It was 1886, south-east London, England. A group of factory workers had an idea: to build a football team. The fifteen workers would each spare sixpence of their wages, joining with one another to buy a football. They’d formed a team to compete. Their name, a reference to the sundial sitting on top of their factory, was Dial Square. And thus, the Arsenal were born.
They’d soon change their name to Royal Arsenal, initially wearing the colour claret, when the squad was greeted with the arrival of some former Nottingham Forest players. In need of a spare kit, those players would ask their previous team for help. They did, and the Arsenal, in red for the first time, would grow further.
127 years, many, many players, managers, fans, trophies, ups, downs, stadiums, heroes, villains, kits & crests later, the Arsenal still stand- as the greatest club in the world, despite a shortage of silverware. With so many years of history, an 8-year wait under the circumstances is not too drastic. Forgive the banality of the following statement, but: with a new stadium built, financial constraints have been tight, thus leading to a parsimonious period in the clubs’ history.
The clubs tradition is currently upheld by Arsene Wenger – the natural embodiment of class and wisdom, conjoined to form a man of integrity and determination. With every failure Arsenal have had recently, the blame has always been aimed at the Frenchman. Yet he has not been deterred from the principles he keeps.
He believes in the old-fashioned way of succeeding, by using your own resources. His penny-pinching, stubborn, reluctant transfer policy will be integral to any future success we have. He has accepted criticism and the defamation of his great reputation for the good of the club. What a fella!
Money has always been prominent in football, players and clubs regularly seek the highest pay package, but now the fees are so exorbitant the shock of some transfer deals cannot be expressed in written word. Unlimited resources are only possible for so few. Clubs like City, PSG and Chelsea can spend and spend and spend all they like while other clubs must be more careful.
Although Arsenal are one of the richest clubs in the world they must continue to spend within their means. If the harsh reality of a financial collapse was to hit football, then very few clubs would survive. Arsenal & Manchester United would both perhaps be best suited of all Premier League teams to cope. The club has money that can be spent, and should be spent too. But not needlessly and extravagantly like some fans are hoping for.
With a mantra the antithesis of a widely accepted football etiquette, there is a substantial amount of class exuding from every one of the clubs figurative pores. Whilst money may occasionally equate to success, success in general is a reward for hard work and determination in any walk of life.
In football, the process of building a team and sticking them together with the glue of a shared philosophy is a much more satisfactory route to the joys of winning. Taking shortcuts leads to a quicker journey, indeed, but however quick you wish to arrive at your destination, a longer journey leads to more pleasure once there. The romanticism of football seems to have disappeared, drowning in a pool of money and fading into obscurity.
Defending the absurd ideology of not spending would be bizarre, however, there’s a nicer feeling about the money we have as it all belongs to us, and not some billionaire who enjoys mucking us around to appease their imbecilic, ego fuelled brain.
With all the ups and downs, the Arsenal live on, and when we finally reach our destination it will be so, so fulfilling, knowing it was done the right way; the Arsenal way. I love the method of tutoring players and teaching them the Arsenal’s ethos. Now we just need some top class, established players to sign for the club to give them the required guidance.
Whether its the way the club operates internally and financially, or the way they play on the pitch, the club remains synonymous with splendor. From 1886 to now and beyond, the greatest football club in the world has always, and always will be the Arsenal. Plain and simple.
The stadium was built to be the home for many years to come, not short-term but long-term. After years of hurt and patience the need for success grows stronger, as do our finances and means. With new sponsorship deals and restraints loosening, no more of our better players will have to be sold to recoup our losses. We can now focus on spending our money in our way, buying players to aid our current squad, not replace it.
Those factory workers may’ve had no idea what they created. And we must thank them for beginning the traditions of this fantastic club. Now we can extend our history with further glory, made possible by the philosophy adopted by the manager and board in recent years. It’s time to make our move.
In the words of the Away kit launch video: Our moment. Our ritual. Our style. Our time. The next season will be key to our hopes for the coming years. So let’s have a bloody good one, yeah?
Written by Ryan Goodenough
Follow Ryan on Twitter @SidelineArsenal
Check out his excellent website, The Footy Rambler
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