There was a pretty big Q & A meeting yesterday – no not that pompous ass – chief exec Ivan Gazidis met with an Arsenal Supporters Trust to discuss the current state of the club and the plans going forward. These sessions – while rarely informative of much apart from continuing the party line – do display an attitude to keep in touch with the fans. It’s something other clubs could learn from – even if it does only serve to humour us. Anyway, while the newly proclaimed ‘Happy One’ was showing off just how happy he is in the most forthcoming of ways (telling everyone he’s definitely happy), Gazidis was busy speaking to fans about our transfer targets this summer, and admitting that the club’s approach in recent years hasn’t been good enough.
“Arsene is not scared to spend money but he has to believe they are top-class players who will add to the squad. Can I guarantee he will spend all of the money available to him? That depends on the talent. Arsene has done an outstanding job to make sure Arsenal stay in the mix with the top teams – not where we want to be, but in the mix – on a relatively limited budget.”
While it’s extremely encouraging to hear our Chief Exec speak so openly about the fantastic job Wenger has done to keep us at the level we’ve found ourselves at in recent years, it’s just not enough. In 2010, the future was bright and we had enough transfer funds to compete with the big boys, according to Ivan at the time. In 2011, Gazidis said that we had plenty of money and we wouldn’t be afraid to spend it during the summer. In 2012, we were told the money was there to be spent. It is an unfortunate and discouraging pattern, but one that I sincerely hope we are finally going to break.
“We have been consistent, in that we haven’t slid backwards or gone forwards. Now we need to go forwards. It is not enough to watch a video of a last-minute scramble to get over the line and into fourth place.”
The message is right – the problem is the messenger. Unfortunately, it just sounds an awful lot like a cry of wolf. The difference this year is that our money has jumped – substantially. The club have put the entirety of their faith in Wenger and gambled hugely that he could keep us top 4 on a tiny budget. The gamble has just about paid off – we’re still here. Now it’s time to double down and really let Arsene show us what he can do with money to spend. We’re never going to compete with the mega-rich clubs of this world, but frankly I’m glad that we’re not signing 28 year old Brazilians with 5 caps for £34 million pounds. Ridiculous money, and I don’t want us to be that club. I do want us to invest substantially, yet smartly. I do want us to back Arsene with these funds we’ve been talking about for years.
I want to see Arsenal competing again.