“Guys! Guys! Look at us! Squabbling, bickering. Like children. What’s happening to us? We never used to be like this!”
And Vyvyan replies:
“Yes we did.”
And this is how it seems with Arsenal fans. We always have something to argue about. Arguments about whether 4-4-2 is better than 4-3-3 or 3-5-2, or whether Wilshere is better than Ramsey, will never be resolved and that’s fine. We all have our opinions. But we also argue about facts from history, which are easily distorted through the lens of time. And ignorance.
I feel that if we all accepted a few basic facts and agreed on them we could perhaps move towards being a more harmonious group. So I’ve devised this little quiz to see whether we can all agree on some basics, and then maybe we can use this as the foundation for more unity and perhaps even “Victory Through Harmony”.
1. Do you accept that Arsenal have been better off financially since moving from Highbury?
a. Yes, not much immediately but it has ramped up gradually
b. Only since the new sponsorship deals with Emirates and Puma
c. No, Arsenal would definitely have been better off staying at Highbury
2. Do you accept that when Arsenal had the second highest budget behind Man Utd they usually came second in the Premier League and sometimes won it, when Chelsea started spending more Arsenal dropped to third or fourth place in the League, and when Man City started spending more Arsenal remained third or fourth – in other words, Arsenal tend to consistently perform on par with or slightly above their budget?
a. Yes, I accept Arsenal tend to perform in the League on par with their budget but sometimes exceed it by one place (and on one occasion in the Wenger era were one place below par)
b. No, that’s rubbish – Arsenal do much better than their budget suggests
3. Do you accept that Arsenal’s debt was restructured in 2006 and has cost the club approximately £20m to service every year since, and will continue to cost around this figure until it’s paid off in 2031?
4. Arsenal’s gross debt is over £200m and there is no expectation or plan to pay this off early, ie before 2031. With this in mind, do you accept that Gary Neville was wrong to say Arsenal’s debt is nearly paid off?
b. No, Gary Neville must be right because he’s a good pundit
5. Do you accept that no Arsenal director in living memory has put money into Arsenal*, even though Tony Adams started a myth that Danny Fiszman put his own money in to buy Bergkamp and Platt?
b. No – how dare you suggest Tony is wrong!
c. They’ve all put money in – they’ve bought shares haven’t they?
*apart from 1 – David Dein put some in by buying some unissued shares – see comments below. However this was a six-figure amount, nowhere near the £50m incorrectly claimed by Tony Adams on behalf of Danny Fiszman, in case you were thinking that maybe Tony just confused the names.
6. Do you accept that Arsenal’s cash balance has been over £100m since 2009, and therefore the club could have spent Özil-type money at least four years earlier than they did?
b. No – if the money was there Arsène would have spent it
c. I accept the cash was there but the Board wouldn’t let Arsène spend it even though they consistently said he could, so all the Board are proven liars and Arsène has covered for them
7. Do you believe that Arsenal couldn’t sign expensive players before 2013 because they couldn’t afford all the wages of a four-year contract, even though only year one wages come out of this year’s budget and the rest comes from future income (and no other club in the world uses this as a reason not to make signings)?
b. I believe everything Arsenal tell me (except when the Board are lying and Arsène is covering for them)
Now I must tell you that the answer to all questions is A. That’s A. And surely we can all agree on that, can’t we? Can’t we? Guys?
Guys . . . . ?
. . . .
. . . .