I’ve said my fill about Roman Abramovich over the years: about the hyperinflation his money has burdened the Premier League with and how no club will ever win the League without spending huge sums of money; about the corrupting influence that horrible amounts of money have on the fans, the players, and the managers, turning them into the type of soulless moral zombies that would cheer a racist because he’s wearing their captain’s armband; about how he would use his money to circumnavigate any rules such as Financial Fair Play that would seek to level the playing field; and about how he doesn’t just want to play Fantasy Football Manager, he wants to play Fantasy Football Manager against the computer, on easy. But I take it all back, because now that there are two billionaires who are willing to spend huge sums of money I’ve finally come around to the cold fact that what the League needs, what sports in England needs, what the world needs, is for Arsenal to also have a better billionaire.
By better, I mean a billionaire who cares, about Arsenal. Someone who really knows what it means to be a Gooner and the privileged position that entitles us to. As a Gooner, I am entitled to see the very best that football has to offer, in the very best stadium, every week. And most importantly, I’m entitled to have Arsenal “actually challenge for trophies” and not just have Arsenal be a club which celebrates a fourth place finish in a hyper-inflated transfer market set against them in a possibly corrupt field of players.
Weirdly, my revelation that I deserve trophies has gotten me to come round to understanding Robin van Persie’s position. Just like I am entitled to trophies, so too is he! It doesn’t matter how many years we stood by him as he struggled to gain fitness after countless injuries stroking his ego for the Netherlands. This is about what he deserves, and what we deserve, trophies. That’s the kind of understanding that a better billionaire brings: it’s all about trophies.
Speaking of Robin’s injuries. There is no room in the better billionaire’s list of just deserts for players who don’t give 110% or for guys whose career was cut down by the Dan Smith’s of the world. If I had my leg broken by a careless co-worker, the last thing I would expect is for the owners to take any pity on me. If I can’t do the job, it’s time to cut me loose. Wasters need not apply.
That’s why Arsenal should never have given van Persie the opportunity that they gave him. The mistake wasn’t the last contract, the mistake was the contract four years ago when he was in the midst of a series of nightmare seasons but there was a glimmer of hope. You don’t sign a guy to a new contract when he gives you one good year of service out of three. And it’s a mistake that Arsenal keep making, taking a risk on talented players who have a history of injury, paying them handsomely while they get healthy/get really good, turning them good, and then foolishly expecting loyalty. There is no loyalty among thieves: a lesson that Arsenal should have learned after Adebayor, Hleb, Flamini, and Nasri all left but didn’t. It’s a lesson that a more shrewd billionaire would certainly instill.
Chelsea doesn’t build up world class players, because they don’t feel like it’s their job to give hand-outs to poor people. Think about all the poor people Abramovich could have fed with the billion Pounds he’s spent at Chelsea. He could have started a program that revolutionized food production in Africa! But he didn’t, instead he bought Michael Essien for £30m from another rich guy and then payed Essien £100m in salary to play football.
And Essien deserved that £100m, his former owner deserved the £30m that Abramovich paid him, and Chelsea deserved the trophies that they got from all the money that Abramovich spent. All that matters is what each of us feels like we deserve. And us Gooners deserve better than challenging for a top four place every year and Champions League football for 16 consecutive seasons. We deserve more than televised football broadcast world-wide every weekend. We deserve someone who is willing to spend a billion of his own Pounds Sterling to wipe the slate clean and start over. Starting with the manager and this squad of wasters he has put together.
I know that last bit about the manager will raise some hackles but let’s face facts: the type of owner that we deserve, who doesn’t pussy-foot around with things like “loyalty”, certainly isn’t going to stand by and watch as Arsenal get dragged down out of the top four without seeing a few heads roll. How many different managers have Chelsea had since Abramovich took over? That’s the kind of “do something” ownership that Arsenal deserve.
All of the above is why I support the Black Scarfers who marched around the Emirates last year carrying the “Kick Greed out of Football” banner while they chanted “spend some fucking money” along with any other protest movement that wants to have a go at Arsenal. They had it exactly right: it’s time that every thinking fan protest Arsenal and what they are doing in North London. Get the fans from Everton, Fulham, Stoke, Middlesbrough, Liverpool, and Charlton to join hands against the greed (without trophies) at Arsenal. I hear that Arsenal have something like £70m in the bank. Charlton would never let that kind of situation happen. All fans should be solidly against this sort of greed.
Don’t protest the League that allows these billionaires to buy all the talent in the world and stockpile them at their training grounds or loan them out to competitors for cheap in order to disrupt the competition, protest the Arsenal. Don’t protest Chelsea and Man City for their distortion of the salaries that all clubs have to pay for players forcing Arsenal to raise ticket prices or follow the lead of clubs like Bolton and instead stockpile dangerous amounts of debt, protest Arsenal. I hear they have £70m in the bank.
Protest Arsenal and tell them that it’s time to kick greed out of football by kicking a billionaire into the board-room of Arsenal. Someone who will buy Arsenal the players they need — Cavani, Falcao, Berbatov, Fellaini, Baines, and Jagielka — in order to give humanity what the Arsenal fans deserve, a trophy.
The only way for that to happen is for Arsenal to get a better billionaire. Bust out the black scarves and bin bags.