When, on a cold winter afternoon Arsenal lost in miserable fashion to Blackburn Rovers, legend has it that, after the game, the captain spoke to all the players and impressed upon them that they had greatness within arms reach but needed more than just ability. The date Saturday 13th December 1997.
The team went on to complete the double, with a mixture of players signed by Graham, Rioch and Wenger. A set of players who went on to be considered world class, players that went on to Join Europe’s elite clubs; Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus. This team changed and as quality players left or retired quality came in.
As every student of football knows, the ultimate achievement from this ‘generation’ was the unbeaten Season; something that probably won’t happen again. The final season at Highbury was marked by an appearance in The Champions League final, having reached this summit with the best defensive record in the tournaments history.
With the move to the Emirates Wenger’s experiment began in earnest and since that move the team has changed beyond recognition.
When Arsenal fans talk about how good Song has been and how he is essential it’s almost as if a comparison to Gilberto or Petit is being made. As good as Walcott's form has been, is he as good as Overmars or Pires. Chamakh has come to the club and done what has been asked of him. He’s good, but, is he a Henry or Bergkamp?
Is Clichy perceived as good due to a loathing of Ashley Cole? Is anyone saying that Sagna is as consistent as Lauren. Where’s this teams Sol Campbell, its Jens Lehman or its Freddie Ljungberg.
Even the likes of Edu, Kanu and Wiltord would make our starting eleven before Denilson, Diaby or Eboue.
This, in a nutshell is where Arsenal supporters are being bamboozled. The ability of our current squad is an argument that could be had all day, but I'm talking about more than just ability I'm talking about a mentality.
We have gone from watching some of the best players in the world in the red & white (and Burgundy) of Arsenal to watching a team of players who are not equal to that billing. The real quality players will seek employment elsewhere as things currently stand with Wenger seemingly bulletproof. They say that there's no loyalty in football but I believe that us Arsenal supporters have been incredibly loyal after 5 trophy less seasons. Many another set of fans would have already been calling for the managers head.
If you look at Arsenal’s position as a London based club, in a new stadium with consistent European football and excellent revenue there is an expectation that you have a team and manager to match. We have the status of a Super Club without the credentials to back up that statement.
Yes I said a Super Club, and a super club needs a super team. Something that we had at Highbury.
The man responsible for the current Squad; Arsene Wenger. No amount of loyalty, proclamations of genius or reflections on financial constraints gets away from the fact that Arsenal are not good enough. There I’ve said it. We’re not!
The manager says we are, we the fans see that we aren’t. Simplistic but true. And as to the solution? If you've read this far you know the answer to that question.
something better change