Date:Thursday February 16 2012
13 League Championships, 11 Charity Shields, 10 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, 1 Fairs Cup and 1 European Cup Winners Cup, it`s safe to say that as a football club our history is illustrious, rich and abundant.
Indeed, in the history of English football there are only 2 other teams more decorated than we, that makes more than 92 teams past and present who would kill to experience the kind of success that makes us one of the best teams to have played the English game.
In my life time alone I`ve witnessed the mighty Gunners lift 5 League tiles, 7 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, 1 European Cup Winners cup, 2 League and Cup doubles and an historical 49 game unbeaten run that incorporated an entire season without losing.
As a football fan, I have indeed been blessed, and by extension as do all the reading Gooners (unless of course you`re 7 years old).
So it`s at times like this that we need to remember just how good we`ve had it.
It`s safe to say that at this time in our history things are looking pretty bleak, it seems almost impossible for us to lose a game of go out of a competition without getting utterly embarrassed, we`re getting ragged from pillar to post by the media and other fans, it`s not that pleasant, truth be told.
But are we really at rock bottom? Does our position warrant such bitterness and anger towards our manager, players and indeed each other?
Never in my time as a football fan have I seen Gooners so divided, I`ve rarely witnessed such a split in opinion (though as the games go on that split becomes a lot more one-sided), however it`s not the split that`s concerning, it`s how we Arsenal fans are conducting ourselves that`s the problem.
It appears to me that each football fan has a different level of tolerance, a barometer of how much "failure" they`re willing to accept before enough is enough, and in general Arsenal fans levels have always been quite high. An understanding if you will.
However it seems as though as that high level of acceptance and understanding has caused something to break within the Arsenal fraternity. Gone have the levels of acceptance, replaced instead by bile and resentment, a sense of entitlement, perhaps instilled into some fans after years of success.
There has been a phrase that has been around as long as I`ve been an Arsenal fan it seems, "The Arsenal way". It goes along the lines that as a club we do things the right way, with class and tradition, and with respect wherever possible.
Our fans, despite our perceived lack of vocal support at home (which only ever seems to be picked up on when we play West Brom or someone, whilst other teams are lauded for their fantastic support when they play Real Madrid, funny that eh?) we have always had great fans, our away support is second to none, we carry ourselves great wit and banter, we do things the Arsenal way.
However the longer our trophy drought continues the more Arsenal fans seem to be turning to bile and hatred.
Arsene Wenger is clearly having a tough time right now, and it could possibly be that he has taken us as far as he can, it might be time for a change, but has he not earned the right to a bit of dignity and respect? Wenger has given Arsenal fans the greatest period in the clubs history, and no, that shouldn`t be enough to entitle him to unwavering support, he should be held accountable, but surely it`s enough for him to be treated in … well … "The Arsenal way".
Players who have been great for Arsenal football club, or have acted in a way that made them a fan's favourite have always spoken about what it meant to them to be an Arsenal player, many players regretting their decision to leave The Gunners, but almost all of them falling in love with the way we do things.
However the club is in danger now, not only of not qualifying for the Champions League, but of becoming a place where no player will want to play.
So yes, we need a shake up right now, and I couldn`t argue against a change in management, we should always be looking to improve, but let`s make ourselves heard with a bit of class, style and respect.
We`ve had banter with so many people for the lengthy time that we've spent at the top, that it`s time to take it on the chin and swallow that bitter pill. If we`re united as a fan base and do things The Arsenal way, show respect to each other, then the path back to the top will be a lot less rocky than it is now.
Date:Thursday February 16 2012
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