By Walter Broeckx
In the comment section the other day someone said that the oil money was responsible for Arsenal not winning as they did before. And one of our other readers wrote in with this remark about winning and oil money: “On the oil money subject, much oil money did Porto get, or Ajax etc get to win the CL?”
And indeed if one just looks at it one could say: hell yeah why could Ajax and Porto win it and Arsenal not?
But again I must say that this comment points again at being a bit lazy. And by lazy I mean that if you put it that way you could even say: how come Red Star Belgrade won the Europacup 1 and Arsenal didn’t?
The comment was of course written to show how bad Arsenal and of course Wenger have done. See teams from small leagues could win the Champions League. And Arsenal couldn’t.
But let us bring some perspective to this comment. Let us remove the laziness and look for the context.
Ajax won the CL in 1996. That was before Wenger came at Arsenal. It was a period where even entering any European competition was greeted as a big success. That changed when Wenger came to Arsenal of course. Nowadays even entering the Champions League is greeted by some as a big failure.
Let us move on to Porto. And hell yeah they did win the CL in 2004. But then it is getting interesting. Because what the writer of the comment doesn’t mention are a few things.
Because Porto was the last team from smaller leagues to win the Champions League. Because since then only teams from England, Spain, Italy or Germany won the CL. In fact never ever did any team from any league apart from these mentioned countries make it in to the final.
And then we come to the link of the oil money. Because what did happen in 2003 and changed football for ever? Yes, Roman Abramovitjs saved Chelsea from going bankrupt and started spending money like we have never seen before. Weather we call it oil or gas money is not that important. What is important that it was the start of the oilers revolution.
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And yes the commenter is right in saying that Arsenal didn’t win it. I just want to point at the fact that we were some 12 minutes away from winning it with 10 man against 11 Barcelona players in 2006.
But he forgets to mention that since the oil money came to football that neither Porto or Ajax came even close to winning it.
And why do you think that is? Of course it is clear to see if you want to see it.
Since oil money came to town it is almost impossible for teams that exist by earning their money to compete. Of course this is a slow revolution. It’s not because one team spends £1M that suddenly the balance is shifted. No it takes a few years before that filters down on other teams. Because those other teams may still have a great team and have important players and so they can fight against the oil money for a while. But in the end there is no way of fighting the oil man.
Compare it with cycling and the arrival of Epo. As one very successful cyclist said: “last year they couldn’t follow me and now suddenly cyclists that never came near to my level are so fast I cant even come near to them. I didn’t change my fitness regime at all over the years and they suddenly are twice as fast. How can that be possible without illegal means? ” Doping is doping even if it financial doping or doping with drugs.
It distorts the competition and it is unfair towards people or clubs who are not using doping. And that is exactly what happened since Porto last won the CL.
Now only the money teams stand a chance to win it. And yes Bayern Munich is a money team. A big money team. Their sponsor contracts are at an amazing level compared to Arsenal. They can do what they want in Germany and buy all the best players from any team. And that for half the price that player might move to Spain or the PL. That is because most German kids dream of playing for Bayern Munich at one point as that would bring them success.
We all know that the Spanish giants get financial support via the selling of the TV rights. So not oil money but is money that they can use to get all the best players from all over the world. And Inter and Ac Milan the last Italian winners are now only shadows of what they once have been. Because of Italian football being also a bit in a crisis after all the scandals they had to face.
So no, Ajax and Porto had no oil money to win the CL. But that is because in those days there was no oil money. And in those days the competition was much more open and teams from smaller leagues could actually win it. BECAUSE THERE WAS NO OIL MONEY IN FOOTBALL WHEN THEY WON IT!
And I think the person who wrote the comment knew these facts all too well. But I think he just ignored them in order to… yeah why? Just to slag off our club?