The Farewell and The Future

The farewell is only to one thing: The 2008-2009 Premier League Season.

I won’t get into a season review just yet, but I’ve reached a point where I myself need a break from football. Just for a few weeks of course, and the summer comes at a good time. I’ve been mentally drained, but I’m optimistic (not blindly) about where this team is headed.

Tomorrow, we play Stoke City. They have managed to solidly confirm their place in the Premier League next year. They’ve basically decided to take a Pass/Fail grade on their campaign, and that’s what they’ve achieved, a Pass grade. They beat us at the Britannia, and so we do have some motivation there if we needed. That’s relatively minor to the real emotion I expect to see from the fans tomorrow.

Our last home game of the season must be a platform for our fans to support both our manager and our players. In the past two weeks, the papers have been slaughtering our fans (quite rightly, if you ask me). That’s not to say there aren’t amazing Arsenal fans, because there clearly are. But it’s been well deserved, and like players and managers who are challenged throughout the year, we have been challenged as a group. I’ve rarely seen fans be the subject of such talk, and frankly I’m glad there’s some criticism leveled straight at our fans. It is up to us to show them that we don’t deserve these labels.

So, it is on the fans at the Emirates to show Arsene how much he is appreciated. The chants will be deafening, and he will chalk up a huge smile before going to work on the next season. Let’s give the players some deserved applause. I’m not going to single any of them out, but we’ve gone through a lot of adversity this season.

Meanwhile, last night at the Emirates, the Future was on display once again. There were 33,000 fans in attendance. I think it should have been a sold out crowd, considering that tickets were only 5 pounds and it was a Friday night. Regardless, our youth team showed once again why they are ace. Afterwards, Jack Wilshere said, “I think any of us can break into the first team because we are all that good.” This squad has played together for years. They have heart, they have drive, they have the talent, and they have a bright future. And for the people who say it’s just another trophyless season, well on Tuesday, that may no longer be correct.

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