Sunday, February 11, 2007

Arsene Wenger and the dangers of foreign ownership..

Arsene Wenger, Arsenal manager and a man with a masters degree in economics is well placed to talk about the concerns that fans and many media pundits share over the direction England's leading clubs are taking by going down the road of foreign ownership.

As Wenger rightly points out these new owners will be looking for a quick return on their investments, and surely only a complete and utter fool would believe otherwise? The Arsenal manager has also talked about the late Jack Walker, former owner of the club he loved Blackburn Rovers, and Dave Whelan the current owner of Wigan Athletic, both men fullfilled every fans dream of having a major say in their respective football clubs by actually owning them.

Things have changed though and more than ever before football clubs are being run as businesses, gone are the days of the local businessman who made good taking over his boyhood club, being rich is no longer enough as David Moores, the former Liverpool owner would no doubt agree.

To own a top flight football club these days you need to be super rich and following the recent Liverpool takeover it was interesting to note that many fans were searching to find out exactly how rich is Tom Hicks. The reason for this is that many supporters don't actually care who owns their club, they only want success on the pitch, and if the new owner has more cash than the last owner and he's or she is willing to invest that money, then great, it's a case of 'the king is dead - long live the king'. So anyone who says that English/British fans are in any way against foreign ownership on the grounds of nationality is I'd say completely wrong.

On the subject of being British or English, many fans would take issue with Wenger over his policy regarding English players.Wenger talks about the traditions of Arsenal at a time when the club barely has a English player in either the first team or come to that the reserves, clearly the traditions of Arsenal have gone out of the window on that score and Wenger cannot blame that on foreign ownership.

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