Some of us have waited for years for this. It’s been a while since I got to July and felt excited rather than resigned to more of the same. Quite frankly if we didn’t make these changes I don’t think I could have managed another season.
Ivan told us about the Catalyst for Change….. like me, you may have been one of those who wanted it immediately and thought it was just more of the same spin from the club.
Looking back now, the changes, not just in personnel, but in creating a new culture was never going to happen over night. They got this one right and despite some of the hatred towards the board, I can’t really criticise them right now, these changes were brave, bold and months in the planning. It’s going to be easy to hold on to all the resentment many of us feel for them, but it’s time to let that go. Let’s judge them in May!
5 players, brand new back room team and what appears to be a whole new era for us as a club.
I thought they would go for the easy option, someone who would tow the line, someone they could control. Unai doesn’t seem to be that man. As a club we now have properly designated roles and have made that important distinguish between on and off the pitch activities, so hopefully we can get on with talking about the real business….. football.
At Boreham Wood on Saturday we saw a manager standing up for much of the game, giving directions, giving praise. We saw players who were desperately trying to impress their new boss. We played some lovely passing football, movement was good and our senior players stepped up, like they should. Yes I know it was just Boreham Wood, but these games are important to bring us together and also for Unai to take a proper look at what he’s got. Not sure how many Arsenal went but it must have been 5,000. Babies to pensioners, all excited and lucky to be part of that game and the new era. I stood waiting for the coach to arrive (haven’t done that for 30 years!) and felt like I did all those years ago. At one point on Saturday, my Dad looked at Unai and said ‘He even looks like George’, suddenly I was catapulted back to a 12 year old. The Arsenal are back.
I didn’t hear the W word once, maybe in time people will look back with some nostalgia at those years, but for now it’s all about the future.
The club have done what we asked, you could argue it was a bit late but I think most of us could agree that they’ve actually done more than we ever expected, so now it’s up to us. It’s up to us to get behind them, exercise some patience and to play a part in putting the The back in to Arsenal.
I could moan about not having a yellow kit, I could moan about the distinct lack of British players, but I won’t (at least not for now).
There is an air of apprehension about us right now from other clubs. I’ve heard this season is going to be the season the lot up the road finally win a trophy. I love that. I love the fact that they continue with the same old crap year after year with a misplaced belief. I love it that the past two years gave them this distorted view of their emergence and our decline. When you are a top club, the only thing that matters over time is the ethos, the class and the honours list. Think that is 1-0 to The Arsenal.
Let’s start as we mean to go on. Put the anger to bed, win lose or draw let’s remember Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Welcome back The Arsenal.