Frank Stubbs: Bridge of sighs

Arsène Wenger and Sir Chips Keswick
Arsène Wenger and Sir Chips Keswick

Sometimes you have to just take situations on the chin and that is no different for us football supporters.

Well beaten on a day where nothing went right, we all know it was a disaster, hugely frustrating and deeply disappointing. As we head towards the end of March however, it is essential we dust ourselves down, stick together and concentrate on the huge amount we still have to play for over the next couple of months.

That starts with the visit of Swansea City on Tuesday night, the first hugely important game of our remaining fixture list where every single one will be crucial.

Victoria Concordia Crescit boys and girls, you know that and I know that.

Back in September 1996 a load of us travelling Gooners gathered in a sun-drenched Mungersdorfer Stadion, the previous home of Germany's FC Koln for a Uefa Cup tie second leg against Borussia Monchengladbach.

Despite going 2-1 ahead with a Merse screamer, a defeat in our home leg saw us exit the competition overall. For me however, it was a game where I remember a little known, tall, slim man in spectacles walking out from the tunnel to cast his eye over the players he would be working with over the coming months.

"Is that him?"… "I'm not really sure…" and "Anybody know anything about him?" were the kind of questions from the crowd.

Just a few days later we beat Blackburn 2-0 up at Ewood Park in his first official game as boss and this incredible period in the long, proud history of our great football club had begun.

Saturday was Mr. Wenger's 1,000th game in charge, a time that has seen us win trophies, doubles, go a season unbeaten, break numerous records, progress as time demands by being hugely influential in the move to our new stadium while sticking within the budget that comes with such a move, play THE greatest football us Gooners have ever had the pleasure to witness, seen permanent Champions League football year-in year-out and all this while remaining dignified.

I can count on one hand the number of those thousand games I have missed and for this I consider myself incredibly lucky. Saturday's game will be remembered for all the wrong reasons as far as he and all us Gooners are concerned. For the relatively few bad days during that time however, I have so so many incredible, life-changing memories and for those I owe a huge amount to our boss. Congratulations Mr Wenger, once a Gooner always a Gooner.

Keep the faith.


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