WHY ARE ARSENAL FANS EAGER TO GET RID OF OUR BENCH? by Uche
Saying that many Arsenal fans are eager to get rid of our bench sounds like a ridiculous and exaggerated claim but is it? If you are an informed blogger who tracks and reads the comments that Arsenal fans put out there every single day, you will realize rather shockingly that a lot of Arsenal fans would rather we go through an entire season with just eleven players. Let us just use our beloved Justarsenal.com as a case in point. I have lost count of the number of times I have read statements like, ‘sell Coquelin, Elneny, Walcott, Ramsey, Giroud, Welbeck, Paulista etc’. Why is this so? There is a tendency to brush aside such statements as typical and inconsequential fan sentiment but this same sentiment is what undermines our performances half way into the season when our own fans start booing our team and flying around counterproductive banners during live football games!
Frankly I find this ridiculous, childish and shortsighted. Yesterday, we won yet another Community shield trophy beating the strongest team in England who also happen to be the reigning premier league champions. The most impressive part of this win wasn’t just the fact that we beat the best but that we beat the best without our best players. We played that game without Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Laurent Koscielny and Skhodran Mustafi. Talk about playing a big game without the spine of your team. And then who came to our rescue? It was the very same players that our fans want us to sell. Mohammed Elneny was everywhere. I don’t know where that guy’s energy comes from but he was everywhere – passing, linking, intercepting, attacking and keeping the tempo ticking from beginning to the end. Everybody who played that game was excellent. Young Iwobi was slicing the Chelsea defense like it was made of butter and Danny Welbeck was equally running circles around Chelsea’s defence, dragging them around and running them to the ground. Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott came in later in the game and while they weren’t exactly that imposing, they scored the penalties that gifted us the trophy.
Nevertheless, our fans still want this lot sold. Just read the blogs here. Do those of you demanding that these players be sold not realize that a team cannot function without its bench? Seriously? You cannot go a whole season with just eleven players and the players you are demanding to be bought are costing so much now and will not sit on the bench after we have paid such astronomical amounts of money for them. Just look at how protracted the Thomas Lemar signing has been. Does this not tell you anything about how difficult it is to bring in new players of consequence? Why are you so eager to get rid of the players you have when you cannot even bring in the players you want? Where is the wisdom in selling your current house and becoming homeless while searching for the ‘better house’ you want to buy? It is foolishness. You don’t get rid of something or someone important when the replacement is not there. That is madness! Jeez! This is driving me crazy!
Today we can afford to put up Lucas Perez for sale because we have brought in Alexander Laccazette and we also have forwards like Alexis, Giroud, Welbeck and Walcott in our ranks. That is how you do it. Most of us want to see central midfielders like Jean Michael Seri or William Carvalho brought in. Great. But we are not even close to sealing deals for any of these players if at all Wenger is serious about bringing them in. Yet many of our fans would rather first sell the midfielders we have?
Some of the geniuses here want to get rid of Coquelin, Ramsey and Elneny first, even as we are nowhere near bringing in replacements? You think shopping their replacements is like cereal shopping in a supermarket? Do you even understand the consequence of Arsenal dropping out of the Champions league and Neymar being sold for 200mil? With us no longer being in the Champions league, we have lost tens of millions in revenue. That is some significant amount of transfer money gone for now.
Secondly with Neymar selling for that kind of money, average players will now have their clubs demanding for sums in the neighborhood of 50 to 90 million for them. And they will play hardball before selling for such high amounts. We bought Elneny for around 5 mil, promoted Coquelin from the youth team and paid only 16 million to Manchester United for Danny Welbeck. You cannot even imagine how much these same players will cost now if we were buying them afresh from other teams not to talk about buying better players.
Maybe I am overreacting but I doubt it. This kind of ill-informed clamor for players to be shipped out is what eventually morphs into general resentments in all directions. This kind of resentment led to negative banners about our coach and team being flown around during our football games. This same negativity also cost us games so if you think Wenger and the team are the only ones at fault, go look at the mirror. Many of our fans contributed to our downfall with their nonstop negativity and irrationality.
I am a big believer in personal responsibility. If we want a better world or a better anything, we need to be proactive and play our part, rather than blame everyone but ourselves for things going wrong. Fan toxicity is a real thing and is undermining the progress of our club. It has gotten to a point that even when we win, we bitch. If we are going to succeed as a football club, we need to get it right on a lot of fronts and that includes having rational fans that will support our team especially when we are not doing well. That is the whole idea of the twelfth man on the pitch. The fans are that twelfth man and every team needs their twelfth man to succeed. If you are an Arsenal fan and you really claim to want Arsenal to succeed, better check yourself first and determine what kind of fan you are because one thing is for sure. Our club doesn’t need the wrong kind of fans.
Lagos – Nigeria