Life is a tricky affair.
Sometimes you hit the dizzy heights that everyone wants to be at and sometimes you have the horrible lows that we all try our best to avoid… And in the process, you experience many emotions. Happiness, sadness, frustration, jubilation… you name it. Whatever happens at the Arsenal, I am glad we have the board and the manager we do. As much as I think I know a lot about football, and as much as you do too… in reality, how much do we really know? Managing a real life football club is not the same as managing a club in Championship Manager, that’s for sure.
The emotions that we experience, the highs and the lows, are directly related to our expectations. We expect more and therefore anything less good than more is not good. It’s a silly way of thinking to be honest and I’m afraid most if not every Arsenal fan is currently sitting in a place that doesn’t seem right. None of us are financial experts, or even if we are, we don’t have the financial facts and figures to second guess what has happened and / or is continuing to happen at the Arsenal.
One thing I am certain about – and only if we don’t break it – is that our business model is sound. In the days where you see football clubs going out of business left, right and centre, it’s refreshing to have a club who actually has a desire to manage itself. Other clubs have sugar daddies and whilst this serves a purpose, can you really criticize a business which spends within it’s means… The business model of self-sustainment means that you have to spend wisely – it doesn’t mean you have to spend less or not spend. We’ve spent a lot in recent times – Arshavin, Walcott, Gervinho, Oxlade, Podolski, Giroud etc are all £10m to £15m signings we’ve made in the last few years. We’re competing against clubs who can spend £50m on a bench warmer in Torres.
For me, if Wenger didn’t win anything, and then built the stadium, and then we started finishing 4th and 3rd etc, surely he would be knighted twice! But the problem is, he gave us a sniff of success. It was him who was at the helm when we went unbeaten, it was him at the helm when we won the league & FA Cup. Having a 60,000 seater stadium is all about the challenge that the board set themselves – without a sugar daddy.
Arsene Wenger as manager brought in Arteta when Fabregas left, he brought in Podolski and Giroud to replace Van Persie, Ade and Eduardo to fill in the void when Henry left. The point of the matter is that players have a life-cycle. We begrudge a player if he leaves, but don’t when we sell him. We’re fans of the Arsenal, so of course, we back the club when buying and selling. But in reality, what would you do if you were Van Persie. You have been with a club for 8 years and you’re about to turn 29. You’ve not won anything. You have 3 years to play at this level before you will probably decline. Arsenal aren’t going to splash £100m on players this summer. We don’t need to. We need to assemble a squad that we think is good enough to challenge. Sagna – best right back in the league – cost £7m. Money does not equal value. Sagna is a £20m right back, is he not? We didn’t pay that for him. Vermaelen £10.6m vs Lescott £26m. Yes money does buy you players, but you have to understand that challenging for a title is made up of players, fitness and a bit of luck.
Van Persie has given us a great season, that’s fair to say, but based on history, this is the exception, not the rule. Bringing someone like Giroud is exciting for us – he’s four years younger and very hungry – surely a bit of good business to get rid of your older players and get in younger models. Every guy’s dream.
Yes, not winning is frustrating. But outside of United & City, no one has won the league in a while. Chelsea spend £200m every season or at least every other season, and they finished below us. Sp*rs have a sugar daddy, but our squad was still better than theirs. As I said earlier, winning the league is a mixture of skill, injuries and luck and had Wilshere not been injured last season, had Sagna, Gibbs, Santos and Vermaelen all been injury free, who knows where we’d have finished last season.
Finishing 3rd, having a great future in players like Szcznesy, Koscielny, Gibbs, Wilshere, Oxlade etc… and having signed players like Gervinho, Podolski and Giroud, why are Arsenal fans so upset? The manager wants to win just as much as we do, if not more, the decisions he takes will be based on the ability to compete both on the pitch and without bankrupting the club.
Everyone may have differing opinions on who we should and shouldn’t sign, but one thing I ask of all of you. Ian Wright, this is aimed at you, Samir Nasri, you too, Robin, you too and of course, Usmanov. Stop bad mouthing my club. The Arsenal have given all of you players a home, they’ve educated you, they’ve paid you bucket loads. Sums that only we can imagine to earn in a lifetime, you earn in a year. Be grateful that you have been given the platform, the opportunity and education that you have been given. Usmanov – the only reason you’re involved is because you see the potential of the manager and players and the ground = potentially massive future and status. Say what you want about whatever you want, but leave the Arsenal alone – all the club have done is try their best to build a team for both them and you to mutually succeed. If you haven’t been good enough, then surely it’s your fault that we haven’t won anything?
All this beating up the board and manager is silly. Only time will tell, but I sincerely hope we don’t do too much damage to our beloved club. Arsenal are taking a beating by the media at the moment, but in reality, there is no other club I’d rather support ever.
Victoria Concordia Crescit.