Say a little prayer for you.. Bacary Sagna gives thanks. Arsene Wenger does likewise.

Relief.

Sheer bloody relief.

Not so much for myself, but for him.

Arsene Wenger has worn the agony of his many recent disappointments like that famous giant puffer jacket with it's pesky broken zip. It has billowed around him, distracted and annoyed him and made him look foolish and awkward. 

On Saturday when referee Lee Probert blew the final whistle to end a dramatic FA Cup Final, Wenger was able to throw off his cloak of many calamities and revel in the moment.

Arsenal had fought their way out of a gaping black hole they'd dug for themselves. 2-nil down against a buoyant Hull City, Wenger's team had to draw on every shred of self belief to rescue the situation.

That they did and it ended 3-2 for Wenger's team made this victory so very Arsenal.

Nothing, it seems, is done the easy way. 

For the manager, his players and the tens of thousands of fans around the world, the why, where and how of the victory are irrelevant.

The 9 year trophy drought had ended.

The relentless jibes about empty trophy cabinets are no more.  The atomic clocks marking the passing of every second since Arsenal had touched silverware have stopped. And Piers Morgan has been made look like the gormless pillock that he is. 

A season that started in crisis with a home defeat to Aston Villa with the terraces boiling over with mutinous intent, ended with a wet Wenger party at Wembley. Le Boss was showered in champagne and tossed about in joyous celebration by his players.

While I wavered in my faith, they never did.

In the 9 years of exile from the podium many fine players have come and gone as Wenger adjusted to the seismic shifts in the game. None of them have spoken ill of Wenger on their departure. All of them have grown as footballers and men for having known and worked with him.

Henry, Fabregas, Van Persie, Nasri, Clichy, Kolo Toure and even Adebayor. Some remain in the hearts of Gunners fans, others are reviled. All treasure their relationship with Wenger.

Wenger's devotion to his football philosophy has often been seen as a millstone around the neck of the club he has built in his own image. His conviction has been characterised as obstinance, has resilience seen as narcissism.

"Arsene knows" the sign at The Emirates reads.  The question was, did what he knew make any sense anymore?

Those of us who watch from afar, alone on our couches in the dead of night in a fog of fatigue and solitary self doubt have felt that crisis of faith all the more acutely.  4am is not the best time to befriend self pity and doubt. 

So to see Arsene Wenger jubilant, vindicated and celebrated in the manner he was on Saturday banished our lesser selves.

It's no guarantee of a bigger brighter future for Wenger or Arsenal. It may well be a last moment in the sun for the Frenchman.

I'm glad he had it. 

 

 

 

 

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