, , , ,

Staring into retirement

Tomorrow is the turn of the new year, yet the season is already half way through. It’s the 2029/2030 season and a 38 year old Jack Wilshere have just another half a season to go before his retirement. This season, he becomes the first father and son combination to play for The Arsenal as Archie Wilshere walked his first steps in the first team of Arsenal.

That combination haven’t happen quite so often mainly because father Wilshere is no longer in his prime and has been dogged by injuries. Most fans these fans attribute that problem to England managers of all age groups who insist the presence of him in every squad. Meanwhile the 18 year old Archie is a precocious talent but the manager wants to reign in the high hopes on him and gives him the odd game here and there. That both Wilsheres seemed to possess the same qualities and thus vying for the same role in the Arsenal side is another reason why they haven’t played as often together as everyone would have liked.

The manager who controlled the situation is none other than the Dutchman Robin Van Persie. At the ripe old age of 46 now, the former Arsenal striker himself no longer has a single strand of black hair on his head. It’s all grey with experience and beginning to bald as well. Such is the strain of handling one of the biggest club in Europe. Who would have guessed back in 2002 when this rather arrogant youngster from Feyenoord would go on to be the first manager to ever win the Champions League title in 5 consecutive seasons. I didn’t think of this back then, I still can’t believe it now.

His 6 years in charge of Arsenal has been our most trophy laden one. One can definitely see the irony of that compared to his first 6 years at the club as a player. RvP’s return to the club heralded a period of dominance, not only in continental competitions but also locally as well. 4 Premier League trophies, 3 of them on the trot with Fulham (backed by the megabucks from a Singaporean consortium) preventing a continuous clean sweep. Doubles were achieved in 2023/24 and 2025/26.

Not only that but RvP has stayed true to the style of football employed during his playing time at the club. A far cry of the dour, percentage football used by his predecessor, Jens Lehmann. The former goalkeeper turned manager prides himself on the use of technology and numbers to come out with the tactics for each game. Which can varies from the use of 3 holding midfielders to using no strikers from one game to the next. Passing on information on pieces of paper throughout the game. That method was successful on it’s own, bringing in 2 league titles but without much success on the European front.

RvP brought back the flowing football into Arsenal. Something which we had not seen since the departure of Arsene Wenger. The wily old Frenchman who fought back against all the criticism and anger during his period of non-success to claim Arsenal first ever Champions League triumph in the 2013/14 season. RvP preaches the same stand on football, that there is only way to play it, no matter who we face. Of course, he was backed by the presence of a very good squad with senior Wilshere at the forefront of it. RvP will have to look for a new talismanic figure come this summer.

While successful in his club career, senior Wilshere never won anything with England and till this day, remains without a Ballon d’Or trophy. A question asked by Arsenal fans from all around the world for many years now. With injuries besetting his career, Wilshere had already decided that this season was his last. Arsenal are still second in the league position heading into the final half of the season. We are all hoping that it will end in joy and we will be able to celebrate another league title with Jack Wilshere in it. A farewell fit for a boy who for so long was the Prince and King of Arsenal.

*This is a fairytale inspired by nothing. It isn’t meant to reflect anything that’s happening now. If you don’t like it, then I can only apologise. Normal writing resumes tomorrow. I’m no soothsayer even if any of those comes true.