Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Annus Horibilis

It's time to start apportioning some blame. Sure, Arsenal are in a bad patch, but any club can be like that. Trouble is, big clubs usually have enough financial muscle to pull through from their difficulties.

That's why fucking Keith Edelman is a twat. Highbury Square. What's that about? - all financial forecasts were saying 2 or 3 years ago that this continuous financial growth had to end eventually, probably sooner rather than later. So what did he do? Sell the land? - No, he embarked on a hugely expensive development project which was only ever going to bear fruit at its end.

So we lost financial might in the intervening years because all the money was being siphoned into Highbury Square. And now, as the property market falls rapidly, we also lose money. Arsenal Holdings is losing a huge amount of money through this. What can I say - I'm a fan, not a businessman, but I feel let down that a businessman could not provide a club with a surer future. It's disappointing. And realising this is the straw which broke the camels back.

Some cleverdick once said "It's no use shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted". But, that's basically what Arsenal are going to do. When the transfer window opens in little over a day, Wenger's on a remedial mission. Can he fix this team? Yes. Will he? It's hard to tell. The 'horse' has bolted, but if we run after it we can catch it, re-mount and this season can be something.

It's been an awful calendar year to be a gooner. After all, last season we didn't expect a title challenge - it was a pleasant surprise. In many ways, as a friend of mine said after the United game last season, it would have been better if they had just been mediocre rather than getting our hopes up only to dash them. This club is in a nightmarish situation.

Because, despite the managers failing, they come as a result of the constraints the club imposed on him. Yes, the squad is weaker. But of course it's weaker: firstly, players like Henry and Vieira are one-off geniuses who we were lucky to have; but, more importantly, if you can't spend money your team will get worse. Our biggest gaping hole is a midfield anchorman. Yes, there are failings in our defence, but they wouldn't be so readily exposed if there was somebody to protect them. In many ways, the 3 most important players in the Premiership are Essien, Ronaldo, and Cech. Wenger tried to sign all of them. More financial muscle and we might have done.

It's all very well criticising United for spending £60million on 3 defensive midfield players, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. They've fixed their problems. Ultimately, lets be honest, it's nigh on impossible to win trophies without spending money. Wenger almost pulled off the greatest managerial feat of the 21st century when he took us to the Champions League final. But he didn't! We'd be talking very differently if we'd won but sadly we didn't win in the Stade de France.

Sure, this year we have had some shocking luck with refereeing decisions. It pretty much cost us the league, and teams like Stoke being allowed to play like that doesn't help our cause. But, to make 2009 a special year, we need to get over Eduardo's injury. That moment defined 2008 for Arsenal fans. Breakage. Our hopes were snapped and they were never really reformed. Lets hope the defining image of 2009 is of Cesc holding up 'ol big ears' in Rome.

Gooners could do with some joy. This season has been anything but festive.

Nonetheless, keep the faith.

Happy New Year,

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