Ok, so I guess we’d better try and look at some of the football stuff that has happened over the last couple of days even though no actual football stuff has happened.
Some stuff involving people involved with football stuff has happened though. Let’s start with Ivan Gazidis and the quotes about us not finishing in the top four and being able to survive without Champions League football. He said:
It would be very foolish to build a business model that relied on being in the Champions League for perpetuity and I don’t think any clubs do that and, if they do, then they probably aren’t being run as responsibly as they should be.
And look, emotive and all as the subject is, you have to admit that makes sense. Over-reliance on income that is far from guaranteed has caused clubs problems in the past. Remember Leeds, who spent all the TV money they would ever receive and also gambled by spending the money that they would receive from winning the Champions League each season. The Ridsdale-O’Leary axis of evil rightly bollixed them for years. Don’t get me wrong, seeing Leeds plummet was one of the happiest non-Arsenal moments of my football supporting life but I wouldn’t want it to happen to us.
IvGaz goes on to say:
We would rather qualify for it but we have a really sustainable model that can cope without it. Not just cope, but we can do well and compete.
At this point when I hear the words ‘sustainable model’ I think of Linda Evangelista chained up in a basement being given just enough food to get by. And here’s the thing, if we’re not in the Champions League, which means we’re not in the top four, we’re not competing, are we? As Marsellus Wallace might say, ‘We’re pretty fucking far from competing’. Then he would go inside and go medieval on Zed (played by Kroenke) and the store owner (Gazidis).
I mean, I know what he’s trying to say, but listening to this kind of damage limitation stuff just seven games into the new season isn’t nice. And in one way I have some sympathy for Gazidis. It’s a tough gig at Arsenal. Caught between a manager whose methods aren’t working and refuses to accept any help, and an owner who thinks said manager is the greatest thing since sliced bread. In another way, however, he’s paid nearly £2m a year and much of what we hear right now sounds like excuse making rather than reassurance.
There’s more evidence that the summer spending was hasty as Mikel Arteta, like Yossi Benayoun before him, was signed without a medical. At a club like Arsenal, where injuries are as much a way of life as shoplifting your tea is at the Terry household, it seems ludicrous that two deals should be done like that. I mean, I’m glad they got done, and I like both players, but let’s not try and pretend this was part of some awesome, wait till the last minute to save a few quid, plan.
The whole thing feels like some kind of terrible sports movie where the team struggles in the early part of the season, or the boxer gets smacked around for the first few rounds, but then, from somewhere, they find some spirit and character and we’re treated to a montage of punches and goals, uppercuts and last minute winners, team moving up the table and hot girl in a bikini holding up the number of the round, until we get to a point where we’re near the end and the action returns so we see the denouement.
So, Ivan, if you’re reading, and I’m pretty sure you’re not, let’s get this fucking montage going.
Staying with the business side of things, BBC’s David Ornstein (who has his finger on Arsenal’s admittedly weak pulse), said on Twitter:
understand Arsenal are considering entering talks with Emirates to either renegotiate or bring early end to shirt sponsorship deal
This certainly is interesting, and quite how they might manage to do it remains to be seen, but the deals we did to build the stadium have left us somewhat hamstrung us in recent years. Liverpool get £20m a season for their shirt sponsorship, we get something like £3.50 (tree-fiddy). United’s training kit sponsorship is worth more than ours.
The commercial side of Arsenal’s revenue stream has been significantly lower than it could have been because of those deals. And look, we entered into them knowing that this would be an issue but also needing the money to finance the stadium. Pretty much cake/eat it situation, but if there’s a way of re-negotiating or finding an agreement that would open us up to another sponsor then that would be welcome.
For more on our finances, the inimitable Swiss Ramble casts his pecuniary eye over things – Arsenal’s Finances, 21 Questions.
In other news, Aaron Ramsey says it’s easier to play for Wales than Arsenal at the moment.
Arsenal at the moment are under a lot of pressure. We haven’t produced the results we know we are capable of doing – which everybody is surprised by. Arsenal is one of the top clubs in Europe and to be where we are at the moment is not acceptable.
Straight talking, I like it. And I know Ramsey has come in for some criticism for his performances in recent games. It seems a bit harsh to me that a guy who is still basically a kid, whose development was stunted by that oafish übercunny who should have been drowned in a bucket seconds after birth, is being singled out when the whole team is playing badly.
And for a little context, this from our old friend Orbinho:
So far this season @aaronjramsey has created a club high 15 scoring chances for Arsenal, all of them from open play & has 3 of nine assists.
He can play better, no question, but let’s not make him an escaped goat (I know). If everyone is struggling and Ramsey is actually providing some end product, let’s at least be aware of that.
Finally, The Ox got a hat-trick for England U21s last night. In depth report and goal clips here.
And that’s really about that. Due to it being Interlull, and due to the fact the last thing I wanted to do was talk about that game last Sunday, the Arsecast takes a week off. It will return when we’ve got something to look forward to rather than going over the same old misery again.
So, have yourselves a good Friday. I’ll be back tomorrow at some stage. Till then.