Salutations Lovers of our fair club! It’s a depressingly blue Monday and I wish I had skived off work. I’m of the belief that bosses who demand that their employees come in on Mondays should be subject to corporal punishment. Unfortunately most people don’t see things my way and many others consider me completely insane. Enough of my mundane life; lets move onto the far more interesting happenings afoot at the Ashburton Grove.
On Saturday, Arsene and his team left the ground with three valuable points after a scrappy victory. Points taken from an opposition who has failed to win a single game this season and are lead by a man who has all the managing acumen of a sack of Guano. I’ll admit that the R’s have more than a few decent players in the form of Real Madrid’s throw away: Granero, the human cue-tip that is Zammora and David Hoilette (calling him “Junior” sounds a little mental to me). But what the team has in talent, they lack in team work.
During smooth sailing, this disjointed bunch would have usually proven to be nothing more than a swarm of annoying flies to the Gunners. But we were in choppy waters and on the back of two crunching defeats, our boys were on the frying pan and every move they made was under the magnifying glass and the gloom and doom brigade started to climb out f the cracks like the cockroaches they are. Our XI lacked the usual coherent game-play and the crisp passing seemed to be left at home crying itself to sleep. The winning goal came from what seemed to be a bar brawl (minus the alcohol) between Arteta, Giroud and a desperate Julio Cesar, with the Spaniard leaving the Brazilian with a equivalent of a black eye and a missing tooth. (Imagine this playing in the background during that little scuffle).
I’m not going to go into much detail about the game, as you find far better analysis pieces on other pages but it’d be rude not to mention the two men back from long-term injuries: Jack and Bac. The former as predicted injected some much needed fire and steel into the midfield as he tried to take on as many defenders as possible and displayed why the fans were right to miss him so much. Seeing him in the sacred red and white was a sight for sore eyes indeed. To be honest, I had my doubt about Sagna and whether he would be able to perform better at Right-back than Carl J who has done a sterling job so far, but I can safely admit that the weird haired full back’s performance blew me away: Not only was he defensively solid, but his crossing and movement down the flanks was down-right brilliant. He look like a man who hadn’t missed a day of competitive football. He made obvious why certain fans have been calling him the best right back in the league.
I’d like to talk some more on the Annual General Meeting that took place earlier last week. There was a sense of déjà-vu about the whole affair and most gooners world over were of the belief that the event was as significant as pissing in the ocean. The response from the “club officials” did little to allay the fan’s fears or furnish meaningful answers to the questions:
Ivan walked the tightrope as usual, parrying delicate questions, defending his employers, their policies and playing the proverbial shield.
Hill-Wood was stomach lint. My apologies for not being able to provide a more meaningful description, but every time I see the man I’m reminded of how his very existence is an ugly blot on our history and how he has leveraged his association with a legendary club for personal benefit, pelf and power. All that for a few more zeroes in what must be already vast bank account? Shameful.
As for Stan, the word “Evasive” pretty much covers his behavior since beginning his association with the club and he was no different this time around. Not that any of us expected any revelations of him pledging 200 million bid on Falcao and Messi together… but still.
Arsene Wenger seemed to be the only one who seemed to give a tinker’s damn about the club and its performance, I’m referring to the performance on the green and not the ticking bank account. He made all the appropriately reassuring noises and acknowledged the team’s short-comings. In his address, Wenger used a particular line which was particularly attention worthy:
“My job is to deliver a team with the resources we have, and I have never complained about that…”
He has used this line and its variants on numerous occasions in the past. But I find his particular stress on the “resources we have” portion very interesting. Arsenal has always claimed to be “transparent” but only the most deluded fans would believe that. Like any successful firm in the world, they have their share of trade secrets and divert attention of the masses with the usual smoke and mirrors act.
Ivan and Hill-Wood have been the primary spokespersons for the club, in other words they play the parts of Stan’s little mouth-pieces. Repeated monologues of large transfer kitties are starting to lose meaning especially since Wenger is always caught with his hand stuck in the ’bargain-basket’ when the transfer window rolls in. I harbor a growing belief that the Kroenke and his cronies on the board are holding back funds from Arsene in spite of the repeated public statements claiming the contrary ( “sufficient funds were at his disposal”). Though Arsene loves the club he has served through thick and thin over the last 15-years, he is smart enough to know on which side his bread is buttered. I opine that he remains continually loyal to the management and will try to do what is best for the club as the management continue to play a devious Dr.Jekyll & Mr. Hydesque role.
While, much of that was a wild conspiracy theory but the board member’s attitude towards the fans from the AST varied from disdain to cold indifference. This much was obvious and is an irrefutable FACT.
It is evident that Kroenke and his army of low life board incumbents consider AST nothing more than an annoying but ultimately insignificant gnat. The reason behind this is rather simple: If ownership is a card game then Stan’s holding all the aces, as the majority share holder he can dictate terms and has to kowtow to no-one.
AST’s chief mistake was approaching the club as “share-holders” or “co-owners”, this would work if Stand did not hold the vast majority of the shares himself. The only way to make Stan stand up and take notice is speak in a language that he in well versed with: MONEY.
The moment that the AST and other fan representative bodies (fan clubs and the like) stop painting themselves as co-owners and start portraying themselves as the PRIMARY CONSUMERS and the club’s most vital CUSTOMERS is the moment when their demands are going to be taken seriously. The message needs to be hammered in the harshest possible way so that the thick-skinned yank gets the message:
“IGNORE THE CLUB’S SUPPORTERS AT YOUR OWN PERIL!!”
A club can wrangle up new kit-sponsors, new shirt sponsors, find new companies for stadia naming rights and maybe even an underwear sponsors, but a club CANNOT find new supporters. That is neigh impossible.
The only way to send this message would be to kick them where it would hurt: The FINANCES (or the money-maker if you like). If supporters were to abstain from buying shirts or tickets for even a season, Stan (and the club, unfortunately) would be in for a world of pain. As sadistic as it sounds, sometimes the rod is the best teacher.
Many fellow gooners were dead against this particular idea as they opined that the club would be harmed by the actions of its supporters. This is only partially true; the club can easily handle a season of financial loss due to bad sales and even an absence from the Champions league (more erudite creatures than you and I think so here) but the damage that comes from being saddled with an arrogant plutocrat for an owner who thinks he answers to no-one will be far more detrimental to the club. It is time for a dose of tough love.
Once Stan realizes that the golden rule of business(“The customer is always right”) does not exempt the world of club football, he will most certainly put things straight and will have no option but to bow to the AST’s demands. The balance of power shifts and the club can then carry on with only a minor blot on the balance sheets to show. Supporters uniting to pull off something of this scale is far fetched and more often than not people will choose to argue and point fingers at random creatures than take any useful action…until it is too late.
I only hope that this is not one of those instances.