Mancity debacle shows why Arsenal set standard in class.

For a generally uneventful week, it sure has been interesting.  Who would have thought the firing of Hughes would bear any relevance to the Arsenal.  Yet, I can’t help but be struck with the holiday spirit: I am thankful to be an Arsenal fan.  The debacle that is developing up north in Manchester gives us Gooners a chance to reflect on potential changes at the Club with Kroenke’s impending takeover.  Mancity may be a disaster in process, but we have a chance to get new ownership with Class.

Although I shouldn’t have been, I was somewhat surprised by Hughes’ firing.  It was a short-sighted move by an adolescent ownership starting to lose interest in their new shiny toy in just 18 months.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t care for Hughes’ style and found him lacking in class.  But Mancity is pursuing a series of bad steps.  Yes, the team wasn’t performing quite up to the increased expectations, but considering the massive changes to the Club it wasn’t failing either.

To understand the lessons for the Arsenal, you have to see the failure that is developing up norther first.  Mancity seems committed to pursuing policies of ownership failure.  It’s not just the ridiculous amounts of spending on not quite top players, that’s to be expected.  We’ve been through all that before with Chelsea and even Real Madrid.  No, Mancity lacks stability, vision, experience, respect and class.  They’ve thrown their money around without real focus (seriously, Robinho, Tevez and Ade?) and their firing of Hughes was disgraceful.  It’s no shock the players were upset.  Informing one player and having him tell the rest of the team?  Where’s the professionalism by the executive management.  You fire a man, have the cojones to tell the players face to face and tell them why.  Now rumor has it Toure wants to leave.  No doubt the Arsenal’s stability, style and professionalism is looking a lot more valuable.  Money isn’t everything, especially when you’re already being paid a huge amount.

You know something is wrong when players, even the malcontents in the Mancity locker room, start to feel agitated because of uncertainty in the executive offices.  And it’s becoming apparent that the new ownership knows next to nothing about sports enterprises.  Mancity seems to be just shiny toy to flash wealth.  What’s worse, they aren’t hiring the people they need to make it a real Club.  One can forgive mistakes of inexperience by a new ownership, but not hubris.

This brings us to our beloved Arsenal.  Arsenal is also facing a change in ownership.  There is no doubt the Club will be sold: Kroenke just bought a few more shares today, taking him within 17 of the number needed for a takeover.  Not to mention, market fundamentals require more deep pocket ownership for success and the Club’s location and status as London’s team is way too valuable.  But unlike Mancity we have two owners duking it out: Kroenke and Usmanov.  My support is obvious, I’m rooting for Kroenke.

Kroenke has something the other successful new owners in the EPL also have.  Class.  The rise of Aston Villa and Sunderland reflect good management and leadership.  But they also reflect a class act operation.  Even Manchester United and, yes, Chelsea do too.  Put another way, the actions of management are not a source of embarrassment.  I’ve been down this road before with other teams (in other sports).  Nothing sucks the wind out of a fan like the knowledge that the ownership is a debacle and you can’t get rid of them.  Players, coaches, management, all can be fired, but removing ownership is near impossible.

Arsenal fans should be aware of this when we evaluate our potential new ownership.  And while the future cannot be guaranteed, we can feel better by looking at the history of what appears to be our new owner, Kroenke.  Right now, the Arsenal is arguably the classiest team in all of football, something we should be proud of.

Luckily, Kroenke has a reputation of acting with discretion and best of all, with class.  Fellow owners, fans and players respect him and his teams.  He wins, but does so with stability and pride.  Being part of the Arsenal family for players and fans will continue to be something special.

This has already started to play out a bit at the Club.  The hiring of Gazidis showed we are moving in the proper direction -experienced and reputable management.  And the assurances the Board has issued to allow Arsene to see out this long-term project.  Yes, he has earned that.  With Kroenke in charge, the Arsenal can continue these types of moves and set the standard for all of football.  Something I know I love about being an Arsenal fan.

-the student

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