Well, lets discuss the future of Arsenal, by future I mean next season. Let us say Wenger goes, we replace him with anyone from Max Allegri (we can all stay being AKB’s, oh what a conundrum for the WOB,), to little old Eddie Howe (not a chance in the world, unless its designed so his succession is not following the great man).
I’m told constantly that wouldn’t it be great just to break the cycle, even if it means taking one or two steps backwards so that we can then start taking forward steps again. Sounds reasonable, in fact sounds very reasonable, but often the great soundbites are that and only that, a soundbite, no substance, after all where is the extra £350M a week for the NHS, they are now looking to sell it off to American investors, good luck with that. Back to the taking a step or two back before stepping forward again. What could possibly go wrong?
Well lets think about that, what could go wrong? A couple of years ago one of the most noisy Arsenal blogs, LeGrove, claimed that Aston Villa were years ahead of AFC in their development, they were on the road to coming back after taking a step back, after the big Martin O’Neill gamble, the spending money they did not have, almost making the break through. The had brought all sorts of experts to run the club, or as LeGrove would call it, revolutionize the club, in fact they had even stolen one of Arsenal’s most highly thought of execs Tom Fox. Well it seems that state forces have repelled the Aston Villa revolution to such a degree that they are in the Championship, look like they will be in for at least another year. Crowds are dwindling, sponsorship has dried up, and only the BPL parachute payments give them an advantage over other clubs whose fans wanted to take a step back before charging forward.
Don’t get me wrong, Arsenal are no Aston Villa, despite what LeGrove would like you to believe, I do not see relegation on our horizon, just as I’ve never seen it in my lifetime, although we did in the mid 70’s come too damn close to it. We had taken our step back at that time, and yes we did take several, maybe even many steps forward, but 4 cup finals yielding one victory, our best players leaving for more money and more glory, big name signings were a buzz, but all too often they looked better in their wrapping paper than they did when we put them out on the pitch.
Of course eventually we got in the right manager at the right time, a couple of league titles, a few cups, and we at times it looked like we had taken that step forward, never to step back, but we got further and further from the league titles, and the cups were not enough, a bung seen the end of the manager, and I’m still not sure if our next manager was a step forward or a step back, I side on forward, as he gave us Dennis Bergkamp. Then we truly made a step forward, 3 more league titles(one unbeaten), a few cups, a big bright new shiny stadium, and there we were again, having taken a step back, our best players leaving for more money and more glory. Then we got a few nice new shiny big name signings, a couple of cups and an improving league position, but its not enough.
So what happens if our next manager is a step or two back, if we lose the £50m CL money, if we end up playing Thursday nights, or if we end up having midweeks off. Our two biggest named stars will have just 12 months left on their contracts this summer, will they might force their way out if we don’t make CL and Wenger is gone. If they do, how big a name manager, and how big a budget will we need to buy the players to not only replace them, but also the other players needed to take that mythical step forward, if we can’t or are unwilling to spend while in top 4, will we spend even enough to get us back to where we currently are.
Lets face it, we are nowhere in relation to the revenue streams Man Utd have, we don’t have their name either(yes ours is not bad, but they are the most successful English club by some distance in the last 25 years), and look at the problems they have had since their mega manager retired.
We also do not have owners who are willing to put in their own cash like Man City and Chelsea do.
Could the removal of Wenger finally give spurs the belief that would see them finish above us, you know once they do manage to finish above us, it might not be so easy to reverse it.
Liverpool have shown the transfer band that non regular top 4 clubs, with a big history(bigger than ours) work in, and have also shown that this bracket sees a cycle of taking a step or two back followed by stepping forward to where they had been, a spot that had their fans demanding a new manager, new signings, so they could take a step back before stepping forward again.
Liverpool were the be all and end all of English football for most of the 70’s and 80’s and early 90’s, league titles, european cups, fa cups, league cups, doubles all over the place, but are now looking at their 27th year without a league title.
But we are Arsenal, so it will be different for us, we, once Wenger is gone, will prosper like never before, leagues, champion leagues, fa cups, league cups, world club cups, will all be there for the taking. How do I know this, cos I’ve ambition, I won’t settle for any thing less, and I deserve it cos I chose to support Arsenal from when I was 3 years old, so I deserve it, oh and cos Arsenal match day tickets are the most expensive in the world. Or maybe we will become Aston Villa, doubt that very much, but we could very well become Tottenham Hotspurs, now that would be different.