In an unprecedented move, all Arsenal players, without exception, have demanded that they be paid bonuses just for showing up for training. While the move has drawn widespread criticism, the Arsenal players appear to be fully convinced about their stand and have even threatened not to show up for training or play any matches until their demands are met.
When contacted, the Arsenal players put the entire blame on Arsene Wenger‘s new contract in which the club retained his services for 3 more seasons while increasing his salary by 20%.
“We are not complaining about the fact that Arsene Wenger is now the highest earner at the club. It is the fact that he is getting bonuses for taking the club to play Champions League football every season that has got us upset” said a visibly fuming Theo Walcott.
There does appear to be truth in Walcott’s statement as the club have confirmed that they are indeed paying a bonus for Arsene Wenger to steer the club to Champions League qualification. When pressed further, Theo Walcott said that this was totally unfair.
“We have been qualifying for the Champions League continuously for more than a decade now. In fact, we have not missed out on Champions League action even once under Arsene Wenger. The coach is getting bonuses for doing something he has been doing all the time. And so even we the players feel that we need to get bonuses for something we have been doing all the time” explained Walcott which drew strong nods from fellow Arsenal players.
When asked why the players wanted their training to be given bonuses, Abou Diaby replied, “We did not want to ask bonuses for playing every match. That would not be fair because at the rate that we are getting injured, we cannot guarantee we will be able to play all matches in the first place. Hence we chose Training for bonus as we train almost every single day and we have been doing it for as long as we can remember.”
Arsene Wenger was non-committal in his response. “It is true that I am getting a bonus for taking the club to Champions League. But I cannot respond to what the players are asking. It is a matter between the players and the management.”
When reminded that he himself was the manager, he said, “Whatever happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room.”
Experts on the other hand are already giving their ‘expert opinion’ on the matter. Shebby Singh, appearing with John Dykes in his trademark grey suit and pronounced smug, called for the football fraternity to look for the deeper meaning in this extra-ordinary situation.
“You see John what we should observe here is not just the behavior of the players. What we should not overlook is what the gesture from the board actually implies. The Arsenal board are giving Arsene Wenger a bonus JUST for getting them through to Champions League football every season. This is a clear indication of their expectations and the targets they have set themselves. If your only incentive is to just qualify for the Champions League, then who will make any effort to go ahead and actually win the Champions League?” Having so explained, Shebby Singh sat with an even bigger smug and with a firm belief that he had just made the discovery worth a Nobel.
Back in North London, the players have now taken to a demonstration outside the Emirates Stadium demanding that they also be given bonuses for something that they have been anyway doing for the past how many ever years. The players were parading with placards which read “Bonuses for all”, “Reward all who can keep doing the same thing” etc. However, Fabregas’ was parading with a placard that read “I love Barcelona!” When pointed out by some journalists, Fabregas was quick to dismiss any rumors about him wanting to go to Barcelona saying “Yes I was born there and Barca is one of the biggest clubs in the world. But right now I just want to win more trophies for Arsenal.” After a few seconds he added “Wait…take off the ‘more’ part from my last line.”
An interesting consequence of this protest was felt not too far away at Stamford Bridge where the players were getting restless after hearing the news. Having suffered a cut in all performance oriented bonus which does not result in a trophy, the Chelsea players suddenly felt they have been given a really bad deal.
Skipper John Terry was the first to complain, “You see the lads actually winning something here. We won the double last season- you know like actually lifted the trophy and stuff. And what does Abromovich do? He gives us a cut in the bonus! Says we will get bonus from next time only if we win some trophy! I guess he needs to look at Arsenal to see how the players and the coach are being rewarded. They hardly win anything yet Coach gets bonus just to take them to Champions League! Now players seem to be getting bonus just for showing up for training! This is ridiculous! Call my friggin’ agent! Rich owner my ass!”
Back in the studio, Shebby Singh was going to overdrive mode with his ‘in-depth’ analysis.
“The idea of a bonus is to give someone the incentive to achieve something that is beyond what they usually achieve. So in that sense, this bonus Wenger seems to be getting is totally invalid. You see John now what this will do to all the clubs in the long run is to make them set their standards and targets much lower than earlier. This will lead to lower performances and football as a whole will take a beating.” John Dykes had sent the program on a commercial break as soon as Shebby Singh started talking.
Meanwhile, in Milan, the new Inter manager Rafa Benitez had some very strong words to say.
“What the hell is this I say? If any of the other BIG 4 clubs do not get into the Champions League, they just get fired!!! And if Arsenal doesnt get into Champions League, the only thing Wenger is going to miss is his friggin BONUS??? This is totally unfair! Look at me. I WON the god damn Champions League and I went to one more final! And I still got fired when I failed to finish in top 4! Arsene Wenger has not won anything for the past 5 years, let alone the Champions League! And he is only missing out on Bonuses?? Even Scholari got fired- and that too even before the season got over!! This is totally unfair. I just needed more time with Liverpool. The same way I need more time here at Inter Milan too.”
It has to be seen if this protest by the North London club will yield anything for the players and if this will be the end of football’s standards being lowered every where as predicted by Shebby Singh.