Saturday, February 27, 2010

Maybe we can use our surplus to buy some new players?

Turns out the financial wizards at Arsenal FC have cut our debts by over £100m and made a pre-tax, half-yearly profit of £35.2m. Sales of the Highbury Square apartments is going ahead, and our property business has recorded a pre-tax profit of £9.3m. Sales of our African players to Man City has netted £29m.

Arsenal are tickled pink with the results. As Peter Hill-Wood, the non-executive chairman (and how can a chairman be "non-executive"?) had this to say:

"I am pleased to report that the Group has delivered another profitable set of results for the first six months of the financial year.

"There has been remarkable progress at Highbury Square over the last 12 months and it is clear that the next couple of years will see our property activities delivering surplus cash. This is very good news, although I would not want to speculate on the exact quantum or timing of this.

"How we will use this surplus remains undecided but, in addition to investing in the team, I think we will examine investment in club projects and infrastructure, both in and around Emirates Stadium, which will provide a long-lasting benefit to the club and our tremendous, loyal supporters.

"Looking ahead, our strong financial base allows us time to take a measured and diligent approach to determining the club's direction beyond our move to the Emirates Stadium and into the next phase of growth."

It's just a thought, but how about we use that splendid profit to buy some players and win the Premier League? I realise there's a lot of infrastructure projects that, if implemented, could provide a long-lasting benefit for the club, but I think most fans would agree that strengthening the squad would be more important.

If it's a choice between installing arm-rests on the padded seats of the stadium, or buying a goalkeeper, I'd opt for buying goalkeeper. If it's a choice between installing heaters on the roof so fans don't get cold in winter (like the ones in the Bernebeu) and buying a quality striker, I'd go for buying a striker. If it's a choice between installing a twenty-foot golden statue of Arsene Wenger in front of the Armoury and employing a host of scantily-clad women to throw rose petals around the statue in wanton glee, and buying a good defensive midfielder, I'd go for... okay I'd probably go for the statue and the women, but I'd think hard about the abilities of Denilson, Ramsey and Eastmond first.

I know a lot of fans take comfort in our sound financial position. It's especially comforting now that Portsmouth's in administration, Man Utd and Liverpool are past their eyeballs in debt, and Chelsea and Man City have to figure out how to turn their sugar daddies' money into legitimate, money-laundred fresh "income". But our financial reports have shown that we're not on the knife edge of financial ruin. We're actually quite well off. We can afford to buy a quality goalkeeper, or a striker who doesn't break down every year, or a defensive midfielder who's so intimidating that he scares himself sometimes. And I think we should do it. What's the point of a football club if not to win trophies?

I love the way Arsene Wenger has set out the football club, I really do. I moan like shit because I see us so close to the finished article, but unable to take the final step because of Wenger's stubborn refusal to address our short-comings. We have great talent coming through the ranks, but who do we have as role-models? We have a breath-taking side going forward, but where's the defensive awareness for when the opposition counter-attack? Where's the 'keeper that bails us out of tight games? It's frustrating to see us so close and so far away from being complete.

So I hope when our non-executive chairman sits down with the board (does non-executive mean he doesn't have a seat, or that he's bound and gagged at meeting so he doesn't say anything stupid?) he'll come to his senses, and get Wenger to buy some fucking players. And re-appoint Keown as a defensive coach. And next season, have a genuine crack at the title, instead of playing a thin, injury-prone squad with a crap 'keeper and then pleading youth and injuries as excuses.

It's the only thing the fans really want. That, and an Arsenal super-store in Melbourne. Seriously, we have three superstores in the world, and two of them are at Emirates Stadium and the other one's in London. There's no other Arsenal representation in the rest of the world. For a club with global pretensions, that's lame.

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