Well what a frantic day you guys had on Tuesday chewing over Rasp’s super article. Sorry I missed it.
I will start by stating the blindingly obvious. I am an Arsenal supporter first, a Wenger fan second but do not believe in recent years the first would have been half as enjoyable without the super skills of the second. I am not blind and am happy to concede he, like all of us, has faults
But having read the comments again on Wednesday including those questioning Wengers integrity, I thought a view from a different perspective might provide a cold shower of reality .
What then is Arsenal FC? It was a works football team that has grown into a multinational, multi million pound business, that manages and markets football teams of the same name, the most well known and important of which plays in the English Premier league, at a purpose built stadium in North London, but many other teams of all ages from 10 to 18, including the most successful woman’s team in the country play in the Arsenal shirt.
Arsène Wenger is employed to manage the playing side of the company under a contract agreed with the board of the Holding company. His brief, as with all senior managers of large companies, is to manage the budget agreed with and approved by the board and to meet the targets laid down by the same board. His remuneration in all probability is a basic salary, with bonuses for meeting the above criteria. Arsenal FC is first and last a business.
The above is not the fans view of Arsenal, too most of them it is not just a football club; it is their football club and in many cases the single most important thing in their life. They buy their expensive season tickets and believe this gives them a say in the running of the club The whole idea of business and profit is an anathema to them, compared to the real business of winning not just football matches, but trophies. Trophies have become the Holy Grail for these fans who see the club almost in terms of a religion and thus the Emirates as a Cathedral.
Like all companies, Arsenal FC’s board have a duty to their shareholders to maximise the return on capital and drive the share price, for this reason from time to time statements are made or issued by management or through marketing. It may well be that these are more a statement of intent than fact. Their purpose is to enhance the profile of the club and protect the share price. This does not make anyone a liar, intentions change as markets change.
They have no obligation whatsoever to inform the fans, unless they are shareholders, of the state of the budget and what is available for transfers, in fact from a business viewpoint it makes no sense at all to tell your potential suppliers the thickness of your wallet.
Of course fans, certainly corporate fans are very important to clubs as they provide the base to support the marketing efforts, buying products, shirts, programmes or hospitality often on Arsenal branded credit cards an increasingly important way of generating profit for clubs.
Fans are customers, whether they like it or not. Bums on seats. No different to a ticket holder at the cinema or theatre, they are there to watch an entertainment. The vast majority of fans have not and will not, ever visit the Stadium, but their spend is enormous. They are the future. The world-wide potential that is driven by television is mind-blowing and makes the Arsenal season ticket holder pale into insignificance. Of course all that cash from 60 thousand fans every week is important and the atmosphere itself is a part of the package sold to TV.
So Wenger or No Wenger, you will be told what the club wants you to know or what the board feels is in the best interest of the share price. Don’t shoot the messenger, he is doing what is right for the Company, as well as producing some very attractive Product