The risk of failure linked to prize money, puts all the cards in the hands of the players/agents, with the manager the easiest & cheapest scapegoat (not that they’re not necessarily the problem sometimes) A major dilemma, but the reality of today’s football

  7. Utter nonsense.

    Yah the nerve on those players who without them football does not exist.
    How dare they even express an opinion?
    How dare they even support one another?
    How dare they stand for what’s right?

    They need to come to work, perform at a high level, make a lot of money for the owners and remain anonymous.

    The fact that the player’s talent generate all the revenues and most of it goes to the owners is nothing short of slavery.

    Those days are over folks. There will be players unions soon and with it revenue sharing, injury settlements and rightfully so more power to the players. Count on it.

    1. “The fact that the player’s talent generate all the revenues and most of it goes to the owners is nothing short of slavery.”

      Are you seriously suggesting that footballers, some of whom get paid amounts the rest of us can only dream of for kicking around a football is nothing short of slavery!?!? Sorry to break it to you mate but that’s capitalism, owners get the lions share because they OWN the club, same as ANY business. Way to completely undermine the poor people of history and people today currently in actual slavery.

      1. Comparing yourself to the players is laughable because you don’t have the talent or ability they have. Try comparing yourself to Picasso, Tom Jones or Churchill.

        Capitalism means we all have the right to prosper to the max using our ability and knowledge.

        Socialism is where one person at the top reaps the benefits from the hard work of others and pays them peanuts.

        1. “Capitalism means we all have the right to prosper to the max using our ability and knowledge.”

          So the players ARE NOT PROSPERING? Those poor,poor fellas slaving away doing something they have loved since childhood driving around in lambo’s, slavery at its finest 😐

          1. Also owners earn more money not only because they own the club but if the club starts hemorrhaging money or goes bust, the owner has lost his money and income, the player can just join a new team, they dont share the risk that owners do.

          2. The players from their own point of view are not prospering. They have their own standard of living and 20k to them is just like 1k to us.

            Just like the owner or anybody else for that matter the more they make the more they want.

            As for the owner’s risk, first of all they are always insured. Second risk is part of the business. Besides judging from our owner while offering bad product year after year he keeps making more money. So where is his risk.
            A player on the other hand can go from playing for a big club to the championship because of injuries.

            Listen. I don’t support brats and bad apples, but one should look at both sides with an open mind.

          3. your cherry picking the few successful owners of big clubs who do turn a tidy profit most years, lots of them do not,

            Abramovich for example is not in profit via chelsea, or take Simon Jordan for example who bought crystal palace and ended up losing the vast majority of his fortune when palace when into administration in 2010.

          4. A businessman who keeps losing money is either in the wrong business or a bad businessman.

            Those players have a special talent. They sell it to the highest bidder in a free market. No body does them a favor by paying what they are worth. They keep generating money for the owners and plenty of it. If they drive a Ferrari or fly an airplane, more power to them. If they were poor at a young age, then they should have our respect and admiration.

            Kroenke first job was sweeping floors. Should we bemoan his fortune.
            Why should there be a difference?

          5. I didnt say there was a difference you did lol you literally said players are slaves while also just saying :

            “They sell it to the highest bidder in a free market.” (FYI this is capitalism not socialism lol)

            Getting your wires severely crossed bud.

    2. Anyone reading this I am ready to be a slave for €100,000 per week just give me a call. This is my number. I am willing to slaving overtime too.

  8. Perhaps I’m being a little naive, but can’t the club just turn round and say “Thanks but no thanks” as they did with Aaron Ramsey?
    The trouble is, when they actually do that, the fans start creating about the club having no ambition – we are only a selling club – losing our best players because we are too tight to offer what other clubs are prepared to offer.

    I’m not disagreeing with the thrust of the article (well written and very passionate) but to put the blame on players, both individuals and groups thereof and comparing managers, is missing one vital element that should be added…the power of the AGENTS.
    They are the scourge of modern day football.

    One of the most sensible clauses that AW introduced to our club, was the one year contract to any player over thirty and who decided to abandon it?
    Mikel Arteta…and we now have Willian and Aubameyang on three year contracts.

    I have to say that I also interpreted Mustafi’s words differently – I read it as a player praising a fellow professional and apologising for letting him down… nothing to do with anyone/thing else.
    Why that is being interpreted as player power, I have no idea.

    It seems that when fans agree with players actions, the words “the manager has lost the dressing room” applies, but if the fans disagree with the players, it’s called “player power”?

    Just a final thought, cliques are not a modern day phenomenon, just look back at the drinking culture at our club and how Tony Adams described the players involved always sticking together – the great DB was horrified with what he found and it took AW, the man being blamed for being too soft,
    to break that up and introduce the new ideas that every club followed.

    As I say, two different sides to every coin and it all goes back to Abramovitch and the Sultans of Swing offering ludicrous money… the rest followed like sheep to the slaughter… in my opinion.

  9. THIS WONDERFULLY TRUE AND DEEPLY THOUGHT THROUGH ARTICLE GLADDENS MY HEART IMMENSELY ! I send my admiration Lloyd, for both your clear intellect and ability to portray your thoughts in an easy to accept manner.
    I have thought exactly as you do, for a great many years past, and as an older generation fan ,who has seen honesty and the spirit of the game decline, esp since social media, I mourn the passing of old standards of behaviour.

    Frankly, many players are only these day “professional” in the sense that they receive earnings fron their profession .

    As a profesional man myself,I have always understood that the term “professional” carries with it, duties to perform honestly and to give your very best ethical and physical endeavours to honour that noble profession.

    A profession is a calling, not merely a job done for money rewards. So many modern footballers do not see it that way. Your OZIL example was IMO, well chosen and is the perfect example of a highly talented player who has dishonoured, by his idleness, his profession over the last several years.
    I have been prominent on this site is saying this openly and forcefully, as I detest those who cheat their profession and their colleagues, as well as fans who, rightly or wrongly , adore him, some of them even now!

    Perhaps I am old fashioned in expecting a “professional” to be far more dedicated than merely receiving money for his/her skills. If only more fans could see how utterly spot on, albeit depressing, your spelling out of this sad truth actually is! Sigh!
    More articles please Lloyd, as we need as many people of real intellect as we can get to write articles in here.

  10. Well written article. But blaming all of the player power, without mentioning agents is only telling the half story in my opinion. Also, I think the players have more of a following on social media than managers, mainly because they have more visibility. After all, they are the ones who play on the field and show us the game of football. To counter the clubs should give more powers to the managers and all other officials. But excess power at any one point can cause absolute pandemonium. One extremity of player power in Barcelona, one extremity of manager power might be Real. Both struggle with difficulties at the moment. So only players are not responsible for the case. An ideal system of checks and balances, something like the Judiciary-executives-legislature might be helpful to run a football club effectively. Also, Arsenal has seemingly given more power to MA by bestowing him the title of manager. That has not visibly changed our fortunes now, has it?

  11. I think making reference to Auba is not fair…..I agree with this article but for a long time, Arsenal has been a team that relies on 1 player to carry us through difficult times…..It happened with Van Persie and then Sanchez and now Auba….A player is allowed to dip in form once in a while but I have a problem with the board showing no ambitions by not signing great players…..what is wrong with having 3 or 4 great players in their peak at the same time? We get one world class player and we relax and expect magic by playing him with mid table level players and after few seasons he also becomes a mid table player….
    We just got Partey and everyone is chanting “world class”, are we going to wait until he becomes like everyone else in the team? Saka is shining now….but for how long? The club needs to show ambition by going out to sign leaders….3 or 4 and then have them help develop the young players……Watching Saka save us lately is like making Auba and Laca look bad…..Forget player power, the club made it easy for the likes of Van Persie, Ramsey, Sanchez, Ozil to feel better than the rest by not having other great players to contend with them in the team……Just my take tho

  12. Typical Gunners fan… all the shit that happens to Gunners now because of Wenger and Ozil …


    what a joke.

    Please wake up …

  13. So blame the players and not the people who brought them to the club or those who failed to manage them. Why not blame society as well?

  14. The big issue at Arsenal is that too many average players are being paid far more above the market value, let alone what they produce for the Club. When these players run down their contracts, they are difficult to sell, because clubs who may wish to buy them, won’t match the wages they are paid at Arsenal. Thus they just sit out their contracts and leave for free.
    I suggest everyone checks out how many and which players at Arsenal are on wages of £100,000 per week or more at Arsenal, compared to other clubs in the EPL? You will be quite surprised, given Arsenal’s current position in the table. It is certainly Champions League wages, for mid to low table mediocrity.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors