Since Arsenal don’t have willing owners like Sheikh Mansour, Roman Abramovich or Tony Fernandes to fund their ambitions, their main source of income given the stadium debt are (a) ticket sales (which is why they’re the costliest team to watch in the flesh), (b) Champions League TV money (which is why Wenger keeps prioritizing fourth place before all else) and (c) player sales (without which Arsenal’s net profits each year would be in the red, and is why stars disappear each season).
Now surely it’s impossible, theoretically, to keep selling players and fill a stadium with ticket prices like that, and keep finishing top 4 every season. But Arsenal do it. It’s getting harder each season, but they do it in the end. It’s all because of the manager.
The problem is that fans (of both Arsenal and other teams) view Arsenal as a team that should be challenging for trophies and keep calling for Wenger’s head when he fails to deliver. That is insane. All things taken into account, Arsenal should not be viewed as a title-challenging club, at least till their debts are cleared.
Be rational; they lose their best players every season and lack the spending power to compete with City, Chelsea and United. They are not a title-challenging club and judging Wenger’s “failures” by viewing them as such is a flaw.
Wenger is the best man to manage Arsenal. Yes, they’ve gone backwards in terms of competitiveness on the pitch in the last few years, but under someone else, the situation would’ve been worse. Much worse.
Wenger has more than proven his ability when he was given a squad that wasn’t constantly leaking talent to rival teams. He has won the league unbeaten with it.
And Wenger was the one who suggested the move to Emirates (to catch up to United’s revenue and spending power) and put himself in such a position. No other manager would walk into such a situation; that alone tells you the faith others have in themselves, and how willing they are to think of the club’s long-term welfare in exchange for their own trophy ambitions and personal reputation.
Also, you can say Dalglish and Rodgers now were/are in similar positions, with the post Benitez-Torres-Alonso era now truly a thing of the past. They aren’t able to beat a top half team. It’s not easy, repairing a once-broken squad and still being a top 4 team (let alone a squad that’s broken every summer).Published 18 Feb 2013, 12:49 IST