The outpouring of grief from players and supporters of Leicester City over the tragic death of owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and four others in Saturday’s helicopter crash is instructive to the rest of the owners of a football club, not just in the Premier League. He was a rarity; genuinely popular with fans, players and staff alike.
When the Grim Reaper knocks at Enos’ door, there won’t be a similar outpouring of grief from Arsenal supporters. While Srivaddhanaprabha is lauded for respecting the club’s traditions, Enos drove a combine harvester through ours.
Quite simply, Kroenke doesn’t care about the traditions or history of Arsenal Football Club. His motivation for investing money in shares is profit. Tradition isn’t necessarily conduicive to achieving that aim.
Tradition isn’t protected in football so it was with some relief that an important match took place at Wembley. The disgraceful pitch was a dip back 50 years when the national stadium was used for other events with no thought for the football a week later.
Last night’s match a disgraceful indictment Tottenham. Incompetent and arrogant in equal measure, they couldn’t fulfil the fixture on its’ original date. Rather than forfeit three points, the Premier League allowed them to shift the match to a convenient date. Middlesbrough, whose relegation in 1997 came about when they were forced to postpone a game for genuine reasons, appreciated that.
Three years ago, the question of Tottenham’s home games reared its’ ugly head. The Premier League position was crystal clear:
You can’t have 19 homes games with 10 at Milton Keynes and nine at Wembley.
Completely unfair. That won’t be allowed in our competition. They’d have to play in the same stadium for the entire year. For the integrity of the competition.Richard Scudamore puts Tottenham in a bind
Tottenham won’t care. Levy will argue they built up the biggest stadium-related debt in the history of football to fund the move so they must play at the new swamp as soon as possible.
The other clubs may not acquiesce, it depends on the stage of the season we’re at before it happens. Liverpool and City have their three points so are caught between two stools. Do they vote with Tottenham so that Spurs and potential rivals play at an unfamiliar stadium, hoping it plays havoc with
Those rivals may take the view, however, that they don’t want to be guinea pigs for a new stadium. Playing at Wembley has a familiarity about it. The new swamp won’t have that. While it initially disadvantages Tottenham as well, it won’t take long for them to get their bearings.
Which brings us back to the national stadium. The mystique is gone thanks to Tottenham and cup semi-finals. Modern Wembley lacks an aura and is honestly nothing special anymore. Cup finals are great when you win but does Wembley make it any more special any longer?
The proposed sale made sense from the perspective of investing in the grassroots of football. Also owning Wembley makes little sense in this modern era. Taking England on the road acknowledges that it is the nation’s team and cuts the travel costs for fans. Surely that is the tradition we need to remember? Football without fans is nothing.
Tonight sees the Under-23s take on Cheltenham in the Checkatrade Trophy. The opening group game win over Coventry stood them in good stead with a strong run of form afterwards. Victory tonight, if my hazy grasp of maths is right, puts the youngsters into the last sixteen in the Southern Section. Good luck to them.