Cough up, gooners…

Morning all – I’m half back on the football radar. I say half back, because the other half of me is quite keen for the season to be over now. Although I’m not looking forward to three months of the inevitable player spin, waffle and guff that is now an integral element of the close season.

With impeccable timing, my season renewal form has come through – straight after two grinding defeats that have served to highlight some of the key weaknesses of the team. Not surprising then that the email from Peter Hill-Wood (with bill attached) starts off with “We are extremely proud of you, our loyal fans…”

We have until the end of the month to cough up – which I have an inkling is a whole month sooner than last year. If any season ticket holders can confirm or deny that, then ping me an email.

Anyway – the only good time to present someone with a renewal form is when the team is on a high. So I suppose there’s no time like the present.

I have to say, there’s a hell of a lot of negativity going on out there about the team. It started before the beginning of the season, got worse (the booing then started), before Arshavin gave the fans a shot in the arm. It went away for a bit – before coming back with bells on in recent weeks.

So this is a frustration that has been bubbling along for rather too long, and the only real way to overcome it is to strengthen the squad. Two or three judicious signings come August will have a remarkably cathartic effect.

My own view is that, yes, mistakes have been made. Wenger gambled on not needing to replace certain players – and it didn’t work. But Arshavin was a step in the right direction, and amid all the gloom it remains true that we have the nucleus of an excellent side. It’s not like we need to sweep right through the club with a new broom. I don’t subscribe to that theory at all.

Of course, this summer’s extra spice comes in the form of a boardroom struggle. Yesterday, the man who owns 25% of the club, Usmanov, fired the first shots across the bow by offering to pay off Arsenal’s debts so Wenger could spend more money on the squad.

How see-through is that? Since when does somebody offer something like that without wanting something more in return? To me, it’s a rather transparent way to a) win the fans over by promising more cash for signings b) weasel his way into our affections and c) try to outflank Kroenke.

This is the danger of having an investor who has no executive power and no friends at boardroom level. He feels powerless to protect his substantial investment, so we can expect more of the same, I imagine.

Anyway, that’s all I have time for.

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