"Maybe football teams and people always have fresh starts; maybe Arsenal and I have more than most, and therefore we are suited to each other."
- Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch
First Lee Dixon. Then Ray Parlour. Now Emanuel Petit. Our former players have been coming out of the woodwork lately, telling everybody that we're short on experienced players. And if we can't believe ex-Arsenal players, who can we believe?
There have been a lot of bloggers posting a lot of hyperbolic crap about the Arsenal in recent days. I find it annoying because it takes focus away from my own brand of irrelevant, pugnacious crap. And I like it when my crap glistens proudly in the limelight. There's only room for so much crap in the Arsenal blogosphere...
Anyway, we all know the problem.
Put it simply, the Arsenal needs a fresh approach. Wenger's been at the club for over ten years, and most of his staff have been with him for a similar time. All of this current players have been signed by Wenger, and most of them have played under him for many years. And the result of all this is that we've become stale, complacent and short of originality.
Things have been changing lately. I'm pinning a lot of my hopes Stan Kroenke. Kroenke's stumped up a lot of money to get that 28% stake, and I suspect he not going to stop with just ownership. He'll want to turn Arsenal, a nationally big club, into an internationally big club. And to attract the plastic, glory-hunting global fan base, we need... well, glory. A hat-trick of 4th places isn't going to sway my prawn-sandwich eating prospective brethren from Asia, the Middle East and Australia.
To attract the plastics, we need trophies.
I'm hoping Arshavin's signature signalled the start of a new future for the Arsenal. He's a brilliant player, brought up in a different footballing school. He's got drive, ambition, and he's a leader. The effect he's had on the other players has been amazing. It makes me dizzy when I think about what this team would be like with three or four more experience, quality players at the club. But it can't stop there.
We need new ideas at the Arsenal. I'm not advocating Wenger's sacking. I think he's still the best manager for us. But what I do think is that he needs to bring someone into the club to challenge him and to make him reassess his approach. He needs an assistant manager who has the authority and the gumption to question the great man. He needs someone to organise the team defensively, to motivate them before games, to practise their f@$king set-pieces.
We need a fresh start.
I finished up at work today. The last day of five years in my first job, and I finished it both bloody happy and bloody sad. It's the right thing to do, and the exhilaration is making me nauseous. It's time for a fresh approach. I need the kick-start to re-organise my tactics, to get motivated before games, to practice my f@$king set-pieces.
And as Nick Hornby says, "the neat and obvious synchronism of it all still baffles me."