When it comes to football these days there aren’t many loyal players in the game. There aren’t many true football fans in the game and although I understand if you make it as a professional, the club you once supported as a kid becomes less valued because players will always want their team to win, some players continue to show the affection for their supported club, especially if it’s the club they play for.
At Arsenal we actually have quite a strong fan base in terms of the players at the club. Wojciech Szczesny, Emmanuel Frimpong, Carl Jenkinson and Jack Wilshere are all strongly public Arsenal fans and I’m sure every time they walk out on the pitch they are relishing the chance to play for the Gunners. So in my opinion these players share the frustration and disappointment that all us Arsenal fans have experienced from the club this summer. Not just on the pitch but off it as well. They understand the fans being angry and I’m sure they are desperate to make a change at the club.
I noticed after the Aston Villa game that Jack Wilshere was the only player to walk round the whole pitch clapping the fans after the final whistle, whilst everyone else went down the tunnels. Amongst the booing, the fans stopped to clap Wilshere’s class and you could see that it genuinely means a lot to him and that the result was as hurtful to him as it was to us.
Wilshere demonstrated class and quality at that moment and I’m sure he is determined to make a difference for this club. Wilshere is what Gerrard is to Liverpool and, like so many fans, we can’t wait for the day that Wilshere puts on that captain’s armband. As a fan on that pitch you’ll be more desperate than anyone to change the game, to be the effective force, to make the fans cheer come the full time whistle. That’s what Wilshere is all about and I have strong belief that he will be the player to make the difference because he sees what the fans see.