As Bjork so famously once said:
It’s oh so quiet…it’s oh so still…
There’s nowt on out to shout about that’s for sure. No “we must respond”, no “learn our lessons”, no reported deep and meaningful team ‘heart-to-heart’s. Just radio silence.
I don’t necessarily mind that though. I think everyone associated with Arsenal is just pretty sick of this season. Matches like Sunday’s game at West Ham just feel like a bit of an inconvenience. Especially for me when I’ve got some friends we’re going to see on Saturday evening and so will be staying over and heading to the match from further afield than usual.
I can’t remember the last time – even when we were nowhere near competing for the title – that I’ve felt so ‘meh’ about The Arsenal. I don’t think I ever have to be honest with you. It’s certainly not the fact that we’ve nothing to play for in the league either. We’ve had that feeling in seasons past when we were nowhere near the league, nowhere near dropping out of the top four, in stasis and still I watched the games with more excitement.
The feeling that nothing is changing at Arsenal is contributing to that in the main part, which is why I’ll go into this summer for the first time not really excited about who we could be augmenting the team with. The infrastructure changes in back-room staff on the non-playing or coaching side gave us some hope, but the noises from Arsène about next season just worry me for yet more apathy.
If we think it’s bad now in terms of things like fan attendance or turning toxic early in games, imagine what it’s going to be like come November, when we’re out of next year’s title race and Arsène is finding excuses before Christmas?
The stadium will continue to look like it has done of late. People will find excuses not to go. Where birthdays, weddings and bar mitzvah’s saw late arrivals because of the match, people will find reasons not to be at The Arsenal if they can help it.
There just isn’t the desire to see the same stuff all over again.
Yet Arsène has certainly made noises that he wants to go again next season. It appears that he’s willing to repeat his fate again and again and again. The fans are not following suit though. In the stadium people have had enough.
This feels very similar to last year actually. I’m sure it was late April that the noises were louder about then and then post the FA Cup final the decision was that he would sign a new deal. It feels the same again. There’s no new deal on the table but it feels like the ‘deal’ this time is him seeing out his contract. The final may be the semi, but I’m skeptical about our ability to win over two legs. Who knows though, because this time last year our equivalent game was a match against Man City that we had absolutely no chance of winning, yet we did.
So whilst I’m lamenting the fact this all feels very familiar, I’d certainly take it if it meant a cup final in Lyon at the end.
But hypothetically speaking if we did manage a minor miracle and beat Madrid – miraculous given our defence – and go on to win the Europa League, I’d want Arsène to accept that he can bow out as a hero having delivered yet another trophy, because I’d love to see him in the stands next season watching Arsenal as a supporter.
If we won the Europa though there’s no way it would happen. We’d go back to the downside of our Groundhog Day season and see the same sort of announcement we got last year after the cup final: he’s staying.
Come on Arsène, realise when your race is run, realise that you could bow out the hero.
I’ll leave you all this morning with that classic quote from The Dark Knight:
“You either die a hero, or live long enough to become the villain”
Catch you all tomorrow.