Goooooood morning Grovers!
So just when you thought football was solely about winning, Tom Fox comes out, for the second time in his Arsenal career and confirms that actually it's not.
Well gee whizz Tom, nice to know you're cut from the same cloth as our manager now appears to be.
'Arsenal Football Club is not only about winning.'
'We have a large and engaged fan-base around the world who want to feel as if they belong to the club, and want to feel proud to belong to the club. That’s my primary business.'
Oh Tom, pass the bad PR vom bucket this way, I have a deposit to make.
Our global fanbase is large, we're popular in many places around the world, but let's get one thing straight here. That's off the back of winning trophies. Nothing else. There's a reason Wigan don't have a global fanbase, there's a reason now, all of a sudden, you see Manchester City shirts when you're walking around America. It's all about winning. There's a reason that a club with no history whatsoever is now selling quite a few shirts (Chavski). It has nothing to do with the warm feeling those shirt wearers get from the way their respective clubs are run, because let's be honest, there's nothing nice about how they're run.
It's all about winning.
Sure, I like the way we operate. I love the way we do so much for charity. I love how much the people who work at the club enjoy their roles and take pride in what they do, but when Arsenal fans talk about the class of the club to other fans, I can't help but think it's a security blanket. Securing us from what? The fact we can't brag about winning trophies.
Be honest Gooners. What do you prefer?
A) Being a club everyone revers for having solid financials
B) Being the most hated club in the UK because of success and spikey players like Paddy and Martin Keown
Give me hatred all day long. Give me teams that come to Arsenal like it's their cup final. Give me an Arsenal side that tears everyone a new one without revving out of second gear. That's the Arsenal I love.
'Developing young talent and finding those players in the marketplace make our fans feel proud. Whether it’s Serge Gnabry, who is a 17-year-old player in our reserve squad, whether it’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, whether it’s Theo Walcott, we look at these young players and have faith in our manager to develop them as the players for the future.'
Again this is another comment I have to take to task. Developing players like Jack Wilshere and Cesc Fabregas gave me a whole heap of pleasure. Watching the Carling Cup side of 5 years ago was a more exciting fixture than the first team. That gave me pride. Where are the players coming through at the moment? Say what you want about Chamberlain being a nice geezer, he's not doing it on the pitch. He cost £12million. Gnabry? Looks ok. So did Theo at 17. Speaking of Theo, Tom, did you not check with Mark Gonnella whether talking about him was a good idea? Because anyone with half an interest in Arsenal would know that...
A) We've watched him flounder for 7 years
B) This year he's looking like a half decent player and now he's off
How much pride do you think Gooners around the globe are taking in watching someone cut their teeth in our first team in horrendous fashion, only to leave when he comes good (half good, let's not get carried away).
'When they see that we can attract — even though we haven’t won a trophy in seven years — one of the top global brands in the world for the type of money and financial commitment they’re making, that makes our fans feel proud. So our brand is defined by more than winning.'
Yeah, that's right everyone. Tom Fox reckons you feel pride when we tie up a shirt deal. Can you f*cking believe he said that? Football fans feel pride when we tie up a deal to bring more money into the club we already plough a fortune into? I mean honestly, how out of touch can one be?
My favourite line of the piece was this one... because it's like the manager has infected the commercial team.
'It’s not just about finding the best commercial opportunity.
Sorry. Come again? It's not about finding the best commercial opportunity? Did someone who probably earns a million plus a year say it's not about finding the best commercial opportunities? Words cannot express quite how unbelievable that whole piece was. If ever there were evidence that we need some football people in at the top table of the club, there it is. I was with man behind Arsenal Addict yesterday, he has met with Patrick Vieira who apparently has said numerous times before he'd love to work with Arsenal but they've never offered him a job. Why, why, why?
Anyway, onto gripe number two. Bacary Sagna has been offered a new contract extension. An extension of one year. He's 29 years old. The best right back in the country. Top three in Europe. He's played over 40 games in all but one of his seasons at Arsenal. His injuries usually extend to nothing more than a broken leg, which, despite someone highlighting this as an issue to me last night, is not a genetic disorder, it's bad luck. The man gives 100% in every game. He's one of the few leaders we have at the club.
We offer him a one year deal.
What are we thinking?
Thomas Rosicky, whom I love... not for his football, but for that '7 hookers in a hotel room' story back in the day... has, since 2001, never managed 40 games in a season yet somehow managed to bag himself a 2 year deal.
Seb Squillaci. Who arrived past 30, also managed to land a deal of more than two years.
What have we learned here? Don't question Arsene. If you do, regardless of importance, you'll be out the back door, replaced by an inferior player in no time. The same happened to Gael Clichy, I was told he used to question the boss about what was going on. He'd ask probing question. Challenge techniques. He was gone. No new deal for him.
Someone I follow on Twitter told me he'd been agitating for the last year. If this was the case, we should have offered him a three year deal. If he refused it, at least we'd have done all we can to show we're interested in keeping our best players. If Sagna has been agitating for a move, might it not be an idea to find out what the issue is? Then possibly try and rectify it. If my team kept on leaving at work, I'd soon be getting asked awkward question as to why. It's the same in any business. Why not football?
'Hey Arsene, your staff retention is shocking. What's it down to?'
That's be my question. I'd deliver it in a slightly sarcastic off tone because I'd know the answer.
My next question would be this.
'Arsene, if we lose Theo and Sagna, how much do you think it will cost to replace them like for like?'
His answer would be...
'We don't need to replace them, we have Gnabry and Jenkinson who are very young, with more belief than a radicalised climate sceptic (yeah, I know where you thought I was going with that)'
At this point, I'd tell Arsene to leave. As the door shut behind him, I'd slam my fist hard into my £18,500 oak desk. He'd hear. He'd know my disappointment. My guess is I'd probably get a text later that evening asking if everything was ok (Arsene is insecure like that).
Anyway, the point is, we're once again hemorrhaging two good players because of our lack of ambition. At this rate, the next manager who comes in will have nothing to play with. How can management oversee the total break up of our already wafer thin squad and not take decisive action? Or at least not try and wrestle some power back and put him under some serious pressure. Show him who runs the club. Show him the top management have balls.
This is another post that feels like I'm p*ssing in the wind... I don't want my Arsenal back. It's sitting there right in front of me with great infrastructure, a team of players who should be doing better and a shed load of money that could be invested into the squad.
What I want is the manager to manage. I want players to play and stay. I want the club to show they're doing the best for their fans.
We're not getting that at the moment. How long do we have to wait before we do?