Silverware Versus Silver

This post discusses the double-edged sword that is Arsenal’s consistent success in breaking into the top four.  GOA’s view is as follows: we expect to be in the champion’s league, but we’re not surprised when we lose.  This mentality reflects on the club’s (including its fans’) lack of a killer instinct required to lift European silverware.  To put it simply: the Arsenal are used to silver, but we shy away from demanding that our club acquire silverware.  We could argue that Wenger’s unbridled power to invest in our youth project comes at a real cost: global recognition.  In the short term it is hard to see the damage that Wenger’s monomaniacal focus has had on the club because we are still “contenders” both in England and Europe.  But, as economic juggernauts continue to bankroll Chel$ki et al and these clubs maintain their meteoric rise then Arsene and Arsenal’s hard work is for naught.  This is for two reasons.

First, the untapped talent in the favellas and Africa are going to associate these brands with football success.  They will duly sign with the bigger clubs.  Furthermore, fans throughout the world will assign their respective loyalties to those clubs who win trophies and get big name signings today.  The mother country might not understand the expatriate’s tendencies to jump on the bandwagon because they were raised in worship of Arsenal.  However, us global gooners can relate the labor of love that is Arsenal because we live amid a torrent of media hype and marketing of the bigger clubs.  We grow accustomed to watching these bigger clubs get bigger names and win big matches.  Only those of that really love the game choose to join Arsenal’s ranks.  Most people commit their time (and their money) to clubs that win.  That’s a fact.

Today the FA is debating the institution of a playoff for the fourth champions league place and I can’t help but to breathe a sigh of relief in knowing that Arsenal will surely find their way into that illustrious quartet once again. But my certainty is part of the problem.  Gooners are so used to being in the champions league that we forget about the long term goal of making Arsenal THE global club.  GOA urges gooners to try and maintain some perpsective during this knockout round against Porto.  Watch the media’s reaction as we beat Porto on aggregate and their subsequent “I told you so” looks if and when we get knocked out in the semi-finals–again.  Then ask yourself if the comfort of having a silver label is worth the opportunity cost of silverware.

signing off,

the pundit

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