Arsenal F.C. & Loyalty: The Beautiful Supporters Truth

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    Updated: June 14, 2014
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    Loyalty is synonymous with all great things in life. People who are loyal to each other are always held in the highest regards. Reason being is because with loyalty comes the badge of honor that is trust. Like the old adage “behind every great man there is an even greater woman” (which is true more often than not) the same goes for loyalty with trust. When people trust each other, there’s a lack of fear that the trustworthy person will ever do anything to hurt you or let you down in any way. Loyalty…a powerful thing. In football there a three sets of people who matter, and only three: the supporters, the club as an entity, and then the players/managers.

    Don’t be fooled into thinking that all three entities holds the other’s best interest at heart. Quite the contrary, there is only one group that’s loyal in football, and that’s the supporters. We are the loyal ones , and until supporters as a group realize that, then transfer sagas and former players uniting with rivals will continue to draw the heart ache and ire of supporters across the globe. In recent years I don’t think there are any supporters on Earth who have been let down by former players more than Arsenal FC supporters. Our supporters love the club as if it were our blood relative that we’ve been around since we were born. For Arsenal supporters the club is life, and unfortunately for us we choose to believe players wearing the jersey and playing on our pitch feel the same. A few players do, but not as many as we would love to believe. So now, if we’re the only people in the scenario…where do we go from here?

     

    Players and Managers: Et Tu Brute?….

    There was a time at Arsenal where every transfer window turned into Julius Caesar’s last moments for me. But other than a few knives in the back in one fell swoop, Arsenal supporters relived this cruel fate over and over again for years. First, we watched Arsenal captain Patrick Viera jumped ship to Juventus. It didn’t feel great losing Viera but we still had King Thierry Henry!!!! That is until Henry saw what was happening at the club with a lack of funding and possible dark times ahead. As much as we all love Henry, especially me, we never harp on the fact that Henry left Arsenal and Arsene Wenger when we needed him most. He was our captain, he was ours, and just like that, he was Barcelona’s.

    Keep in mind that although Arsenal’s trophy drought dated back to the FA Cup Final win in 2005, Arsenal reached the Champions League Final in 2006 WITH Henry leading us. Had we played 11 on 11 for that entire match things may have been different for the club, but Arsenal lost and Henry left. Ok ok Henry left but it’s fine, we have a crop of young emerging stars that will grow with the club and bring us back to our invincible days just three years prior. Players like Cesc Fabregas, Gael Clichy, Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin Van Persie, Alex Song and Samir Nasri, those lads were going to be our new Henry and Viers and Pires. We’ll be fine. We were sadly mistake, as was Wenger. One by one every one of those players jumped shipped. All the players left for different reasons. Some left to go back home, others to chase money, others to chase trophies, but one constant remained the same, they left Arsenal behind, period.

     

    They’ve all kissed the Arsenal badge, just to turn around and kiss another club’s badge the next season. But things don’t always work out as they seem. Take Cesc for instance. Cesc bailed on Arsenal to go back “home” so he could play alongside Lionel Messi, Andreas Iniesta and Xavi. Well after three seasons and countless Barcelona fans whistling one of their own, Cesc realized he made a tragic mistake. Arsenal was home, it always had been. Cesc wanted to return home to Arsenal, to his real home, but things aren’t the same now. Just as he chose to do in 2011, Arsenal moved on in 2014. We have a new crop of Fabregas’ now. Ones that helped us get out of this title drought when Cesc and others left us to wallow in the middle of it. Now Cesc has gone on to Chelsea, and a lot of supporters went crazy the day his signing was official. Me, I took it in stride and came to terms with what’s been happening for years. Fans and supporters are loyal, that’s it.

    I’m not mad at Cesc for going to Chelsea. He wanted to come back to London and the EPL, and if he couldn’t come to Arsenal then the next logical step would be to go to the other London team that could fight for honors. Tottenham Spurs are not in the same class as Arsenal and Chelsea and they never have been, so going to Spurs would have been a waste of his prime years. He made the best decision for Cesc, just as he did when he left Arsenal. Sure he wanted to come back to Arsenal, but once that didn’t happen do our supporters really believe he had any qualms about going to Chelsea? Our bitter rival that he knows we revile? No. He took his medical and took some pictures and there you have it. Don’t be angry with Cesc. Don’t tweet him or lose sleep over the Chelsea transfer. Be mad at yourself for thinking anyone loves this club as much as you or I. We don’t support Arsenal for our job; we do it because we love the club. Cesc is a footballer, it’s his job.

    He went to the next best option and did what was best for him. I won’t wish Cesc well and I hope he has a miserable career at Chelsea FC because they are our title rivals. But I don’t hate him for going there. At all. Bacary Sagna left too, but unlike the players I named above, I felt no need to put him in the “post Henry” group of players who left. Sagna stayed during the dark times at Arsenal and gave his blood and sweat in that Arsenal shirt every game. He stayed when he could have easily left us too, and was there for his prime years. He raised a trophy with us Gooners, and I hope he makes millions on his next deal and he will always be loved for sticking with Arsenal during their Dark Ages.

    And as much as we love Wenger, which I do immensely, those anyone think that at multiple times during the Dark Ages Arsene didn’t have thoughts of jumping ship himself? With offers from PSG, Madrid, Barcelona and possibly countless other, there must have been many nights he wanted to pack it up and leave. But he didn’t, and we should love and commend him for sticking it out with the club. But that’s the difference between us supporters and the players/managers of the world. There has never been a point where I wanted to stop rooting for or turn my back on my gooners. I have suffered just like all of you have, and I still have my Arsenal scarf and shirt on every match day. And that is loyalty.

     

    To Us, The Club Is Family…To The Club, We’re A Means To An End…

     

    Arsenal FC is a business and we should never forget that. From what I’ve been told Arsenal has the most expensive tickets in the Premier League. How is Arsenal charging more than teams that have won numerous trophies in the past 9 seasons? Because Stan Kroenke and the Arsenal Board know they can, and they know no matter how much supporters complain about it, we’ll still support the team when they play in the Emirates. The dollar figures rule supreme for all big businesses, and how supporters feel about things is on the back burner. No one really knows where all the money at Arsenal goes. We are always told Wenger has billions to spend on players, and when Wenger doesn’t spend those absurd amounts of money, why is that only the supporters flip out?

    Why doesn’t the board pressure Wenger into spending the money? Because Wenger was turned into a glorified account as opposed to a manager for years once the Emirates was built. And the more money the club can keep the better. Arsenal wasn’t concerned about winning. They were concerned about getting the Champions League revenue every season and just being viable. Maybe that changed last summer. Last summer we captured Mesut Ozil, and let’s all pray Wenger follows that act up with something special in the 2014 transfer window. But if he doesn’t, only the supporters will lash out. Not the men writing Wenger’s checks. Sad but true.

    My fellow Gooners, support our players, support our manager, and love our club. But the only people who are loyal in this entire equation is us. I love Arsenal, and our supporters around the world are the reason people hate and envy us. We defend Arsenal FC to the bitter end. We are the loyal ones in World Football, us. Enjoy the players we have while they’re in our shirt, but never fall in love with them. Because at anytime, they can do the unthinkable which in hindsight is the most obvious thing, and that’s look out for themselves. I always end my Arsenal pieces with “In Wenger We Trust” and a picture of the gaffer. But for this piece, it’s only right that I end it differently. “In Arsenal Supporters Around The World We Trust.”

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