A great man once said “do you like Arsenal? Or just Arsenal with trophies”.
I was reminded by what Dennis Bergkamp said as I scrolled through social media on Monday following Sunday’s disappointing draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
It was like suddenly we were transported back 12 months ago, with the fan complaining, moaning and criticism that defined the end of the end of the Arsene Wenger era.
One comment I saw that really resonated with was that this Arsenal was the Arsenal they fell in love with. That their Arsenal “were a winning Arsenal not just making up the numbers”. This was amongst many tweets that I read they made me realise that some of our fans will never be happy unless we are winning trophies.
But it is not just trophies that they want. It is these trophies. The Premier League, the Champions League.
These same people complained that winning the FA Cup was not good enough. So it is not that they only love Arsenal with trophies; they love Arsenal with league titles.
We all spent 6 months or more (I saw one idiot saying he has been Wenger Out since 2001!). That change has come.
Arsene Wenger. GONE. Ivan Gazidis GONE. Majority of the coaching staff. GONE. And in his come Unai Emery, with his own staff, alongside Raul Sanllehi and Sven Mislintat. Change has happened, and Arsenal have moved forward.
But some of these fans have seemingly not moved forward. They demanded “Time to Change” but they have not changed themselves.
They are on to the next one. Criticising the players, already on the managers back. Moaning that the club did not spend enough money, and demanding Stan Kroenke to put in his billions or leave.
And it is billions that Kroenke would have to put in.
We have all read the stories about Manchester City and the £2.7bn investment that Sheikh Mansoor has put into the club. It is with that huge investment that has enabled Manchester City to have one of the strongest 25 man squads seen in the game.
Yesterday Arsenal looked short on the bench. On game changers. Manchester City’s starting XI was without Kevin de Bruyne, Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sane, Gabriel Jesus & Ilkay Gundogan. These 5 players would start for every Premier League side. And City brushed aside Manchester United 3-1 without them starting.
These fans who are moaning will not be happy until we win the title. City is what we need to match, need to beat, to win the title. I think anyone who would expect an owner to put in £2.7bn, to write it off, are completely unreasonable. There are two sides in world football doing this at the moment. City and PSG.
The fact that fans also think Kroenke has the spending power to compete shows how naive they are when it comes to business, and net worth.
Forbes estimate Kroenke to be worth $8.5bn (£6.5m). But this is net worth, this is not how much spare cash he has under his sofa.
This worth is tied up in hundreds of investments. From personal homes and ranches, to various sports clubs around the world. The recent buy out of Arsenal shares valued the club at £1.8bn. That is 27% of Kroenke’s net worth.
For Kroenke to be able to put up the kind of money Manchester City have spent, he would have to take huge loans against his businesses. Against Arsenal.
Would you be happy Kroenke mortgaging Arsenal further to the hilt to win a league title? I certainly wouldn’t.
Imagine the outcry if it was announced Kroenke was taking a £1bn loan out against Arsenal to spend on transfers, salaries and more. It is that kind of action that could make Arsenal the next Leeds or Portsmouth. Where you are in debt up to your eyeballs.
Matching Manchester City’s spending power is just not realistic.
“but Liverpool are challenging”.
You are right, Liverpool are unbeaten and just 2 points behind Manchester City after 12 games. But last season they finished 25 points behind them in 4th place.
They were also in 4th place the year before, 17 points behind champions Chelsea (and just 1 point ahead of Arsenal). So how about we judge if Liverpool have put up a title challenge once we are in the business end of the season.
Also, by putting Liverpool as the example of a side competing makes it even more silly that fans are already getting on the back of Emery.
Jurgen Klopp is in his 4th season at Liverpool. He has had 6 transfer windows. Spent over £380m. It we are going to compare Emery to Klopp, should we not give the Spaniard the same time the German has had before becoming critical?
In his 3 completed seasons at Liverpool, Klopp has led them to 8th, 4th & 4th with no trophies won. It is odd that the fans who are moaning that we currently sit 5th. That Arsenal without trophies is not the Arsenal they love; yet they praise a Liverpool side that has not won anything in a decade.
Most sensible fans would have known that it would take Emery more than 6 months and one transfer window to fix Arsenal.
We are still a left back, a centre back and 2 wingers short of being a side that would compete for second (and another £2.5bn off a team that could be champions).
Klopp has had the time to build Liverpool in his vision. He has spent big on the likes of Allison, Virgil van Dijk & Mo Salah. Arsenal will make these signings as time goes on. But we can not expect us to go out and spend £250m in one transfer window to immediately close the gap.
A final thought is right now fans will say but what about Leicester.
It is about time the fans realised that Leicester was a one off. And one of the main reasons they won the league was because of Manchester City’s failure.
Leicester won the league with 81 points. City got just 66 points that season.
To put that into perspective, Arsenal got just 3 points less (63) last season than City did in Leicester’s title winning season.
I am of the feeling that for teams to finish above City, you firstly need them to have a poor season. You could have a brilliant season, get 85+ points, and City will be near or above the 90 point mark.
Emery needs time. The new Arsenal regime need time.
If you are not willing to give the new management team time; or demand that we replicate Manchester City style spending, then you clearly do not love Arsenal. You only love Arsenal with trophies.
Well said mate!!!
Excellent article! You speak sense, sir.
Agree with every word to a point. Buy I also believe a good coach and good players makes titles happen Pep will want another project. We didn’t win a title for a long time until the double winning side of 70-71. We will come again. Ooh 2 be. !
Well written, and sensible article.
I’m going to approach the support “through transition phase” from another angle i.e. the level of vocal support in the stadium.
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE get to your seats at least 15 minutes before kick off to at least attempt to get an atmosphere going in the stadium.
Don’t glare at individuals who dare to open their mouths in order to get behind the team and offer vocal support – who knows, you might actually feel impassioned and enjoy joining in !
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t go for your pie 5 minutes before the half time whistle, and arrive back from the same 5 minutes late for the second half ! If you are so naïve not to realize queuing an integral part of the whole match day experience where have you been – obviously not at the Emirates !
PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE stay on until the final whistle. However the team have performed we should be seen to be of a level of support that is in line with where we believe we should be in terms of standing in the game, and to fully support and get behind Unai Emery’s vision for the club.
The couple next to us left 20 MINUTES EARLY on Sunday (Wolves).
This because we were one down, curious day visitors who decided they “didn’t like the experience” or had somewhere they simply had to get to and at least came for 70 minutes (doubt it)???? who knows ?
As for journeys – we all have them. Mine is just under a 3 hour main line journey, again part of the whole day – please don’t leave early to accommodate this, after all you came to support the Arsenal.. didn’t’ you ?
What can be worse than being a player showing your appreciation to the crowd at the end of (hopefully) a hard fought game when the stadium is half empty.
So to re-cap, we have to “up our game” as supports across the board.
I ask a lot, and the majority of our crowd are top draw the best there is.
Yes, in the modern era of “corporate football” stadiums will always no have an element of day trippers who might as well be at the cinema for their “afternoon’s entertainment us regulars have to live with that. But if we can get 60,000 bums on seats – all are welcome. Just “join in” if you decide to part with your hard earned and come along.
I for one am thoroughly sick of being out sung by the away section, and hearing the all too familiar”Is this a library” !
If it takes a seat allocation initiative to be floated at our club, let’s look at that – i.e. a “signing section”…yes please, it can only help generate that in stadium support I’m sure we all crave.
I’ve read that “Red Action” in particular are active in this area. I for one wish them every success. I only hope the club is responsive.
Take the level of support and noise in the stadium for the Liverpool match, against that of Sunday’s Wolves game…. chalk & cheese. You never know what you are going to get.
Yes’ there was a lot a pre-match publicity with “how much the Liverpool game mattered”. Guess what, EVERY SINGLE GAME HOME & AWAY matters ” and should be treated the same.
Loyal Gooners love their team – let’s show that at what should be a fortress “The Emirates” !
Apologies if I somewhat detracted from the original articles intention, but I am simply coming from ……. “Do you LIKE Arsenal? Or love Arsenal with PASSION”.
P.S. Apologies for any typo’s – it’s called PASSION !
P.P.S. Unai Emery – the man to take us forward.
It’s not much of a surprise is it….loads of ‘noisy’ support for the Liverpool game – a match for assessing out title credentials (or at least ‘also ran’ credentials)….
…and more subdued support during the Wolves game – a team we should be smashing to pieces if we are to be thought of as genuine ‘also rans’ instead of mid table dross.
As to some supporters demanding trophies – great – about time given how we drifted for years under AW – and yes for a club the size of AFC, claiming the FA Cup as a major trophy is an embarrassment.
If Emery can’t do it in a couple of years….chop him and look for someone else…and get rid of some of the wasters and wage thieves that sit on the Arsenal bench as well.
Re’ para’ 2 above … my point entirely !
Knew the Wolves would be a very, very difficult game. A team we were never going to “smash to pieces” with the current squad. Same can be said of the next one up , Bournemouth.
These type of games assess our credentials as much as much as any game against those in and around us, this shown by – Palace draw, Wolves draw 2 points from 6.
For me, consistency of support is essential. Not saying it wins games, but it helps big time – read the players comments re’ support in Stadium for the Liverpool game.
As for performances – in Unai we trust !
Let’s see after a summer window or 2.
By the way, our away support – one of the best in the league !