The AST held its annual meeting with Ivan Gazidis on Wednesday evening, and it’s up on Arsenal.con for you to watch at your behest.
Ivan was more charming this year, a little more forthright – but at the same time only the most naïve of supporters would fall for his tactic of answering questions at ridiculous length simply to reduce the amount of time available for spontaneous communications from the floor.
Pre-empting the distaste of all but the most boot-licking of Arsenal supporters, the American blathered at length about UEFA’s FFP (Financial Fair Play) model, continuing to infer that Arsenal cannot compete with the ‘big clubs’ under its current self-sustainability model until FFP is implemented.
At events like this, it’s almost as if Wenger is operating Gazidis’ mouth from behind a screen – especially when it comes to “waiting for FFP”, which has Wenger’s fingers all over it – a manipulative excuse designed to mask his own faltering performance as manager and allow him endless more years of fumbling.
This inference that FFP will be implemented effectively seems a tad naïve to me. UEFA, incompetent at the best of times, can’t even control racist supporters in a tin pot footballing nation like Ukraine, so how will it control the massive complexities of FFP – with clubs no doubt using every legal resource to extricate themselves from the regulations to gain advantage?
Besides, do you really think UEFA will throw clubs like Man City and Chelsea to the wall, missing out on the huge revenues they supply and feeding the risk of ostracising said clubs into forming a dreaded European super league?
So the plan is laid out – wait for FFP, with Gazidis putting all of Arsenal’s failures down to lack of cash and zero examination of the performance of Arsene Wenger and whether he is tactically culpable, able to motivate, capable enough as a defensive coach or a myriad of other performance-related failures that you can squarely attribute to Wenger’s obstinate, blind-sighted management.
The subject of Usmanov, and what he could bring to the table, was also broached, but it seems more obvious than ever that Stan Kroenke does not want the Russian to play any part in the running of the club and never will. Kroenke’s sitting on a financial goldmine, so why invite Usmanov to interfere with that?
Overall, my residing feeling is that Gazidis is pretty much a slave to Kroenke’s business objectives and his over-amplified admiration of Arsene Wenger. Overpaid and sitting pretty, Gazidis may care about Arsenal, but certainly not enough to put his own job on the line. He could yet flourish as a CEO if he flexed his muscles, but currently remains intimidated by Wenger’s manipulative sense of self-importance.
At the end of the day, Gazidis IS doing everything in his power to make Arsenal more financially competitive within the restrictions placed on him and his fairytale belief in FFP - injected into his brain by Wenger like some monkey serum, but until Gazidis has the courage to think independently and demand a lot more from the manager in terms of making Arsenal a truly competitive team (and 100% accountable for failing to deliver), Arsenal will remain the upper tier zombie club that it is.
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