The fact is that each summer as fans we become more polarised in our views. watching CFC win the Champions League in the most dull CFC way possible and then seeing Ashley Cole stick it to us in the after-match interview - only makes us even more polarised.
The model we have is simple:
* Sell a big player each summer and re-invest that exact mount in a replacement not as good.
* Coach and develop said players to stay in the top 4.
* Report Profits to gleeful shareholders twice a year
* The fans who sustain the self sustaining - we charge highest prices in Europe
* Hope to god Arsene Wenger does not get sick
Only this time our model is really laid bare as RvP is different. He loves Arsenal more and demonstrated it with how he performed. No Cesc style sulking or timely hamstrings. He said it knowing the gap in the club would be split wide open.
For me the player is an irrelevance - players come and go.
My favourite Arsenal player was Vieira - he went. Not only that - today he continues to undermine Arsenal from his well paid perch at Man City. He is obviously advising on how to build an Arsenal XL version at the Etihad Stadium.
For me no coincidence that it's Arsenal v City in the 'birds-nest' - Iconic venue with huge revenue opportunities for both clubs. The boards are probably closer than we dare to think. And why not. City are really sustaining the self sustaining model of Arsenal with hard up front cash.
But when Arsenal get off the plane who will the Chinese fans be clamouring over in our team. Balotelli, Kompany, Aguero, Tevez Toure will be mobbed and Arsenal will have meek little Theo doing that little timid hand clap.
There is no Marquee players at Arsenal any more. No Cesc, No Henry, No Vieira, No Bergkamp No Cole No Gilberto - No Stardust,talent yes but star quality no.
OK I get the whole we make stars thing but really. Is sport like that?
Really at £7 for a hot dog at the Emirates is that still acceptable?
When football is off season my second favourite sport is NBA Basketball. The best teams have what you call a Big 3 - Three marquee players that you build your Team/Franchise on.
One star attracts another star.
Great example is the Miami Heat and Le Bron James. He took the Cleveland Cavaliers (his home town team) to the NBA Finals and got swept 4 games to nil. He allowed his contract to run down and he went to Miami to play WITH Dwain Wade and they in turn attracted Chris Bosh. 3 all star players in one team
Le Bron - D-Wade and Chris Bosh Celebrate - Miami had their big 3 players. This year they won the NBA finals.
Now not everyone agreed with how the Heat went about their business but for me it's the fact - that a team is identified by its players.
I love RvP the player. As a man he was a superb captain, leader and player who pulled together the dressing room. I will go as far to say he, single handed held the club together all season - Characters like that are not easy to find.
The way he plays the technique the spirit. He takes corners, free kicks, penalties. He defends the front post on corners as well as anyone. He is our best crosser, passer, in open play he is our best shooter.
Easily the best all round player in the Premiership. Arsenal is built for him. We saw when playing for Holland with other ego's around him and a team not built for RvP in Euro 2012, that he can look very normal and feel the pressure of expectation like anyone else. That should of been a warning but the humiliation of losing 3 games may actually have been one of the catalysts to move on.
You ask the 25-30 year olds today why they support Arsenal and I bet it was because of Henry, Vieira et al. Players who delivered who epitomised the Arsenal spirit.
For me it was Charlie George.
A Man City hard running cultured midfielder - a dashing England international that we could do with in England's midfield today
Colin Bell - top player
My dad soon sorted me out though and Arsenal won the day. Point is that it's how fan-bases are grown. Players, trophies, stardust attract.
Good Players attract. We all say it's the club that matters and yes that is true but we debate players and it's players that draw us in and keep us hooked.
RvP does that job for Arsenal today - but after him what is left. What becomes our flagship.
Do we need one?
What we do need is a set of players that are at the right standard. I am growing up and realise I cannot get attracted to players long term. They will continually disappoint you as to them it's a job but to us as fans it's our life or a big part of who we are.
We identify with our team and it hurts to see Arsenal as a club where no one seems to want to stay - and many choose other clubs as a better choice to joining ours.
Why is Arsenal not the place to be - Are we resting on our laurels?
My fear is Arsenal have not grown as they should of. I have said repeatedly we are a sleeping giant.
We moved grounds and we were sold a dream, In fact the dream did not need selling we could see it every week. The Emirates is beautiful and I for one thought at last we can compete. The big players of Milan and Barca will want to come to us and they cannot steal an Henry again.
Its not happened. YET - But I still applaud the ambition.
What concerns me is Arsenal are not Arsenal XL but Arsenal Lite top to bottom.
* We have grown our infrastructure but we have not grown the people infrastructure round the club.
* Coaches are Old School when once we were ahead of the curve
* Medical staff are being mocked due to our injury record
* Chelsea and Spurs, even Brentford are stealing our youth coaches - standards are falling at Hale End
* We are left with Charlton's cast off coaches who have mixed reputations.
We don't look as forward thinking as our rivals. We have no succession planning we have old coaches and an even older Board. We look like a club waiting to be sold.
Our training ground is still good but once we were the best and now we have been passed by MUFC, CFC, even Norwich. Spurs are about to go past us with their new training complex.
The training ground is the players' office. That is where they can be themselves with no outsiders allowed. How that is run, how players feel define how BIG the club is. If you see your office crumbling at work and there is a new shiny building nearby that will pay you more and give you a better career opportunity and make you feel positive - what would you do. Fine details but crucially important.
My fear and my feedback is Arsenal are NOW a big club with a small time mentality. Do we know HOW to make the next step?
Players sense that. They sense when a club is retracting and in a short career they move. Remember when SOL left Spurs for us. At the time it was an obvious move. Today that move now could go either way - how long before an Arsenal player looks at Spurs and thinks they are moving forward at a greater pace than Arsenal
Its those indicators and the fear of being overtaken that is enveloping our club support.
Wenger has lost his transfer mojo and we need to sell our way out of that down period. Once that has completed only then can we re-build.
Can RvP wait - Can we wait. We have no choice. RvP has.
In some ways he is a hero. He has laid bare what we have all been struggling to articulate - what I do know is that no organisation can be successful with out common goals, clear strategy from the top down - a direction that is followed by all.
We do not have that so I fear we shall free wheel and bob along even more dependent on the one Marquee Person left at Arsenal
Maybe that was the plan all along.....
Clive P @clivepafc