It’s time for Arsenal to rip away the proverbial band-aid by Vieira Lyn
I hate to admit it but the only way to truly resurrect our once proud franchise is for us to lose at such an alarming rate that there appears no other choice but to clean house. It’s clear now that only under the most extreme of circumstances will we ever rid ourselves of Wenger’s antiquated, uninspiring and highly dysfunctional regime. Unfortunately, it might take a year or two of finishing outside of European qualification to convince Kroenke to ultimately sell his stake and simply walk away with an undeserved but sizable profit, but that can’t deter us. Whatever it takes must be done. We can’t “Wengerize” our exit strategy, so no dithering, half measures or the usual lame excuses, we must be willing to lose to win. It’s time for us to rip away the proverbial band-aid and truly fix that which ails us before we can finally start to heal.
Above all this we will need the backing of our billionaire “friends”. Only a true fan with the deepest of pockets could undertake an overhaul ten years in the making. For this to work they must have skin in the game or they need not apply. Whether it means paying a bit above ask from time to time to secure the necessary talent or through their willingness to sink their own vast resources into the reclamation project, our next owner must do everything within their powers to prove that they place winning over the bottom-line. No longer can our club be the plaything of the uber-rich or a footnote in a billionaire’s banking portfolio, so any new regime must not only conduct themselves with the sort of transparency that befits one of the greatest clubs in the world, they must likewise treat our more than generous fan-base with the respect they deserve.
To ensure this eventuality the new executive branch must be willing to scour the footballing landscape to find a manager of Pep’s caliber and provide him with the necessary financial backing to compete at the highest of levels. Now there will be some who will baulk at this notion, but we must resist their largely selfish objections or we will continue to be mired in the general malaise that has long stifled this club. I get it though, few like change, especially when it involves a fairly massive “rebuilding” project that relies heavily on the fans continuing to pay top dollar for an inferior product, but to be quite honest that is what we’ve been doing since our move to the Emirates.
As it stands this club lacks the direction and spine necessary to properly navigate the incredibly competitive and increasingly complex footballing world. Player contracts and all that implies, negotiating multi-million dollar marketing deals in this ever-changing technological age, developing a highly enjoyable brand of football then acquiring only those players whom best fit that system, establishing a world-class junior academy to provide some much-needed financial balance and cultivating an environment that always strives for excellence and holds those who fail to meet this standard accountable, all are important aspects of a successful footballing organization and we have failed miserably in most of these departments for some time now.
When it comes to all things contract-related we are an unmitigated disaster, our failure to sign our most viable stars before entering their final year makes our managerial team look like buffoons, which is an all too familiar refrain since Dein’s departure. I could literally write for days about the ineptitude of this club when it comes to their handling of player contracts, which seems so incredibly bizarre for a club that has had the same man in charge for more than two decades. Overpaying bench players, continuing to pay oft-injured players, the mishandling of the transfer market on a seemingly annual basis, the countless stories of who Wenger could have signed for peanuts but inexplicably failed to do so, and our inability to maximize their return on any player when it comes time to sell, are just a few of the ways our current regime has continually dropped the ball.
As for our marketing department, there is no doubt that we provide an incredibly attractive option for any company looking to splash big cash on advertising. Very few clubs have the international cache of the Arsenal brand yet every time we cut a deal we seem to come up short, especially in comparison to our closest rivals. There are few places on earth you can go and not see an Arsenal jersey yet we continually fail to strike the kind of deal befitting a club of our ilk. Maybe this is all part and parcel with the ridiculous facade the higher-ups have been selling us for years about how we are a “small” club who can’t compete with the big boys.(you do realize that Kroenke not only owns numerous professional sports teams but is likewise married to one of the Walton daughters, heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune) If you can’t secure better deals with a club that easily sells out stadiums throughout the world, you shouldn’t be in the marketing business.
When it comes to the brand of football on offer at the Emirates there are many who foolishly believe that there is no one in the world who could duplicate, or even better, what Wenger has brought to the table. Of course anyone with any knowledge about the footballing world outside of North London knows that this is simply untrue. Having a philosophy based on providing attractive football isn’t the sole providence of Arsene Wenger, as many clubs provide their fans with attractive options, some even do so without spending astronomical sums. There is an art to developing a system of this nature, a fact we saw firsthand when we were still at the Highbury under the tutelage of a young, more inspired Wenger and the steady hands of David Dein. Unfortunately our success led to the arrival of the middling bloodsucker Kroenke and that was when the number-crunchers invaded our team and devised a formula that maximized profits with little to no concern for truly competing at the highest levels, thus the emergence of the Wenger Cup.
As for our academy, I can’t think of the last time we developed a player of any real consequence. False hope and pipe dreams are all we can seem to muster from within our junior ranks. Our failure to properly nurture this facet of our club is largely indicative of our growing problems since Dein’s departure and Wenger’s increasingly monopolized power over all things Arsenal. No one individual can properly oversee everything, especially in this day and age, without certain areas suffering as a result of this obvious shortsightedness. Just think of how many prospects Wenger has gushed about over the past 10 years that never even cracked our first team, even for a cup of coffee, then disappeared into the ether without even a simple explanation. So either our self-described genius has lost his eye for talent or he has simply spread himself so thin that important aspects of the club are largely ignored, or even worse, forgotten altogether. Either way, the fault falls squarely on Wenger.
Finally, and most disappointingly, our quest for excellence ended some years ago. Oftentimes when it becomes clear that those in charge have lowered their expectations, this mindset invariably permeates the clubhouse. No longer convinced by the same rhetoric being spewed by the usual talking heads, the player’s loyalties tend to shift from club success to personal gain, which should come as no surprise to anyone as they are simply mirroring the behaviours of those in charge. Unfortunately this has contributed greatly to the cyclical nightmare we’ve been experiencing for some time now. Unwilling to make the necessary financial push, those with higher aspirations simply move on to greener pastures. In the last 10-12 years we’ve witnessed it firsthand on 3 separate occasions, first with Cesc and Nasri, then with RVP and currently with Ozil and Sanchez. All of which, I believe, were only possible because of the philosophical shift that occurred following our parting of ways with perhaps our greatest player ever, Henry. In each case the club chose their own self-interests over making the necessary financial commitment. In fact in every instance they even employed slanderous and deceptive practices by using the media to plant negative seeds about each of the players in question to rally support for their subsequent removal; it’s important to note that all the aforementioned players have won the PL and/or Champion’s League since their departure from our club.
The bottom-line is the move from the Highbury was based on lies, it’s clear to see that what was supposed to be a necessary evil to compete at the highest levels, was in fact an elaborate ruse concocted by the filthy rich as a means to increase their wealth at our expense. Even more despicable is the way that they have used our fiercely loyal nature to divide us fans so that we don’t focus all our attentions on the real task at hand, ridding ourselves of the clearly incompetent manager and our bloodsucking owner. I can only hope that in the new year we will find a way to come together so that we can finally rid ourselves of the cancerous elements that have kidnapped our once proud club.