WHY ONE SHOULD BE CAREFUL WITH THE HISTORY
He screams out, so loud that Mike Dean comes to his house, sees him in an Arsenal shirt and give him a red card for a violent conduct.
Some football clubs have a history book thicker and bigger than others. Some of those books are full of colourful pictures that, when put all together, make the big picture.
Imagine a rather young Arsenal supporter who was born in, say, 2005. He was born after The Invincibles and it is safe thing to say that, unless he is some sort of a genius like Mozart, he has been watching Arsenal only after the move from Highbury to Emirates.
Now, imagine him living a life of a supporter burdened with (justified or, more often, unjustified) cliches Arsenal supporters have been bombed with since our last league title. In order to avoid the grey shades of Present, he decides to make a trip to Past by reading The History Book of Arsenal. He has been told many times that Arsenal had been so much better during Highbury-era, that we haven’t been good in big games since Vieira and Henry had gone etc.
Our little Arsenal supporter opens the book to go through some glorious moments from Highbury and finds a picture with a bold-written title:
ARSENAL – INTER 0:3 (THE JOINT BIGGEST EUROPEAN DEFEAT AT HOME)
“0:3?! At home?! To Inter that hadn’t won Serie A for years?! This had to be the worst Arsenal team in Wenger’s era!” he might have thought. “Who played this game? Maybe those crappy defenders Eboue, Senderos and Cygan I’ve heard about?”
And then, he gets shocked furthermore to see that happened during The Invincibles Season with all our best players on the pitch – Jens Lehmann with a performance that makes David Ospina’s against Olympiacos a solid one, Sol Campbell who couldn’t deal with Obafemi Martins (who would be a part of an ugly picture seven-and-half years later), Patrick Vieira aka The Beast in the middle of the pitch and both Thierry and Dennis leading our attack.
He gets a bit shocked that our best team ever didn’t have the most successful of European campaigns. He wants to go further back and sees a page with statistics at which he notices a headline :
ARSENAL EUROPEAN RECORD: 12 games played, five victories, one draw, six defeats.
“Below 50 percent of victories in Europe? What a shitty team that had to be!”
Then he sees the title of the chapter:
ARSENAL FOOTBALL CLUB STATISTICS SEASON 2001-02
But…but…that team won the double!? How…? He is very confused and going through pictures of 2001-02 doesn’t help him. He did know that Arsenal had won the league at Old Trafford but can’t believe when he sees our team-sheet from the game. “Where are Robert Pires, Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry?! How could we possibly win such a huge game without those three players?
It’s becoming a rather frustrating for the young Arsenal supporter. He’s becoming a bit suspicious about things he has read or been told over the years. He wants to see when those jokers Emmanuel Eboue and Phillippe Senderos played for Arsenal and turns page by page to find some of their appearances. He finds them. He screams out, so loud that Mike Dean comes to his house, sees him in an Arsenal shirt and give him a red card for a violent conduct.
The reason why our young supporter screamed is a page with these headlines:
REAL MADRID – ARSENAL 0:1
ARSENAL-REAL MADRID 0:0
The youngster reads our team-sheet
REAL MADRID?! The team wint Zidane, Ronaldo and Raul! Eboue and Senderos kept them at bay? Campbell and Cole didn’t play! Flamini at left back.
Of course, our young Gooner stops with random reading and decides to forget everything he has been told in the last ten years. He did it just before he was about to realize a few interesting things about Arsenal in Wenger-era:
1.Since our last title we have had quite a few captains: Thierry Henry, William Gallas, Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie, Thomas Vermaelen and Mikel Arteta.
Both the most successful one in terms of final league points and the least successful one were born on the same day – 17th August 1977. The most successful one is, of course, William Gallas and the least successful one is Thierry Henry under whose captaincy Arsenal have collected the fewest points in Wenger-era (67 – 2005-06).
2.Much-praised Jürgen Klopp has an excellent record against Jose Mourinho (W3D1L1) and Manuel Pellegrini (W3D2), he is level with Louis Van Gaal (W2L2) and he still trails Arsene Wenger (W2D1L3).
3.The last time Petr Čech has won The Golden Glove, he had to share it with…Wojciech Not-Good-Enough Szczesny of Arsenal Can’t Defend in 2013-14.
So, what is the point of all this?
The Book never stops writing itself. It may sound cliched but indeed, each day is a separate page that makes sense come May or, in some cases, years after. Therefore, don’t skip pages as you might spoil everything to yourself.
From the anniversary files (full list of today’s anniversaries on the home page)
- 16 January 1892: George Davie’s first FA Cup match for Arsenal (Small Heath 1 Arsenal 5). He subsequently took Arsenal to court and won, and in so doing changed the way transfers worked for the next sixty years, instituting the notorious retain and transfer system which was eventually overturned by George Eastham.
- 16 January 1907: Arsenal 3 Grimsby Town 0 (FA Cup 1st round replay). Arsenal continued to the semi-final for the second successive year. Over 119,000 people came to the six cup games Arsenal played, helping the finances enormously.
- Stoke v Arsenal Sun 17 Jan 2016 – The Match Officials and the return of Dean (despite the petition)
- Is Stan Kroenke trying to move Arsenal out of the Emirates?
Insult of the day (dedicated today to PGMO): You blunt monster with uncounted heads! (Henry IV part 2)