George is missing Fans Forum, so he’s offered his thoughts on recent comments and posts
“We are Arsenal, we should be winning trophies”
It’s a variation of a statement that I hear time and time again. And time and time again, I wonder about the intelligence of the person making said statement. It’s the same as Phil Thompson and his ilk endlessly saying, “This is Liverpool football club we are talking about, we should be competing for the Premiership”.
Being Arsenal entitles us to nothing, any more than me being British entitles me to rule the world.
It seems to be that some of our fans are behaving like King Canute, expecting to turn back the tide that comes in the form of overwhelming financial expenditure by our rivals. I was talking to Muppet the other day and he gave me an analogy that I would like to expand on, and you to consider.
Imagine we are a racing car team. Competing and winning on an equal basis with another team. Now, two new teams come on the scene, they buy faster cars than us. That’s OK because our team has been together for years, we can still compete as we have the best driver. He gives us the edge.
The following year these two new teams buy an even faster car and our old rival, the biggest racing team in the world, joins in and buys a similarly expensive and faster car. On top of that our best mechanic goes to them on twice the wage we used to pay him. The mechanic we had lined up to replace him decides to go to one of the others as well.
Eventually, despite us still having the best driver, his car is just not fast enough to keep up. Of course we could go out and buy a faster car, we could mortgage the house but the other three would just go out and spend even more and we would be no better off.
In the end, when the financial gulf become too great, all the old values that allow you to compete are less relevant. When the gulf is small or even medium, then things like teamwork, hard work and fighting spirit can give you the chance to win. But the bigger the gulf, the less effect they have. It’s the same in every walk of life. To ignore the realities of finance is nothing more than stupidity. Of course people say that if you spent more, you would compete better. Well yes, that is correct but over-simplistic.
No team has won the Premiership without hugely outspending its direct rivals for a sustained period, prior to the win. Other than Arsenal. But at that time, the gulf was bridgeable. Now it is not and on top of that, there are three of them rather than one.
Sadly, us losing our best players year on year is having its effect. Every year a new team. Jack is back after seventeen months and hardly knows anyone (in football terms) that he is sharing the field with. People can say we don’t have to sell them or we should pay them more to stay. I say, “Get real”, we are so outgunned that it’s a joke.
The growing opinion seems to be that as we cannot compete financially, we should replace the best Manager we have ever had with a new one. Presumably one with the skills King Canute hoped he had.
Well best of luck with that logic.
And this much vaunted “middle way” is simply a variation on the way we are doing it. All that said, as long as we have Arsène, I think we have hope. Without him? I’m not so sure.