Recently you’d likely find me, like most people, on my living room couch watching pretty much anything I can get my hands on.
Which got me thinking, “What is my all-time favorite film?”
The answer to this question came to me quickly. In fact, it hasn’t changed since I was a kid.
Remember the Titans is a film I grew up on, and it’s taught me a number of very important lessons. First, never hide your emotions. Second, ensure that your ambitions are noticed, and respected. The final, and arguably most important lesson: accept who you are, as long as it doesn’t keep you from evolving into a better person (or self).
These three lessons I try to live my life through. But, I often find myself putting them on the back-burner. Either because I’m too busy, or because I think there’s something more important going on in my life.
While I believe that doing so might not always be a negative, most of the time it is.
That’s why, like any sane person, I find myself looking for other examples of people or groups doing the same thing. However, where I locate some of these examples might surprise people, as it’s not directly on the soccer field, with specific players. But in the directors box, with the executives and leaders of the clubs they play for.
The reason why I select these people/clubs as my scapegoat is a straightforward one, and it starts with a simple question. “How can a club that garners so much respect, just toss it out the window?”
Well the answer is also quite simple, it’s that leadership at these clubs are more concerned about the money they are bringing in. And to me, there isn’t a better example of a club that does this than Arsenal Football Club.
As one of the premier English sides, Arsenal FC has long held a special place in the hearts of fans around the world. But recently, their support has seemed to dwindle as the side has become less competitive with teams at the top of the league.
While this fall from grace did not come as abruptly as some would have you believe, it did all seem to start with the arrival of Stan Kroenke in the late 2000s. Becoming even more apparent when Kroenke took a majority share of the Club in 2011. Changing the once glimmering image of the club from a constant title favorite, into that of a business front. Seemingly guaranteeing their league title drought would continue in the process. Where since 2004, Arsenal has been unable to bring one back to the club.
Which is certainly more painful for fans to take when they consider how well the club is doing financially. Arsenal is one of the top 10 grossing clubs in the world since Kroenke acquired his majority share (with $396 million in revenue in 2019).
Spurs announce financial results via press release. Revenue up significantly on back of new stadium & Champions League progress so leapfrog over Chelsea & Arsenal to 4th in the income total #THFC pic.twitter.com/O0FQyGiGUd— PriceOfFootball (@KieranMaguire) March 18, 2020
This all makes it seem like Arsenal has become less concerned with showing emotion and ambition, while also being completely fine with losing fans - so long that it doesn’t affect their bottom-dollar.
Given this, I anticipated that the heart of an Arsenal supporter base in the U.S. would be somewhat disconnected with their side, but I discovered how wrong I was about that (in Philadelphia at least) when I visited Misconduct Tavern, home of the Arsenal Philadelphia Group.
After leaving Misconduct Tavern I had almost considered sporting the Red and White of Arsenal. Blythe, a member of the Arsenal Philadelphia group, had made a great effort at ensuring I would.
This supporters group lives up to your every expectation when it comes to an American-led supporters group. They like to have a drink, they like to have fun, and they of course love to win matches, which happened on the day of my visit as Arsenal came back from a goal down to defeat Everton 3-2.
A win like this would have seemed unlikely over the past few seasons, as Unai Emery seemed unfit to even manage their side. That’s why the recent appointment of Mikel Arteta was deemed such a good one by many in the group at Misconduct Tavern.
Arteta’s appointment has led to a re-emergence of many of the major principles that were popular under his own manager at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger. Some would argue these are the same principles that were lost following the acquisition of the club by Kroneke.
Also by changing the way that players like Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi play the game, he has already made his mark on this Arsenal side, mentions Charlie (another member of the group).
Hearing this surprised me, because if you know any Arsenal supporters, you will have heard, on numerous occasions perhaps, how poor both Xhaka and Mustafi are. So poor, these fans would have you think, that it would have taken a run with Coach Boone, through a Gettysburg Memorial at 3 in the morning, to fix their attitudes... and who knows, maybe that’s what Arteta did.
All I am certain of, is that the Premier League is a lot more fun to watch when Arsenal and its supporters groups, like the one at Misconduct Tavern, are at the top of their game. And if the past few months are something to go off of, they are surely on their way.