It's death by a 1000 cuts.
Another crucial departure?The over-riding feeling amongst the faithful is we have built a platform from which to build.
We have accepted the fact that the new stadium and supporting property deals at Highbury and Queensland road have come a t a cost. We accepted the strategy of buying young and developing those players and selling when it was right for us - all this while trying to stay at the top table of English Football.
We accepted that Spurs, CFC and City have outspent us (Stoke have outspent us) and have become more competitive than us at times, we accepted the fact we sent a semi youth team to the Carling cup final in 2007 and applauded them after a gallant defeat. We accepted a reserve team at WHL losing 5-1 to our hated rivals and giving them the confidence that they could close the gap and beat us in league games.
We accepted even last summer – well we can say that now – when we lost our 2 star players (Cesc, Nasri) and then spent £59 million repairing the squad.
They are buying the players we used to buy. Cabaye, Ba, Cisse, Tiote, Ben Arfa – They are Arsenal signings at Arsenal prices. They have rejuvenated their scouting system and are following the Arsenal model.
But – One thing we won’t accept is if we do not build on this platform.
Such good groundwork has started player wise but if we sell RvP we may as well turn out the lights. Players come and players go, there is always someone better around the corner. Football fans memories are so short it’s just the nature of the sport. But in RvP you have a man a character who is steeped in the club. We don’t want to lose people like those.
Lots of us have spoken about Pat Rice, saying we need a new number 2, we need to freshen it up. My thought is we need 5 more like Rice. Arsenal people, aware of the club, aware of the standing we should have. The vogue is young slim fit suited managers with skinny ties and IPads.
I get it – there is a part of me that wants Martinez or Pep at Arsenal. I think that would be a wonderful step forward as I believe in their philosophy of the game. But we are Arsenal. We have our identity. But if we sell our latest captain we are really not the Arsenal I know.
My view on RvP is he is the single most important player of Wenger’s reign, along with maybe Henry. I say this because he is an intelligent guy that is trying to drive Arsenal forward. His performances are such that no one could question his commitment - I think he is trying to force Arsenal forward. He wants the right type of player support. I won’t say investment as players do not need to always cost but sometimes they just do cost.
Can we wait again. The platform is there it’s up to us to keep pace.
Will RvP stay?
I always felt he would up until 2 days ago. But if he goes it will be far more of a worry than any of Cesc, Nasri, Flamini, Henry. Because he does not want to go. He is settled he wants to stay. If he goes it’s because he sees no future.
Hence why this is so important an indicator about who Arsenal actually are.
We have to decide do we want to really compete. If not then let’s set the expectation, bring down the prices, set the strategy and we will accept it. What people will not accept is Arsenal have the highest match day revenue in the world and on performance are 6th best in Europe – Are we maximising potential – are we even trying to?
These questions have been there in for years now but this time the club has to send a message which is key for its future status and identity. Support RvP, it’s not just about signing him and paying him, it’s obvious it’s about supporting him so he has a chance to spend his key footballing years not keeping the status quo but competing with the club’s listed in the graph above.
Wenger has the right foresight. His focus has in the main been correct. He has developed this model of sustainability and I cannot say he is wrong. His focus on league position over the smaller cups – given what has happened to Dalgeish – how can you argue with him. However….
There is no shame with using what you have – there is no shame in being a big as you are. Arsene you built it, you sold us the dream, you have created this foundation.
Let’s be big or put us out of our misery so we can stop pretending.
Clive P – follow on twitter #clivepafc