Don’t just blame Arsene, blame yourselves!

Before the game it was Arsene Wenger, during it switched to Gazidis, moved on to Kronke, then after it was the players and then Wenger some more. All contributors to Arsenals current plight but the main culprits still avoid mention.
It’s you. You the Arsenal fans who have allowed this to happen. Arsenals fans for accepting a level for over half a decade that are below the standard that this club should be reaching. For being in Complete denial until now.
I told you this would happen, so did everyone, but you refused to see it.

You’ve caused this. By burying your heads in the sand as the downward spiral and stagnation set in and allowing the people who have made Arsenal their profession and business to fleece the club and yourselves further. By believing the dribble that has come out in press conferences following defeats. By looking for stats to defend consistent poor individual displays. By celebrating records that don’t pertain to anything like what the club are used to.

By allowing yourselves to be sold theories about how unfortunate draws have been the key factor behind European underachievement. By attributing shortcomings to a recurring injury list without ever questioning some players’ desire to get fit. By constantly referencing Tottenham when the heat was turned up in situations that were irrelevant and subsequently avoiding difficult issues. You’ve let your club underacheive because you were too proud to accept the demise and so as a result, instead of being one level below you’ve slipped further to 2 or maybe 3.

Other clubs haven’t necessary improved but at least they’ve tried something, and removed managers and players to demand more from their club. Arsenal haven’t even tried, as fans you have not demanded more from your football club. Instead, you’ve looked for an easy target to make yourselves feel better and the slope gets steeper and steeper everytime. The first 5 years is admirable and the loyalty warranted, but then 5 years becomes 10 and then 15 and gets to 20 & then 50 very suddenly, yet the arrogance continues. You’ve never really stopped to ask why the club have stopped challenging. You’ve never stopped to ask fellow fans why they looked down the table for comparisons instead of up. You’ve never bothered to realise the the manager who you say has stuck by his philosophy abandoned his philosophy almost a decade ago.

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You’ve never wondered at what point after 1990 did Liverpool ever imagine they’d go 27 and counting without a title from a greater starting position than yourselves. The attitude that it could never happen to you, has stopped the symptoms being treated.
The only time you have ever challenged anything is when smutterings of your co-supporters have bothered to start to question, and now the group has got bigger and bigger you’ve probably not stopped to wonder if they were actually right when they began, and instead probably think they started too early and the time has come now. You probably still think they were disrespectful.

You probably think the fans of other clubs have no right to comment, and you’re probably right in that it’s not really their business, but you’ve certainly failed to acknowledge that all football fans have a right to share an opinion as an inheritance of being a fan of the beautiful game in a similar way, that you will do when a new manager takes over a big club and doesn’t hit the ground running. More importantly you’ve not ever conceded that they’re actually right this time, and that supporting a team that doesn’t win things doesn’t win as much as you did in the early 2000s and through your history doesn’t weaken their ability to interpret a situation, in fact it probably enhances it.

You’re probably reading this thinking that this is just a bitter fan of another club putting down the mighty Arsenal, and you’re right, except for the bitter part. No one else is bitter at all, they are just able to detach themselves from the emotion and see a situation for what it really is, using their wider range of footballing experiences from situations that they have seen before. I am putting down the mighty Arsenal, and I’m right. The underachievement has gone on far too long. You should be taking that as complement to the football club yet you’re probably not as there is still a bit of you that refuses to treat other teams fans as equals as the pedestal your club once sat on was so high.

What you’ve created is a culture of excuses, a culture of justification and a culture of doing the easy thing. Where looking down and laughing has taking priority over looking up and aspiring to improve and be better. A culture of doing the bare minimum, and the manager and the club and the board have taken the invitation and lined their pockets whilst never needing to improve as the level that was being reached was celebrated there was no requirement to invest or to risk.

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You’ve convinced yourself there was no suitable alternative when managers have been and gone who all with the squad Arsenal have had would have made a better fist of a title challenge and a European campaign. Spurs have replaced managers who have achieved their record points total, Chelsea have sacked the special one, Liverpool have removed the man so close to bringing them the title, City have sacked two title winning managers, United sacked their manager one day after winning the FA Cup.

They all wanted more, whilst you didn’t want to change, they may not have achieved their wishes yet or may never will but they and their fans have still demanded the bar be set higher, you wanted to get to this point before the penny dropped. Now it’s gone to far, and the risk becomes bigger, at a time when the foundations for a new leader a weaker, and it could and should have been easy. A club now with divided fans that will make the next guys job nigh on impossible as with every knock he takes there will be the group of die hard wengerites still insisting he shouldn’t have gone.

The wedge has been driven by you as you’ve dismissed the group who saw the trouble first and now it may have to get worse before it gets better. Now is the time to accept you were horribly wrong and not allow yourself to sink back into the mindset that will undermine Wenger’s replacement or the recovery of the team to the top of English football will be daleyed even more, and the 12 will become 15, 20 then 50 in the blink of an eye.

All the while a great club servants reputation and legacy is pounded, he’s like a boxer taking punishment round after round but you sit in the corner not throwing in the towel. He’ll be gone next year and only then can the club start to properly move forward again, the board will have to act as, like you, their belief that the Champions League target will be achieved no matter what has waned.

If things stumble and splutter it had to be worth gambling with something that even the most delusional soul in north London can now see just isn’t going anywhere. So bad has it got that even a 2nd place finish and an FA Cup win is not enough to justify the last decade. You see that now, I know you do. A change has to happen, a risk has to be taken.

Whatever happens, Stick it out. Appreciate the parts of the game that you have not been exposed to for 20 years now. But do not blame anyone else. You’ve sold yourselves and your club short for too long. You’ve let them get away with it. You’ve let him reduce you to this. Deep down there’s no one to blame but yourselves.

Dan De Luca

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