This is the final instalment of Jonathan Blaustein’s guest post series. Please give him a big fat follow on the Twitter @JBlauPhoto
I was in North London a couple of weeks ago, staying just off the Holloway Road.
I hadn’t been back in 6 years, and the neighbourhood had certainly gentrified.
The London Metropolitan University put up a bunch of high-rise dorm buildings, since last I was there.
Shiny and modern, for sure.
I was walking along the Holloway Road, on a Tuesday morning, trying to figure out which lane led to the Emirates Stadium, as I’d only ever found it accidentally.
When I hit the first major crossroads, I looked to the left, but the road was curved, so I couldn’t see very far, and anyway, I didn’t see a stadium-top.
I was headed to buy some merch for myself and the kids, and when I looked across the street, those fancy new buildings caught my eye.
So much so that I raised my new iPhone to take a photograph.
As I went to snap the photo, a nice middle-aged Englishwoman walking behind me stopped, looked at the image on my screen, looked up, saw the buildings, and then said, “That’s a lovely photograph! So great of you to notice it. That’s really art!”
Of course that began a conversation, as I accompanied her to her office at the college in a building up the block.
I continued Southeast on the Holloway Road, trying to find the damn stadium.
I passed one intersection, because I couldn’t see it, and took the next one instead.
Finally, I saw signs, and followed them, dejected, as we seemed to walking just back where I came from.
(And I was in a time crunch as well.)
Sure enough, I finally saw the stadium gleaming in the London morning sun, and realized it was exactly where I’d just been.
I’d gone out of my way, and essentially walked in a circle, to get back to where I started. Only by the time I got there, I was annoyed, rather than excited.
Did I go into the Arsenal store anyway?
Yes, yes I did.
I bought things from the bargain bin, if you’re wondering, because all the cool new clothes were branded with the new marketing slogan “Kings of London.”
Kings of London.
Kings of London?
Are you fucking kidding me?
By what possible metric are Arsenal the best team in town? Let’s be honest.
Right now, we’re #3.
I know it. You know it.
And so do all the players who are going to sign for new teams this summer.
What kind of player, or better yet, what actual player will want to sign on for the Unai Emery era, if they’re also being recruited by City, Chelsea, Liverpool, or Tottenham?
Who would choose Arsenal over those teams, to join the Emery experiment, now that we’ll be in the Europa League for the 3rd consecutive year, and we just pulled a massive double-choke in the Premier and Europa Leagues.
So we’re clear, I’ve written a column here all year long. I was consistent. Let’s give Emery a year and see what he produces. Maybe his chokes at PSG were a thing of the past.
Maybe we were getting a bruised-but-still-high-end-talent who’s ready for redemption?
Like a Pre-Liverpool Klopp?
That was wishful thinking for a best case scenario, to mix my business jargon. And now, in early June, it has been proven farcical.
I know there were a few small green shoots this year, like beating Chelsea, Tottenham and ManU, and drawing with Liverpool.
And I guess PEA co-won the Golden Boot, and Laca emerged as awesome.
Guendouzi was fun, and Torriera had a few proper runs.
But now that I’ve gone through the pretense of looking at both sides, I’m here to say that if I were in charge of Arsenal, I’d be firing Unai Emery.
If Stan and Josh, much less Raul, want anyone to believe that accountability has returned to Arsenal, you can’t keep on a coach who oversaw that type of collapse.
Not after Late-Wenger.
Say this for the old man, at least he bagged those 3 FA Cups.
To choke as badly as Arsenal did at the end of the season, (not to mention PEA’s penalty choke against Tottenham,) will stain Unai Emery’s credibility forever.
He’s tarnished goods, for absolute certain, and his ceiling for greatness was likely limited to begin with.
Really, who was banging for “Emeryball” before he was hired?
Coach was a last-second panic hire by Gazidis, to get us out of the Europa League.
And it didn’t work.
So now, rather than wasting more time trying to slowly walk back the soft comfort that Wenger created, it’s time for a new, fresh, hard-working, grinder of a coach with a dynamic offensive AND defensive philosophy.
Someone the players will go to war for.
If I sound a lot like Pedro, it’s because I agree with him completely.
Sweep the decks.
Start over before you walk too many blocks in the wrong direction.
Because the truth is, when that lady interrupted me on the Holloway Road?
I was 150 meters from the stadium, and my camera was set to video.
I never got that photograph, and I walked right past the stadium, because I got distracted by a cute and comfortable little moment.
It seemed harmless at the time, but it cost me twenty minutes of wasted walking.
That’s what this year felt like, now that it’s done.
A fucking waste, with no trophies.
Start over, and do it right this time, before we’re looking at Everton and Watford and Wolves thinking, “Wow, how did they get ahead of us? We’ll have to work pretty hard to make sure we qualify for the Europa League again.”
That’s the cold truth.
We need our own Sean McVay.
And we need him now.
Remember to follow @JBlauPhoto!