Friday, 24 February 2012

Tell us the plan, Stan / derby depression

With a board meeting held yesterday, I was hoping we’d hear something direct from the owner. But no, Silent Stan has so far lived up to his moniker and stayed in the shadows despite a timely trip to London.

I can’t imagine anything worse than having Arsenal represented by a self-publicist like Mohammed Al Fayed and wholeheartedly agree that staying out of the limelight is the best approach for directors.

But when you’ve heard nothing of substance from the man who controls the majority of the club since he took control, it leads to inevitable questions about what the grand plan is.

We’re currently going through another period of scrutiny and criticism that is becoming more and more regular as we struggle to regain the form of Wenger’s pre-Ashburton years.

The crisis of confidence shown by the players during these slumps is reflected in supporters. We don’t know what we’re aiming for or how we’re going to get there. Is the way we’re doing business at the moment – which seems to involve selling our best players every summer and paying grand sums to a lot of mediocre squad players – going to continue? Is that what the club now takes as success if it means we remain financially self-sufficient?

Whether it is from Kroenke’s mouth or Ivan Gazidis’, now would be the perfect opportunity to set out the ‘vision’. It could come at the end of season but we need clarity, or at least a reason to think brighter days are ahead, now. The announcement yesterday on season ticket prices being frozen is welcome enough but the masses need more than that to keep (or regain) the faith. We should be aiming at being the best club in England, Europe, the world. We have the potential but who knows if that’s even the ambition.

Derby depression
I can’t remember going into a North London derby with less confidence than Sunday’s match. It’s bizarre to think children getting into football now will find it surprising that Spurs have finished behind us for the last, erm, million years.

Following the misery in Milan, last week’s defeat at Sunderland was typical of our usually inability to thrive in adversity and use a big loss or psychological blow as inspiration. Even Arsene supposedly trying his own version of the hairdryer at the training ground failed to do the trick.

A spanking at the weekend to Spurs may be a signal that our dip will only get deeper and we won’t be able to recover until fourth spot is out of sight. The performances of each team so far this season suggest there is only one winner. My main source of hope is that Spurs start believing the hype and think the game is won before it’s even kicked off.

If it gets embarrassing, it’s probably best Stan stays silent and tries to slip away unnoticed.

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