Hypothetical Of The Week: What if we hadn't left Highbury?

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Aevi

Hale End FC
Moderator
What do you think the long term effects of staying at Highbury would have been?
 

albakos

Arséne Wenger: "I will miss you"
Administrator
The problem with Highbury to Emirates move was that it coincided in the worst possible time.

When we first started to discuss and have the planning in 2000-01, nobody expected such a massive cash infusion from billionaires like Roman. Our planning was probably that with United being our only competitors, without having to sell our best players, we would be able to maintain our position in the league even after moving to Emirates.

As a consequence, our stadium move is the typical example of whoever makes the first unknown move will most likely be burned, so others take note and learn lessons.

It is no wonder that Liverpool didn't invest in new stadium, but instead increased the seating capacity of Anfield. Same with Chelsea and their abolished plans of a new stadium.

Sp*rs on the other side wanted to look a big club and they received support from the Gov.
But even for them, who could have anticipated a pandemic where their gate receipt revenue would drop to zero. They will be in massive troubles in a year or two, with late payments.
 

Riou

Gatekeeper Of Mediocrity
We shouldn't have moved for me, still really miss Highbury...remember my first match there and even though I'm not from London it just felt like a home to me, was a massive honour to see a decent amount of games there.

We could have moved stadiums and kept the success going but we needed to do it in a different way, our board only cared about themselves though.

I would have liked to gamble and stay there, maybe a "Roman" esque figure takes us over in that scenario and not a "Stan" esque one...convinced it would have been better for us on the pitch to stay and that's the only thing that really matters imo.
 

Rex Banter

Got Swerved By Gallas
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I think fans blame the Emirates for never competing just because we didn’t win as much after we left Highbury when really it’s a much more nuanced issue.

The club needed to move. If you listen to Dein and Wenger there was a risk of stagnation and arguably decline to an Everton level if we didn’t take the plunge.

It was the only way we were going to have a platform to compete for Champions Leagues and titles. It’s easy to look back and say it was a terrible idea as we never came close but that’s not down to the stadium.

Mostly it was down to the board. Dein leaving right as the stadium opened was the catalyst and then it became Wenger alone at the top rather than him and Dein working together.

The reason Dein left was over the Usmanov - Kroenke fiasco and arguably that was the turning point. The Kroenkes rightly and wrongly have advocated a self sustaining model while Usmanov as judged on his time in charge at Everton is someone who likes to pump money in.

Gazidis was there but it’s hard to really place what he actually did until almost a decade later when he was clearly able to get more power and start sidelining Wenger.

Recruitment fell away and people who’d served Wenger well in the past in both coaching and scouting but weren’t really fit for modern football were allowed to stay on for years.

We also never took any risks. Wenger is an economist but either he or the club didn't realise that huge cash reserves in the bank were the worst asset you can have, because its value always depreciates. Instead of buying a player like Alonso for £20m when we had £30m, we sat on that cash until a player of that calibre cost £50m and we still had £30m.

For me the true “what if” should be what if Dein stayed and Usmanov came in. Wenger like anyone needed checks and balances in place, he was given too much responsibility and ideally Dein would have kept things fresh and turfed out the dinosaurs like Grimandi, Primorac and Peyton much sooner and with a spend happy owner I think we’d have been much stronger.
 

squallman

Still Pining for Wenger
I think fans blame the Emirates for never competing just because we didn’t win as much after we left Highbury when really it’s a much more nuanced issue.

The club needed to move. If you listen to Dein and Wenger there was a risk of stagnation and arguably decline to an Everton level if we didn’t take the plunge.

It was the only way we were going to have a platform to compete for Champions Leagues and titles. It’s easy to look back and say it was a terrible idea as we never came close but that’s not down to the stadium.

Mostly it was down to the board. Dein leaving right as the stadium opened was the catalyst and then it became Wenger alone at the top rather than him and Dein working together.

The reason Dein left was over the Usmanov - Kroenke fiasco and arguably that was the turning point. The Kroenkes rightly and wrongly have advocated a self sustaining model while Usmanov as judged on his time in charge at Everton is someone who likes to pump money in.

Gazidis was there but it’s hard to really place what he actually did until almost a decade later when he was clearly able to get more power and start sidelining Wenger.

Recruitment fell away and people who’d served Wenger well in the past in both coaching and scouting but weren’t really fit for modern football were allowed to stay on for years.

We also never took any risks. Wenger is an economist but either he or the club didn't realise that huge cash reserves in the bank were the worst asset you can have, because its value always depreciates. Instead of buying a player like Alonso for £20m when we had £30m, we sat on that cash until a player of that calibre cost £50m and we still had £30m.

For me the true “what if” should be what if Dein stayed and Usmanov came in. Wenger like anyone needed checks and balances in place, he was given too much responsibility and ideally Dein would have kept things fresh and turfed out the dinosaurs like Grimandi, Primorac and Peyton much sooner and with a spend happy owner I think we’d have been much stronger.

Are you ignoring the reason Dein left? He's the one who caused the Usmanov-Kroenke fiasco, by bringing those two leeches to the club in the first place.

Almost every other club, Liverpool excluded with Hicks & Gilette, managed to find owners who invested in the club and what did we get?

Two charlatans thanks to everyone's favorite uncle David Dein. Then Dein's son proceeded to sweep the club clean by arranging deals for our players who he was the agent of to leave. How did Darren even get to be these players' agents? Because of his dad's connection to the club.

Dein is just as responsible for where we are now than anyone else. I'm not bashing Dein, just pointing out he's helped and hurt the club in equal measure.

I will also mention that he sold his shares to one of the two, can't remember which and made himself a tidy sum.

Was he wrong trying to get investment into the club? No, it's just who he decided to bring in that set us back years.
 

Rex Banter

Got Swerved By Gallas
Trusted ✔️
Are you ignoring the reason Dein left? He's the one who caused the Usmanov-Kroenke fiasco, by bringing those two leeches to the club in the first place.

Almost every other club, Liverpool excluded with Hicks & Gilette, managed to find owners who invested in the club and what did we get?

Two charlatans thanks to everyone's favorite uncle David Dein. Then Dein's son proceeded to sweep the club clean by arranging deals for our players who he was the agent of to leave. How did Darren even get to be these players' agents? Because of his dad's connection to the club.

Dein is just as responsible for where we are now than anyone else. I'm not bashing Dein, just pointing out he's helped and hurt the club in equal measure.

I will also mention that he sold his shares to one of the two, can't remember which and made himself a tidy sum.

Was he wrong trying to get investment into the club? No, it's just who he decided to bring in that set us back years.

Yeah wasn’t absolving him of blame at all. The man was a visionary in many aspects but like you say the ownership mess was all his making.

He ended up having to fall on his own sword after trying and failing to railroad the board into taking Usmanov as owner.

Ahead of the game in many ways but like you say he failed spectacularly in bringing outside investment to ease the transition.

In many ways it’s fair to say he was an architect of the Invincibles but he destroyed it all in the end.
 

AberGooner

Well-Known Member
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I know it's hypothetical but don't think it was ever an option of staying at Highbury. Was either Emirates or Wembley.
Would we have won more by saving the stadium money and using it on the squad by playing at Wembley? Who knows?
Looking back our plan was probably a good one at the time but I'm not sure how many football people saw the Abramovich move and later the Mansour move at City happening. Totally changed football.
 

Garrincha

Wilf Zaha Aficionado
Trusted ✔️
The club should have just been honest with the fans about future goals & kept the ticket prices a little lower. The prices & 'compete with Bayern' bullshit was probably what caused the divide between club & fans.

The move was the correct decision although the Emirates a little **** & generic though. Its got better over the years but really little unique inside for the regular fans.

Would have been great to extend Highbury like Liverpool have but just too hemmed in & the infrastructure not there.
 

GDeep™

Cute and Clever
Yeah, imagine what would’ve happened had we stayed at Highbury and been a more posh Bournemouth :lol:.
 

bingobob

A-M’s Resident Hunskelper
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We will never know. One argument is we benefit from the increase in tv revenue and a great playing squad. We maybe attract an owner interested in football as we dont have the stadium debt.

Or other clubs catch up with us.

Personally I go for option A. We managed to build a decent squad but stadium obligations meant dismantling that squad continually. If we didnt have to dismantle we could have retained and improved upon Toure, Clichy, Nasri, Hleb, Adebayor and so on. I sont think its likely we get caught because it took over 10 years from the move for us to fall outside the top 4. I'm not sure how that time decreases if we didnt move.
 

squallman

Still Pining for Wenger
I think the real issue isn't whether we should have moved but our handling of the move.

If we had won the league in 2008 and 2016, picked up a few more FA cups along the way and deeper runs into Europe, would this even be a question?
 

GDeep™

Cute and Clever
Staying at 38K stadium while English football moves on would’ve helped us how? Most PL clubs have bigger stadiums or owners funding them. Championship clubs have bigger stadiums than Highbury.
 

Vanpayslip

Well-Known Member
It would have cost a lot more if it was done later. The club did it at exactly the right time. At the time, the move and the stadium were almost revolutionary.

There were other changes in football that made it difficult but that is now not an issue.
 
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