“It’s not about how good you are, it’s how good you can become...”
This phrase will I predict will be the legendary phrase that will transform Arsenal Football Club over the seasons to come. I felt the passion, I heard the desire, I saw the determination in his eyes. Mikel Arteta is Arsenal, Mikel Arteta will succeed if everyone signs up to this philosophy. By his own words, Arteta will be uncompromising, he will be ruthless, he will be understanding. Arteta will bring back to the club a belief. He wants what we the fans want. A successful club. For too long I have blogged consistently about one missing underlying aspect of the club’s mission. We all know how to say the words, but walking the walk is different to talking the talk. There is no room for pretense, one performance will not be enough, consistency and desire will be the new watchwords.
Rocky made a statement very similar which underlined why he was a servant, a leader and a legend of the club. Rocky would take no prisoners, Rocky wanted to beat Tottenham as badly as we did. Rocky would be there if the opposition gave a colleague aggro. “If you attack my brother, you attack me.” Mild mannered yes, full of desire yes, complacent never, afraid never and most of all Rocky was intelligent, he was a leader and an icon. He knew what it meant to play for this great club. He understood what we needed to be every waking moment. His words resonated in the heart and minds of all at The Arsenal when he delivered them. Now Mikel Arteta’s words have reminded us of why we support this club. Rocky said,
“Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent”.
Forget the ridiculous debate as to whether this phrase was said first said by Bertie Mee, George Graham or Pat Rice. They sum up why we call ourselves “THE ARSENAL” The difference is that it was said at the most appropriate time by a legend, a player who used those words to call Gooners and Gunners alike to mount the barricades for the club. To run through walls for the club, to sing and chant for the club as though your very lives depended on it. Rocky walked the walk, as I know Mikel Arteta will. Arteta needs time, but above all he needs support. He needs belief. His first interview underlined his keen sense of purpose. That interview underlines why the club should never give up on this coach. I believe that true greatness will finally come to this club under his leadership.
“The opponent has to have fear to come to the Emirates”
Exactly that, no more and no less. We have to become Fortress Emirates. The noise levels must silence away fans, the play on the pitch must be of the quality and determination that will mean our opposition will not take points or victories away from us easily. They will know they have been in competition, a struggle, a meeting of true adversaries. Then at the end of the game the respect for The Arsenal will return. The thing that has really hurt me over the years as a Gooner is the narrative of pundits in the media will always name the usual contenders for success and advancement and The Arsenal never get a mention in the same breath. They name Man Utd, Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea. It reads like a stuck record, and is based largely upon two of the trophies won by these clubs. The Champions League and The Premiership title. Nothing else will really resonate with them. Acquisition of these trophies confer true greatness on a club. We will finally get that monkey off our backs when we win the Champions League. Mikel Arteta is just the man who can finally deliver this.
The future is great, the future is The Arsenal.
Happy Christmas to all those who eat drink and breathe The Arsenal.
Arsenal ‘til I die.
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The December edition of the monthly (original) Gooner podcast can be listened to and downloaded here