Good Evening Members of the Goonerverse, I'm Simon Chapman, and I'm posting my second blog on the Goonerverse Website, I hope you like it.
Picture the scene: It's 2005, the FA Cup Final at The Millennium Stadium, a solitary year after the 'Invincibles' season, with Arsenal looking anything but, having been completely outplayed by Man Utd from start to finish, yet somehow showing a gritty steel and determination to block every attempt on goal. Some might say they parked the bus, others would claim a defensive masterclass was performed (bit of a stretch, I think we were bloody lucky).
Some of us who are old enough will remember that the game went to penalties, the Ginger One missing the Mancs second kick, leaving them playing catch up in the shootout. with every subsequent kick dispatched, the symbol of Arsenal's Grit, determination, power and passion steps up to the plate. The Captain, one of the best midfielders of his generation, plucked from Milan 9 years previously (I'm sure he loved spit shining Desailly's Boots) Patrick Vieira stepped up and knocked the ball beyond Roy Carroll's flailing arms, and so winning us our last trophy, and symbolically beginning a steady decline that we are yet to recover from.
Those who have followed Arsenal closely will recognise that Vieira leaving after several Summers of flirting with Real Madrid was the beginning of the breakup of the Invincibles team, and since that penalty in May 2005, we have lost 3 of our Captains to European rivals, and are set to lose a fourth this summer.
Of course with the financial burden of building a new stadium which we moved into in 2006, we always knew that maybe for a little while there may be a slightly barren period as we fail to compete with the big spenders while paying crippling interest payments, but of course UEFA Fair Play will be our saviour, destroying Citeh and Chelski with their twisting of the transfer market, buying up all the good (in some cases average) talent and playing stupid amounts of wages in the process. That'll save us, with our prudent spending and sound P+L!
Us fans will be happy with 4th Placed finishes, as long as we're still watching European football on SKY (please, never Channel 5!!) as long as we continue finishing above the Spuds year on year, surely that will make us happy??
Not really. Football fans are, on the whole not a particularly cerebral bunch. Our emotions are ruled by the heart rather then the head, and although Wenger and Gazidis stand up proudly next to the end of year financial Statement, like a new married couple parading around a new born child, I'm certain the majority of fans would rather them proudly parade a Champions League or Premiership trophy, no matter what the cost.
The flip side of Financial Prudence is the situation that Rangers now find themselves in, so perhaps our situation is not so bad. As a friend of mine said today 'at least you'll be able to tell your grand kids in years to come about your team that still exists!' Rangers are an extreme example of poor financial planning and management of resources, but surely there is a middle ground to be achieved?
The saga that continually blights us year on year is the inevitable loss of our captain. Arsene seems to believe that making his best player captain will bestow upon him a greater sense of responsibility and loyalty to the club and fans that will pull on his heartstrings so that he continues to stay in a noncompetitive team with an unbalanced squad full of small, fragile misfits with some seriously average players on ridiculous amounts of money. The main culprits are diabolical Diaby, who we reportedly pay £60k a week for 3 games a season, while babysitting our Physio the rest of the time, the simply awful Denilson on £60k a week for sideways passes, while the arrogant Bendtner, on £52k a week, who is apparently 'amazing' according to his reflection in the mirror cannot guarantee a starting place on loan in a shit Sunderland team).
How can we, in all honesty be angry with players of the calibre of Vieira, Henry, Fabregas and now Van Persie wanting to leave squads that are full of mediocrity ? How has Wenger built such average squads? Because of his stubborn method of making cheap young players (stolen from foreign clubs' academies) stars, but more often then not failing in this quest to do things on the cheap.
I do genuinely find it amazing that we've not fallen out of the top four yet, and in many ways a huge amount of credit is due, but come on, show a bit more ambition!! Buy some decent players! stop buying kids who 'might' be good some day! Maybe if the club didn't shell out so much loot on such awful, awful back up players every year, perhaps we would have been in a stronger position to be financially competitive? Would Van Persie be wanting to leave if we'd put our necks out last summer and got Mata and/or Hazard before the big spenders even knew who they were, while refusing to offer our crap players big contracts and offload the freeloaders?
Granted, so far this summer Podolski and Giroud are in place, but not as back up or to play alongside RVP, instead of RVP, and this is pretty sad. Some might say he is being greedy (reportedly he wants £190K a week!! which some may argue he's worth it, others won't) but perhaps he's right in wanting to leave the club due to their seeming lack of ambition in the transfer market? If you, in the real world worked for a crap company with no career progression, and a better company with prospects offer you double your money, even if you loved your work, would you really stay out of loyalty? I know I wouldn't, I'd be out the door quicker then you can say shitsticks. I know players are paid RIDICULOUS amounts of money, but human nature dictates we always want more-we're hoarders, desiring as much stuff as we can get, and that has always been the truth throughout history.
Will we win anything in the foreseeable future? Not even a Carling Cup victory is guaranteed these days, and at nearly 29, Robin can't be reliant on Wengers' shonky experiment finally producing trophies. At the end of a career, there is no prestige in playing for a club with money in the bank- players are measured on their medal haul. Sell him, preferably abroad, get as much money as we can, get rid of a few more crap players, and PLEASE REINVEST THE MONEY IN THE TEAM!!! At least give us half a chance of competing next season! Of course, this probably won't happen. The money will probably pay off some more loan interest!
My biggest worry now is that the heir to the captaincy is the Verminator, so I'm 90% sure he'll be playing in Spain next year, possibly Barca! Oh, Arsene, do you never learn? Give Denilson the Captaincy!! Maybe he'll then fucking leave once and for all!!!
Phew, rant over!!
Thanks for your Time.