I’m not quite sure where this week has gone. It’s absolutely motored past. However, I suspect I drifted along, basking a bit too much in derby delight, and before I could whistle, the Champions League game had been and gone, and Stan Kroenke had hoovered up yet more shares.
We continued our fine form, albeit against what turned out to be the limited AZ. We’re really purring, with Fabregas, van Persie and Arshavin proving that when it comes to world-class players, we are hardly scraping the barrel. Funny to think that whereas Real Madrid spent something like £220m hoovering up five superstars, our three musketeers set us back around £20m combined. Sell them tomorrow and they’d be worth about £100m.
It’s been a funny Champions League group though, reinforcing for me that the group stages are there to be lost, not won, for the big sides. The only wounds we’ve received so far – the two goals in Liege, the late equaliser at AZ and last night’s late clean sheet ruiner – could all be put down to Arsenal sloppiness.
I understand the need for guaranteed income for the big clubs – that’s the reality of things – but there’s no denying the competition only really hots up once the group stage niceties are out the way.
Of course, we’re not through yet but we’re very, very close with two games remaining.
The other main story of the week is, of course, the potential takeover of the club. Is everyone happy about this?
Well firstly, I suppose, it’s worth pointing out that it could well not happen. It might seem to the layman that it’s highly likely, but there are plenty of people who consider it to be a consolidation of his position and nothing more. Of course, Kroenke himself won’t reveal his plans, partly because it’s not in his nature to blab (or say anything at all), and partly because, as the Times puts it, “any public statements against future bid intentions must be unambiguous, otherwise the individual or group would, under the Takeover Panel’s rule 2.8, be prevented from making a formal move for six months.”
My own view is that, while in an ideal world it would be nice for Arsenal to be British-owned, and by Arsenal fans to boot, the reality is that football has changed massively and that most investors in it are from overseas.
But I would have to agree with those who say that, while he seems a benign and decent investor, a takeover financed by borrowing placed on the club’s books would be a bad move indeed. There’s no indication, of course, that this would be his approach. Peter Hill-Wood, in selling some of his own shares to Kroenke, clearly sees nothing but goodness through that fulsome ‘tache.
Here’s the view of the AST. It’s a position I agree with. Having more than one owner has worked well for us all these years, and additional debt would surely be madness – especially when that debt is not being used to strengthen the team or otherwise improve the club.
Anyway, that’ll do for now. I make a last-minute appearance on today’s Arsecast, chewing the fat on the week’s proceedings.
Otherwise, bring on the weekend. At the moment, the games can’t come fast enough for me.