The Cannon is 5 today: A look back on the half decade 18 May, 2011Posted by lasagnechef in Arsenal News.
Five years ago this very day, on a May afternoon back in 2006 in Borehamwood I sat down at the desk and signed up to a Blogger account and put my finger and thumb to my chin to think up a name for an Arsenal blog. Back then I thought every name was taken, what must it be like now trying to come up with a title! I think I was about two paragraphs into my first post when I decided to scrap the whole idea and turned off the computer. So with now no intention to write a blog, I suddenly came up with the name The Cannon and I thought I’d give it another crack, this time on WordPress. So I sat and wrote the very first blog and to be quite honest with you I never thought it’d last; however the very next day there was some big, big news and that was that Thierry Henry would be staying; and from there the blog continued. There are blogs out there that have been running for a lot longer than me but 5 years is a bit of a personal milestone so it’s only fair to give it a mention I think.
I just want to start by saying thank you to everyone that has visited the blog over the years, it sounds a bit soppy but without the readers there would be no blog, I mean there would be no point in doing it would there? So I really appreciate every hit I get and I love seeing feedback from all round the world. I never thought that the blog would grow as quickly as it did and it was that early burst of interest that kept me going.
It’s been a very busy year in my personal life but no so much on here because of that. There have been a couple of (only very slightly football related) mental breakdowns in the past year that have resulted in some periods of absence but I think people are used to that now. There was a bad blip from late last year where I posted only once in October and then not again until the beginning of this year, and I regret that. In my, ‘hibernation’ lets call it, I lost a great deal of my readership and I’ve been working ever since to try and resurrect the blog but I know it’s a long process. I can see this busy period in my working life coming to an end soon so hopefully it’s back on track for the foreseeable future.
So the blog being 5 today, means that 5 years and one day ago I was in Paris for the 2006 Champions League Final where a 10-man Arsenal lost late on against Barcelona. It was heartbreak for all Gooners but I still think it was just a fantastic occasion to be involved in and I had an amazing time travelling across the Channel to support the Arsenal. Winning the trophy that year not only would’ve arguably represented our greatest triumph as a football club but also would’ve meant a piece of silverware, something we haven’t picked up since the FA Cup a year prior to that.
I was at that game in Cardiff when Paul Scholes missed his penalty in the shoot-out and Patrick Vieira stepped up to score the winner from the spot with his last kick in an Arsenal shirt. I remember it clearly I was up in the top tier of the Millennium Stadium right next to the United fans; despite how well I can picture the scenes they still seem fucking ages ago. 6 years ago this month we last won a trophy, ouch. We’ve come pretty close in that time including two Carling Cup finals, one against Chelsea back in Cardiff and also this year’s final vs. Birmingham at Wembley. I was present at both of those finals too and this year should’ve really been the year that we turned the saying from ‘Arsenal haven’t won a trophy in six years’ to ‘Arsenal have only won the League Cup in six years’. A last minute calamity between Koscielny and Szczesny meant we gifted it to the Brummies and we continue in our search for a big silver thing.
We’ve been involved in a few title races in those 6 years too but our lack of one of those big silver things has dented our confidence. Every time it has been the same old story – promise so much but fall miserably at the end. This year in particular has been the most solid example of that. Only a month or two ago we were in a position where the destination of the title was actually in our hands, now you have Arsenal.com running stories headlined: Champions League – What if we finish 4th? It’s a sorry state of affairs that we’ve allowed it to happen but our form has been so, so terrible since that Carling Cup defeat that we’re now looking to finish not second, not third but fourth.
So what’s next? In 2011/12 are we going to just stroll out and do exactly the same thing again? Well, frankly I don’t think it will be that easy. Man City are going to strengthen like you wouldn’t believe, as will Chelsea to an extent I imagine, United will build upon this year’s triumph and Liverpool are looking to break back into the top four. It’s going to be a challenge not just to fight for the league title but also to remain in the top four. I think for these reasons there needs to be some serious improvements for next year otherwise things are going to go from bad to worse.
I’m not the one to tell you how we’re going to do that but transfers are a start; they are not the solution, but they will certainly help. Mentions this week of Scott Parker haven’t been totally dismissed by me, he might not be the quality of player you’d hope we’d bring in but if we had a few more players with his mentality we would be in a much stronger position. We need more men that are willing to give their absolute all on the pitch and fight for the team – for that reason I wouldn’t actually mind us putting a bid in for Parker. He could be a back up to Song that we so desperately need plus show one or two what it means to actually earn your money as a footballer.
It’s set to be a busy summer of ins and outs but I also hope Wenger is working on a strategy for the future. Something in his philosophy isn’t working and I hope he’s not blind to that. I have a feeling (or it could just be a hope) that he’s going to be a bit more ruthless in the future and that might be shown by him cutting his losses on some disappointments this summer but we’ll see.
It’s a worrying but very interesting future ahead of us, and I look forward to the next 5 years writing about it. Thanks for reading, as always.