By Avenell Dave
I remember a time a few years ago when Arsenal were hammered at home by M*nure 6-1 with that well-known Oriental, Yung Lee Sharpe scoring three goals.
We had to face the then-mighty Liverpool a few days later at home and everyone expected us to lose.
We ended up winning – I think Paul Merson got one if not the only goal – and suddenly everyone started believing in us again.
Things are a lot worse now of course – one star player has left and another is on his way for a medical at one of our biggest rivals, the sort of thing we simply should not be doing but which circumstances are forcing us to consider.
The crazy UEFA ban, the constant growing list of injuries and suspensions, ridiculous rumours of boardroom discontent at Arsene Wenger – where does it end?
If Arsenal go out of the Champions League tomorrow, we’ll have to lick our wounds and get on with it. Liverpool have been in this position for a couple of years and it’s not a complete disaster.
So many Addicts keep asking if we’ve signed anyone yet.
With the pressure on tomorrow’s game so large, wouldn’t you expect everyone to be focusing on that right now rather than new faces?
Yes of course we can lament not bringing in more players by now but perhaps the reason they haven’t signed is because the top players want to be sure they’re going to be playing in the Champions League as well this season and don’t want to take a step back.
I can’t see us signing Eden Hazard but if he is in the sights of the club, why would he leave Lille who have the Champions League to look forward to for a club in supposed disarray?
I’m not enamoured by Howard Webb refereeing the M*nure game either but all these problems and challenges can be turned into opportunities. It’s the only way to approach such a crisis, as some would call it.
I met Kieran Gibbs last week at the Saatchi Gallery where there is a celebration of 125 years of Arsenal and what it means to the modern day fan.
He was calm, amicable and a credit to the club and he indicated that everyone just wants the fans to get behind the team and support them.
There are so many fans who are furious with the way the transfer business is being conducted this summer and for the past few years and I can understand why, based on the stellar players who leave us and are perhaps not replaced.
But in the world of the oligarch and the sheikh, we can’t really compete and while I don’t believe we should expect all our new faces to come from within, there’s only so much we can do.
Juan Mata was on the radar and who knows how close he was to joining us, but if you were cash-strapped Valencia, wouldn’t you want to create an auction and sell to the highest bidder? And if you were Mata and wanted to play Champions League football, wouldn’t you prefer to go somewhere with a settled and established team and big wages rather than one who are still to qualify and wouldn’t offer as much?
Once Wenger has identified his targets, long gone are the days where he would spend his time travelling to negotiate with them – that’s what the Chief Executive and his team are for and hopefully things are in place that will develop quickly and positively in the next week.
The simple fact is that we have to stick together. We have to use the negativity from rival fans and the media to our advantage, and that means getting behind the team and the manager at all costs.
If we cannot be united in our support of the team, however tricky things happen to be right now, what chance do we have?