Thursday, April 24, 2014

Season Tickets Are Not Bringing In Seasoned Players

In 1961, players’ wages in the premier league were as low as £20. Today, we see clubs spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in weekly wages and hundreds of millions shaping up their squads. In the 1960s and the years that followed, football was governed by skill and history. Sadly, it is not the case today. The greatest talent in the world always seems to find its way to the club with the deepest pocket. The sport is more of a business than passion in this modern day. Arsene Wenger needs to realize this.

The end of the last couple of seasons has always followed the same script. Arsenal finds itself grappling to hold on to the fourth and final Champions League spot and Ivan Gazidis soon follows up with an announcement of a 3% rise in the season tickets for the upcoming campaign. It was only a matter a time gooners ask for their money’s whereabouts. Their loyalty and passion already forces them to pay the highest ticket prices in the Premier League, with no return on investment. A line needs to be drawn and quick.

Arsene Wenger’s belief in the ability of the youth restricts him from splashing millions on players who go on to join rival clubs and deliver title-winning performances. The last minute signing of Mesut Ozil does little pacify a frustration which is also being fueled by the trophy drought of the last decade. Wenger’s interest in Luis Suarez last summer was welcomed last summer. The prospect of him shelling over £40 million was mouth-watering for Arsenal fans all over the world. This potential game-changing signing soon turned into a monumental disaster with Wenger outrageously believing that adding a solitary pound to the asking price of £40 million was going to do the trick. All of this transfer misery and the club struggling to field a squad of 11 well-equipped players in important games has resulted in the fans asking a fundamental question, where is our money going?

Ivan Gazidis has come under criticism following increased ticket prices.
The title is out of our reach and we are walking on a tight rope to finish fourth. Wenger and Gazidis have no excuse left to offer to the fans. There is money in the bank, debt is low, and rival clubs are investing in bringing the best talent into the Premier league. If the upcoming transfer season is left unattended, we can face a catastrophe. With Liverpool entering the Champions league fray again, it is certain good players are bound to immigrate to Anfield. City and Chelsea already have multi-million dollar worth squads. Everton will look to invest heavily to better establish themselves in the Top-four race next season. Manchester United, the sleeping giant, has woken up to sack their incumbent manager clearly showing their intent to hand the club’s $100 million transfer war chest into good hands. These potential developments could ring disaster at Emirates if the money in the coffers is not used to bolster the squad. 

With Wenger’s contract extension becoming a topic of intense debate, Arsenal fans have naturally lost their faith in the 3% inflation in the price of the season tickets. Ivan Gazidis needs to stop demanding more of the fans than they already offer to the club, in finances and in passion. He needs to focus on better investing the money already with him. What he fails to realize is that it’s not the rise in prices that is annoying fans, but the lack of returns on their investment. Mr. Gazidis, we are willing to pay to see serious trophy contention in all competitions, not to bring in injured players from mediocre Russian teams to warm the benches at the Emirates.

Written by Vidur Kalive.
[Follow on Twitter: @vidurkalive]

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