When I first joined twitter just over a year ago you could have described me as a doomer. I spent my days moaning at no one and everyone for Arsene Wenger to ‘spend some f@!?ing money’. I’d criticise team selections and substitutes despite never having been in the position to have to make one myself. I’d write off supposed players Arsene was interested in, the assumption that they weren’t any good because he’d recently made the odd duff signing. I’d criticise the tactics we adopted like I was some kind of top-flight football manager despite not even managing a junior team. I thought I knew best and that my opinion was the only one that counted.
What a difference a year makes! After many a squabble on twitter with various people I used to automatically label AKB’s for daring to have a different opinion to mine, I came to realise that my opinion wasn’t based on any kind of fact. It was based merely on a series of assumptions. I looked around at some of the various blogs I’d read and conversations I’d had to see how I came to those conclusions and found that it was mostly based upon someone else’s opinions or others who claimed to have well placed sources who just happened to know everything about the way the club was run, rather than my own.
I decided I didn’t want to be a moody doom merchant who always looked for a negative in a room full of positives. I wanted to know actual facts and not some random bloke’s (who I’d never met) opinion. What I found was a bit of an eye-opener. Most of the things I was passing off to others as fact was merely someone else’s opinion and there was no proof to back up the majority of what I read on twitter either. I realised that by trying to convince others of what I’d mistakenly believed I was merely spreading their agenda.
It wasn’t until recently that it all clicked for me. Ivan Gazidis, in just a few short sentences shattered around 80% of the majority of people’s opinions (passed off as facts) of Arsene Wenger’s last few years. Until then I hadn’t really thought to look at the bigger picture, at what’s been achieved over the years since it was announced we were leaving Highbury for a new stadium. Granted there’s been things I might not have done if I was the boss, things I haven’t always agreed with – but really, who did I think I was? Did I really think I could have done better in the same situation and under the same conditions? No of course not.
Arsene has been under some incredibly tight financial restrictions which has meant we couldn’t strengthen the team with what was needed to keep pace with the big spenders of the EPL. With that then came players who weren’t happy at the prospect of not winning titles and instead of trying to defy the odds and pull of a miracle decided they’d rather go play somewhere else. Others went for money, and some went because of loyalties to another club, a couple were sold despite the manager wanting to keep them. What’s clear though is that Arsene had done an incredible job just keeping us in the top 4, all the while shouldering the brunt of fan frustration and expectation. Credit where credit’s due – that’s pretty amazeballs. He might not make the right decisions 100% of the time but if anyone deserves to lead us to success – or at least to try to – now we’re more financially able to compete after the last few years of struggle it’s Arsene Wenger.