Friday, 21 March 2014


The man's effect on the football club we like to call ours is immeasurable. You can debate Arsene in or Arsene Out until the cows finally do come home but there is one thing that is just a fact....You won't half miss him when he's gone.

I was fully prepared and even a little bit willing for him to move to the exit door in the summer, that maybe the grass is greener on the other side and it was probably best we should start rebuilding sooner rather than later with a new man but you know what? I was wrong, Arsene deserves one more chance to end his legacy in the way that he started it, on top.

One of the other pub football debates we lose endless hours to is "Who is the greatest manager of all time?" and while people like Ferguson, Stein, Shankly are the ones who've smashed through the glass ceiling, I don't think there's been a manager that has had an effect on a country's football like Arsene, it has been an honour and priviledge to watch his sides over 1,000 games and being a life-long supporter has just made it that little more special. I had always been a bit ambivalent over the FA Cup as long as Champions League football was secured because that was the key, that was what kept us ticking over until the new era of money was available but I am desperate to win it this season, not for me, not for the players, not to silence the mocking of other fans and parody websites but for him, to see him lifting one more trophy even if it is his last game in charge would be it for me.

He arrived in this country as a total unknown to most, but you soon knew who he was, out when the old binge-drinking culture and in came the Sports Science era that most, if not all use now. Playing careers were prolonged and new leases of life were given to great Arsenal servants, Bould, Keown, Dixon, Winterburn looked like totally different players, then there was Tony, isn't the first Tony memory that springs to mind that wonderful Sunday Afternoon when he was on the end of a Steve Bould throughball? It literally sums it all up to me.

Then there were the flair players, Pires, Ljungberg, Bergkamp, Henry, Reyes, Van Persie, Ozil etc. In a matter of years we became one of the sides to watch and out went the days of "Boring, Boring Arsenal" and in came the days of not knowing what you get, but you'd know it'd be exciting. We had two of the best players in their era at Highbury with Bergkamp and Henry, people would pay money whether you supported Arsenal or not, just to see what they would do next.

The scouting as well, Pires was hoiked from Marseille, Vieira from AC Milan reserves, Ljungberg from Halmstad but Arsene could also revitalise careers that had stagnated one way or another. Theirry Henry was rescued from the wing at Juventus, Dennis Bergkamp from purgatory at Inter, Marc Overmars from injury hell at Ajax, these were all big game players supplemented by a great supporting cast, one of the noticeable absents in the last few years has been the lack of fight in big games.

I've probably tried for years to narrow down my favourite game and I can't, how do you pick from the Spurs 5-2's and the 5-4 or the 3-0 where we scored and the camera's didn't see it because it was so soon after the first goal, the wins at Anfield, the San Siro, Kanu's hat-trick, the 7-0's, do you see how hard it is?

Whatever happens with Arsene after this summer, he's left the club in a far better state that when he arrived, his everlasting legacy will be the stadium we play out football in, how many clubs are able to maintain Champions League football when you have to curb spending against oil clubs whilst making profit every season? The next 5 years will be interesting for Spurs and Liverpool if they choose to go down the same route. It'd be sad for him to jack it in now because our time is coming, the plans are nearly complete, I want him to have one last chance at greatness because on the surface his last 500 games will be seen as a failure to many, but history will show him as our ultimate gatekeeper and make the next 1000 games whoever their under a lot easier

A bit gushy I know and there are numerous occasions of rage directed at him that are very well deserved, but the next statue should be him next to Herbery Chapman, looking at the stadium he helped build, he's been a massive part of a very happy time in all our lives.

Thank you Arsene. Thanks for the memories but I don't think it's time to say goodbye just yet. The work isn't done.

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