The Lead

Two interesting cross-threads in the news today: Rangers administration and ten-point deduction, and Arsenal saying their final goodbye to Thierry Henry, who will return to the New York Red Bulls after he faces AC Milan in the first leg of the round of 16 Champions League tie.

On the surface they couldn’t be further apart, but they are linked in the measure of how the club owners and directors have agreed to balance fan expectations against responsible finances. Rangers, owned by venture capitalist Craig Whyte, appear to have been treading water for some time, with a very large unpaid tax bill and some questions regarding the borrowing of cash against future season ticket sales.

Meanwhile, despite a relatively busy pre-season transfer window in August, Arsenal continue to be the paragon of financial restraint. Henry’s return to the club on loan from MLS however was a reminder to fans of what the club was once able to achieve in headier days. Many Gunners’ fans have come to believe since then, in lieu of hard evidence it should be said, that the Wenger philosophy is no longer effective and Arsenal’s failure to win trophies in the past few years comes down to a lack of high-end transfer spending.

Wenger though is confident heading into tonight’s game at the San Siro, making very deliberate references to Chelsea’s current poor run of form. This is in part to reignite hopes his club can make the final Champions League spot in the Premier League, but it’s also to remind fans that even the highest-spending clubs in Europe can struggle. Considering the fact the HMRC may start sniffing around several clubs in the Premier League, in addition to the coming austerity of FFP, Arsenal fans may want to carefully assess whether reckless, high-risk spending is really the answer to their very short trophy “drought.”

Canada

The Montreal Impact beat the LA Galaxy 3-0 in pre-season friendly.

TFC plays “wait-and-see” with Julian De Guzman.

Some CanSoc propaganda.

A few more TFC noobs to chat about.

Ghanaian trialist with the Whitecaps.

England

Giggs will have to wait to play his 900th game for United.

Apparently Mourinho is texting his former charges over at Chelsea.

Welcome back, Tevez!

Ravel Morrison charged by the FA over homophobic tweet.

Randy Lerner’s brilliant plan to whip McLeish into shape.

Sacked manager to take over for sacked manager. Progress.

David Bentley on his way to MLS?

Italy

AC Milan won’t think about Tevez until June.

Allegri “speaks English.

Udinese’s Benatia would love to go to United one day.

Germany

Dortmund offer Klopp a much-deserved contract extension.

Bits and bobs

Millwall v. Leicester, 1991.

The forgotten story of November 17th, 1993.

And that, give or take, is the story so far…

Comments (3)

  1. “in lieu of hard evidence”? Arse haven’t won any meaningful trophies for a while. They are at significant risk of missing the CL for the first time in years. The teams that have won the EPL in recent years (and I will include ManCity for convenience) have outspent them by a landslide. As a result of their financial ethos, Arse have let go of a number of key players in recent years and are rumorured to be risk of losing RVP in the summer. That may not be hard-nosed empirical data, but I would hardly call it a ‘lack of evidence’.

    The question isn’t whether or not Wenger’s philosophy is effective or not – it is what it is effective in achieving. Profitable business and ongoing financial returns? Yes. Winning trophies? Not so much. And that difference is increasingly important bacuse in the background is the fact that the continued revenue stream is dependant on fans seeing the arse as a top team. If they miss the CL and are consistently unable to retain world class players, all of the on-field factors that are the foundation for their $$ success could start to erode.

  2. I mean, correct me if i’m wrong, but if FFP were to be instituted in full effect tomorrow, almost every major club, from Real and Barca to AC and Inter, would be banned from CL?

    Without these teams, who the hell is going to watch the CL? There’s a reason the Europa League is what it is – nobody wants to watch the teams in it. Less TV revenue = less prize money = worthless crap of a tournament.

  3. I don’t think Arsenal fans want the club to overspend. We applaud Wenger for not being as idiotic in transfer dealings as Liverpool and Chelsea, for example. What we are pissed at is that management should be a little more ruthless with some members of our current squad (Chamakh, Rosikcy, Diaby, Squillaci, all Gooners know who the culprits are) and we should spend something in order to prevent our truly great players from leaving.

    When Wenger actually does spend money, he usually comes up trumps (Koscielny, Vermaelen, and the Ox were all great buys and not cheap). What we balk at are deals for Mikael Silvestre and Squillaci and for keeping Almunia on the books. We hate ynical deals for players who are mere stopgaps (and poor ones at that) in order to save a little money. If van Persie wants 150,000 a week, let him have it. Take it from Diaby, Bendtner, and Denilson, who shouldn’t be making 40 to 60 thou a week or Arshavin who shouldn’t be making 80.

    Ambition does not mean reckless spending; it means creative spending to put us over the top.

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