I’ve been writing – in the grand scheme of Arsenal blogging – for quite some time.
And I’ve covered a wide range of topics and all manner of peaks and troughs. I’ve looked at the past, the present and the future of the club.
But above all, the aim is always the same.
To provide alternative reading for fellow Gooners who are tired of sensationalist bulls*£t.
In all this time though, I haven’t seen my side boost our Euro standing with a trophy.
I’m talking specifically European trophies here. Why? Because for a club of our stature, our European record is nothing short of dreadful.
The third biggest club in England has a Fairs Cup win back in 1970 and a Cup Winners Cup win in 1994. Since then, four European finals lost. And a few semi-final appearances but by and large, we’ve faded into the background when it comes to emboldening ourselves on the continent.
As a brand, we’re already there. Everyone knows the Arsenal name.
But look at Liverpool, United and now Chelsea. Repeated European triumphs. All three sides have won both the Uefa Cup and the Champions League in the last 20 years.
By comparison, we have three finals.
And it makes even more painful reading from where we currently stand – which is out of Europe entirely.
Arsenal’s record is shocking in Europe and needs to be rectified but our hands are tied currently. First comes qualification. Then comes contention. A chance at the Europa League – a realistic one – probably still stands a few years away.
And until we lift at least one of them – our rivals can cast their eyes downward.
It is how the big teams are judged. It’s the barometer.
How do we climb our way back?
The answer has already begun.
We recruit solidly, addressing known weaknesses. We plan for the future.
Ramsdale, Tomiyasu, Tierney, White, Gabriel, Sambi, Odegaard, Partey. All, aside from Partey, under 25 and ridiculously talented. Together they form the spine of a side preparing for a return to the higher echelons of the Premier League.
Once scaled, it’s even harder to maintain, so keeping that strong nucleus together is all the more important. If we achieve that, then a tilt at Europe – be that the Europa League or Champions League – will be within reach.
Consistency. Longevity and a plan that’s allowed to be carried out, carte blanche.
It’s what Klopp was given. It’s what Pep was given.
If Arteta can continue to make the hard work tangible in the form of results, then our European curse may well come to an end.
And my blog will have something Euro-related to cheer about for the first time.