I need to write as the final whistle is blown. I need to write now because in twenty or thirty minutes I will write a different piece completely. I want to write while I can claim to understand what some people are unable to convey calmly or without abusing others.
I need not to be calmed by people not listening to the dissenting voices because they are generally making their points couched in abuse and not showing any wider understanding of what the club are telling us. Most of all though I have to say before what we will later mislabel as perspective takes over.
I hear the talk of European clubs not spending money in January, and I understand the reasons why. My shrinking pay packet, in real terms, is what is happening to the clubs and the economies of Europe. I understand that, and I am proud and grateful that my club has not wasted the millions that were wasted on donkeys like Torres and Carroll last January.
However, what that tells me is that we are in a buyers market, and anybody with money in the bank that was generated by football (that’s pretty much exclusively us in this country) could surely have taken advantage of those that are pulling their horns in. A simplistic assessment, I accept, but grounded in some degree of common understanding. I’m all for patting us on the back for reaching this point and being financially secure.
What is galling so many, including I suspect a large and silent if uncertain number, is that we were faced at the turn of the year with a situation where the squad has been stretched to the point that it is evident this current group of players are the least likely not only to challenge for the big prizes, but they are the group of players who may fail the manager in what has been his saving grace since the move to the Grove. A top four berth is not out of the question, but it looks unlikely in all honesty, and never before has anybody been able to say that about Arsenal in Arsene Wenger’s reign.
Now a little perspective has to kick in. Unlike some of our younger supporters I have seen worse Arsenal sides (that is plural, and much worse by the way). Most people with even a cursory knowledge of the blog will be aware that I am not one to throw my toys out of the pram because we are not winning trophies. I’ve been richly entertained by Arsene’s Arsenal, even in recent seasons as we have replaced some of the best footballers in the world with exciting young talent. I understand that was a journey of necessity until the ground was built and the property was sold.
What I don’t understand is that when we have our thinnest squad in fifteen years, and we have a buyers market, and we have players in the squad no longer trusted to be anywhere near the competitive matches, we have broken full-backs who may well come back in the coming weeks and break again, we have one bloody goalscorer in the club who is a Shawcrossing away from missing games, we haven’t spent SOME of the transfer fund on strengthening obvious areas of weakness.
I have been making all the excuses. No decent full-backs moved, I said. That isn’t to say our money wouldn’t have tempted one. What forward would you have taken? Give me Zamora ahead of Park and the shell that Chamakh has sadly become anyday. I’m playing the game I hate and despise now. But I just don’t understand how a massive club like Arsenal, outside the top five, never mind four, in a transfer window, has not made some effort to address the concerns of a loud minority, and I suspect a growing number of fans who wouldn’t dare to cross the line and join the dissenters, but have now some sympathy with their anger.
Match report? Robin hit the post and bar. We didn’t get our first League win of 2012. We face Blackburn on Saturday with the same squad we started January with.
Apologies to those ‘holics who come here to avoid negativity. Tonight, for one night only, I hope, I have to get that off my chest.
292 Responses to “Knee Jerk Here, Sorry ‘Holics”