All Guns Blazing: Arsenal are in disarray and the club are leaving supporters stranded
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
In our weekly Arsenal fan column, Alex Bellotti says the club’s paralysis is beginning to take its toll on supporters.
There are many great ways to stew about your football team when they’re going through a crisis, but as a native of the digital age, I can only pay tribute to the great minds behind Football Manager.
It really is an impressive game; released only a few weeks ago, it even managed to coincide with Arsenal’s ahead-of-schedule crash out of the title race. So in the wake of the club’s embarrassing home defeat to one of the worst Manchester United sides in decades, I was at least able to take it upon myself to lead the club back to greatness.
In the virtual world, I flashed the chequebook: in came the defensive midfielder we’ve been craving for seasons (Lars Bender, £16m); in came another central defender (Eder Balanta, £4m and an absolute wonderkid – well recommended).
I cleared our underperforming scouts, restructured the coaching team and match preparation (very heavy on tactics); essentially every problem raised by angry Twitter fans was addressed and solved in the space of, erm, two virtual days.
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Unfortunately due to my general lack of any coaching knowledge, I still didn’t win my first four games and am teetering on the brink of resignation, but the point is it made me feel better. As a fan, it’s nice to feel like you can do something – even when it’s not real life – simply because we now live in an age where the gap between the club and supporters is larger than ever.
At this point in time, it’s hard to see how Arsene Wenger and his team can turn things around. Even if they make fourth, it’s still not what supporters aspire to and the Manchester United game was another indication that we’re seemingly incapable of learning from our mistakes – season in, season out.
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There are calls for Wenger out – fair enough, but do any of us really think it will happen? He has the board’s support and no amount of protests will seemingly change anything as long as he delivers the cash cow of Champions League football.
That all has an effect. When Kieran Gibbs’ own goal played out on Saturday, I generally noticed that there are few voices of real anger shouting now. There’s not a split in the fanbase; most have come to the same conclusion, but seem united in resignation that we’ll have to settle down for the long haul.
Passion is depressingly going into hibernation this winter….who knows when it will emerge.
Follow me @AlexBellotti