The two comments currently on Hami`s ( Guest Writer) very readable and well constructed argument in Gunners Town illustrate the nature of the divide between the Arsenal fans.
I am an “Arsene Out” person but I admire the way Hamir and people like Graham Perry present their contrary opinions. I am also in awe of people like Alex The Tsar Gunner who are able to produce statistics to illustrate and validate their arguments. Marble Halls and Dave Seager are able to produce contrary statistics or interpretations from the same statistics.
Where does that leave the rest of us? I am not a statistics supporter and I cannot motivate myself to delve into the sources where they are found. Football was never an inspiration for me to do that kind of exploration. I played amateur football with some success and I watched it wherever I could. My first love and only one became Arsenal and I have loyally followed them since 1958. In our games, my emotions were carried for 90 minutes on a Helter Skelter of ups and downs during those 90 minutes. My reactions were adjusted by the passage of time. It went from tears when I was a child to drinks afterwards when we lost as I became an adult and to ecstacy when we won. I looked forward to my regular dose of adrenalin at the week ends. Other than that, I did not change. Outside of Arsenal, like most of us in 1958, we watched the best teams in the world on black and white TV`s. Real Madrid were like gods when we saw them or read about them, but Arsenal were the greatest team in England as far as I was concerned.
Black and white TV was overtaken and I watched England in colour in 1966 when they won the world cup. What Joy. I am not English as I was born in Northern Ireland but, we had George Best, the best player in the world for consolation. Over here, England was our surrogate team. Somewhere in the midst of all these occasions, there has been a feeling of love for Arsenal which cannot be analysed in statistics. We all read contributions sent in by fans who still worship George Armstrong who was never mooted as a world class player, but was there ever a better gladiator in an Arsenal shirt? The sublime Rocky who floated over the pitch whilst delivering bone shattering tackles at times. In modern times, Bergkamp, Henry, Pirez, Viera, Petit, Adams etc. I could go on, the list is endless. All of the teams which featured such as these, filled us with pride that they played for our team, and joy when they won. When Wenger arrived, the football he inspired had never been seen before and it was a fact that when one of our games was on Sky, the percentage of neutral viewers was highest. I know that that is a statistic I have mentioned but it is a fact which is not open to debate as the ones used by those gentlemen mentioned above are.
I admit that I cannot present my argument that Wenger should go by pointing towards statistics. Instead, I ask myself; when was the last time that I have looked forward to the incoming season in the hope that we will win the Premiership? Regrettably it has been at least 10 years 9 given the optimism following the Invincibles. Instead, I have had to gradually accept the Mantra presented by Wenger that we are challenging the big teams for the title, but top 4 will be a success. I have watched us go out in the first knock-out stages every year bar one in the Championship and I have endured the agony, with others, of watching us humiliated by defeats of anything ranging from 6 to 8 goals by the top teams.
That is where my argument against statisticians ends. The best statistics in the world would not excite me. If the games which produced them were such that I could recall them afterwards, when the adrenalin had subsided, so that I could, recall it all again, then I would be excited and proud. Instead, for the past three years we have been fed a diet of false promises, mainly from Wenger and we have seen our position as favourites to win the Premiership in at least 3 of the last 5 Januarys to collapse and now find ourselves out of the top 4 and out of the championship. That is two years after we were told that the purchases of Ozil and Sanchez was confirmation of the management, that there was a desire by Kroenke and the Board to compete for the top honours. “Marble Halls” has produced a persuasive article which clearly sets out his reason for continuing to support Wenger and I agree that we should now support the team. I have not changed my mind that Arsene should go. A man being paid £7million ( now (£8m) as CEO of any other commercial enterprise, with his record over the last 10 years would have been sacked.
We are now in a position that an effort is being made to spend money and improve the team. That effort was unfortunately coloured by the usual red herrings e.g. that we were ready to spend £100m plus on Mbappe! However we are where we are and there is only two more years on Wenger`s present contract. We all need to bond together and support the team we have because there is going to be no change to the Status Quo and we want Lacazzette and Co. to be encouraged and supported to provide of their best. We will need our players to be at the top of their game this season.
A sophisticated, articulate Arsenal Man of Mystery. Aged 70 and a bit.