2013 – Year Of The Gun
Bienvenue, 2013! Thought you were never coming…
It's New Year's Day. And even though it's really just a Tuesday – or, to be brutally honest, a day – it seems like a good time to whip out Ye Olde Tarot Appe, and take a squizz at the fortunes of our favourite Club.
It's been a while since I did this – it's not as much fun as Hitler meme videos or Muppet songs – but in some ways it's really enjoyable, since the cards dictate the content: it's up to me to investigate and interpret their meaning.
As always, I'm startled at what the deck presented me. I decided to select 3 cards – the first representing Arsenal's Past, the second its Present, and the third its Future. I shuffled the deck three times, then drew the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth cards. They were the Four Of Cups, the Seven Of Pentacles and the King Of Wands.
What amazed me was the fact that I drew the Four Of Cups at the beginning of the season. The transfer window had, as usual, done its damndest to suck the life out of me. It all seemed so frantic and hopeless. We'd beaten Liverpool, but we'd lost van Persie. We were holding out for one last great (fourth) signing, but it turned out to be some 19-year-old goalkeeper whose name I still don't know. You can read that blog here.
Anyhow – bearing in mind that I'm not an Astrologist by trade – here is a layman's interpretation (with some interweb assistance from www.keen.com) of what Arsenal can learn from its past, apply in its present, and look forward to in its future. I hope you enjoy…
PAST: The Four of Cups
Weariness, disgust, aversion, imaginary vexations, as if the wine of this world had caused satiety only; another wine, as if a fairy gift, is now offered the wastrel, but he sees no consolation therein. This is also a card of blended pleasure. Contrarieties.
I think “weary” describes the current Gunner mood pretty well. Add “wary” to that, and I think we've got it all covered. We're weary of losing our top players. We're weary of inconsistent performances. We're weary of doing the same thing over and over, and expecting a different result.
We're also wary of fairy gifts: empty promises and hollow words. Wary of the Owner's apparent indifference, the Club's secretiveness, the Manager's stubborn elusiveness and the Players' growing power in this, the Age of the Agent.
We're weary and wary of stars who say one thing and do another. Wary of their supposed loyalty, weary of their greed. We're wary of leading, and weary of conceding.
Weary, wary, quite contrary
How does a Gooner grow?
Personally, I'm disgusted at the divisiveness that threatens to throw our club into darkness and despair any time the going gets tough. There is a sense of entitlement that accompanies much of the current discontentment, that I find rather childish, churlish, and un-Arsenal-like. (I thought class was permanent? If you don't have patience and humility, then you don't have class. Just my two cents…) There is also a tendency towards simplistic reductionism that borders on idiocy. Knee-jerk reactionism and sloganeering are not constructive.
The card symbolizes opportunities ignored or unrealized. Cups are the Tarot's suit of emotions and in this card they are your future regrets if you do not stop sulking or sleeping. The card is a call to action; it is time to wake up, be alert and to be open to new experiences.
Another way of looking at the Four of Cups: we have a bunch of trophies. But we're sitting back. Inactive. Petulant? Lazy? There is a Cup (trophy) on offer – but at the moment it is in the clouds. And we're snoozing under a tree, showing no apparent desire to claim our prize.
Or perhaps we had four trophies available, and some sneaky bastard in the clouds stole one while we were napping..? (I'm looking at you, Patron Saint of Bradford!)
Either way, it seems obvious that we have to be more pro-active if we want success. We can't just whinge while the modern game passes us by.
On a side-note: the Arséne Out Brigade may very well claim that their demands are exactly that: a pro-active response to our perceived lethargy. Fair enough – but I believe that we should devote our energy to things we CAN change. There's not much we can realistically do about the Owner and the Board, and feasible replacement options for the Manager are scarce…
If the Four of Cups is in the past position in your reading, the foundation of your current situation is based on not taking an opportunity that was once offered to you. Perhaps you turned down a person who was interested in you and now that person has gone on to have a successful career. You may have some bitterness over a failure to take advantage of a situation in the past. You may be angry at fate, you may be angry with some other person or group of people and you may be mad at yourself, but the presence of this card in this position is to insist that you acknowledge and accept the past. In such a realization of what happened, you will be able to move past it.
Don't know who on Earth that could be referring to!? A person who was interested in us but moved on to have a successful career elsewhere… Doesn't ring any bells.
Point is: that's the Past. That bird has flown, so to speak… We can only learn from our mistakes. Keep Calm and Carry On.
PRESENT: The Seven of Pentacles
'These are exceedingly contradictory; in the main, it is a card of money, business, barter; but one reading gives altercation, quarrels—and another innocence, ingenuity, purgation.'
How appropriate! A card of money, business, barter on the opening day of the January transfer window. Arsenal, supposedly sitting on a pile of cash, matched only by the pile of 'deadwood' in its squad. Problem is, we have a Manager who is historically reticent to acquire new talent mid-season.
In a business not known for transparency, Arsenal is famously secretive. And Wenger, who is arguably the most powerful person at the Club, is a deft master at the dark art of concealment. It is nigh impossible to get a straight answer from him. He answers questions with questions. Feigns innocence, dodges accusations – in a word, he conceals the true machinations of Arsenal Inc. behind an increasingly furrowed and less twinkly countenance.
I think the pressure's piling up. Soon he'll shrink, gain weight, borrow Rudolph's spare red nose, start chewing gum and become a lout. Perhaps, then, we'll start winning again? (It's a joke…)
One of the biggest criticisms leveled at the Club is its apparent disregard for its fanbase. There's probably nothing more frustrating than being a passenger on a vehicle with the windows blacked out, destination unknown. We're being held hostage, bound by our passion and loyalty, and the Stockholm Syndrome seems to be wearing off. We're starting to resent our captors, and that's not good.
Hence the altercations and quarrels, as indicated in the card. The feigned innocence has become disingenuous. I think an admission by those in power that all is not well in the state of Arsenal would be the first step towards correcting the problem. Wenger does a fantastic job of deflecting criticism away from the absentee Owner, the Board and the players – but often it makes him seem out-of-touch. The Emperor has no clothes, and it's not an attractive sight.
I don't believe there is cause for alarm – even less for panic – but I doubt there is a Gooner among us who believes that this squad holds a candle to the glorious Invincibles team after which this blog is named.
In the Tarot, the suit of Pentacles represents material wealth. The Seven of Pentacles represents the moment where one realizes that tangible success has arrived, and yet, after all your hard work, there is a moment where you pause and wonder what is to be done now.
Are you at a crossroads? Have things come to a head recently and are there a few choices as to which direction you should take? Is an investment paying off and taking you to a new level, but leaving you restless instead of content?
The Seven of Pentacles is the card that shows up in the Tarot readings of those pondering a change in their life's direction.
Purgation: the act of cleansing, purification; ridding oneself of undesired elements; freeing from suspicion.
Now is the perfect time to come clean, and start down the road to recovery…
FUTURE: The King of Wands
'Dark man, friendly, countryman, generally married, honest and conscientious. The card always signifies honesty, and may mean news concerning an unexpected heritage to fall in before very long. Generally favourable – may signify a good marriage.'
According to my Tarot – there is some hope. Apart from the 'dark man' reference, there seems to be a weighted focus on integrity: friendly, …honest and conscientious. It's hard not to imagine that the King of Wands is Arséne Wenger himself. (Perhaps if they had had sleeping bag coats back then, the King in the illustration would be wearing one. And there'd be a couple of plastic water bottles within kicking distance…)
I, for one, have never doubted that Wenger's intentions are good, or that he has the best interests of the club at heart. And I certainly don't doubt that he has what it takes to lead the Club into a brighter future. He is highly qualified, and has a healthy appetite for success.
But, taken in conjunction with the Seven of Pentacles, I believe that there has to be a paradigm shift in management strategy. And that includes fiscal and public relation strategies. In this day and age, especially during times of duress, it is impossible to lead an ever-expanding, ever-critical populace out of the wilderness without a clear road map. It is one thing to say you have ambition, another to show it.
The Ashburton Grove expansion project was ambitious, and, once the dust has truly settled, I think Arsenal will be fantastically placed not only to survive, but thrive at the highest levels. Mistakes were made, opportunities missed, and, in an effort to build a powerful Club, we neglected to maintain a powerful team. Rightly or wrongly, fans ultimately measure success in Football by achievement on the pitch, and not by financial performance.
We are not all share-holders. We're not invested for monetary return. We are invested emotionally, and a healthy bank balance doesn't give us the same return on our spiritual investment as a 5-2 win over Sp*rs. We've been spoiled by being 'top of the heap' during the first half of Wenger's reign. He delivered us a haul of trophies, and a team that went unbeaten for an entire season.
We have given him credit for that. The banks are being paid back. Now it's our turn. Our seven-year-itch needs scratching.
Are you finished with rote ways of doing things? Have you become easily bored? Can you see a big picture that features you at the center of a successful quest? Do you pass up the details in order to get on with a project and find yourself filling in the missing information later? Have you been enthusiastic enough lately to pick up the mood of those around you?
The King of Wands is the Tarot's card that appears when you are leading the procession up toward a new goal. The card represents the exhilaration of being “the one” but it can also represent an out-of-touch loneliness. If your vision becomes an obsession that does not include others or is constructed without considering the possibility of setbacks and failures, the King of Wands is a card that underscores an isolation created by needing an audience without understanding those very people who gave you their attention.
So – in summation – we find ourselves, tired but hopeful, at a crossroad. We have at our disposal the tools required to achieve our goals. We need to cleanse ourselves of the old ways, and move towards openness and honesty. There is no time for petulance, or to rest on our laurels. The success we have enjoyed off the pitch is not the final destination: it needs to be a launchpad for achievement on the pitch.
Because, at the end of the day, that will be the lasting measure of our accomplishment. There is no bronze medal. Nobody carries a list of runners-up.
The red-and-white Gooners who buy the tickets, devour the merchandise, attract the advertisers, and make the Beautiful Game a Profitable Business have one simple, over-riding belief – we sing it at every match:
And it's Arsenal
We're by far the greatest team
The world has ever seen…
Thanks for reading this far. Feel free to comment below.
Come On You Gunners!
Blogger's note: This post quotes some fantastic Tarot interpretations from www.keen.com. Specifically:
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“2013 – Year Of The Gun”invinciblog.com/?p=635Epic look at Arsenal’s future.Please Enjoy&Share!
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