What Will FA Cup Final Win Mean for Arsenal Fans?

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What Will FA Cup Final Win Mean for Arsenal Fans?
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

After a nine-year wait, Arsenal will be in the FA Cup final once again. In the same amount of time, the Gunners have failed to win a trophy.

Everyone knows this, of course. Never since the construction of the Emirates Stadium have Arsenal brought home a trophy for the club and its fans to celebrate.

The stadium represented an enormous but almost certainly necessary financial outlay for a club whose financial resources are more limited than those of the rest in the traditional top four, and which prides itself on sustainability.

But perhaps it is no coincidence that Arsenal have been mediocre (by the standards of the first 10 years of the Arsene Wenger era) since the completion of the new stadium.

Wenger has had very little cash at his disposal for several years and had to jettison almost all of the veterans who led the club to an unbeaten season in 2003-04 to cheaply build a young squad that was meant to mimic the long-term growth plan represented by the Emirates Stadium's construction.

The only problem—well, there were several—was that the best youngsters often got a bit too big for their britches and left due to Arsenal's inability to match their wage demands or ambitions by adding proven quality to the squad.

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And what experience the club did have on hand was often insufficient and simply not up to the required standard. No one misses William Gallas, Emmanuel Eboue, Mikael Silvestre, Sebastien Squillaci or any of the other utility players Wenger used as duct tape through rough patches.

But we could see that forced strategy begin to loosen and change two summers ago, when Wenger was uncharacteristically proactive and bought Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud before the season even ended. Santi Cazorla arrived a bit later in the summer without much drama or fluff.

The old strategy of painful frugality and maddening staidness was simply shattered last summer, as Arsenal nearly tripled their meager £15 million transfer record and splurged for Mesut Ozil, one of the top few attacking midfielders in the world.

No longer could players and fans accuse Wenger of attempting to scrape into the top four every season with merely above-average players who could be had for a relative bargain.

Sure, he did not bring in a much-needed elite striker and only spent money on one player (this is Wenger after all), but this was not a baby step toward modernity.

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images

And, though Arsenal fell away from the Premier League title chase and did not advance past the final 16 in the Champions League for a variety of reasons, they have a golden opportunity to finally end that excruciating nine-year trophy drought.

They must take it.

If they do not, and Wenger is judged to have wasted the club's best chance to win something since 2005 on not one but two fronts, there will be a very broad and vocal call for him to leave with dignity when his contract expires at the season's conclusion.

The mood of the squad will understandably be crushed. To come so close and beat many of England's best teams en route to the final and lose to a lesser Premier League side is just abysmal.

But if the Gunners come through, as expected, fans will finally be able to reassert Arsenal's status as one of the big boys of England.

They'll be able to finally rejoice in some tangible success achieved by their club, instead of merely arguing with fans of other sides that Champions League qualification amounts to some sort of trophy.

And it will mean big expectations for this summer; though one game should not mean as much as it does, the boon of an FA Cup final victory and ending the infamous trophy drought will spur the rumor mill and perhaps encourage elite new players to come to the Emirates.

Perhaps it will also entice Arsene Wenger to stay.

 

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