Last night I jumped on a podcast with a few people and we talked about the season as a whole. The ups, the downs and the randoms. It was good to get on it and have enough distance between the crushing end of the season and look at the season as a whole, but much like Albert and I talked about, that defeat to Newcastle on the penultimate game of the season was a very big blow to the gut and I still think there’s some residual frustration, disappointment and sadness in there. The lows really do stay with you longer than the highs, that’s for sure.
Then I wake up this morning still thinking about that and to try to counter that low feeling from that particular moment in my life, I started to think about the highs. Winning the FA Cup four times in the last seven years has brought me some great individual highs. Then going back to when we won the league in 2004, which is becoming more and more of a legacy iconic situation than something still fresh in the memory. Arsenal have given me the highs and I love that I have been able to experience that. But I had a flick through Arseblog this morning and saw that he’d posted a thread from a FT journo about the wealth of football’s elite and it kind of depressed me again, unfortunately. The thread is here. The crux of it is that the super wealthy clubs – of which we are clearly not one because we are not bankrolled by a sugar daddy or nation state, are slowly killing any competition from football. Then it made me think about the Super League and the article I wrote when it all came out and how the Premier League has already created the Super League, they’ve done it by stealth and without UEFA – that is here if you want to have a read/re-read. Reading that FT journo thread made me think about that article, but with a slight revision, because it is quite clear now that the Super League exists, but it exists within the confines of UEFA, because they are presiding over a competition designed to make themselves wealthier, as well as ensure that the ‘Super League Clubs’ themselves don’t break away. The only difference between the Super League proposals and the current situation, it seems, is that in this version of it, UEFA get to pocket the cash rather than more of it go to those clubs that wanted to despicably break away in the first place.
Football has become such an ugly game off the pitch, hasn’t it? I enjoy going to games at The Emirates and I love being an Arsenal fan and the Arsenal community that has evolved over the last 10 – 15 years with the rise of social media platforms, but outside of that I really find that the way football in general appears to be evolving is not very palatable at all. It’s probably all sh*ts and giggles for the likes of Man City and within the next year Newcastle fans, as they fight for every honour and swallow up players from other clubs as they build £50million+ player squads of 25 superstars, but for everyone else it just becomes a bit of a farce.
I don’t really know what the answer is. They tried FFP but nobody showed any real compunction to drive it through properly, because maybe a lot of this could have been nipped in the bud, instead of mushrooming like it feels like it’s doing now. But what I do know is that with every new story that emerges of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ in football, my ‘love’ for the game wanes more and more by the day.
Sorry, bit of a downer this morning but I guess it is what it is, that’s what you get with my ramblings. I’m up or I’m down. Rest assured though, when I stop typing for today, I’ll get cracking with work and I’ll not be spending too much time dwelling on some of these football issues. Life really is too short.
It’s also why I’m loathed to get too caught up in the transfer stuff at the moment. We’re on 1st June and this is the month in which players are released from their contracts. It’s also a period in which players are off on holidays, unless they are with their international teams, in which case they’ll head off on holidays after that, which looks predominantly like Monday week (6th June). With that being the case there most likely won’t be much more deal movement until mid June I think, so personally I’m happy to try to stay away from transfer rumours unless they suddenly appear to be pretty concrete. But as it stands all we’re getting is the worst kind of bottom feeding rag journos coming up with the random links to obscure players and for the more sensible journos, it’s no news other than the stuff we’ve already seen a million times. So for now I’m going to try my best not to get too embroiled in the noise and see if I can last.
One thing I did want to point out before I go – not transfer related – was the Mesut Ozil situation, which appears to be playing out in a similar fashion to the way it did at The Arsenal before he left us. He has taken to Twitter to talk about how he wants to see out his contract, how he wasn’t paid by Fenerbahce for six months when he joined (because Arsenal were paying his wages) and that he will continue to give all for the team. Nice words. Clever words. PR words. But having been a massive fan of his when he was at his best in an Arsenal shirt, I can’t help but look at how similarly this has played out with another team and think that it makes the player look in a certain light. And that light is not a favourable one. There’s no way that a club like Arsenal, then a club like Fenerbahce, would both react in the same way unless the player had some issues and you just wonder if as much as some of us loved Ozil, his PR game was just better than the clubs he was at and that is why he was not roundly pilloried by most fans. Even when I read some comments from Fenerbahce fans, it appears as though they are divided between getting behind him and getting behind the club. As always we don’t have all the information, but you can’t look at that situation, see the parallels with Arsenal, then not look at the player and see how he isn’t a common denominator here.
Anyway, that’s in the Arsenal past, not the Arsenal present. We live in the Arsenal present and we’re focused on the current bunch.
Catch up with you tomorrow for more rambling on The Arsenal.
You can, of course, try supporting a lower-level club; a real club not tainted by the big money transfers, multi-millionaire players, owners desperate to bring instant success and dealings with greedy and manipulative agents.
Leyton Orient, now in the shadow of taxpayer-subsidised Wet Spam and their dirty tactics, is the club I am thinking of but there is a multitude of “lower league” and “non-league” teams to choose from out there. Experience the highs and more often lows of following a smaller club and I challenge you to not get sucked in by the emotion and elation of getting back to traditional real football which you can experience for a fraction of what you spend to go to the Arsenal.