Arsenal's season starts now, but are we strong enough to be real contenders?

Just four hours to go and the waiting is finally over.

The ifs, the buts, the maybes…they can all wait. The season starts here.

I am DESPERATE to see Arsenal win something this year. Unlike one of my Addict colleagues from Scotland, I was brought up in London and have seen the bad times and the good times.

It was only a couple of years into my young days as a fan that I realised the Gunners were a bigger club than most, despite struggling to ever win a trophy – I had no idea there was any such thing as Division Two or even non-league football.

How times change. I’ve now visited almost 70 of the 92 grounds and seen the glory and the grief which keeps us fans – and I’m not just talking about Gooners – turning up week in, week out, year in, year out.

And that’s the point.

I want to see Arsene Wenger sign a trio of players, a world class, game-winning goalkeeper; a relentless centre-back who dives about where it hurts; and a midfield stopper to protect the flair players and dish it out when need be.

Sadly, I don’t think it’s going to happen, and a minuscule part of me wonders whether Wenger is going the same way as George Graham, running out of ideas and not moving ahead as the game moves with him...

I didn’t get to see the Ajax game live last week due to travel commitments, but I saw the highlights. I saw the mesmeric way our players caressed the ball, passed it this way and that, the link-up play, the way we left our opponents scratching their heads.

Sure, Manu Adebayor missed as many as he scored, the defence went missing twice, there was no Tony Adams, no Patrick Vieira, no David Seaman to rely upon in the heat of battle.  But we won. We WON!

Reading the latest copy of FourFourTwo put it all into perspective for me, as I tried, and fought with myself to feel positive about a season that has filled so many of us with trepidation rather than intent.

Henry Winter talks about the potential of Theo Walcott turning into world-beating form this season – he’s shown it against Milan and Liverpool – and being given the Number 14 shirt was not done without Wenger being aware of the ramifications if this is not his time. This is Walcott’s time. By the end of the season, he will have 10 goals and some rave reviews to go with the increasing profile he will earn at Arsenal.

Later on, Cesc Fabregas talks of a lack of experience, failing to kill teams off, needing to be more ruthless… things we know. Then he talks of the Ajax team of the 1970s who transformed football with their flair and talent. We too have that potential. Agreed, there is a missing link in the middle of the park, but we HAVE that potential. Did you really think Mathieu Flamini would be the destroyer last season? No, I thought not.

Then there’s Joe Cole, suggesting that Theo and Arsenal have the capacity to push the Ch*vs and Mancs again this season. Whether you care what he or anyone else thinks – people fear us.

On to today’s game and without so many key players, we may not sweep Twente aside in the manner most of us expect. Or the young boys will play without fear and ensure a victory.

If we can’t beat FC Twente and Steve McClaren, we don’t deserve to play in the Champions League. But we will win over the two legs, for sure, as they say in Holland.

Let’s remember who we are. We don’t have a huge pot of cash and Wenger spends it as if it’s his own. He is a man ahead of his time, a man who is running a club economically when servicing a London Zone One debt that few other clubs would even dare commit to. There will come a time when all clubs will have to run this way. And what of the debt-ridden or loss-making Mancs, Ch*vs or Scousers then?

There are at LEAST 88 clubs in the League who would like to swap places with us, every other non-league and amateur club and 95% of those in Europe.

We have a fantastic ground, a fantastic crop of players and a great coach. Sure, we can all play manager in the pubs and terraces and maybe sometimes we do have a point on transfer or personnel matters.

As I said at the beginning, I’m desperate for us to win a trophy this year…the knives were out in 2002 after we had gone three years playing catch-up with Manchester United following the 1998 double…and how we enjoyed the Victory when it came. Through Harmony.

We are Arsenal. We must believe. And if we don’t win anything this season, we will still be true and proud that we support one of the greatest clubs on the planet.