Is making Arsenal FC ‘Black again’ the road to success?

Arsenal fans are understandably frustrated with their team’s performance in the Premier League and the Champions League this past season, in addition to failing to qualify for the latter next season. Thus, it has prompted many supporters to try and figure out what exactly can bring Arsenal back to its glory days under Wenger, the days when they won the Premier League at White Hart Lane, at Old Trafford, went a whole league campaign undefeated, and made a trip to the Champions League final. Their answer?

Personally, I found it quite humorous. Arsenal fans are notorious for their fervent presence on Twitter, whether it be criticizing Arsene Wenger with “#wengerout,” commenting on the official Arsenal Twitter page “announce (insert player name),” or voting on online polls pertaining to Arsenal, Gooners are relentless when it comes to their club. And this “make Arsenal black again” slogan is shared by many fans. Here are a few others:

And my personal favorite:

So why is there such a strong desire for an increase in black players in the current Arsenal squad? It could very well be a troll by the club’s fanbase, and that’s why the tweets have an element of humor to them. But it could also be a form of nostalgia in the midst of trying times, which is a very natural response. As the late Robin Williams said in Good Will Hunting, “you’ll have bad times, but they will always wake you up to the good stuff you weren’t paying attention to.” The Invincibles season in 2003-04 certainly was the pinnacle of the “good times,” a feat accomplished by a team primarily comprised of black players like team captain Patrick Vieira, Lauren, Kolo Toure, Sol Campbell, Ashley Cole and Thierry Henry.

Patrick Vieira of Arsenal passes the ball
The Captain Patrick Vieira playing for Arsenal (Getty).

These legends of the club (although many argue Ashley Cole is a traitor) are thought of highly 13 years later for their contributions to the undefeated season. Their presence is attributed to that campaign’s success. The 10-2 annihilation they suffered a few months ago from Bayern Munich and their failed bid to qualify for the Champions League for the first time under Arsene Wenger, such bad times have allowed fans to look back and realize a good thing that was ignored: having black players on the team was incredible!

If you look at today’s squad, the best players, in my eyes, are Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, and Laurent Koscielny. Since their arrival to the club, they have yet to hoist the Premier League trophy. There aren’t really any marquee, must-start black players on the team (as of late, its been Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but that’s it). As a result, fans nowadays can’t help but aspire to have their team add more black players in the squad.

But is there hope of a primarily black squad? By the looks of things, Wenger may be listening to his fans’ requests. It’s not the first time he’s done so, as Kelechi from Arsenal Fan TV pleaded with Wenger to change the formation to a back three after the 3-0 loss to Crystal Palace in April. At the moment, his rumored transfer targets include Monaco teenager Kylian Mbappe, Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette, Nice midfielder Michael Seri, and KAS Eupen winger Henry Onyekuru. So who knows, Wenger may be fully aware of this “make Arsenal black again” movement and could potentially act on signing those prominent transfer targets.

Although the “make Arsenal black again” slogan seems like a troll, it is a genuine response of nostalgia after a bad period of failing to win the Premier League after their 13th attempt since 2004 and missing out on the Champions League. Could having more marquee black players on a team be the answer to the BPL title? I mean look at Leicester City with N’golo Kanté and Wes Morgan, or Chelsea of 2007 with Didier Drogba and Michael Essien. Arsenal fans could have a valid claim.

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