I was once fortunate enough to attend a prestigious awards dinner for Eric Cantona; I was amongst some of the finest talent this country has seen. Paul Merson, Tony Adams, Ian Wright and some blokes who played for Manchester United.
The dinner was for a music therapy charity, which helped children with learning difficulties, a brilliant cause supported by everyone in football.
The highlight of the evening was the grand draw, in which various prizes were auctioned, play at Old Trafford with your mates, a holiday, signed photos of some blokes who played for Man Utd etc…..
Now, by this time I was well and truly frazzled on free booze, 3 bottles of wine to be precise. Bearing in mind, the room was full of very rich people, for the record, I wasn’t one of them. Obviously feeling slightly invincible and full of confidence, I decided I was going to bid for one of the prizes, not just any old prize, but the main prize. It’s not that I actually wanted signed photos of a few blokes who once played for Man Utd, but I liked the idea of being in with the crowd.
The auctioneer was delighted to announce the next prize, a signed photograph of a few blokes who had won a cup or something in the late 90’s. ‘We’ll start the bidding at £12,000’, buzzing inside, higher than Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had ever been, sweating profusely I somehow managed to raise my hand, hoping that no one actually saw me, to my horror, the auctioneer glanced to our table and pointed in my direction. I was the current owner of the main prize of the evening, £12,000 was a lot of money to me. I waited for what seemed like an eternity, hoping and praying that someone richer would out bid me, and I waited, and waited, and waited, then finally someone else put their hand up. What a relief, I didn’t have to pay £12,000 for something deep down I didn’t really want.
Which brings me to my point, this exactly how Arsenal conduct their transfer business. Wenger and the pathetic Arsenal board are like drunken rascals who will raise their hand and pretend to be interested in purchasing that prize, he will bid first, he will bid low, he will bid in the hope that someone else out bids him. Naturally they always do. He will tell you he was definitely interested in the prize, and that he couldn’t compete with the richer people in the auction.
Of course, there are always exceptions when the bidding will backfire, his hand will be the only hand raised, and Arsenal are forced to shell out 12 million for Gervinho.