I suppose in the end it is a matter of one’s perspective over time.
The media aided by the PR machines of Manchester, Liverpool and Chelsea, and supported by a number of Arsenal blogs, have suggested that we must win something this season otherwise it is all some sort of unspecified disaster.
Who knows – we may well do. When the current period in which shots, which at any other time in the season would go in, but now suddenly hit the bar or a defender’s leg, comes to an end soon, and is not repeated, we might well win something. We’ve certainly come from much father behind much later in the season in the past. And although it is not dead certain it is possible that other teams will have their usual blips too. (I say not dead certain, because during the Unbeaten Season we didn’t have a blip – but I don’t see anyone being that good this season.)
But let’s assume, just for a moment, that we don’t win anything. Will that be the proof that wholesale changes should have been made this season, and because they were not, should be made in the close season next year?
For Chelsea supporters one blip means mega-crisis. Losing their long running home record and losing in Europe has sparked all sorts of gnashing of teeth, the scouting system is being junked, and people are being asked to account for their actions.
I don’t like that style. Clubs should not think of only one season – even if it comes on the back of 3 bad seasons (and our last three were hardly bad). What should also be taken into account at this time is also the financial situation.
It is most likely that something dramatic will happen with Manchester and Liverpool over the next two or three years. Before the credit crisis began, they could not pay the interest on their debts. That is still the same, but now it is worse because other sources of money are drying up and the obvious plan of building the club up and then selling it on with all the debts inside it, is clearly not on.
Only a few Russian oligarchs and Arab royal families have the money to bail out a club any more – and interestingly they are not circling around the likes of Manchester or Liverpool. They have started to look at smaller clubs – and it is the likes of QPR and Charlton who are getting makeovers, along of course with the odd case of Manchester City.
Arsenal, as we all know are stable. Their interest rates are fixed, the bulk of the property has sold, and the clubs finances don’t depend in any way on further property sales.
So the overall question is, should Arsenal venture into the world of Liverpool and Manchester with its total debt crisis, or stay where it is. I’d go with the latter even if it means no trophies for several years. I intend to be supporting this club for quite a few more years to come, and I don’t really want to have to support them in a lower division, after they’ve gone bust.
Of course Wenger could have brought in more players – and the injury crisis of today suggests he should have done that.
Except… supposing he did have top players ready to slip into the positions where players are injured. What would these top players have been doing all season? Sitting there happily waiting their time?
I doubt it.
Of course I left the Ems on wednesday saddened by the draw, rather than a victory – but most seasons have blips – and for Arsenal they are often around this time. I’ll be there again tomorrow, doing my bit for the team, but perhaps more than anything I want to make sure that my club is still there in five years time and not blown away by a credit disaster.
I absolutely have not given up on this season, but even if it didn’t work out this time around I know that, unlike the media who need a story a day, I can afford to bide my time.
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