By Tanaka Felix Chidemo
You might have heard that a protest march against the board has been planned by some Arsenal fans.
I believe that the march is directed at the right individuals. While Wenger is not without blame, I feel the board is more to blame for our fall from grace.
But having seen the divisions among fans over Wenger, I wouldn’t be shocked to see a protest against him soon. The idea of a peaceful protest may be very noble as we are all entitled to our own opinions but I feel the board won’t be too troubled.
I’m sure the board is surprised that this is only happening now after a very long spell of dismal results(football not financial) and a catalogue of laughable and controversial statements at AGMs.
I say the board won’t be too troubled because I think they are more troubled about finances than opinions. As long as the Emirates stadium is full for the next game, not a single f**k shall be given! Hill-Wood and Co. have an undying affinity for financial profit.
The day they fall behind in that respect is the day they will decide to spend beyond their usual sums. Even then, I fear they’ll only spend to make it back to the top four and not necessarily to win a trophy. If it so happens that we win some form of silverware, I’ll put it down to Wenger’s mastery, the players’ efforts and sheer luck alone.
Over the years I’ve come across some naïve fans who have said the team should be beaten so that the board sees ‘the light’. Its as flawed an idea as it is sick. I disagree with them totally. The board doesn’t care how many times we get bashed in one season as long as we make it to the top four. To them the top four is not about status or pride, its about money.
Champions league qualification guarantees them of a substantial cheque. We have never heard stories of them grilling Wenger over his results. They seem very satisfied with what he gives them.
Most fans find it hard to find satisfaction in the team’s performances these days. I’m part of that contingent. You gotta hand it too Wenger though, the miracles he works with some of the most average players amongst football’s big boys are nothing short of amazing! My criticism of him is that he is not open with the fans. By this I mean he lies about the money he has available.
He says there is money to spend but that money never gets spent. I suspect he does this to mask the differences he might have with board regarding the amount of investment needed. Bringing it out in the open might render the club unstable and potential signings and sponsors might shun us. Not to say we are the greenest grass right now but I’m sure it could be much worse if Wenger bore his soul.
Others might argue that Wenger is complicit in the board’s shenanigans and they have a strong case. Wenger is one of the best paid managers in the world yet besides reaching the top four consistently throughout his tenure, he’s started to run low on other deliverables over the last few years. The imbalance does not end there, it filters to the players as well.
The Chamahks and Denilsons of the team are eating pretty on salaries that can please players of twice or thrice their ability. The entire model (with profits every season; dwindling football ambitions; a very high wage bill; exhorbitant ticket prices; no trophies; top quality players sold every season; a now lacklustre squad and fan unrest) is touted as a ‘self sustaining’ model for world football.
Its abundantly clear to all that this model has consistently failed to sustain the fans’ need for silverware. The question now is: Are the fans part of the ‘self’ or is the ‘self’ really the board?
However significant the march may turn out to be, talk about it has failed to steal the spotlight entirely from the upcoming North London Derby. A win in this match last season sparked our revival. The same will do again this season. In terms of entertainment value, I think this game has become the biggest in English football right now.
Spurs have upped it up a notch and we have gone down at least two notches so we are almost on the same level now. Should be an electric encounter, its a must watch for us all. I hope and pray that the referee doesn’t mess it up for all of us. 4-3 in favour of the Arsenal for me. Stay Red!