It’s been a pretty awful week for us Addicts.
Avoidable individual errors, lamentable goalkeeping, a lack of passion, thousands of fans leaving early and serious question marks being asked about the vision Arséne Wenger has for Arsenal.
Here at Arsenal Addict, we’ve been as disheartened, depressed and downright devastated at letting in seven goals in a week against two sides we consider to be rivals.
On Monday night, Ivan Gazidis, the new Arsenal Chief Executive, joined members of the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust for a Q&A session that said much for the way Arsenal is going.
Mr Gazidis speaks with an English accent, having been born in South Africa and then moving to England as a young boy, before his legal career took him to New York and MLS, where he implemented a long term strategy when in charge of basically everything at Major League Soccer.
In a nutshell, he attracted major, blue chip sponsors to sign 20 year deals with companies who bought into the long term vision of the project, understanding that there would be bumps along the way before the League really took off.
Interestingly, he light-heartedly claimed that he had also signed probably more players in his time in the US than anyone else in the world since the League, rather than individual clubs, did the signing of all the players, which Gazidis estimated at being an average of 70 international deals a year and domestic transfers on top. Let's hope he puts that experience to good use in the summer - for incoming players at least.
So what relevance is all this to Arsenal, you ask, and so did I when listening to him.
But then it occurred to me that actually, his mentality is just what Arsenal need.
No one praises or rewards second place, or fourth place, or semi-finalists in America – and Gazidis, in his measured and highly intelligent way, is going to go about making sure the Arsenal model is not just talk.
Arsenal have a long term strategy, based on servicing and paying off the debt for the stadium; building new revenue streams; developing and making a profit on Highbury Square; and producing success on the pitch without the reliance on outside money or borrowing.
In some ways, that is disheartening – we see M*nure, Ch*vski and Liverpool spent big every year while our net spend makes a mockery of the need to move from Highbury.
But while Gazidis wouldn’t be drawn on transfer funds in the summer, understandably, he admitted that Wenger is well aware that he doesn’t have the answers, that plans have to evolve and develop as circumstances dictate.
It’s a fine line between making sure your manager doesn’t think he is bulletproof, regardless of results, (an accusation that has been levelled at Wenger lately,) and interfering with his strategy in order to get quick results. I can't imagine Wenger putting up with the latter.
The last few years have been difficult...we’ve seen a great side broken up and not adequately replaced...and the wrong priorities given to games that cold have provided us with the silverware that would have kept us happier than we currently are.
Gazidis admitted that two semi finals and fourth place may be great for most clubs, but it is nowhere near good enough for Arsenal.
But I’ve bought into the Arsenal Way – if we give up on the project now, fail to back Wenger’s vision of nurturing young players to play the Beautiful Game after another year of disappointment, we will all live to regret it.
Newcastle, T*ttenham, Man Citeh...to name but three who have spent big, changed managers regularly and found themselves with nothing to show for it but debts and uncertainty.
Sunday’s debacle against the Ch*vs was the final wake-up call for Wenger. He knows he needs to supplement the squad with real quality – and he has probably seen the limited capacity of others who are simply not quite up to standard.
And Gazidis follows the American Mantra – if it ain’t happening on the pitch, everything else falls apart.
I for one believe we have to give this vision more time.