Hope springs eternal

By Alex Steine

Arsenal are joint top of the table at the moment!

I have seen Einstein's quote bandied about our web often enough, attributed to Arsene Wenger, I've even had it quoted to me by a well-intentioned Gooner. 'The definition of madness is repeating the same thing over and over expecting different results.' Well it is insanity, rather than madness, but the blunt point is the same. It is an easily understood statement. People's minds grasp it with such ease. It says it all! Then again, perhaps it doesn't. Possibly we see that bit showing just above the waterline, and not the huge foundation beneath the waves, anchored, solid and true. Yes aspects are repeated. Painfully so. Confusion within the camp? What does go on behind our fortress walls? What are the dynamics at play? I don't know. Others profess to have a handle on such Machiavellian chicanery, going on at the training ground. Proven? Not really. Nebulous thoughts, often produce phantom conclusions. In truth most of us, if not all, are in the dark on many takes. I try to read the situation, but have to be honest, many of my views are coloured by others. And despite trying to filter out the hearsay, the rumours, and the speculative, an outlook forms.

Arsène – Maybe this season?

I know this, Arsene Wenger achieves an accepted standard, accepted by the board, that is. Let's be honest, if a manager performed as successfully for our business, as he does for the business of AFC, we would be financially very happy indeed. Before anyone levels the ridiculous overpayment strategy as a criticism, it probably isn't viewed that way. Whether it was the manager who took the kernel of an idea to the next person, who took the baton and ran, or someone else floated the idea, the upshot was a decision was made to pay average or developing players too much money. Their contracts were rubber-stamped, perhaps hoping for a paid loyalty. The system has blown up in our collective faces. We've been saddled with stagnating players, unable to move on. A poor scheme in my eyes, but only so with hindsight. What if we hadn't tied Fabregas down, and now Jack? So the manager achieves the standard expected by the board. That is the crux of the matter, in that one sentence. No other brief statement could encapsulate the position any better. It is as simple as that!

The board are happy to give him his head for two obvious reasons, he makes the club money (keeps them viable at least), and keeps the club in contention (as far as the TV and sponsor paymasters are concerned). This is his pass mark. He needs no more, acquires no less. His main function is keeping the train on the tracks, heading in the right direction. He doesn't have to reach a destination, he just has to be on course for it, that is enough. All around, on blogs, in pubs, written in newspapers, (fanned by the media clowns), and espoused by many who either should know better, or don't know enough, comes that facile bleating. The same bleating, same complaints; spend money, forget the fourth place trophy, buy better, get a new man. To what end? Nothing changes, why should it? Just because a few customers, sorry fans, want silverware, or at least a tilt at winning some, do you honestly think the club will suddenly throw overboard a successful strategy, which gives the returns they desire, without that huge gamble of buying the likes of an established Fabregas, or a Van Persie? Pin everything on a couple of superstars turning a promising also-ran, into a genuine contender? I would say, generally speaking, not a snowball's chance in hell. Except...

That is the key word; that is the word that exemplifies the conundrum that is, and has been Arsenal, for fast approaching a decade. The word personifies all that becomes us, as a club. We dare to hope. Despite another year of the same, we are prepared to go around again. And 'we' is all of us! Even those hard-nosed, bitter, pessimists who shout from the rooftops, 'Enough is enough!' OK, some may have jumped ship, not too many though. So it's all of us, we don't think things will change, except..! So, what are those exceptions? Each season brings a plethora of different particulars to the forum, the nucleus remains fundamental though. Our squad isn't quite good enough to take on those three big boys, and nothing much to alter those circumstances appears on the horizon. Yet this close season may be different, we may just get those men on board, those two or three, who just make the difference. We grumble and gripe, threaten in provocative terms to overthrow the status quo at AFC, then don't quite come through. Just about all of us cannot desert the ship that is Arsenal, nor should we, for who knows if this will be the season we begin that long haul back to the position we regard as ours by divine right. I'm not sure things will get any better this coming season, except...

27th June 2013 09:00:00


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

Tony Evans  8:19am 27th Jun 2013

Hope did used to spring eternal in me because that is the only way to be as a football fan. Apart from spells under Mee, Graham, Wenger and just about, Neil(not quite in the same league as the others though) that has always been the case - hoping that things will get better. I have no hope left any more, which is killing my love for Arsenal, and until Wenger leaves that is unlikely to change. - Post No. 38820

Green Hut  9:18am 27th Jun 2013

Didn't you post this last summer? Or was it the summer before? Or the one before that? - Post No. 38822

BADARSE  10:35am 27th Jun 2013

Green Hut, you never fail me! - Post No. 38825

Ron  11:10am 27th Jun 2013

Love the Proff's pic. Has he been embalmed while wearing Rooneys syrup? - Post No. 38826

BADARSE  11:19am 27th Jun 2013

Now you know Ron, that Bob Wilson was the first and original 'Professor'. Another little nugget for you. Bob tells of the impudence and arrogance, which rode vanguard to Charlie George's immense talent. During a 5-a-side practise game Charlie advanced to the box, stopped, then with ball at his feet, asked Bob, 'Which side do you want it Bob?' He was, and shall remain, the Cockney King of the North Bank. - Post No. 38827

LOL  12:02pm 27th Jun 2013

Did you copy/paste this from 2006? Perhaps save this one in your archives. You can then just copy/paste it next summer, and every other summer the trophyless overpaid joke remains. At least Wenger's losing mentality will save you having to type out hundreds of words! - Post No. 38829

John Gooner  12:18pm 27th Jun 2013

The problem with this is that 4th place mediocrity is NOT a sustainable model. Sure, no true Arsenal fan can simply abandon the club, but what are we offering to inspire the next generation of supporters? Why would anyone CHOOSE to support this club now? It doesn't offer, value for money, good football, star names, thrills of any kind or any real sense of pride beyond the odd lucky thrashing of the Spuds. It does offer, disappointment, lies, deception and a lack of passion. So all you hardened "I've been a Gooner since the 70's" lot might get your wish and all the JCL's will disappear, to be replaced by no one!! Great, sign me up for the geriatric gooner brigade stifling the stands and living off past glories. - Post No. 38832

Gary  12:19pm 27th Jun 2013

Start off hoping we finish 4th thats all you have to do.Because to Wenger and Gazidis that is the Holy Grail.Anything else is a bonus(about a £1m to Gazidis) - Post No. 38833

BADARSE  12:40pm 27th Jun 2013

John Gooner, were that you were right, and fourth place wasn't a sustainable model. It may yet prove to be one. The types of individuals growing up, yet to grow, and those not yet born, will all too readily buy into the perpetual hype, and lies. People still go to see an overhyped load of nonsense at cinemas, breaking box office records, all spurred on by the promise that goes hand in hand with that hype. Perhaps you will be proven right though, that is something to cling to. This board may just be aware enough of the undercurrents with the fanbase at the club. They may have decided that fans cannot be milked in such a fashion from now, who knows? I would like to see a lightbulb going on, over the heads of the clots who give the dictates. - Post No. 38834

unchives@btinternet.com  13:07pm 27th Jun 2013

The vast majority of "The Gooner" readership & writers want a managerial change, however the facts are these; No ideal manager left to go for,Gurdiola would have been a good fit, why he would still have the desire & ambition to go to a team that won the treble, I don't know, however we didn't go for him, its too late. Arsene, for the first time since the stadium move, has top money to spend,New TV deal & Sponsors. The dead wood are at the end of their contracts. Wenger has one year of his contract left, he has run out of excuses.....TIME TO DELIVER! Lets unite universally this season, get behind the manager & the team,for this seriously could be our season. So to "The GOONER" STOP.... CRITICISING every move, particularly Kevin Whitcher, & lets win something together THIS SEASON! Come on the GOONERS! - Post No. 38836

N4  13:44pm 27th Jun 2013

@ Badarse...It might be in your name bad arsenal supporter.... Can I ask, have you got any life apart from critising the editor all the time with your know it all better idea than everyone else... Get a life mate and let others express what is positive or negative!!! You would probably be upset to know that fans like who support fourth as a trophy are bringing this club down! - Post No. 38838

Ken  13:58pm 27th Jun 2013

NICE ONE N4 LIKE IT. - Post No. 38839

BADARSE  14:01pm 27th Jun 2013

N4, are you existing in a parallel universe? Criticise Kevin? Are you kidding? Almost single-handedly he has carried the Gooner, and I am filled with admiration for his contribution, his infinite knowledge of Arsenal, his powerhouse performance in seeing through the demands the Gooner makes, and his zest for football. Am I missing something here? Accuse me of many things that you see fit, but don't accuse me of not being a good Arsenal fan chum. - Post No. 38840

Bard  14:22pm 27th Jun 2013

I enjoyed reading the piece although I disagree with a lot of it. These are the last days of the Wenger empire. The game has moved on and passed him by. He's never been a great tactician but in todays game he looks more and more lost. He has lost his eye for a player one of his great qualities and his philosphy has been buried beneath the weight of Russian/ Arab gold. And yes I agree with you nothing will change. However I don't think the fans will tolerate many more Bradfords or Blackburns. It would be better for him and us if he left for PSG at the end of the season. He's been a terrific manager and he should go with dignity. - Post No. 38841

maguiresbridge gooner  15:44pm 27th Jun 2013

Einsteins statement is very easily understood alright,and easy to grasp no matter what way you look at it,especially when it's been happening,and i think we all know who floated the idea of the ridicules overpayment strategy then ran with it (and we can see the consequences of that) poor PHW he gets the blame for everything. Arsene makes the club money alright achieves the bare minimum keeps the board and owner happy, he's got very good at that,it's a pity he's not as good in the areas that matter to the fans.For a manager who won so much when he first came to the club (a long time ago now) it's a pity the height of his Ambition now is,and has been,to keep the owner and board happy by just doing the bare minimum.But it's going to be different this season, of course it is. - Post No. 38843

Common  16:16pm 27th Jun 2013

So apparently, it will be really hard to replace Arsene. Yes you heard. It's got to be REALLY hard to find a single manager out there with a record superior to zero trophies in 8 years! (soon to be 9). The delusion of modern Gooners would be hilarious if it wasn't so pathetic and sad and Liverpool-esque. Arsenal are now irrlelevant thanks to Wenger. It's a club used as a bitch-slapped academy for the Man Uniteds, Chelskis, Barcas and Citehs of this world (if not, where do RVP, Nasri, Fabregas and Cole all play now? And how much have they all won between them?). Arsenal fans have sat back and blamed everyone from PHW, to Gazidis, to the sunshine and the boogie...but apparently the one person they conveniently ignore is Mr £7.5 mil a year isn't-massive-wages-awful! Wenger is finished. Every time I hear an AKB give a defence of him it consists of 'Arsene HAS BEEN a great servant'...'Arsene HAS BEEN the architect of the Invincibles...' 'Arsene HAS BEEN brilliant'. Indeed. Arsene Wenger = HAS BEEN. I am fed up of watching a has been, and no way will I pay Harrods prices for an ASDA Value has been. No chance. Sack the incompetent wastrel at the end of this season and throw £5 mil a year at Jurgen Klopp and give him control of the wage bill and transfers please. I mean FFS. Klopp runs a team with a wage bill of under £60 mil - that's less than HALF Wenger's - and he has made a CL final this year, won back to back titles with Dortmund and a double over the past 3 years. And all this with a tiny wage bill. He's proved he is a great tactician who motivates. Still. Let's stick with the has been. Maybe he can sign us more rubbish Franco African gems who spend their lives injured, on massive wages before getting loaned out to Beresford United. 8 years, no trophies. Soon to be 9. Unacceptable. - Post No. 38844

Bard  16:42pm 27th Jun 2013

Common scathing but true. Kloop would make an excellent replacement. - Post No. 38847

DOIT FAIR MIEUX  17:04pm 27th Jun 2013

Jurgen Klopp earns just 2 million Euros a year! That is about 1.5 mil. AW earns £6 mil MORE than Klopp. Klopp is up against what has now been rated the richest club in Europe in Bayern. They have the highest commercial income in the world and a wage bill reported to be £140mil (that i still lower than Wenger's. Showing you what a mess AW has made of his position). And yet, curiously you don't hear all the pathetic bitching, whining and excuse-making about 'financial doping' and 'cannot compete'. Klopp has said you just need to see it as a challenge, and scout better players and motivate better. All things Wenger cannot do. If Klopp, currently on less than 2 million Euros a year was offered the Arsenal job next summer on 7 million Euros (more than triple his present salary), he would take it. No question. He should be approached NOW. Arsenal need hope again and the longer Wenger hangs around then the more hope fades. Wenger is a loser. We need to ditch our fans' useless mentality of excusing mediocrity and start demanding success. Crazy to pay the highest tckt prices and passively accept rubbish like Groud/Gervinho/Chamakh and Wenger. - Post No. 38848

Alsace Lorraine de Totteridge  17:26pm 27th Jun 2013

Very good news peeps. PSG are apparently going to offer Monsieur a substantial wage to join them next season to spearhead their charge for Eurobore glory. Never give a sucker an even break, I can hear all you AMG's say. " No, we must all commit sayonara if that happens", chant the AKB's as if with the one voice of mind control. Well, the good news for everyone is that the Club are "confident" of renegotiating his contract. Is this the same confidence with which they predicted that Thierry Henry, Ashley Cole, Patrick Vieira, Cesc Fabregas, and Robin Van Persie would stay? One lives in very definite hope that we may have a change. - Post No. 38850

Ron  19:01pm 27th Jun 2013

DOITFAIR.... On the motivation aspect you mention, he lost my vote in 2004!His whining and sulking after Man U beat us to end that 49 game run was pathetic and even worse he allowed his players to sulk with him thus reflecting his own mindset, though a good few of them thought they had a divine right to win every game by then i thought. We barely won a match for months after that and never played with any confidence for sure. I cant think of one coach who would have collective sulking like that after that loss. OK Rooney dived and they fouled etc etc but freaking hell, nothing we hadn't done in getting them 49 games under our belt. I've had doubts about him ever since. Typical French. OK while the goings good but a few rocky roads sees them off every time. Their Rugby team even when heavy with talent is always brittle once a team roughs them up. That's why theyve never won f--k all with the good sides they've had. With the French, we all know, its always somebody elses fault, never theirs. Take a look at their history. They invented sulking and pouting!Look how they all turn in each other nearly every WC time these days. They know theyre rubbish but instead of gritting it out and trying harder, they blame blame blame and when that doesn't work they cheat. Always been the same. - Post No. 38851

Big Andy  20:50pm 27th Jun 2013

John Gooner makes the most sensible point on this page. The crazy thing about what's happening at the club right now is that it's unsustainable. We are driving away potential new fans with a mixture of rubbish football and a dearth of success. A club of our size must win things. It's scary just how incompentent the club is being run. And why is Wenger being allowed to spend money this summer when he hasn't even signed an extension? We are a laughiing stock right now. - Post No. 38852

maguiresbridge gooner  21:24pm 27th Jun 2013

Ron 38826, i thought OGL had taken to advertising Twix. - Post No. 38853

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

23rd February 2018

It Is Actually Getting Worse

Online Ed: Arsenal’s largely unmotivated players defeated at home