FTK Blog: Man United and Liverpool’s pain is our gain

Arsene Wenger, the most successful manager of Arsenal Football Club, has repeatedly alerted the football world about the cavalier mentality of high spending football clubs and how in the long run a club must live within its means. Despite the growing frustrations that many Gooners have given our current position of not winning trophies, would you rather be in our position or theirs?. This is not about forgetting that we have never won the Champions league and Liverpool’s victory in Istanbul was a marvellous come back, but the current ownership problems, the failure to win the league last season and now the loss of the two cup competitions means that financially Liverpool could find themselves having to sell Torres and Gerrard to make ends meet. Whilst not quite a Leeds United scenario, the absence of a new stadium would mean that they cannot generate the necessary revenues to buy new players. The introduction of youth can sometimes be a risky enterprise. Liverpool’s youth set up is pardon the pun, embryonic and they lack the depth that we at Arsenal can call upon
So who is to blame for the current predicament in the Premier league where Manchester United, formerly the world’s richest club without debts, is now owning up to the financial black hole that many bloggers myself included pointed out many months ago, based upon the Glazer style takeover, where they did not risk their own money to buy the club. Well in my opinion, it is the broadcasters like Sky TV who have created this greed culture by funding the rights packages so generously. This led to the very real prospect of rich owners getting a real return on their investment and this has fuelled the mad dash to try and own football clubs. But this private investment and ownership has a down side. It now seems that by 2017 Manchester United will have a debt of 1.1 BILLION pounds. Had it not been for the 80 million sale of Ronaldo they would have declared a 35 million pound loss to June 2009. They are now having to contemplate selling their training ground in very much the same way that Real Madrid had to, in order to raise vital funds. Manchester United’s inability to pay the interest on their large loans is more likely to result in a Leeds United scenario so watch this space. Manchester United will have to sell Wayne Rooney in 2011 or face major problems, and their youth network rivals Arsenal’s and they have some good prospects to fall back on. But as their exit from the FA Cup demonstrated, you have to find the right mixture of youth and experience.
Which brings me finally to the gain that we at Arsenal Football Club will acquire as two leading members of the former “Big Four” will become more and more unstable. The new kids on the block Manchester City area threat, but they will only replace Liverpool in my view.. So lessons being painfully learnt by our rivals will not have to be applied at the Emirates, because of one person… Arsene Wenger. The gain that I see, is that the impending takeover of Arsenal Football club is less likely to happen any time soon and then if it does happen, the model of the takeover will be food for thought for any Banks involved in the light of the Hicks and Gillette versus the Glazer style of takeover. The other gain will be our elevation to the top of the “Big Four” rankings because of our continuity of playing staff. Our youth members will of course benefit from the introduction of mature stalwarts like Sol Campbell, and provided Arsene Wenger makes the right buys, then even our South London rivals Chelsea will have the pressure of dealing with the absence of any transfer dealings for 12 months once their ban is upheld. Long term their ageing squad will be very expensive to replace all at once as John Terry, Frank Lampard and Drogba go past their peaks.
Here at Arsenal we too have our own problems, but happily those should be dealt with on the training pitch.  What seems clear is that the continuing faults that we as supporters see game in, game out remain as irritating as a thorn in the flesh and that is what causes the fans to express their frustrations. I refer to problems like the zonal marking at set pieces which is one reason for our defensive frailty. Arsenal just cannot keep regular clean sheets. Even when we are playing well the attacking nature of our midfielders leaves us vulnerable to the counter attack. On many occasions we make ordinary teams look deadly and threatening because of our inability to defend as a unit. Even simple set pieces can sometimes be devoid of inspiration and efficacy. We lack a truly specialist dead ball kicker. Taking corners and getting past the first defender is at best 50% and a for delivering the incisive ball into the danger area, we seem continually obsessed with walking the ball into the net with little one-two combinations But as these kids grow and play together they will become an irresistible force to be reckoned with the world over. So realistically I am suggesting that we as Arsenal fans look to 2012 as the beginning of the Arsenal dynasty that we have for so long coveted, if before then we win the odd trophy, so much the better, but patience is a virtue and trusting in Arsene Wenger is a necessity.
Motivating players and man management is a private affair as far as Arsene Wenger’s philosophy appears to indicate. This is because the question of confidence, a fragile commodity in players so young needs to handled carefully. Add to this passion, pride and the desire to win (which are things that the youth possess in abundance)  then they lack the fear to go out and experiment on the field of play. But in so doing they lack the experience to understand their own experimental performances and if the youth are to be criticised then there is too much complacency and a comfort zone which I feel is encouraged by the high wages received by these players. How often do you get the feeling that the players themselves believe that they have so much quality and that all they have to do is keep passing the ball and things will happen. Next time you watch Arsenal, just see how we put ourselves under pressure literally from the kick off. By passing the ball backwards and sideward almost aimlessly until the opposing side have put pressure on the ball and forced it back to our keeper. These faults have easy solutions, where as the financial faults of our two rivals are not so amenable to training ground solutions. I for one am very happy to be an Arsenal fan and now at last the reason for trusting Arsene Wenger should become self evident to all of his critics in the light of the current circumstances at Liverpool and Manchester United.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know