Good morning from me, I hope all is well in the sunshine of this February day. Arsenal vs Liverpool. It’s going to be massive. So dust off that hangover and start getting excited.
First up though, Ray Parlour was in the press talking about Arsenal’s finances. He dropped this little pearler into his Daily Mail column.
‘I understand why supporters are frustrated at the lack of trophies, but there has been an awful lot going on inside the club during that time. I know for a fact Arsene didn’t have a lot of money to spend. It all went into the stadium, trying to pay it off as quickly as they can.’
Now there Ray, this looks like a bit of creative revisionism going on here. Sure, when we moved, Arsenal were broke. We had to defer the Robin Van Persie transfer because we were strapped for cash. However, reading Ray rewriting history feels a bit PR to me.
Firstly, Arsenal are tied into a long term mortgage. So we can’t pay off the stadium early. That’s a total nonsense statement from the off. Secondly, we didn’t have to play the skint card through that period. Stan could have invested some of his billions in the club to give us a cash boost, but he didn’t. Why? Because it didn’t suit him to. The sustainable model simply meant that his investment was worth more when the new commercials dropped.
We’ve also always had a pretty large wage bill. Wages correlate to league position in the main. So while Wenger has done a good job over the years, he hasn’t exactly performed miracles. He’s spent less on transfers, but he’s spent a shedload of cash on wages. So much so, he cleared £500k a week off our books last summer by shifting deadwood that didn’t play.
Someone made an interesting point about transfers. Whilst the manager hasn’t had cash like City, he has had funds, he just hasn’t spent it particularly well. The summer we missed out on Chelsea, Arsene opted instead to spend £24m on a teenager from league one and Gervinho. One went on to be twice player of the year for Chelsea, the other two… well, one is in Italy after being a total flop, the other is still trying to make his mark.
Point is, Arsenal can’t plead poverty. We’ve just been impoverished compared to Chelsea and City. During that same time, Ferguson, using sustainable funds, more than matched them. So whilst money is important, it’s not the only factor that drives success.
Onto today. Liverpool. It’s going to be a tough game. I’m not hugely confident if I’m honest. Their two strikers are going to be a nightmare and I fear that away from home, they might turn it on.
Still, we’ve both had a week off. Both teams will be energised and well drilled. So the encounter doesn’t have any excuses wrapped around it. The better team will win. On paper, that’s us. How that plays out in reality is another story. Brendan Rodgers has injected a new belief into that Liverpool side. Today is a cup final for his boys. If they lose, they’re out of the title race. If they win, they close the gap and they’ll get a boost of momentum.
For Arsenal, a loss and the next 3 weeks start to look depressing. Win and it could be the start of something glorious. It’s a massive game for both side and the game has epic written all over it!
Right, see you in the comments, enjoy the game!