The narrative around Arsenal has been negative lately.
This is understandable. For years, we’ve been mismanaged and under performing on and off the pitch.
We’ve been hamstrung and limited by our owners, and this has seen us not challenge for the league, and see top players leave for the same reasons. Aubameyang could yet be like Cesc, Nasri, van Persie, and Alexis, in this regard. In the past twelve months, we’ve seen us bottle the top-four challenge, get hammered in the Europa League final, see Unai Emery leave via poor form, and then lose to Olympiakos in the Europa League.
We’re in a bad state – so it’s unreasonable to suggest that fans should be positive.
However, I want to point out the good.
Yes, with the season suspended indefinitely as of the day of writing (Friday 3rd April 2020), we may not have football back for a while yet.
But even though we’re in mid-table, haven’t won the league in years, are miles behind Liverpool on and off the pitch, and still have the same structural issues as when Wenger was here, let’s see what good we bring. And what good we are.
Amidst the bad, these for me are some of our positives:
Many say they dislike our ground.
Yes, it has been corporately-named, but this is the norm. Most new grounds globally are. I’m sure our good friends will do so in time, but they have sold-out via NFL games anyhow, and of course, will use their ground as a revenue-earning item just as much as we do.
But in terms of its architecture and facilities, our ground is second to none. And to give our good friends credit, their new stadium is well-done also.
Anfield has expanded, but ours is better designed. The London Stadium isn’t a football ground, and West Ham only got it on goodwill and the fact the government didn’t want to be excused of the “white elephant curse” that many Olympics hosting countries have had.
Old Trafford is still the biggest, but its facilities haven’t changed much since Fergie’s heyday.
Our ground still stands as a marvel, not just in England or the UK, but globally.
Clubs such as Barca – one of the world’s pre-eminent clubs in many regards – don’t even have stand covers. And unlike clubs like Sevilla or Real Betis, Barca has the money to do this.
So being in the Emirates Stadium (despite it not being as soulful as Highbury) makes me proud.
Our women’s team continues to do well as always – and were in the hunt for another title before the season’s suspension.
Man City and Chelsea in fairness have emerged in recent years, but Arsenal has contributed a lot of all clubs to the development of the women’s game.
There is a reason why Alex Scott is a top pundit now. Well, the same reason why Ian Wright is. They both ripped it up and have earned the respect of the footballing world. And they both ripped it up at Arsenal.
Arsenal Women is still to date the most successful side in the country by far, and it’s something that amongst the big clubs we’ve spearheaded alone.
Footballing records/great moments
Some said that celebrating Liverpool’s loss to Watford was poor.
Maybe it was – but then there is nothing wrong with being proud of records. Or things that have been seldom done. So I’m split in a way, regarding the mass online celebration.
If Liverpool, in a given season, won the league and Champions League but lost the FA Cup Final, would Man United fans be happy that another side didn’t equal their Treble? Let alone their biggest and most detested rival? I think they would be, for the token alone. It’s about pride, really.
The Invincibles and the unbeaten record are things we can take pride in.
As is winning 13 FA Cups as a record.
Or the various records that our players have attained such as Henry’s PL Golden Boots, or assists in a season.
Not many other clubs can say this, and it’s something we should take pride in.
Our title win at Anfield in 1989 still to date is the most exciting moment in English football. Ever. City’s win vs. QPR was exciting, granted. But they just scraped to beat a team that dodged relegation by a whisker. We went to Liverpool, who then like now was imperious. Imagine a team going to Liverpool now, and scoring a winner in the last minute to secure the title? Then, as now, few sides won at Anfield in any capacity.
The FA Cup/League Cup wins in 1993 had never been done before to that date. It has been done many times since, by Liverpool, Chelsea, and Man City, but we were the first to achieve this.
And despite our contemporary banter nature, we still get record-making commercial deals. Visit Rwanda at the time of signing was the biggest sleeve sponsorship deal in the country.
We’ve done a lot in our history to be proud of. Let’s see the good in that.
Smiles on faces
Arsenal has a global appeal since we put smiles on people’s faces.
Wengerball made the world wonder, and it gave us the profile we enjoy today.
Chelsea has achieved success – more than us in some regards. But it’s appeal is based on winning alone and not winning with style.
City can say similar, but they like Chelsea have bought success and with alleged dishonesty too.
Wenger did buy quite a few known players. Overmars, Suker, van Bronckhorst, Silva, Lehmann, Pires, Henry, and way more latterly Aubameyang, Lacazette, Cech, and Alexis Sanchez.
But he never spent as much as Chelsea, and got success and our name based on pleasing the masses and being honest and upfront in all dealings.
So yes, even though the season is now suspended, there is a lot that we can be proud of. There is, despite our poor state on and off the pitch, a lot that we can take pride in.
This lock-down period is giving us time to reflect in many areas. So yes, Arsenal of today is not at the place we want it to be. But let’s not forget that we are THE Arsenal. And a club that’s made a unique and great imprint on the game we all love.