What is actually different at Arsenal and has anyone changed their views?

Why haven’t these transfers been completed? No change there it seems. Why open ourselves up for ridicule again? No change there it seems!

I recently submitted an article that included the above and, at that time, was convinced the views I was putting forward were true and an honest reflection of the situation.

Just over a week later, my views and complaints look very hollow and foolish and I asked myself why and how things could have changed so quickly.

The open letter that was sent to the Kroenke family was an indictment of how a certain percentage of the club felt the Stan Kroenke ownership was gradually bringing our club to its knees.

The open letter was addressed by Josh Kroenke and, secondly, by Unai Emery directly to the fans, in an open, honest and sincere answer.

Firstly, Josh must be congratulated on how he immediately answered the complaints, explained what his family was trying to do, asked us to be patient and wait for some great news. Some complained that the owner himself should have been the spokesman, but it does seem that “Silent Stan”, after completing the buying of our club, has given the responsibility over to his son.

He was very forthright in his denial that the family had no interest in making investments into the club and made promises that, although questioned by us, were clear and would enable the fanbase to hold him to his word.

He kept his word in no uncertain terms and we were suddenly enveloped in a wave of such positivity, it was hard to believe!! It really felt like we were “getting our Arsenal back” at last.

We could all put downers on what has happened since then, like getting players on the never-never, buying a player this season for next season, still taking too long to negotiate etc but for me, the man has kept his word to the fanbase.

In life, one sometimes makes mistakes, the hardest thing is to admit it. I felt I needed to do this and at the same time recognise how the Kroenke reaction has brought together a new sense of optimism that has swept through the fanbase.

We will be vigilant in the future because The Arsenal is our DNA and we will fight to protect it – thank you for doing the same and my apologies for getting your intentions wrong. Please be as open as you can with the supporters of The Arsenal and you will find the most passionate, cross-section, faithful group of people you could ever wish for.



  1. NMC says:

    The main thing is the open dialogue, for 10 years we were kept in the dark on what was actually happening, told we were looking for quality that could improve th squad then we bring in Santos or just bringing in Cech. Being told one thing and see another happen has been frustrating, in a world we’re communication is key, the fan base talk to each other constantly and not only in their own cliques a clear truthful dialogue needs to happen.

    There is still a lot of work to be done in the squad but the signings so far have put a bit of faith in the season ahead of being in the mix as the cycle of a season with hope growing as the start of the premiership draws near.

    1. lol says:

      The main thing is action speaks louder than words.

      Most fans were still upset after Josh responded to the open letter. Resentment only subsided when the Pepe deal looked legit.

      As long as the club keep the signings coming, I’m fine with silence

  2. Welbeck says:

    Lovely piece of writing Ken. I was one of those who criticised the strategy of the current regime, feeling the owner was merely interested in turning out a profit and I still do to an extent.

    However, we’ve made one marquee signing in Pepe, a promising Brazilian and a loanee in Ceballos, with the promise of more to come. We haven’t spent ‘silly money’ but I’m not excited at our transfer business because:

    1) Until we sign Tierney, Pepe is our only real signing of note, Ceballos will likely return to Real next season.

    2) The transfer window isn’t over, so there’s still time to buy and sell.

    All off my moaning will evaporate if we manage to loan Coutinho and buy a decent centre back.

    You would have to say its been a fantastic window if we managed to buy a good defender.

    I know it’s very unlikely but having Coutinho would show the board are very serious about getting back to where we belong.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      If Real Madrid sign Donny van De Beek the chances of Danni Ceballos not returning to Spain increase. Should he have a good season, play plenty of first team football and feel the support and love of supporters he may wish to stay. Given that one of the reasons he came to Arsenal was to play under Unai Emery and he has a friendship with Hector Bellerin, things look positive.

      1. Break-on-through says:

        That’s what I’m hoping for Ozziegooner, I think he’ll play a decent amount of games and if he finds his feet early I think he’ll be the kinda player that all fans warm up to. Hopefully Real keep on buying the big names and Ceballos is like an ingredient we were missing. I love the “one for future” type of thinking used in our transfer dealings, that’s also why I don’t want Cahill, Che let him go for a reason. We paid the big money for Pepe and nabbed a yet to be proven Saliba, looking at Tierney, this alone has impressed me. If we go on further like this I think we could yet get a very talented and more importantly ..very hungry! ..bunch of players around that first team.

    2. Goonster says:

      Don’t forget we also signed young SALIBA.

      1. Welbeck says:

        Absolutely Goonster, but he won’t turn out for us until next season. I suppose that shows forward thinking by the board.

      2. Valentino says:

        Don’t forget that Real has some old legs such as Kroos, Modric that age is no longer on their side… Whether they sign Van Beek or Pogba, they might still need Ceballos if he plays better with us

  3. CorporateMan says:

    I am not sure I’m particularly keen about this Tierney deal tbh. I know the reasoning is to have a LB who can defend so we can play a back four more often.
    But if you ask me, I’d rather spend that money on a solid CB. Monreal can still do a job at LB and Kolasinac can improve.
    To add to all this, the young man’s injury record is a huge concern. I’m sure we can do without another Welbeck and the likes

    1. ozziegunner says:

      CorporateMan, unfortunately we have heard nothing about a fall back secord or third choice, so it appears Tierney is the player they want. I suppose all we can do is trust the management team to get it right
      I’m also still hoping Arsenal sign a CB as well.

    2. lol says:

      Agree on prioritizing CB over LB. My priority is CB, RB, then LB.

      Forget KT if Celtic wants the kind of money no one is willing to pay

    3. Akan says:

      Every week we have watched opponents ripping through our midfield and you people continue to moan about the defenders instead of placing blame where it truly belongs. How much longer can Teflon Xhaka get away without his lack of quality being deservedly exposed

      1. lol says:

        Xhaka missed several games last season due to injury. Did you notice a solid midfield and defense when he wasn’t playing?

  4. Ishiekete John says:

    My view about all of the issues is that without a decent center back this season we can be scoring goals but still be conceding silly goals to the shame of the big Club as Arsenal. So, get for us fans a good defender and Arsenal will be back to top four. Thanks so much for your understanding.

  5. David Rusa says:

    I always enjoy reading Ken’s writings because of his objective assessment and civil manner. He doesn’t go overboard in tearing down other’s views or using demeaning language. He simply expresses what he feels in a straightforward manner. How I wish many of us were like that!
    The old adage of giving credit where it is due will always remain true. This is where Ken deserves credit himself. The Kroenkes have always been demonised by some of our fans with others even twisting the name Stan to satan. That is why it is good to see Ken coming out to admit his previous misgivings about the Club’s owners. Nobody should be judged before being given enough hearing. The truth of the matter is that Pepe is not the only big money signing we have got in the recent past. We can cite Ozil, Sanchez, Aubameyang, Lacazette, Mustafi and Xhaka. If some of them have been a disappointment that’s another issue.
    What needs to be appreciated is the fact that Kroenke may not have the leeway to spend like Roman Abramovic or Sheikh Mansour because of their different backgrounds. Someone groomed in the heart of capitalism can’t just spend like the Russian oligarchs or the oil Sheiks. He has limitations to his spending power. The only reason why capitalism has thrived is because it aims to maximise profits and minimise costs. No true capitalist can afford to be a spendthrift for his business would collapse. Your expenditure must be by far less than your income if you have to keep in business and avoid being bankrupt. On the other hand, the oil Sheikh or Russian oligarch doesn’t have to be tied down by the same economic laws. He will divert money from one venture to another with great ease. There are no checks and balances to his expenditure. This explains the gross amounts that Man City spends and which Chelsea was also spending previously. There is no way that Arsenal can match the spending power of these Clubs. However a time will come when the folly of their uncontrolled expenditure will become obvious to them and they will be forced to reverse the trend. Chelsea is already beginning to experience this scenario.

    1. Giddy says:

      I quite agree with you bro. nice one

    2. pires says:

      The general pattern in any business is the more you invest the more you have chances to succeed therfore you get rewarded in terms of revenues. It depends ,though,on your spending power and,i agree,oligarc have more of money to inject because of the windfall money (stolen?) from their home contries.

    3. jon fox says:

      A FINE POST David, with much I can agree. You write sensibly and fully and it is an impressive viewpoint. I can only REALLY argue with your assertion that things will soon change at CITY (“THE FOLLY OF THEIR UNCONTROLLED SPENDING….”).I am well aware of the FFP problems they are having BUT ultimately the Sheiks financial power will always find a way to keep them way above the pack, in spending freely. On Chelsea though, I agree with you, as there are totally different circumstances with Abramovitch.

  6. lol says:


    Responding to your reply from the clearout thread.

    Yes the reason we shop outside the EPL is to find better value for money, but we just haven’t found that value in a foreign CB for a long time since Kos.

    We are not linked to any WC CBs at the moment. The most prominent one is Rugani for around £30M. Sure he’s a ball-playing defender, but so is Mustafi. In fact, most of our CBs are ball-playing but error-prone. Look where it’s gotten us.

    In Rugani, I feel we are signing Juve’s version of Mustafi. His time at Juve started out promising but stalled because of inconsistency. If we are experimenting with defenders like Rugani, I rather experiment with a good old-fashioned English CB like Dunk. Let’s see if better defending makes up for weaker ball-playing.

    I don’t want to be a joke like Man Utd who paid £80M for Maguire, but I also don’t want to be a fool who paid £35M for Mustafi 3 years ago

  7. lol says:

    Saw a few posts defending Kos is the player leaving thread.

    I love Kos, but past excellence does not justify deliberate breach of contract. He was an excellent and loyal player before. He is an unprofessional player now.

    Ramsey must have felt betrayed when we agreed to give him a new lucrative contract then backed out. He could have gone on strike like Kos, yet he honored his contract and showed everyone what professionalism is about

    1. Mohsan says:

      I agree with you bro, it’s just I dont like to bash ppl for one mistake and forget about what they have done in past….I think as human we should give that much leverage to each other. I agree with ur analyses of not getting any quality CB since Laurent…we had numerous flops to say the least. But will Dun fit in to the team. The way we play we need a ball playing CB n I think only ball playing CB that has come out if England recently (English) is Stones. I dont like Ramsey as player but I respect him as a person…he did put his heart into the performances even though he was leaving us.

  8. Tienne says:

    The arsenal hierarchy has done reasonably well this far. However a commanding CB is still needed to hold the team together…and they aint cheap in the current market.Wish wed get Umtiti or thereabout. Helping Barcelona to keep their non-playing Coutinho happy by way of a loan deal isnt wise. Address the defence ASAP.

  9. Austin 3:16 says:

    The real issue with the defence is at right back position in my opinion cos there’s no real quality there even with a fully fit and healthy bellerin… The options there are chambers, miles and jenkilson but the left back at least we still have sead and nacho…chambers can do a job at cdm which was the position he player at fullam that got he his player of the year by the fullham fans…

  10. Austin 3:16 says:

    The real issue with the defence is at right back position in my opinion cos there’s no real quality there even with a fully fit and healthy bellerin

    1. Ayo says:

      Bellerin was turning out to be one of our most important players during our best patch last season before his injury.

  11. I have never doubted the commitment of the board or Kroenkes. I fully back them with regards to their handling of the K. Tierney transfer and Koscielny situation. They only want the best for the club as opposed to some of us who just want signings at whatever cost and the best for certain individuals in breach of contract.

    1. Goonster says:

      If you have been impressed with the Kroenke regime for the last 13 years or so then good luck.
      We have become a complete joke in that time. Not won or challenged for the title in all that time. Went for nearly 10 years without a trophy. Our club has been humiliated with 6-3, 6-1, 5-1, 5-2 scores in that time. Nothing is more embarrassing than my club having those sorts of defeats on our history. Kroenke has been cheap for more than a decade where we kept losing our best players and replacing them eith cheap inferiors.
      We have been out of the TOP 4 for 3 consecutive seasons etc while other clubs have surpassed us.
      You can’t just write of all that frustration that has built up for over 10 years.

      Until this summer window the evidence pointed to the same old cheap / average summer transfer window. So can’t be blaming us for being angry and resentful towards the Kroenkes after the evidence / history of their tenure (more than a decade).

      1. Are you blaming Kroenke for our lack or a DM for donkey years? Neglect of the defense? That’s all down to Wenger and Gazidis! Wenger in particular worked with the team day in day out and saw it fit that we neither require a defensive midfielder nor any investment in the defensive side of the game. 8-2 humiliation at OT. That was Kroenke? Who selected the squad? It was Wenger! 5-1 ×3 V Bayern…was that Kroenke too? No, it was Wenger! Wenger has always been the problem at this club.

        Anyway, I don’t understand why Usmanov never gets featured in your ownership blame game when he owned 1/3 of this club too. Usmanov could have sunk his millions into this club too, but he didn’t. The only good thing Usmanov ever did was call out Wenger for his bs and if you remember well, Wenger clapped back at him further illustrating just how much power a mere employee possessed in this club.

  12. Excellent article Ken1945

    OT: What happened to the “Changes Coming to Justarsenal”? We gave our suggestions…notifications, comment sorting, editing, rating, article rating..what happened? Haven’t seen a single suggestion implemented to date.

    1. Goonster says:


    2. Admin says:

      There are more changes afoot in the future too. the wheels of design take time young man…

  13. Declan in Albufeira says:

    Surely any deal for Tierney is dead in the water now he’s injured again. And in hindsight, have you seen his injury record over the past few years, it does make good reading. Dodge the bullet Arsenal !

    1. Sue says:

      Sunning it in Portugal, can’t be bad! Enjoy, Declan ??⚽️

  14. Agu Emen says:

    Honestly I would say that this transfer window has been
    exactly the same as the past 10 summer windows.
    Fans have as usual condemned Kroenke.
    As per usual fans have called for 3-4 players to be sold
    while others need to be loaned.
    Fans as per usual have recommended the club by any one of a hundred
    “super stars” who will if purchased guarantee us the title.
    ITK “geniuses” report daily on “imminent” signings
    99% of which never materialize.
    We sign a young Brazillian for 7m then a young French lad
    on 5m drip feed and loan him back.
    As per usual a 70m marquee signing arrives to appease the baying fans.
    A coupe of players will be sold and a couple loaned and
    on deadline day the LB from Celtic will be secured.
    All in all the exact same pattern plays out every summer.
    To be fair the summer trading is more interesting than the actual season 🙂

    1. Akan says:

      None of it will mean anything as long as that plank of wood Xhaka is being played. The opposition will continue to run through our midfield as if it isn’t there, cause it’s not as that nailed down piece of furniture Xhaka is still there

  15. NONNY says:

    Another CB won’t stop us playing 3 at the back
    Our problems are lb and rb the extra man who was
    Supposed to be in midfield is now drifted in defence
    Because we don’t have defenders who can play flat back4
    Thus it makes it very difficult for us to control games from
    Midfield thats why we saw a large number of boring football
    Last season. we were always a team that controls game from midfield now those powers are not there and still shaky defence
    Which makes the team very badly shaped our play last season was
    Very one dimensional and predictable relying on wing backs to
    Provide width for two c.f. interchanging position

  16. Sean Williams says:

    We still have last season’s defence, minus Kos. If that stays the same (hope it does not) we will ship goals. In pre-season the defence looked shakey. “You can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse” is valid for our defence. Once again goals scored won’t be our problem. It will be Mustafi, Xhaka, Socratis, Jenkinson, Elneny, an aging Monreal, a lost Mkhitaryan and the man who promises a lot but produces little… Iwobi. Other teams are improving too. We must sort our defence out or we will ship goals. De facto.

  17. Sue says:

    Nice one, Ken ??
    Not going to lie, I had my doubts & said actions speak louder than words, especially after hearing Josh say “Be excited”….. but he’s right, I am excited….. excited over the players we’ve signed & excited for the upcoming season!

  18. bajaja says:

    we dont need a centre back…. Holding has returned and there is chambers also….. By next season the back four will be tierney holding saliba and bellerin….. So u guys should be patient.

    1. lol says:

      I have high hopes for Holding, but he’s only showed us that he could do a job in a back three for around 10 games.

      Chambo is more experienced, but he spent last season playing as a DM. Hard to gauge if he’s improved as a CB.

      It’s too risky to expect them to sort out our shambolic defense and most fans can’t live with that anymore

  19. Sean Williams says:

    “Arsenal urgently need a new centre-half to stop their defensive rot, according to Gunners legend Nigel Winterburn.”

    That’s From another sports site. As a winning defender I reckon Nigel’s assessment is spot on. Some fantasise that Holding will return and all will be OK. Wakey, Wakey…we need a quality CB. Our defence is poor. I wish it was good, but it is poor. No doubt Bellerin returning and signing Tierney will give us the ability to play 4-3-3, but without at least one capable CB we will ship goals. There is still a week left, it would be negligence not to sign someone like Lewis Dunk.

    1. ozziegunner says:

      At the end of the transfer window, look at the net spend (transfer fees in minus fees out) and the commitment to future payments for Pepe and that will tell the story.

      1. Sean Williams says:

        Hi Ozziegunner
        In my experience all major big businesses borrow money to sustain growth. Whether it’s Proctor and Gamble, Dyson, or any other business. To keep products on top and in mind there is a constant movement of money. That’s just normal. Kroenke himself borrowed to buy Arsenal, borrowed for his LA project. At the moment interest rates are low. It would make sense to finalise our project with a quality centre back. It’s the last piece in this seasons jigsaw. We were always a couple of players short of being a top team. We don’t have to be short this season. There’s a piece missing from the jigsaw.

        1. ozziegunner says:

          I don’t disagree Sean; I can’t forget the season Arsenal bought Cecb and no outfield players.

  20. bajaja says:

    if anyone told u guys before the begining of last season that liverpool with a back four of robertson vandyk gomes and alexander-arnold would challenge for the title would u guys have given a thumbs up? I doubt. Gomes and alexander’arnold are not world class are they? Certainly not. The truth about defence is not the names or whether they are world class. It has to do with cordination and understanding. Defence is the only department that must work as a unit to function. So what we should be praying is that a back four of tieney holding sokratis and bellerin can harmonise this season thats if we get tieney in.

    1. lol says:

      Erm…so just put any 4 names in defense and pray that it gets sorted out with coordination, understanding and harmonization? Your sure have faith. Cheers to miracles!

  21. Adajim says:

    I will wait for the last piece of business in the transfer window.
    A very good article Ken. I really like this : ‘Please be as open as you can with the supporters of The Arsenal and you will find the most passionate, cross-section, faithful group of people you could ever wish for’ , and i hope they can continue been open like carrying us along when things are either ok/not good enough

  22. SAGooner says:

    I agree completely with the statement that Wenger has to carry a large part of the blame for the team is defensively. It’s not all bout the players, it’s also about the coach. Wenger had Steve Bould as asst coach for a long time-what for? Steve was one of a virtually impenetrative defence, I cannot believe that he could not have contributed to defensive organisation if asked to do so. But le Prof never asked…. he was the be all and end all.

  23. jon fox says:

    A well written article Ken and your point of view is clearly well received among most Gooners. They respect you and that is well deserved. However, I have a subtly different emphasis on what is happening and wish to outline it now. I agree that it SEEMS – I stress SEEMS – that Stan is allowing Josh to run things now and make most everyday running decisions. The question is though, HOW MUCH, when the financial chips are truly down? Many Gooners seem to have convinced themselves that Josh is now our saviour , whereas practically nobody thinks that of Stan.
    I would add an important business principle into this debate too. Surely any responsible and caring business owner, from a window cleaner or car maufacturer , right up to to a club owner, has to inject whatever capital is NECESSARY to make his business thrive. BUT STAN CLEARLY HAS NOT DONE, SO NOR SEEMS LIKELY EVER TO DO SO. That is surely WHY he is hated(and I use the word “hated” in its true sense) by virtually all Gooners, myself included. OWNERS WHO TRULY CARE ARE HANDS ON AND NOT ABSENT EITHER!
    I am not convinced, not in the slightest,SO FAR, that Josh is able or even willing to invest the sort of money that will transform our club. What would convince me greatly, would be the, IMO,very unlikely purchase before Aug 8th of two top class CB ‘s to replace the two current clowns. Until and unless that happens Ken, I cannot fully share your optimism, though I APPLAUD YOU ON A WELL WRITTEN AND WELL ARGUED ARTICLE FROM YOUR OWN VIEWPOINT.

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