“These training camps in the modern game are decided for commercial reasons and because of the extent of popularity of the club.” This is what Arsene Wenger had to say recently when he was asked about Arsenal’s pre-season trip to the United States. For him, the decision to travel across the Atlantic was money-motivated, rather than football-motivated.
Wenger is a man of great financial understanding. He holds a degree in economics and he realises that football is just as concerned with the balance sheet, as it is with the trophy cabinet. His tenure at Arsenal is proof of this, having done an outstanding job for the London club since arriving 18 years ago. Though the last decade has brought little in the way of silverware, he has guided Arsenal through a period of relative financial austerity, whilst keeping them competitive. If the bank balance had not as been as healthy as it was over the last 10 years, Wenger would probably have lost his job.
The training camps which Wenger has taken such a dislike to, are just one of a number of bricks in the house of corporate football. Since the introduction of the Premier League, with its multi-million pound TV rights, this house has been extended year after year, and I believe that now we are beginning to see what the complete project shall look like.