It’s probably fair to say that by all accounts, last week was a bit of a turbulent one at Arsenal Football Club. Captain Robin Van Persie’s statement announcing his desire to leave the club followed by a purposefully timed disruptive letter from shareholder Alisher Usmanov to the Arsenal board left many fans sitting uncomfortably.
Whatever you make of the situation, the recent disruption could prove thoroughly detrimental to Arsenal ahead of the coming season, throwing a spanner in the works of what was looking like a positive summer, as the club potentially becomes split in half.
With some seeing football fans as a fickle bunch, the concern lies with the Arsenal faithful. Some will no doubt be in favour of Usmanov and his ideas, ready to pump the club with cash in order to invest in big players and eventual successes, with others remaining loyal to Kroenke and Gazidis’ with their self sustaining model.
With six weeks to the start of the new season however, there is plenty time before the Gunners take to the pitch on 18th August against Sunderland, and in that time anything can happen, as last week proved.
The majority of Arsenal fans were full of praise for their manager last week, as problems arose elsewhere in the club. Arsene Wenger’s capabilities as manager in the face of seeming adversity were credible. But again, there remained some criticism for the boss and his stubbornness in sticking to his philosophy, from the same fans who are backing Usmanov and Red and White Holdings.
The summer had started well for Arsenal, two high profile signings meant Arsenal fans were optimistic, and Arsene Wenger remained confident they would keep hold of Robin Van Persie. Last week has for some has made all the difference though, as they immediately become full of pessimism and turn straight to anger as a response to the way their club is being run.
However it can be seen as disrespectful to Arsenal fans and football fans as a whole to suggest that they are so easily led. It is possible for Arsenal fans to want to remain loyal to their clubs admirable philosophy, as well as wanting some major investment. They key would be to invest sensibly. It is more than likely that the majority of Arsenal fans probably want some sort of culmination between the models either shareholder is trying to implement, rather than simply one or just the other.
But with the club now being subject to a power struggle between two of the majority shareholders, it could be difficult to avoid backing one candidate or the other, as Arsenal Football Club could enter a state of civil war.