Wenger’s legacy is fundamental. Free flowing, attacking football by a club with integrity and class.

The Don Bites the Dust

Dusting off another enemy in Peter Hill-Wood style.

So Raul Sanllehi was asked to leave, sacked, given his walking papers, whatever. Choose your euphemism.

But there is no sugar-coating what happened. This is how senior executives are fired. Not in the brutal, matter of fact manner in which Sanllehi and Vinai announced 55 redundancies nearly two weeks ago. It is usually polite and civil without any public bloodletting.  After all corporate executives have knowledge of deep company secrets. It is a tacit quid pro quo; “If you keep your mouth shut, so will we.”

The Kroenkes know the game and play it well, very well. Their statement was was plain and straightforward in contrast to that long, virtue-signalling 500 word essay “From our Club” to announce the prior firings. The first sentence made it crystal clear:

“We are announcing today that head of football Raul Sanllehi is leaving the club and Vinai Venkatesham, our current managing director, will lead us going forward.”

After that they proceed to big-up Vinai as the future leader. Then they allowed Raul some  final words. It may seem like platitudes but the following quotes have virtually barred him from any future claims of constructive dismissal.

“I am proud to have been part of its history and I thank Stan and Josh Kroenke for this opportunity. Working with Vinai, we have built a top team for the future. Mikel has made an extremely positive impact since his arrival and has formed a strong team with our technical director, Edu.”

Can you imagine having to kiss the ring of those who fired you from a very powerful, executive position at a top club in England? True to form Don Raul acted like a true mafiosi.

He must have really screwed the pooch to have the Kroenkes put the gun to his head. Rumors have been abound since Friday that the club was investigating massive irregularities related to the Pepe transfer. According to last Friday’s edition of ESPN.com

“Arsenal’s efforts to streamline and improve their operations has extended to an internal investigation into whether they overpaid for £72m club-record signing  Nicholas Pepe.”

I don’t think it is any coincidence that this investigation and discovery of, ahem, “irregularities” happened shortly after Tim Lewis, a corporate attorney and Arsenal fan, was named to the board of directors. While the Kroenkes are safe in the States working remotely, Tim would be in London with full access to all corporate documents and doing the due diligence that a board member and attorney must do. If Tim discovered the irregularities and did his legal and ethical duty to report it to the Kroenkes, I salute him.

But this is not the first irregularity that Don Raul has been involved. Long before he landed at Arsenal, in October 2017 he was asked to leave Barcelona after his role in the scandalous Neymar transfer which cost the Catalans a transfer ban.

Barca has always been associated with dodgy transfer dealings, a fact that has been covered up because they won major trophies, have arguably the best footballer in the world on their books and always maintained a massive PR operation at home and abroad (UNICEF on their shirt shows how much they care for children doesn’t it).

The Don always denied and down played his role in the various skullduggery  and palm-greasing that went down with the Neymar deal. But according to ESPN.com:

“In his role as director of football, Sanllehi has been a key player in South America and was instrumental in the deal that saw Neymar join Barca in 2013.”

Sandro Rossell, then President, had to take responsibility for the debacle and was forced to step down from that role or else UEFA would have inflicted greater pain on the club. New president Maria Bartomeu had to clean house and thus Sanllehi was let go.

That was how we inherited the The Don and his corrupt crooked way of managing transfers. Thank heavens he is gone.

How Karmaesque for Sanllehi’s demise to have happened within two days after Barcelona was humiliated 8-2 by Bayern in their Champions League semi-final game exposing the “rottenness” at the top and the incompetent way the club has been managed. Old, slow overpaid players exposed and having no resale value, many of them signed under Sanllehi’s watch.

All honest and true gooners should be rejoicing. At least a football man, Mikel Arteta, and Edu will be calling the shots when it comes to player recruitment and transfers. Not a dodgy character from Barcelona with a list of transfer agents in his Rolodex.

My friend Blackburn George and I will go into more detail in our next podcast. Please listen and subscribe.



  1. Not sure I trust O’Leary the coach who spent bucketloads of washing wonga on third class talent (through no fault of their own, I don’t criticise an athlete for not being world class) he or others at the club may not be much better then the other shady chancers out there but as you highlight Shotts:

    The Spanish Peter Risdale has been the worst of them in the sport in recent times.

    The best thing about the whole story is the shower of blagging liars who less then 12months declared “I really like Raul”now claiming credit for his departure. Almost as predictable as the Spanish Peter Risdale himself. priceless comedy and hypocrisy from the parasites.

    And if I’m honest I’m going to miss Ozil’s agent making a monkey out of “the Don”, as that was all: highly amusing amidst the horror born from the Desolation of Raul.

    • Most of the blaggers are still peddling the club propaganda that Don Raul (and Vinai for that matter) unleashed vs Ozil who is, by far, still our best player. Don Raul may be dead but he still alive in th club. Will we ever be rid of this poison?

  2. Tierney might be a signing Raul can claim some credit from? I have no idea, but he’s gone now. One year after Edu’s arrival.

    The horrors on and off the pitch with the squad. Tried to hold onto Emery, didn’t look too happy at Arteta’s appointment, the crisis hits Arsenal & Arteta, Lewis arrives, (Ozil dropped over wage bill issue…by Raul?) Arteta wins the cup. The Don takes a bow and leaves. There’s a story there.

    My own selfish hope is that none of promising youth players get flogged and that’s about it really. As said a long time there was never anyone better then Arteta.

    As for the owners, impossible to know or care what they are up to but this news is promising.

  3. One wonders in hindsight what took Ozil so long to have his say?

    Could it be the investigation about Pepe’s transfer which gave him the opportunity to gave the coupe de gras?

    Will we ever know whether the dropping of Ozil was a Raul idea and that Arteta felt obliged to follow the official line?

    AM was never that convincing in his comments, which indicated that the order came from on high. He seemed to be embarrassed every time he was asked the question.

    The speed within which Raul left, seems to indicate that his position became untenable and he was given the choice of going quietly, or like GG. He clearly chose the former.

    So what happens now?

    Is Vinai blameless, or will he follow soon?

    This whole business stinks and brings the club and all of us into disrepute.

    The next question is how could this have been allowed to happen and what were the Kroenkes thinking of by allowing this to go on for so long?

    The Emery disaster was an early warning, which they did not take.

    Perhaps they thought that replacing him with Arteta would be enough, but the persecution of Ozil, which Emery started, was rolled out again.

    What is clear is that this is not only about Ozil.

  4. Maybe it is now time to bring Wenger back, not as manager, but general manager.

    The club has a lot of work to do to get our reputation back. Perhaps he is the one to do it?

    • Funny you mention the idea of Wenger as GM. Every time I suggest this to Blackburn George (@Arseblagger) in our podcast he knocks it back faster than one of those thunderbolts by Lukas Podolski. George notes that Wenger has been totally exiled by the Kroenkes and their new regime plus the boss has a bigger profile but less physical demanding job with FIFA. Every time George hits me with that counter I barely get back up before the count. He’s got a solid point, pun intended.


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