This should have been a post match review of our poor performance against Fulham yesterday. I should be bemoaning the application of VAR and a penalty in which I don’t think Gabriel even touched the Fulham player who went down in the Arsenal box like a sack of spuds. We should lament the fact that Fulham scored with their only attempt and that Arteta got the team line up wrong because playing Elneny in any situation is the wrong thing to do. I should also be talking about how I didn’t really celebrate the Nketiah last minute equaliser because to me the season is done domestically and we are just playing it out in between the Europa League ties.
But instead, the talk of today and the coming weeks will be the announcement from 12 of the biggest clubs in Europe that they want to form a new ‘Super League’. Let me tell you this: there is nothing super about this whatsoever. This is greed. This is the ugly and malevolent face of the greed that exists at the top of the game, spearheaded by billionaire owners who just want more. More money, more wealth, more for themselves.
We’ve seen this for years. We’ve questioned why American owners who know nothing about football, or ‘soccer’ as they call it, would get involved in clubs like Arsenal or Manchester United. When they have shown no interest historically, when it isn’t a sport that they love, why would they want to get their greedy paws on our clubs?
The long game has now finally been confirmed. It had been talked about for years but the global pandemic has just accelerated the greed. The 12 biggest clubs in football have used a global health crisis to expedite their own demands for more wealth accumulation. It is wrong, immoral and down right disgraceful. Nobody wants this except the owners of this new ‘competition’. All fan groups of the teams in this Super League have essentially come out and derided it. The footballing authorities have lambasted it. Governments have chimed in. UEFA and FIFA have said they will throw these teams out of the competition and the Premier League have also said the same.
My one hope – perhaps football’s last hope – is that the game universally rallies against these appalling proposals from these clubs. If, for example, players cannot play for their national teams because they are inelligable for the competition as a FIFA or UEFA competition, then perhaps it becomes something that even the players themselves don’t want. Imagine telling Messi he can’t play for Argentina in the World Cup? Or telling Harry Kane he won’t captain England at the Euro’s because he plays for a Super League team? It will force players to think twice about joining Super League clubs and would seperate those that just want to play football, with those that just want to make money. A LOT of money.
And that’s what football will become if this goes ahead. It will be about money. The ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. It will be like the NFL in that the word ‘competition’ becomes almost irrelevant. How will you feel if, as an Arsenal fan, you support a team who never gets relegated, but doesn’t get near the money of Chelski, Man City, Barcelona or Real Madrid. Bayern Munich would be able to continue to snaffle the best talent from Germany in a hope to compete (correction – just seen Bayern haven’t signed up. Good for them), but at Arsenal we’d become a lower league team bumping along each season. You know how I said the Fulham game was a bit ‘meh’ and I didn’t really celebrate because the domestic season is done for us? Well imagine that happening from November. Imagine we’ve played four or five games, lost them all or most of them in this league, then have the rest of the season just playing out exhibition matches as the bigger clubs fight it out in what would essentially be a footballing equivalent of the NFL playoffs.
And speaking of that, which is clearly where these clubs want to take it. Imagine when it is decided that Arsenal football club as a ‘franchise’, can make more money by relocating to LA? The can play in the Rams stadium because their owner already has that. They can change their name to LA Arsenal. Do you think that won’t happen? Because if you know Kroenke and KSE you’ll know it will very much be something on their wish list. Stan Kroenke is from near St Louis in Missouri. He’s an NFL fan. But he moved his local team to LA because there was more money in it for him. I can tell you now he’ll have no problem moving The Arsenal to the US. He’s never had an affinity with our club and he has zero loyalty to North London or the UK. In fact it would suit his ultimate purpose to do it.
This is why I sat in a room a couple of years ago with a group of Arsenal fans and heard everyone talking about the #WeCareDoYou movement. It was a collective of fans that want to preserve the values and traditions of the club. Football is our game – all of us – we all have a stake in it. But these owners, these people trying to turn it into a money machine and not a sport are trying to take it away from all of us. They are trying to turn it in to a spectacle that will no longer represent the game we all grew up loving. They want to turn it in to a bunch of exhibition matches that rake in the coin. Then they want to pocket that themselves because they are not content with being the 0.1%. They want more. More, more, more. Always.
I’m saddened at the prospect of this. It will shake my belief in Arsenal and already has that we are pursuing this. But we are doing this because of KSE and for those of you who have suggested that KSE aren’t all that bad, that they have invested a little in us, that haven’t got behind the attempts to stem the tide of this greed we are now seeing unfolding in front of our very eyes…well…I am sad for you because you have indirectly had an impact on this.
The new face of Football is greed: The greed is channeled in to this European Super League.
Catch you all tomorrow.