Arsenal FC: Peter Hill-Wood Reveals Arsenal's True Ambition

Robin SAnalyst IJanuary 18, 2012

LONDON - DECEMBER 06:  New Arsenal Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis (L) and chairman Peter Hill-Wood look on during the Barclays Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic at the Emirates Stadium on December 6, 2008 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Arsenal have a real battle to finish in the top four this season.

One would have thought that board would make use of the January transfer window to aid their push for the Champions League spots next season, but as of now, there's absolutely no signs of new players arriving this winter.

Thisleaves Arsenal alarmingly short in some areas that could cost the coveted Champions League spots.

The repercussions of a season without Champions League football has been well documented, but it would also derail the rebuilding work being done by Arsene Wenger since the move to the Emirates Stadium.

That would be a nightmarish scenario for Wenger, as well as the fans.

So, one would hope that the Board would do all that is possible to ensure Arsenal qualify for the Champions League in order to keep their best players and to attract new ones of the highest quality.

Liverpool's recent struggle shows how tough it is to attract top-notch players without the lure of Champions League, despite having the means to afford big-money signings.

On the other hand, Arsenal's sporadic and stingy transfer policy does make you wonder how they could climb back to the Champions League spots once they're out.

As the adage goes, "Prevention is better than cure."

Isn't that too much to ask from a club that embodies mismanagement throughout for the past few years despite making healthy profits?

Peter Hill-Wood, the Arsenal Chairman, has put all those doubts to bed through his favourite media outlet, Daily Star.

"From a financial point of view, not qualifying for the Champions League is quite a blow, Hill-Woods said.

“We have been planning for not qualifying every year, so it is not a disaster, but it would be nice if we could.”

The implications of those statements aren't exactly encouraging. It's quite deplorable that a Chairman comes out and signals his lack of ambition in this fashion.

How will Arsenal convince Van Persie to stay with such apparent lack of ambition?
How will Arsenal convince Van Persie to stay with such apparent lack of ambition?Clive Mason/Getty Images

From his statements, it's apparent the only thing he's after is cash—something that Arsenal fans knew for a while.

He's not bothered about the footballing aspects of the club. In other words, Arsenal is perceived as a business institution first and foremost by the current board.

From a financial point of view, not qualifying for the Champions League could set Arsenal back by at least £25m per season. That's huge money, considering the self-sustaining model upheld by the club.

However, is that the only concern?

From a footballing point of view, it would be a calamity having a healthy bank balance without participation in the elite cup competition.

Hill-Wood also clearly says they have been planning for not qualifying every year. What message does that send out to the staunch fans?

The ambition has not been contending for the title, not even for the Champions League places.

It's evident from Hill-Wood's statements that they perceive Champions League as a bonus, which is, to put it mildly, quite ludicrous.

It's not a disaster, as Hill-Wood says, if Arsenal didn't qualify for the Champions League except for financial reasons. So what motivation does the manager have knowing he really doesn't have the pressure on him to compete with the best?

If the board members and Chairman are so flippant, the manager—who's also notorious for being plain cheap—wouldn't be keen on spending money to deliver trophies because clearly that's not on the agenda of the board.

And, as long as the manager makes profits, he wouldn't be sacked with or without Champions League football.

However, that's not what the fans would expect.

They obviously want their teams to compete at the highest level based on the resources and financial clout. Certainly Arsenal have the resources to compete, but with better management and by streamlining outlays in an efficient and timely manner.

A club with the kind of resources that Arsenal has surely will get a lot more ambitious and efficient chairman than Hill-Wood. Then again, who wouldn't?

He personifies all the problems associated with Arsenal at the moment. At any other top European club, obsolete gaffers like Hill-Wood would have gotten the sack a long time ago.

But this is Arsenal.

The tolerance levels and lack of ambition is quite baffling to the extent that it's becoming insane

At some point, someone has to question the direction the club has taken.