By Avenell Dave
Arsene Wenger is a man of football, a man of obsession, a man bound by constraint.
He knows that football is determined by a huge range of variables which cannot all be controlled.
He knows that he has to remain loyal and true to his principles of fair play and of football as art – even though defeat leaves him feeling as sick as it does the fans. Isn’t it ironic, then, that his last major trophy, the FA Cup in 2005, was won by playing in a turgid manner against a M*nure team who deserved it more than we did? Che sera.
"No great things have ever been accomplished without someone's crazy belief," said Wenger and there are a fair few Gooners who think he is crazy for not buying new players, particularly in defence and defensive midfield; for focusing on a squad who look short of quality or experience necessary to win the major prizes.
The injuries we have sustained before a ball is kicked in anger are a testament to the lack of depth in our squad, and perhaps by the end of August we will have signed one or two new players to help us in our quest for trophies.
Have today’s quotes from Wenger told us anything we didn’t already know?
Wenger has always protected his players and that means refusing to condemn them in public when they make a mistake. “I didn’t see it” is synonymous with Wenger, yet his loyalty to his players is clear for all to see.
We know he is committed to his vision of building a young, competitive team, despite the handicap of the new stadium and its financial constraints, not to mention the board wrangling that continue to distract.
We know he is as obsessed as we are at Addict about the fate of our team.
We know that, while there are moments when we feel betrayed by our club, by our coach, yearning for new faces, for that final push that will take us from also-rans to victors, deep down, being a Gooner is like any other family. You cannot choose it, really. Whether you walk away and try to forget or continue to labour with your own frustration, like any relationship built on a deep, enduring bond, your affection will never truly fade.
Am I optimistic about the season ahead? Not as much as I would like to be, despite the quality of the players we have. But then I think back to recent moments of glory, the last trophies we have lifted or even our last great great moments such as reaching the Champions League final in 2006 or winning our final match against Wigan which saw us overcome T*tt*nham for fourth place.
Such sweet memories are what make sport so wonderful.
The glory means nothing without having experienced the grief.
Wenger shares our passion, despite his obligations to his paymasters and the balance sheet.
Boss, we salute you - and good luck for the season ahead.
We're with you every step of the way!