The Arsenal Then and Now

Things aren’t what they used to be and the will for change at the top is not convincing

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Days gone by… and perhaps bye bye?

I have seen Arsenal go from one of the greatest clubs in the world, with its own way of football, to a team now struggling to make top 4 with an owner who doesn’t want to back them and a real fear of dropping further into the abyss.


I was so lucky to grow up from a child into a young adult following Arsenal and seeing some of the greatest football the world has ever seen. I got to watch football at Highbury with the echoing chants of were the North Bank still etched in my memory. I got to watch Ian Wright in that no 8 shirt knocking goals in for fun and become the club’s greatest ever scorer, a record which then only lasted eight years when a certain Frenchman with a regal name of Henry ripped the football world apart with his performances in the red and white of this great club.

I saw some of the quickest players in the world - Anelka, Overmars and Henry himself. We had so much skill throughout the years - Limpar, Merson and of course Dennis Bergkamp to name a few. We had one of the best defences the Premier League has ever seen led by the great man Tony Adams, with Winterburn, Keown, Dixon and Seaman behind. I saw Arsenal go a full season unbeaten in the Premier League with Vieira leading the way under a manager in Arsene Wenger who changed the whole philosophy of football in this country.

I have unbelievable memories of us winning the league at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane. Great Wembley finals, Alan Smith’s Cup Winners Cup Final winner v Parma, the rivalries Vieira v Keane, Wenger v Ferguson and Keown v Anyone on the other team.

There were heartaches along the way - that Nayim goal, that Ryan Giggs goal in that FA Cup semi final, losing to Barcelona in that Champions league final, having to say goodbye to Highbury and seeing The Invincibles gradually leaving.

It was a team that defined a way of football with a slick quick passing game with rapid counter attacks which would go on to become the Arsenal way. We had an identity, a philosophy of our own. Home to some of the greatest players in the world Henry, Bergkamp, Adams, Vieira, Cole , Campbell, Van Persie and many more. Two of the greatest captains ever to play in the Premier League with Adams and Vieira.

Great memories but that is just what they are. Reminiscing of days gone by and when I say gone by I am scared to think that could be gone bye bye.

Here and Now

We are currently struggling, no Champions League for three seasons now with the previous two appearances in it easily forgotten. Haven’t won the league in 15 years since we were unbeaten, a stadium that lacks the atmosphere of old. The neighbours finishing above us the last three seasons playing better football than us to boot and reaching a Champions League final. Our captain downing tools and wanting to leave, a complete lack of leadership in the squad with no real captain material there.

An owner who won’t back us and sees the club as a business and that’s it. We are spending less than teams just promoted as well as much less than teams already better than us. The team needs investment and the manager needs backing. The fans pay some of the highest ticket prices in Europe and feel ignored by the current board and owner. We will keep falling behind if this is not addressed.

My biggest fear is that my 6 year old son Noah will not get the chance to see the football I saw, the greats I worshipped, be engulfed in an atmosphere or see a league winning team.

I still support this club, we have some great young talent coming through in the likes of Nelson, Smith Rowe, Saka and Willock. We have two great strikers in Aubameyang and Lacazette and a good manager in Emery but the board need to know this is more than a business.

So I join the fans by stating WE CARE DO YOU to the Kroenke family. This is a great club, with great fans who are voicing their opinion the right way. It would be wise to listen to them.


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  1. GoonGer

    Aug 4, 2019, 18:36 #114486

    Bard.Dick has been in charge for one season, and in my opinion did well. His signings have been a success, everyone dislikes the dross he was left with! Our season fell apart when Ramsey got injured and was replaced by an unwanted Ozil. Again not his fault, he used the players he could at his disposal. You expect all Wengers wrong doings to be fixed immediately, he has made progress, with the cards he was dealt. He also lost Bellerin and Holding for a season. The guys doing a great job. And we will progress this season. He would’ve walked if he wasn’t convinced he would’ve got backing, again he’s not stupid.

  2. markymark

    Aug 2, 2019, 22:58 #114479

    Apart from my little joke about Countinho ( it can’t be true surely ?) I’d join Ian Wright in saying what an absolute joke Ivan was . Probably the worst senior administrator in Arsenal’s modern history . He left Arsenal in Stasis for 10 years. Thank God things have moved on.

  3. markymark

    Aug 2, 2019, 22:43 #114478

    Bard - the measure of success is going to be fully on Dick’s shoulders so I hope he pulls it out of the bag. If the crazy rumours that Raul is talking to Barca about a Countinho loan are correct . Possible on the sales fees of peg leg Kos and Bielek. Then I will personally pay into a gold statue fund for Raul! C’mon get some excitement in your Arsenal life! I’m on the Raul is the “Nuts” band waggon. Certainly he’s generating more excitement than in a very long time. The team of course is still unbalanced However It’s been a very long time since Arsenal have actually been on a journey

  4. Bard

    Aug 2, 2019, 18:38 #114477

    goonger, in what way have things improved ? And what has Dick done that has moved us forward? And how do you know he would have walked ? Sorry mate your post doesnt make a lot of sense. Its the same old stuff about success being round the corner . You could be Ivan reincarnated.

  5. markymark

    Aug 2, 2019, 09:03 #114476

    Rankings?!?* - > meant rumblings

  6. markymark

    Aug 2, 2019, 08:59 #114475

    I think one of the key issues is that structurally we are now far more fit for purpose . One could imagine the Pépé deal 2 years ago would have been a shake of the head and we tried. Whereas this time some creative thinking has gone on and Lille in turn have dodged a tax bill. Having seen both Ivan and Vinai / Raul address an audience. I was far more positive with the latest two. Vinai is all corporate exec ( hardly exciting ) but came across as a little bit more convincing than Ivan and his Charity / Class love in. Raul looks a wheeler dealer and successfully quelled barracking to achieve a round of applause ( no easy thing ). Meanwhile Edu is managing out Kos and Huss appears to be getting the contracts tight. This can all be boring technocrat stuff but if it’s done right and it improves then everything can move along. This is a big season for Unai. If he doesn’t make top 4 he’s toast . So let’s all hope he can do it. Two of his rivals are very junior (Frank and Ollie ) and the third Potts looks like he wants out of the Spuds judging by yet more of his rankings to the press. I could even see us finishing 3rd. It’s good to be an Arsenal supporter again !

  7. GoonGer

    Aug 1, 2019, 22:27 #114474

    Well said Cornish. Has enough of this, spent 10 years getting rid of Wenger and the moaners are still here after 1 year of Dick. Things are a lot more positive after a few signings. And if it hadn’t changed, Emery would’ve walked, these guys aren’t stupid. How anyone can say things didn’t improve last year is beyond me, some of our top 6 performances were outstanding. I don’t like Kronke but Emery is a very very good manager

  8. markymark

    Aug 1, 2019, 08:12 #114473

    Football has changed in some ways for the better I.e players tend to look after themselves better now. But we’ve lost the parochial touch with the teams being closeted away from supporters. You can look at two types of ownership by comparing Mike Ashley who is rich but not super rich and Kronke who is off the scale. An unpopular view from me but my general thoughts are that Kroenke practices exception management , each layer is given its authority to work. The problem being Kronke simply did not sort out Wenger and Gazidis early enough. Wenger effectively missed the golden generation of French youth. Where were his scouts on Mbappe? Greizman apparently has said Wenger dangled him for a month then said no. This screwed up a potential move for him. Gazidis was so weak with his warbling about class and setting up charity provision. We got half an hour of this at an AISA. The club was collapsing around his ears. You get Raul in who again is devisive but next thing you know we’ve got Pépé , likely Tierney and Edu is already doing his work in South America. We are now being run as a club again. Emery staying or going won’t change that


    Jul 31, 2019, 18:29 #114472

    Cripes! As BoJo would say. This article was obviously written by a mere youngster & made me feel very old as a person who has suffered far longer periods of frustrated, trophyless years, way back spending money saved from my Uni grant (those were the days) to travel to various parts "Up North" to see L"Arse humiliated most times. But for the first time in ages I am starting to feel a bit more optimistic. This window may turn out to be quite a good one & I THINK I detect a very welcome ruthless streak emerging from the newish management team. Wouldn't it be great if Mustafi & one or two more of Arthur's boys are turfed out - by whatever means necessary. Could it be that Vinny, Raul, Dick & Fred are just as pissed off as the rest of us?

  10. Bard

    Jul 31, 2019, 13:40 #114471

    Nice romantic article Jason. As Ron says that era has long gone mate. Arsenal lost its soul along with a lot of other clubs a long while ago. The bottom line it's now one of Stans assets and the fans are just punters. I believe its possible to get rid of Stan but who come in then ? I like your faith in our youth but fear its misplaced. I wonder what Reiss or Iwobi think about the signings. They are surplus to requirements now. I was a fan of Dick but I honestly dont see much improvement if any in the team performance since he has been in charge.

  11. itsRonagain2

    Jul 31, 2019, 11:16 #114470

    Footie has changed too matey, not just Arsenal so its vital not to forget that. AFC are now a refection of what the game has become.Its a Club struggling to find a new identity but seems to me to be trapped in the one that AW created for it. It ll take some shaking off. Wengers best days were great as you say, but we ve lived off them for over a decade. I doubt you would see those guys on yr pic engaging in an Instagram or twitter frenzy while they show off a new haircut!