Moving on from yesterday’s post, yet again, there seems to be very little news in the pipeline. Remi Garde has proclaimed that Arsene Wenger will stay at Arsenal…shocker, eh? Also, today’s papers are pointing out that Mourinho is talking to Chelsea and PSG. So that push for Wenger was clearly super serious.
It’s interesting thinking about this summer because it really is important on many levels. This season, despite managing to stay in the mix, fans have almost hit a point where things have become so stagnant, they are neither here nor there with the club. We’ve supported what’s gone on over the last 8 years… but now it’s all become too predictable. I don’t mean to sound spoilt, but it feels like we go into the season without anything to cheer.
I made the point the other day that all the magical technology on offer next season with regards to tickets is pointless if people can’t be bothered to go. Probably the most noticeable change of the last 5 years is sometimes, you can’t give your ticket away. Worse than that, there are clearly quite a number of fans who don’t see their ticket as valuable enough to want to give it away. That’s a sad indictment on our relationship with Arsenal.
Now, the management team can involve the fans in forums, they can bring bloggers in for chats and they can improve the user experience… but the only thing that is going to quell the storm around the club is improving the squad.
Simple fact is fans don’t want to speak negatively of the team they love, they want to be proud… and don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things to be proud of. We’ve weathered the storm of a new stadium build, we’ve consistently stayed in the mix, we’ve seen some great players… we’re in a very strong position to kick into the European elite of finances.
… but none of it matters without a team. Well, to the fans at least.
Now, the vibe I took from the club is that the people behind the scenes are fully aware of fan desires. They’re fully aware of what people are saying about certain figures at a personal level, and they don’t like it. I get it, the dehumanisation of people you don’t know is quite common in social media. I’ve been on the receiving end of it enough times over the last five and half years… people forget when they’re calling you a cu*t that you’re just a football fan writing a blog for an hour a day. The same has to be said of the people at the club. They’re just doing a job. It just so happens that a job in football opens you up to far more abuse than a job at Pepsi.
Again… football is a passion point. If things aren’t going well, the instant reaction is always to attack. I guess the reason for telling you this is to quell this idea that the club aren’t reading and that they don’t care. You don’t get to the top of a business without caring. Being called a s*it c*nt whatever level of pay you’re on stings.
…back to the story.
The club aren’t there to hoard cash. There’s no reason to do so. 1% interest over the course of a year is worthless to Stan Kroenke… not to mention the tax implications of having too much cash in the bank account. We’ve all seen the extraordinary lengths Amazon and Google have gone to to conceal any shred of profit in this country.
So we keeping up here?
So the finances that are scrutinised by the AST and bloggers like the Swiss Ramble. Guess what? They’re bang on the money. The club aren’t hiding anything. Those figures being bandied around for player purchases… they’re there or there abouts. The club offer up as much of that to the manager as possible. There’s no reason to bank surplus cash at a football club. Every penny they bring in as profit can go on the team. Obviously there has to be certain money apportioned to developing the club as a brand globally… and occasional infrastructure updates. But in the main, that cash is not for a Stan Kroenke smash and grab. It’s too insignificant.
So the money is there…. and the club trust the manager. The club make the purchases, they don’t make the decisions. That’s why they have a £7.5m a year manager in place. Now, if there wasn’t a legacy issue, then they might have more power. But you have to be realisitic, how do you force a manager who gets you into the top 4 every season to purchase players? He’d leave. If he left and things went south for Arsenal. Who’d take the rap? The club… and it would be forceful.
So the manager makes the decisions, the decisions have been pretty poor over the last few seasons and the performances haven’t been acceptable. It’s not just us that see this.
This summer though… and I know what you’re thinking… is going to be different. Firstly, we don’t have any players leaving. Everyone is tied down to a contract, no one is unhappy… so bar the deadwood, the squad stays the same. Now, think whatever you like about us as an elite team… as a team in the league… we have a solid base to build from. The feeling I took from the meeting without drilling down into specifics… and also tugging on insight I’ve had from someone else close to the action is that this summer will see positive improvements… and if thing go really well, the movements could be super positive. The club can’t have empty blobs around the stadium. The sponsors won’t tolerate it. The club need to maximise revenue in the shops. They need to g ive all these new sponsors something their clients can be proud of.
That starts with a team.
The infrastructure has been laid. We’re a Michelin star restaurant that’s been getting away with Tesco’s own brand ingredients. This summer, we have to go out and bring in the Kobe beef. Arsenal have to make a huge impact and I really wouldn’t be surprised if we did. I’m not talking signing Benteke either… think bigger. The feelers are out as of now.
Anyway, I could be totally wrong on this. I could have misread the situation. I could have been taken down the garden path on this one. But ask yourself this… what would be the point? Bring in one of the most disruptive bloggers on Arsenal and make a fool of him. What would be the pay off?
It’ll all come down to the manager at the end of the day… but the perfect storm is brewing for him to make this a final hurrah. If he fails on us again, well, at least you know the intent of the club is to move things forward at some point.
Right… I hope you enjoyed that. See you in the comments.
P.S. Check our the Le Grove Tumblr for some pics.