I submitted these words to The Gooner but am assuming that this time, they didn’t make it through. Written before the Bayern game……..
Change is gonna come………
As I pointed out on Twitter this morning (Sunday) there is an uncomfortable synergy developing here (Bradford, Blackburn, Bayern) but more importantly, as we look at the remnants of Arsenal’s 2012 / 2013 campaign, it’s tough to argue that it is anything but over. The Santos might not be singing yet, but he’s definitely warming up.
It all depends on your outlook I suppose, but the reality is that we are, once again, faced with fighting for fourth place and Champions League qualification, just so that AW and the board can claim it has been a huge success, bearing in mind how poor we’ve been, and take the Club’s accounts on an open top bus tour of North London, heralding our financial well-being.
When I last submitted some words for the Gooner, on 6th December, I said that it needed sorting out and it needed sorting out fast. The January transfer window seemed like a great opportunity to do that; to strengthen the squad, to give the place a lift, to reinvigorate the supporters, to add some real depth. Sadly it didn’t happen.
I do happen to think that Monreal was an excellent signing and, with the ever-improving Gibbs, the Club now has two quality left sided defenders. But let’s face it, it wasn’t enough, nowhere close to being enough.
The David Villa links were a killer, especially as it really seemed as if it might happen (it’s always the hope that gets you), to say nothing of the many other names bandied around, some of which were undoubtedly well wide of the mark. The pain really came from what was being said at every press conference, and Wenger’s assertion that he couldn’t find anyone else that would improve on what we have now seems not just remarkable in light of yesterday’s result, but almost suicidal.
I’ll never be one of those slating him in that abhorrent way we are seeing more frequently these days. What he has done for Arsenal Football Club will never be forgotten and, in time, the impact he had on the sport in this country as a whole will be properly recognised, but I do think the time for change has come.
It is clear that there are many issues engulfing the place at the moment, and that these extend right from the top, right to the bottom; from the board, to the pitch, to the training ground, all is not well. Very few people stay in one job for as long as AW has, especially one holding the top position, and I do think there is an argument that it has quite simply run its course, regardless of how peculiar some of his decisions have become, the increasingly bizarre things he says to the media and his apparently stubborn, blinkered and it would seem, unachievable, target of achieving a level of footballing success without investment in the squad.
Whether that investment is even available to him is something only he and the board could tell us. Does he really believe that this squad has the ability, spirit (ugh!) and desire to win something, or is he just saying that, knowing full well that he is not being given sufficient funds to strengthen it? Managers having been proving their critics wrong for years, but while many of us are world-beating armchair experts, it is actually quite painful to see every man and his dog pointing out the flaws in today’s Arsenal, while AW seemingly carries on regardless and does nothing to remedy it. I for one would be amazed if this squad does anything other than what I expect it to these days – namely nothing.
That might be the most painful thing of all, and it is something I mentioned in my previous pieces right here – the inevitability of all. I was in the car for the last 20 minutes of yesterday’s game, heading to a 50th birthday party, having watched the entire game up to that point. At the end I wasn’t surprised, or even particularly angry. The final whistle went, I sighed, switched the radio off and waited for the alerts from my phone as the tweets and text messages commenced.
That can’t be right, can it? I’ve got so used to Arsenal being mediocre, to not challenging, to letting me down, to dashing my hopes, to not competing, to losing to teams far worse (in principal at least) than us, that it doesn’t really bother me that much any more; not in a raging, disbelieving sense anyway.
It’s like the atmosphere at The Emirates yesterday I guess, people still turned up, but many of them just sat back and quietly accepted their fate, only rousing themselves for the obligatory booing at full-time.
Yes, I do think it is time for change. I don’t profess to know how this might manifest itself and who the personalities are that might come in, but, if it can, maybe we need the change to happen right at the top?
We have an owner who never says anything and hardly visits ‘his’ club. He really doesn’t do himself any favours does he? If this is about anything other than money for him, why doesn’t he come out and say so, show some passion, make some positive decisions? But no, Silent Stan is content to sit back and watch the heart of OUR club slowly break, while he earns oodles of money and sits back as it accrues.
Money isn’t the simple answer to all of Arsenal’s problems, that much I do know, but investment in the squad is an absolute must, and we need some football people to be making decisions and pushing AW to do more – just like David Dein used to. We need someone who can clear out the deadwood, go and get players and question the manager’s decisions. That’s how it works in business – the best ones aren’t ruled by one person alone, and Ivan Gazidis is no David Dein, that much is clear. Wenger it appears, really does rule the roost.
We’re all hurting at the moment and while I agree with the assertion made by many that yesterday’s result wasn’t the final straw, being dumped out of the Champions League and finishing outside of the top four surely would be. Indeed, I would argue that the time is right for new blood regardless of what happens between now and May.
Let’s assume we go on an incredible run and win the CL – nothing will have changed really, it would just paper over the cracks. Realistically, if Arsenal are once again going to challenge in the Premier League, then much needs to change, and a run of wins with the current squad won’t change that fact.
Finally, and despite all that, let’s not all turn against them. I for one don’t agree with the suggestion of co-ordinated chanting against the board, although I can understand, to some extent, why it has been mooted. I genuinely feel that change is on the way, as the whole sorry scenario has that feel to it and some momentum behind it now. I don’t know what, when or how that change might be, but I do belive that the team needs every ounce of our support right now – surely anything else is counter-productive? I don’t want us to fail just to instigate change, as I feel change is inevitable anyway. A lot of people don’t trust that theory, I understand that and I might be wrong, but I would hate to see us stoop down to CFC’s level and the way they have treated Benitez.
As ever, more questions than answers, but overall sentiment remains the same as that I stated on 6th December – we want our Arsenal back. The only real difference is that, rather sadly, I don’t think we’re going to get it back with AW at the helm. Come in Arséne, your time is up.