So, turns out Geoff is still alive. I went round and knocked for him, no answer, so I firstly checked the shed, just incase he’d taken this depression too far, luckily he was ok. He had a conversation with Arsenal yesterday about the price rise, he’s pretty miffed. He asked them to explain themselves…
‘Sir, we’ve spent lots of money developing Club Level facilities for you’
‘We’ve built the Foundry and the WM Club’
‘Ok, so you’ve built two areas I have to spend £15k a season to enjoy, haven’t you just improved club level to improve your bottom line?’
‘Well, I guess so, I didn’t think of that’
There you have it people. The new breed of football executive trying to cater to a new breed of fan.
I touched on the commercial team yesterday and wondered what exactly they’ve done over the past two years. Our commercial revenue actually dropped last year, which was pretty worrying. More worrying is that Spurs could actually overtake us on that front next year, wouldn’t that be awful?
I think what’s even more humourous and entirely predictable is that something I said would come to fruition last year, to vehement disagreement, is now happening. The big rich clubs are already making their moves to counter the UEFA fair play rules.
I said that in American sport, restrictions on wages didn’t change the landscape for the poorer clubs. All it did was give the rich clubs another platform to showcase they were the richest because they had the most intelligent people working for them.
You know… a bit like how the super rich are always so clever at avoiding tax.
In this case, I’m talking about Manchester City. They aren’t more intelligent, they’re just flush with cash and a million subsidiary businesses who are unsurprisingly lining up to sponsor the club. Inside a year, they’ve doubled their commercial revenue to £47million. Who has helped them hit these dizzy heights?
Ethihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, Etisalat, and Aabar… classic big name brands you’d associate with football.
Also the naming rights for the Stadium are now up for grabs as well after the council gave permission for them to be auctioned. I told you commercial enterprises aren’t interested in naming rights offers unless it’s a new stadium… generally because places like Old Trafford will always been known as that to the fans. Does that matter to an Abu Dhabi sweet shop who fancy a piece of the action? Of course not… those interested in the taking over the name aren’t looking at ROI.
So they’re already beating us commercially after 1 year, where are they going to be when the regs come into effect by the end of 2012? What are UEFA going to do about this?
The sad fact about all of this is the only people who are going to get stung are the fans. The big clubs can afford to bring in the big dollars from questionable partners, where as clubs like Arsenal do what all the other small clubs will have to do… stick it to the fans in a season ticket increase. FIFA Fairplay screws anyone without money. Arsenal are lucky because in 2 years time we can take our commercial revenue from £44million to £68million in an instant. West Ham, Bolton, Everton? No chance…
So if we ever truly want to compete at the top-level for a sustained period, we’re probably going to have to consider a sugar Daddy at some point. Usmanov is richer than Abramovich, he has incredible business acumen and he has Eastern European pride. Forget his past, David Dein has a murky background from his Sugar Factory days… I doubt Danny Fiszman ensured minimum wage and a lunch break were granted to the diamond hunters in Africa and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t take too long to dig up dirt on the Walmart empire.
I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times… filthy rich people don’t ever have clean pasts. You just have to look at what is best for Arsenal going forward. I know that an AST Fanshare idea is the ideal… but lets be realistic, we’ll always be in the shadow of the spiralling wage costs City and Chelsea are pushing. They’ve single-handedly increased wages x4 since their Sugar Daddies joined the party.
If correlating wage bill and league position is an accurate way to gauge success… it’s going to be a long time before we’re dominating world football.
If you’d care to read in more detail about the City stuff, may I point you in the direction of the Swiss Ramble… the Megan Fox of Finance.
In other news, the shock come back of Johan Djourou was short-lived. He’s out for the season now after dislocating his shoulder. On the upswing of things… at least he’s not going to play for Switzerland.
I was told we could expect Song, Cesc and Theo back for WBA. Wenger said Song wouldn’t be back for the WBA game… so my guess is I’ve either misheard what was said, or Wenger is telling a whopping great tactical lie. Either way, I’m cool as long as I don’t see expert jogger Denilson on the pitch.
In other more bizarre rumours, there was talk last night in the comments that Arsene Wenger had handed in his resignation. These rumours would come with a believability factor of zero. Who in their right mind quits a job as good as Arsenal when there are ten games to play that could end with you winning the league? If Wenger pulled this off, it’d go down as a Brian Clough moment regardless of how angry we are at the way the season has panned out.
One person who hasn’t been discussed in great detail is Pat Rice. He was retiring, then he was staying… then I heard no one knows what the deal is. I think it’s interesting that most managers turnover their training staff on quite a regular basis. Arsenal have spent the last 15 years with pretty much the same collection of back room staff. Pat Rice, Boro Piromac and Arsene Wenger have formed the backbone of the club for years. Maybe it is time for a change in the dressing room? Maybe a Patrick Vieira \ Tony Adams type figure at the club would help spice things up?
Maybe a new more qualified fitness coach could help ease our injury problems? Looking at Tony Colbert’s CV… well, he’s hardly dynamic compared to others? I’m not about digging out people who are earning a living… but lets look at the state of our fitness. Sure we’re getting maximum use out of the medical equipment… but jeez… couldn’t get someone in who could do a better job keeping players in tip-top condition for longer than 3 weeks?
As for the training methods, sometimes you’ve got to freshen things up, bat new ideas about, step out of your comfort zone. Ferguson is always changing his assistant coach, always looking to improve the way he works and he’s always been successful for it. Maybe it’s about time Arsene Wenger looked at his methods and thought about supplementing them with something new?
Anyway… we’re into Wednesday, tomorrow we start talking about the weekends games. I’m over the weekends loss, I’m chuffed to bits United just added to their fixture congestion and I’m hoping Chelsea can do the same tonight whilst picking up a number of injuries along the way!
Anyone thought about Bastian Schweinsteiger at Bayern lately? I have… Louis Van G is on his way out, Bastian loves England, Arsenal have lots of money.
Could be a good move and a nice gift to the Arsenal fans who have just been spanked with that 6% pay increase…
P.S. I had a chat with Gooner reporter John Cross at the Mirror yesterday, he totally empathises with fan concerns about a lack of spending / season ticket price increases and he’s put together an article here. Hopefully Gazidis will read it… hopefully he’ll have a rethink on the next wave of increases… Arsenal said they hadn’t made any decisions yet, so fingers crossed. A big thanks to John for kicking the story onto the next level!