Football is not a matter of life or death, it is more important than that

Credit Crunch Summer

Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger believes that the global recession will hit football before the end of the coming season, and sometimes I do wonder if that thinking is what lies behind the gaffers reluctance to splash the cash in this summers transfer market.

While the wider world worries about its finances, the transfer market of the "beautiful game" is still talking telephone numbers. The likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City have written hefty cheques this summer as they bid for success, and okay it is different for both these clubs, albeit for different reasons, that they are able and willing to spend such sums in the pursuit of their individual dreams.

However the Arsenal manager believes everyone will have to re-consider their spending patterns soon, or in Arsenals case perhaps not soon but now. Okay so City have spent a vast amount of cash, but I for one do not believe they have bought a quick pass into the top 4, I still feel they may have another season to go before they must be considered a serious contender, and the reason why is that I am not sure the current top 4 clubs are that much weaker. United have lost two top players, but still they have a vast amount of quality, and only needed to buy cheap, Liverpool look if anything better having bought one very good buy in Glen Johnston and Chelsea look the same, and as for my Arsenal, well I still believe in the Arsene way and that the so-called kids will be better than they were last year.

"It looks like football has not been hit by recession but that is only due to exceptional circumstances," said Wenger speaking after the opening pre-season fixture against Barnet. "I still think that we will have to become more reasonable in the game, even if you have exceptional circumstances like Real Madrid and Man City. "I believe that in the next eight to 10 months football will suffer much more than people think."

History shows that you can “buy” the league, Blackburn and Chelsea have both, albeit in different ways, done it. But at the same time history also shows us many clubs who tried and failed, Leeds and Wolves being two examples. But the main reason why I still do not think that this year the so called “Big 4” will be broken is because I strongly believe that this season will see a number of clubs push on and so the second tier of the Premiership will be a lot harder and the clubs in that area of the league will take points off each other. Manchester City, Everton, Villa, Spurs, and my surprise outside bet Sunderland, plus at least one other will really compete this season, and that will just make it tighter and harder for one of these clubs to contest the top 4 positions.

This season will in my view be far more competitive, maybe due to the fact that some have spent vast sums of money, but mainly due to the fact that some clubs have not, Stability could be the new key to moving forward. Growing from the bottom up, developing internally either by way of youth or strategic purchase may be what clubs are going to have to do, and if that is the case then maybe Arsene and Arsenal were in fact well ahead of the others and the Arsenal manager is a real visionary.


© 2008 Paul Kavanagh. All rights reserved.