By Avenell Dave
I read today that some 98 years ago we were in the middle of a run of just one win in 28 games. How times change.
However, with Champions League football every single season and some of the best displays of football ever seen in England, the doubters still complain that it’s time for a change of manager, a new regime.
Fans are impatient. They see how Ch*vski have enjoyed great success with Roman’s billions and they want some of it, regardless of the long term consequences.
But what frustrates me most about Arsenal is also what makes me proudest.
How many other clubs, particularly without a wealthy benefactor, could have build such a hugely impressive stadium as Emirates and still managed to make a profit more often than not?
How many other teams could have sold one of their main players year after year, relying on youngsters and raw talent to keep them competing for trophies until the last quarter of the season?
Arsenal is a model of how a football club should be run: we live mainly within our means; we play superb football and we make stars rather than buy them.
But in the bitter light of day, regardless of the foolishness of the malcontents who want Arsene Wenger to leave and Alisher Usmanov, Stan Kroenke or someone else with more money than he knows what to do with to come in and take over, the club that is over-achieving is still not doing it right.
Arsenal have 19 players currently on loan, eight of whom were not even used by the side they now represent and are supposed to be getting experience with.
Yes, Aaron Ramsey, JET, Henri Lansbury and one or two others may be good enough to knock on the door next season, but the rest are clogging up our club and if not good enough to be an automatic choice for the likes of Millwall or Rotherham, what chance do they have of making it with us?
The Arsenal Supporters’ Trust have urged the club to focus on commercial revenues – and why the deals with Emirates or Nike cannot be renegotiated or bought out as other clubs have done in order to bring us up to the level of our rivals, I do not know.
Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis said last year that it wasn’t the Arsenal way to break contracts and that it is better to have good relationships with long term partners than bigger deals with unknown quantities.
With the football costs growing faster than football revenues, we simply have to be a little ruthless to keep up with everyone. And that doesn’t mean putting up the world’s most expensive tickets again, either. Supporters already bring in enough and to increase ticket prices would be shameful.
Yes, Welington or Benik Afobe or Chuks Aneke may well prove to be as good as Jack Wilshere has been and make an impact that sees them heralded as the next starlet off the Arsenal production line.
But as we saw on Sunday, the team doesn’t flow anywhere near as smoothly without the vision and talents of Cesc Fabregas and to keep him and other top talents, we have to be winners now. No one remembers second place.
That means investing in the ready-made quality players that will take us from good to great.
Anyone who has been to as many games as I have this season will know that in truth, we flatter to deceive a lot of the time.
Half the squad wouldn’t get into the teams Wenger had in 1998 or 2002-04 and if we are to be as competitive going into March in future seasons, we have to have quality players who can come in and make a positive difference to games.
Not idiots like Abou Diaby who lose their rag at the world’s greatest provoker or Tomas Rosicky who, Orient apart, has done nothing worthwhile for his club in the last three years. It’s the reliance on them that has meant more games for the first XI and the injuries that are now threatening to derail us.
Orient should be a walkover tomorrow. Hopefully the reserves, including Rosicky, will do enough to get us into the next round.
There is much to play for, much to hope for. We are The Arsenal.
But if the club refuses to learn the lessons of being continual also-rans, we will remain in this vicious circle for years to come.