My Twitter timeline turned into a trash talk fest between Arsenal and Manchester United fans in the immediate aftermath of Arsenal's loss in the Carling Cup. The two teams may not have been rivals for a Premier League championship for over half a decade, but the animosity from earlier clashes hasn't died down. I've generally tried to stay above the fray because it often sounds like sore loser syndrome when one tries to defend the indefensibly poor play of their team - even if it was poor play for only a few seconds. There is, however, a point where I reach my limit, and it is when opinions try to be passed off as facts."Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts"Daniel Patrick Moynihan
I reached that point when I saw this tweet come across my timeline:
In 6yrs, Arsenal spent £107.9m on 30 players (0 Cups). United spent £123.7m on 21 Players (over 10 Cups)!This is a patently false assertion, the expenditures listed are incorrect, and the goal really is to excuse Manchester United's position as consistently being in the Top 2 when it comes to transfer expenditures, year-in and year-out. Let's review the actual expenditures by each team from the 05/06 season through the 10/11 season (all data is taken from the Transfer Price Index):
- Arsenal: £130.2M at time of purchase for 24 players (£167M in 2010-2011 GBP per the TPI)
- Manchester United: £196.9M at time of purchase for 24 players (£223.8M in 2010-2011 GBP per the TPI)
- Arsenal 10/11 Sq£: £140.9M
- Manchester United 10/11 Sq£: £284.1M
Yes, Manchester United fans should rightfully crow about their cups. They won them, and Arsenal hasn't over the last six years. However, no one should kid themselves that the clubs have two different expectations based upon their financial commitment in the transfer market. To compare the two as equals is a bit absurd - whether its a Manchester United or an Arsenal fan doing the comparisons.
One could also argue that Chelsea's, Manchester United's, and Manchester City's of buying players at any cost to win championships is EXACTLY why the EPL has the highest debt load of any UEFA league and why UEFA is having to institute financial fair play rules. But that's a discussion for another time...