Somewhere between panic and faith lies the Truth

Who is this directed toward?

A deflected goal goes in for Arsenal, Manchester United’s perennial big game flop misses his answering goal by mere inches, and those two bits of action were sandwiched by two goals of exquisite quality; one for each side. Ronaldo’s miss, one which you would put certain money that he would take, is all that kept this game from being a 2-2. Of course, on the other side Bendtner had his chances, and Arsenal could easily have come out with a 4-1 or better win. And on the Man U side they could also have come out with a 3-2 or even a 3-1 win.

It did end up 2-1, however. Arsenal won and now all the stories and the blogs and the tee vee pundits are saying that Arsenal are right back in it. WOO HOO! There will be articles penned that describe in great detail what a tactical genius Arsene Wenger has suddenly become, when only last week the same folks were asking aloud if he should step down. There are now articles floating around penned by Hull City’s Phil Brown that praise Wenger’s inspirational vision of beautiful football that pays for itself driven by bringing young men up steeped in the Arsenal tradition. WOO HOO! Just last week the footballing world and even former Arsenal players were saying that the youth system was a failure and that Arsenal needed to buy at least three players.

What a difference a win makes.

But what does it say when the likes of Phil Brown and Roy Keane are telling us to hold the line? When a person for whom I have no respect as a human being (Roy Keane) — a horrible hobgoblin of a man who would deliberately injure a fellow professional because of something the man said — what does it say that that man respects our manager more than most supporters do? In fact, I can’t point to a single Arsenal blog or Arsenal fansite who have spoken as well of Arsene Wenger as Phil Brown, Roy Keane, and Sir Alex Ferguson have this last week.

I break this phenomena into several categories — the people who don’t understand football, the people who are stuck in the old way of playing football, and the people who are just plain hysterical.

That first group, the people who don’t understand, are the easiest to dismiss but we do so at our peril because they are a sizable and vocal group. These well meaning folks aren’t stupid, but they just don’t know. They don’t know, for example, how Hull is to be commended for the way they held Arsenal — that it was Phil Brown’s tactics that were dead on and that Arsene got it wrong that day. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, I count myself in this group: I get things wrong, I panic, I over react, and sometimes I make the cardinal sin of this group — I listen to the pundits. This group, more than anyone else, should heed the advice of Roy Keane:

If you’re going to watch a game of football, just go and watch it. Anytime I watch a game on television I have to turn the commentators off. They say: ‘He’s playing really well’ and I’m thinking: ‘No, he’s not’. My advice to anyone is don’t listen to any of the experts. Will Arsène Wenger be remembered in 25, 50, 100 years’ time? Bet your life he will. Will any of these people on the television yesterday be remembered? None whatsoever.

Newspapers, after match commentary, in-match commentary, the paid bloggers, and the worst of them all here in the states, Fox Football Phone In. Their job is to stir up controversy — as I write this they are writing off Man U’s season!

Ignore them, ignore them all.

Hell, ignore me! Who am I to tell you what to think? I will try, but really you should come here for the jokes, the links, and a place to exchange ideas and nothing more. View all media sources through the jaundiced eye of a skeptic and you really can’t go too wrong.

The other group of people are the ones who are most hurt by Arsene Wenger’s insistence on doing this thing his way; the traditionalists. These are the folks who love and hate this regime. They love the beautiful game but they can’t stand the fact that football has changed. So, after every 5-2 win they are effusive with their praise and after every 2-1 loss to a side like Stoke, they are the ones calling for a more traditional, experienced, tough side. Everyone I know likes to count themselves at least partly in this group.

Some people from the know-nothings and from the ‘old heads’ can sometimes get together and, whipped into a frenzy by a well written piece of punditry, they can become hysterical. If you step back from it all for just a minute, the word “hysterical” actually applies in both ways, because it’s actually funny. It’s funny to see grown men with their head in their hands, IN NOVEMBER, saying that Arsenal’s season is over. From a distance, it’s funny to see Arsenal fans calling for Arsene Wenger to step down: who would you replace him with? Steve Maclaren? Put any name here and I can tell you that name would be a joke compared to what Arsene Wenger has done and will do.

And that’s the point. We are the club, and as a club member feel free to get all tetchy about a loss (I do) it’s your team, but while you’re getting upset, just remember that Arsene Wenger has the club’s best interest at heart. He’s the manager and unless you’re going to be hysterically calling for him to be replaced we need to let him manage and show some support.

After all, it’s going to be a crazy season this year — more than ever before any of the top four can win it and some of the top four could drop to the middle of the pack. I trust that Arsene Wenger will guide these young men and do his level best to keep them in the fight for the Two Leagues: Premiership and Champions.

Right… if you want to see some of that young talent on display, tomorrow is the time to see it as Arsenal take on Wigan at the Grove in a Carling Cup tie. 11:45 PST is the time, Doyle’s is the place (so far as I know, right now) and if you want to see what King Ramsey I, Jack Wilshere, Carlos Vela and the like can do to a Premiership side like Wigan, you should come down, have a sandwich and a pint and watch the match, what else are you going to do on Veteran’s Day?

See you then.

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