The Vagaries of Supporting Arsenal

April 9, 2015

There is a lightness of spirit among Arsenal fans, particularly bloggers, at the moment, and the cause of this happy state of affairs is clearly linked to the welcome turn of events in the past few weeks which finds us perched high on the tree in the lofty position of second. Yay!

Cast your minds back, for a moment, to a bleak Thursday, on the 1st January this year to be exact, when we were convincingly larruped 2 : 0 by Southampton as a result of some extremely dodgy goalkeeping, so folklore has it, for which our then No.1 Keeper was roundly abused, and is still paying the price having been deposed as the main man.

Wasn’t it also just a short while ago when Chezzer was being hailed as one of the best keepers in the Premier League? Even Enn Gee said it was a ‘no-brainer’.

But fans are fickle, and such an accolade soon became an orphan with no one prepared to own to it — after all, no one likes lame brain ideas – or confused goalkeepers – do they?

It’s one of life’s little oddities, don’t you find, that when things are going poorly for a football team there is an almost universal chorus of complaints from committed fans, or should that read disgruntled larrikins, as encapsulated in the rather unpleasant game of ‘find the scape goat’, and to enthusiastically hurl abuse at the selected victim, and feeling better by dumping their frustrations and vitriol on the goat curry. [Goat curry – where did that come from – Enn Gee will know as it is probably another no-brainer – mine hurts sometimes – so I must have one, somewhere.]

Anyway, back to matters current – It seems that we just cannot function without finding a target, no matter how innocent – someone upon whom to vent our more base feelings, especially as it can safely be done far from any possible retaliation.

Hours of internet blogging are devoted to dissecting the team, the tactics and the supposed attitude of the club towards spending lots of lovely lolly on acquiring, or not acquiring, the latest fad for a sooper-dooper player

That largesse with splashing the cash is made much easier, of course, when the money in question is not your own.

I would not be surprised if you had heard something along the lines of; “I would not pay him more than £120k per week” says the man earning the average wage of £400 per week, or – “He is worth every penny of that £50m transfer fee” quoth the man who would need to work 2,500 lifetimes to earn the money he has so cavalierly advised the club to lash the cash on just one player, and all at the stroke of a pen. Someone else’s pen – someone else’s cash — as for other players he/they deem be essential, he will have plenty of advice on their salaries and how much they are worth in the transfer market too, no problem.

Then, naturally, when the club buy the player he has been so desperate for them to spend their money on – say – a £42m transfer fee – with the commensurate £40m salary spread over 4 years, on -say – Özil – just for example, you understand – and the acquired player is subsequently deemed not to be as good as expected, or is not trying hard enough, or is showing little interest, or is too lazy, or is just too ……… (fill in the blanks) – despite evidence to the contrary – then the same people will declare that the club has wasted good money on him, which has allegedly come out of their season ticket!! Yee Gods!!

Enough. We are happy – aren’t we? Second, and yet to meet the Chavs – everything is possible isn’t it, so what is to stop us from dreaming of the top spot?

Wait! Hold the ‘phone! What is this I am hearing on the blog vine?

We-have-not-improved-year-on-year.

It-is-only-the-weakness-of-other-teams-which-has-allowed-us-to-go-second.

Sheesh – what I mistook for a lightness of spirit due to our lofty position near the top of the table, is in fact a delight, in some quarters, at being able to trot out some half-assed derogatory assessment of the ‘real worth’ of our recent winning streak.

Apparently. it is not that we are playing well, and Özil and co are showing their true worth – no – it is because the other teams are crap. Seriously?

Apparently this assessment does not apply to the Chavs who are deemed worthy leaders of the league, it seems – presumably because they play different teams to the ones we meet every week?

Well, mock outrage aside, I do not really care about the inexplicable attitudes of others towards my team.

No. For me, I am simply enjoying the return to the joyous style of football that we seemed to have forsaken for a while back there, and the fact that there is a more resolute attitude displayed by our defence in recent times is welcome too, and does not in any way detract from our attacking virtuosity, but adds its own subtle nuances to our overall gameplay.

Fortunately, AA is an oasis of calm and there is a genuinely upbeat attitude towards the club, the team and the manager.

Long may it stay so! [It’s a ‘no-brainer’, innit?]

Arsenal forever. Come on you Gooners!! 🙂

written by Red Arse


Arsenal; Money and The changing Face of Football

August 13, 2010

Written by Red Arse

Money! Money! Money! Like it says in the song “Money makes the world go around”

So, from the point of view of the fan, what has this to do with the Mighty Arsenal, you might ask? Well let’s see. There are three main characteristics in play when referring to money in football;

Envy:

We use the term in an envious way when talking about Chelski or Manure in particular. How often have you heard the phrases “They bought their way to the Title”, or “Without Abramovich’s money they would have gone bust” or “They bought the Title by hugely increasing their debt”. All of it true, perhaps, but certainly when seen from the perspective of the little green eyed monster. Money!

Pride:

We are all secretly, and maybe openly, as proud as punch when the Media announce we have the best stadium, or, perhaps, one of the best stadiums in the world. This was made possible by moving the ground to a new site and investing money into a project to develop the old Stadium into modern, expensive, domestic housing for sale at a hoped for great profit.

Suddenly, we were all puffing our chests out like entrepreneurs and talking about the property market and calculating the size of the resultant debt against the returns from the venture in boosting the club’s coffers. Money!

Awe and Incomprehension:

We are all aware of the fact that players cost clubs millions of pounds to buy. We also try to digest the enormity of their monetary salary rewards by breaking down these earnings into weekly amounts. Leaving aside the salaries of the top, top players who reputedly earn as much as £200,000 per week, we also are aware that “average” players can earn around £80,000 per week. That equates to approximately £4,200,000 per year. Over a player’s career of 12 years, that works out at £50,400,000. Yes over £50,000,000! Awesome Money!

Compare that to the average Joe who would be reasonably happy to earn £50,000 per annum. A simple 12 year gross earnings total would be £600,000, which is only a tiny 1.2% of the average player’s income over that period. But wait, the average Joe has to pay tax and N.I. too, which, less allowances, would roughly equal a 30% deduction on his salary amounting to £15,000, leaving a net yearly take home of £35,000, about half the player’s gross weekly wage.

Ah, you say, the player would have to pay huge taxes on his huge salary and that will balance things up. But no, his salary is calculated, in large part, on income received from the sale of his image rights, which are treated as non taxable! Incomprehensible Money!

………..Oh get to the point. We are where we are, it is what it is, and we can do nothing about it.

Well, I have got to agree with that sentiment. So I thought I would try to help Arsenal better fund this expenditure on infrastructure and players. How can we make more MONEY?

One of the greatest changes in English Club football has been to the demographics of their support. We are all familiar with the old black and white films showing supporters “Up for t’Cup”. Almost without exception these supporters were men. Nowadays, most women are financially independent and with the move away from standing terraces to seating and the new stadiums with their much improved facilities, there has been a huge increase in the number of women supporting their clubs. They are every bit as passionate, knowledgeable and vociferous as their male counter parts, and for the clubs they provide a welcome boost to their income. The clubs invested money into their infrastructures and reaped the benefits.

Another huge change to the Clubs’ income, perhaps its biggest, has been its UK and European television revenues.

In addition, television now enables almost every PL game to be shown around the Globe, and this is one area where Arsenal are sadly lagging behind the more enterprising clubs in making themselves available to fans, and potential new fans, elsewhere in the world.

All fans want to see their favourites in the flesh, and even the lower clubs in the PL are making tours to Africa, China, and America. The impact of this is that they are reaping the benefits of increasing numbers of fans and the sale of merchandise to them.

In the future, as television penetrates deeper into these markets, the TV revenue available will increase tenfold for those clubs who have made the effort and gained a toehold now, which will boost their share of the pot in later years.

In addition, revenue from the sale of football kit and memorabilia will produce potentially millions of pounds extra from the associated merchandising of the club and its players through the sale of image rights.

There are at least 2 billion people in the Middle East, Africa, China and America who are potential football fans and if Arsenal managed to get just 1% of these as fans and received only £1 extra revenue from each of them, that would amount to a £20,000,000 increase in their income. Only 1% paying only £1 = £20m! Imagine if this was 10% = £200m? Amazing Money!

So my advice is “Move your arse-nal Mr Gazidis and tell Arsène to pull his finger out and give Austria a miss in the pre-season — tour the world instead”!

Money, Money, Money, makes the world go around!