Seven long years since a trophy. Eight since a league title. Simply not good enough for a club of Arsenal’s stature right? Wrong.
In fact, what is the story behind this stature word? Do Arsenal have an innate right to be successful because the club won three league titles in a row in the thirties? No. Nor does the fact the Gunners went an entire league season unbeaten count for anything. Football is a game of cycles, and as Arsenal head towards an all important clash with West Brom on the last day of the 11/12 season, it should be noted the club is most definitely at the end, or the beginning, of a cycle.
Periods of success come and go. How long they last is a different matter, but it is beyond doubt that these successful/unsuccessful/painfully mediocre cycles come and go. How could anyone predict that the dominant Liverpool sides of the seventies and eighties would fall from grace so spectacularly? Conversely, how could anyone predict Manchester United, relegated from the top flight in 1974, would go on to become the biggest club in the world.
Wenger should not be criticised or lamented, in fact, he should be praised. He is guiding Arsenal Football Club through an unsuccessful cycle, successfully. While other clubs fall from grace quite spectacularly, Wenger is sacrificing his own legacy for the good of the club. If finishing third/fourth every season is unsuccessful then it shouldn’t be sniffed at. He is building a platform for his successor. He is maintaining the Arsenal brand throughout the world, while year on year turning a profit. Wenger is building for a future he will not be a part of.
Fans need to sit tight, get behind the team, and be prepared to wait a decade for the next period of success. It will come, it is inevitable. What
is not inevitable, however, is the continued qualification for the Champions League, something most Gooners feel is a divine right. Arsenal could well slip up on Sunday. Robin van Persie may well leave in the summer.
But Wenger will stay, and he will continue to make an unsuccessful period successful.
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