Lots of heated debate on Twitter yesterday surrounding the prices Arsenal have leveled on away tickets… in particular, the massive fees associated with this weekends game with Manchester City. They returned 900 away tickets. The reason, had nothing to do with monster Christmas overdrafts, oh no, it was all to do with the perceived expense of £62.
Forget the fact City charge £57 for the corresponding fixture.
I find it ironic, or amusing that City fans can kick off about inflated ticket prices when the whole reason we’re in the sorry mess is because clubs with ownership set ups like theirs have hugely inflated the wages of players in a totally unnatural way. Sure, I feel for the fans. It’s not their fault, but I’m pretty sure if you asked a City fan ten years ago whether they’d stomach £20 extra on an Arsenal ticket in exchange for the glory they’re tasting now, most of them would have parted with the cash.
I don’t travel to lots of away games, but I do go out and get pissed with my mates in other City’s… £20 never killed a night for me. That’s 4 pints in London. 2 service station trips. One late night taxi. When your trip to London is probably costing you £300, I harbour doubts that £20 is tipping you over the edge.
Sure it would be nice if we could cap away tickets at a reasonable price around the country. But why should I subsidise away support? It’s only going to inflate the cost of my home ticket. I’m sure it is a lot of effort to go to away games, but let’s not make out it’s not a lot of fun. We’re no sending soldiers out to a fight a war. It’s mostly young men heading out to get pissed in different city’s up and down the country. I don’t feel I should be subsiding that. My home ticket is expensive enough.
The only way this ticket madness stops is if the Premier League puts a cap on wages. Or introduces a way of controlling ticket prices for everyone… well, really, everyone globally. Trouble is, you’ll always have a team like City paying wages they wouldn’t be able to afford without a sugar daddy… this pushes up wages the league over and someone has to pay for that.
So there we have it. Football is an expensive hobby. It’s no use bleating on about the way it used to be, because it’s never going to return to that. We’ll never replicate what they do in Germany, because in the main, it comes at a cost to the league. There are too many major players involved at the top in the Premier League for it to ever return to how it was once upon a time.
On the football front, I can feel something brewing. Can you? Think… still can’t feel it brewing… ok, try this…
- Theo Walcott signs a new deal…
- Abou Diaby plays 60 minutes for the u21s…
- It’s the January transfer window…
- Arsenal haven’t signed anyone…
- Arsene Wenger is sitting in the press conference…
- He’s asked… ‘Arsene, why haven’t you signed anyone?’
- ‘Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott are like new siginigs’
I can just feel that one coming. We’ve hit the 10th of January and not so much as a rumbling. Manchester United have reportedly moved ahead of us in the race for Zaha, mainly because we’ve dropped our interest. Why we’ve done that is beyond me? If he’s good enough to replace Theo Walcott, why haven’t we snapped him up? As far as I can see, we’ve lost a winger because he now wants to be a striker, so there’s a space. Wouldn’t it be an idea to bring in wide player who actually wants to play wide. If he’s any good, which he’s likely to be if United are after him, shouldn’t we be using the fact he’s an Arsenal fan and based in London to our advantage? It shows the lack of guts we’ve got in the transfer market. If he’s good, which I have no steer on other than Palace fans who rave about him, then why have we pulled the plug as soon as Theo signs on? The Times indicates we don’t want to get into a bidding war with United.
It comes back to something I’ve said for a long time… we only sign players if we’re the only team interested. If United had bid for Cazorla, I’ve no doubt we’d have dropped out of that race. It shows how little faith Wenger has in his own skills as a manager. If you believe in a player, sign them. Cazorla would have been worth it at £20million. No doubt we’d have deemed that too expensive. We never take a risk, which stops us making horrendous mistakes like Andy Carroll, but it leads us to miss out on players like Franck Ribery, Christiano Ronaldo and the countless other players we seem to miss the boat on.
News emanating from Germany suggests we’re in for £15m Mainz striker Adam Szalai. He’s banged in 12 goals this season complimented by 4 assists. He looks like he has bags of pace, a nice touch and some height to compliment his game. I’m not going to sit here and pretend I’ve watched him extensively. I refuse to believe anyone in the Arsenal community has. However, to reference Michu and Arsene’s denials about knowing about him. Please, someone put the question to Steve Rowley and ask of he was aware of him and see what he says… we were aware. We’re tracking a 25 year Hungarian striker who has had half a good season, yet we miss out on a free scoring midfielder in Spain? Now, I know we can’t win them all. I know other big teams missed out on him. But here’s the thing… Arsenal’s MO is picking up bargains from around Europe. How could no one look at a Spaniard over 6ft tall, hugely powerful, with a great finish, technically perfect… and not think, jeez, maybe we should have a word with his club.
We have scouts climbing fences to look at 15 year olds in back water French villages, but we don’t have someone keeping an eye on the top talent in La Liga? Honestly, if ever an investigation was needed into the way we do things, it’s over our lack of interest in that man. Our scouts are getting paid upwards of £250k a year to bring in the talent. Why has it dried up?
How are we ten days into the transfer window with nothing to show for it. I’ll tell you why, because Arsene Wenger is reactive. He has a vision that stretches beyond his lifetime, yet when it comes to his squad, he can’t see what we need now and make a move. He should have had 6 names for Gazidis at the start of December. We should have started negotiating during that month to ensure we had those players at the training ground on the first day back. I highly doubt Wenger has any names in mind. We’re probably just waiting on phones calls to see what comes up. We should be pressing teams and being proactive.
This transfer window will confirm how far past it Wenger is… early signs are not positive.