There were a lot of happy Gooners at the Emirates on Boxing Day but perhaps none as happy as a certain 73-year-old?
Arsenal succeeded in putting maximum pressure on Man City, sending the Champions to Elland Road 8 points behind us?
Our second half performance was one of our best of the season, showing resilience to respond to conceding first.
Yet the most pleasing aspect of our victory over West Ham was Arsene Wenger was in attendance to witness the whole thing, the first time he set foot in the stadium since he was our manager.
That was in 2018! 4 Years ago?
While Mr Wenger has maintained his dignity over his exit and got on with his life in his role at FIFA, that he stayed away so long tells you the grieving process he went through.
His love for the club and obsession for the sport is well known so he’s been staying away for a reason.
In his documentary, the Frenchman describes Highbury as his soul, the Emirates his greatest suffering.
That’s not due to just a failure to hand us the Premiership’s he won at our old home.
It was a feeling that he felt not appreciated for paying off stadium debt by selling his best assets, and yet still finding ways to qualify for the Champions League, which he ironically views as his best body of work.
It was an acceptance that he had been to loyal, turning down job offers when banks would only approve loans of the basis he remained in charge, only to not get that same loyalty back.
It was a feeling that some fans were impacting on the proud values he helped maintain, which he was vocal about.
Some liked to remind him he was an employee, he worked for Arsenal FC not Arsene FC… yet so much of the modern Gunners were built on his vision. Training facilities, stadium design, dietary and exercise methods, style of play, knowledge of transfer market.
So, mentally, Monday was a big moment for our ex-boss, part of the healing process.
When his face flashed up on the big screen, chants of ‘there’s only one Arsene Wenger’ were audible.
Theres only one Arsene Wenger…. https://t.co/hRrjKlvcib
— JustArsenalVids (@JustArsenalVids) December 27, 2022
It reminded me of the Bayern Munich model where the stands are often filled with legends.
Mikel Arteta deserves credit for creating an atmosphere where that could happen.
I don’t know if we can maintain our title challenge.
Or how much funds are in January?
What I do know is everyone at the club is United, and it’s a long time since I could write that.
Every home match is now noisy and hostile for visitors.
Fans stick with the team, there’s not tension after an hour is things are going wrong.
Players tactically understand their roles.
Individuals have improved.
Now, the greatest manager in our history is getting the recognition that he didn’t get in his final few months in North London.
I remember YouTubers who’s views were based on verbally abusing the man, who didn’t have the dignity to stay and thank him after his final match in the dugout (to get more attention).
Our peers were watching this, thinking it was a reflection of our fanbase.
Here, fans were acting with class.
Just like our current manager promised when he first took the post.
In his first ever press conference, our former captain won over his audience with how he spoke, using words like principles, standards, when Arsenal knock, it’s a different sound of knock.
The Spaniard himself showed class, remaining humble post-match against the Hammers and keeping the attention on his former boss’ legacy. At a time when he could have made it about himself.
You always go back where you belong.
This is Mr Wenger’s home, where he belongs.
Three years since his debut as manager, Arsenal played football that got Mr Wenger out of his chair, and in turn Gooners got out of their chairs to applaud!
The Arsenal Way is …… just like Arteta promised!