The old lion moved across the plains. Over his shoulder he saw his constant companions of late, a pack of hyenas, jogging along behind him, their pace synced to his.
The game keeper looking on, had a great affection for this great lion, and no great respect for his entourage. The game keeper told his assistant, “I named all those hyenas. I named them after some guys I knew back in England. Yeah, there’s John. There’s Matt. That one there with the stupid-looking hair tuft on his head, that’s Ollie. Yep, they’ve all got names.”
The hyenas had sized up this lumbering lion. He was older again this year. Life on the plains had taken its toll. The spring was gone from his stride. He had been forced out of his pride by 3 younger males who had come of age. And more basically, he had not eaten well in 7 or 8 days. Lions hunt as a pack. Hunting on his own was exhausting, and the pickings were thin. Between the energy he spent on chasing the ones he caught and on the ones he didn’t, he could sense it would make for better economy if he just gave up the hunt. But what would that leave him, and he a proud lion? What should he become? A scavenger?
A lion’s roar is a measure of its strength, its powers. A young lion has a high, thin roar. As they grow to their full powers, so too does their roar: deeper and louder. When lions roar at each other they get a measure of their relative strength. They could of course fight. But every fight has the serious risk of injury. And life on the African plains is merciless on the injured. A non-fatal wound may end up being fatal, slowly: a snapped tendon, an infected wound.
The roar is nature’s way of avoiding a fatal fight for dominance. Only when 2 lions believe their roars are equally matched will they look to determine dominance in a brutal struggle. But an aging lion , who has lost his powers, no matter how he may try to maintain it, cannot roar with the same depth, the same volume, the same intimidation. It is life or death for the lion, and yet he cannot summon it. For as expert as he may be in projecting strength by his roar, his enemies are as expert in sensing the slightest weakness in that same roar.
And so it was with this aging lion. The hyenas with their prying eyes could read in his gait the old battles he had fought. His injuries had healed but each had left its mark on this warrior of many campaigns.
The hyena pack had formed a line of sorts between the lion and the watering hole. The lines had been drawn for there was no other source within range, nor would he get stronger by leaving it another day.
The hyenas “knew” a feeble roar means a feeble lion. But this time they had seriously miscalculated. His weakened roar was not a measure of fading powers. Even a lion can get laryngitis. They were picking on the wrong lion.
But what they had truly miscalculated and what they really had not reckoned on was what HE still knew. He was still a fucking lion, and a lion is king of the fucking jungle.
And they were still just a pack of hyenas. And to this lion on this day they were dodgy looking snacks on legs.
These hors d’oeuvres had cornered a lion. Always be careful what you corner.
“This beats chasing the bastards all over the plain,” the lion would have thought.
As he rounded on the hyenas, they froze, thrown off guard. What was he doing, moving towards them? The lion roared as, in the blink of an eye, he broke from a walk into a sprint. It was unlike any roar they had heard rise from a lion before, and it chilled them to the bone.
“Yippee Kie Yay, Motherfuckers!”
Note: Hyenas taste like chicken, but stringier, just in case you wondered.
I don’t know about you guys, but seeing our manager getting worked over by the media blood-suckers is a deeply painful sight. Whatever issues I might have with Arsene, he does have now and always will have my love and respect.
Arsene is known for always facing the media and always answering their questions, no matter how inane.
You would think that would earn him enough respect with the media. Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, that thug-bully Ferguson intimidates and abuses journos at will, both because that is who he is and because he believes they are not worth the seat they are sitting in. Perhaps he was right all along.
Some of the away supporters did sing You Dont Know What You’re Doing as they questioned the substitutions, a minority of supporters according to those who were there. We get that you journos asked the question, which is your right. And then asked it again and again and again, invoking the name of the poor, heroic, noble away supporters who had travelled up to the game and paid out all that money. Only it wasn’t the away supporters, it was the journalists who continued to harass Wenger after he gave them his answer and after he asked them repeatedly to move on, visibly wounded by the whole affair.
Anyone could see that Wenger, during the match and in particular during the press conference, was suffering from the disappointment and frustration of another poor result, and from the taunts by SOME of his own supporters.
Guardian: Arsenal’s Arsène Wenger suffers fan revolt in Aston Villa quagmire
Telegraph: Fans turn on Wenger after Villa draw
Independent: Wenger fails to mend growing rift with angry fans
Mirror: Wenger hits back at Arsenal fans doubting his ability to manage (no he didn’t)
Metro: Arsene Wenger fires angry outburst at Arsenal fans (no he didn’t)
At the AGM some weeks ago, the supporters were in rebellious spirits and were demanding answers. In contrast to the generally angry tones with which the members of the board were questioned, it was notable the respect that the supporters held Wenger in, before, during and after his address. They had questions, and they had anger. But they had respect for their manager. And when they heard his address, the consensus was that the manager talked absolute sense, and carried the day. Because when you face Wenger in person, he is respectful and he makes sense.
These journalists think they can speak for our supporters. They think they can address him in person and speak for us or for the away supporters. These journos accuse Wenger of not respecting the Away Supporters because he did not want to debate his substitutions with the same journos SAF wipes off his shoes if they have the temerity to even question the ply of Old Trafford’s toilet paper. They accuse Wenger of wanting to create a rift between manager and supporter. Ironic.
Who the fuck do they think they are talking to? That man is the manager of our beloved club, and in our mind, the greatest club in England. We did not ask you to hound this man. We did not ask you to insult him by stating he had disrespected the supporters. We did not ask you to accuse him of creating a rift between manager and supporters.
Quite frankly, Fuck Off from using our names for your headline-seeking agenda. If you want to disrespect our manager, have the balls to do it in your own names, and not in the name of our supporters.
Arsene Wenger is facing perhaps his most challenging period at Arsenal. It is time for him, and the club to show they can transition back from a period of famine in resources to a period of plenty.
It is time to get back to being among the best and to being in contention instead of just being the best of the rest. As Kroenke’s representative, Gazidis has promised that this next couple of years will provide the resources for the club to ramp up quickly to challenge and win.
Gazidis had better step up with the necessaries and be unequivocal in the boards desire to win, and not just when talking to us or the media, but when talking to Arsene and particularly when it comes to the buying and selling of players.
You and I may disagree on many things related to Arsene, but just as he fought to keep Henry and Vieira at the club in past years, we all know he fought to keep Cesc, Nasri, van Persie and even Song (to a point) at the club. It is the board’s ambition I may question in the future, never Wenger’s. And it is the past board who said we would not become a selling club to pay for the stadium, but we did. One of Arsene’s many burdens to carry.
This jigsaw may being missing 2 or 3 pieces but by all accounts we have plenty of funds to acquire those pieces. If any one of you were to to go out for a few drinks with Arsene in order to voice the issues that frustrate our supporters and to talk through everything that ails Arsenal, you would come back from the meeting with an entirely new understanding of the challenges Arsene must overcome internally, of why he made the decisions he did, and of why he believes his vision for the club’s future will produce the kind of winning football our opponents can only admire.
So while your flirty eye is a-wandering around the room, remember who brought you to the dance.
And for those who are losing faith in the old lion, fear not: Wenger has too much class to stay beyond his welcome. If WE choose to tell Arsene to leave, he will leave. We don’t need the hyenas to do it in our names. That is why this attack by the journos seemed to cut Arsene so deep. They said it was we who were attacking him.
My personal belief is that Arsene has more great days ahead with our club. As long as his health holds up, studies show that an “executive” is reaching the peak of his powers in his 60′s, when he can utilize all of the experience he spent a working life accumulating. SAF did quite well throughout that decade.
You may not be so sure about Arsene.
In any case, we do have two thirds of a season plus 3 cup competitions ahead of us. We have won 2 of our last 3 matches including the NLD and CL qualification. We are unbeaten in our last 5.We are currently 6th in the table. So it’s a bit premature for the journos to be stoking the coals of crisis.
Let us discuss, debate and argue among ourselves with the confidence of a club that is not afraid of improving, changing and progressing. There should be all the room in the world for reasoned and sincere opinions and conversations. But let’s not have the journos draping over themselves the cloak of the Defender of the Faithful while they work their own agendas and storylines.
One of their favourite storylines these days is: “Arsenal in crisis: Is Wenger on the way out?” We’ve been here before, you will remember. And after they have done their damage to the club, and everything has settled down again, they will find a way of saying it was us not them that drove it, and that they defended Wenger against us.
You know how they write these articles: The headline will say “IS it Time for Wenger To Go?,” while the article will slate him and the team for the bulk of the piece. But there will be one line in there where the journo says that Wenger should be afforded more time.
For those who gained some measure of satisfaction that finally someone had broken through to Wenger, that someone had stirred the pot, do not give the media license to represent your views. You might cheer their first sentence, but you will hide in shame by the time they deliver their last.
If this club is The Arsenal, then our guiding principle is Victoria Concordia Crescit. The only word among those 3 that the supporters can control is CONCORDIA.
Be worthy of your club.