This is not how I wanted this to end. Even if this decision was taken a while ago, I dreaded bidding farewell to Pain in the Arsenal off the back of such a sombre defeat. But here we are.
My 2,362nd piece on this site was meant to be a joyous one. I hoped that the final game of the season would be one I could revel in with you all without on-the-whistle reaction, watching from afar, yet still alongside you. Instead, Arsenal will play Everton needing a historic miracle to secure a Champions League place.
It won’t happen, but that doesn’t alter my gratitude to you all.
Indeed, I, Ross, am leaving my role as Site Expert to pursue new ventures one year, eight months, and 27 days since I wrote my first article, one entitled ‘Emile Smith Rowe: Arsenal’s Internal Creative Fix’.
Thank you and farewell, Pain in the Arsenal, as it is time for me, Ross, to move onto pastures new
Given the events that have unfolded this season, that piece seems like a fitting beginning to the end. Arsenal have fallen short of a target none of us predicted before the campaign began – our writers’ predictions were laughed at for the volume of 5th place predictions (I said 7th) – but there has been so much to enjoy from the campaign regardless.
Smith Rowe’s first half of the season was a sign of things to come. This is a special young player with Arsenal blood in his veins, someone who will wear the badge with pride for as long as he’s here, and start a new legacy of the No. 10 shirt.
The project is still afoot with this young side. Not during the Emirates era have I ever felt this attached to the team and the club. The atmospheres home and away have been spectacular, with a connection that mustn’t be weakened based on how this season has concluded. Reforging that bond was part of the growth; part of the rebuild.
But enough about Arsenal, eh? Many/most of you have read my ramblings for far too long. Monday through to Sunday every week there have been my #hottakes and analysis, that which I do hope some of you, at least, have mildly enjoyed. Perhaps some of you appreciated my occasional Lord of the Rings references. Probably not.
Hopefully I’ve managed to entertain and inform. Or, most likely, I’ve provided the ammunition to a furious comments section where you’ve correctly let me know how incredibly wrong I have been. If that at least took your mind off of the actual performances then maybe that was worth something too.
Without going too ‘Fergie retirement speech’, I hope whoever comes in to take over my role as Site Expert (it’s a strange title, I know), gets the same warm reception I had. It’s been a blast. I truly appreciate it all. Seeing the site break record numbers is something I will hold dear to my heart.
I absolutely adore this troublesome football club of ours, and even if my point of view hasn’t been one you shared, hopefully my passion and adoration for all things Arsenal has shone through. Putting thoughts into words in the immediate aftermath of a demoralising defeat is never easy, but I’ve nonetheless enjoyed it tremendously. And, besides, there have been plenty of moments to cherish along the way.
There may be a sneaky piece here and there (sorry) as I can’t stop discussing Arsenal entirely, but, it is farewell in this role.
Through the Willian’s, the derby defeats, the Arteta brain farts, the last-gasp winners, the transfer nonsense and the Saka and Emile Smith Rowe’s, I bid you all a very fond farewell. Goodbye.