Another cooling-off period before posting. Let me say that again. Another cooling-off period before posting.
It is a testing time to be an Arsenal supporter, especially if one is inclined to seek out what passes for perspective. However today we squandered a two goal lead for the second time in under a week. After today we have won just two of five home Premiership fixtures and just two of six on the road. Over a quarter of the way into the season we are a mid-table team playing mid-table football. Statistically this is our worst start to a season for thirty years.
Supporters are at each others throats. I wish those who shout loudest at the poles of the argument would start to listen and understand each have some valid points. I have lost count of the number of times I have argued that the manager gets my vote as long as we are competitive and qualifying for Champions League football. To me those are the minimum requirements, not significant achievements with the resources now available to him. Ask me if I think we will qualify for a sixteenth consecutive Champions League campaign and I would be bound to say not without a significant investment in the squad in January.
Of course there is a degree of over-reaction. We are not a club in terminal decline. The case put forward that we are a prudently run club cannot be denied, but over-prudence is a charge equally difficult to defend. Making a profit every year, even if it achieved by selling disaffected talent, is admirable. Not reinvesting those profits in what now looks to be a fragile squad is providing ammunition for those who see the business results taking precedence over the football results.
To my untrained eye Arsene has looked unwell since returning to the club in the summer. His health won’t have been helped by Bacary Sagna going public with his concerns, with the skipper’s body language and lack of form, or with Theo’s ongoing refusal to ‘sign da ting’. For the second season running he goes into the North London derby badly needing a result. His players owe him a performance next week and if that is not forthcoming then some unpleasant questions will need to be faced.
The manager worked miracles keeping us in the top four in the years immediately following the move to the new stadium with most definitely one hand tied behind his back. Now however the property monies are in, albeit lower than anticipated due to the dip in the economy. We are in the position where we were told we would be competitive with the top clubs in Europe. Yes, the new money being lavished on a few has moved the goalposts, but as we have seen in France and Germany in recent years the richest club doesn’t always have to take the biggest prizes.
If that is a tad negative for your taste, and I know it will be for some of you, then I apologise. I’m still attempting to straddle this fence but my balance is most definitely shifting. Am I about to join ‘the walk‘ before the Swansea match? No. I cannot support their stated objective of removing a figurehead chairman, especially after the work he and his family have done over the years to keep this club in a prominent berth. I cannot support the aim of giving Red and White a seat on the board.
I will say however that the BSM have a lot of valid points and admirable aims. Rather than blindly castigate them I wish more would try to understand what motivates them. They are by and large long-standing Arsenal supporters with genuine concerns about the future of the club. If you disagree with certain of their aims and objectives, as I do, then tell them rather than roundly abuse them. More and more people are asking why we are getting less value for increased prices.
There are too many of us at each others throats right now. We have a week to rally behind a team that needs our most vocal support now, when they are fragile, far more than when things are going well.
Let’s hope things look a whole lot different this time next week.
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