Now I know that that may seem a crazy observation at first glance, and I am very aware that we have been trophy less for what will almost certainly be, in about 4 months, 8 seasons, but bear with me while I cover the main issues that piss of the fans:
- Top four finish
- Ticket prices
Arsenal have qualified for the champions league for the last 17 years, and gotten through to the knockout phases for the last 14 (Man Utd can only claim the latter for 1 year). But they’ve produced 0 trophies in the last 8 years you say?
Well would you rather be like Liverpool, winning the league cup but finishing far outside the top four for what will be 3 seasons in a row?
Would you rather win the FA cup but finish below Tottenham?
Would you rather be like Juventus, getting relegated but winning the league 5 years later?
The answer is NO. Why? Because we don’t have to. That’s the truth of it; we are and have always been good enough to compete for a top trophy, while finishing in the champions league spots every year. How do you think Portsmouth fans felt when they won the FA Cup in 2008? They were ecstatic. Because they win a trophy once in a blue moon and were used to finishing mid table (but have been relegated twice since then). We’ve stayed competitive every season and even gotten to 3 cup finals and 4 semi-finals in 7 years, all while never paying more than £16 million for a player. Look on the other side of the coin and Chelsea and Man City are no longer in the Champions League this season.
Most impressively, we’ve done all this while paying off £600,000,000 (that’s £600 million) debt that we got from moving to a stadium with the sole purpose of using the extra revenue to stay financially competitive in the future. Getting £600 million down to £98 million in 5 years is not easy, especially while managing to stay consistently a part of every major trophy. Compare this to Chelsea and Man City who have had their debt balloon over the last few years and Man Utd whose debt of £400 million will probably continue to increase. Make note that none of these teams have moved in to a new stadium anytime recently, and the only one trying (Chelsea) have had Abramovich (seriously, Abramovich) say that he won’t finance it because it’s too expensive.
This brings me to my last point:
Maybe if we had an owner that would finance any ridiculous transfer/wage budget like Abramovich or Mansour then we wouldn’t have to worry about making money, but we don’t so we do. Man City could give away all their tickets for free because their owner probably bathes in gold coins like Scrooge McDuck and has no interest in conserving money. But we have to make due with our ticket revenues to finance our team because our shirt sponsorship deals (Nike and Emirates) are some of the lowest in the league because they knew that we needed the money for the stadium more than they needed our business. You can have lower ticket prices but prepare for finishing below tams like Fulham and West Brom.
Maybe it would be good for Arsenal to go through some real tough times so the fans can appreciate the great state we’re currently in.
Written by Omar Chowdhury.