The Strain of Loyalty


The drumming noises have been those of betrayal and mercenarism. Once heroes, even captains, these men have been crucified in the memories of long-suffering Arsenal fans as Adams, lured by rival teams, their equivalent of the forbidden fruit. They see it as unfair competition, those with a monetary largesse abusing their ability to offer some degree of wage multiplication. Whether the Manchester sides and Barcelona can be considered present-day rivals to Arsenal is highly debatable for the simple fact that the Londoners are no longer the force they once were. Those traitors moved to ascend the footballing hierarchy. They moved to attain success, amongst other intangibles.

They were replaced, to the best of the Arsenal powers of seduction. Germans and Spaniards came in to replace the Dutch- and Frenchmen. Even Thierry Henry, however ageing, returned once and is about to do so again. The Arsenalisms of fiscal austerity would do Merkel proud, but represent a 21st century footballing failure of insight. For all of Wenger’s nous, this seems a painful misstep. Despite this, his team has replicated top-four finishes. The Holy Grail, however unlikely, is every season a possibility.

The Germans and Spaniards employed are no slouches. They are internationals of rude pedigree playing in a system to which they should suit. The midfield is on paper a colossus and if early performances are any indication, Jack Wilshere is worth every drop of hype. If these performances are any indication, he will be the next departing mercenary in the eyes of the fans forever loyal. He will seek pastures anew. Football is so often a tale of potential unfulfilled, which pains the heart to witness. Somehow, there must be a reincarnation of the fully powered Arsenal of the early-Wenger era, or the red of North London will linger a breeding ground for the Big Teams.

An objurgation ofttimes aimed at Arsenal is one of excessive on-field dalliance, of pretty sashaying culminating in nothingness. The intricacy is initially pleasing, then tedious, complex, unnecessary, and then it dies. The Arsenal way is Bollywood-esque flirtation, a kiss away from something, anything. It is not a sign of altruism; rather it exemplifies one thing – an inexistence of plerophory. Instilling belief is the domain of the manager, and perhaps the time has come for fresh innovativeness.

The suggestion is not fickle. It has grown over eight years; it is more than pyrophoric. The greying man in the Arsenal tracksuit is running out of ideas. He has proven himself over sixteen years to be an entrepreneur of beautiful football, of this there is no doubt. Arsenal, though, need change. Arsene too looks like he could use it. The eurozone turmoil is a stellar example of how drawn-out inaction spawns innumerable costs. Arsenal will linger as it stands, as their new rivals embrace change in the name of progress, and they will crumble. Departures are neither a tale of dollars nor a tale of perfidiousness. It is the impecuniosity of success that drives them on, and the current batch will never forget Bradford City 2012.

Darshan is a Senior Writer for AFR. You can follow him on Twitter at @thedarshan. Comments below please.

  1. hiranom20 answered: Great piece. But it felt a lot like an academic thesis 4 Shakespeare w/all these wrds no-one has ever seen before lol! Keep it simple bro…
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  10. ashburtonandy answered: Did you see that ludicrous display last night?
  11. thanhvtran reblogged this from afootballreport and added:
    Read More Great piece but the writer is a bit too wordy.
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  13. djflizzyflamesnotes answered: Lol get Arsene a decent Goalie and keep their best players instead of selling them to rilvals no one would question the man.
  14. sangreazul reblogged this from afootballreport
  15. j-deltoro answered: what’s up with these unnecessarily wordy pieces. obviously a good writer but so many sentences are thrown in there just to use a rare word
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