Wellety, wellety, wellety. Welly, welly, welly. Wellington, wellington, wellington. It appears as though the rules around Financial Fair Play that we all thought were largely irrelevant are, in fact, looked and and reviewed by the Premier League. Yesterday’s announcement that Man City have allegedly breached 101 different Premier League rules – from failing to disclose actual costs of a manager’s true salary, through to failing to provide necessary information to the Premier League on their financial accounts – came as somewhat of a shock to the footballing world. But the ‘shock’ wasn’t that it had come out of the blue, but more that finally something was appearing to be done about something that most football fans have known for years.

Financial doping in football has been around for a while. Sportswashing has been around for a while, evidenced in the most obvious form in the recent World Cup in Qatar. But for some while most football fans have thought “what’s the point in FFP?” to some justification and, with Chelsea dropping more than the GDP of Tonga on players in the last year, only for the old ‘amortisation’ flag to be raised, I think most average fans like me had all but given up on the concept of FFP and any teeth that it had.

And I am still sceptical that it does have any teeth. Man City have deep pockets, expensive lawyers and can drag out these allegations for a few years I reckon. So let’s firstly dispel any thinking that some corners of the Arsenal universe has that there will be some kind of points deduction this season. If anything the earliest I suspect sanctions would happen would be running in to later on this year, which will mean that it will impact the 2023/24 season. So this isn’t about Arsenal getting some kind of advantage in the title race. This is about fairness and equality in the system and if Man City are found to have cooked the books a little too much (let’s not forget some of those eye-watering ‘sponsorship’ deals that blew any other global football deal out of the water, surprisingly enough), then I just hope said book is thrown at them.

In reality the impact to us is minimal. We have never been competitive during the period in which City became the dominant force in our game. We haven’t properly challenged for a title since 2007/8 and that was before the City riches came in to play. But if they are found guilty of these allegations, then those Liverpool fans, players and ex-players who missed out on titles because of that City juggernaut with its massive resources and squad of £50million footballers, will be the ones that will probably have the most to be aggrieved about. If it was found that they spent years having to be nearly perfect and go toe-to-toe with a club who were inflating their numbers so they could assemble the most expensively put together squad the Premier League has ever seen…well…that will long leave a bad taste in the mouth.

For us I’ve seen some Arsenal fans talking up how they don’t care if people talk about an ‘asterisk’ season because we win the league because City were docked point. I get that and certainly i’d rather take a massive lead over every other rival in the hope that we can get close to a possible title even sooner than we are all praying for. But I also ‘get it’ when I hear some fans talking about wanting to beat City fair and square if we win the title this season. After all, City’s carefully assembled squad and money they make now is more in line with FFP, because they’ve made money from going deep in the Champions League, they’ve won Cups and Premier League titles, so naturally money comes rolling in from that success. So this season you can hardly say we’re up against a side who have spent £600million and gamed a system. Those guys currently sit in mid table and are less of a concern. Yet.

The charges apparently go back to 2018 and when you think about that far back, how many of those City players in the current team were in the side then? So whilst I wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth if they were deducted points this season, equally I can empathise with those of us who don’t want the distraction.

And in many ways we don’t want this distraction. We want this to be about how Arsenal are playing this season. We want this Arsenal team to get back on that winning horse after back-to-back defeats in all competitions. We need to get that winning feeling back against Brentford and then, hopefully, we need to finally end our wretched run of form against City on Wednesday week. If we can win our next two games, then all of the talk of asterisks and points deductions will, I hope, start to fade away as we get back to looking at what we can potentially do in this title race. We have just had a setback and, thankfully, it is a setback that hasn’t cost us any distance between us and City. It has allowed United to get a bit of a sniff back, but for us we need to feel like this isn’t a 2008-style rough patch that could cost us our hopes. In 2008 after the Eduardo leg break we drew four matches in a row and our lead at the top was extinguished and then overtaken by Man United and also the petro-dollar of an Abramovich Chelski. That is what I don’t want to happen and the way we avoid that is by forgetting about City, forgetting about possible points deductions, focusing on Brentford and making sure we do the business at home.

Besides which, as we all know, this will be the most minimum punishment that could possibly be enforced. in 2020 UEFA tried to kick City our of the league and hit them with a mega fine of something like €30million I think. What they ended up with was a €9million fine and the ability to stay in the competition, or which they probably received about €15million just by being in the competition for one season. So let’s not think that anything will come of this.

Instead, as I say above, let’s forget about anyone else and focus entirely on The Arsenal and what we can do.

Catch you peeps tomorrow.