Remember Buckaroo? That poor old mule as we kept piling spades, rope and buckets on it's back until at last, overwhelmed by the weight he would flip out! That is a lot of Arsenal fans at the moment and I have to say that I am that mule, looking at one of our players as he approaches me with the water bottle in his hand, trying to see where he can hang it. Yesterday it was Arteta and I'm afraid his judgement on hanging water bottles was as bad as that of hanging off the back of the Fulham player in our box!
We have the AKB's, the AWOB's and we have the BSM who are the radical arm of the AWOB. I have no problem with any of these sides of the argument, it is after all a free country, which today of all days we should all remember. If you feel that somehow AW will still turn this around, then you have kept more faith than me, but that is your choice. Surely if Fergie can keep his powers going at his age and after so long in power, then Arsene must be able to? The main difference is that at MUFC they know one thing, no matter what is going on with the finances of a football club, if you can maintain a winning team or at least one which will realistically challenge every year for trophies, then you can pretty much fool most of the people all of the time.
At AFC, those in power have forgotten this, or worse still have decided that they don't care about any form of protest over the malaise sweeping the club as in reality there is very little the fans can do about it. If the BSM feel they can make a difference then good luck to them. Personally I agree with a lot of what they are saying about greed in football, but I just cannot see that they have any power to be anything other than a voice in the wilderness. They are a minority of our fanbase, a higher percentage of those that attend games maybe than they are of the overall fanbase, but I still think they will be shouted down (not literally) by the larger majority who either see AW as a God on earth or those who simply see protest as counter productive to the playing side.
We have seen that at the top of this club we are viewed as a necessary evil, an inconvenience that must be put up with, at least for a few more years. My opinion is that once we have new sponsorship deals in place and have reduced the debt on the club, then Silent Stan will sell up to the highest bidder and walk away with a very healthy profit on his initial investment. All he has to do is stay in Denver, well away from any of the grubby little soccer fans that are not happy, let Ivan take all that heat and let AW keep us in the top 4.
Is Usmanov the answer? Well he is if fans think he will come in and provide a warchest, allowing AW to buy the 20 mill version of Arteta or the 40 mill upgrade on Giroud, plus pay the kind of wages that the football dogs of war crave nowadays. Would we have lost the best left back in world football under Usmanov, or would Theo have signed his new 100k contract by now? Is AW a better manager than Mancini or RDM? Of course he is, so imagine what he could do with the kind of squad at their disposals. Obviously there are very strong arguments about 'selling your footballing soul' to the money merchants or those who would feel very uncomfortabl having a man own the club with a shady (allegedly) past! How many of those would be prepared to swallow this bitter pill in order to see our skipper lift the ECL and PL trophies again? I think it would be interesting to see fans quickly forget their original opposition if we had a winning team once more. I for one am sick of seeing this team continually raise our hopes only to show that as a squad we are weak, in terms of attitude, spirit, depth and talent. I see so many Gooners who buy in to a run of performances and results, building their hopes up, investing more of their emotions in to the possibility of success only to have them dashed by a display of such ineptitude as shown at Norwich. I really fear for the long term health of these fans!
Personally, I think it would be nice to have someone in charge of the club who may make their intentions clear, even if this may be lip service to the fans, just as the R&W letter was after Voldermort penned his website resignation letter. But what I would like to see is some accountability brought back to the club. Currently I can see no circumstances under which AW would be sacked and given how drastic things may need to get for that to happen nor do I! But, if the section of fans who want rid are right and regardless of owner, AW has had his day and cannot compete in the post Abramovich and now oil rich era, then it would be nice to think that AFC could take the action required to do the best for this glorious football club and not that just for the shareholders to whom we are a turkey being plumped up for Christmas! For the BSM, I hope they continue to campaign, as long as it does not happen during games and impact the players at that time. I do feel however, they are pissing in the wind, but at least they are standing up for what they believe and doing something.
Cares more about rugs than fans or football
To those fans upset by the BSM who feel it is divisive and they should get behind the club no matter what, remember this, which I am sure you can all adapt for your own personal circumstances and history. Outside of my immediate family, the most important thing in my life is The Arsenal. Not a day goes by when it doesn't enter my life in some way or another, be that on the web or chatting with a mate. This has been how the die was cast since the early 70's and I have been lucky enough to be able to follow the team in person for a large chunk of this period. Whilst we have been lucky to have some great times, more so than plenty of other club's fans, we also manage to put ourselves through the mill. Some teams are either brilliant or mediocre, say Liverpool for example. Some may have had a few shining moments of brilliance amongst long periods of failure, Villa and Forest spring to mind and of course some have only the faded sepia photos taken on a box brownie to remind them of a long since passed period of success (no points for guessing this club). The thing with us is we seem to chug along being there or thereabouts for long periods, remaining tantalisingly close to the glory days, but then managing to have them snatched away, normally through our own errors! But the fact remains that we are there, normally being written off by the press and pundits, but clinging on to a faint hope that this year AW will get it right. Of late every season seems to start, pan out and end the same way!
To finish, a few weeks back there was a Sunderland blog, bemoaning the fact that we are a very spoilt and whiny bunch of fans, to be complaining about only finishing in the ECL positions every year and not winning the quadruple instead. I can understand a certain part of his viewpoint but have to say this in response. No-one knows this club better than us fans, and having basked in the glory of 98-05 when AW made us the superpower-in-waiting we could become due to our location, proposed new stadium, fanbase and playing squad, we have seen a gradual decline. Now we all knew that there were tough times ahead, all down to the building of a 60k ground, in London, during a recession and so near to our last ground, but this cannot be used as an excuse for all that has happened since Paddy took his last 12 yard kick of a ball for the club.
We have seen every year AW produce teams that have promised so much, yet eventually have turned out to be made of straw. The list of top quality and brilliant players we have loved and lost is by now infamous. The self induced collapses due to weak mentality and lack of leadership haunts all of us. So forgive us Gooners if we have a moan, but to be honest if we were shit and basically always had been, like say, maybe Sunderland, then we would not moan quite so much. But that's the thing, we all know we are perpetually so close, that we are only 2 or 3 players away from success and eradicating the specific problems that beset our team. Add this to the knowledge that your club has the resources available, a magnificent stadium in one of the greatest cities in Europe and a world class manager. Knowing all this yet seemingly said manager is too stubborn, or your board too selfish to release the funds, then you are entitled to be frustrated, mystified and pissed off.
It's the hope that kills you!
Notes for those who don't do abbreviations:
AWOB Arsene Wenger Out Brigade
AKB Arsene Knows Best
BSM Black Scarf Movement
PL Premier League
AW The Manager
ECL European Champions League
PHW Senile old git
R&W Red and White Holdings (Jabba's shareholding company)
SK Disinterested rug owner who cares sweet FA about Arsenal