Whether it’s our manager, players or supporters, the majority are commenting on the relationship developing between the Arsenal team and the crowd at the Emirates.
To be fair it wasn’t hard for Arteta to improve that bond.
In the last few years of Arsene Wenger’s reign there was an obvious divide within our fanbase.
Some Gooners felt the grass would be greener if the Frenchman left, others like myself stressed only when that happened would we realise how hard it was to constantly qualify for Europe under the current ownership.
Who’s right and wrong is a debate for another day.
Irony that is hard to ignore, Arsenal were mocked for ‘only’ finishing top 4, something that we would now celebrate .
The perception were the Gunners were in a cycle. Happy to take the revenue of Champions League money, but never a serious challenger.
Whether the Kroenke Family policy has changed is a topic for another occasion.
As a Red Member, I recall attending home matches and knowing that if we didn’t break the deadlock by half time the atmosphere would change. You would physically feel that anxiety around you.
Even those with zero affiliation towards the badge became aware of the strained partnership with Arsenal and its customers.
The likes of AFTV made us a laughing stock, gave us a reputation of Banter FC.
Where once we were renowned throughout Europe for how we tried to play, we became known as a toxic group of fans.
It seemed impossible anyone would treat the greatest manager in our history the way we did, and you sense Mr Wenger still hurts regarding that lack of loyalty.
The likes of Mustafi and Xhaka have gone on record of how online abuse impacted them mentally.
It’s not that divide has gone away.
The funny part being the same people who attacked their peers for defending Mr Wenger, now defend Arteta for equally ‘only’ finishing 4th.
The truth has always been there is no one right or wrong.
It’s simply men, women and children, all from various backgrounds, who bleed red and want the very best for the club.
Nobody wants to be negative, but after nearly two decades without a title, years of selling our best talent, we just become immune to being disappointed.
So, while (including on JustArsenal) we clash sometimes, it’s because we have more in common than you think.
We all noticed the club’s regression, and worried about a failure to be in Europe for the first time in quarter of a century.
No longer were we the team who played free flowing football who you could bully.
No longer could you point to world class youngsters who just lacked leadership .
It didn’t matter who the manager was.
The simple truth was Arsenal were no longer very good.
Two consecutive 8th place finishes were proof that few, if any, of our players would make the 11of the top 3.
It wasn’t a shock to get humiliated at Anfield or the Etihad anymore.
So Gooners realised that the youngest squad in the division needed help, that 12th man.
To ridicule them and make them scared to pull on the shirt would be counterproductive.
Gone were the days where we win most home fixtures comfortably. Players needed help getting over the line.
Contrary to popular belief, all any fans want to see is their team being the best version of themselves they can be and those associated with that team caring.
By signing players last summer under the age of 23 and listening to Edu and the BFG, there was reasons to believe that the club had in fact reflected on their failures and made an action plan.
Time will tell how genuine that action plan is?
Will Smith Rowe and Saka one day be sold to a rival?
Will we stand still once back in the CL?
I have my suspicions….
Yet for now, we have an identity and an ethos.
As for Arteta, while his micromanagement on the touchline grates on me as I want him to trust players to express themselves, the man cares.
Ramsdale, Ben White, Tierney are British players who know how big Arsenal were growing up and could be again.
We have academy graduates who have grown up at the club now in our first team.
The turning point was the Man City fixture.
Sure, the atmosphere had been great in the NLD, but we won that day.
On New Year’s Day, every player in red and white were given a standing ovation because they left their blood, sweat and tears out on the pitch.
That’s all we can ask….
Gooners have been scarred so many times that it wouldn’t shock many if we choked, and the pressure of the run in proved too much .
That we lack that mentality in key moments of matches.
That’s why most Gooners in the stand are trying to make up for what we don’t have.
If Arsenal finish 4th, there will be a lot of reasons why, but the relationship between Gooners and gunners is high on that list…
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