It was plain for all to see how much the victory meant to the manager Arsene Wenger and his players – every single one of them – to finally put to bed that wait for silverware that has been the black rain cloud over every season since the 2005 FA Cup Final.
The French coach was evidently immensely proud of his team and enjoyed the fruits of his labour on Sunday’s parade through the streets of Islington. It was certainly a day to remember for players, staff, and fans alike and one that was a long time coming. But will Arsenal’s win put an end to the debate over the manager’s position at the club?
It looks increasingly likely now that the 64-year-old will sign a new deal to stay on past June when his current deal expires at the Emirates. Calls for him to leave from a small (but vocal) section of the fanbase have been primarily concerned with the lack of a trophy, the lack of spending to reinforce the squad, and the price of tickets at the Emirates.
The FA Cup win is unlikely to change people’s opinions regarding the latter of those complaints but will it silence the critics with regard to the other two reservations some fans have over the future of the club? The club have now won a trophy and, incidentally, that comes after their largest spend on one player in their history in September on club record signing Mesut Ozil so, to an extent, those fears, concerns or complaints are, in effect, laid to rest surely?
Those fans who have suggested over the past few months and years that the club’s hierarchy are greedy or callous when it comes to the wants and needs of the fans will surely look at this weekend’s Arsenal festival in Islington and reconfigure their opinions one way or another. They may want to consider that that Arsenal, through the management of Arsene Wenger, spent £42.5 million to bring in a world-class player last summer, challenged for the title topping the Premier League for 127 days, qualified for the Champions League and won the FA Cup.
There will, of course, always be those who are dissatisfied no matter what happens but the vast majority of fans must still be beaming with delight after the weekend they’ve had and I suspect the manager will spend a little more in the transfer market this summer.
Perhaps the Gunners will kick on from here with renewed confidence and belief to future glories and maybe, just maybe, the ‘Wenger Out’ contingent of the fan base will slowly change their tune.