In the hit Broadway musical, 1776, a show about the war of Independence, John Adams walking in the lonely congressional chambers in Independence Hall ponders rather loudly to an empty hall:
“Is anybody there? Does anybody care? Does anybody see, what I see?”
Of course the response is crickets.
Sound familiar? Of course it does. In the wake of yet another Arsenal failure, the club has yet again met the fans frustration with a wall of silence making us question if anybody is really there and do they really care?
As fans we are by nature fueled by our passion for the team we support. Our reactions are visceral and raw. We don’t look at big pictures. We look at what is before us and react. On one level we know our board doesn’t tend to look at the team and the events surrounding it much in the same way. They have to look at a broader view.
But hell would it bloody well hurt to give a nod and understanding to the pain the supporters are going through?
There have been mild acknowledgements over the season of fan frustration but nothing that really makes the fans say – okay they’ve heard me. No, the sit in their gilded tower like children with their fingers in their ears loudly chanting “nah nah nah nah nah I can’t hear you.”
Arsenal a club teaming with class and tradition have lost all ground in the class wars as they ignore the growing angst and frustration. They cede the battleground with their silence and let factions take control of the narrative.
No one knows for sure what their plan is. We have no idea what they are thinking and because of that we are rife with conspiracy theories.
The most talked about scenario is that regardless of results is that Wenger has already signed a new deal they are just waiting for a string of positive results to announce it. However, that was countered by a recent discussion between the AST and Ivan Gazidis and him saying no contract has been offered.
Still, without some sort of public statement, the narrative continues.
Additionally, their inaction not only has unsettled the fans but it has a detrimental effect on the players as well. They have no idea who is going to be coaching and with so many contracts in limbo – its no wonder players aren’t hurrying to resign new deals.
And Wenger isn’t helping either. Forget for a moment (I know it’s hard) the on-the-field issues. His beating around the bush about his contract situation also has unstabilized everything. He pussyfoots around the issue and creates more frustration on top of the frustration that currently exists.
It’s a vicious cycle that continues to irritate fans and pick at the wounds that already exist. The silence we hear from the board is deafening.
And while a statement may not quell everyone, even an acknowledgement might let some people ease up and say the board have this. But they don’t and they don’t.
It’s no wonder though actually. The whole ship is led by a man who has been deaf to fan protestations for years. The leader of the Good Ship Mediocrity doesn’t want to do anything that upsets the value he derives from the club.
Yes, Enos Stanley Kroenke, I am speaking of you. Silent Stan continues to turn a deaf ear and his continued absence only proves what I have felt about him all along, he merely views Arsenal as a means to increase the value of KSE sports “portfolio.”
If you don’t follow Matt Scott on twitter (@Matt5cott) – do and watch his video on why he thinks Arsene will be given a 2-year contract extension. The basic premise is that Arsenal sits on the largest pile of available cash and that the man running the show has no issue operating at on a budget and not upsetting the value of the club.
— Matt Scott (@Matt5cott) May 3, 2017
Matt in an exchange with friend of YAMA Darren (@DarrenArsenal1) talks about the likelihood that Stan has leveraged the value of Arsenal to fund debt elsewhere. While it’s never been proven, Matt thinks it’s the case. As do I. His move to LA with the Rams of the NFL was quick and painless (to him at least.) The ease with which the stadium is being built and other sundry secured could only come if he leveraged something – KSE the likely case of which Arsenal is part of.
Is it no wonder they are silent? Is it no wonder they don’t care? As long as the value of Arsenal is what it is, nothing will change and we will continue to be met with a deadening silence that hurts and hurts more with each passing piss-poor performance.
One of things I loved about the Premier League and football in general was that it was local and that ownership knew its fans. With the shift to being a global entertainment entity that has left and no longer are football clubs accountable to the fans that come through the turnstyles.
If history tells us anything, this is the new normal. Nothing will really change about how these new organizations are run. As much as we want to go back to the days when our owners and our boards cared about us, the pandora’s box has been opened and we can’t get it closed.
However, with their inaction, Arsenal slides further and further away from its pedestal. More and more fans I know don’t watch, don’t buy the merchandise and don’t go to the matches. Yes, there will be people who still fill the Emirates. There may even be fans who still enjoy the away days but in the end too much will have been sanitized that it won’t be Arsenal.
And it hurts. Not because we aren’t winning, we’ve had barren years before. No, it hurts because it truly seems that regardless of what is happening, no one who runs this club seems to care.
I’m not sure what’s left if they continue down this route. How they can ignore the fighting, the apathy and the poor on-the-field product is beyond me. And maybe they aren’t, maybe they are doing something but hell . . . it would be nice to say and DO something.
In the first act of 1776, John Adams now walking out on a congress not debating American Independence lays out his argument why they should be but they, the congress continue to not act to which he yells out:
“Good God, what in the hell are they waiting for.”
Which is exactly what I said after the match on Sunday.