So, as I sit here waiting for the Arsenal vs. Fenerbahce qualifier to kick of I got thinking about Arsene Wenger, the fans feelings toward him, the predicament he finds himself in and what he can do to rescue himself, if indeed he can.
The more I think, the more I wonder if he is happy? Does he feel he is doing a good job? In fact, has he done a good job?
I am no financial expert, and I certainly do not profess to understand the financial ins and outs of running one of the world’s largest football clubs. Sure, I see it all on face value. I see the club wringing every last pound out of the fans from season tickets, memberships, marble stones everywhere you look, merchandising and food & drink inside the stadium to even charging to be put on waiting lists for season tickets or club level.
The money going into the club must be at the highest it has ever been, but the money being spent always seems to be on the low side when it comes to player acquisition.
But…how much of this frugality has been required to help the transition away from Highbury into the Emirates?
Despite hearing the apologists saying that the footballing landscape has changed, and it certainly has, it does appear that we were fed a line from the club about the need to move in order to compete. That move was 7 years ago. Surely by now we should have been competing in the transfer market more than we have been. I, for one, am disappointed at the lack of activity and to return another profit on our transfer business would be considered as negligence on my part, but with 6 days left, is there time for Wenger to regain the fans trust in him, right the wrongs and restore the faith in him that, let’s be honest, we all had for him during the late nineties and early noughties.
Maybe, maybe he has been doing what is right for the club. The whole ‘He has money’ from the board, to the ‘I don’t have money’ from him was frustrating. The ‘If you gave me £40m to spend I’d give it straight back’ & ‘4th place is a trophy’ comments – were these all a smokescreen for what was really going on, maybe he didn’t have a penny to spend. The club are always going to try and save face wherever they can, it is a large PR machine than needs to keep a lot of people happy and I am a strong believer that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
We have been linked with a whole load of players this transfer window, many of whom have signed for different clubs – the new found ‘In the know’ fools that you find all over social networking sites do nothing more than fuel fans anxiety and frustration and everybody would do well to give these people as little credibility as they deserve – fact is they know nothing. Arsenal has always done its business quietly and I have lost count of how many times we have made a signing that nobody, not even the ITK that professes to have insider information, saw coming.
That said, the past few days have seen us linked with names such as Benzema, Di Maria, Ozil, Rooney and Cabaye and the whole point of this piece was to play devil’s advocate and ask the question….
If Wenger spent the reputed £70m, £80m or £100m, depending on who you listen too, on some ‘top, top quality’ players and mounted a serious challenge for the title, maybe got to the final of the FA Cup and say won the League Cup…would he be forgiven? Would we understand more and be more patient with him? Would his respect, that he absolutely did earn all those years back, be restored?
Or is it too little too late ?