...it's not about whether you win, so much as it is about how.
And so it came to pass. When Arsene saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him.
He began to teach them, saying:
I had my doubts, yes, at certain moments...I also have a responsibility in regard to the supporters and to the club who have always trusted me...They've always had faith in me...
Yea, though he walks in the shadow of death (oh, alright; in the shadow of Alex Ferguson...) he shall fear no evil... After all, he has endured the loss of the prodigal son;
And I said [un]to him: 'But Thierry, I understand your problem completely. I think the team will be very strong, very soon but I understand why you ask the question'...
So, with his father's blessing, the Prodigal was gone. But fear not, Arsene has been blessed. How has else has he in survived in top-level European management at the same club for so long?
I've had tremendous luck... I had the good fortune to find good people here, people I've trusted.
Good people, people he's trusted. But what of destiny, does he believe in that?
Yes. For me, success in life is a happy turn of events that you make with your own attitude.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in the Emirates!
We have [already] entered another dimension. And when the debts are paid...
And when will this come to pass?
Between 20 and 23 years' time... but I believe we will see a difference after the end of the 2008-09 season. We will have much greater resources at our disposal. My priority will be to keep the players I already have. Above all I believe in the virtues of a collective ethos and I believe that you can only maintain that and develop if you have a culture to impart; a culture that you can pass from generation to generation. And these generations of players must be imbued with that culture to be able to pass it on. If the clubs only become a place to come and a place to leave, then the club won't go very far. The love for the game must be passed on.
And Arsene so loved the game he gave it a team. But suffered the little children to come unto him:
...this young Arsenal team... has matured together. Which also means it has suffered together; it's important to share the pain. Think of the disappointments of last year and, in spite of all that, I felt they turned the corner. When we've been knocked back - walked into a head-wind, so to speak - we've never given up, we've always fought on. And I [sayeth unto] myself, hang on, there is something growing here, a mental force that will astonish everyone even more when things are going well.
But what of the moneylenders, who have corrupted the temple with their venal ways?
Money itself is not guilty; it's what the people do with it that can be bad.
"But what about the money which has arrived in English football whose origins..."
[He cuts in] That is indefensible.
So, Arsene; how shall we live?
Arsenal has a tradition that I like to respect, but Arsenal also has moral qualities for which I feel responsible and which I defend in my team. Everyone has their values that they pass down to the generations that follow. That's why, when there was the Ashley Cole affair [who? Ed.], I wanted someone at Chelsea to explain what their values were. I understand completely that they wanted to nick a player because he is one of the best. But what are their values?
So, thou shalt not steal, then? But is the English game losing its soul?
A little, yes... You used to have a boy who went and stood watching at games, who became a Liverpool fan and who after having succeeded in life, had a dream of buying 'his' club. Things have changed a lot since then.
And why aren't there enough good English players?
I think it's a fundamental problem of quality... It's not normal that a kid coming from South Africa or Braziil is better than those here... Those young English players will be of a good enough quality as soon as I go and see the French under-17s and I say[eth un]to myself, no I'm not going to take that player there, because I have an English boy who is under 17 and as good as him. But one of the beautiful things in sport is being able to say: "why shouldn't a kid who is passionate and talented - and born in Zimbabwe - have the chance to play with the best footballers in the world?" It would be an injustice.
"So morals still come into it?"
Morals always come into it.
There endeth the lesson.
L.U.V. on y'all,
Hear Bob read extracts from his diary of the 2007-08 season, "The Road to Moscow"!!
Bobcasts now available at iTunes!!
Bobcasts now available at Jellycast!!