I get asked a lot about Arsenal’s plight. Maybe it’s because I run our local supporters group. And sure, like any Arsenal supporter, any sports fan, well, any human being, I’ve got an opinion about most everything. But what do I really know.
And aren’t there better qualified folks to ask? Just clicks away are tens of thousands of Arsenal blogs, interviews with current and former players and of course the speculative blathering of the media.
I’ve not been indulging myself in too many of these lately, not that there aren’t some worthwhile scribblings out there, but as many Gooners know, it can quickly become a dark, depressing, bile-in-the-throat circlejerk.
However, two of the pieces I have read recently were Amy Lawrence’s Guardian column about the Robin van Wanker transfer, followed by Arseblog’s typically wry, spot-on assessment of the matter. Both left me feeling depressed.
As Arseblogger so keenly points out, the Arsenal narrative as fed to us by the club via Arsene Wenger does not align with the on-the-pitch reality we see week in and out.
We’ve got a nice collection of players-as-paperweights, but not enough decent, able-bodied players to spell the few we do have. Meanwhile, for the past two seasons, we’ve sold our best player. We supposedly have players who want to join Arsenal and money to buy them, but halfway through the January transfer window, none have come.
Every time I see Arsene Wenger he looks exhausted, spent, out of ideas, dare I say defeated. He was recently bested by a puffy jacket during one match. Some of his player acquisitions in recent years have me worried his Midas touch assessing talent is beginning to leak from his fingers.
Then there’s the perception amongst some that since Stan Kroenke became majority shareholder, as long as Arsenal operate as a profitable business, silverware is less of a priority. While I haven’t studied his tenure as owner of the Denver Nuggets in depth, a cursory investigation suggests this idea is not outside the realm of possibility.
I feel like Mulder, I want to believe. I dutifully drag myself to the pub every weekend at unseemly West Coast hours to watch the matches, but whenever someone asks me about the state of Arsenal, I have to be honest, I don’t know what they’re doing.