The last three Kings of Arsenal. by Charles Veritie
When I heard that Unai had been appointed our new manager, I, like most Gooners, was excited at the prospect. I began thinking about the differences from when Arsene arrived and now. I had no thought about writing about it. It was around that time that I discovered this ‘justarsenal’ site and it prompted me to put my thoughts to my computer by the time I had added the linking words I had about 1000 words, too long I thought. Justarsenal Admin said ‘no problem’ and published ‘From Arsene who? To you know who.’ My thanks to justarsenal and to all who commented. I had no thought to write again on the subject.
Since then I have read every article and comment published by justarsenal and it’s this reading that has prompted me to think on the subject again.
The stats tell us that in 1995 we finished 12th, and in 2018 we finished 6th, but that is all they tell us. .
When comparing the last season of King George and that of King Arsene there is a small problem as there was a ‘gap year’ between end of King George’s reign and the start of the reign of King Arsene. That one season witnessed the reign of King Bruce Rioch.
However with the exception of the arrival of Dennis Bergkemp and David Platt, much was the same. The general feeling among fans was best summed up by the bright spark who informed the BBC: ‘This club is going no where it has got a youth team coach for a manager’.
So what did Arsene inherit from King George? The one obvious difference is Highbury Stadium, old, but much loved and much missed by many. Not obvious to most fans was the training ground, which was rented from University College.
The national and now legendary Arsenal back four.
However since winning the FA and League Cup double in 1993 the wheels had fallen off, we lost to the likes of Wrexham and York City in the FA Cup. In the league we had become a push over as we dropped down to 12th.
The majority of the players were, English, Scottish, Irish or Welsh whose number was surprisingly added to by a non flying Dutchman.
As well as the loyal Arsenal fan, there were at best those envious of Arsenal and at worst the anti Arsenal as is today.
We had played in Europe but spasmodically. Playing in Europe was seen as an extra, not the ‘norm’.
In the ‘gap season’ King Bruce had finished 5th and we qualified for Europe in Arsene’s first season and we played Borussia Mönchengladbach whom Arsene watched when a boy. All this was known at the time and is in the books and now on the net.
Final year results for each king.
1994- 95 King George
P. 21 w 6 d 9 L 6 gf 27 ga 12 P21 w 7 d 3 L 11 gf 25 ga 28 pts 51 position 12th
FA Cup 3rd round lost 2-0 v Millwall
League Cup QF lost 1-0 to Liverpool
Euro Cup final lost 2-1 to Real Zaragoza
1995 – 1996 King Bruce.
P 19. w10 d 5 L 4 gf 35 ga 19 P 19 w 7 d 5 L 7 gf 19 ga 16 pts 63 position 5th
FA Cup 3rd round lost to 1-0 to Sheffield Utd
League Cup semi final Lost to Aston Villa on away goals rule
1996 – 2017 King Arsene
P 19 w15 d 2 L 2 gf 54 ga20 P 19 w4 d 4 L 11 gf 18 ga 30 pts 63 post 6
FA Cup 3rd round lost 4-2 to Notts Forest.
League Cup Final Lost 3-0 to Man City.
Europa League. Semi Final lost 2-1 to Athletico Madrid
What was not known unless you were an Arsenal insider is that the youth system had been neglected.
And of course what is now known as the Tony Adams quote ‘Win or lose we are on the booze.’ of some of the players. Arsene inherited players who were alcoholics or unfit if judged by modern standards of fitness.
It is possible we knew of director David Dein but back then we had little idea of just how much he was transforming the club into the football machine it is today.
He of course was responsible for the arrival of King Arsene who was to become the last King and Manager of Arsenal.
For most fans the fall of King George came quickly and out of the blue, in contrast to that of King Arsene’s fall from favour.
Did Arsene’s fall begin with the demise of David Dein?
We are led to understand that David Dein wanted the new stadium to be on the outskirts of London and the board didn’t. David Dein wanted a director who would put money into the club so that Arsenal could compete financially with the likes of Chelski and Manure. The board didn’t want the man of his choice, nor did they want David anymore.
They chose instead as their ‘saviour’ a man who keeps his billfold (wallet) firmly locked in his personal piggy bank, greeding up on as much money as he can for his silent self.
And now powerless, our puppet directors dance to the pulling of his strings.
Arsene is on record as saying that he was prepared to resign in support of David. But David Dein said that he should stay and keep the ship afloat.
He stayed playing in a new modern stadium, playing in Europe. The ‘Champions League’ no less, became the norm but not to the dizzy heights we wanted.
We have come to take as normal the daily robbery of bad refereeing. It has been bad before but never like this. (I can’t remember the names, but I was there when a Leeds player socked our goalie on the chin and the ref? Turned his back!)
The PGMOL claim 98% accuracy for referee decisions and the bubble gum pundits claim ‘it all evens out in the end.’ Neither offers evidence for its claim.
Today the youth set up is among the best in Europe.
Today most players are from abroad. Every player is expected to live a healthy life style as befitting a top athlete.
When King George reigned he was famed for his defensive football, some fans of Little England saw and believed. His downfall went unnoticed beyond the ripple that is the English Channel
In contrast the world watched the attacking play of King Arsene and believed. His achievements are legendary and our inheritance. The world witnessed his dethronement, the last Manager, and King of Arsenal.
The last Manager and King of Arsenal has gone and in his place has come a ‘Head Coach’
Long live the new King – Head Coach.