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Sunday 1 May 2016

United We Stand, Divided We Stink The Place Out

Momentous week when Gooner
gripes seem somewhat petty
While myself and a substantial number of Gooners might well concur with the sentiments being expressed in Saturday’s vague and decidedly futile protest, following a week in which the focus has rightly been on far weightier football matters, the somewhat embarrassing and decidedly schizophrenic scenes during our encounter with Norwich felt like a sad indictment of our modern day, social-media obsessed “supporters”. Our incessant demands for gratification imply some sort of divine right to receive a return on our exorbitant investment in a seat at the Arsenal, by way of regular silverware.

Much in the same way some pooches are perceived to resemble their owners, perhaps it’s our spoiled, far too fickle fans (the self same ones who were painting Islington red at successive May trophy parades!) that are partially reflected in the sort of phlegmatic football that we are far too frequently forced to endure?

I hate to hold our neighbours up as any kind of example, since it wasn’t so long ago that their chairman was public enemy No. 1 and with their revolving managerial door, we’re accustomed to Spurs fans being the gold standard in tergiversation. Yet despite having kindly left the 2nd place door ajar with their failure to beat the Baggies, enabling us to retain faint hopes of a climax that might yet prove an extremely satisfying consolation prize, this certainly wasn’t for the want of the sort of atmosphere and appetite evident at White Hart Lane last Monday night, which was in such complete contrast to Saturday’s fetid farrago.

In the first-half against Norwich, Iwobi was the sole attacking player to show willing, while the lethargy elsewhere suggested that the majority couldn’t care less about the ignominious threat of Thursday night football in the Europa Cup. After witnessing Simeone’s heart-on-his-sleeve antics on the touchline for Atletico in midweek, it occurred to me that our players wouldn’t dare fob the fans off with such a lazy, limp-wristed display, if they were facing the wrath of a rabid Diego in the dressing room at the break.

Not that our staid club would risk adverse PR and its impact upon commercial revenue streams by employing such a hot-headed manager. Nor is Wenger likely to want to walk away from another season’s worth of his £8mill salary and even in the unlikely event the smattering of disgruntled punters registered with Stan Kroenke, he’s not exactly going to be on the phone to his broker this morning to divest himself of his majority interest.

After a deluded Arsène incensed Gooners on Friday by deeming our home crowd culpable for our poor form, at least our arrogant manager had the good sense to apologise for his team’s failure this season, after we’d scraped over the line on Saturday. But then this concession came after hearing the chorus of “only one Arsène Wenger” that rang out simultaneously to the few hundred flyers appearing 12 mins into the match (and in some cases, was sung by those holding them up!).

These knee jerk protests at our place and at Goodison, largely inspired by publicity-seeking egotists, are a reaction to the semblance that the customary excuses no longer wash, so long as bargain buys such as Kanté and Alli are tearing it up for the likes of Leicester and Tottenham.

Nevertheless, although there’s as much good fortune as savoir-faire, in unearthing the crucial catalyst responsible for the chemistry involved in the sort of camaraderie that every club craves, it’s the Gunners perennial failure to address our long-standing, legitimate grievances that leaves us looking like we’re throwing our toys out of our pram. At least it does to those who view the bane of encountering the glamorous likes of Bayern and Barca every season as the very limit of their ambitions!

Aaron might be having a pop at Olly on the pitch
(pot calling kettle black?) but least Santi's back & still smiling
We need to bring our boots, instead of flip-flops, if we’re to beat City next weekend and prolong the fantasy of leapfrogging Spurs Yet where once I’d hoped Alexis would inspire his team-mates with his appetite, sadly even our Chilean dynamo appears to be coming down with a dose of Arsenal apathy.

It’s invariably the apparent lack of motivation at this crucial stage in the season that is the starkest possible evidence of the costly lack of insecurity that exists throughout our club. With Wenger reigning supreme, the board reaping their dividends and with neither a carrot and stick wielding guv’nor on the bench, nor on the pitch, unlike every other outfit, everyone at our club trundles along, safe in the knowledge there’s absolutely no threat of sanction.

Yet while I can appreciate that some feel obliged to find some means to vent their frustrations, such overt displays of disunity are undoubtedly to the detriment of the Gunner’s cause, when steadfast support in pursuit of the three points should really be sacrosanct.

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