English Football FinancesSat, 3 January 2009
From The Guardian yesterday.
Arsène Wenger is hopeful of bringing in one player in January, but has pleaded with Arsenal fans to be patient as the club navigate a pragmatic course through a financial crisis that he expects to affect English football seriously. The Arsenal manager is confident that in a decade the sceptics who have questioned his focus on developing young players will realise that he and the board have acted in the club’s best interests.
“I am just telling them [the fans] not to be infected by all the negative publicity around the club. Because in the last 3½ years maybe the club didn’t get enough credit, but in 10 years people will realise it was good work,” he said.
“I believe that the way we managed the club we put it, in this crisis, in a very strong position, because we do not live on the edge. But we live in a naturally healthy situation – we do not depend on one person, we do not depend on the banks because we make our profit.”
This was a transparent reference to his rivals in the big four, of whom he said Manchester United are the only one turning a profit. With 15 English clubs up for sale and no one rushing to buy them, Wenger believes football is in for a reality check: “People still think we are in a bubble, but we will be hit like anybody else, I am convinced of that.
“What we need to focus on is continually developing and not live in dreamland where we are linked with players of £30 to £40 million because that is not realistic.”
West Bromwich fans are well aware of the conservative approach of their chairman, Jeremy Peace, and appear to accept the fact that they’re not going to spend their way out of trouble, notwithstanding the imminent January transfer window.