The latest news that Cesc will be out, effectively for the rest of the season, caps a difficult year for the club. A year that started well enough with us challenging for the title following a couple of seasons in which we competed for the title less successfully than recent gooners had grown accustomed to. A year that is now ending with us having to scrap to end the season in a top four position.
Lady Luck hasn’t looked kindly on us this year and 2008 has been a season in which we have seen major injuries that have put Eduardo and Rosicky out for virtually the whole of the year with van Persie and Walcott also missing large chunks of it. I dare say that with any proper analysis we haven`t really had any greater share of poor refereeing decisions than any other team in this last year but it feels like we have. Discord seems to have afflicted the team with Gallas` actions in particular misunderstood and twisted externally but which however well intentioned has not met the internal needs of the team. Some fans, perhaps seeing that we aren`t far from success, have become disgruntled with a transfer market and ever looser player contract law which has made the stability of the team harder to maintain than ever before. The air of negativity had even led to our own fans temporarily creating a hostile environment towards our own team in our own stadium.
But in reality 2008 was a year in which the club has made significant moves forward. We proved that we could build a new team and challenge effectively even with the loss of iconic figures from the invincibles. With the major part of the stadium investment behind us we were able to produce a significant profit this year which, with the completion of other property developments, heralds a period of financial success that we have striven for through the years of stadium investment. Financially payback time is with us. The young players we have invested in are maturing and becoming better players for it but a new period of team investment on a more sustained basis now beckons. Through it all we are still able to compete and have a core squad at the club whose best years are ahead of them. We have a manager that, while he now has doubters amongst some, is the envy of most clubs and could probably walk into any job in world football were he available tomorrow. He is still our biggest asset and is with us at least until 2011. We have emerged from a difficult time in the clubs history with a basis on which to further build on a club that despite some prophets of impending doom is in a pretty strong position to challenge for the best prizes. That might not come this season, though who knows what fortune has for us in the cup competitions, but the fact that the club is in extraordinarily good shape, probably better that any time in it`s 122 year history, shouldn`t be lost amongst the frustration of this year. Those assets that we have acquired are still with us. History will soon put the frustration that we have now into it`s proper perspective.
There is still plenty to cheer and whatever this season, still not yet halfway through, has in store for us there is always another game and another season to look forward to. To all those gooners and others that have contributed to these forums throughout the year and shared in the dissection, discussion, exchange of views, argument, banter and laughs that have gone on over the year, to all VitalArsenal members and guests here`s to a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!
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