Winning a trophy is the main target of every season. Before the FA Cup Final kicked off on May 17, one fact Arsenal supporters needed no reminding of was that the Club had not won a major trophy since 2005.
During that nine-year stretch, Arsenal had come close a number of times - in the Premier League, Champions League and League Cup - but fell just short each time.
Without question, winning the FA Cup was the top highlight of the 2013/14 campaign for most fans. And whether you have supported the Club since birth or since the start of this past season, the emotions we all felt while watching Arsenal players raise the old trophy were deep.
We asked our panel of supporters in the USA and Canada to explain what the cup triumph meant to them -- and to the Club.
For the fans, myself included, I think that winning the FA Cup was a huge relief. Arsenal have been close to winning a trophy many times over the last nine years and yet always seemed to stumble at the final hurdle. Even this season, where we spent the vast majority of the season at the top of the table, we had to watch as our title hopes
were dashed on the Chelsea docks.
And so when Arsenal went down 2-0 in the first 10 minutes there was a palpable sense that Arsenal were on the verge of becoming one of those "almost" teams. Teams like the Buffalo Bills who played in four consecutive Super Bowls -- and lost all four.
But as soon as Cazorla scored the first, the mood among the fans visibly lifted. When Koscielny scored the second, we were filled with hope. And when Aaron Ramsey scored the winning goal, those nine years of worry and frustration just blew away and all we were left with was sheer joy.
Wining the FA Cup is like the appetizer before the main course. The players will be hungry to win bigger and better trophies.
For the players and the manager winning the FA Cup is just reward for their hard work and for their faith in each other. Wenger has put this club on his broad shoulders for the last nine years as we transitioned from Highbury to the Emirates. Wenger had the faith in his own abilities and in the players to lead this club through nine years of austerity.
And in the end, Wenger and the team were rewarded. Seeing Arsène Wenger smile from ear to ear as the players rushed out to hug him was heartwarming.
And for players like Ramsey, Rosicky and Vermaelen, we forget the injury nightmares that these guys have suffered over the years. They had to push themselves every day in training to recover from injury and get themselves back into top form. And so, of course it had to be Ramsey who scored the winning goal. His story of triumph over hardship is perhaps more keenly felt than any other and his redemption more universally embraced.
On a more practical level, winning the FA Cup means that Arsenal are winners. I know that's a tautology but it's true! Wining the FA Cup is like the appetizer before the main course. The players will be hungry to win bigger and better trophies; the Premier League, the Champions League, and the FA Cup again. We now have proof of concept and can take this blueprint of a successful team and apply it to next season and the season after.
For the fans, the manager and the players, winning the FA Cup means just about everything.
I agree with Tim on the psychological boost this win will give both the players and the manager: for the players it’s a confidence-building achievement that can only augment their efforts in the future, and for the manager it’s not just a huge relief but also perhaps positive reinforcement for the way he’s set up the team this season, both in terms of tactical choices on the field and the type of players he’s used to assemble this squad.
But for me personally, winning the FA Cup this year was very nostalgic. It reminded me of when Arsenal did the Double in 1998: there were some elder statesmen reinforcing the team, there were newcomers to the Premier League and there was young talent all mixed together in a squad that was just beginning to find its feet under Arsène Wenger. You couldn’t be happier for that group of players getting their first taste (for most of them, anyway) of silverware together and there was genuine excitement thinking about what they could go on to achieve over the next several years.
There is absolutely nothing like a spring that ends with an FA Cup victory, especially one that leads up to a World Cup.
I can’t help but feel the same way about this much younger, current squad that we’ve got, and if nothing else I just have to say that there is absolutely nothing like a spring that ends with an FA Cup victory, especially one that leads up to a World Cup: for the next month, it’s almost like you, the supporter, get to sit next to the trophy while the players go out and represent their countries and your club on the world stage, and whenever anyone asks what club Mertesacker, Ozil, Koscielny, Petit, Overmars, Bergkamp or whoever plays for, you’re more than ready to tell them!
I know I’ve just sugar-coated what is essentially gloating, but it’s our right as supporters. And for the players, heading into the summer with an FA Cup trophy is just rewards for the way they’ve toiled domestically all season. All that to say it’s pretty special stuff for everyone connected to Arsenal, so here’s hoping there’s more where that came from!
The FA Cup final was one of the most exhilarating Arsenal games I have watched in a long time - but what a game it was. I think I felt every emotion a football fan could possibly feel during those long 120+ minutes. Utter despair at being 2-0 down within the first 10 minutes, a glimmer of hope when Cazorla scored along with a pinch of denial that we could somehow still get ourselves out of this mess, disbelief when the commentator mentioned that the winners for the last seven years had won the game by a goal margin, relief when Koscielny scored the second and absolute ecstasy when Ramsey scored the winner. My entire experience as an Arsenal fan condensed in those two hours.
My entire experience as an Arsenal fan condensed in those two hours.
I can go on and on about how important the win was. Nine years of almosts and top four finishes had finally cumulated to a moment where I watched Podolski run around the pitch trying to drench the manager in champagne. I can’t remember the last time I saw Arsène Wenger looking so relaxed. At that moment it didn’t matter how we got there. All that mattered was that we did.
Looking back on it, our road to the final was more complicated than our opponent’s. Beating Spurs, Everton and Liverpool was no easy feat and going into the game, Arsenal were favourites and the game was theirs to lose. In a season when we saw our title hopes fade away by March, a lot had been pinned on winning the FA Cup. Winning it would mean that all the rebuilding of the past few seasons was fruitful and that this Arsenal squad was capable of achieving something that others were not.
I can’t wait to see what happens next season.
The views expressed above are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Media Group.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 18 Jun 2014