As Manchester United marches inexorably towards the Premier League title leaving us to wait and hope that Manchester City can beat Chelsea and so keep us in touch with our neighbours and fellow strugglers at the bottom of the table, Arsenal fans are left with one question. Why? Why can’t the stubborn management at our club see what is obvious to everybody else. Why is it clear to bloggers, tweeters, callers to Talk Sport and every genuine North London born and bred season ticket holding supporter and yet still beyond the power of the manager and his coaches? Why?
Chelsea won last year’s title by a strict adherence to the tactics of George Graham. Solid uninspiring but effective defensive play with a tough goalscorer and one tricky, skilful or as G G would say ‘luxury’ player. Manchester United have won this season’s title by adhering to Arsenal’s ancient and traditionally proven methodology of winning every game by one goal to nil. Dreary, unimaginative performances from bromidic, prosaic players have brought the crown to Old Trafford and Van Gaal’s legendary status is now assured.
So again, why? Why do we supporters suffer watching a team suffer from the incessant tinkering and all too predictable failures of a man who can never hope to emulate the achievements of a Van Gaal or a Mourinho? Men played out of position, men asked to attempt ludicrous passes within their own area when there are acres of empty spaces in the stands and the opposition half into which they could and surely should propel the ball. Men forced to rely on team mates who prefer to attempt back heels, over head kicks, flicks and assorted trickery more suited to a circus ring than a football pitch. In short, men being asked to pull on the famous red and white and stabbed in the back before they even take to the pitch.
Why? When has it ever worked? When has this fanciful approach to the game ever paid off? How does the club expect to fill the ludicrous white elephant of a stadium which they built in the teeth of opposition from real fans (who can trace more than six generations of their family all born in Islington) when they play this silly foreign style of football? Can they not see how many more trophies we would have won had they remained at Highbury, stuck with Bruce Rioch or better still brought back King George once he’d served his time instead of allowing first Leeds and then our deadliest rivals Spurs to snap him up from under our very noses.
I am tired of being misled, tired of my hard earned money going to BT to pay for the internet I use to watch Russian streams of every game – every game – a small amount of which trickles down via BT Sports to the club I love, tired of this money being squandered on Kronke’s new baseball team or his latest big American car. Anyone who doubts the truth of what I’m saying need only glance at the league table. Where are Arsenal? Where are Man United? Did they win the league by moving to a new stadium? No. Have they won it by keeping their hands in their pockets? By trying to show off instead of by winning one nil? No. They won the 2015/16 Premier League trophy by doing what we used to do so well.
Would they put in the centre of their midfield a player so patently passed his sell by that he misplaced two passes in a pre season friendly? A player so old that he cannot hope to keep up with play? Not in a million years . While we rely on a decrepit Mikel Arteta who couldn’t catch chlamydia at a scout camp they have the classy Michael Carrick. Why? Because they’re a club who believes in success and not failure. Because they spend money on the best players and keep them by rewarding them. While Arsenal are happy to spunk £150,000 of your money on Theo Walcott every week Manchester United have only been paying double that amount to keep Wayne Rooney on their books all these years. Which is why unlike Theo they have been able to keep him. Is he linked with a move to Liverpool every time his contract is up? No. Why? Because Man United put their money where their mouth is and don’t insult their players with cheap pay rises so their owners can get rich while the club falls ever farther into debt.
You don’t need to look to the winners of the league to see how far we’ve fallen. Just look at West Ham. Canny business men, an excellently run club with a ruthless manager who understands the tactics of relying on our rookie keeper making two howling blunders on his début. They have moved to a fantastic new stadium, it hasn’t cost them a penny and they don’t waste time fannying about in European competition. They concentrate instead on what really matters and the result has spoken for itself. Just look at the table. It never lies.
We have spent too long in the shadows of other clubs. Just for example, take the supporters from on Merseyside. They have little to shout about, no jobs, poor housing, bad diet and awful role models like Cilla Black and Jimmy Tarbuck. But they fight to overcome their impoverished and humble beginnings. Last season Liverpool fans chartered a plane to fly over the ground on match day demanding the manager be sacked – that’s what I call support. Just yesterday their poor relations (if you can imagine such a concept) went one better when Everton fans hired a helicopter to abuse the owner of their club. What do our so called fans do? Bin bags. It’s pathetic.
So what is next for Arsenal? We can sit and ask why until we’re blue in the face but it won’t change the disastrous result of this season nor the inevitable disasters of next season. We can whine about it, of course. That is every proper fan’s right. As long as your ancestors hunted sabre tooth tigers across the Anglian ice sheet in Precambrian North London and your family have never moved from the area since then it is your birthright to hold Arsenal to account and to complain about every and any aspect of the running of the club both on and off the field, both real and imaginary. In fact it is your duty to remorselessly uncover and expose every failing of the team, manager, coaches and medical staff. Ask yourself, if Mourinho won’t stand for hopeless doctors why should you? You shouldn’t confine your protest to the internet. You should encourage anti Arsenal songs on the terraces. You should have banners made and unfurl them with pride every time the opposition scores. You should never be afraid to show your true support and how much you worship the Arsenal. It isn’t enough to have a utility bill with an N7 postcode you also need to get out there and put your hatred of the club you love into action.
Always remember your opponents, the enemy within, have no answer to your crusade. Those Wenger loving parasites have never walked up the Holloway road in the pouring rain, have never tasted a doner from the Hornsey Kebab And Burger. No, they all live in Thailand or, God help us, America and simply do not understand what it means to love the club your Dad supported and his Dad before him. And don’t tell me they’re proper fans just because they once drove up the interstate to watch a pre season friendly – with the size of their cars and the cheap price of petrol over there that hardly constitutes commitment does it?
So if you want your Arsenal back, if you want us to have a hope against Palace this afternoon and if you want any chance that there will even be a club for your grandson to watch then you need to do something about it. One, do not move house. You have to live within walking distance of the ground to even hold an opinion. Two, let the team know how unhappy you are – groaning is not enough you need to get off your lazy backside and boo. Three, phone Talk Sport. I cannot emphasis strongly enough how important this is, the best show to call is hosted by Adrian Durham, he talks nothing but common sense.
Anyway back to the match, my good friend Gillespie Road Gary emailed me his predictions regarding the team selection and scores, here they are.
All right Stew? Here’s the line up I would hope to see today:
Szczęsny (should never of sold him, Cech has been a disaster)
Bellerin (didn’t put a foot wrong why was he dropped? now bound to go back to Barcelona – well done Arsen you just lost another one)
Gabriel Paulista (time to retire the Big Slow Fucking Useless German)
Koscielny (accident prone – remember the League Cup final? – but of course we haven’t signed a replacement have we so we’re stuck with him)
Gibbs (English – why would Wenger favour the Spanish national team by picking Monreal? Why haven’t we won the World Cup since he came to the country? Think about it)
Schneiderlin (except of course we let him go to Man United didn’t we?)
Hayden (the boy is ready, we all saw him at the Emirates Cup, should never of been allowed out on loan)
That French kid that looked good in pre season.
Walcott (have to pick him now we’re giving him all that money)
Chamberlain (English – see Gibbs)
Wellbeck (English and even injured he has to be better than Giroo)
um how many is that, hang on, oh shit I missed out Sanchez.
I predict we’ll lose 3 – 0.
Enjoy the match, I’ll be in the Two Brewers in Gloucester Road for a few pints before kick off if you want to meet to discuss possible anti Wenger chants and compare banners. You should recognise me I’ll be wearing the JVC yellow away shirt and I have my postcode tattooed on my forehead.