“Arsenal and Tottenham: the brands, the businesses, the clubs and the competition”

A seminar as part of the Sport Business Centre Seminar Series

Given by: Alex Fynn

Lankaster Lecture Theatre (University College London – UCL)
Medawar Building
Malet Place (off Torrington Place) 
London WC1
Monday 14th October 2013 at 6pm

For directions click here

This event will operate under “Chatham House Rules” – no external reporting without the permission of the speaker.

Attendance is free and open to all.


A dozen years ago, whilst Arsenal under the magician Arsène Wenger were emulating the great Spurs double side of 1960/61 both in terms of style and success, Tottenham under George Graham (!) were busy turning themselves into an inferior version of Graham’s “one-nil-to-the-Arsenal” trophy-winning teams of the later 1980s and early 1990s. The intervening years have seen, while Wenger has seemingly lost his innovator’s touch, Tottenham belatedly rediscover their heritage and tradition. So today the clubs are neck-and-neck in their pursuit of sporting success, Tottenham manfully overcoming the handicap of an antiquated stadium – every home fixture that goes by Arsenal put an extra £1m cash into their bank account over their North London neighbours.

Espousing modern football management theory, recognising that the manager does not have a monopoly on tactical wisdom, and with the aid of a shrewd chairman (Daniel Levy) and technical director (Franco Baldini), Tottenham may at last be in a position to show Arsenal the way. Arsenal, for their part, are seemingly resistant to challenging their manager, either on or off the field, and are paying the consequences in the lack of substantive support from scouting and coaching.

Alex Fynn created the first advertising campaign for a football club for Tottenham Hotspur in the 1980s, and subsequently advised Arsenal on the creation of the Premier League. He has also (co)-written a number of books on the two clubs, the latest being Arsènal: The Making of a Modern Superclub (2011, recently reprinted for the fourth time). In this presentation he will illustrate how two strong brands, for one reason or the other, are not performing at their optimum; and are failing to acknowledge the fundamental premise that to have a successful business you first need a successful team. Against this background he speculates on their chances for domestic and international success.


Alex Fynn is a well-known consultant to the sports’ industry who has also written extensively on the subject of the football business. His clients have included Arsenal, Celtic, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur football teams, as well as the Football League and the Football Association. Through his work he has been influential in the formation of both the English Premier League and the UEFA European Champions League. Previously Alex was a director of the well-known advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, latterly as vice-chairman. He was responsible for a number of major clients including Procter & Gamble. Throughout his career Alex has acted as an advisor on the negotiation of the sale of TV broadcasting rights for a number of clubs and federations including the FA, the Football League, the RFU and the British Athletics Federation.


Contact details

Twitter: Follow Alex @AlexFynn1

For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

Photo credit: Metro Pictures at

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