Arsenal, a club I admire; or rather Arsene Wenger, a manager who has built a club I admire. Under Graham and Rioch Arsenal were, well, just another team. A team that defended well and had some flair in attack but they never captured the heart of the football fan.
The admiration of the football fan is something which is difficult to achieve. Most have tribal instincts about their club and will not look to support anyone else. Wenger has forced most into accepting that the way Arsenal play their game and have developed without the need to expansive amounts of money is a thing to strive for. However, the old mentality of wanting to win trophies will always turn the football fan at the last minute. They could never commit their ideological view to Arsenal without the end product.
However, with shares in the club being purchased by American businessmen and Russian oligarchs can the ideology of Arsenal continue to exist or will it be driven away by the ideology of the aforementioned football fan – “yes great, but I want to win things”.
The chances are that it will because investors, like fans, want success. They, however, want it for a different reason; financial. You obviously get more money for winning a trophy than finishing second or getting knocked out in the semi-final but it is not enough to make a significant difference to the balance sheet. In addition, there are only a finite number of trophies available; four in England, three in Spain and Italy. Every team can’t win something every time.
Two cases in point are Porto and AC Milan. Both have won the Champions League in recent seasons but neither has gone on to great success, even though Milan had the foundation to do so. This is because the marketing brand which is Milan did not have anymore to give and a Champions League success did not sell more shirts in Africa and Asia. One unique selling point (USP) of Arsenal is their ideology, taken directly from the brilliant mind of Arsene Wenger. Lose that and more fans will dessert than will join.