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By Ibrahima Fode NDIAYE
If we are so bad why are we being copied ?
I hear Arsenal are so bad they can’t win a cup in God only knows how many years. Some say it’s five other six but the general consensus seems to be no one really can remember it, it was so long ago.
So I called for some googling just to know how much we have been trophyless, since nobody seems to know the exact length of time (though we all know we won the FA cup against ManU on May 21st 2005.)
So if my math is as correct as I thought it’s five years 5months and exactly five days since we’ve won a major trophy. (If that is not right its my fault for delaying publication of the article – sorry – Tony).
That must be the longest trophy drought ever known to world football judging by the way it’s been talked up both by the media, the opposition fans and Arsenal’s own supporters or one large section of it.
Last time a Liverpool was trying to have fan at my expense he said “how many years without a trophy is too many?”
I asked him, “when was the last time you lot have won a trophy?”
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He started to explain, “Huh… we won the CL in Istanbul not long ago”.
I told him that was 2005 and we won the FA cup that year and the correct answer was 2006 when they won the FA cup so just about a year later than us.
“That doesn’t seem that long. But the way people are talking it up it sounds like an eternity” he said.
So I checked the trophy drought top clubs went through in recent years and I found some astonishing facts :
Barcelona the most successful club in the last five years have gone six years between 1999 and 2005 without a single trophy
Inter Milan the treble winning team of last year have gone eight years from 1998 to 2006 without a single trophy
Chelsea went from 2000 to 2005 without a single trophy
Manchester United from 1985 to 1990 didn’t win a trophy
Liverpool from 1995 to 2001 and from 2006 till now haven’t won any trophy
This just shows there is nothing unique in modern times about the trophy drought of Arsenal. All these clubs suffered a lot more than us, failing to qualify for the champions league or even for Europe. But still people would make you believe we have to be going through the worst ever drought in world football.
But what is really interesting to me is that clubs are copying Arsenal’s model, a model that has resulted in no trophy for five years, five months and five days. The model is built around a strong financial structure, a youth system, an attacking football and a worldwide scouting system even if we haven’t invented any of them we have succeeded in creating the best balance with them.
Clubs have come to realize that “Money does not grow on trees” as said PHW. All those that could only spend, buy the best players they can think of, pay them as much as they would ask and are finding life hard. Clubs are going into administration, clubs are being bankrupt, clubs are being controlled by banks, wages are being hard to support and all that while the revenues have recorded some highs that are difficult to surpass.
On top of all that UEFA came with a plan to stop “financial doping”. So out of necessity football clubs are behaving like normal people, normal companies, normal organizations as we cannot spend and keep on spending way over what we can ever gain.
And as a financial model that can work in football, no one can ignore Arsenal. I remember some years ago when Newcastle’s Ashley was talking about how Wenger and the Arsenal board were working wonders and how everybody should copy only for Keagen to ask money and more money to sign the Beckhams of this world. Now everybody wants to be just like Arsenal in financial terms.
Then comes the youth system, in order to have financial stability, you need to minimize your charges and in order to compete you need to maximize your talent and knowhow. What we know is the players that have shown to the big stage how good they can be are expensive but a year or so before they stepped up they were very cheap. So the idea was simple get them right before they show their entire talent which means get them young, which also means widen up your search field.
That’s why Arsenal has built a world class youth project with the likes of Gibbs, Wilshere, Frimpong the first graduates (who won the first youth double and back to back league titles) and a worldwide scout network that can find any talented young player anywhere. That’s what everybody is trying to do, with Chelsea doing it the wrong way with the likes of Kalcuta and Neymar.
What people should know is it’s a lot more difficult for English clubs, especially now with FIFA regulations on youth player dealings particularly under 17’s, to have a world class youth system. Arsenal cannot put into its academy the best English youngsters if they live outside 90 minutes drive from London Colney. What we see now is every club trying to build a good youth academy, get them through.
This let me wonder why clubs supposedly successful are trying to copy Arsenal if we have been so bad?
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