By Avenell Dave
First of all, let me make a few things clear.
When Arsenal lose, I feel lousy. I’m angry, my thoughts dominated by the failure, playing back key moments in my head and dominated by the disillusionment and disenchantment that all fans feel when their team fails to win.
I love going to Arsenal matches, one of the few times when I’m free from work and family commitments and can lose myself in the drama of the game.
I want to see Arsenal win and I want to see them play well.
I recall times when we used to snatch victories we absolutely didn’t deserve and while I enjoyed the victory, a little bit of me felt embarrassed by the dire football we were playing under George Graham and before him, Don Howe and Terry Neill.
Remember those days, when we were still considered a big club but often finished mid table?
We may not be winning trophies – and I’m desperate for us to win silverware – but I also accept that with the resources we have, we are doing pretty well.
I’ve been at other clubs on matchday when fans have invaded the pitch because the team is struggling terribly. We’re finishing in the top four every season and we need to finish top but let’s get things in perspective – we’re still in a position 88 other clubs would love to be in year after year.
Of course I’m not happy with how things are going at Arsenal.
We sell our best players, we get to the verge of being a decent club and then fall away again because we don’t have the resources – or they’ve been poorly invested – to compete and cope with the rigours of an English season.
I hate to see players not trying, to see some of the sub-standard performers given a chance simply because we don’t have any option and to see us play as we have done in the past two games leaves a chasm of regret and angst.
With the club raking in funds from fans and purportedly making decent profits, I yearn for some more quality signings that make us competitive again.
I get a little tired of the same old soundbites from the board about Financial Fair Play and how much we all want to win when the failure to bolster the squad with world class players would suggest otherwise.
I get increasingly concerned that Stan Kroenke does not engage with fans more, does not do more interviews and does not seem to have brought any added value to the club.
I wonder why Peter Hill-Wood thinks he has the right to dismiss or disparage fans during the AGM when they are the lifeblood of the club.
So many of the fans, the shareholders who attended yesterday’s AGM have very valid concerns and it’s great that they get the opportunity to grill the board.
There is a reason why the media focus on our AGM and supporters’ forums with the Chief Executive – because other clubs are not so engaging. Full credit for them for not ducking into the shadows even if their answers are sometimes less convincing than they should be.
I’m a member of AISA and the AST and it’s great that we have such organised and well-meaning organisations engaging with the Club.
Of the many Addicts I go to games with, though, one has left the AST and the others refuse to join, frustrated by the statements made by it purporting to represent views of the entire organisation.
Let me get this straight. The AST dos a great job by letting fans share in ownership of the club and challenging the board on issues that affect us all.
There are some very articulate, measured individuals on the AST, who, when they speak, do the organisation great credit.
And yet it seems that one member in particular is quick to jump on any negative opportunity he can to pipe up, feed the ‘Arsenal in crisis’ fires and become a rent-a-quote for the media hungry to find discord and dismay in the ranks. It’s called Napoleon syndrome.
Now I don’t care if anyone wants to go on the radio and voice their concerns about Arsenal, even though I would prefer us to stick together however disheartened we become.
But do it as an individual, not on behalf of us all. Especially when so many of your views are not always representative of the Addicts I speak to before, during and after matches.
In this day and age of instant electronic communication, why not give its members the opportunity to agree or disagree before making statements that claim to be on behalf of us all?
I love Arsenal. I live and breathe the Gunners and will fiercely defend the club against any outsiders who seek to attack our club.
And it seems there are one or two individuals who appear to love the limelight more than they love the Arsenal.
PS The Black Scarf brigade who claim the club is shrouded in greed and then suggest the away fans ticket prices be hiked really ought to think their confused agenda through before acting. It makes a mockery of us all.