Are Arsenal Still A Top 6 Club? By Dan Smith
On Soccer Saturday, host Jeff Stelling asked Paul Merson; Are Arsenal still a ‘top six team’.
Our former midfielder replied we are no longer a ‘top 6 team’ but remain a ‘top six club’. Mr Stelling very proactively queried (scratching his head): ‘Well what makes them a top six club?’
If you look at things in black and white, the Gunners are on course for their 5th consecutive season outside of the top 4 and 2nd year in a row outside of even the top six.
My counter to that that in a decade which will be viewed as a poor one in our history, we have won 4 FA Cups in 7 years. We also got to a League Cup and Europa League Final meaning if you’re a Gooner you have seen 6 Cup Finals in 7 years.
So, among all the drama, if you support the Gunners you do see us compete for trophies.
When I debate that with a Spurs fans when they hint at a shift in power, I argue that can’t be a coincidence? Maybe we could fluke the one cup but to win 4 cups to their 0? In their most successful period in their Premier League history?
That can’t be a coincidence can it?
It’s because it’s built in our DNA.
That’s why I think it’s premature to suggest we are no longer a top 6 club, and until Mr Stelling can name 6 clubs who routinely get to Finals, then his argument is flawed.
The Manchester clubs do, as well as Chelsea and Liverpool, but I struggle to think of a 5th or 6th club who have won as much as us even in our darkest hour.
It would be a fantastic feat if a West Ham, Leicester or Everton qualified for the Champions League, but a bit disrespectful to everything Arsene Wenger built to say a team finishing in the top 6 once makes them bigger than us.
As I wrote before, I won’t allow a newer generation of Gooner to be wrongly educated. We are not just a big club purely based on a big stadium and large fan base. Newcastle and Spurs can do that.
Nor am I comfortable basing a big club on just trophies. An Everton and Leeds fan can point to periods where they won titles, heck Aston Villa and Notts Forest can point to European Cups.
Arsenal are a big club we just don’t think or act like a big club. Look where we were when Stan Kroenke first joined our board and look where we have ended up.
Think of the brand of football we were famous throughout the world for playing. Don’t let our owners lack of ambition fool you or ever let you accept mediocrity. Don’t be misled into thinking we are not a massive club. We act like that on the pitch and in the transfer market, but that can happen when a billionaire not a fan of the sport owns you as part of a portfolio.
Go behind the scenes and you will learn how big a club we are in the department’s that matter to them.
Go on a stadium tour and listen to the details put into every last detail of the structure. Attend a match in the corporate box and see how you are treated, read up how well we look after any kids who join our academy, etc.
Judging us as a business we are one of the best run in Europe. When Arsenal want to, they act like a big club (normally when making money).
If Mikel Arteta was sacked tomorrow, Arsenal would have all the resources to make the vacancy appealing to the best managers in the world.
Luis Enrique once said he was interested in replacing Mr Wenger but was put off by our lack of ambition in the transfer market. Instead we hired Emery because he was the cheap option then Arteta who was even cheaper.
Our transfer policy prioritises value over what’s best for the squad. This January for instance our response to our worst start to a season was to make money not improve the team.
So Arsenal don’t act like a big club but that doesn’t mean we are not one.
Don’t let anyone tell you different.
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