The Emirates era for Arsenal football club has been littered with so many disappointments especially in the transfer market and by domino effect on the playing field. At the beginning in 2006, the relocation from Highbury opened the door for the club to join the top echelons of clubs in Europe that players would aspire to come as a result of it world class arena and facilities. However, what was meant to be a monumental achievement started to turn sour as many related to the relics of the past, as the future of the Emirates era just refused to take off. A situation that riled the fans, and put some on a collision cause with the club’s hierarchy, made all the more sad by the seasonal collapse and failure to address gaping holes in the squad on a yearly basis as promises ran on empty.
A situation that seems to be exacerbated by the takeover of the club by American Stan Kroenke, it became an era that saw key players depart, and fans where at a low ebb. Things got on its head last season after Arsenal’s opening day league defeat to Aston Villa at the Emirates. The visceral and vitriol that spilled through the fans at the Emirates saw an almost open rebellion on Arsene Wenger that fateful day. Something never before seen in the French man’s era and the reaction was made worst by the disappointing activity in the transfer market which only saw the arrival of French rookie Yaya Sanogo as at that time.
This was after Chief Executive Ivan Gazidis had bellowed to the high heavens to both media and fans alike that, the club had entered a new financial era where it could compete at the very top of the transfer market. Yet as fans waited nothing was coming forth, it was a new low for the club after the Villa defeat, no transfers, the injuries were racking up, and there was a match to come against Fernerbache in a Champions League qualifier. A must win match.
Confidence was at its lowest ebb within the fan base, but a run of unbeaten matches, and the deadline day signing of Mesut Ozil for a club record fee of £42.5 million brought the fans on side of the club again at least temporarily, the good feel factor was around the club as the club rode to the top of the Premier League table, but subsequently collapsed after a series of defeat in the spring.
Once again a lull descended on the horizon and Arsenal fans were left holding out once again for the fourth place trophy. In the end, the 2013/2014 season ended with Aaron Ramsey fittingly having the final say after the come from behind FA Cup triumph at Wembley, that washed the disappointment of the nine trophy-less years away, but that triumph was tingled with an air of what could have been if the signings had been made, if players had stayed fit and if the January transfer window was different. Yet, the fans ended last season on a high.
Fast forward into the coming season, and the spill over of that Wembley triumph brought a buzz and confidence within the club and the fan base, this close season suddenly looked like a scene out of a fantasy world of Arsene Wenger in wonderland. A summer that started with much derision of le prof doing a Robin Van Persie impression at the Copacabana beach in Rio, Brazil when many felt he should be signing players, suddenly saw the signings of four players in a space of three weeks. The excitement and buzz of the Alexis Sanchez signing on July, 10th had not died down when Mathieu Debuchy was signed a week later, and David Ospina and Callum Chambers followed suit. A situation that has seen close to £60 million spent. For many in the Arsenal sphere, it has been a strange close season in the Emirates era. As the relics and shackles of the past gradually gives way to things hitherto restricted to the screens of Football manager.
The confidence and buzz within the fan base and by extension to the players who have been reenergized by the signings made, particularly the likes of Theo Walcott, who was excited to new levels following the signing of fellow speed merchant Alexis Sanchez. We witnessed how the buzz generated by the signing of Ozil pushed Arsenal to winning the FA cup last season; it goes to show the importance of having excited both within and outside the fanbase.
While the signings are not yet complete with key areas of the squad still in need of strengthening, the greatest signing the club has made the summer is by spending that money and breaking away from the era of austerity, something that has brought frenzy and a buzz to the players and fans alike. While spending money doesn’t necessarily translate to success, as work still need to be done on the field by fielding the right players and adopting and varying tactics, it nevertheless, is a huge starting point for Arsenal football club to launch into the new season with renewed optimism that the Emirates era has truly taken off.