First, Arsenal are not "rich". My club is run as a sensible business. Despite some of our shares being owned by billionaires, we do not get one penny from our owners either. We are routinely outspent by other clubs outside of the top four. We survive by bringing in the best young players we can find and turning them in to world class players. Arsenal built a new stadium to support this, at the club's own expense.
All true, but Arsenal still has a lot more money available than all but a select few other clubs worldwide.
According to the Deloitte "Football Money League" report 2009 (this is about the 2007/08 season):
Second, the reason we have so many fans is because the club markets itself well and we play entertaining football that people want to pay to see. This is why our stadium sells out every week. We often even fill our stadium for Carling Cup games where the fans know they won't be seeing our strongest line-up.
Football exists for the purposes of entertainment. If you do not entertain the fans then you are ripping them off. Defensive football is one thing, outright dirty football is another, you are not just ripping your own fans off but you are ripping off the entire Premier League when top players are unable to play because they're injured.
People take entertainment out of football in many different ways, even ways that are counter-intuitive to what a reasonable person would normally describe as "entertainment". I can't tell you how many games I've watched where I knew beforehand that it would be a miserable experience, because my club is playing shit, the stadium is empty, it's freezing cold outside and we have little chance of winning, and I went anyway. And that's even though I'm a supporter of a club that's routinely one of the dominating teams in our league anyway. Fans of other clubs certainly take some joy just from beating clubs like mine, or at least taking a point away.
Sure, everyone would rather see their team playing a flashy style and all that. But given the choice between doing that and getting relegated or playing ugly and winning - how do you think most fans would choose?
I mean seriously, in what world are you living? Do you seriously believe the fans of a club like Stoke enjoy seeing a player like Chr. Ronaldo make their players look like fools? Of course not, they'd rather see one of their guys break Ronaldo's legs. Football is not a children's birthday party.