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Why Arsenal must never become a richman's hobby
17 February  2004

Ever since Roman Abramovich brough Chelsea in the summer and flashed the cash in the transfer market, it's been a subject we have all chatted about in pubs, and in football grounds up and down the country.

"What if some billionaire brought into our club"

Well I for one can't think of anything worse.
I know, how mad does that sound.

Right now it seems the fad for the mega rich to buy a Premiership Football Club. A day can't pass without at least one story being in some way related to the subject. Leeds have been linked with a couple of takeover bids, Aston Villa have also had some interested if the press are to be believed, and of course right now we are in the middle of a power struggle at Man Utd

And the whole thing makes me angry. At the end of the day, none of these people care or give two hoots about the clubs they are buying into. It's simply the "in" thing to own one right now.
Let's face it, if things don't work out at Chelsea, Roman won't hang around, he will get bored and move onto his next toy, leaving Chelsea high and dry with the biggest wage bill ever seen and no money to pay for it.
This whole power thing at Man Utd is making me sick as well. Neither parties involved care about the club, it's just all about buying their next status symbol.

This is why I would feel sick to the stomach if Arsenal ever let anyone like this into the club, no matter how much money they threw on the table.
Arsenal are a club of tradition, the people in charge at Arsenal are there because they care about the club. Sure as fans we have questioned things, none of us are ever happy about the increased ticket prices, but the last time I can remember there ever really being a cause to really question our boards intentions for the club was way back when the infamous "Bonds" were brought out. But let's face it, we have been lucky, we are lucky. The board are sensible and Arsenal through and through. So the last thing we would need is some big mouth coming in with his billions calling the shots.
Of course there would be benefits, the new stadium would be paid for over night and we could of course buy in the odd superstar name. But the heart and soul of the club would have been sold up the river.
I for one think the club are doing fine without any of it. Could we really improve the squad that much? Sure it would be nice to have someone buy the stadium, but the club are coping with the costs far better than we read in the papers. In fact you will find they are coping a mile better than they even choose to let us know.

Some would argue that Abramovich has been great for Chelsea, and I know the fans love him, but step back and have a look. His arrival has changed the club, I think it has ripped the soul out of the club. Do they feel like Chelsea anymore? They changed to quickly. Yes it's great for the fans that they now have all these big names at the club, but they didn't really need them all. You only have to look at Chelsea's most effective starting line up and you will see that most of their new stars don't even figure, most of them would come from the Pre-Roman era. And like I say, Roman won't be around forever, and there will come a time when the club will be left with a huge wage bill.
And yes as a football fan, I do care if that happens. I detest the thought that these men can come into our game, use whatever clubs they fancy for a bit, and then leave. Of course none of them have left yet, but they will.
They are not football men. They are bored rich business men.

The mess that is going on at Man Utd, is of course funny from a rival fan's point of view, there is nothing better than seeing our nearest rivals in such a mess, but whoever ends up in charge there will never have the best interests of the club in their hearts, and that does annoy. No matter how much you hate Fergie, can you believe that the subject of getting rid of him has even entered the discussions in the Man Utd Boardroom. No matter what anyone's issuses are with the man, he is the only one for the job. His record speaks for itself, and yet there are idoits at the club who want him out. Now I am not suggesting that one man is ever bigger than the club, but we all know that the manager who takes over from Fergie will fail simply because of what he has to live up to. Are Man Utd really up for that right now? That doesn't even make sense in a business world does it? So as you can see, the clubs best interests don't even enter these people's heads. This is of course a simplified version of events that are going on at Old Trafford, but the core bizarreness of it all is still the same.

When I have talked about this subject with others, I have of course been told I am simply jealous of clubs with more money, but nothing could be further from the truth. There is no way I am jealous, how could I be with the kind of football I get to watch at Highbury. No amount of money could possibly improve the football Wenger has got his team playing. I simply don't want us to become another once traditional club that becomes faceless and ruined by money men who just don't care about the game.

Most of all I dread to think what sort of damage all this is going to bring to the game in the long run.
It has been said that Roman's millions have been good for the game. Short term maybe, his spending has been good news for the clubs selling, but in the long run I honestly think this will all end in tears.
There are indeed as many good things as there are bad to this whole subject and it's a debate that will go on until these people leave the game.
My own personal opinion is that the bad side will be more damaging in the long run.


The Ginge

andyw@theginge.com
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