Saturday, September 16, 2006

Arsenal must never sell out; United Preview.

Sorry for the site issues yesterday. 'twas not my fault - I logged on to find a blue screen and unhelpful messages from blogger, and I'm glad everything now seems resolved.

If I had been able to log on yesterday, I would have had a very clear message: Arsenal must never sell out or, to be more precise, sold out. Our club must never be whored to a random foreign investor. We have a board of directors who love and care about the club - who are, for all we are castigated for being a 'foreign club' - fans of the Arsenal, and whose attachment to the club is more than financial or capricious. Its only a rumour at the moment, but one of the major share-holders is apparently thinking of selling his shares. If he does, I would hope he sells it to the right type of investor[s].

We must never let a Glazer walk in and whore our logo around the world, while using the club as a sinking fund for his debts. We must never let an Abramovic turn our club into a yacht - a plaything that flaunts his wealth and inflates the hubristic ego of its obscenely rich owner, and that also makes a clubs successes hollow.

Several Russian oligarchs have been reported as sniffing round the club. This would be calamitous: at best they would use the club as a plaything; at worst they would use it as a symbol of their supposed legitimacy, in an attempt to mask the corruption of their other deals. I don't want the business practices of Russian oligarchs associated with the club, no matter what success they could bring us.

Clubs need to stop looking at the short term and think of the long-term future of the game. Alan Pardew's attitude - anyone remember his 'there are too many foreign players' rant now? - is typical of the selective and potentially dangerous myopia engulfing the premiership. His attitude seemed to be - 'well who cares about the future, these players will help us in the short-term'. That he's turned his club into a pimp's accomplice is seemingly lost on him; as are the more general ramifications of having players who aren't really owned by the clubs they play for; or the fact that the club is dealing with a man who has operated as a front for an oligarch who's banned from doing business in certain parts of the world.

I think I speak for most Arsenal fans - or at least i would hope I do - when I say that I'd rather our club won no trophies than tainted ones. The English premiership - with a stronger FA - needs to improve the financial clarity of football, and also consider the implications of the mass selling of our clubs to foreign investors, whose goals may be dangerously far-removed from the traditions of our game and the desires of its fans.

Right, rant over.

I've become slightly more optimistic - perhaps dangerously so - about tomorrow. I feel that something has to give: although whether it be United's flying start to the season, or our league hopes, I'm still not sure.

We're in a better situation than we were last time we visitied Old Trafford due to the presence of three classy, battling players: Gallas, Rosicky, and Baptista. The Neville entity will surely not try and kick those three about like they did to poor old Jose. Indeed, what I really want to see tomorrow is some bottle and battle. A 0-0 would do me, as long as we showed that we have the guts to make a real challenge for the Title this year, and that we're not going to be easily rolled over into submission.

It should be a fascinating match and I'm looking forward to it. I'm not looking forward to the 'paint-drying' competition that will be Liverpool Chelsea before it though. And I wish Sky would not so mercilessly hype everything up nowadays. It demeans us all.



Anonymous said...

didnt arsenal 'sell out' when they sold the naming rights to thier stadium? that was in my view the worst decision ever made in arsenal history.

and the new stadium has no arsenal feel to it. doesnt that qualify as far-removed from the desire of the club's fans?

Anonymous said...

this is the result of capitalism which you may remember was championed by your own country, the uk.wether people accept it or not club are business now as oppossed to idealistic sporting franchise owned by their supporters.get used to it because i cannot see how long before a club as alluring as arsenal is subject to a takeover spain barca,real and other are owned by their supporters so a bid is unlikely to succeed. witness ambromovich failed attempt to buy deportivo la coruna well before chelski interested him. that the price of being the most popular league in the world.karma

Anonymous said...

I really hope we don't become a plaything for some foreign (or even british) billionaire. I really fear for the future of football if this trend continues. We will eventually see a franchise NFL style division, where the champions will be the man who puts the most money in in that particular season.
I would much prefer the type of investment we have chosen through naming rights of the stadium and further strategic partnerships with corporations that benefit both parties.
The Emirates will take a while to get an "arsenal-feel". We're all used to our seats and close-to-pitch view we all enjoyed at Highbury. As we get accustomed to it, I'm certain we will create an atmosphere to die for. Remember this is probably the biggest move in the clubs history except maybe moving north of the river all those years ago
Also as an earlier poster mentioned this is not capitalism. Capitalism suggests a company run for profit to either reinvest in that company or pay in dividends to its owners. Chelski is a plaything and if Abramovich did ever disappear (which I personally don't think will happen) then the club would struggle to survive which would be sad.

legrandesaucisse said...

I'm in agreement with all the points about foreign investors. 3 clubs in the EPL now under foreign control with probably West Ham to follow. Not a good situation at all.

The other thing that concerns me is the deals for Mascherano and Tevez - that they will be the beginning of a new trend in football. Pini Zahavi was quoted in saying he is close to assembling a £100 million investment fund to assemble a portfolio of the hottest global talent. For one that goes up against the Arsenal tranfer policy

legrandesaucisse said...

For another it can't be good that a new power can be born that isn't a club that can wield so much power - ie deciding where a player should go, for how long etc. Agents are already a big problem in our game eg Jonathan Barnett. So much money going into their hands. A super agency of this kind would not be good at all in my opinion.

Having said all that - COME ON ARSENAL!!!!

gazzap said...

just look at chelsea, 2 titles but their support is dwindling. their games go on general sale where you can buy as many tickets as you like and they still only had 32,000 on tuesday. this is basically because their victories are so hollow. when they win, people say its because they bought it and when they lose people have no sympathy for a team with an unlimited budget. I dont want Arsenal to become that. if we win or lose I want to do it with pride and so that everything has meaning.

the other point about agents destroying our game is also true. FIFA need to start taking proper looks into how football is run and bring in some rules. they bring in rules to stop teams playing all foreign players but no rules about how clubs are run and agent intereference.

gazzap said...

as for foreign players, you ask any fan whether they want a top drawer foreigner or an average englishman and they will take the best footballer every time. pardew is a case in point, if he was offered another 7 tevez type deals he'd snap them just as quickly if it meant he could challenge for the premiershop even if he had 11 foreign players in his team.
Arsenal are probably ahead of their time, I expect more teams to have more foreign players as the years go by. they'll have to to compete with the big boys.

wenger loves a bargain *understatement*, but there are virtually no english bargains to be had. even 16 year olds, with the quality to play for a top 4 club, are worth £12m (ie walcott) and thats a big risk.

Anonymous said...

good insightful article as usual ...

i guess most people have missed this bit of news - Lord Sebastian Coe (self confessed Chelsea fan) has been selected as head of FIFA's ethics committee (or commission ... not sure)

i wonder how far these oligarchs can influence things - depressing thought really...

Anonymous said...

Rosicky is a beast. Just a fantastic player to watch.

But why, oh why, must the commentators consistently call him Rozidski?

Anonymous said...

because he is Chzec and thats how you pronounce his name you nobber!