Yesterday I read that Abu Dhabi FC are considering building a training complex in London. This will be passed off as a genius move by a wonderfully organised football club to give them a marginal advantage when playing in London. They will claim it saves them travelling time and avoids the need to stay in hotels overnight, presumably they will include a residence.
I think it’s far more likely that it’s a move to give them more opportunity to be a player in the economy of the capital and so become more influential and acceptable to the government of our country. Because lets face it, the whole Manchester City project has nothing to do with either football or the local community of Manchester, it’s simply a PR exercise for Abu Dhabi and the UAE. A advert if you will.
Those that say it’s good for the game and the local community have been taken in, exactly as they had hoped. Their greatest achievement isn’t building an outstandingly good football team, with their £2.7 billion drop in an oily ocean spend, it’s been fooling people into thinking it’s good for the game.
Below is an extract of a post from our very own Arsenal Andrew, with sums up my feelings more eloquently than I could.
“I read somewhere (and don’t know if it’s true) that AFC were doing slightly better, points wise at this time last year and yet most fans are either pleased or thrilled at Emery’s start. Personally I feel he has done exceptionally well, exceptionally swiftly; most managers, like most players, take more time to bed in, so well played, Sir.
We’ve certainly scored the best goals in the PL this season, but my question to readers is, how well did we think we were doing by the start of December last year?
We clearly fell away after New Year (if not before) so I guess this is a physical/psychological hurdle Unai has to get over in the weeks ahead.
Again, I ask, what has really changed?
We look a bit more ‘Liverpool’ these days with our energy and physical commitment as well as our potency up front. At the back the need for further improvement is evident to all and Emery at least gives off the impression that he is working hard on all areas of the pitch, not just the attacking third.
Certainly in Leno at the back and Lucas in the middle we have the beginnings of an absolutely top class spine, yet our front players, despite more than a few flashes of brilliance, are yet to settle into a routine of lethal consistency. And we still DO look vulnerable at the back. And in some ways, I quite LIKE that we haven’t changed TOO much; it suggests to me that, contrary to what some say, Wenger was still not SO far from where he/we needed to be.
So I think there is more, much more to come from new-boy Emery’s new Arsenal and one remains optimistic, up to a point.
The fly in the ointment of the future lies in the total domination of the EPL by Manchester City. Liverpool’s challenge is merely firing City up further and we know they have the limitless funds to quickly replace the injured or formless as required. Pep’s chequebook deployment impresses few beyond those paid observers and the sycophantic, eagerly assembled mob on the press and pundit benches. Pep would have to work hard to screw things up given his resources although Jose shows what is possible and success is obviously not a complete ‘given’.
But how exciting is the PL these days, honestly?
What really is the point of Emery and his predecessor, even our neighbours over in Middlesex toiling away for years to achieve incremental improvement when clubs are allowed to pump eye-watering yet illegal volumes of cash into a club with complete impunity to ‘claim’ the league without really having to try. I mean, what is the point of it all?
3-0 to City has little resonance when that is really the minimum expected from them. To be almost nailed on PL winners by the end of November does nobody any favours and I can’t help but think the empty seats at Wembley, at the Emirates and most other grounds is symptomatic of an ongoing growth of apathy which continues to develop unabated. Tag all that to the ludicrous cost of watching someone elses’s choice of live football on tv and you have a recipe for a long-term decline in fan interest.
Certainly I still look forward to Arsenal games and I can’t wait for the introduction of VAR into the PL next year, no matter how flawed or poorly executed that may be, at least initially.
But while City sit at the top of the table having purchased their seat there rather than truly competed for it, forgive me if my excitement in the game can now be described as ‘not what it was’.
And all the while that Arsenal and others are effectively debarred from the top two positions in the league on account of cash rather than credible, authentic ‘merit’, then this more measured interest in the game is unlikely to change anytime soon.
Still, COYGs, eh?”
I hope this blog doesn’t come across like a Judge handing down a ruling, but really, we, and all the other hopefuls , are goosed.