In yet another stark reminder of the grim times we are living in, Arsenal is going to make 55 members of non-playing staff redundant next month due to the coronavirus crisis.
The Gunners who finished a dismal 8th in the Premier League this season finally were having a resurgence of sorts under the guidance of Mikel Arteta and had won FA cup to get a ticket for the Europa League. But significant revenue losses due to empty stadiums and lack of Champions League football finally had its toll on the Arsenal treasury.
The decision to cut jobs comes just two months after the Gunners’ first-team players and head coach Mikel Arteta agreed a 12.5 percent pay cut in April.
The heart of the matter
The official statement issued from Arsenal states that ” they now face more significant and longer-lasting reductions in our revenue than we all hoped“.
“We know this is upsetting and difficult for our dedicated staff and our focus is on managing this as sensitively as possible,” the club concluded in the statement.
Earlier in April, there was much hue and cry over the entire decision of first club players and the head coach Mikel Arteta having to go through a 12.5% pay cut for the coming season. The pay cut was meant to help the non-playing staff and help the club in these turbulent times. However, with certain players like Mesut Ozil refusing to take a pay cut, the entire episode had turned quite ugly.
But the latest decision to scrap the jobs in spite of players having agreed to take a pay cut does put in doubt the entire agenda of the gunners behind the proposed pay cut for the players.
Arsenal firing 55 staff when we're owned by a multi-billionaire, have just made £££ by winning the FA Cup & qualifying for Europe, & pay Mesut Ozil £350k-a-week to sit on his arse, is morally indefensible & not what I expect from a club with our heritage. Shameful decision. pic.twitter.com/ml3ixSyq97
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) August 6, 2020
The official statement further said that the club is facing the “most difficult period in its 134-year history” and in spite of reinforcements from owner Stan Kroenke must “reduce our costs further to ensure we are operating in a sustainable and responsible way, and to enable us to continue to invest in the team.”
The entire decision has come under heavy scrutiny from the players and the fans alike.
The impact on Arsenal’s on-field performance-
The club reiterated that Mikel Arteta’s plans for rebuilding would in no way be affected by the ongoing crisis with players like Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes on Arteta’s radar. There is also a proposed wage increase to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a three-year £250,000-a-week deal up on the table.
The Gunners are well aware that the only way for them to reverse their fortunes is to get back into the Champions League football and the club would be hoping that Arteta could lead them to a top 4 finish coming season.
The entire episode does bring to the fore that no matter what your job is, what your nation is, and what your situation is, the pandemic has affected all. Arsenal is not the first club to have suggested extreme measures like cutting jobs. Spurs and Liverpool too had taken such decisions but had to back down under fierce criticism from fans.
What remains to be seen is whether Arsenal would be the first one to move forward with the plan?