Do you know where we’re going to, do you like the things that Arsenal is showing you? by Viera Lyn
After a brief yet welcomed hiatus the Arsenal propaganda machine is up to it’s old tricks once again. Still smarting from the predictably disastrous start to the season, the club’s PR team waited anxiously in the wings until the inevitable happened. Following a few results versus a couple lesser lights, an over-hyped draw at the Bridge and then earning 3 points at the Emirates versus a relatively weak promoted side right before the international break, those in charge couldn’t resist what appeared to be a perfect opportunity for some much-needed damage control. Under normal circumstances a professionally run organization with even a modicum of respect for it’s fans would refrain from barking up the same old trees, especially on the heels of another embarrassing August.
Not our club, instead we have the pathetically transparent Gazidis spouting off about finances again, Wenger waxing on about Wilshere and Walcott after one decent outing, versus one of the weakest opponents we should face all year and the predictable reemergence of several former players propping up the usual Wenger favourites. Whenever I witness such blatant attempts to deflect, distract and/or distort the facts, which in recent years typically occurs after a slow start, following another anaemic January window, sometime in early March and when the push for season ticket renewal begins, I simply cringe. I can’t even imagine what life must be like for those who could be so naive as to eat up these sort of inane attempts to impress. No matter how much you finagle, finesse, massage, maneuver or manipulate the message, the underlying truth remains the same…this club has regressed.
Let’s face it, if someone told you the exact same story that has transpired at the Emirates about their own respective club you likely couldn’t help but laugh in their face for being such an obvious rube. Although this reaction could be perceived as rather harsh, considering the psychological trappings that oftentimes comes with club allegiance, the supporters must take some responsibility for a club’s stagnation if they have continually failed to make the club accountable for their poor decision-making both on the pitch and in the boardroom. This is why the club generally wins the day, as it’s incredibly difficult for the fans to come to some sort of consensus about issues club-related let alone devout the necessary time and energy necessary to influence any major changes at a multi-billion dollar organization. As such, real change rarely comes until things devolve to such a level that the owner(s) sees no other alternative but to seek a some sort of remedy through the selling of the club, which doesn’t always lead to positive results. For the average disgruntled fan the situation is far more problematic. They find themselves in the unenviable position of either railing against their own beloved club or simply hiding their heads in the sand and hoping for the best.
In the case of Arsenal, the situation remains fluid. Following losses the same issues re-emerge, sometimes to extreme levels if the loss was exceptionally bad, like at Liverpool, but invariably this has a tendency to subside over time due to a variety of factors like a general sense of apathy, a return to the win column or the misplaced belief that those in charge have finally learned their lesson and big changes are in the offing. Unfortunately our problems have in no way been solved, in fact they might be even worse. So any perceived short-term gains following our recent run of games simply masks the rot that continues to erode our once esteemed club.
What ails our club can’t be remedied in a month or two, regardless of the results. Although this may seem ridiculous to some Wenger loyalists, those of us who are no longer drinking the kool-aid take a decidedly longer view. For years this club has preyed upon our once steadfast devotion to our longtime manager, going so far as to intentionally undermine our relationship with several of our current and former stars to protect our increasingly fragile leader, to the detriment of our club. Furthermore, they have constructed a business model, with Wenger’s active involvement, that appears to serve no one except the owner, Wenger, Gazidis and the multitude of overpaid, oft-injured and/or underachieving players that has enabled the owner to invest nothing, while still increasing his overall net worth with no foreseeable financial risk. While some might say this is an ingenious plan that should be applauded, those who don’t prescribe to this ‘money for nothing’ business model see it for what it truly is, a con game that betrays everything that this club once stood for under this very same manager.
In the early years, Wenger didn’t settle, he craved competition at it’s highest levels, he longed to defeat Man Utd and Fergie, he spent countless hours trying to lure the best and the brightest to the Highbury, he resisted anything resembling a half measure and he desired perfection on and off the pitch. This new Wenger talks incessantly about all things financial and about the supposed reality of our situation, especially how it relates to our “inability’ to compete with the biggest clubs. This is simply a lie. We are only restricted by the miserly decisions of our current owner. The very owner that Wenger got willingly into bed with and knowingly became the ardent spokesman for ever since the move to the Emirates was finalized.
But before you attempt to excuse Wenger for his questionable acts of treason, please keep in mind that he has had ample time and opportunity to speak out against this obviously flawed plan, even if he was similarly fooled in the early days of Kroenke’s ownership. Instead he chose the path more traveled by men of a weaker constitution who care more about job security, monetary gain and societal relevance than fighting the good fight. Wenger doesn’t need the pay cheque, he doesn’t need to cow-tow to a man with no conceivable footballing insight and who cares nothing for the club beyond it’s obvious financial benefits, in fact, the only possible explanation for this most unlikely of unions is the tens of millions of dollars Wenger has raked in since the relocation with little or no interference or expectations. The younger Wenger would have put on his big boy pants and vehemently resisted the temptations of lesser men. At the very least he would have dropped carefully veiled hints in the hopes of raising the ire of the fans so that we might have chased this vile absentee landlord from North London.
For those who have differing opinions just ask yourselves where this club will be in 6 months or a years time. Things have obviously looked brighter in recent weeks but that is more of a reflection of who we’ve played than what is going on behind the scenes. In January all the usual questions will reemerge, as the management team will likely have to make some very important decisions. The same decisions that should have been properly addressed long ago. Are you going to be happy if Sanchez and/or Ozil go in January without being properly replaced? Are you going to be happy if Arsene, as he has suggested, re-signs Welbeck, Ramsey, Giroud and Wilshere, even though he tried desperately to sell you on the idea of the benefits of allowing Sanchez, Ozil & Ox to play out their final year under contract? Are these the players that you feel should be the main focus of this team moving forward? Let’s remember that 3 of the 4 have horrendous injury histories and only 1 has been a regular starter over the past 2 seasons. Are these the kind of organizational decisions that even suggest that this club has any intent on competing with the big boys in the coming years? Are these the kind of players that are going to allow us to progress, encourage world-class players to join our ranks and/or help our future manager reinvent our broken wheel, which could be vitally important as come the summer of 2018 Wenger will once again become a lame duck manager. So instead of always focusing on the short-term maybe it’s high time that the fans of this once cutting edge club took a longer view and really asked themselves if they like where we’re going to and do you like the things that Arsenal are showing you…