Date:Friday September 6 2013
As the transfer market clock ticked down and the atmosphere among gooners ramped up to the extent that Arsenal fanbase blogosphere and social media sites became consumed with negative posts and articles cheerfully informed and then endorsed by the mainstream media the AST took the extraordinary step of issuing a public statement 2 weeks before the window was to close and prior to the first leg of the CL qualifying round insisting that all discussions to extend Wenger's contract be suspended. Not that there was any danger of a new contract being agreed before the window ended.
'A decision on whether to offer an extension to the manager's contract which ends in May 2014 should only be taken following the closing of the transfer window and assessment of the team's performances in the weeks ahead.'
Notwithstanding that issuing such a negative statement prior to a series of important games could never be anything other than unsettling did they consider, especially given Ozil's claim that Wenger was an important draw for him, whether it might actually damage the club's ability to sign some players?
The justification for their conclusion was that Arsenal had not used all the resources available in previous windows to strengthen the team. Had they have used all their resources in previous windows there would have been fewer resources to spend in this window of course and indeed if they had used all available resources in this window any opportunities that might come up in the next transfer windows would, of necessity, be compromised by the lack of resources.
'Ambitious football clubs invest the money they receive from fans' we were told without acknowledging that the amount spent on transfers by Arsenal in the 3 seasons since Kroenke took full control in 2011 is as much as the total combined spend in the 8 previous seasons. Or that as investors in player budgets only City, Chelsea and ManU invest more domestically than Arsenal.
So what purpose did AST's pronouncement serve? The club had already demonstrated in the transfer windows over the last two seasons that it is willing and able to invest £50m+ and more in player transfers. Did they really imagine that their statement did anything more to make a worthwhile transfer happen? It fed the media circus surrounding the transfer window which Wenger was prompted to observe as conditioning the thinking of supporters - brainwashed was the word he chose - as just consumerism at any cost.
While previously they were able to express their opinions on the club directly with the club itself the AST mission statement now seems to have been modified to something along the lines of 'Look at me. I'm over here' without much idea of what role they should now play in supporting the club. They have become the nerdy schoolkid so desperate to be part of the negative gang that they have shaved off their hair and added a few tattoos seeking the accolade of earning a few ASBO's. In the process they succeed only in distancing themselves from taking any real part in helping the club to achieve its ambitions. They're in danger of becoming part of the problem and not part of the solution.
No doubt we can look forward to another pious public statement awarding points for the club's performance in this transfer window and letting us know whether they will allow contract extension discussions to continue.
Date:Friday September 6 2013
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