By Walter Broeckx
The “you won nothing for X years” mantra sung by the media and repeated by a part of the fanbase is something that one never hears of other teams.
More sensible readers on Untold know that periods when you win nothing are part of the game. In fact they are part of any football club. All over the world it happens. Just take a look around Europe with me and see how much time it sometimes took for great clubs to start winning again.
And in fact most of those clubs didn’t have to build a stadium in those years paid for with their own money and not paid for by the city they are situated in or some rich and wealthy owner. No they went through such a period without having to deal with such a serious financial handicap. Not even to mention the rich owner that is paying silly money for transfers for every player that has made a headline some where in football.
Let us start with Italy:
Milan won the title this season and their last domestic cup before 2011 was in 2004. That is 7 years. Even the fact that the prime minster of Italy is their owner didn’t help them all those years.
Or let us take Juventus. Their last title was in 2003 and since then they have won nothing. Now some of the clever ones will say that they won the league in 2005 and 2006. But those titles have been taken away because well they got a bit of a helping hand to win those titles. Calciopolo it was called. Where the Juventus board was able to decide which ref would do which game and hoping that the refs would do them a favour when doing those games. So if you want to count titles won by cheating as titles be my guest but I don’t count them at all just like the Italian Football Federation didn’t count them after they found out the scandal.
Let us go to Spain.
Barcelona won their last title in 1999 and then had to wait until 2005 to win something again. But while they won nothing they were doing something that some of us might recognise: building a team with a Catalonian spine. I know some of you will point at the fact that Barcelona had also bought big names but those big names all came and went. Ronaldinho, Eto’o, Ibrahimovic even Henry all tourists that came to Barcelona and went away. But the spine of players like Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi form the spine since they came back to winning things. And like Cesc once said about Puyol that it took him up to being 26 before he had ever won anything in his career. Since then he has won everything.
Or let us take Valencia which can be considered as Spain’s third most important club. They won the league in 2004 and since then won no more league titles. Now they do have some kind of financial handicap compared to Real Madrid and Barcelona but the fact is there: no more league titles for 7 years.
Lets go down to Germany and look at Borussia Dortmund. They won their last title in 2002 and only this season could win it again. But the Bundesliga in Germany is very much dominated by Bayern Munich who is by far the record holder when it comes to winning titles.
Let us take a trip to Holland.
Ajax has won the league the last time in 2004 and since then they couldn’t win it any more. And still Ajax is considered the greatest club in Holland by most people but even they had to look at how others won titles and they had to wait. But it is possible that they will win the league this Sunday if they manage to beat current leaders Twente in the last game of the season when they play each other in the Amsterdam Arena. Ajax is the holder of most titles won in Dutch football with 29 league titles. But not one of those titles in the last 7 years.
Or take Feyenoord. When it comes to winning league titles the third best club in Holland behind Ajax and PSV. Feyenoord has won their last league title in 1999.
I could go to Belgium and point at Club Bruges but who knows them but they are the second best club in Belgium when it comes to winning league titles but they also are waiting since 2004 for another title.
The point is that in all leagues and countries the same can happen. There are times you win and times you don’t win. It has happened to the best teams like Barcelona. They looked down and out until they could win their first title in 2005 and then they couldn’t stop winning.
And as I have said before they didn’t have to build a new stadium in those days. In fact we are the only team in that list who had to build a new stadium and pay for it. Other teams also have build a new stadium. But they paid a big price for it. They went down to the lower leagues.
Now I am not saying that we shouldn’t have won league titles all those years. No one more than me would have loved us to win the league in the last years. And certainly this year as I think we should have won it.
As a supporter of a football club you know or you should know that you will face such periods when you don’t win. It is part of the history of all clubs. It is part of the history of all big clubs. Even the big Manchester United has spend a period of 27 years without winning the league before 1993. Life goes in cycles and so does football. Before you know it the pieces of the jigsaw will fall in their place again and we will be celebrating the league again.
Arsenal will always come back, because that is what our history shows. We just do it our way, the Arsenal way.
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