Guest post by: Marvin Williams
We’ve come to expect certain things at the start of a new season – The promise of the FA’s respect campaign shattered by the charity shield. An optimistic new Chelsea manager who believes the words on that piece of paper equate to an “actual contract”. And another Arsenal captain preparing to abandon his crew and sail into the sunset. Well this year appears to be no different. RVP set ashore as his compass directed him northwest, and many believe he’s left behind a sinking ship, so let’s try and provide a bit of balance…
Depending on who you ask you’re likely to receive a different response. Nowadays Arsenal fans are often split between one of two groups; In Wenger we trust vs Arsene out. The first make the assessment that the deal was great business, “24 million for an injury prone 29 year old who’ll probably be out for half of the season”. The opposing party solely apportion blame with Wenger, “He’s lost it, he’s out of his dept and obsessed with money”.
I have got to be honest I’ve also fickly dipped in and out of the groups and probably will do so again as my emotions get the better of me, but of course I know neither are accurate and in-between the two extremes the truth can be found.
We will only find out who got the better deal at the end of the season and the subsequent ones that follow. The nature of our sport however means we’ve all already drawn our own conclusions. The facts are Arsenal have lost their best player, talisman and captain, they’ve strengthened one of their direct rivals, and it’s an indication of the ongoing dispute which divides the board. With Song also moving to Barcelona and knowing RVP’s intentions for so long, it’s ludicrous that the club would let two of their starting eleven go three days before the season starts.
Its a new era. The divorce decree been mailed, the estates have been settled and Arsenal with custody of the kids plan to move to Australia with mum’s new boyfriend. RVP’s departure almost signals the last in players of that age.
The new crop of exciting young English players such as Jack Wilshere & Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin are aided by the quality signings of Santi Carzorla & Lukas Podolski, which appears an exciting prospect. For the first time in years the squad looks balanced. No longer is there an individual to shoulder the burden of a team, as has been the case for so long. It is however vital that both the club and fans to meet in the middle and get realistic.
The club need to realise that whilst the stadium debt may remain a priority, it cannot be their only one. It doesn’t make good footballing or even business sense. Winning the champions league makes a whole lot more money than just qualifying for it, so why not set the bar higher?
Last year the club were out of all competitions by February, the first time in recent years that they failed to mount a challenge. And even the ‘mandatory requirement’ of champions league football was only just achieved on the final day. Football at a football club should never be second best.
The fans need to accept that the club is no longer on par with the elites and haven’t been for the last few years. They can’t/won’t (delete where applicable) spend in the fashion of others and Arsene and the board are there to stay. Often the cliché that is spouted out is of Arsenal’s reluctance to spend big when the issue should be spending well. (Andy Carroll vs. Pappis Cisse)
What Arsenal go on to achieve this year is still anyone’s guess, but whichever side you stand it’s important to keep things in perspective. Whilst it’s unlikely that they’ll sail away with the league, they’ll neither have an issue with keeping their heads above water.