Many of them will have joined the celebration party in North London on Sunday. The fans who said that “the FA Cup didn’t matter.” Forgive me, but it didn’t look that way to me. Either to the fans at Wembley on Saturday or the thousands waving at the players aboard the bus on Sunday.
Of course the FA Cup matters. Long may it stay that way. While the fat cats do their utmost to undermine the tradition of the FA Cup, people like Arsene Wenger still respect it and he goes out to win every game, regardless of the team he puts out.
Years from now Arsenal fans who want Wenger gone will be telling their children what a fine man and excellent manager he was. They will visit a statue that will no doubt be erected in his honour. They will tell the youngsters that while other clubs got themselves into huge debts by spending silly money on here today, gone tomorrow players; Wenger put the financial stability of Arsenal first.
I happen to think that coming fourth and winning an FA Cup is a fine achievement for a club that has not chased the dream to a ludicrous extent. Arsenal have historically been mean with money. Their players have never been the best paid in the top flight of English football. That resistance to pay top wages began long before anyone in the UK had heard of Wenger.
He is simply carrying on a tradition and trying to protect the financial well being of the club for years to come.
Do you think he hasn’t wanted to buy the biggest names, the best players in the world? Of course he has. But Arsenal football club cannot afford them. They decided long ago to, as much as is possible in this day and age, live within their means.
Had Arsenal lost to Hull City at Wembley there would have been calls, angry calls, from Arsenal fans. They would have demanded that Wenger left the building. And just who would they replace him with? Now let’s be realistic here. Who would do a better job than the one Wenger has done since 1996?
The FA Cup victory puts to bed the “nine years without a trophy” saga. No more can opposing fans say that Arsenal have won nothing since Twitter existed (like that matters!)
I wouldn’t suggest coming from two goals down to beat Hull City 3-2 is a sign that Arsenal will now go on to win more and more trophies.
But when will the penny drop? Arsenal fans take note. It cannot be as it used to be. The goalposts have moved since the days you went unbeaten all season long. George Graham is not in the building. He cannot come back and win trophies by sending the opposition to sleep.
I would suggest that the fightback at Wembley on Saturday was a victory for team spirit from a group of players who, by and large, respect their manager and wanted to win the FA Cup for him as much as they did for themselves.
In this age of player power that alone is a result.
As for those supporters who are still ungrateful for what Arsene Wenger has done for the club, my message is one you have heard before. And rejected.
It is simply this. Be careful what you wish for.