The old Arsenal crest I way prefer to the current one
For most of this blog's existence, I had included a "Gooner since 1978" line in my "About Me" profile. A year or so ago though, I deleted it as a statement of how I had ceased to look forward to watching The Arsenal "live" on TV (since, for much of my life, I've not lived on the same continent, never mind in the same country as the football team/club I've supported for the better part of my life) and decided to stop doing so after realizing that it often was causing me a lot more stress and anguish than much of the rest of my life.
While my frustration and ire during matches were often caused by the actions of individual players, I got to realizing with each passing year that the bulk of my agony and anger in recent years stemmed from the actions, policies and ideas of the manager of Arsenal Football Club since October 1st, 1996: one Arsene Wenger, whose reign had initially brought Arsenal F.C. so much success and fans like myself so much joy. So it was great delight, even euphoria, that I learnt earlier today that Arsene Wenger will resign from the post that he's held for close to 22 years now at the end of this season.
Here's the thing: Arsene Wenger did Arsenal a lot of good in the first decade or so that he's been at the club. (We're talking here of double-winning seasons in 1997-1998 and 2001-2002, and a whole entire season unbeaten in the English Premier League in 2003-2004, among other things!) But he also looks to have done much damage to the club in the past decade or so -- with Arsenal's Arsene Wenger-instigated move from Highbury to the Emirates Stadium not having yielded the footballing dividends it was supposed to even after all these years, and a change of football tactics and player recruitment effected to give Arsenal greater European success not only not having yielded success in Europe but also causing the team to fare less well against domestic opposition.
Between the FA Cup wins of 2005 and 2014 were frustratingly fallow years where Arsenal not only didn't win any trophies but gradually ceased to play with the élan we had come to expect of teams managed by Le Boss. And while Arsene Wenger did manage Arsenal teams to FA Cup victories in 2015 and 2017, he really should have gone after winning the FA Cup in 2014 -- and I reckon that if he had done so, he really would have been looked upon far more fondly by Gooners than he has been for the past four years.
As it is, it can feel like people's respect and affection for Arsene Wenger have increased exponentially in the hours since he announced his impending resignation; not least because they can finally see light at the end of the tunnel for a team and club that they follow, and may passionately love once more with a new man at the helm rather than what has felt for some time now like a dead man walking. For my part, I want to say to him: thanks for some really great memories but I now look forward to a brand new era at Arsenal Football Club, and sincerely hope that it'll bring far more success to the Emirates Stadium than Arsene Wenger has managed to do.