Sunday, 17 February 2013

Arsenal and Cologne Cathedral

He is the studious, professorial manager of the English Premier League. His cold, steely eyes are forever weighing, calculating, analysing—nothing is missed and everything is gathered for dissection by his penetrating intellect. But he is not merely a scholar of the beautiful game, for as he paces the touchline, occasionally throwing and kicking unfortunate bottles of water, we can see, too, the frenzied passion that storms within his breast. He is Arsene Wenger and he is building something, something great, something magnificent, something that will stand forever. 'I am building something,' he recently commented to no one in particular. 'It will be great.'

And so what is this mysterious thing he is building, this thing that will be so magnificent? It is none other than an Arsenal team that will win. Something. And when it is unveiled, the waters will be stilled, no dogs will bark, no birds will sing, and the stars will shine in the daylight hours.

Doubters there are who say that the scholar's head is too far gone into the clouds, but at a recent news conference he made clear just how grounded are both his perfectly well-heeled shoes. Before a select gathering of journalists, he revealed the true magesty of his vision. 'The edifice I am constructing'—his voice was hushed as if in reverence for the awesome thing of which he spoke—'will be greater than the Tower of London, it will be greater than the Empire State Building, it will be greater even than the Cologne Cathedral.' A collective intake of breath from the assembled journalists—greater even than the cathedral at Cologne!

This historic moment, it is true, was almost tarnished when, from the back of the room, a whiny little voice piped up: 'But didn't the cathedral take over 700 years to build, Arsene?' A fearsome silence! Minutes ticked audibly by as Wenger looked over the heads of those before him, gazing into a magical future only he could see: 'Precisely,' he replied. From the back of the room came that same, whining voice: 'I don't mean to be difficult, but won't you be dead by then, Arsene?' Wenger's expression did not change, only a slight twitch just below the left eye betrayed the contempt he had for such a question: 'Yes, it is possible. Death, after all, excuses no one'—at this point his face suddenly began to look like that of the Buddha as he spoke of life's verities—'but I do not think I will be dead just then, for I feel I have a few good years left in me yet.' 'Seven hundred good years, Arsene?' 'Precisely.'

In Arsene do the Arsenal fans trust, and they have shown remarkable faith in his wisdom and his promise to build a team like nothing before seen. While other teams have seen managers come and then go, Arsene has been there steadily at Arsenal's helm, his presence as predictable as the rising of the sun, the coming in of the tide, or Arsenal's fifth (or third or fourth or sixth) place finish in the premiership. His vision is immense, his wisdom boundless, and in just 700 years he will reveal the greatest football team ever assembled. I, for one, can't wait.
Arsene's Arsenal - it really is great!

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