I am not a big fan of the name of our ground, “The Emirates Stadium”. I think some things in football should be sacrosanct, like ground names, football locations, and colours. However, these days with the commercialization of everything and the current state of Arsenal football club, the name of our ground is the least of my worries.
I, however, have a deep love for the name “Stadium of Light”. It’s one of my favourite ground names. Only Nigerians would understand why the term “Light” would resonate with me. What every Arsenal fan, however, would resonate within this context is the opposite of light, DARKNESS.
Since I started following Arsenal, I have never seen so many dark clouds, discord, rage and dislike by fans for the club. To be fair, many have long lost their belief that the club can ever be successful under its current management. However a lot more (myself inclusive) have always tried to understand and even justify what the club was doing, and in the long term, trying to achieve.
Let’s just say, I have seen the light now or ironically, I have opened my eyes to the darkness that now beclouds us as Arsenal fans. There doesn’t seem to be light at the end of this tunnel. We have been too slow as a club to get to the end of the tunnel where our expected light was supposed to shine. Life happened, times changed and new layers have been added to what is now a never ending tunnel of darkness.
To be fair, there was some flicker of hope. Little glows in the form of FA Cup victories, which we all expected would rekindle the club’s desire to replicate success in domestic cup competitions to domestic and European leagues. Alas, the lackadaisical approach to several factors that could have seen us put a strong challenge effectively dimmed all hopes of what we thought was coming. The Year We Finally Win The EPL.
People are responsible for our title hopes fading off faster than a candle in the wind. Whilst many would like it to end with Wenger, I belong to the school of thought that think it goes way deeper than the man. The stench that surrounds our club starts from the very top. Wenger operates the way he does not only because he wholeheartedly believes in it, but he also does it because someone allows him too. If the majority owner has no real footballing expectations, then there are no footballing expectations to be met.
I think as fans we abrogate ourselves too much power in our thinking that we can really force change at Arsenal. Banners will fly, footfalls will reduce but Wenger is not answerable to fans, he is answerable to Stan and Stan is answerable only to his maker. With TV Money, fan power is has lost the lustre it possibly once had. So when Arsene says he will be at the club next year, he will be at the club next year. Arsenal itself is an institution and Wenger himself is an institution at Arsenal.
I have been reading a lot about MLK recently, and I think he might have been referring to this moment in Arsene Wenger’s life when he made this statement
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.
Wenger is at a critical crucible in his career at Arsenal now. He needs to determine if what he thinks is best for him is also best for the club. He has always maintained that the interest of the club supersedes any personal ambition and if he acts any different now it would be the highest form of selfishness. The aura he had over those of us who saw him bring footballing success to the club has started to fade away, for many it has already faded. The younger generation of fans who only learnt about the success already see him as a failure. If he stays another year to fulfill the contract he so dearly wants to honour, he might do irreparable damage on both sets of fans I described above.
As is, the only light many can see now in this dark Arsenal tunnel is Wenger leaving.
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