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When does it end?

November 15, 2014

Hi! I did a blog here a few days ago centred around how I felt it’s time for Arsene Wenger to leave Arsenal.

Having seen the reaction to this blog, reading other people views and a few other similar blogs, it would seem that the clamour for change at Arsenal is gathering pace. This blog is not only about Arsene, but the way the club is run as well. So I just thought I’d expand a little.

I think overall when you see the way some football clubs over the last twenty years have been run or have been run Arsenal Football Club itself is a very well run football club. You could even say a very well run business. I mention the word business, because that word “BUSINESS” is the one I feel and I’m sure there are others that feel the same is taking the very soul out of the game I/we love.

When you are an old Sid like me and have been going to watch “The” Arsenal as long as I have, you have pretty much seen everything football can throw at you. I’m now in my sixth decade of supporting Arsenal.

During that time I’ve seen :

  • Arsenal win six titles and runners-up six times,
  • Win eight FA Cups and four runners-up
  • Win two League Cups and runners-up five times
  • Win five Charity/Community Shields, one shared and six runners-up
  • Win one European Fairs Cup and one UEFA Cup runner-up
  • Win one Cup Winners Cup and one runners-up and
  • One Champions League runner-up

Quite a list and I was at most of those Cup Finals. Thank God my Dad wasn’t a Spurs fan 🙂

What great times I had during those Cup winnings runs and even during those Cup runs where we lost there were still some great matches and the fun of  reaching the Final itself.  Take last season who didn’t enjoy the wins v Spurs, v Everton and v Liverpool. Yes we were a little lucky v Wigan on Penalties. The Final itself, I’d rather we won straight forward, but to win a FA Cup final 3-2 after being 2-0 down, I’ll take that, it’s like double enjoyment.

Over fifty league seasons (Football League & Premier League) in which again I saw many great matches even though come May in each of those seasons Arsenal only won the title six times. You see, for me, it wasn’t just about the merry month of May but also Aug, Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr as well.

Football isn’t about just winning trophies, that’s simply the icing on the cake, it’s about good football, challenging, the good times and the bad.

Billy Wright, Bertie Mee, Terry Neill, Don Howe, George Graham, Bruce Rioch, Arsene Wenger, I’ve lived through them all. They came to Arsenal, some were successful, some were not and then they went. Well apart from the last name in the list who is still at the club. Arsenal survived.

Arsenal won trophies under some of those managers and none under others. During those managers era’s Arsenal played some very, very good football, some good football, some average football and some bloody awful football, however, Arsenal are still here, I’m still here, I’m sure you’re still here, why? Because you and I are Arsenal supporters and you and I will still be Arsenal supporters if and when Arsene Wenger leaves Arsenal – and he will, one day.

There is something about being a football supporter where you latch onto your club of choice, though family, friends, success or whatever reason that got you into it? However, once you’re in, you’re in for the duration and you’re going to see many, many changes to your club during your lifetime, good and bad, so why would anyone be afraid of change in their club?

Arsene has brought Arsenal many, many good times since 1996. You could argue he helped Arsenal through a sticky patch with the move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove, when money was tight and all this done in the over analytical, money obsessed era of modern football where everyone has a view – and like me, now, can get that view out to the masses through social media.

I never used to get interviewed on video after the match (still don’t and wouldn’t want to) or do pod-casts when emotions are high, nor could I tweet to millions, post on forums, Facebook or maybe even comments pages on national newspapers websites. No I left the stadium, went to the nearest pub and chatted about it with my mates, half a dozen or more of us.  Then you’d go home, get changed, go out on the town hoping to get a different kind of result. You’d then either go home to bed or somewhere else and be made breakfast by someone else;) Then it was off to play football for your Sunday team. After that back to the pub for a couple of beers, cheese, biscuits and roast potatoes on the counter and then Arsenal’s result started fading away as there was another match around the corner and you could do it all over again.

You were with family or mates, you were watching the Arsenal and you enjoyed the experience. Every time you went to watch Arsenal you got even more into it. Arsenal was family and you’d do anything for family – wouldn’t you?

You travelled by train, car, motorbike, plane, boat. You found the money, you followed “The” Arsenal, over land and sea. I’m sure I would have found something to do or a hobby, but I’m not sure how I would have lived without football, more importantly Arsenal.  Now for me having been watching Arsenal for over fifty years having had one man as manager for some eighteen years of them 1996-2014 (and still going) is quite amazing when you think about it.

When though, does it end?

Those other managers I mentioned earlier in this blog that came and went, you sort of got a feeling they were on their last knockings, well except Rioch who was brought in, got us into Europe and then ousted for Arsene Wenger (Whoooooo!!!) I didn’t see that coming. George Graham went for non-footballing reasons, but you did get the feeling with his last three years in charge, his time was short.

I get the Arsene’s time is short feeling amongst many Arsenal supporters today, but I don’t get that feeling with the club, because I don’t think the club will do anything about Arsene just yet. I’m not sure our board have the same feeling anymore as the supporters do because as I said it’s business, something has been lost with the connection between the club and supporters and that something for me is loyalty. It seems to only work one-way.

They (the board) are obviously good at what they do –  running a football club as a business, but for me they are over looking what football actually means to those people that have stood, or now sit on the terraces. I must also add that it seems other supporters of other clubs are feeling the same. Arsene Wenger is a football business owners dream. Though, I’m still not sure how you can make that much money out of football unless you fatten up a club and sell it on for millions more than you paid for it.

Arsenal Football Club needs a few people on the board who have history with the club, I’m not saying supporters as supporters views fluctuate very quickly, but ex-legend players who know what the club is all about should be part of the set up.

When I see Arsene’s interviews nowadays, those I can bare to watch, he doesn’t seem the same man today as he was, though obviously the questions are getting tougher as we are not producing on the pitch. Arsenal are currently nineteen matches in all competition into a season that I was hoping would show more promise and challenge, yet as I mentioned in previous blog, the Capital One Cup has gone, the Premier League is in all manner of speaking gone, even Arsene has as good as conceded the title to Chelsea. There is very little chance, unless the club make three or four top signing in January and all our current players are injury free from January onwards of Arsenal winning the Champions league, so this leaves Arsenal with simply the FA Cup to retain.

Too many mistakes are being made right now at the club and the manager is part of those of those mistakes. How does a top manager go into a football season with only six front line defenders? And one of those was being rested at the start due to a long stay in the World Cup.

Now – it wasn’t me that said for a number of years Arsenal would be able to compete in 2014 by being more financially stable. It wasn’t me that said they wanted to make Arsenal the biggest in the club in the world, no! That was the board at Arsenal. Arsenal have the money, maybe not the let’s dope football with billions money that some football clubs have, but the club does have money and yet the manager choose not spend it on covering all bases, why? Well who knows, you won’t get any straight answers. Arsene says the right players are not available, well how long do you have to wait for the right players because it could go on year on year and doing it that way would mean you could never get to where you would like to be. It all feels like excuses.

Why would a manager not give himself the best possible chance of competing with rivals if you have funds to get the right players and make all areas on the pitch strong? There must have been players who could improve the squad. I’m not talking about two world-class players for every position because I feel that could in itself cause issues within the squad, unless of course a world-class player is simply happy to sit on the bench, play the odd game and take the money.

Arsenal need some really good, solid back up players. To highlight but one issue Flamini and Arteta. As it stands both are good back-up players and would be good back-up to a world-class defensive midfielder that Arsenal do not have, but they are not the current answer. The tactics, the way players are played out-of-position, at times you wonder if the players have just met each other for the first time before the game. Substitutions made with almost time accuracy, which seems to be tied to some GPS device telling the manager a player is nearing his limits, it’s almost as if a manager cannot make his own mind up about these things anymore, the science has taken over.

Maybe the players should have a light on their shirts, that shows green, amber, red so us fans can also tell when the player is running close to his limit.

It’s just not acceptable, the whole team is a mess, it’s a mess at the moment” Claude 2014 :).

I’m not anti-Wenger, far from it. I’ve been one of his biggest supporters and I love the man for what he has done for Arsenal. Whether Arsene goes soon, at the end of the season or see’s his current contract out, he’ll be gone for sure in summer 2017 and rightly be seen as a legend of the club. Right now I don’t see Arsenal playing good football, save in patches and we are certainly not challenging our rivals.

Therefore, I say again – why should anyone be scared of Arsene leaving? I’m not. The next incumbent will be supported and who knows! Own up! Who expected Arsenal to win all Arsene (Whoooooo!!!) did in his first nine years


2 Comments leave one →
  1. MARK SERES permalink
    November 18, 2014 10:24

    Ask me how Arsenal can win every game


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