Well now, they’ve finally lost it at the Premier League and in trying to pump in crowd noise via the red button when the season restarts, we’re going to have come to the last desperate grabs by the broadcasters to protect their ‘product’.
Selfishly I hope it bombs. That’s because I’m one of the people that is lucky enough to watch my team play football most weeks. Well, I say “lucky” but we all know it hasn’t felt like that this season, not if you’re an Arsenal fan. Then when you add to it that I pay some of the highest prices for a season ticket in the world, it also doesn’t feel as lucky. But I’m sure you get my sentiment. That’s because we all know the broadcasters and the Premier League have treated match-going fans as second class citizens with their kick off times, VAR, etc, for some time now. This becomes the final hurdle.
I hope it bombs and I hope people find it really weird and silly that there is crowd noise being pumped in on your watching pleasure, because it will be weird to think that 50,000 people are being synthetically replicated when your eyes can clearly tell you that there is nobody at the ground.
The next step will be the Premier League telling the makers of football games to start super-imposing computer fans in there. Much more easier to control too. That’s where they’re getting the noise from on Sky – EA Sports – so why not just whack a few fans in the background too, eh?
Sky have also chucked in – for my own viewing displeasure that I won’t link to – a piece today about the 50 signings that ‘got away’ in the Premier League era. It reads like a depressing Arsene Wenger monologue about what could have been. I used to hate it when Arsene would talk about that sort of stuff because, frankly, all it does is annoy people and all it serves to highlight is that sometimes we didn’t actually do everything in our power to get the playing. Like signing Upamencano in 2015 for £1million, or Riyad Mahrez before he joined Leicester. Nope, I’d rather tnot be told about that sort of stuff thank you very much.
It does get you to thinking about Arsenal’s transfer plan this summer though. I don’t really know if there is one but you’d hope so. After it emerged that we’d essentially told football agents to “shut up and take our money!” on the David Luiz deal, then factor in the eye watering amounts that must have passed hands on the Pepe transfer, and you worry that this summer is going to end up being more of the same poor moves made by the hierarchy at the club.
If you think about the last five years as an example, there have been some pretty horrendous decision making that’s gone on in the transfer market, which is why we’re in the mess we’re in at the moment. I’ve just had a quick look at Transfermarkt and since 2015 we’ve dropped (just transfer fees alone):
- David Luiz – £7.83million
- Sokratis – £14.4million
- Mkhitaryan – swap but the value is £30.6million on Transfermarkt
- Xhaka – £40.5million
- Mustafi – £36.9million
- Asano – £3.6million
- Lucas Perez – £18million
- Elneny – £11.25million
That’s nearly £160million on players who it is questionable whether they’ve truly lived up to their value. That’s £32million a season we’ve spent on average to bring in players who haven’t really fully succeeded at the club. Over five years. So it just serves to show you just how poor we’ve been across not only the Wenger and Ivan regime, but also the Raul and Emery time too. It’s why there needs to be a serious step-change in our approach somehow and if we’re going to get into the Champions League places again, those changes need to happen soon before Champions League qualification becomes further away than ever.
There does also need to be more accountability at the top of the club. We talked about that from an ownership perspective with KSE when it comes to the ‘We Care Do You’ campaign, but there needs to be accountability for those running the club on a day-to-day basis. In many ways this next 12 months should make or break them. You can sack a manager, you can sell players, but football executives should also have their heads on the chopping block if they are failing at their duties and if we’re having similar conversations about the failings of the club in 12 months then I don’t think it unkind to look at Raul et al and start to ask whether more change is needed at the club.
It’s time we started to reverse this slide and in Arteta we all like to think we have the right guy for the club from a coaching perspective, but perhaps we need to start keeping a closer watch on the guy running the football administration, because he has plenty of questions still to answer.
Catch all of you lovely people tomorrow.