The first of, we hope, many Free For All guest blogs. If you’d like to guest blog, check out our ‘Submissions’ page for more details.
The story of the season that never was.
The final curtain goes down on yet another Premier League. Once again, despite the pundits prophetic words way back in July before a ball was kicked in anger, or a super-injunction taken out, the top four sides reverted to ‘as expected.’
Man Utd, the perennial challengers managed, despite lumbering along the way with dodgy result after dodgy result, to rise to the top, like cream rises amongst the watery milk. Even Chelsea, who had been written off in January put together a run of results that saw them finish a close(r) second.
The grit and determination of Ancelotti’s warriors, however, did not save him the sack come the final whistle. Chelsea fans must surely be wondering how the squad is going to find structure and stability with the 7th manager in 7 years going out the door. Indeed, one may wonder if, for some older Chelsea fans, the price of Roman’s riches is diluting the club they followed before David Mellor made it ‘fashionable.’
The new boys in the equation were, of course, the money laden mule that is Man City. A team that cost more to put together than the budget of a dozen local schools. They finally came good with an FA cup to show the boys in red across the city. You have to feel happy for the long suffering City fans. All those years looking with envious eyes across the way while Man Utd tucked trophy after trophy away. I do fear for them too. With the likes of Tevez, Adebayor and other gravy train passengers hanging on. One cannot help but wonder if perhaps the pay check whores and big names really care for the fans, or will stay once the bank balance is topped up after a season or two.
OK, sure the ‘twilight’ players who are too old and creaky to get as big a wage packet anywhere else (unless the team has an oil well near by) will stay put. But, I am convinced the home grown rule and fiscal fair play rules will draw an end to the days of multiple £20+ million player purchases with huge wages and signing on fees. Unless of course, the system is as corrupt as a Fifa delegate?
And finally, the fate of Arsenal this year seemed to be signed, sealed and delivered upon the misfire at the Carling Cup final. From being in with a realistic shout at a league cup & a league title, the team found it upon themselves to implode by virtue of a lack of character that, if taken in by police for questioning, would have folded and cried before the desk Sargent had taken their name.
Outside of a few good games, Barca home, Spurs in the league cup, Chelsea & Man Utd wins; there was not a great deal to smile about for Gunners fans after December.
Of course, the young starlet Jack Wilshere will be the biggest buzz for the team. His emergence from ‘Emirates cup hopeful’ to England senior squad player depicts the stuff of schoolboy dreams. Roy of the Rover, pah!
Funnily, the season has been one of the closest in terms table/points spread. The final positions show just 10 points (3 wins and a draw) from 8th place to the relegation zone. With any of 5 teams in danger of going down on the final day. Amazing!
So, we can all relax for a few weeks now. No European championships or World Cups to feed on in the summer. But a quite, slow, thoughtful wait.
That is if you ignore the madness that is the transfer window, and of course the fixture list being released in a matter of what 5 or 6 weeks?
A Word from the Author
As a Arsenal fan of many years (without giving my age, we are talking decades):
I have long since lost my mind, heart & soul to this club. And like a long suffering partner I have seen them fail, and win on many occasions. Yet still I give them room in my life. Because, as we all know when you are hopelessly in love, you find it in yourself to forgive the falls, when you can have and recall the dizzy highs.
Big love to all Gooners, even if we could not all agree this year. x x
Daryl/@daryl_photoshop (yes, that guy/crank who did stuff for the Tuesday Club podcast)