Let’s all overreact to the AGM!
It’s a rare sight to hear Arsenal fans complain (ha) so the day of the AGM is a great time to air out all our problems with the team. With the club being put at the top of a list of ticket prices last week those complaints have gotten louder than ever. It’s sad to see that people have completely missed the point of protests held by the likes of BSM. Arguments have come up all over the place and most of them for all the wrong reasons. Arsène saying that a Champions League qualification spot is as important as winning a trophy is what seemed to cause the most backlash as fans question his ambition and a lot even calling for his head.
But as I mentioned yesterday in the comments, fans have overestimated the amount of money that Arsenal have. Even though we have the highest ticket prices in the league, the club has possibly the poorest sponsorship deals in relation to their stature within Europe. A combined stadium and shirt sponsorship deal from Emirates fails to break £100 million spread over 15 years, while Manchester City earn triple that for their stadium naming rights alone over just half that time. Manchester United earn three to four times that combined fee just for their shirts, with DHL paying more per-annum than Emirates to simply be on their training kits. Instead of trying to justify what the club “owe” the fans given the ridiculous ticket prices that doesn’t even begin to affect around 95% of Arsenal’s global fanbase, what we should be holding against the club is how poorly they’ve conducted their business.
Obviously, the board shouldn’t be taking advantage of the fans to compensate for their own shortcomings but to expect a high quality squad to be put out when the only sustainable income Arsenal have come from transfers and Champions League money, it’s no surprise that fans’ constant pleas for a competitive squad have amounted to nothing. It’s why this adidas deal should be a cause for celebration as we’re finally taking a step, albeit a baby-step, forward. With United reportedly re-negotiating with Nike for a contract worth a ridiculous £1 billion, it’s all the more important that Arsenal are able to get out of this Nike sponsorship and strike up a new deal with adidas before we’re truly left behind. It’s only once the burdening Emirates and Nike deals are up that we can truly flourish as a club in the post-Invincibles era.
It’s unfortunate that Wenger receives a lot of blame even though there isn’t a lot he’s actually in control of in regards to the business side of things. Yet his unpopular decisions in transfers and contract negotiations make him out to be the villain when he’s always operating in the interest of the team and it’s in fact the board who are at fault for Arsenal being stuck in this current rut. Even replacing them at this point will do nothing to remedy the situation. The saving grace, if you can call it that, is that this current board have a vision of where they want to take the club and if they stick to that then we may be in good shape in the long run at the very least.
My patience has often been mistaken for “a lack of ambition” and I’ve gotten my fair share of stick for it but when you take a step back you can see why I don’t get worked up over every little thing when the club has been consistently performing to or above expectations given the relatively minuscule amounts of money Arsenal makes in comparison to our direct competition.
And if a top four finish season after season is considered a disaster then I’d hate to be here the day the Arsenal model is thrown away and the club becomes another Leeds or Liverpool.