September 1, 2008 was a black day for football. I’m currently lacking the words needed to describe how I feel and what I think about this indignity. Someone needs to say it but noone seems to step up. Is there a worldwide lack of civil courage? How is this not a cause for deep, deep concern? On September 1, 2008 Manchester City were bought by a foreign investor. Or, as Manchester City so deliberately put it on their official website, “a Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Abu Dhabi United Group (ADUG) and Manchester City Football Club”, meaning, when said in plain English, that they will be given a shitload of money by their new owners.
You might wonder why that is such a big deal. Lots of clubs have foreign investors and they’re still crap. Well, ADUG is nothing like, let’s say, Fulham’s owner and provider of money. ADUG makes Roman Abramovich look like a poor beggar desperately searching for a hot meal and a place to sleep for the night. To put it in simple terms: they are filthy, filthy rich. They reportedly made offers of astronomical sums for David Villa, Berbatov, Mario Gomez and Robinho, the latter one thankfully being the only presented transfer, all at the same time, only a day after being bought up. Their owner, Suleiman al-Fahim, is saying that he’s aiming to make Manchester City the number 1 club in Europe and, since England is the best league by quite a bit, the best in the world. They think a 4th spot is a realistic target for this season. Now, I’m not worried one bit about Arsenal finishing behind Manchester City – atleast not this season, unless they buy an entire new starting eleven in the January transfer window, but, in no less than 1 or 2 years time, I’m afraid the Big 4 will be expanded into the Big 5 with Manchester City being that 5th member of this exclusive club. Perhaps as the dominant one.
The prospect of another huge team in the Premier League is not at all an appealing one to Arsenal fans, or any other fans who have their sympathies reserved for a team in the English league for that matter, because it will mean another mountain to climb. But that’s not my biggest concern. If only it were on a sporting level. This is about much, much more than that. It’s about morality – an underrated thing nowadays. Is this the message we want the future generations to absorb? That materialistic possessions, success and fame is all that matters? That everything can be solved by money and noone even cares? To me it appears that it’s what the world, not just football, is constantly moving towards. I don’t think that there is a global and generally accepted standard of morality in the world – nor should there be one, although religion sometimes tries to provide it, still I find this shocking, morally bankrupt and disturbingly wrong in so many, many ways.
Incredibly and mind-boggingly rich foreigners who know nothing about the game itself is what my nightmares are made out of. How do I know that they know nothing – or atleast, thankfully, very little – about the sport? Well, in the same interview that Suleiman al-Fahim revealed his ambitions for the club, he also said he was going to bring in players from his country to the club. That’s exactly what Shinawatra did too (who, by the way, didn’t give City a single pound of his own money – but perhaps more on that another time) and just look at how the players from Thailand permeates the City squad. Ehrm.
I really hope that Suleiman al-Fahim intervenes as much as possible with the manager’s plans. That would atleast help us a little bit. It doesn’t save the world from the evils of foreign investment, everything that it means and the reprecussions it will have on generations to come, though. That’s where our very own Arsene Wenger comes into the picture.
Arsene once said that he despises Big Brother, just like I do, for the same reasons that I hate it; because people want to become famous quickly. Not famous for anything in particular, like being good at something, just famous. What kind of goal in life is that? That is exactly what I think and it’s exactly the kind of soulless, materialistic worldview that will ruin society, like a virus or a parasite (or a foreign investor), inevitably leaving the world as a vacuum of individuality and moral fiber; a black hole of shattered potential and despair. Atleast that’s how I see it.
On a footballing level I still do see Arsenal having a bright future. If Wenger stays he would make Arsenal into the complete antithesis of get-famous-quick-clubs like City and Chelsea. If we aren’t one already. I can see players joining Arsenal solely on the basis of ours and Wenger’s reputation. Another positive thing about these trophy-barren years, partly imposed upon us by Wenger, is the love and affection for the club that the players have. Wenger brought them to London at a young age to let them develop together for years, making their ways up into the first team in the future. We are seeing the rewards of that now in the form of Clichy, Toure and Fabregas – players who probably never will leave Arsenal, and more of these example will definitely follow. Hleb, Flamini and Gilberto (although the latter is perhaps not to be considered in the same ungrateful bracket as the first 2, but just do it for the sake of the argument), who all left us during the summer, did not go through the same things at Arsenal like Clichy and Fabregas has done. I think people will want to be a part of that. And when the Emirates makes us a force to be reckoned with in the transfer market I see no reason why we couldn’t be the dominant force in world football – considering teams like Man U and Chavski should be the new Leeds’ by then.
I love Arsenal, the players within the squad (yes, even Eboue), Arsene Wenger, his philosophy and everything that Arsenal stands for; everything from the way the lawn is mowed at the Emirates before games to all the charity work being done – I simply love Arsenal. I would prefer not winning a title ever again than being taken over by that fat, ugly, kind of troll-reminiscent waste of space that is Usmanov and becoming just like Chelsea or Man City. And if you love Arsenal, you should too. Let’s stick by Wenger for as long as we possibly can, because he truly is one in a million. And so is Arsenal.