From riches to riches: The harrowing tale of how a rich club got richer by Viera Lyn
It’s really not surprising my previous article on JustArsenal caused a bit of a stir, especially considering Saturday’s result. 3 points is certainly nothing to sneeze at. Some may even suggest that winning cures all ills. For those of us who weren’t born yesterday, we know better. The virus in our club isn’t of the 24 hour or even 48 hour variety. Of course we’re going to win some games along the way, it’s not as if I believe this team is devoid of any talent. On a really good day, with our strongest lineup in play, we should be able to compete with just about anybody in the EPL. Whereas on this past Saturday, we faced a team that got it all wrong and looked awful doing it and we simply did what anybody playing that team on that day should have done, we won. This is a results based business and we got the best result possible on that given day. That being said, you must be careful not to get too bogged down by weekly results, it has a tendency to skew your perspective. For years my focus on this club was far too narrow, wasting countless hours discussing issues that only pertained to the most recent of games. Like riding an endless roller coaster, I would be euphoric following wins and highly depressed when we lost. But all that changed a few years back.
When the club was preparing to move from the Highbury the powers-that-be clearly laid out the long-term plan. Financial constraints, due to obvious construction costs, were going to require patience and sacrifice on our parts, but that when the smoke cleared we would be in a better position than ever to compete at the highest levels. As we know now, this was a complete fabrication meant to quell any potential grumblings so that supporters would remain focused on the supposed end game. In addition, the club and Wenger willingly used his almost cult-like rapport with the fan-base to help facilitate their selfish monetary goals. Raising prices and selling our best assets so that billionaires and multi-millionaires could fill their pockets without taking any of the risks, simply meant that the only people making any sacrifices were us the fans. We were clearly played and everyone knew it except us. Many of his most ardent supporters said there is no way the Professor would treat us that way, not after all we’ve been through together. Of course nobody wants to look the fool but if this is the end of the rainbow all the stories I heard as a child were clearly a lie.
Now some might attempt to excuse them under the guise that they simply didn’t know what the future would hold regarding escalating player salaries and transfer fees. To them I would say, poppycock. Everyone with half a brain was well aware that salaries and fees would rise exponentially considering the amount of money being awarded to teams from UEFA, massive TV contracts and rising ticket prices. Just look no farther than our present owner, he has received countless hundreds of millions, saw the value of this club increase threefold and yet we still pay the some of the highest prices in the World and continually cry poor when we go shopping for players on the open market. It’s owners like ours that make the players, and of course their greedy agents, seek the highest possible salaries because they know that the top clubs are rolling in it. Now I obviously don’t expect our team to go and spend $200 plus million on a Neymar or even slightly less on a young prospect like Mbappe, at least not at this juncture, but I do expect a “big” club to act like a “big” club when the situation calls for it.
Regardless of those rather suspicious claims made in a recent BBC article suggesting otherwise, this organization is making money hand over fist and the reason it’s doing so is because of us fans. If we aren’t paying for high-priced cable packages, overpriced season tickets and ridiculous priced merchandise this club would be nothing. Without our overwhelming support this money-grubbing owner of ours would have sold his stake years ago, or even better he never would have come on board in the first place. All we want is to share in the spoils, the same spoils we willingly provided for them during those club-imposed lean years; keeping in mind, that we did so because we placed our trust in them and we honestly believed that they had our best interests at heart. It’s become increasingly clear that our interests are no longer in line with theirs and that what we need now is a good old fashioned house cleaning. We need to change the culture around this club as things have become increasingly stale in recent years. We need to create a whole new narrative. One that includes the fans. One that sees the value in being held to a higher standard. One that strives for perfection and won’t settle for other’s table-scraps; so no half measures, no band-aids and no dithering. That being said, some fans are quick to say that such negativity breeds a “loser” mentality around the club, but anyone with any perspective knows that this isn’t a chicken or egg argument. I never suggested any of these things 10 years ago, I never would have thought things would have transpired exactly how they did and I never thought I would ever have felt the need to write these very words. So when you find yourself getting so upset about anyone who has a contrary opinion to your own just think for a second about why anyone who dearly loves this club would subject themselves to such ridicule unless they felt so strongly about the issues at hand.
On a side note, I couldn’t help but think 2 predominant thoughts when watching the game against Bournemouth on the weekend: (1) Wenger is still willing to put his own personal agenda ahead of the team’s best interests when it comes to team selection, which luckily for us didn’t cost us the 3 points this time and (2) if Eddie Howe is earmarked to be the successor we are in deep trouble because he’s simply a poor man’s version of our present manager, as he’s tactically inept and has an even worse road record.
Time now to put your big boy pants on and tell me your thoughts…