I saw an article today that ‘revealed’ Arsene’s new contract was worth 6M pounds making him the highest earner at the club and the second highest earning manager in the Premiership.
Given the vitriolic nature of some doom mongers it won’t be a surprise if some gooners come up with ill-conceived rants against this. I for one truly believe that Wenger deserves his bumper salary and a lot more.
The argument against him is not difficult to understand. 5 years, no trophies. These four words capture the essence although you can be certain the misery brigade will find different ways of attacking the manager. No big signings, faith in useless players, no ambition, no tactical knowledge, and so on – over the years we have seen many such pearls of wisdom.
Some fans don’t understand what the club has achieved in the last five years. It’s not just about profits. It’s not just about financial stability. It’s not just about living within your means. It’s all of that and much, much more.
Five years ago, before the move to the Emirates, Arsenal were in the 100 odd million income group. This was roughly in the same ball park as the likes of Villa, Everton, Spuds, City, and others (We might have been a bit higher due to regular Champions League football even in those days). It was also a long way short of what United were making.
In the last five years, Arsenal have more than doubled their revenues. Revenue wise, we are now amongst the top 5-6 clubs in Europe. I’ve not checked the exact figures or position but I’m sure you get the point. This means we’ve left the pack far behind and established ourselves into the elite of European football. Performance wise we haven’t been bad either. This is also backed up by our ranking amongst the top seeds for the Champions League draw, which, let me remind you, is better than what the free-spending Madrid have achieved. That is a testament to our consistency at the highest level.
This is a staggering achievement, especially because it has come without any kind of financial doping by a generous benefactor or an unmanageable debt. To put this in perspective, think about Spuds, Everton, Liverpool and other clubs.
All of these clubs have been trying for a new stadium. So far no one else has even come close. People criticize the sponsorship deals Arsenal signed because these days we aren’t getting anything close to the amount other clubs are making from such deals. They fail to see that these deals allowed us to accomplish something almost everyone wants but no else has.
All these clubs have spent and spent and spent. They are desperate for the Champions League that we take for granted. They are trying to find a manager who can take them to the top four and keep them there. Once again something we’ve taken for granted, although for the last few years many a doomer has made a fool of himself by predicting that Arsenal will drop out of the top four because the others have spent big!
In short, what Wenger has achieved is this – Arsenal are amongst the top 8 clubs in Europe in terms of football and finances. We’re amongst the very few who are financially stable. We have a phenomenal youth system that is about to yield its first crop of world beaters and gives us a strong base for the future. We have a world class stadium that will generate revenues that will help us compete with the biggest clubs. All this while many others have put themselves in serious financial difficulties, haven’t caught up with Arsenal, and can only go backwards. And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that we play the best football in the Premiership.
In Wenger’s early days we competed with United who were far ahead of us in terms of financial strength, which obviously gave them a big advantage. Now we’ll be competing with the likes of United, Chelsea and City with a much stronger base. We cannot come close to the wealth that Chelsea or City owners have but there is a good chance that the new home grown regulations and financial fair play rules will limit their extravagance in the years to come.
If you can’t see the difficulties involved in reaching this stage and the monumental nature of the accomplishment then there isn’t much to discuss.
It’s ridiculous to compare Wenger to someone like Mourinho on a single parameter of trophies. In the last five years Arsenal couldn’t have paid for a manager like the Dark Lord who cannot win much without hundreds of millions in spending. We never had and still don’t have over a hundred million pounds to spend.
In fact, it’s ridiculous to judge any football manager on a single parameter of trophies. By that logic Redknapp should be a God at Portsmouth. The best way to judge a managers performance would be to see how far he has taken the club given the resources he had and whether he built a foundation for the future or not.
In that sense, apart from Fergie, I don’t think anyone else even comes close to Arsene. If you put it all together even Fergie hasn’t done better than Wenger. Others like Benitez, O’Neill, Redknapp, etc haven’t really succeeded. That doesn’t mean these guys are not good managers. On the contrary it just highlights that Wenger is really the Special One!
During the summer PHW said that Wenger was the best manager in the world and it’s good to see that the board have backed his words by unanimously giving Arsene a 20 percent salary hike. I hope he sticks around for a long time even after his present deal and we can all enjoy the fruits of his labour in years to come.
In a quick side note, I’m hoping the Champions League draw throws up something like this,
Barcelona Bayern, Real Madrid, Spuds, Rubin Kazan.
It will be some serious fun. Given their luck this might not happen but I’m sure the Tinies will give us enough laughs no matter who they end up with. As far as Arsenal are concerned I’m not too worried. Hopefully we will avoid the long away trips. We have 5 away League games immediately after the midweek Champions League games and these aren’t just trips to the likes of Blackpool or West Brom. We travel to Sunderland, Chelsea, City, Villa, and United. Is that just bad luck? I find that difficult to believe but a good Champions League draw will surely help.
Update: Sorry got a bit carried away there, Farca and Madrid can be in the same group!