Wednesday, 4 May 2011
Price rise disgrace, Give Jack a break
Arsenal chose yesterday to break bad news to the supporters. We are about to see a 6.5% rise in ticket prices for next season. This had been a rumour for some time, especially after the announcement that Club Level seats would be subject to such an increase. However, the implosion of the season had led to some suggestion that we would be hit simply by the 2.5% VAT rise. Ivan Gazidis issued a statement via the official website trying to justify the increase by quoting inflation as making up the remaining 4%.
It is fair to point out that we have not had any price rise in the past few years. However, we haven't won anything either. Putting up prices by such a figure at a time when the team is failing to deliver is very hard to take. I can see a number of season ticket holders finding themselves unable to raise the necessary cash to pay for their seat this time. If you're winning then things are not really a problem, but a lot of "supporters" will not pay up to watch overpaid and under-performing players.
I mention that our players are overpaid because that is exactly the case. We have not signed big name players for some time (with the exception of Arshavin). It is often said by the press that we don't get the big names because we have our wage structure. There is no doubt that there is some kind of wage structure in place at Arsenal, but it is certainly no longer seeing players getting less than elsewhere. For some reason Arsenal have decided to pay top-dollar to young players who have yet to achieve anything. One would have to question why our wage bill appears to be on a par with Manchester United and Chelsea at a time when we the squad has won nothing for six years. Personally I resent that I am being asked to fork out over £100 more per year to fund the wages of people like Eboue, Rosicky, Denilson and Bendtner (£52,000 per week!) who have all had much improved contracts in recent years. What exactly are we paying for? I want to watch quality for my money, not average rubbish. I've just seen on Sky Sports that our cheapest season ticket is costing £1 more than Man Utd's most expensive - work that one out.
The deadline for season ticket renewals is 1st June. Arsenal's website makes the point that the Box Office will be open for renewals from 8am to 6pm on that date. The cynic in me thinks that we might be informed of a major signing before the end of the month. I hope I'm right about that, but I won't be holding my breath for any major new arrivals - not this month, or for the rest of the Summer.
Jack Wilshere has been, not surprisingly, selected for England U21 and their pointless tournament in June. What exactly is he supposed to gain from this? I seem to remember Pearce insisting on the inclusion of Theo Walcott two years ago - that worked out well for England, didn't it? Jack will learn nothing from playing in a kids tournament, alongside players from Club's in the second and third division. He has been playing against people like Xavi and Iniesta, Essien, Giggs and Scholes, and alongside Fabregas and Nasri, throughout this season. To take him on this ridiculous trip is scandalous. Let's not forget that we were told England failed again last year due to player fatigue, yet a 19 year-old prodigy is expected to follow a long season by playing all through the Summer, and then again next year (provided he isn't injured for most of next season, as happened to Theo).
I will also point out one more thing about Stuart Pearce and his treatment of Jack. After the first international friendly of the season, when Wilshere made his debut for England, he was back in the U21's for their play-off games. Stuart Pearce then left him out of the side, saying that our boy "had taken his eye off the ball." In other words, Pearce decided to embarrass the lad in front of the Nation. Now he wants Jack to play for him when everyone else believes he should be resting on a beach somewhere. You really couldn't make it up.
If this charade is allowed to go ahead we will suffer for it come August. Arsenal need Jack Wilshere to be rested and ready to go in pre-season. He does not need to be playing meaningless football. England need Jack Wilshere to be fit for Summer 2012 (and so do Great Britain come the Olympics) so Capello must put a stop to it. If he doesn't then Jack must get "injured" before the season finishes - Arsenal must make sure he does not go with England U21's.