Jack Delivers, Can Arsenal Commercially?
The internationals are over, injury reports awaited and for once a national team coach is going to be in Arsène’s good books. Jack Wilshere came through his first England start well, neat passing, rarely giving the ball away and tackling well.
His Cheerleader In Chief, James Lawton, continued his campaign for beatifying the youngster but there were those who were underwhelmed, Martin Samuel more impressed by Christian Eriksen than St Jack’s performance in the opening forty-five minutes.
Prior to the match, it was rumoured that Wenger had secured an agreement with Capello to rotate Wilshere and this proved to be the case, the Italian replacing the Arsenal midfielder at half-time. A pleasant change at this level, to see a coach who has his players best interests at heart. A shame the national associations do not waive this week’s matches and let clubs get on with their business.
It all overshadowed Theo Walcott who, prior to kick-off, had claimed it was now up to him to prove indispensable to Capello but in keeping with his international career thus far, it did not materialise. Walcott created the equaliser but was unable to sustain the performance levels for his seventy minutes on the pitch. The question is when Capello will show enough bravery to play Theo centrally; then we might see his abilities at this level.
Elsewhere, Johan Djourou is apparently going to be rested this weekend to allow his recovery to be completed in time for next week’s encounter with Barcelona. Once more this information has emerged from the Swiss team.
It is a peculiar circumstance for news to come solely from the international team as Djourou was one of five who would not be participating this week in the needless matches. So why the lack of information about the player’s progress, especially as it has been the main talking point of the past five days. Still, nothing unusual in Arsenal.com being slow in turning out news.
Money is the God that many worship in professional football. In the Premier League, it is an obsession like no other, a measurement of power and the standing of the Premier League around the world.
And wealthy it certainly is with the publication of the Deloitte Football Money League 2011. Whilst there are no trophies to be won for this title, the table illustrates that the top four are commercially able to exploit their ‘brands’ to a far greater extent than those below.
Arsenal are tied in to deals which suited their needs whilst the stadium was being built. The gap to those above increased as United, Real, Barcelona and Bayern were all able to increase their revenues by more than Arsenal. Indeed, the continental Europe sides improved their commercial revenues by more than Arsenal in all sources, Bayern no doubt helped by the run to the Champions League final.
With money from property deals due to diminish over the coming seasons, the expiry of headline sponsorship deals in 2015 represents a key time for the club. Will they be able to rename the stadium with a new sponsor, more importantly should they be doing so?
The Emirates as stadium names go, could have been a lot worse yet it is not something that gives any sense of identity with the club. Ashburton Grove does. Whilst the club gains commercial edge with selling the naming rights, is it a step too far with no strong need to do so? Precious little connection with the support exists, this could be a way for the club to re-engage in a small way?