Yesterday, Arsene Wenger was inducted in to the Premier League Hall of fame. This induction was always just a matter of ‘when’, and it seemed fitting that he would be inducted right alongside his career-long rival Sir Alex Ferguson.
Many have their long-held opinions on this rivalry, and even more have opinions the latter half of Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal but it’s impossible to deny that Arsenal are where they are, very much due to his actions and achievements (alongside the club of course).
No one alive for Arsenal’s Invincible season will forget it and those not born or too young will forever look back at that season with at least some degree of envy. To see that monumental team, lead by this titan of football management, was beyond special. To see the football the played, the mentality they carried, and the results it all yielded set a precedent.
To use a phrase wielded as a weapon all too often, and now bordering on trite, it set ‘standards’.
Football is a results-driven business, so of course standards often revolve around how the team performs in the wins/losses columns, but Wenger brought standards to the way Arsenal play. This season we have heard the word ‘identity’ time and time again. In many ways, these go hand in hand at Arsenal, and fans have come to demand the Arsenal identity.
In one aspect, it was this factor that lead to an intolerance of Unai Emery’s run of bad results. When the losses flooded in and the Arsenal identity was nowhere to be seen, the patiences evaporated. We can simply look down the way for another manager exiting a no love lost relationship. Tottenham sit in fourth but the mood has been emphatically #ConteOut
Perhaps there were people who convinced themselves Arsenal could push forward with a pragmatic, “results above all else” manager after Wenger’s departures. But maybe we were just fooling ourselves. The gaping hole left by Wenger was unavoidable and Arsenal were in need of a successor that didn’t only return the Arsenal, attacking ways, they needed one that could bring life to the Emirates era.
@_Grimanditweets (who credits TexasGoon) tweeted a video that spoofs HBO’s Succession theme song, Arsenal-ified.
It’s pretty great. A little cringe. But mostly, totally great.
If you haven’t seen the show, I won’t go into the whole thing, but it’s more or less a Shakespearian tale of family succession, given a modern spin. Rather than a king, it’s a media tycoon father and his kids. All hell breaks loose, he refuses to cede his power, we all watch what happens
In same ways, the parallels aren’t perfect, but in many ways the idea of “succession” is not only spot on, it’s what Arsenal needed. That person that could propel this club forward. Take the reins, recognize the past, bring new ideas and successes to the future.
The number of people commenting on the life and energy inside The Emirates this season, and using words like “unparalleled”, “infectious”, or making statements like, “haven’t seen this since Highbury”, can’t be counted on hands.
I think that’s a complaint many people have had since The Emirates opened, Arsenal moved to a new home but left its soul and personality at Highbury.
Well this season has a cast and crew that has brought the energy, won our hearts, and has fans loving this team. We welcomed Arsene back to The Emirates, we have a team topping the league, we have players competing for top honors before entering their primes, and a new manager showing signs of being one of the best in the world.
Succession complete. Enjoy your Hall of Fame, Monsieur. Well earned.