By Walter Broeckx
Today is the day that our beloved club becomes 128 years old. Not that becoming 128 years old is a special date compared to becoming 100 or 125. But still it is in human terms a very long time. And I don’t know how human beings will evolve in the future but a number that we as human beings usually don’t make.
So first things first today and I want to wish Arsenal a happy anniversary and wish it all the best for the upcoming year. And somehow I feel very good about the club and the way it is developing.
Let me first start with the not on the field events. As Tony has showed on the history site some 100 years ago our club was close to being bankrupt. But we survived thanks to Sir Henry Norris and then after moving to Highbury we could really become a bigger club.
Supporting Arsenal however is taking all Arsenal and all its history on board. You cannot pick a (short) period and ask that this is the way it always should be. No, I think it is important to take the whole history. The not that successful period that lasted for more than … 40 years. In that period we won nothing. Of course we may have won some tiny pots and like the tiny tots do mention them on their website like the “Norwich Charity Cup Winners: 1919/1920”just to make a bigger list of honours.
I think it is important that we look back and think of all those supporters in those odd 40 years or so who just supported a team and never really got a return. But the majority stayed loyal to the club and waited for the big things to arrive. And they did when Herbert Chapman became our manager. The good man took his time and luckily our board at the time was as determined as they are now and gave Chapman the time to build a new Arsenal.
And when the success came it was big success. Since then Arsenal has always had periods of success and then followed with periods of mediocrity. But never did we sink to being relegated in all those years since 1919. So in a few years we will be able to celebrate Arsenal being the first top club being in the top division of English football for 100 years. I really look forward to celebrating that anniversary.
We had ups and downs but never went down one could say.
But now our club has been in the top 4 of English football for….well as long as many fans can remember. You can love the man or you can have enough of him but no manager at Arsenal ever managed to do what Wenger has done. And that is keeping our club in the top 4 of English football for so many consecutive years. And that while for half of this period he had to do it with his hands being tied behind his back, sitting in a wheelchair as both his legs were kicked to pieces and having to fight money machines that had infinite incomes from outside.
Our club survived the building of a new stadium and stayed at the top. Our club survived the economic crisis and more importantly the housing crisis on a moment when we needed money to pay for the new stadium and suddenly the house market somehow collapsed right in the middle of that period. I really think it cost us a lot of money at the time. But Wenger kept us as close to the top as he could. And as nobody else could do.
But now the club is growing again and it can make new deals. And thanks to those new deals we have been able to buy us the first superstars like Özil and Alexis. So I think financially our club is in a better position than we ever have been.
On the field we have our troubles. I admit that before the start of the season I had hoped for more points at this stage. But freak injuries and lots of injuries to so many players cost us many points. And I will not really mention the referees in the costing us points table in this article.
Could we have done with a few more players? Given the injury crisis the answer is yes. But it has also given the chance to a few young kids to show what they can. Chambers would have been a bench warmer at first if Debuchy and Koscielny had been fit. But now he has had the chance to get valuable experience in many positions and we have seen the big potential he has. And the good thing is that I think he still can improve and no better manager than Wenger to improve a player. I wonder if he will be our new footballing DM in a few years when Arteta will retire?
Bellerin has shown his immense potential and I am one of his biggest fans but I am not blind to see that he also has to learn a few things before he will become the top player I have always seen in him. But the more I see him, the more I am convinced that he will become that top player.
This week we won at Galatasaray with 1-4. We went there and filled the bench with kids. Because of the injuries and because Wenger wanting to give any player that wasn’t 100% fit a rest. But this is a list of the players that didn’t take part in this match:
Koscielny – Gibbs – Monreal
Wilshere – Arteta – Özil – Cazorla – Rosicky
and we could have mentioned Diaby also.
Welbeck – Theo – Giroud – Alexis
That is 13 players without Diaby even. That is an amazing list with some great players in. So down to the bare bones but still we got a great result away from home. I am sure that if we get most of those players back over the next weeks as we can expect we really will have a big choice and we can give players rest when they need it.
So yes things could have been better. Yes we could have had more points. But when I look at the list of players we have and the talent we have…I just feel confident that we still can do some big things this season.
So a happy birthday from me to Arsenal, long may she live and be in good health!
A PS from the Chairman of the Arsenal History Society.
A mention of 1919 often brings out some backwoodsmen who have swallowed the propaganda of Tottenham, Liverpool and Man U over 1919, suggesting that Arsenal somehow fiddled their way into the 1st division after the war. Such allegations ignore the match fixing scandal of Liverpool and Man U and has been investigated with reference to the newspapers of the times on the Arsenal History Blog. We even offered a £100 reward if you can find the corruption.
The Christmas books
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal
Some other sites from the Untold team (there is a full list on the home page)
- The Arsenal History Society
- UK Education News – the rolling news service
- Dyscalculia on line test and support
- The Direct Marketing blog: direct mail, email, websites, blogs
- The Secret Nurse : what is really going wrong with the NHS?
- Untold Dylan – the music, the lyrics, the meaning of Bob Dylan’s songs.
- What Europe knows about Man C but the English press haven’t told you
- Arsenal v Manchester City Women’s Continental League Cup semi-final – match preview
- How Man City’s problems began to arise…. nine years ago
- The media pile into Manchester City, but where have they been all this time?
- Manchester City accused of over 100 breaches of Premier League financial rules