I can picture the call from Paul Merson’s agent.
“Alright Paul, need your to say something negative for <insert gutter press publication here>. You’ll get 50 grand”.
And then Merson criticises The Arsenal for his pay.
Merson is an Arsenal legend – for many that grew up in the 90s he was their idol growing up.
But he was never really an Arsenal fan.
In his book “How Not To Be A Professional Football” he wrote about being a boyhood Chelsea fan. And this is why he finds it so easy to criticise The Arsenal.
“Arsenal will never be kings of England winning multiple titles again while Stan Kroenke is busy wasting money refurbishing the Emirates. Go & sign Calvert-Lewin. Go & get James Ward-Prowse for the midfield. Don’t spend it on the stadium. What a waste. Seriously” Merson said.
“They don’t need to spend that money. Who goes to the Emirates & says: ‘Oooh I don’t like that, that’s a bit dated.’ It’s a nice stadium”
It highlights that Merson never goes to the stadium as a fan. He only goes if someone is paying him.
The ground is 16 years old.
It has a leaky roof.
The legends wrap and badges outside are faded.
Most match going fans would agree that the stadium is now a bit dated. That it needs a refurb.
The wraps will be replaced by huge digital screens; bringing it into the 2020s. This will revitalise the outside of the ground.
And only someone who doesn’t go would think a leaky roof is not a problem. What does Merson want? Us to ignore the roof, the fans getting wet, until it collapses?
Because this is the thing about any building – whether it is a stadium, an office block or your house – you are better repairing something as soon as the issue arises rather than ignoring it.
If you ignore that missing tile, the leak under the sink, the wobbly floor board, the issues will only get worse and up costing more money to repair.
Look at Old Trafford.
For years Manchester United focused more on expanding the ground rather than repairing it. The ground is now falling apart. And the cost to make the necessary repairs and updates are in the millions. It is getting to the point where it would make more sense for them to rip the stadium down and rebuild it.
Merson also thinks that James Ward-Prowse will make Arsenal the “kings of Europe”. What an odd take.
Ward-Prowse is a good player, but there is a reason why at 27-years-old he is still at Southampton. His game is not elite.
Great at set pieces, average from open play.
Finally, Merson talks about the LA Rams Super Bowl win:
“Kroenke spent his money on the Rams to win the Super Bowl. If he wants to win the Premier League he’s got the money to do it. It just sums him up that he’s going to spend it doing up the stadium. The stadium is the investment. Not the football”
Two points on here.
The first is it shows Merson has no idea how the NFL works. It is designed to limit owners spending power to ensure they do not bankroll their side to success and dominance.
Secondly, the money Kroenke did invest into the Rams was spent on the most modern stadium in the world.
This highlights that Merson is being critical for the sake of it – or is just an idiot.
He doesn’t want the Kroenke’s to invest in Arsenal’s stadium, whilst also praising the Kroenke’s for investing in the LA Rams stadium.
Paul Merson’s next book should be called “How Not To Be A Professional pundit”.