Something worth considering when steeped in the depths of Arsenal despair, as most of us currently are, is why do we care about Arsenal Football Club? Why do we spend time and money in this current time poor and cash poor world, following Arsenal?
It’s a choice I suppose, an addiction perhaps, a passion, a hobby, a cultural thing. It’s a bit of everything really and it is fraught with dangers; agony and ecstasy.
Because we invest in Arsenal and not ICI, Shell or Apple we don’t look in the Financial Times we look in the sports pages, we don’t watch Goldberg we watch Sky Sports, we don’t refer to the Dowe Jones we check The League Table. It’s about more than commerce it’s about a tribal experience, it’s about believing in a group of men wearing the red and white shirt, and that belief needs to be repaid.
I think most fans will support any Arsenal Player who tries their best, who works hard and feels the elation of victory and despair of defeat as we do. If we see a player with undoubted ability who couldn’t give a monkeys we take umbrage, but by the same token, those less gifted who are selected, despite their lack of ability, can get away with their defects as long as they put in a shift; but this only lasts a certain amount of time. If that player is not good enough something needs to happen. That something is answered simplistically because it is simple; you replace that player with a better one.
We want to see a team winning games and trophies; that’s what all Football supporters want. We ‘want’, we don’t feel entitled we just want and expect. Why expect? Because of the revenue raised by the club since the move to the Emirates, because of the promises that were made about Arsenal competing with the elite of Europe, because of the high price of comestibles, programmes, booking fees, and Season Tickets we expect to see players of a standard able to compete, not a young ineffectual squad of also rans and non entities.
We don’t support Dagenham & Redbridge; if we did we would have a standard of expectation commensurate with that clubs abilities, position and resources. No we support Arsenal; Champions this Century, Cup winners this Century, Champions League finalists this Century, serial qualifiers for the Champions League. That’s the standard of expectation that we came to the Emirates with. Had our achievements remained the same that still would not have been living up to the promise of improvement. The club has gone backwards on the field.
The feeling of negativity is at an all time high and those of us asked to pay over £1000 before deadline day, given the choice of an extortionate beer or burger at half time have the right to say “hang on a minute, this is just not good enough” The myth of Arsenal being the most entertaining team around has worn thin; what’s entertaining about a pedestrian ineffectual passing game? It’s like soft core porn; lots of foreplay no penetration and no money shot.
So what to do? Are demonstrations the answer? I don’t know. The ultimate protest is not renewing ones season ticket , but there will be those on the waiting list eager to take that seat. Perhaps just not going to games would make a point? Doubtful, as Arsenal don’t seem too concerned by fans not actually turning up, as the announcer gleefully announces the day’s attendance being ‘sixty thousand and..” at each game; even though their may be swathes of empty seats.
There seems no answer, but to carry on supporting the club and always remembering that it’s the Arsenal we support, not Wenger or any particular player or Kroenke or Hill–Wood, it’s Arsenal.
Something needs to shift in the summer, because Season 2011/2012 could be a watershed if the status quo remains. There are clubs coming back from the ashes and clubs with huge bankrolls over the horizon and aside from worrying about them we also have become a club that now has to worry about the likes of Stoke, Wigan, Bolton and
Next Season could be the tipping point where the relationship between Arsenal and us is in extreme jeopardy. A jeopardy that has not been experienced by many of the fans. It’s not about who’s been supporting Arsenal longer than who, it’s not about the number of away games you go to, it’s about caring about Arsenal; this should unite us all in wanting to see things change; They just have to before it’s too late. As things stand it's a question of 'let them eat cake'