How long does it take to build an oil refinery? No, it’s not a trick question. Find the answer and that’s how long Stan Kroenke and Alisher Usmanov have to prepare for a hostile takeover of Arsenal. Does that even happen in football? Well, the people you don’t see coming are the most dangerous. As far as hostile takeovers go, the ones you are warned about are the ones that creep on you while you continue to believe yours is the Arsenal way.
One person you cannot take for granted is 60 year old Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote. With an estimated net worth of $12.5 billion, Forbes ranks him as the 67th richest person in the world and the richest man of African descent. 3 years ago, he peaked in the Forbes list as the 23rd richest person in the world. He has interests in cement, flour milling and has the 3rd largest sugar refinery in the world. A diehard Arsenal fan, he insists that as long as he gives Kroenke and Usmanov an offer they can’t refuse, they’ll walk away from the table. There’s nothing that better prepares you to buy a football club than constructing your own £8.5 billion oil refinery.
Oy Arséne! Watch Out
Dangote has told Bloomberg business that his first act as Arsenal owner will be to fire Arséne.
The first thing I would change is the coach. He has done a good job, but someone else should also try his luck.
I suspect this could be music to the ears of the ‘Wenger Out’ brigade. With the game having changed so much over the years and Arsenal becoming hostage to its philosophy of prudence, times ahead are interesting. A billionaire owner who is not averse to opening his cheque book will certainly put the cat amongst the resident pigeons at Highbury House. One of the establishment figures might even get to do a ‘Peter Hill-Wood’ with that famous ‘We don’t want his lot around here’. Our Peter was referring to Stan Kroenke if you can recall, and see where that led us. A new owner in Dangote would certainly make the prospect of a new manager with a new calibre of players one to savour for many an Arsenal fan.
Are We Taking Colombo to the Crime Scene?
Meanwhile, there’s a small matter of that pesky trip to the Potteries tomorrow evening. There’s just something about the Bet 365 Stadium that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe it’s the dodgy winter weather and windy conditions, or maybe it’s still a crime scene that saw the hatchet job that nearly killed Aaron Ramsey’s career. Perhaps it’s the reminders of having to hide behind the sofa when Rory Dilap unleashed one of his bullet throw-ins towards Almunia.
The days of Tony Pulis have gone at Stoke, but in recent years, it still hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Arsenal. Sparky has knocked off a few rough edges in the squad and they now play much better flowing football. Who would have thought that Stoke would now boast the biggest collection of Champions League winners in their team?
I’m Getting a Therapist This Season
As I’ve grown older, I’ve learnt to accept and embrace my limitations as a mere mortal. For sure, supporting Arsenal is not for the faint of heart. One game into the season, and look at that roller-coaster ride against Leicester City. Yes, it’s absolutely encouraging that we’re showing fight and spirit to the end. Yes, it’s encouraging that we did it without Sanchez and with a make shift defence. Yes, it’s encouraging that we have super-sub Olivier Giroud to do the impossible. But shipping 3 goals on match day one, and in the manner we did is not even funny one bit.
There must be something in the Arsenal Charter that addresses duty of care towards the health and well-being of their fans. If it’s not, all the Arsenal Supporters’ groups should pull their finger out and get one in there. Having to wait for a ‘smash and grab’ in the last few minutes of the game can’t be a way to live life as a fan. Don’t get me wrong, the job on the day was the 3 points. History will never remember the roller-coaster. I feel nothing for Leicester. Craig Shakespeare must have been standing there thinking ‘We was robbed’.
Plucky Little Arsenal
We must take the same determination to Stoke and build on that. We should have a better balance for the game, especially with Per now available for selection. Mustafi should also be back. Tomorrow is one game that I believe suits Giroud, though it’s also important for Lacazette to get a customary welcome to the Premier League – the version where ‘pluck and spirit’ go a long way in reminding players never to take any team for granted. Le Coq is also available for selection, though I don’t see any scenario that hasn’t got Xhaka and Ramsey in the starting line-up.
It’s certainly an opportunity to build on our start and get the points on the board. With Tottenham playing a beleaguered Chelsea and Everton playing Man City, points are going to be dropped around us. These are the opportunities we must take, putting some daylight between us and our neighbours in the table. It’s understandable that many are still focused on the transfer window, hoping and anticipating that we will make more signings before the deadline. My sense is that the season is here. We’re stuck with who we have. Let’s get on with it. If there’s movement before 31st, well and good. Meanwhile, there’s points up for grabs.
Have a great day good people.
Thanks to Darius for his Friday thoughts. There’s a new playlist on Dad’s Jukebox where Times of our Lives reaches 2004.