Arsenals Emirates Stadium and Bridging the Divide in Premier League Football

Arsenal have built a fantastic new stadium in the North of London and to my surprise my friends who live in Islington have a clear view to the Emirates Stadium from the upstairs rooms of their North London pad.

As I am back in the UK for my holidays, I have taken the opportunity to catch up with some old friends. I had lunch with a Director of a football club yesterday, whose name/club I am not going to divulge, but needless to say it had nothing to do with coming back to football or getting involved with football in the UK. Life for me and my family is too good in the tropics of Belize to be tempted back to the UK.

In fact the glorious sunshine that is illuminating the British Isles is reminiscent of a typical Belizean Day, so for us the temperatures are not so difficult to deal with.

Anyway back to the story, and after a nostalgic ride on the London Underground, I met my friend and we spent the afternoon discussing the World Cup, Premier League and the life and times of a professional football club.

You can't help but be overawed by the football transfer market, Arsenals fine new stadium and ponder how even the likes of Manchester United can keep up with Chelsea’s millions. My friend told me how it is worth £16,000,000 to a premier league club to stay in the top flight. That’s a lot of money to find, if suddenly you are dropped out of the elite.

And just how do you bridge the gap if you are a promoted club from the Championship? How do you maintain your status in the top flight without taking a huge gamble on players wages and bankrupting your club? And how do you climb into footballs elite top 6 after you have successfully stabilized your club in the premier league?

It has to be the aspiration of every football club to want to be the top 3 in the premier league, play in cup finals and challenge for honours in Europe. On a consistent basis. However the realistic ambitions of most clubs cannot possibly reach these high expectations.

I suspect the answers to the first 2 questions are easier to find than the 3rd one. In fact the answer to the 3rd question involves elevating your clubs status to more than just a club in the premier league. They have to be an international corporation, capable of selling Club Shirts in Tokyo, Filling stadiums at pre-season friendlies around the world and not to forget attracting massive media interest through Television rights. Someone like Arsenal who are capable of selling the name of the stadium for a cool £100,000,000.

All this and more needs to be achieved in order to become one of the giants of football. Good youth policies can only take clubs so far. Ultimately World Class players with years of experience are an absolute requirement to reach this pedestal and they don't come cheap.

It hardly seems possible that the likes of Bolton, Charlton, Aston Villa or any of the other clubs in the premier league can bridge this chasm.

So I think that quite possibly, most of the premier league clubs are resigned to not even asking the 3rd question : How do you climb into footballs elite top 6 after you have successfully stabilized your club in the premier league?

And the fans will have to accept that a good season for teams other than Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal is a cup run and the possibility of an occasional glimpse of European Football.

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