As Arsenal fans, we haven’t had it easy. Every season that ends without a trophy has seen a summer of upheaval. Recounting:
2005-06 – Patrick Vieira
2006-07 – Ashley Cole, Robert Pires, Sol Campbell, Jose Antonio Reyes, Lauren
2007-08 – Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg
2008-09 – Mathieu Flamini, Aliaksandr Hleb, Jens Lehmann
2009-10 – Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor
2010-11 – Eduardo da Silva, William Gallas
2011-12 – Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy
2012-13 – Alex Song, Robin van Persie
2013-14 – Gervinho, Andrei Arshavin
2014-15 – Bacary Sagna
Each summer has seen a Big Bazaar stock clearance sale where the big boys have rolled in their baskets and ripped out the core of the team. The list reads out just the first team regulars. There were several other players sold who weren’t that important.
To my head, Bacary Sagna is the remnant of these 2 generations of Wenger sides which have been completely revamped. A new era truly beckons.
Which really begs the question, how would things have turned out if we had not won the FA Cup? It is worth thinking about, to get a bit of perspective.
Yet another season of failure has just gone by. A belated title charge reared its pretty head before revealing itself to be naught but doom as injuries mounted and our attack was decimated. Why even talk about the FA Cup Final? Wasn’t that just vintage Arsenal? Do all the hard work of swatting aside some of the big boys en route to the final and then simply disintegrate when it matters the most. We could keep saying we have learned from Birmingham, from other failed title charges, but none of that mattered as another individual blunder put the finishing touches on a dismal charge to death.
We, as an elite club, will never move forward. We are always doomed to contest for the fourth place trophy, season after season. The fourth place is the flame to the moth that is Arsenal. It is only a matter of time before we drop further down the ladder. All it will take is another billionaire bankrolling another club, and “Sayonara” Arsenal.
There is only one thing that needs to change. How long can we continue blaming the players for what is surely a lack of managerial acumen? Sure, the man has guided us to several glories. But what’s turning up in the papers from time to time must be true. He is a relic of the bygone era. We must cut our losses when there is still time and bring in young managerial blood, a Rodgers, a Martinez, hell, even a Pochettino, anyone. We must have fresh ideas and new energy to propel us back up to where we belong, before we end up accepting that we belong here, to fourth place.
There, I said it. Wenger out!
I am loathe to go on to football websites now. I have deleted all the football news apps on my phone. What else must I do to escape the doom and gloom of another Arsenal failure? Every website that I go on links another of our top players with an elite heavyweight. At last count, Koscielny has been linked with Bayern, Cazorla has been linked with City (why the hell do they need another attacking mid?), Podolski is going back to Cologne, Ramsey is being linked with Barcelona. There is really no end to this. Even if the players aren’t really expressing anything but disappointment in public, the newspapers and agents are pretty much sending us into Europa League the next season.
Who is being linked inwards, you ask? That would be Jack Reacher, Usain Bolt, Godzilla, Neo and Wolverine. No one real, and no one, really. Lots of rumours are floating about, but no one actually seems to be willing to join. I wouldn’t blame them. No top quality player would want to join a club which smells so much of decay.
There doesn’t seem to be any end to this vicious cycle. Silent Stan continues to be silent. Gazidis continues to say we have a war-chest, which probably comprises of 70 million candies. There is yet another open letter from that fat bloke Usmanov which accuses the Board of Directors of running the club like their private kitty party. I am now waiting for an open letter from Kos thanking us for his wonderful time at Arsenal, so long and thanks for all the fish, but he doesn’t agree with the direction the club is taking. I am past feeling any vitriol towards this anymore.
Another summer of transition, another summer of rebuilding, another season of fourth place (hopefully).
The reality is somewhere between anarchy and unbridled optimism. Neither are we in as much trouble as what transpired above, nor do we not have any work to do. At the very least, at the top of the league, to stand still is to move backwards. We do not have a major rebuilding to do, but we do have some fine-tuning to do. Contrary to popular belief, more in the ‘goals for’ column is what we need, as a cursory glance at the table will reveal. A little less number of goals in big matches won’t go amiss as well. We are talking of fine margins here. Meanwhile, we have a well-entrenched manager and a well-enmeshed machine that just needs some lubrication to start firing on all cylinders.
Keep calm, as they say, and trust in Wenger. Onwards and upwards.