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It shows how far Arsenal & Chelsea have gone…

Two events yesterday brought home to me the distances we have travelled this year.

First, Arsenal put out not their first time, not the squad members who back up the first team, but their third team – a team made up mostly of players who we only see at Barnet in the reserves.  And this morning the main football news is that the team who are 4th in the Championship beat them.

If someone said even five years ago (by which time we were all well aware of where Wenger was going) that a team challenging for promotion to the EPL could beat our third team and it would be headline news, we’d surely have said, “well of course they will beat our third team”.

I know we had a few players who have stepped up.  Silvestre was obviously there to try and give experience, and Bendtner was there to try and help him out of the bad run he’s having, but otherwise it was the kiddies.   Everyone should have expected Burnley to win – it is a tribute to Arsenal that the defeat was a “shock”.

Meanwhile there was another event happening on the other side of London.  “Chelsea will be self-sufficient by next year” says Kenyon – that is what the Guardian said on the front page of its sports section.

This is interesting in two ways.  First because it is utterly untrue (and yet the journalists running the tale took Kenyon at his word and didn’t even bother to think about what they were writing).  Second again it shows how far we have gone in that we now expect most of the teams near the top of the EPL to be living on borrowed money and borrowed time.

The fact is that by 2009 Chelsea claim they will have stopped taking Russian money to keep the club going.  That might well be true.

But they will still be sitting on £600 million of Russian money, and won’t be paying it back, or owing a penny in interest.   If we talk of Arsenal being self-sufficient we think of all the income, and all the outgoings – including servicing and repaying the debt on the Ems stadium.  But in Chelsea-world being self-sufficient means not taking any more Russian money.

The £600m debt will remain, without interest being paid, until the owner decides he wants it back, or until something goes wrong in his private or business life and he needs it back.   At that point “self-sufficient” Chelsea will have 18 months to pay it, and because they can’t they will be bankrupt, and will fold overnight.

If that is what being self-sufficient means, it is a use of the language I have never come across before.

(c) Tony Attwood 2008.

1 comment to It shows how far Arsenal & Chelsea have gone…

  • don't believe the hype

    Interesting points Tony. I’m amazed at the level of abuse some of the youngsters are receiving on some blogs. People need to get a little perspective and patience. These players will make us proud soon enough.