I hope no one is expecting a piece in relation to the Rugby National team when you read the heading. I am not English but like many, I hoped they would bring to England glory in a well known team sport after a long, long while. For many years English National teams have come up short in several sports and the senior men’s football team has played its fair share in breaking the hearts of its fans time without number.It makes you think of a football club which has done same to its fans several times eh? Ahhh yes! Arsenal Football Club. The Gunners. The Pride of London, the capital of England.
According to Royal Sources, The Arsenal has been supported by Her Royal Majesty, The Queen, for well over 50 years and you will not begrudge her for doing so. Which other club found in the British Isles plays football more pleasing to the eyes, which other club plays football which makes the soul dance with joy and causes tears of joy to stream down the faces of its loving fans when the ball is moved with precision, pace and intelligence culminating in a goal scored. Go on, try to name one, I will wait. None? Of course. Let me also ask this, which other football club in England, with undoubtedly talented players, leaves it’s fans seated on tenterhooks whenever they play, which other football club loses matches they should win because of their superiority but then captivates and annihilates much stronger football clubs. Again, I will be patient for your response. Yes, there is none like Arsenal when it comes to complicating the easiest of tasks and swimming facilely through the most arduous of them. We are much alike to the English national team, in many ways than just being favourites of Her Royal Majesty.
One major facet where both are alike has to do with major tournament participation. The last time Arsenal annexed the elusive Premier League title was in the 2003-2004 campaign, when the team made up of the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Viera, Robert Pires and Sol Campbell won the hearts of every football fan across the length and breadth of the country with swashbuckling football, as they ended the season undefeated. The last time the England men’s national team won a major trophy was in 1966, when they beat West Germany 4-2 in the final of the World Cup. The trophies which are seemingly elusive to both teams are organized by UEFA; The Champions League and The European Championship.
The closest Arsenal came to winning this most elusive of trophies was in 2006 when they came up against a Ronaldinho led Barcelona which was matched boot-for-boot by the brave lads from London albeit with one man less, for a long period of the game. Ultimately, Arsenal fell short, losing out on not only the sole trophy missing on Arsene Wenger’s illustrious C.V. but also talisman Thierry Henry not long after the Paris misadventure, to the Catalans. England has never been to the final of the UEFA European Championship, the closest they got to the final in recent times, was in 1996, when they hosted the showpiece.
Arsenal and England in years past have come up with creative ways, to dodder and teeter out of tournaments when expectations for them to reach the latter stages have usually been at their highest. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2014-2015 UEFA Champions League tourneys serve as perfect fodder. I would not want to reopen old wounds by rehashing what occurred in both scenarios, but ultimately, defeat was more difficult to obtain than being successful or at least being ‘almost successful’ was, yet both teams were able to find themselves knocked out in the most louche of circumstances.
This calendar year though has seen an upturn in fortune, for both sides. England went through qualification for the European Championships to be held in France next year seamlessly, winning all their games, albeit against less stellar opposition than they will come up against next summer, but you can only beat the team put ahead of you. Arsenal also since the calendar year began has played football of the highest standards, domestically. They annexed the F.A Cup for the second year running, in style, thrashing Aston Villa 3-0 at Wembley, they broke the Mourinho jinx over Wenger by pipping Chelsea to the Community Shield, also at Wembley (UEFA must bring the Champions League Final to Wembley this year then) and most importantly have won the most points in the Premier League since the turn of the year.
As at the time of writing this, Arsenal were perched prettily on top the Premier League log, until the end of the Manchester derby at least, and had just toppled European football dreadnought, Bayern Munich, a few days ago. Summer of next year will be really telling for both giants of club and international football, as it is when we will really have a much better feel for the growth these teams might have made.
There is nothing more important than glory for Arsenal and England fans, as for years, these behemoths of the beautiful game have suffered immense amounts of obloquy from opposing fans. They have both made great strides over the past year to correct years of nonfeasance and it will be a very joyous affair summer of next year, in Buckingham Palace and all around, should both England and Arsenal, the Queen’s teams, have major trophies to parade across London for all to see.