Arsenal Pride by JM
A lot has been said and written in the media all these years about how Arsenal football club has gone downhill in the past 10 years, with hardly a trophy in sight. I beg to differ with this generalised feeling amongst fans and pundits.
I have been a fan of AFC for 20 years now and consider myself fortunate enough to have seen Ian Wright, the famous back four, Seaman, Parlour to Cesc, Henry, RVP, Hleb, Cole, and on to the recent Ramsey, Ozil and Sanchez play in the famous red and white.
AFC did not win the Champions league prior to Arsene Wenger’s arrival and never looked like winning it either. Liverpool and Man united were the Premier Leagues top clubs. In fact Arsenal was England’s top club prior to the 80s, and then Liverpool became more successful and then Man United in the 90s.. And of late there are some small clubs with big money who have also got their names on a few trophies recently.
However in 96-97, Arsenal wasn’t a big club and there was no chance we could ever sign a top 50 world class player. Arsenal was not a big club globally and was hardly recognised outside England. Ajax, Inter, AC Milan, Liverpool, United, Dortmund, Bayern, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Hamburg, PSV, Juventus, etc were far more popular and with a richer history. In fact through out my time as a fan the only world class player we bought was Dennis Bergkamp. Our fanbase was smaller and we weren’t really the big deal in Europe.. And in fact we struggled in mid table in the mid ’90s. Vieira, Henry, Pires weren’t exactly world beaters when they joined Arsenal, signed on the cheap and were out of the top 50.
Then came Arsene and all of a sudden Arsenal began to rise. Yes we won trophies, but we won trophies under George Graham too. Only now AFC was far more famous worldwide, we had more sponsors and more success on the pitch and our fanbase grew tremendously.
By 2006, we were a major force in Europe playing CL every season and a title contender every year in England. But that success wasn’t the only thing; we were making more money than other clubs, and it’s only then that we were able to move into our new home a state-of-the-art 60,000 seater stadium called The Emirates.. Sponsors lined up and we were far more recognised all over the world. US, Africa, Asia. We started eating up the fan base of Man United and Liverpool.
My point is that the only reason fans like myself actually expect AFC to do well in Europe is because of the way the club has moved forward in recent years. If in 95-96 you would ask me if AFC would win a Champions League trophy, I would say ‘let’s just qualify’ and then dream.
For people who have supported this club for a long time now, understand this and can see how massive this club has become over the years. Hence to say AFC has gone down in the last 10 years is false, we have actually become a much bigger club in this world. Back in 95 we couldn’t have attracted top 50 players like Sanchez and Ozil. No chance. But now we do…
Let’s give credit to the board and the manager where it is due. Trust me when I say it, AFC Is a class apart. It is in very good hands and is very well equipped to continue for a long time at the very top. 10 years is a very small cycle in terms of football history. These clubs have been around for 130yrs.
United went trophyless for 27 years but that didn’t make them a small club. Nottingham Forest and Aston villa have won the European Cup, their fans still sing about it. They are not bigger clubs than Arsenal.
Throw this small team mentality away. Be proud.