Arsenal Fans: Worry Less About Shareholder Profits, More About Winning

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Arsenal Fans: Worry Less About Shareholder Profits, More About Winning
(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

I am absolutely amazed at Arsenal fans that spend an inordinate amount of time making the argument on behalf of Arsenal's current group of owners/shareholders who refuse to adequately invest in the success of the club.  

They come to forums armed with financial reports found on the web, statements by Wenger or Gazidis and other inane data trying to argue that Arsenal (the third most profitable club in the world) is broke and must sell at least one or two of its most valued players each summer in order to "balance the books". 

What they fail to realize is that no matter how much "balancing" Arsenal does over two or 10 years while keeping fans on hold, the bar can always be raised higher by other clubs.  In the meantime Arsenal is slowly losing ground and slipping down a mountain that it took years to climb.

The fact is all of us are well in the dark on the finer details of our club's economics.  This is an entertainment industry with massive global appeal. The English top flight is no longer limited to Britain, with the old guard of Fiszman, Bracewell-Smith and Hill-Wood being big fish in a small pond. The game's done changed. It's now piped into millions of homes and bars across the globe, and there's plenty of billionaires out there that would love to get in on the action.  At the moment Arsenal is a club that would attract more than a few of these investors.

As for the game itself however, a few constants remain true no matter what the state of affairs and football club supporters should be mainly concerned with three things:

1) Good football (however you define it)
2) Acquiring and retaining skilled footballers that you can brag about and be proud of
3) Winning—this, after all, is the whole point of sport and competition

When investors decide to undertake such an endeavor as buying shares in a football club it's not a portfolio of bonds, gold certificates, or even a business venture that one views purely for profitability. It is a living entity that encompasses the hopes and dreams of legions followers and generations of fans. It should be considered a luxury of love, or even a "toy" if you will...a beloved and cherished one to be treated with care and respect mind you, but still a luxury. 

As with any such luxury, be it a classic sports car, a pool, or a horse, such a thing requires investment often at a loss in order to maintain and enhance it. It entitles that owner(s) to bragging rights and the joy of having a pristine, highly entertaining, or successful luxury item that others covet.

In the case of a football club their willingness to accept reasonable and calculated losses for that luxury is even more important because hundreds of thousands of others are vested in that club's success.

I'm hardly suggesting outright fiscal recklessness by owners, as that can ultimately do more harm than good in the long run. But if your club's owners are not willing to make Football success their priority and invest accordingly, then you should be questioning their ownership and reminding them of this as often as possible. 

Fans have enough of their own economic concerns, making sacrifices and trying to support their club by buying season tickets and club merchandise for self and family every year.  They should not be making arguments for owners that have made the success of their football club a lower priority than profit margins.

Like that classic sports car, if owners cannot afford or refuse to fund the regular upkeep and maintenance of such a luxury item, they probably should not own one.

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