Editorial: The food at home

by Patrick Kidd


We all know the classic tale where you’re in the car with your mother and the towering,

golden arches of McDonald’s are drawing nearer. You think of doing what you always do.

But it never works. Maybe you shouldn’t. It’s not worth it. But what if this is the one time it

is?


You’ve chosen hope once again. “Mom, can we get McDonald’s for dinner?” you ask

politely. The restaurant is less than 100 metres away, so much rests on this small stretch of

road. The M of gluttony draws nearer and nearer until it slowly starts to drift away. Your

dreams crushed yet again.


“There’s food at home,” your mom remarks scornfully. Little does she know that she’s

slowly robbing you of your ability to feel joy and aspiration.


“Timmy’s mom always buys him McDonald’s,” you mumble bitterly to yourself.


[Image: Arsenal’s frugal owner Stan Kroenke has long been abhorred by fans of the club]

It’s extremely easy to relate this story to the tribulations of an Arsenal fan. Your mom is the

notoriously stingy Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke. The free-spending owners of Manchester

City, Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea can be likened to the beloved mother of

Timmy. The McDonald’s meal that you’ve been craving for months is the list of superstar

players for sale on the transfer market, players such as Kai Havertz, Jack Grealish, Kalidou

Koulibaly and Jadon Sancho. Finally, the musty, unpalatable leftover rice you’ve got waiting

for you at home is 32-year-old right-winger Willian who your club just signed on a three

year £100 000-per-week contract.


Historically, Arsenal Football Club is one of the most successful sides in England, if not the

whole World. But having not won the league in almost 20 years, the Gunners are slowly

losing their “big club” status. A manager change and an 8th-placed finish last season

definitely didn’t improve matters either.


As a fan of any football club, your only expectation is that they see success. Whether that

means avoiding relegation, finishing a place or two higher on the table than expected,

qualifying for Europe or winning the title, it doesn’t matter. In the case of us Arsenal fans,

these hopes are always high at the beginning of the season but they slowly wither into

painful desperation by the end of it.


For years now, we’ve had to watch our big-spending rivals succeed at our expense. Over the

last 5 seasons, Arsenal have spent just under £450 million, whilst the clubs in Manchester

have spent £818 million (City) and £611 million (United) respectively. Our London rivals

Chelsea spent a whopping £656 million pounds over the period as well. In those five

seasons, Arsenal finished behind Chelsea and City four times and behind Manchester United

twice. Furthermore, the only time the Gunners qualified for the Champion’s League was in

the first of those five seasons.


Obviously £450 million is not a meagre expenditure, but when compared to those teams

with whom Arsenal should be competing, it’s becoming impossible to keep up. Arsenal is

having to resort to signing cheaper, promising young players, or proven old players who are

out of contract. These signings are very rarely exciting for us, the fans, and the players

themselves are very much hit-and-miss. There’s rarely any certainty about the quality we’re

receiving.


Our most recent acquisition and our only signing of the summer transfer window so far,

Willian, was announced only days after the club made 55 members of staff redundant in

order to free up money due to the pandemic. Needless to say, this decision was extremely

unpopular amongst fans and even more so amongst many of the players who agreed to

pay cuts in order to avoid this exact kind of scenario.


It is clear to fans that Stan Kroenke has no ambition to see the club succeed and simply

views Arsenal as another of his business ventures. The 73-year-old has a reported net worth

of $10 billion yet he very rarely invests out of his own pocket. His preferred tactic is to

let the club run itself, using profits from previous seasons as the budget for managers to use

in the transfer window. This kind of policy is common in less wealthy, relegation-battling

clubs, not teams with UEFA Champion’s League aspirations. Kroenke’s stringent spending

has led to a unanimous animosity between Arsenal fans toward the American owner.


[Image: Club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and youthful manager Mikel Arteta lift the FA Cup after triumph against Chelsea. Will the pair lead Arsenal back to greatness?]

As Arsenal fans, our ambitions have significantly dropped over recent years. We used to

view our beloved club as title contenders and perennial European competitors. Today, we’d

be overjoyed simply by a fourth-place finish in the Premier League. The taste of winning the

league has been long forgotten by Arsenal fans and so the craving is no longer existent.


But we lost the excitement of Tuesday night Champion’s League football recently enough for the longing to sting and the craving to linger.


Despite our recent lack of big-name signings, Arsenal still has a strong, youthful squad who

definitely have the ability to challenge for a Champion’s League place. With Mikel Arteta at

the helm and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang leading the line, hopefully, we’ll get to see the

likes of Bukayo Saka, William Saliba and Gabriel Martinelli reach their highest potential.

There is reason to be hopeful as an Arsenal fan. Apart from the ownership, every aspect of

the club seems to be seeing new beginnings and with new beginnings comes potential.


[Image: This frequently tweeted image perfectly sums up the pains of supporting Arsenal FC.]

But as an avid supporter of the Gunners, one must always maintain a certain level of

weariness. As the famous Twitter mantra warns, “You know, as an Arsenal fan, it’s the hope

that kills you.”


Sources:

fourfourtwo.com

premierleague.com

transferleague.co.uk

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