A great deal has been written about the perceived troubles at our beloved club, almost seven years without a trophy, the inability to retain our best players, the difficulty in signing top drawer talent and moving on the under-performing squad members.
All of the above are valid reasons for some fans to feel aggrieved and to call for change or in some cases even revolution.
The one major thing that stands out at Arsenal Football Club is “stability”. Throughout the sixty odd years during which I have been a supporter, and for at least sixty years before that, our club has been a model of good management and good business sense, the club has always done things “the Arsenal way”.
During all that time there have been periods when results have not gone our way, when the football served up has been below par and when the trophies have dried up. when that happened the club went about it’s business in a quiet, even secretive way, and made the changes necessary to correct the failings. By their efforts the board created Arsenal’s reputation as a solid stable, but not stagnant, organisation.
With the coming of Sky TV and the Premiership the whole face of top level football changed, suddenly money flooded into the game and with it came increased transfer fees, increased wages and fans increased expectations. The lure of Champions League football only added to the pressure on clubs to succeed.
Club owners desperate to avoid relegation swapped their managers as regularly as their socks. Promoted club’s ambitions were limited to survival and good managers, who had won them that promotion, were sacked when survival looked in danger. At the top end of the league clubs spent more and more on players deemed to be better than those they already had and it became fashionable to make “marquee” signings, as though a “big name” alone would guarantee a trophy.
In order to compete in the lunacy that the Premiership represents Arsenal were forced to build a new stadium to increase revenues and we all know where that led.
The threat of UeFa’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules hangs over clubs like the Sword of Damocles. Fail to stay within the FFP bounds and suffer the consequences.
Arsenal will post a profit of around £55 million for the past year, check out our rivals and see which of them can even get near to profitability. It is galling to many fans that profit seems to be more important than success on the field but with the present state of football finance a certain level of prudence is essential.
Like it or not, I suspect that the club will continue with it’s prudent policy at least until the vast majority of the debts have been repaid. Only then may we see the purse strings loosened although, there are reports that Stan Kroenke may be willing to add up to £50 million to the £55 million already available to fund Wenger’s rebuilding plan.
When looking around other clubs in other leagues it’s hard to miss the problems at Glasgow Rangers, the biggest club in Scottish football, and Portsmouth both of which have gone into administration in the past week.
Should we as fans push the board to borrow and spend or should we back the board in it’s determination to provide stability?