Peter Hill-Wood: Another prick on the wall
The saddest part of Arsenal’s annihilation at Old Trafford is not the scoreline which is in itself a reflection of a heartless and cruel policy of turning to ingenues to save the club’s season. That it was done by a Utd side that had its share of injuries and untested talent filling in huge shoes left by Paul Scholes, Edwin Van Der Sar, Nemanja Vidic, and Rio Ferdinand inflicted the deepest cut and left Wenger’s bragging rights of turning to youth for provenance in tatters.
Utd’s commitment to a deep bench has and always will be a cornerstone to its success. Having the likes of Ryan Giggs and Arsenal killer Park Ji Sung to call on fills its most timorous fans with hope while Marouane Chamakh and Nicklas Bendtner bring about ennui and at worst cynicism. Both sets of changes have a history of well documented performances on the pitch to back up these claims.
Giggs and Park had little to do the winning but everything to do with driving the nail into the myth that Arsenal could compete with the best. We look squarely at mid table prospects as Ashley Young provided Utd with the sublimest of finishes and Rooney’s hattrick of epic proportions. There is absolutely no competition. It is finished. Destroyed by Arsene Wenger and an inept and self serving board.
Wenger could blame the weather for his bedraggled look in the home loss to Liverpool. Little did he know he had signed on for the conducted tour of Dante’s Inferno at the Theatre of Dreams reserved for lesser clubs. Lets put it this way, Arsenal have already conceded almost a third of the goals in three games then they did in less than a watertight season last year. The alternative headline reads Arsenal shamed into scoring a brace. An infinite improvement over their previous two league games. Which seems to be about the max Arsenal can score given the paucity of attacking options.
Where did we go wrong?
Wenger lives in a time warp. Potential transfers who previously found in Arsenal a welcome offset for a relative lack of financial remuneration are less likely to do so in the face of sustained failure. Arsenal’s weakening grip on Champions League representation means it’s no longer a welcome draw. The ham handed and unreal bids are the manifestation of an unhealthy obsession with previous success believed to still turn heads.
Meanwhile the £12m Alex Oxlade Chamberlain vanity project subverts from the zero investment in a quality defense and midfield. Carl Jenkinson was asked to do duty against an Ashley Young. An inept Armand Traore rejected by Juve was supposed to contain Nani. How much more clueless can you get? Thomas Vermaelen is injured once again and the only thing we have remotely in place three days before the end of the transfer period is an unseemly spat between Owen Coyle and Wenger over an offer over Gary Cahill. That’s the winning formula Wenger has in mind. It’s sadopathic which is an amalgam of sadism and pathetic with psychopathic overtures to describe a club that believes doing business as usual is a recipe for success.
Arsenal’s vision is driven by a provincial and narrow based economic policy predicated on saving money with one bullet point. Transfers. Lost in this message is the self sustaining model that believes success begets success. Utd can absorb its enormous debt obligations because it’s long term model believes there are new markets out there that appreciate its commitment to winning titles and creating the coattails for companies to ride their brand.
They spread the cash on players who make a difference and that difference is parlayed into more lucrative sponsorships, bond issues, and IPO offerings. It’s a simple message. The financial fair play rules are little more than a directive to live within your means. It tells you that the I/O should equal one. But it does not cap spending as long as you have the commensurate revenue to achieve a balanced spread sheet. Arsenal live in London, the financial capital of Europe and therefore privy to a more savvy approach to doing business but the pursuit of Phil Jones, Juan Mata, and Cahill betray a mofussil and anachronistic ideology.
Our boardroom consists of a fat bottomed Englishman who believes his responsibility ends with the Fabregas transfer, an American with social phobias who collects sports teams as one does trophy wives, and a CEO who is a dupe for what Wenger says and does.
One wonders and this not being my forte is how much of this is hurting the economic bottomline in real terms? Perhaps Swiss Ramble can deem this worthy of exploration and his extrapolations can make for a wake up call. If Arsenal have lost £2m in merchandizing because Fabregas jerseys are no longer selling without an alternative icon to replace him then there is a huge problem.
That is the only way Wenger smells the coffee. He’s been a bag man for the Arsenal board’s focus on economic frugality which looks increasingly to the fans to pick up the tab. All the while we’re marginalized as no nothings and an easy touch for our money. Our future sacrifice could include funding transfers. Lets say this as succinctly as possible: Arsenal is bigger than any player, any manager, or any owner. Wenger and the kleptocrats who run Arsenal are channeling Sepp Blatter talking of doom after thousands of years of existence of the sport. A 3-1 loss points to remediable events, an 8-2 up your wazoo points to a structural problem.