Is it important to win the Community Shield?

Short answer: No

Long answer: The Community shield is no more than a glorified friendly. It is not a major, it is not even an honour. Those that portray it to be so are clutching to straws, trying to add to their clubs trophy count.

The Community Shield is a curtain raiser. An aperitif. An Hors d’oeuvres. Clubs in the Community Shield usually reduce the amount of friendlies they play by one, as clubs use it to prepare for what is important, the start of the Premier League the weekend after. The fact that you can make 6 substitutions shows that it is not a competitive game.

I do not know when people started to count the Community Shield as a trophy, but my first memory was Liverpool in 2001. The year their fans claimed to have won “5 trophies in 1 season”. Despite 2 of these trophies being glorified friendlies (Community Shield and UEFA Super Cup) and both being in the season after they won a poor mans treble.

I guess where counting the Community Shield comes out of desperation. Liverpool fans in 2001 included it as they were jealous of Manchester United’s treble 2 years earlier. They attempted to show winning 5 trophies in 1 season 2 seasons was superior to Manchester United’s treble. It wasn’t.

Manchester United took it a step further a few years later. Having overtaken Liverpool’s English League Champions haul, Liverpool fans were quick to point out that they had still won more major honours then United, by the time the FA Cup, League Cup, European Cup and minor European trophies were taken into account. In response, Manchester United fans added their 20 Community Shields to their total plus other glorified global friendlies to show that they were England’s most successful club with 62 honours to Liverpool’s 60.

In a world where everyone gets their statistics from Wikipedia, the site has now included the likes of the Community Shield, the UEFA Super Cup & the FIFA Club World Cup in their list of Most England’s Most Successful Clubs. Everyone knows, deep down, that these do not really matter.

Arsenal fans went a bit OTT over last years victory against Manchester City. After 10 years with no trophy, being able to celebrate “2 trophies in 4 months” was too much for some fans. They celebrated the Community Shield victory a little bit too hard.

A trip to Wembley is always a good day out, no matter what you are going there for, but celebrating the Community Shield and treating it like an honour is something done by the desperate. I am sure back in the 90s & 00s, Manchester United fans did not care about the Community Shield, but after a few barren years, they will cling to it as their last trophy won as if it was a major honour.

Of course, there is more than just the trophy on offer. The Community Shield is an opportunity to see where you are for the forthcoming season. A victory will create optimism within the fans, that this year could be our year. A defeat and the bright clouds of pre-season will soon be darkened.

Last season, Arsenal beating Manchester City comfortably showed to the side and fans that they can compete, and I am sure the victory was one reason why we played so well in both games against them and did not lose either.

This season, it is an opportunity to test ourselves against Chelsea. A chance for Arsene Wenger to finally beat Jose Mourinho. For Arsenal to beat Chelsea for the first time in 8 games. Then again, it is not a competitive game, so will it really count? Probably not. Depends how desperate you are.

As for it setting you up well for the season, showing you where you are, the truth is the CSPLCommunity Shield has very little bearing on who wins the league. Since the turn of the century, the Community Shield Winners have gone on to win the Premier League 5 times. That is just 5 times in 15 years.

And that is boasted by 5 times in 6 years. It is clear that the Community Shield has very little bearing on the winner of the Premier League.

In 2013/14, Manchester United won the Community Shield. United fans went into hysteria, creating all sorts of meme’s showing that David Moyes had won 1 trophy in in the 3 months he had been at the club, whilst Arsene Wenger had not won a trophy at Arsenal in 10 years. Fast forward 9 months, Arsenal were at Wembley lifting the FA Cup, whilst Moyes had been sacked and Manchester United finishing 7th.

The Community Shield is a good day out. It is sunny, it is a laugh, meet up with the lads who you haven’t seen for a few months, have a few beers and get back into the swing of things. But the result? It does not really matter.

Is it important to win the Community Shield? No.


10 things Arsenal could buy for £200million

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale & Sergio Aguero

Whilst Lord Harris said that we could not buy the ‘Worlds Best’ Arsenal could actually afford the combined transfer feee of Cristiano Ronalo, Gareth Bale and Sergio Aguero. Now if only we could afford their wages…

  1. Liverpool

Well, not quite Liverpool, but in the last 2 seasons, they have spent £184,300,000 on players. Add in Mamadou Sakho, signed in 2013, and that is the £200,000,000 spent.  16 players signed, including 5 new strikers

  1. Ajax

The Dutch club are worth £183m according to Forbes. Adding the Dutch clubs 4 Champions League’s to Arsenal honours board is well worth the money. With the remaining £17m, Arsenal could build a replica of Amsterdam’s famous De Wallen district

  1. 2 x Eurofighter Typhoon

At an estimated cost of £100m each, Arsenal could buy two Eurofighter Typhoon’s, the aircraft used by the RAF. The club could make money back by hiring them out to fans to display their banner of choice over the stadium.

  1. Greece

With Greece set to go bankrupt, Arsenal should offer the EU £200m to buy the country. Surely a country of 11 million people has a decent defensive midfielder somewhere.

  1. Two private Islands + Private Yatch

Arsenal could buy Rangyai Island in Thailand (£100m) & Pumpkin Key in Florida (£7m) and have enough left to buy the £80m the Northern Star Luxury Superyacht  to travel between the two.

  1. Lewis Hamilton as team coach driver for 6 years

Hamilton has recently signed a £100m 3 year deal with Mercedes. I am sure he would much prefer to driver the Arsenal coach for 6 years. Much safer.

  1. The AA

“The fourth emergency service” have recently announced a £200m share placing. Arsenal could buy all of these shares. We like 4th place.

  1. 200 pairs of diamond encrusted Beats by Dr. Dre headphones

Diamonds? Check. Headphones? Check. A footballers two favourite accessories. At £1m each, Arsenal could give the next 200 signings a pair of Graff Diamonds Beats headphones. They are studded with 114 carats of diamonds.

  1. Arsene Wenger – A 25 year contract

Arsenal could tie up Arsene Wenger for the next 25 years, which is how long the £200m would last based on his current £8m a year salary. Imagine the outrage.


Arsenal’s £200m War Chest – The Truth

So Arsenal director Lord Harris of Peckham has announced to the world that “there’s over £200million in the bank.” As expected, this has led to the usual Twitter brains demanding we “spend some F’ing money” and the usual lazy journalists leading with headlines such as The Expresses  “Arsenal’s £200m War Chest.”

The fact is, Arsenal having £200m available for transfers is a big myth. We do not.

Yes, it is correct that we have £200m in the bank, but this is not unusual for this time of year. Season ticket money has just been paid, alongside lump sums of sponsorships and other incomes. I bet if you look at every club throughout the Premier League, they are all cash rich at the moment – bar Liverpool who have spent everything.

Now every adult will know, having money in the bank is very different to having money to spend.

For those who get paid monthly, you will be aware of this scenario.

You get paid on the 31st of the month, it so happens to be a Friday. You have £2,000 sitting in your bank account. Your bills go out on the 1st of the month – your mortgage, your car lease, your TV licence, your Sky Subscription, your utilities, your monthly travel card, etc. As the 1st is a Saturday, these bills will not come out of your bank until the Monday. These expenses come to £1,500.

So what do you do? Go out with the work mates on Friday? Sit in the sun drinking all evening, before heading to Rainbow’s Sports Bar on Shoreditch High Street. Wake up Saturday morning, round of golf with the lads, before an all day session leading to you ending up buying Champagne for everyone in a bar in Islington, getting home 5am Sunday morning. Sleeping off the booze, having KFC for lunch and a Chinese for dinner.

Throw in a few taxi’s and that new driver you bought playing golf, you have had a turn out, of a weekend, a stag do of a weekend even.

You check your bank balance on Monday morning. Your bills have gone out, and then it hits you, you spent a little too much over the weekend. Your bank balance currently sits at -£245. And it is another 27 days until pay day, and you have not bought any food yet.

Looks like you will be leaving off rice and ketchup for the month and not going out again.

The fact is, despite their being money in the bank, this does not mean you have all the money to spend. You have outgoings as well as incomings. You need to budget for those outgoings. Whether it is short term like your phone bill, or long term like saving for Thailand next year. And this is the same with business.

Lord Harris sells carpets for a living. When he sells a rug, does he go off and buy cocaine and champagne to celebrate? No. Because he knows he needs that money as he has a bill to pay to his rug suppliers for the latest delivery. The £199 he got for that gastly Persian rug is already earmarked for other things.

And football is also the same.

Arsenal might have £200m in the bank at this moment in time, but from that money, they need to budget, not just for the month, but for the year.

In the 2013/14 accounts, Arsenal’s operating expenses were £250m. This included £166m in staff costs. Also known as wages.

So Arsenal are sitting there, with £200m in the bank, but know they have to pay out £166m in wages over the next year. And in other costs associated with running the club, such as ground maintenance, policing costs, and buying the tea for the tea lady to serve, that £200m soon disappears.

Obviously Arsenal still have more money to come in, mainly from sponsorship and TV – the turnover (ie money in) during 2013/14 was £300m, This will cover further costs and leave money left over for transfers.

Arsenal know what they have to spend in their bank on transfer. They are not stupid businessmen. They run FTSE 250 companies, they have been Director’s of the Bank of England, they are self-made billionaires, they are Oxford educated. They know what they are doing.

I am sure they know a darn site more than an unemployed benefit claimant on twitter shouting ‘Spend some F’ing money’ who is probably up to his eyeballs in debt due to over spending and not having a clue about budgeting. Or the fan who lives his life online, bought Karim Benzema for Arsenal from Lyon on Football Manager 10 years ago and does not understand why Arsenal do not simply offer £100m for a player, and when it comes to negotiating the contract, click the players name, change the big to £0, click back and offer the player the contract. Messi on a free, it’s easy on a computer game (is this glitch still on the game?)

Arsenal have £200m in the bank, that is correct. But they do not have £200m to spend. The figure, according to the Arsenal Supporters Trust,  is closer to £60m. Yes, we could debate why that money has not yet been spent, but that is another blog for another time.

In summary, ignore the sensationalist headlines, we do not have a £200m war chest, and if you think we do, enjoy eating rice and ketchup every month.