And in the end it is not the years in your life that counts, it is the life in your years
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Arsenal Review 2008


Arsenal Review

A headline in today’s paper reads, “the worst team ever under Arsène”, and in some ways that is possible true. However I said at the start of this season that I thought this would be a season with a silver lining and I still believe it. Without it being seen as an excuse, Arsenal have had a really bad time with injuries this year. The loss of Eduardo and Rosicky for the whole year, Theo, Cesc, and RVP have all had serious time out and in general the club has been just a little too sick.

This was also the year that certain players left, Helb, Flamini, and the wonderful Jens and Gilberto all left for pastures new. And the effect of those leaving should not be underestimated, however 2008 was the year that maybe, just maybe, some real hope for the future was founded in Arsenal Football Club. For this was the year we first saw Jack Wilshire.

2008 was also not a great year for us Arsenal fans when you look at other clubs, we were forced to want a united victory in the CL final just so a London club did not win it first, and trust me that was really hard, Liverpool finally started to look like they might just be a real contender and Manchester City became the richest club in the world and finished the year 3rd from bottom.

Okay so the mighty Spurs have once again failed to break into the top 4, but they did win a trophy, have announced plans for the new Lane and have a manager, finally, that might push them on. So although they are closer to going down than reaching the Champions League, things might just be on the up, very slowly, for our beloved neighbours. And speaking of being on the up, I am a great believer in football momentum and for 2009 I think both Liverpool and Aston Villa have that going for them.

However Arsenal fans are just like any other football fan, and I am certainly no different, we look for the positives at all time. When you follow a football team you get very adapt at looking forward, there is always next season! But this calendar year we have had some positives and the biggest one is a 16 year old called Jack Wilshire. The saying goes, “God created Jack because he is missing Liam Brady”, and really there is no greater compliment that can be paid to a young Arsenal footballer. The only other real positive is that all these young players are getting better and so patience is something Arsenal are going to really need. Theo Walcott is getting better, and he might just become a real superstar, Diaby is slowing showing signs that he could become an excellent player and in Carlos Vela we may have found someone who will one day be a global superstar, but in writing this I typed the might far too often. And that has to be a concern. But as an Arsenal fan of so many years I am well used to looking forward and living for tomorrow, I have supported this club when hope was a lot harder to find, so although this was not a vintage year, it was a year that provided hope, real hope and in Arsène we trust, Arsène knows, and he is telling us he believes in this team so we should really just do that and believe.   

Connected to Arsenal, but very different, was possible my best highlight of 2008, playing at the Emirates in a charity match. I know I am now too old, too fat, a bit too blind, a lot too slow, and yes I am definitely past it, but playing there, winning the competition and enjoying the whole experience was a real wonderful highlight, thank you Arsenal.

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