As I am writing this, it is no more than two hours after ‘transfer deadline day’ 2012. All around, Arsenal fans begin to descend into disarray, each embarking upon their own individual quest to soothe themselves and others. This is achieved either by ranting on at one another about where it’s all gone wrong and how it should have been done, or trying to rally the troops with bold, uplifting statements of loyalty and faith. Some even prefer to adopt the defeatist approach and crawl into a dark and damp corner, giving up all hope of anything being bright and colourful ever again, EVER! (which usually lasts a couple of days). As for me, well I’m not going to categorize myself, you can do that for me. All I want to achieve through this is to successfully convey and share my own views on how us fans feel presently about ‘higher forces’ (AKA the board) at the club, and how we should, or could, end up feeling about them in the future.
In the aftermath of a feebly underwhelming transfer deadline day, I have heard a lot of fans talking about the board and their role in the non-existent spending in the past 24 hours, while the likes of Sp*rs push on and replace missing cogs in their squad. But this isn’t all about “keeping up with the Jones’ next door”, so to speak, it is about the simple lack of action taken by the club upon the recognition that we do still have areas in need of strengthening. These weaknesses were obvious to Wenger, who stated on many occasion that squad strengthening was still needed (post Pur$ie and Song). On Thursday however, during the press-conference, Wenger hinted at a lack of activity on the last day of the transfer window.
“We are working very, very hard. We have resources available so if it is not happening now it will happen in December.” – Arsène Wenger on Thursday
On hearing that particular statement, alarm bells started to ring in many fans’ ears. The fact that business may not be completed in this window did not cohere with earlier pledges made by AW to add to the squad. Had he been influenced by the board? Could messages really have been passed down that no more money is to be spent, covered up by the ‘return of injured players’? I mean, Wenger’s no push-over. Im not going to speculate on what may or may not have influenced Wenger’s statements, because I don’t know. However, the argument that the board is restricting the club’s development still stands and it appears to be a popular line to take amongst fans at the moment.
If I were to write a letter to the board now, it would read something like this:
It’s great that Arsenal Football Club is a successful, sustainable and profitable business model in football. Well done on that one. We are all chuffed about that. But, if I’m honest, I don’t think our fans would give a flying f*ck about sustainability (and neither would you!) if we were winning titles every year! I don’t think they would care about ‘risky spending’ if it was a risk worth bloody taking! I don’t think they would care if you weren’t quite making as many millions as you are out of this club, if millions of them were happy with what we are achieving! Stop trying to protect your precious financial out-looks and projections and focus on doing something that benefits everyone involved with the club, not just a select few. Try to understand what it means to be fan, and to love a club like us fans do! Arsenal was built upon the motto ‘Victory Through Harmony’ (Victoria Concordia Crescit), it’s stitched on to every shirt collar, let’s abide by it please.
The latter part of my ‘letter’ leads me on to how we should be (and could be) feeling about the board in the future. I don’t want fans to see the board as a point of blame for these issues in the future, simply because they should be non-existent. Yes, I am edging into dream-land in regard to how the club should be operating, but why shouldn’t I? If the board grasped an understanding of what it is to be The Arsenal and what our club should be achieving, then they might start investing differently, and save us fans the grief that we endure on too many an occasion. If this means the AST playing a more integral role, so be it. All I, as a fan, want to do is to support my club and help to restore Arsenal to it’s glory days and the club it should be. Part of supporting a a club is constructively criticising certain aspects in need of it and helping find solutions. I want to be able to have confidence that the board is acting in the sole interest of Arsenal as a *Football Club, not Arsenal as a *business model. This aim may be somewhat naive to some people, but I’ll let you decide upon that yourselves.