The Emirates

Post 13

30th May 2017

Yesterday I wrote:

“The narrative is that Manchester United, and maybe even Arsenal, ultimately had better seasons than Spurs, City and Liverpool.”

Today, Spooky on his excellent ‘Dear Mr Levy’ Blog wrote:

“It’s proof that football fans in general spout absolute bollocks to fit the narrative of that particular day, stuck in a perpetual state of rationalisation.”

Apparently Arsenal fans are all over the internet celebrating their FA Cup Final win as validation of their club, their team, their manager and their players. Naturally much of their ‘celebration’ is at Spurs’ expense. We won a trophy. You won nothing.

And the BBC is now reporting that Wenger has signed a new 2-year contract to be announced officially tomorrow.

Unlike many fans I don’t hate my neighbours. There are several reasons for that which aren’t worth going into now. I certainly don’t like Arsenal, Chelsea or West Ham either but (most of the time) I feel no great animosity towards them. I’m simply kinda meh about them. My focus is on my team not others.

Watching Arsenal play Chelsea on Saturday was a bland TV experience. I already knew in my gut Arsenal would win. The quality was moderate. It was a game too far for Chelsea. And it was, literally, Arsenal’s Cup Final. Chelsea were poor. Arsenal had just enough to beat them. End of.

Spurs fans have a unique perspective on Arsenal’s current situation. We know. You see we’ve been there. A house built on sand. Taking the easy option. A Cup run. Paper over the cracks with a day out at Wembley. That’s not to say it’s not nice to win a cup (even a League/Carling Cup) occasionally. But at last Spurs have a manager and players who aspire to the real thing. To triumph over a 38-game marathon. The Double would be even better.

One of my sons texted me the news about Wenger’s contract with a simple ‘hahahahaha’ below it. I’ve no doubt there’ll be laughter and angst, banter and rants, for and against, over the next few days. Who knows? Maybe this is a Kroenke masterstroke?

But, from the outside looking in, it feels like Arsenal are a sandcastle and the rest of the Premier League is the sea. Modern management, a tide of cash, new ideas. As Frank Lampard said in an interview this weekend*, Pochettino has introduced a new way of managing players, “part-boss part-friend – and I love that.” Conte and Klopp seem to have a bit of the same thing too.

The apparently toxic atmosphere at Arsenal extends from its competing owners, to planes protesting overhead, down to Arsenal Fan TV, into the Emirates and the dressing room, maybe even the coaching staff. That may well not be all Wenger’s fault. But I find it hard to imagine he’s part of any genuine solution.

Levy may have been a little trigger-happy with past Spurs managers. A revolving managerial door rarely benefits any club. But keeping somebody past his sell-by date doesn’t usually help much either.

Still, it’s going to be fun finding out!

 

  • The Sunday Times; 28th May 2017

“I see someone like Pochettino and his relationship with players — like both a boss and a bit of a friend — and I love that.” Frank Lampard in an interview with Jonathan Norcroft.

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