Clive is superb. In Arena, there are two who stand out, head and shoulders above the rest (both in the band and as related to other musicians), and those two are Clive and Ian. You can say a lot of nice and respectful things about the rest, but those two are world-class. I mean proper contenders for the title, if such a thing existed (and made any sense at all - it is not a competition, remember?)
I think this discussion is not going to be constructive, because we're on the Arena forum, and this is not the place to tell the band or any of their fans how much they, or any individual band member, suck! Even steering clear of such characteristics or words, it is very hard to say something ultimately negative in a respectful way. But I will try, if only because mindless praise doesn't look good either...
For me as a song writer needing a drummer, I'd find Mick Pointer more than adequate. What he does on the albums is very musical. Not mind-boggling, but that is neither here nor there, 'cause that's usually not what a song asks for, anyway! As a drummer, I can say that the live recordings, be they on DVD or YouTube, show that we are not talking about a drummer that has timekeeping as his forté. This is not a matter of taste - he is really pushing the envelope at times. (Not apparent on Arena studio albums, but recognizable on the early Marillion stuff). Whether that is a problem or not is a matter of taste and preferences. But I believe that this, in combination with the so called "lack" of technical brilliance, is where this notion about him being a bad drummer comes from. As a band member, I know that none of these need be the most important. As Appel says, he is sooo much more than a drummer.
As a song writer, again, the one that I would find the most limiting is the singer - and that goes for all Arena singers. None of them has offered the song writers near as makes no difference "free reins" with regards to what melody lines they can write. To be fair, few singers do. And in many styles, that is not an important aspect. But in many, it might just be. It seems, however, that Clive wants a specific sort of singer, as the three he's had so far is roughly within the same realm both with regards to voice and range. The only thing arguing against this is that some of the melody lines Clive (or indeed Mick, for all I know!) writes are not within the singers' preferred/comfortable range(s). This too, is more apparent live.
But at the end of the day, the only two things that matter are:
1)Do you like what you hear?
2)Is Arena doing what the members (especially the main driving force) of the band wants the outfit to do?
Even if 1) is a "No", there is nothing to criticize if 2) is a "Yes".
PS: The guitarist is really very, very good.