One particular story dominates the news today and that is none other than Arsene Wenger reaching his 15th year in charge of Arsenal Football Club. That is quite some achievement for someone the general questioned as “Arsene who?” when he first took over. During that period, he has brought us unprecedented success both on and off the pitch.
Now, I’m sure there’s plenty of sites out there who will have done a full coverage on Arsene’s achievement, too much would be an overkill. He wants to stay for another 15 more years and who’s to argue that won’t happen? Of course the only way that could happen is firstly down to his ability to rediscover the winning touch and secondly, down to his own health as well.
I shared a video up on Twitter early this morning. Its not my effort thus I won’t even think of staking any credit for it. I found it on the excellent Who Ate All The Pies website. The only emotion and thought that came to my mind when I watch that was, I want this man to lift trophies once again. He deserves it and there’s not a single sane person in the world that would begrudge him for it.
His success on the pitch also helped to drive success of it. Yesterday Arsenal announced their accounts for the last year. I did not look at the numbers specifically but you can get more information here and here. The general information that I can gather is that we are on the positive side of things, meaning there’s profit. Mainly from the property side which does not make the figures particularly big. That said, the report does not includes sales we made from this past transfer window.
On a business front, it all looks very rosy. How that translate to the footballing side is simple. It simply means we have the resources required to invest in the playing staff if required. Whether for more transfers in January or to offer improved contracts, Arsenal have the capability to do just that. The second part of that equation comes quicker than we think as Robin Van Persie, Theo Walcott and Thomas Vermaelen for example have new contracts to be discussed within the next 7 months.
All of those however will have be to done in the background. What is more important for Arsenal now is the what happens on the pitch. The team is slowly climbing the hills of recovery after our less than satisfactory start to the season. The upcoming match tomorrow is a derby, a match that has a lot of bearing and significance to not only the fans but also Wenger himself. The great man credits Pat Rice for this understanding and its endearing to know that people who are involve in the day-to-day job at Arsenal knows what is important to the fans as well.
Something which was strange to hear from Wenger is the admission that he does not think that a match being a home or away one, will have any bearing on the match itself. I don’t believe this for one second. Perhaps he is looking at it in the context of Ashburton Grove. Or maybe he’s just having a dig at the home fans for the lack of support. We were definitely a force to be reckoned with when we were still playing at Highbury. Teams would reach the steps of the famed marble halls and be in awed of the history of the stadium. It helps to provoke a sense of fear and fallibility even before a football has been kicked.
There’s certainly a major difference having the home crowd supporting you compared to have been under a massive away crowd against you. Of course, this has little effect on bigger and mentally stronger players. But it is unfathomable to ignore the advantage that can be taken from playing on our home ground.
Finally, there’s the matter of Manuel Almunia. The former No. 1 at Arsenal has been relegated from his spot since the start of the season (in fact, even before the end of last season). He has not been involved in any match for us this season and has now been loaned out to West Ham for a period of 1 month. This after our repeated attempts to offload him in the summer but failed. His high wages being one of the major reason.
It’s a big fall for the Spaniard and perhaps not entirely his own fault. He was asked to become a player which he was never going to be able to be. I’m sure Almunia is a perfectly nice bloke who has been mentioned by his team mates as the one whom they will trust completely, just not on the pitch perhaps. I do pity him but he was never able to break past that barrier and became a great goalkeeper. Best of luck to him at the Championship then.
Match preview tomorrow. Save your voices for tomorrow when Arsenal need all of our support.