So by all accounts the latest Arsenal AGM was further evidence that there is a lack of understanding from our board in relation to what the fans want and expect. Our board said very little and the questions they did answer were done so in a rude and dismissive manner. Someone should remind these multi millionaires they are not doing us a favor, we are the paying customers and in terms of the supporters they conversed with in midweek, they are shareholders of the club.
Yet again we seemed cursed by a lack of clarity from the people in power. The day before Stan Kroenke tells the press the ambition remains to win Premierships and Champions Leagues, 24 hours later we are reminded that we are in fact over achieving in terms of the money we spend. Which is true! The majority of sides would love to boast 3 FA Cups in 4 years. But our nett expenditure is simply another example of contradiction when Ivan Gazidis often promises there’s 200 million in the bank each summer. The biggest shock for me is why is anyone surprised?
Fans last season became as hostile as they have at any point in Arsene Wenger’s two decades in charge. While we don’t seem to possess a football person who holds any power the fact remains these are rich people. You don’t excel in business with out having a brain. So they knew Wednesday would be uncomfortable, that it was very unlikely they were going to win over the haters, that the target of this meeting was damage limitation. That’s why our owner suddenly prepared to talk to a couple of newspapers was nothing more then a PR exercise, timed in a manner where he could excuse himself from being in the firing line. From a public relations perceptive it makes sense. Be honest, is there anything the American could have said to your face that would’ve made you respect him or believe in his methods?
The saying goes, actions speak louder then words. Anyone can give the journalists quotes about their vision, his true ambition was evidenced by what he did/didn’t do in July. Yet the idea that nothing of relevance came out of the AGM meeting is not actually true. There was one small snippet of information that might show at least we are learning from our mistakes. A detail that may have got overshadowed by the arrogance of our chairmen but non the less crucial. At the end of this campaign, even though he will still have 12 months left on his existing contract our manager has confirmed his future will be reviewed.
Now this isn’t me starting the Arsene Out debate early (my view has always been the opposite) but our boss has gone on record multiple times saying uncertainty over his future last season affected his players and in hindsight it was mistake to let it drag on. When you think we missed out on the Champions League by 1 point, that proved quite a hefty error. Well in less then 12 months we will be back in the exact same situation. The Frenchmen’s tenure will be about to expire, the abuse will start on social media, the banners will be back out and the Emirates divided, half wanting him out, the rest wanting him to remain.
If we are being told the truth at least that will be avoided. I say ‘If’ because often we are told what we want to hear and then are lied to, eg the cycle of change we were promised.
By Wenger’s own admission, confusion over his long term plans would undermine our top 4 hopes or (hopefully) title aspirations. This will be at a time where we will already be trying to adjust to life without Sanchez and Ozil and praying reasonable replacements are secured.
Whatever your views on him no one can deny Arsene Wenger loves Arsenal Football Club, maybe even too much. The idea of not managing us anymore seems to hurt him to the point where he convinces himself he’s close to making another great team. Of course he now has critics who are tired of waiting for jam tomorrow. Is he blinded by love? Does he truly believe he is the most likely individual to make us champions again?
Or if he got a sense that a Carlo Ancelotti, for example, wanted his post would that love make him do the right thing? It didn’t when the world was aware that Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola were free agents. That’s not to say they would’ve done any better under these employers. Employers who would let Wenger extend his time with us for ever as long as he is banking them millions while asking for little in return. That’s why Wenger is the one who will make the decision.
That’s the only thing we learnt from this AGM.