Gunners Town is delighted to host the following guest post from Brad Smith @ArsenalFCView
I’ve spent the last few days considering the praise that Spurs are getting from all sides of the media. “Best starting XI”, “Best Kids”, “Best Negotiators”. It all seems a little strange to me. So I started out writing a ranting letter to F365 (which has been published). But it turned out a little longer than I expected so thought it might be an idea to get it published on a blog site.
Been a few years since I’ve done this, apologies for the stilted writing style and overuse of brackets. I hope this resonates with a few non-Arsenal fans as well as Gooners.
For years and years (about 8 in total), Arsenal adopted a policy of relative austerity when it came to squad investments. There were 5 players in particular that were allowed to leave and not replaced (Vieira, Henry, Fabregas, Nasri and van Persie). We were told that the club was paying off the stadium and for the long term benefit of the club we as fans may have to suffer a few barren years. We did. No trophy from 2006-2013 (though we would have arguably won the league in 2008 without Eduardo’s leg break).
This divided (and still does) Arsenal fans into the remarkably tedious AKB and WOB brigades. But it appears now that Arsenal are leaving that phase of the club’s life behind them. Now, some argue that we always had the money but chose not to spend it. Which is perfectly possible, but seems like an entirely sensible approach for any company to take regardless of its business. Consolidation is a valid and worthwhile business strategy, especially if you have embarked on a medium- to long-term high-finance project and have just enjoyed the most successful 5-year period in your company’s life.
However, during this period Arsenal were widely castigated by the press and fans of other clubs alike. “No ambition!” they cried, “X years without a trophy!” they scoffed. And even now, after the club has won 3 FA Cups in 4 years, we discover that ‘trophy’ only actually means the League title or Champions League. Strangely though, other clubs count the Europa shield and League Cup as trophies (and Mourniho counts that Charity Cup thing).
In 2017, Spurs are mirroring Arsenal from 2006. New stadium to pay for after arguably their best team in decades. Do I see Pocchetino and Levy slated for lacking ambition in the press? Has anyone ever mentioned that they haven’t won a trophy in over ten years and no FA Cup since 1991 and no “Arsenal level” major trophy for over 55 years? No. I see praise. Praise for operating differently to the ‘oil money clubs’. The oil money clubs which – amazingly – Arsenal are now being bracketed with.
As a side note, since Spurs last won the league, Arsenal have won 6 leagues. Since Spurs last won the FA Cup Arsenal have won it 8 times. And here Spurs are, being praised for something which Arsenal were abused for 24 months after going an entire league season unbeaten. They’d earned the right to tighten things up.
And if one club on earth has earned the right to spend big on players, it’s Arsenal and in particular Wenger. So, the stick that was used to beat the club for 10 years and counting is now being used to beat the drum of Sense and Sensibility in favour of Spurs. I find it astonishing.
I applaud Spurs for their approach. Just as I applauded Arsenal. There is absolutely nothing wrong or incorrect about running a football team as a going concern. If anything it should be illegal not to. I’m more annoyed about the double standards of those paid to report on the sport we love.
Hearing José saying how other clubs are ‘ruining the game by over spending’ (there is actual footage) was simply the most incredible thing I’ve ever heard. He’s spent £164m on Pogba and Lukaku and paid £40m to ONE agent in the last 12 months. People lap up his “fake news” though and it drives the agenda for the season ahead.
We need impartial reporting and websites that can provide a beacon of reality in a sea of agenda-driven quasi-journalists. Otherwise I feel that the fake news will seep into the real news, and the likes of José once again get away with absolute murder.
Just so I’m clear, can anyone tell me whether austerity is lack of ambition or something which should be applauded in the face of massive spending?
Have a good day, team.