Will Stan Show Strong Leadership As Pre-Season Starts
As the players return for pre-season training, there is a sense of the arrival of a watershed moment. The media have been arguing like Bugs and Daffy over which shooting season it is, the players imploded on the pitch. No calm beforehand, clouds gathering on the horizon.
Like an old man predicting the worst storm since ’32, journalists are creating a negative atmosphere around the club. Not that it took much effort. Even before the transfer talk started, it was toxic due to events on the pitch. Add into the mix the continued saga of Cesc, the unsigned contracts of Clichy and Nasri, the mercury is rising, pushed to its’ limit.
Woeful misinterpretations from foreign TV and radio exacerbate the feelings, powder puff PR in Sunday tabloids backfire for shareholders and players alike.
Despite this, I think the media have got it wrong. Not on Gael Clichy, I will genuinely be surprised if he stays. Not sad either. No, I think the media have asked the wrong questions, become too consumed with transfer tattle that they have not raised their heads.
Trundling along with Nasri, Clichy and Fabregas should have kept them happy. Instead they stretched credibility by suggesting Robin van Persie would leave if those three were not replaced, Chelsea will snap up Walcott and believing the notoriously unreliable Turkish media that Arshavin was going to Galatasaray. A bridge too far, credibility tortured and broken.
Ask the question, where in all of this is the club? Heard any good news recently? Unless you submerged yourself in the brown stuff, you would not have done. The drawbridge at Highbury House is raised, not due to a siege mentality, simply because they all appear to have gone on holiday. Or that they do not care about the club’s profile. PR has never been a strong point for Arsenal but surely this is its nadir?
Should we be concerned by this? Yes and no. No, it is summer, it is Arsenal and recent years have seen the club adopted as the press’ favourite punchbag. The past weeks without an international tournament to distract, have emphasised the low regard in which the club is held.
Yes – if we don’t care, no-one will, not the Arsenal board, not the club executives. Not even the owner. Kroenke may like to be called ‘Silent Stan’, he might like The Arsenal Way, he might be dynamic behind the scenes but right now, he is doing a passable impersonation of leading a sinking ship. With dignity, of course, and without complaint.
Perhaps this week he will come into his own, display courage and fortitude. Meet with your captain, inform him that the situation has not changed since last summer. Unless Barcelona come up with the correct offer, you are not being sold. And they have a week to do so. If it is not resolved before the tour of the Far East, no deal will be done.
Turn to Nasri and tell him that we appreciate his comments that this summer is not about money. Good, sign the contract and leave the signing of players to the club. Show supporters that you accept responsibility for the dip in personal form from January until May. Show the supporters you accept responsibility for the team’s dip in form. The two are intertwined; the latter not entirely your fault but a you made a significant contribution to a season which whittled to nothing in the end.
Pull the players into a group and tell them exactly what is expected of them as employees of Arsenal Football Club. Or leave all of that to the manager, he can take the blame if it all goes wrong. The board will advise you on the teflon, they have years of experience in that area.
Be a strong owner. A weak one will just stand by and allow the implosion to continue.
Yet that is not what will happen. Wenger will meet with the players and depending on the words he finds, they will be convinced or not. Cesc understands the situation already and is no doubt dismayed that over a third of Barcelona fans think he is worth no more than €20m, two-thirds no more than €30m. If that reflects thinking inside the Catalan club, there is no deal to be done.
Suddenly the cracks appear.
Whither Nasri if Cesc stays? His rationale for leaving vanishes in smoke. Money then comes to the fore and he becomes no different to you or I when considering staying or finding new employment.
And if he stays, what of the media?
Well, someone might like to pull Martin Samuel to one side and inform him that playing 43 games in one season makes Gervinho the definition of a regular. That would be a start.
This week will be a watershed moment. Arsenal FC will come out of the other side, whether it is damaged or unscathed remains to be seen.
Posted on July 4, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer, Transfer Gossip and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Transfer Gossip. Bookmark the permalink. 505 Comments.