A visual update on Arsenal’s progress this year compared to all previous seasons. We last left the Gunners at Week 9 with 13 points, Week 21 finds them knocking on the Top 4 spots with 36 points.
Culture matters, in business and in sport. The set of principles which guide the employees, managers and shareholders of a business are what produces results and culture plays a similar role at soccer clubs. Both clubs and corporations are organizations focused on accomplishing a set of goals, it follows that there are parallels in organizational style. Read on for the long lost corporate twins of your favorite clubs.
Arsenal, Arsenal….what has become of the brightest young star of the Premier League? Arsene Wenger’s 15-year tenure at Arsenal has delivered league titles, cup victories and a sustained presence in the Champions League. Under Wenger Arsenal has risen, arguably, higher than it ever has, but this season the light is flickering precariously and all are wondering whether it portends the implosion of the light of North London. Continue reading “Which Company is Arsenal Most Like…?”
George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series has jumped in popularity over the past year as HBO adapted the first book, Game of Thrones, for the screen. One of the pivotal characters in the first season is Eddard ‘Ned’ Stark, the Lord of the northern kingdom Winterfell. Ned is a principled ruler, who respects tradition, duty and loyalty; these values compel him to answer King Robert’s call to serve as the Hand of the King. The appointment requires him to move far to the south to King’s Landing, the capital of Westeros, a pit of intrigue and deception for which he is woefully unprepared. Ned is unable to tell enemy from advisor and his unwillingness to participate in the web of back dealing and power plays seals his fate. There is quite a bit of plot in between but to skip ahead by the end of the season Ned’s loyalty to the doomed King Robert and his principles costs him his head.
There is one Premier League manager who could do a convincing impression of Eddard Stark: Continue reading “Eddard & Arsene, Guardians of Principle”
When Michael Lewis’ Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game hit shelves in 2003 booksellers could be forgiven for believing that a story about sports management and statistics might not exactly light up the mass-market audience. Even though it was about America’s national sport it was about the Oakland Atheltics, not the Yankees. Moneyball of course went on to be a national bestseller as Lewis’s tale of the underdog A’s and Billy Beane managed to capture the attention of baseball fans, academics and corporate executives alike.
Moneyball is about the success of a perpetually underfunded baseball franchise in the face of the financial might of historically larger baseball clubs. Lewis’ explanation for Oakland’s success is two-fold: a rigorous application of statiscal sobriety to player selection and business acumen in player trading. Billy Beane used these tools to outperform competitors year after year while also paying out a much smaller wage budget; it is a familiar American narrative that plays especially well in the recent times of extreme financial disparity. But Lewis’ most important theme is emphasizing the rewards of innovation in an industry which had grown complacent and wasteful.
An environment in which major financial decisions, like player trading and wages, are divorced from reality is easily recognizable for soccer supporters because an equally ridiculous climate exists in the world of soccer. Elite clubs owned by billionaires are able to splash mountains of cash on outsize transfer and wage budgets while the minnows who must operate within the considerations of balance sheets and income statements are resigned to the fate as perpetual middlers or relegation fodder. The rise of Manchester City is only the most recent example of a club whose financial presence places one more brick in the wall between the tiers of clubs. Moneyball has a following among soccer supporters because it gives hope that money is not the sole determinant of a club’s success and that disciplined management and scientific innovation can build an underdog into a giant. It worked in baseball, can it work in soccer? Is it possible to buy low, sell high and still win things in soccer? Continue reading “Moneyball Does Not Work In Soccer”
Billionaire American property developer and sports team owner, Stan Kroenke yesterday agreed to make an offer for Arsenal Football Club at a price of approximately £731m pounds ($1.2b) or £11,750 pounds per outstanding share. Kroenke has been steadily acquiring shares for the past year and a half at an average price of about £8,500 pounds per share. Bloomberg News reports that he breached the ownership limit at which he had to make an offer for the club,
Kroenke pledged to buy 16 percent stakes held by Danny Fiszman and Nina Bracewell-Smith, as well as a small amount of stock owned by theclub’s remaining directors,
Meanwhile there is no news from Alisher Usmanov who had been acquiring a stake, up to 27% at last report, in the London club at the same time as Kroenke. As far as how the takeover will be financed it is reported that it will be paid in full without adding to the debt burden of the club.
Kroenke is planning to buy the shares with cash and no debt will be added to the team, according to his offer.
The disclosure is likely to be welcomed by the Premier League and the team’s fans after leveraged takeovers by U.S. investors at Manchester United and Liverpool stoked supporter unrest. Arsenal becomes the 10th foreign-controlled team in England’s top division.
“Arsenal is too important to be owned by any one person,” the group said on its website. “The AST wants to work with Stan Kroenke to keep Arsenal supporters involved in the club’s ownership structure.”
The quick summary and random facts for this week:
- Chelsea continue their domination of the chart with Blues players inhabiting 5 of the 10 spot
- Arsenal claim the next most spots with 2 players.
- In addition to being #2 in accuracy rate John Obi Mikel holds the most total passes in the league of 579.
- The current positional break down is 6 midfielders, 3 defenders, and 1 forward.
Results for previous weeks here.
The Pazzy (Worst Passer in the League)
Kevin Davies crown goes unchallenged for another week:
Kevin Davies (Bolton) 326 passes – 51.5% accuracy