It’s the Spring bank holiday here in Blighty and the sun is out, the birds are chirping and I’m off to play a little golf later this morning. What could make it even better?
How about an announcement that Arsenal have signed Gnabry, Jesus, Abraham, the ghost of Christmas Past and are going to give away an entire year’s supply of Maggi to every Arsenal fan that signs their membership up this week? That’d be nice.
I got my season ticket email through yesterday and whilst I haven’t clicked on the link, I’ve seen that some people are slightly unhappy about it, whilst others – like journalists – are using the season ticket prices as a narrative to beat Arsenal with. Again.
“ARSENAL HAVE THE MOST EXPENSIVE SEASON TICKET PRICES!” say the sensationalists in the media, conveniently forgetting that Arsenal give seven cup credits to season ticket holders, which brings the price down to around £35 per head per game and is pretty much average for the Premier League these days. But never let the truth get in the way of a good headline, eh?
The reality is that our tickets are on the more expensive side, but that’s always been the case and in addition to that, this only really affects a small percentage of the fanbase like me. So what I really want to focus on is the narrative in the media that is spun to give Arsenal a battering at every opportunity. The season tickets situation is the latest opportunity to point and poke at the club, last week we also had the ‘shrewd move’ of the Scum signing Perisic, whilst a few places pointed at Arsenal fans for laughing because we did exactly the same with Willian and a couple of others.
“Why always me?” Mario Balotelli once famously displayed on a t-shirt after scoring for Man City a few years back The Arsenal hierarchy and us fans could well have the same though process when we read headlines like the ones we’ve been seeing in the last few days. But the answer is very simple:
Because Arsenal is a BIG club.
In this country, in the Premier League, there’s nothing more that the media and people in general like more than a giant on its knees and it is fair to say that Arsenal are a giant of the Englih game. We are the third most successful football club in the country. And for the last three or four years we’ve made mistakes, dropped own the pecking order, we’ve looked like a fallen giant and people love to poke fun at a fallen giant in English Sport. But the tide has felt like it has shifted – albeit not as quickly as we’d have hoped last season – in the last nine months and we feel like we’re going in the right direction. We are by no means where we want to be, there is still a lot of work to do, the summer is a critical period in which we must step up and get the right players in to kick us on. But there’s no doubt that we’ve moved in the right direction for the first time in about three to four years and perhaps there is an element of needing to poke fun at a big club hopefully on the rise.
That’s what I like to think anyway. My hope is that we are going in the right direction and we’re making the right moves to be one of the top teams once again. As we enter the beginning of the transfer window – officially opening next Friday (10th June) – we are in a place where most Gooners I speak to are excited about the new season. That is such a different place from last season. Heck, even up until 31st August we were still wondering what on earth the club was doing with its transfer policy. But as the media scratched their heads, the club just got on with it, brought some good players in, did what it needed to do.
But we need to continue that. The difference between the also-rans and those at the top, whether anyone likes it or not, is how they buy and how well they augment their squads on a consistent basis. One swallow does not a summer make, as they say and one good transfer window does not an elite and competitive team make, also. So muy hope is that this year we continue to be smart, we continue to be clever and we continue to make the right choices.
It’s all eyes on Edu and Arteta. And to a lesser extent KSE, who despite what people say have not pumped cash injections in to the club and certainly won’t do so this summer. So we have to see just how clever Arsenal can be with their moves in the next three months. My hope is that we are as clever in the attacking part of the pitch, as we were in the defensive part last summer.
There’s some more talk this morning about Aaron Hickey, who played last night for Scotland and is supposedly a target for us, but I’m not too fussed about going in to specific player detail at the moment if I’m honest with you. It feels a little like when you go to paintball and the balls are expensive so you want to conserve them, but you end up peppering half of them at some poor innocent bystander in the first game, then you’ve got little else to play with for the rest of the day. If I go hard on transfer thoughts on these players now, I feel like within the next two weeks I’ll have nothing to talk about!
And so with that view firnly lodged in my mind, I’m going to hold fire on any more ramblings and get back to you all tomorrow, in which I will clearly have a full and in depth analysis on everyd=thing you’ve ever known about Aaron Hickey!
Have a good one folks.
It’s funny that they never pick up on other things that other clubs do. For example a couple of years back Man Utd drew away to Oxford United. The club then automatically debited the accounts of season ticket holders who then had to reclaim the payment if they weren’t going to the match. I don’t know if they still have the policy in place but Utd had as one of their terms and conditions that if you were a season ticket holder and didn’t go to an earlier round in a cup game that you did not have the right to buy a ticket for a later round, say a semi final in a European match.
A football club being a so called Giant is a question about history and tradition. Alex James, David Jack, Cliff Bastin, Ted Drake (who led Chelsea to their only leage title so far)*; Frank McLintock, George Armstrong, John Radford, Charlie George; Liam Brady & Frank Stapleton, Alan Smith & Paul Merson, Ian Wright, Marc Overmars, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Robin van Persie; these players make Arsenal F C a Giant Club – and no B*llsh*t in the world can do anything about it. That’s forever.
* I don’t count CFC titles “won” with stolen Russian gold.