I have just returned from holidays in Benidorm. I watched all the big matches and I was surprised and disappointed to find that Arsenal supporters were thin on the ground. Thankfully though, I did not meet a single Spud. The big screens were captured by Utd, City and Liverpool and even Celtic fans!
Anyway, I paid 2.4 Euros for the Daily Mail and I enjoyed the two page spread they had for Arsene Wenger. There was also a reference to his 20 years at the club before the Chelsea game. Talking of which game; what a joy to see us dismantle that shower and particularly enjoyable to see Costa on his arse, moaning to the referee about the treatment he was getting from Kos and Mustafi. For once, he was completely shut out of the game.
In the first half we were fantastic and for the second game in a row, we were playing like an Arsenal team of 10 years ago. I have said it before, when Wenger`s teams perform, he can produce a brand of football that is a symphony to excite the expectations of patrons of any love of art. Man City have been eulogised by the media for the way that they have played, until Spurs stopped them in their tracks at the weekend but they have never reached the quality of our team against Chelsea. That is how good we can be.
Unfortunately, yesterday a very limited Burnley team made us struggle to overcome them and once again the speed and commitment shown in the Basle and Chelsea games reverted to our slow-slow-almost quick-quick model which is surely more appropriate for Strictly Come Dancing and resulted in us barely scraping over the line courtesy of a last kick and a very good refereeing decision.
Anyway, as we had been away for two weeks my wife and I awaited the assault on our house by our two daughters and their clans together with my son Victor (@Gunner Vic1988) and his wife. They duly appeared and took over our house but not before Victor threatened doom and destruction would visit me if I did not produce a tribute to our Messiah, Arsene Wenger.
Given that ultimatum, I have rifled my memory banks to do just that. It is difficult, when there have been few notable achievements to celebrate for 10 years now, so I will concede that generating and carrying out the acquisition of one of the best stadiums in the land is a monumental achievement he can be proud of. It is all the more important now, when you look at the Super Clubs owned by Billionaires who seem to have the top trophies monopolised. The exception in that regard appears to be Chelsea. It goes to show that if you spend a fortune on dressing something up e.g in Cinderella when the heroine appeared as a princess at the ball, she was every inch the princess until midnight when she changed back to a girl who was until then, a kitchen maid to her ugly sisters. Abramovich is still under the spell but his princess still lives at Stamford Bridge and until he invested his money, Stamford Bridge was good enough for them. That is about to change, I understand, but until it does, Chelsea are imposters, whereas Arsene has kept us living in the manner that we deserve. Even the “AW Out” brigade must give him credit for that. We are the aristocracy and we live in a big mansion which befits our status. Well done Arsene.
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My son was fortunate to be born at a time when he was old enough to have developed a love of Arsenal, which I think I deserve some credit for, and he watched the great defenders bequeathed to Wenger by George Graham, including Tony Adams. There was a huge social atmosphere at Arsenal headed by Adams, Merson and Charlie George – all died in the wool Arsenal players and supporters, and the genius of Berkamp for whom he had Bruce Rioch to thank. Unfortunately there was also an affinity with alcohol. Wenger was a little known manager who was with Grampus Eight FC in Japan and he had been with Monaco before that. He arrived with revolutionary ideas concerning diet, exercise and training and all of the above players have admitted that he gave them three extra years of playing time. The excesses of Alcohol were eliminated
What he gave us; the fans, was an immediate uplift in the way the team played. He signed Viera, Henry, Overmars, Lundberg, Petit, Pires, Overmars, Gilberto, and we were treated to a brand of football never seen before in the UK. What followed was a host of celebrations as trophies arrived on a regular basis at a time when Man Utd had their best ever years and the electricity in the air during those years was palpable. Meanwhile, the ugly sisters down the Seven Sisters Road looked on in jealous misery. Life was good. Thank you, thank you, thank you Arsene for all of that.
We learn that during those years suitors came calling; Real Madrid, Barcelona PSG etc. but he is and has always been a man of honour and of principle. All the advances were refused because he had a contract which he always honours. In this day of corruption and greed, he has been an example to young players of how to conduct themselves. Thank you for that Arsene.
Uniquely, in the world of football he achieved what was arguably his greatest achievement when in 2004 his team earned the title “The Invincibles”, by going through the season unbeaten. That is something that may never be equalled. Through it all, he guided the club without ever going into the red. Arsenal lived within its means and that is something that hard bitten scribes in the media regularly mention. My son has witnessed all of this. He has never seen the Pre-Arsene Arsenal and so he has grown up on a diet of smooth, graceful and exciting football which is generally regarded as the “Best of British”. That is AW`s legacy. I have made my views known at the present time but it is the twentieth year of Arsene`s tenure at Arsenal and it is my son`s birthday, so in deference to them both, I will conclude this article with nothing but kind thoughts and with the hope that we win the league this year. Perhaps Arsene may be willing to rest on his Laurels then.