Injured Players But Others Finances Highlight Strength
International fortnight has kicked in with the usual injury curse striking. This time Bacary Sagna is to be given a three week rest, courtesy of Uefa. It seems Abou Diaby’s knack may be keeping him out, the midfielder having missed training earlier in the week.
Sagna, perhaps mindful of over-estimating his fitness, has no intention of leaving the treatment room before he is ready,
I’m currently in rehabilitation. It will take three weeks. I’ll take my time to get back.
Right back is not a position that Wenger has particularly to worry about with good cover available in the shape of Emmanuel Eboue. It is a chance for the Ivorian to put pressure on Sagna, reminding him that the consistency of performances he has shown in the past will need to be maintained in the future to ensure his continued automatic presence in the first team.
The weekend was good for those playing on the whole but particularly Jack Wilshere, who created England Under 21s winner in the closing stages of the 2-1 victory over Romania. He was sufficiently impressive for Fabio Capello to ignore the belief of Stuart Pearce that competitive matches at the junior level are better than sitting on the bench for the seniors. The Italian disagreed and promptly called Wilshere up. The way that others in the full squad are dropping like flies, he could make an appearance as centre back against Montenegro, an attacking libero if ever there was one.
Benik Afobe scored a hat-trick for the Under 19s in their win over Cyprus to continue an impressive run of scoring for the ‘youth’ teams at international level, averaging a goal every 137 minutes. Long may that continue as he would soon be knocking on the door of the Carling Cup squad.
Which brings us around to football finances, headline grabbing at other clubs this past week. The potential of Liverpool to go into adminstration is overhyped according to the current board, even those who are trying to force Hicks and Gillett to sell. Much of this appears to be based on the riches of new American owners coming to Anfield on their White Chargers. Or Red Sox, if you want to be like that.
We’ve been here before and Randy Learner aside, a certain cynicism must surely abound. Peter Hill-Wood resisted the temptation to gloat,
What’s happened at Liverpool is a football tragedy. They were always a model for how a club should be run. Now they have got themselves in a terrible muddle. I really hope it gets sorted out because I have some much respect for Liverpool.
We don’t have an owner who has saddled the club with £250m worth of debt. The way we are run, what has happened at Liverpool could not happen here.
He did not add, “at the moment“. With vultures such as Usmanov circling the club for a number of years, a buyout seems less likely although what would happen were Danny Fiszman’s ill-health to deteriorate remains to be seen. His and the still unsold shareholding of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith means that some uncertainty clings to the club’s future.
Financially, Arsenal is the best-run club in the United Kingdom, irrespective of what some United fans may believe. There is no point in a £100m operating profit which turns to a loss of equal measure once interest, etc., is added. These are costs of the business and cannot be flippantly ignored. United might be able to ride those costs through accumulated reserves at the moment but their situation is only going to worsen.
An appreciation of the Board’s efforts is not out of place yet there are contracts which could have been negotiated better, something the newer staff is aware of and seeking to address. One thing is for certain. The days of football supporters gleefully welcoming ‘sugar daddies’ is over. City will not be able to compete in the Champions League under their current business model and those will ‘sole ownership’ are teetering on the edge of that financially ruinous abyss. Never has plurality of ownership looked so appealing. Long may that continue.