“The Issue of Class” – Arsenal have it despite Liverpool claims

Like many an
Arsenal transfer window, after months of supposed inactivity, I return to
almost no fanfare and excitement. Annoying factors such as university and a
complete lack of anything original to contribute to the blogosphere have
ensured my blog has remained devoid of any new material. However, recently I
came up with a subject that I thought I would like to tackle; something that I
have noticed has become increasingly popular to argue about. I am talking
about, of course, the issue of “class”.

So what does it all
mean? Well, to me, to have class is to possess a level of maturity and grace
that allows you to deal with situations in a sensible, fair-handed and
sophisticated way. I believe it is a label that is gathered slowly over time, a
way of operating that essentially means you “do the right thing”. So what
exactly does it mean when applied to such a large organisation such as a
football club? And is it useful in anyway?

Unfortunately, when
it gets to such large organisations, the definition of class becomes
increasingly nebulous. When you “do the right thing”, what exactly does that
involve? In the cut-throat world of football, a beneficial decision for one
group often means a detrimental decision for another. For instance, the recent
transfer bid for Luis Suarez had manager Brendan Rodgers questioning the
“class” of Arsenal Football Club. In my (admittedly biased) opinion, Arsenal
haven’t shown a lack of class. Rather, they have gone about the business in an
emotionless, opportunistic way that leaves no room for considering the
emotional impact on Liverpool’s collective ego. If Arsenal believe a clause
exists which states bids above £40 million must be entertained, why bid far
more than required? To spare feelings? To demonstrate that beautifully hazy,
ambiguous, murkily defined characteristic of class?

This brings me to
my second question – is possessing “class” even useful? Is it something that
prospective players look at when considering club offers? Is it something that
prospective sponsors mull over before committing to multi-million pound deals?
Evidence suggests otherwise. Rather, it is the more material aspects that draw
in the players and sponsors – the trophies and the cold, hard cash. So what use
is class in the end?

In my opinion, it
is something that is almost solely for the fans. It is something that is a
source of pride when you mention the club you support. It is something that
clubs actively try to demonstrate so that in the absence of the more material things,
there’s always the argument that “at least we’re a classy club.”

In fact, I would
argue that “class” isn’t something that is wiped out by accidentally slighting
a fellow club. It is something that is built up over the years by doing the
“right thing”. An example is the way in which Arsenal throws itself with glee
into charity work. While the charities have undoubtedly benefited from the help
of Arsenal Football Club, the image of the club is also improved by being seen
to be helping the needy. Therefore by doing the charitable thing, Arsenal
demonstrate class. Does this help matters
on the field? Not at all – but it is a vital element of Arsenal’s foundation –
and one of the many reasons I am proud to be an Arsenal fan.

So, when Brendan
Rodgers implies Arsenal lack class due to the inflammatory bid for Luis Suarez,
I would be inclined to disagree. Unfortunately therein lies one of the biggest
problems involved when arguing about this issue. Subjectivity. I have seen
Liverpool fans insist that the addition of the one pound to the bid was
designed to inflame the Liverpool board that it was meant as a shot across the
bow which has served only to entrench the owner’s position that Suarez will not
be sold to Arsenal. If this was the desired effect of that infamous pound, I
would wholeheartedly agree that it was an immature move by Arsenal.

However, logic
suggests that this is almost certainly not the desired effect but rather
something which probably came about due to the desire to test out the existence
of any such “get-out” clause. If Liverpool are so insulted by the bid, it
probably speaks more about their nature than it does Arsenal’s. One thing is
for sure, it certainly doesn’t affect how “classy” Arsenal are.

John Daniel




About the Author: 

Hello! I’m a 21 year old student who started supporting Arsenal
at around the turn of the century. What a time to start! While I may have
missed experiencing some memorable events in Arsenal’s rich history, over the
last 14 years, I have been lucky enough to witness some of the most incredible
talents and events that the game has seen – something that makes me truly glad
to support this great club.  

In terms of blogging experience, I found I wanted to express my
own opinion on certain things which lead me to both the occasional piece of
writing and Twitter (@thegooner3), where I’m always eager to discuss and debate
all things Arsenal. 


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