It was a throw away comment said in jest last night. It was 8:50pm and the train was just going through Finsbury Park. Having been a long day up to Sunderland and back for a dull 0-0 draw, I turned to my pal and said “We will be going past the Cathedral of Disappointment in a second”.
We once played in the Home of Football. Highbury. The Arsenal Stadium. So many memories. So much success. So many great nights. Since the move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove, we have had a decade of disappointment, and the new stadium is the cathedral that the disappointment has been built on.
2006/07 – The first season since the move. We lost the League Cup Final and finished 4th, 21 points off top, having won just 3 of our last 10 games.
2007/08 – We should have won the league, top for so long, but it all unravelled when Eduardo had his leg broken. A run of 1 win in 8 in the run in saw us lose a 5 point lead with 12 to play.
2008/09 – Spanked at home in the Semi Final of the Champions League against Manchester United. Losing a 1 nil lead in the FA Cup Semi Final against Chelsea.
2010/11 – Another League Cup defeat.
2013/14 – Top of the league in February, 4th in May.
2015/16 – More disappointment predicted
When Ashburton Grove was proposed and built the promise was simple, it was to be Arsenal’s Field of Dreams. Build it and they will come we were promised. It would allow us to compete for the best players in the world, compete with the best teams in the world. Instead, Holloway Road is now a Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
I still believe moving was the right thing to do. Anyone that disagrees only has to look at Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea & West Ham, all of whom are moving, expanding or planning to expand. Staying at Highbury in the long term would have seen us slip from where we are. Down towards Everton, maybe even Aston Villa.
But there is not point moving, generating the extra income, if it is not going to be used. We should have signed 3 outfield players in the summer, we signed none.
Everything is set up now for us to take a step forward and compete on a regular basis, but until we have a manager who will spend, who will get in the best players, we will not move forward. We will continue to be disappointed.
It took 18 years for Arsenal to win the league having moved to Highbury – with a break for the war. What changed Arsenal’s fortunes was getting in Herbert Chapman, the greatest manager in world football at the time.
Arsenal need to make the same change now. To transform the Cathedral of Disappointment back to the Home of Football.