Sometimes, pleasure in football isn’t derived from Arsenal. At the moment, ‘sometimes’ is ‘frequently’, more so in the last couple of months when our footballing world collapsed. Thank god Liverpool won on Saturday.
It was a truly awful game. Liverpool treated the ball as if suffered leprosy while Tottenham’s pass, pass, pass game plan was straight out of our tactical guide for the last decade. A patently unfit Harry Kane gave us a comedy moment when his drool weighed so heavily that he fell over in the penalty area. It was so painful that his right leg became trapped in Joe Gomez’s stride. Harry, of course, doesn’t dive. He’s captain of England, an upstanding man who would never seek to gain an advantage through subterfuge. Oh…
The genuine bright spot came with the realisation that plans for the 39th game died in Madrid. No fan would pay money for those performances at the inflated prices football charges.
Of course, the comparison to Arsenal is unavoidable, no matter how cruel they seem. Liverpool owner John W. Henry rubbed it in when he (a) travelled to the final and (b) snapped a photo of himself alongside his wife and Old Big Ears.
Kroenke sent his son who returned without a pot…you know how that goes. It isn’t just fans who have ambitions and aspirations, owners are supposed to have them as well. A sporting vision of where we want to be and how to get there is also useful.
Enos does, of course, know how we’re going to reach our destination: on the cheap. Used to flying first class, we’ve dropped into Ryanair’s clientele. It might be good for a short haul but any longer and you wish you suffered from a fear of flying.
Keep Mrs Honeyman Right Out Of Sight
This is on Kroenke’s watch. You remember how KSE are supposed to be sporting experts? Now would be a good time to prove that. Arsenal need investment and thus far, Enos has been as much use as a one-legged man in an arse-kicking competition.
It puts Unai Emery on the back foot, even more than he already is. Understandably, questions which simmered throughout the season erupted into plain view as we collapsed in April. In fairness, those questions about footballing philosophy and identity surfaced long before then.
The flaws in the tactical genius of last autumn, the coach who bravely changed the side well before the 65th minute, surfaced. Next season, the target must surely be the top four. The problem is that, Chelsea and ourselves aside, the top six will invest heavily this summer.
Kroenke’s parsimony is biting us deeply on the backside. Liverpool, according to Swiss Ramble, will see television revenues of more than £250m. Both they and Tottenham will earn three times as much from the Champions League (£98m and £90m respectively) than we will from the Europa League (£32m).
It hurts the club, manifesting in a ludicrously low transfer budget this summer. We’re trying to catch clubs who can wipe the floor with us financially in the transfer market. That is no guarantee of success. Look at Manchester United; they are living a beer lifestyle on a champagne income. We are the reverse, trying to pay for cocktails with Green Shield Stamps.
Reports in the past twenty-four hours or so see Laurent Koscielny departing and Chinese clubs thinking Aubameyang will ditch us for £300k per week. That’s a level where interpreters decide you’ve told a coach that he doesn’t know what he’s doing.
There’s Gonna Be A Riot In Trumpton Tonight
Despite knowing we have a budget of £45m, we bid in the region of £35m on two Sampdoria players. That’s on top of the £20-odd million we spent on Lucas Torreira. Didn’t the analytics throw out that it might be cheaper to buy the Genoese club?
A lot of talk, not much action. That’s no surprise given the ‘international window’ doesn’t open officially until the start of next month. Gabrielle Martinelli is a £6m signing, courtesy of Edu, while there was a headline-grabbing £4m bid for someone or other.
The reality is that Edwin van der Sar was close to the mark but someone jogged his arm as he took aim in the Times this weekend. Yes, the top 5 leagues are obscenely rich compared to the rest of Europe. However, within those elite leagues, there is a further elite which is financially strangling football and us with it.
The money league tables put us up there but we’re slipping out of that group. Remember the lies spun about how the Emirates would make us competitive, able to take on Bayern Munich? They proved we weren’t in the same league on the pitch. Now, they are in the VIP Lounge while we mingle with the hoi polloi.
Highbury didn’t die for this.