Over the summer, Aston Villa fans tried to manufacture some sort of rivalry with Arsenal over transfers.
It probably originated a year before when Villa signed Emiliano Martinez.
Villa fans saw this as them poaching one of Arsenal’s best players. The reality was they had signed our back up keeper who had played just 15 league games in the previous 10 years at the club.
Martinez played well and Villa best Arsenal twice. But at the end of the season Arsenal fans were disappointed with 8th whilst Villa celebrated 11th
Then we had their fans odd behaviour this summer.
It started with their signing or Emi Buendia.
Arsenal were linked with the former Norwich City midfielder in the press. When Villa sainted him, they bought into the “Villa beat Arsenal to midfielder” story.
The way they saw it, they had signed one of our best players and beaten us to our number one target.
Buendia was never Arsenal’s number one target. It was always Martin Odegaard.
I started to see Villa fans claiming that not only were they rivals to Arsenal, but were now a better proposition to players.
They pointed to their owner whom they said was one of the richest in the Eagle and capable of bankrolling the club to glory. They pointed to the signings of Martinez and Buendia. They were in not doubt that they were a better option for players.
And it all culminated in their signing of Emile Smith Rowe.
They had returned to Arsenal and signed one of their own. A London lad who had been at the club for a decade. One of Arsenal’s best young prospects.
On top of all of this, Jack Grealish was going now where. So they would have a 3 of Grealish, Smith Rowe and Buendia. It would be enough to see them push ahead of Arsenal and challenge for top 6.
Only they did not sign Smith Rowe. He signed a new contract. And then Grealish left for Manchester City.
And despite Arsenal’s poor start to the season, we are still ahead of Villa. Not that they matter to Arsenal fans.
It was a very odd summer.
Ultimately the stature of your club is beyond a short term league position.
Regardless of where they finish in the league, Arsenal are one of the “Big 3” alongside Manchester United and Liverpool. Those are the 3 biggest clubs in England. There is no debate.
I have seen similar behaviour from Leeds United fans. From Crystal Palace and recently Newcastle fans.
The Newcastle situation sums it up.
With the action taken on sponsorship, they have used Arsenal as to “how much a club not in Europe can get in sponsorship”.
Arsenal’s sponsorship deals are not based on us being in Europe. They are based on us being massive.
So enjoy the Emile Smith Rowe Derby tonight. Fingers crossed we get back to winning ways!