First off, I need to say this.. Nketia. That’s his name not “Neketia”. Of all the things I said yesterday I think that was the most offensive. I apologize for misspelling his name.
Second off*, I apologize to all of you for not editing the second half of yesterday’s article. One spot I missed in particular was the bit about Unai naming five captains. The five captains are Koscielny, Özil, Cech, Ramsey, and one more unnamed. Unai said that those names might not be final but I do think that each makes a certain sense.
The one that is controversial is Ramsey, not for his ability and leadership, but because he hasn’t signed a new contract.
Everyone has a “hot take” on the Ramsey contract imbroglio and I’ve already said that Ramsey is the decider here. If he wants to sign, he will. If he wants to be traded, he will allow that. But I have a feeling he’s not going to allow himself to be traded and that he’s going to wait until the end of the season to decide, when he can get maximum money. I don’t harbor any ill feelings toward him for it. I’ve come to accept that this is just what players do these days.
This current situation reminds me of a cartoon from the old Player’s Handbook (Dungeons and Dragons):
I am not saying Ramsey is a thief. Of course he returns great value for the money we pay him. It’s just that the idea that players and clubs “honor” each other’s commitment is old fashioned and wasn’t really in the player’s favor anyway. The owner of Arsenal football club is making a killing, so, why shouldn’t the players?
When Kroenke bought Arsenal FC in 2011 he paid around £450m. Current share prices are above £32k each which means that he currently owns about £1.3 BILLION in Arsenal shares. And this league is getting richer, folks. New television contracts are being announced all the time. Deals with Facebook and other social media platforms are only going to make Arsenal and any club in the Premier League more valuable. I’ve seen valuations of the club as high as £2bn which means that if anyone wanted to force Kroenke to sell, they would probably have to offer him more than his shares are worth.
I think that if he sold today, he could easily make £1bn in profits. Not bad when you consider how astonishingly little he actually did in terms of effort to grow the club. Not bad.
Players on the other hand work insanely hard in practice. They overcome crippling injuries. They have to let Diego Costa claw their face. They suffer the fans calling them names every week. Every mistake they make costs them money in the future. While Stan can sit there watching his investment grow without lifting a finger, for the players, this is cut-throat. Their careers are insanely short and can be ended with a simple cash on the ankle (Cazorla) so they need to maximize every payday.
Ramsey is going to look for the maximum payday he can get and why shouldn’t he? Why should Kroenke literally make billions on the backs of the players and why should the players have to take a paycut because we fans demand their loyalty to the club? I can’t bring myself to do that. And I love the Arsenal. So, I accept that Ramsey and others will want to maximize their earning potential. And that means that Aaron Ramsey might leave the club at the end of this season. So be it.
I’m really tired of talking about Ramsey. I just want to watch him play football.
And finally a little bit on the comments here:
I appreciate that you all like to have deep conversations around race and racism. This is a unique feature of this Arsenal blog, I think (I don’t read any other blogs and never read the comments). Talk about whatever you want but I have to admit that it all gets a tad heavy for me and I don’t read all of your comments. I’m also not at all a fan of personal attacks. Things like “you are such a (insert insult)” are not why we are all here: if you want to do that stuff, there are numerous free places like Facebook and Twitter where you can insult each other. I’d like it if the comments section here was the antidote to the modern proclivity toward personalizing every debate.
And if you’ll indulge me a reply to the replies: Hoeness was being racist toward Özil and Wenger didn’t do “nothing” at Arsenal.
The description I gave of Wenger was the players questioning his work ethic toward the end of his time at the club. He also didn’t “do nothing” during the Invincibles. He certainly had his methods and loved taking training sessions and of course he did tactics.
The point I have made time and again isn’t that he did nothing, it’s that the players questioned him. There are some famously harsh quotes from players who love Arsene Wenger about how he didn’t really teach defense (the old George Graham players especially) and how training sessions were so different, much more rigorous, in new environs (Fabregas), and how players had to work through things on their own (Vieira, Henry, and the most recent blow-up this spring). Maybe this is all just fanciful, angry, former players who have a grudge against Wenger. But this isn’t me saying this, it’s the players who trained under him. And it’s consistent across 22 years of coaching at Arsenal football club: in good times and in bad; great players and not so great.
People get so worked up about all this! This was just Wenger’s coaching style. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. It was remarkably consistent in its ability to get top four results so there was something to it, obviously.
Anyway, I’m off to do some fun stuff on this fine Sunday. I hope you all can be respectful to each other and switch the conversation from racism to something a bit less toxic. How about abortion? Or #metoo?
*Third off… this writing convention is annoying.