It has been a deafeningly silent week in terms of news at the Arsenal. I haven’t been paying much attention anyway but when I found out I was writing today’s blog I had a glance at all the major sporting sites, and found nothing eye-catching to report. To be honest my interest in the club has reached a new low for me. The apathy felt amongst many fans towards the annual capitulation has become normality. Love football, love Arsenal from August to March every year. Switch off and turn your attentions to less disheartening things thereafter. After all, who really wants to see Chelsea, Man United and the Scum playing in the Champions League Quarter Finals when we aren’t there? Actually, I’ll take back that last bit – it was quite humorous watching the Scum – but you know what I mean.
I’ve tried to think of a way to write something positive today as we head into the weekend. I’m sorry but that isn’t going to happen as there isn’t anything positive to say. I’m going to share some thoughts about the much-publicised (well in the Arsenal community anyway) fallout between Arsenal fans this week. It’s been the ‘Wenger Out’ mob versus the ‘Keep the Faith’ crew. It’s my take on things and I appreciate there are those who will differ – that is what the comment box below is for.
I know I’m sitting on the fence a little here, but I’d say I’m torn between the two points of view, probably a little closer to the ‘Keep the Faith’ side.
Football is an evolving sport. Think back to when you started watching the beautiful game and compare the football you were watching then to how it is now. Even in the 6 years since we won the FA Cup in 2005 the game has evolved further. Successful teams tend to have bigger and stronger players than ever before.
Has Arsene failed to catch up with the times? He has opted for a strategy of grooming players from within and moulding them to the Arsenal style. Ajax are also doing this in Holland. They nurture promising youngsters, and bring them through their famous academy. Ultimately though Ajax are a shadow of the European super-force they used to be. They bring through some great talents, but the best ones seem to get sold to bigger clubs in Europe and the last time they won the league was in 2003-2004. Ring any bells?
I think we need to realise that the 5 year plan hasn’t come off as we all hoped it would. I understand that the average age of the team is roughly 23. That when the average is 27 they could be world beaters. Are we prepared to wait another four years (that’s a total of ten baron years) for our next big title? It’s a distressing thought, I know.
The time has come to start spending that transfer kitty that we are constantly reminded exists. Fork out some cash on 3 big signings and, even Chelsea and Man United fans have told me, the floodgates will open.
Keep the Faith
I’ve lost count how many consecutive years we’ve had the pleasure of watching Champions League football. Is it thirteen? Look at how the spuds have enjoyed just one solitary year in the competition. We do take it for granted sometimes and we will have it again next year. In those years we’ve had 3 league titles, 4 Fa Cups, a Champions League Final, several other domestic cup finals as well as playing the best football in the country. There are 92 teams playing ‘League’ football in this country. Only one can win a given competition. Are we being greedy? Should we not be a little more grateful for having had those successes? Imagine how an Aston Villa fan feels about the same time period. What have they won? I’ve got a mate who is a Watford fan and he was disgusted with my moaning the other day. He’s only ever had two Playoff final victories to cheer about.
Let’s say we remove Arsene Wenger. Who do we replace him with? Who would you want him to be replaced by? Think about it. I struggle every time to come up with a realistic name. I only ever reach one conclusion – Pep Guardiola. He is the only one who I believe could continue the legacy created by AW. He is the only one who teaches his team to play the way we love to see our team play (when it works). Mourinho? Maybe, but he only ever goes to clubs where money holds the same value as monopoly money. He just wouldn’t be able to get along with our Board. If not Mourinho, then who? I think some supporters need to take a step back and think about this carefully. Imagine that one day we lose a game and are appalled by the result. So appalled that we call for AW’s head and the next day he hands in his resignation.
Would you honestly be delighted at that point? Frankly, I would shit myself. What next? I really have this terrifying fear that our whole club from its very foundations would come crumbling down. That we would find some mediocre makeshift manager to fill the void who really wouldn’t come close to AW. It just doesn’t bear thinking about. For me, the transition has to be a healthy one. It has to be done with the involvement of AW, at a time when he decides it is time to move on. I truly believe that he loves this club and that the day he realises he is harming the club, he will know it is time to move on and will do it in a way that is in the club’s best interests.
If you’ve read my posts before you’ll know I’m a big supporter of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust. I say it every time but if you care about the kinds of things I’ve discussed in this post then you really should sign up. It costs £2 a month and it is worth every penny. They are our way of connecting with the club, with the people that matter in the Board. I am really looking forward to attending their monthly meeting on Monday with Dev where these issues and more will be discussed. I’m sure Dev will post anything interesting to come out of it too.
That’s enough for one Friday morning. I hope all readers have a great weekend. Let us know your thoughts below. Arsenal ’til we die.