Arsenal – Darwin or Lenin?

February 22, 2013

This attempt at a post was borne out of my genuine desire to know how people feel about this. And by this I mean the following: Whether Evolution is better than Revolution. I ask this fully aware of the difficulties in even deciding what counts as revolution, while what counts as evolution can also be disputed (such as by the creationists of Chelsea)

What does this have to do with Arsenal? Well, I doubt that needs explaining. I don’t think any gooner in the world is unaware about the differences of opinion among the fans, with it being debated (to be charitable) the club is either in terminal decline, the only remedy to which is letting the blood run on the streets, or is just short of mutating into a Santa-esque (red and white and spreading good cheer) version of the Incredible Hulk, smashing everyone in its path to victory.

I’m going to make it easy for everyone and just say that I believe an evolutionary process is the way to go. I mean, apart from the fact that I’m always right, it is the way humans, and indeed all creatures, have survived up to this point. You can’t argue against nature can you? For the more pedantic among you (cough..RA..cough), you can, but you’ll lose.

Having said that, revolutions, at varying scales, seem to be all the craze in human history. You just know that the first caveman who proclaimed himself king, was sought to be toppled (or clobbered) by someone the next day. A mini revolution if you will. These happen every day in one form or another, but they are so miniscule, and so much a part of life, that these never count as revolution, rather as part of the evolutionary process.

So herein we reach the problem of how to differentiate between Messrs Evo and Revo Lution? What makes a true revolution? In my view, it is the evolution of certain revolutionary ideas that makes revolution worth its name. The abolition of slavery, the writings of Voltaire and Rousseau in the French revolution, growth of socialist and communist ideas in the Russian revolution etc. It is these ideas that have survived rather than the revolution itself. Most revolutions tend to become the very thing they are supposed to have rebelled against, unless the ideas that produced them are adhered to in practice, and then built on. (Napolean followed the French revolution, The peasants were in many cases worse off under Soviet rule than Tsarist rule) Evolution (as regards political processes) is far less spectacular, but the stability it offers, provides the basis of meaningful, and usually irreversible change/progress.

So let’s return to Arsenal. What would count as revolution, and what is just part of our evolution as a club? We’ve sacked managers before and this is hardly a path breaking concept. So it shouldn’t count as revolution, should it? Except, it does. No other manager in our history, and perhaps no other manager in the world, with the exception of Sir Rednose at Red Mancs, has had the level of impact at a club that Wenger has had on ours. In fact, it could be argued that Wenger’s impact on Arsenal was in itself a revolution. The dietary and training regimen imposed on players, the ability to find players no one had ever heard of and to get them to play the brand of fast, free flowing football that we did, was unheard of in England in those days, leave alone the impact (not yet fully realised) of the building of the training ground and stadium and of overhauling our academy structure. So, has that revolution run its course, and is it time to indulge in another?

In my view, no. Especially, not without having an idea of what this revolution is supposed to entail. What ideas and philosophy does this new revolution expound and seek to uphold? Till now, I haven’t heard of one beyond the narrow aims of spending money, more trophies, better players etc. And until I hear a revolutionary alternative, an idea so moving, and a purpose so worthy and desirable so as to justify its cost, I’ll be sticking with the path our club is on now. Remember, without ideas, you are just a headless caveman looking for the pot of gold at the end of the windmill.

Written by Shard