Celebrating its 125th year anniversary, Arsenal FC, are the first British Club to qualify for the (European) Champions League knock out stages this year. They have consistently qualified for both this ‘highest level’ league and its subsequent knockout stages every year since their manager Arsene Wenger joined them some 15 years ago. Despite this, some fans want to sack the manager because he has not won any trophies for 6 years (FA Cup 2005) having won the ‘double double’ (1998 and 2002), the Premiereship 2004 (without losing a match) and more. Some fans even count the seconds.
Arsenal compete at the highest level every year and fans get to see the best teams in Europe competing in their new HQ every year.
Despite competing clubs’ billionaire bosses throwing money into their toys (English clubs), Arsenal refuse to buy their way to success (cost control), have the lowest wages to revenue ratio in the premiership, nurture youthful employees (players), developed a stunning new HQ (stadium) and last year enjoyed the highest revenues in UK (albeit boosted by property sales). Arsenal have a stable platform for long term survival perhaps another 125 years if they don’t get sucked into ‘buying short term success’.
And the club has some soul. The single over-riding personality trait that the French footballing philosopher, Arsene Wenger, looks for in a new player is humility (assuming the player has the basic footballing skills). One of its young talents has another personality trait, compassion, which caused a social media stir this week….
Football star caught betting on his team’s results – on twitter Arsenal’s teenage sensation, Jack Wilshere, made a bet with North London rival Tottenham fans (who follow him on twitter) by betting £3,000 that Arsenal will end up higher than Spurs in the league table. If not he’ll pay £3k to Jack Marshall Fund for children. If Arsenal do finish higher than Spurs he’s asking all his Spurs followers on Twitter to pay a £1 towards the fund. Either way, charity is the winner. Now there’s innovative use of twitter from a conscientious, & highly talented, teenage footballer.
Finally, Wenger & co displayed great sportsmanship in 1999 when two of their new overseas players were unaware of the great sportsmanship tradition – after kicking a ball out when a player is seriously injured, the ball is thrown back into play and given back to the opposition. The new Arsenal players unwittingly played the ball and scored a goal to win the game. Wenger & co knew this was wrong and insisted, after beating Sheffield United, and despite the FA Rules, on a replay. Full story in the eBook and book.
As a rival London club (with 129 years history) – a QPR fan, I have to applaud Arsenal’s approach, their football and their manager, Arsene Wenger.
In an economic era when survival is success, congratulations to the Arsenal, on not just surviving, but continually playing some great football on the highest altars and having some soul. Here’s wishing them the best for the next 125 years.
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