So it looks as though that’s it for another year for Arsenal. Another trophy-less season. Wenger’s admirable faith in his side may have been slightly misplaced after all. They’re not far away from being winners but not close enough.
But does it really matter?
You’ll read and hear a lot about how many years it’s been since they picked up any silverware as though it’s fifty years or something. Its actually only five – which in the history of football, is not very long. But in the current climate of demands for instant success is an eon.
But we live in impatient times. Fans who have grown up with such lush previous success, demand it once more as though it is a right. To listen to some of them talk it’s as though they feel almost insulted that Wenger hasn’t delivered more trophies after his first five or six years of doing so. It seems unfair.
However, I’d argue that success is not wholly measured by silverware. Success is also filling a massive stadium with 60,000 people for every game. Success is playing sublime football on some occasions. Success is actually nearly winning the league.
While the point of football is to try and win things, the fact is that very few things are available to win, so very few clubs are going to win anything each season. Thus the vast majority of fans must be prepared for this and not turn into hysterical girls when their club falls short. Sadly, not turning into hysterical girls is a characteristic in short supply amongst some modern-day fans.
Wenger has stuck to a game plan and a vision, refusing to be knocked from pillar to post by trends, fashions or fan pressure. That is all anyone can expect from a manager. Yes he’s made mistakes in the creation of this squad of players but many of those only manifested themselves in the perfection of hindsight. Add in the injuries to Van Persie and Fabregas and you have plenty of reasons for excusing this seasons’ failure.
The question is how much longer will their fans tolerate Arsenal’s trophy-less seasons? Some are restless already but Wenger shows little sign of either leaving or changing his style or policies. That might alter if the ownership of the club changes this summer of course.
Wenger has created a golden period of football in The Gunners history. An era that people will look back down the vista of years at and recall fondly, suck their teeth and say, boy that was some side. But uniquely for a golden period of classy football, it has been without the crowning achievement of titles and trophies. How can a team with such ability, such skill, and such dynamism not have emerged victorious in at least one competition?
The answer is football is a bitch and it doesn’t always reward the best teams or the best players. The margins between winning and losing are very fine.
Perhaps fan’s can comfort themselves with this idea; Arsenal’s victory is the greater one of playing entertaining football for season after season. Whether, in this day and age of short-termism, that is enough, only time will tell. They should be congratulated nonetheless. Many have achieved much less.