The Arsenal Stadium Mystery

Arsene Wenger has £30 million pounds to spend, on one players if he so desires, so says the board. Don’t believe me, here are Danny Fiszman’s words: “If he said to us ‘I want this guy and he’s £30m, can I buy him?’ the answer is yes. Absolutely yes.” 
That appears to be the rub though, people do not believe the noises coming out of the club anymore. Now, I do not know Danny Fiszman well enough to start slandering him here. I do know that when the opportunity was there to sell out for big money, he decided not to and stuck with the club; more than can be said for David Dein who somehow retains a bit of credibility amongst some fans. I actually met DD once, an absolute gentleman, but it is all about money, from the maroon chauffeur driven Bentley, through the phonebook size wad of 50’s inside his money clip.
Now there are some fans that will see this as crass attempt at PR to deflect attention away from the fact the club has not bought anyone. If this is the case it lays a huge amount of pressure on the manager, essentially making him a fall guy for a situation beyond his control. I say beyond his control, because the perceived wisdom is that we are broke, with the credit crunch eating our finances alive and turning the new stadium into the world’s fanciest tomb stone. If this is the case and Fiszman is lying, it demands that you believe the manager accepts being lied about, or is complicit in some sort of slapstick scam designed to buy time until the next transfer window. I see all that as rather far fetched to be frank.
In his interview Fiszman responded to those people who think that way:
“I hear all the time that we have no money, but I just wish someone would take the time to look at our accounts. This is a proper business which produces its own cash and lives or dies by its performances. Our net payments are £20 million and the revenue increase from the new stadium is close to £50 million. Explain to me how that stadium is a drain on the club, when it produces an extra £30 million a year.
This constant suggestion that the stadium is bleeding us dry is crap.”    
Until someone produces an analysis of the clubs accounts, they get published on the clubs website every year, that contradicts this then I think fair enough. There are many very clever people good with numbers, like the editor of this site, who follow Arsenal football club with a passion; if the fix was in someone would know.
At a time when money is scarce across the economy, we look like the safest of all the big 4 teams. Even banks are starting to look at one-another shiftily, asking who will be the next to do a Northern Rock and admit they got caught up in the idea that recessions were a thing of the past and Chinese loans would forever prop up the US economy. Liverpool are a shambles, they clearly couldn’t finance the signings the coach wanted and eventually his constant gripes about it will cost him his job. Manure are living on bank loans and that will catch up with them eventually. Chelsea don’t need a living, they have daddy’s trust fund, but wait until father and toy fall out and then we’ll see; that wont go on forever.
So why then can we not get a decent defensive midfielder and purchased some alien headed calamity to be our imposing centre-back? Why does Wenger come out and say he wants a new CB then back tracks on it? Why does he oscillate between wanting only super players and believing in the team’s quality as it is? Why have the mixed signals and contradictions coming out of the club led people to believe that they are being lied to?
Not because of any spin, what nonsense. Why would a club selling out its stadium even in the face of economic downturn, with queues of fans at the shops when new shirts go on sale, feel the need to lie to pacify the Australian supporters association or whoever else follows the club by squeezing there inflated sense of self-importance into a replica kit occasionally then moaning? The core fan base of the club is very solid and loyal; they do not need to tell us tales.
I think this is down to Wenger. We get mixed messages because Wenger is taking a massive gamble this year and he has doubts at first. Every time there is a question asked of the team he raises the idea of buying, as at the end of last season with the defence, but eventually decides to stick with what he has. He has this notion in his head that he can win the league on the cheap with kids, but it is a big ask and he gets nervous. Over time though he sticks to his principles, that he can is a reflection of the security he has in his job, although that may fade this year. If he were under real pressure, not just the self-imposed form, he might go and spend, play it safe if you like. But Wenger isn’t, his job is safe and probably for much longer than we realise as fans; the board love Wenger.
Whether this is a good situation or an insipid one results will tell, but in the mean time I think we will continue to see Wenger changing his mind as he thinks of blinking on his gamble then stands pat. Of course I trust Arsene to know and think he has earned our trust, but maybe not everyone does. Comments as ever welcome – keep the faith. 

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