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It says a great deal about human nature that people only ever realise how unfair something is when it affects them.
Arsenals fans recent conversion to the belief that finances in modern football are unfair is less than touching, especially as it was them, as much as any other club, that created the monster that they now rail against so passionately.
Their complete lack of self-awareness is comical.
I have been thinking about this recently and I have come to accept that we shouldn't care what you guys or any other club spends. No disrespect to any team, but there are a load of teams in the premier league that can't spend as much as we do. If we at arsenal complain, then what should we expect of the other teams? If we can't compete with you then they might as well just leave the league, because they can't compete with us (spending wise) let alone you. I'm sure before the Sheikh we used to sign players more expensive than you guys. We also probably had a higher wage bill, which you have recently overtaken. But we are still up there with you guys, united and chelsea when it comes to wage bill. Swansea last season beat you guys, beat us and several other top teams. They didn't care about what our players or your players were paid. They didn't care how much was spent in transfers. They just came to play.
But also to be fair to the disgruntled arsenal fans, maybe we wouldn't care how much you spend if you didn't come knocking at our door to take our top players every time. It does reach a point where it feels like you are taking advantage of the fact that we can't match what you are offering our top players. There are some of my mates who actually believe that Mancini is employing Machiavellian principles aimed at weakening us so that we don't disturb the duel he is preparing with Ferguson. Why not raid United or Chelsea or liverpool they wonder. Why constantly raid us? We are not the only club with some stand out players. Why not go for Cisse? or Demba Ba? The conspiracy theory is a bit extreme, but it is as a result of frustration. I'm sure if we constantly raided, say, Newcastle for their top players every season, they would definitely hate us. I think other than the Ashley Cole saga, many arsenal fans have never bothered with what Chelsea do in their transfer activity. Because they don't bother us and unsettle our players. They even gave us Benayoun on loan. We really have no issues with them and their spending. I'm sure for you it's just business, but you can't tell me you have no inkling of an idea why arsenal fans would start having negative feelings about you. I can say that many arsenal fans also have a problem with Barcelona. And it's not about the money they spend. They don't even match you guys. They irritate arsenal fans because they seem constantly linked to our top players. From Overmars, Van bronkhost, Emmanuel Petit, Silvinho ( I think he did play for you later as well), Henry, Hleb to Fabregas (whom they felt entitled to). And now they want Song.
So you really can't look at the spending issue in isolation. But speaking for myself, I don't care what you spend. But it doesn't mean I won't be irritated if you want to take our top players every time. Fair enough?
I think you make some very fair points in a well considered manner.
I think what irritates me most about Arsenal fans (in the main) and their club is their naked hypocrisy, which sets them apart from any other fans (or club) in football. Allow me to give you a few examples:
Firstly is the nicking all your best players argument. I remember when we signed Kolo and Adebayor an Arsenal mate of mine, told me knowingly that we were mugs for doing so. That they were past their best/more trouble than they were worth (in that order). I remember him almost sneering at me as if our club was run by idiots. What he failed to appreciate was that these players were a necessary stepping stone to where we find ourselves today. Because of that we were subsequently able to buy Nasri and Clichy and all of a sudden we're a fucking disgrace. So it was ok to take our money when we were mugs, but now we've moved up a couple of gears (thanks in no small part to the players you sold us) we're a disgrace to football. What makes this situation even more laughable is that Wenger blatantly coveted Shaun Wright-Phillips (in the press) in his first spell at the club, but because we were considerably weaker financially at the time, this somehow made it acceptable.
Then there's the 'doing it the right way' bollocks that we have to endure. Arsenal fans pay more to watch their club than any other club in world football. How can any football fan venerate that model for their club?
Then there's the 'financial doping' line of argument. Arsenal were at the vanguard of the creation of the Premier League and were a pivotal member of the G14. Both these manifestations had naked self-interest at their heart. They created a state of affairs which ensured that those at the top remained there, ad infinitum ( or so it seemed) a sort of 'financial doping' if you will.
Then there's the 'we've only spent the money we've earned' pile of crap. Danny Fizman put £50 million into Arsenal for player acquisitions at a time when Denis Bergkamp cost £7 million. This pushed the club on from mediocrity to greatness in the mid-nineties, a key time to be at the forefront of the English game in terms of creating a global brand. No difference between this and what Sheikh Mansour has done whatsoever.
I could go on. At great length. Your club, more than any other, has displayed the most thinly veiled snobbery at our new found status. Like most snobs they conveniently forget that all families have murky backgrounds. That murky background is usually what put them where they are in the first place.
You can't buy class? Of all fans, supporters of Arsenal should know what a ridiculous statement that was to make. And if they dont then they should ask fans of Huddersfield.