Quick blog today, because, well, because all the action will happen this afternoon as the newly 60 year old Arsene Wenger attends the Annual General Meeting.
You’ll no doubt be hearkening back to last year’s AGM where someone got up and confronted Arsene with the fact that Silvestre is on the team. But those days are past us, we are currently in a good run of form and besides Silvestre has to get past big Phil to get on the pitch!
Seriously, Arsenal look very sharp right now (despite the disappointment of the 1-1 draw to AZ) and it’s looking like they might actually challenge for trophies this season: knock on wood, fingers crossed, touch my wood, whatever it is that you have to do to ward off the evil voodoo of the last three years. I expect that as far as the team is concerned I won’t think too many shareholders will stand up and call them Geriatric… especially since today is Arsene’s 60th birthday.
Bit of a coup that and I suspect that Ivan Gazidis has his hand in the timing here. Last year, the timing of the AGM was stupid; coming right on the heels of another season of disappointment. Much wiser to hold the meeting now, since Arsenal almost always do well in the start of the season, and all the trophies are still in front of us, plus it’s the old man’s birthday. No one is calling anyone geriatric on Arsene’s 60th birthday!
I suspect that 90% of today’s meeting will be a hagiography looking back at Wenger’s 13 years at Arsenal and looking forward to another 13. This is absolutely well deserved. One only need look up north to Liverpool to see the genius of Arsene Wenger. After the amazing win at Istanbul, Rafa famously said that now he got to build his own team. Benitez then set about spending £229m buying 76 players and has since only managed one FA Cup. Look at that list of players linked above, he had to buy all those players because Liverpool has no academy. Not only that but there have been a lot of huge failures in that list.
This is in direct opposition to what Arsene Wenger is doing down at London Colney. It took a few years, but Arsenal are now pumping out good, young, English players like Jay Simpson. Arsene isn’t making a Cesc factory, but every player who graduates from Arsenal Academy will be a kid with good values, solid fundamentals, and who is a career professional.
Meanwhile, in the first team, Arsene makes one major investment per transfer window: Eduardo, Nasri, Arshavin, Vermaelen, etc. If you’re a shareholder, you have to be looking at the way the team is being managed both on and off the pitch and think that your money is in a good place.
The one blot on this whole day is what looks like an impending boardroom fight between a guy who has been frozen out of the board and the American. I have no special insider knowledge here but I suspect, having looked at Stan Kroenke’s other businesses that he’s not an impulsive, owner for owner’s sake type of rich guy. No, in fact, I think that he’s probably most attracted to Arsenal because it is run like a very conservative business.
My suspicion is that Stan Kroenke will go over the 29.9% line either today or shortly after today and that then will be obligated to make a bid for the club… which will be rejected. Which means that everything will stay put, exactly as Stan and the board wants it.
As I always say, we’ll have to wait and see.
Anyway, that’s it for today, baby is up and I’ve got to get to work. See you tomorrow!