Having been brought up steeped in the Arsenal tradition and having a knee-jerk reaction of antipathy towards the call for a “sugar daddy,” I am forced to ask myself “why am I so against them?”
Are Man City a worse club just because they have “bought” the league? Are they any different to Man United who have a €35m player sitting next to a number of €15m players on the bench? Or striking closer to home, an Arsenal Invincible team with only one non-purchased player (Ashley)?
There has been much discussion about the relative merits of the two billionaires vying for control of OUR club. Frankly, I am ambivalent as which one has the controls because all I care about is The Arsenal and as long as there are checks and balances in place, either of the two evils will do. Neither has any Arsenal genes, both are successful businessmen, both are absent owners. and I doubt if either could explain the Offside rule.
Would an oligarch allow us to play Wengerball without winning trophies? Looking at Chelsea and Abra one would have to say No. Pragmatism, huge good fortune and boring, boring football won the CL. If Abramovich wants to play expansive football he has the resources to buy the players (though Hazard and Mata indicate he means to).
Sadly, one must conclude that these mega-rich owners are the best route to Silverware. So, is it possible without a billionaire at the helm?
Has any club succeeded in this quest? Well, we only have to look beyond the Pond to see it is possible. Montpelier’s laudable winning of La Ligue is proof a well-run club can compete against the Billionaires. So too in Germany where B Dortmund have repeated their Bundesliga triumph without buying hugely expensive players – though BD are publicly owned.
Will FFP enable smaller clubs to succeed. One can hope so but in my experience the rich get richer. The difficulties of breaking into the Top 4 are there for all to see.
Can what I think of as The Arsenal Way really compete in this new era?
What is the Arsenal Way? Timmy describes it as “Sound management, beautiful display of football mastery, Charity, Good Neighbourliness and Touches of influence to the poor “. To be honest there has been some considerable inconsistency in the “football mastery” but the commitment is there. I think the Arsenal Way is – honesty, class, calm under pressure, integrity, intelligence, respect and history.
Having spent some time thinking about this as I write this post, my conclusion has changed – If it is possible to find someone willing to plough millions into the club on a non-profit basis (like the Mansours) and then adhere to the customs and traditions of The Arsenal, I would welcome him with open arms. I don’t see Man City fans being embarrassed about how they won the title.
But wouldn’t it be so much sweeter if we become the BD/Montpelier of English football?
Written by Big Raddy