The gooners used to be such a good set of fans. I remember standing on the clock end when the north bank was being rebuilt with a number of contributors to The Gooner – Matt and Charlie, the now legendary Amy Lawrence. Back then it was about Arsenal. It was about turning up in the cold, wet, hail, snow or sun and supporting your team. It was about camaraderie, and about being a fan.
It wasn’t about thinking you could run the club yourself. It wasn’t about thinking you could do better than the manager or the board.
I distinctly remember a fans protest when we sacked Don Howe. Don Howe, the man who hadn’t won anything for years. The protest was about stitching up an Arsenal legend, and a man everybody in football had absolute respect for. In came George Graham, and many people muttered that he hadn’t done much in the past, and what is an ex-Millwall manager going to do to change things? He was pretty laid back in his playing days, do we need a manager like that to get the club moving?
How stupid that would seem now. GG was the man who came and toppled the Liverpool domination. He won the title for the first time in 18 years. Yes, 18 years. Makes complaining about 6 years a bit stupid doesn’t it. The football wasn’t pretty. But we won a few things. It was horribly dour on so many occasions. But we won a few things. Such a shame when he got the boot for the bung. Although in reality, we know that was just an excuse. We knew he had lost the plot slightly (Chris Kiwomya). We also knew that his way of grinding out results was not going to take us into the elite of the new premier league.
Then in came Bruce Rioch. Yes. Bruce Rioch. He did alright. He got us into the UEFA cup, just. He was only a stop gap while we waited for Monsieur Wenger. David Dein knew this. He knew we needed someone who could come in and do a job for a season while Wenger saw out his Grampus 8 contract.