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What if Arsenal did end up like Leeds?
23 January 2004
I have ended up having a few discussions about this lately. Mainly with Leeds fans who I think just like the idea that it can happen to anyone and not just them.
The new stadium seems to be the thing everyone points to as the possible breaking point. But this is Arsenal we are talking about. Sensible. They wouldn't enter into anything that could break the club, would they?
I don't for one second think they would. And I don't actually have any fears that we could end up down the same road as Leeds in a few years.
But it just seems to be something I keep getting told and asked about.
"Just you wait, in a couple of years you will be in the same boat".
There are of course loads of differences between the way the two clubs act and how they spend their money which says this isn't a big possibility.
But it did get me thinking, what would it be like if it did happen. What would the club do, how would we cope.
Well, Tuesday night I think we might have got a glimpse.
If Arsenal were to suddenly find themselves in simalar debts of £82M, the first thing that would be done is the big names, like at Leeds would be sold on.
Thankfully we have rather bigger names that we could sell on. Obviously the prices wouldn't be as high as they should be, they never are when a club is desperate to get the money in.
With everything else on a business side also dealt with etc etc. I'm no business man, and there is no way I could sit here and go through what else would happen, but I would imagine we would be left with a squad that wouldn't look too far off the side we put out on Tuesday in the Carling Cup semi final.
So Tuesday night I watched thinking this would be the side we would be left with. These would all but be the players to keep the club in The Premiership.
What a great safety net we have.
Like I say, I don't think it will ever happen, but if those were the players we would have to turn to, I honestly don't think we would have that added pressure or worry of relegation like Leeds are now facing.
Our kids showed yet again that we have some real talent coming through. A few of them were given a bit of a lesson, but it's all part of the learning curve they need to go through. Middlesbrough were the better team on the night, but they by no means over ran us. If those players were called on to do a regular job in the first team, I think we would cope. They would grow and become the players they clearly are close to becoming and the club would survive in The Premiership.
There would be a few side issues. Would Wenger hang around? I doubt it, but step up one of the backroom staff.
As I say, I have no fears anything like that would happen, but it was a bit of fun watching with that in mind on Tuesday night.
I still think it's possible they can make the final. It will take one hell of an effort and Wenger has stated that he will field the same looking side. But they showed at West Brom that they have the bottle to go away and get a result.
It will be interesting...........
And on another point, while Leeds have been mentioned.
I can not believe the stories coming to light about Leeds fans turning on the players for not taking a pay cut. The press of course are joining in and are more than happy to look up the words "selfish" and "over payed" again. In any other walk of life, if someone was to turn down a pay cut to save a business the response would be "why should they, it's not their fault the business is badly run and about to go under". So why should it be any different because it's football. Yes they earn a lot of money, but who's fault is that. It's the clubs who offer it.
A lot of players have policies that they pay a huge amount into every month to fund their futures. To take a pay cut would mean some would miss payments, and all the rubbish that goes with it.
Poor little rich kids, yeah I know. But it's an issue these players have to think about. It's a lifestyle they are living within, mainly because someone else has given them the money to play with. And if any of us were in exactly the same situation, how many could honestly say they would take the cut. It's not their fault the board couldn't run the business correctly. So why should they have to pay now?
How many reporters would take a pay cut if their Newspapers were in trouble. None, they would go elsewhere.
The fans are calling for a show of loyalty and love for the club by the players.
Fair enough, but do clubs show the same loyalty when they fancy cashing in on one of their players?
It's all a double standard, and I personally agree with the players on this one.