The Ship Be Sinking

Mouth Almighty

Vieira

As is I hope obvious I hate chasing down rumors, but this one bears comment: the odds of this happening are slim, and if they do it’s a measure of how defeated this club is. Vieira is a legend; but more often than not the definition of a legend is someone who has-done instead of is-doing and that label fits old Patrick to a T. Vieira is not what he was; he’s a 33 year old cast-off from a second-rate league who’s not good enough for Inter and Mourinho and hasn’t played a full healthy year in league play since ’05-’06, and even in that year the blogs were full of laughing comment at his expense when Cesc nutmegged him in the center of the pitch during Champions League play. It’s inconceivable that a 33 year old who was subject to breaking down and looking off the pace in Serie fuckin’ A will be able to keep up with top-level Premier League midfielders. What’s more he’d be a former Arsenal captain coming in to a team which already has a former captain and a current captain on the roster, neither of whom are the team’s best player and all of whom have uncertain futures at the club depending on results. It’s a recipe for dissension and disaster, and if the team goes 3 games without a win at any time this year you could put money on things like “the press will ask Patrick about the things William said about Cesc and Andrey” and wind up rich.

Bluntly put, bringing Viera back is most likely a PR move designed to make everyone feel warm and fuzzy and hopefully distract the anxious. It’s cynical. And if it’s not- if this is really the best idea the people in charge have for the defensive midfielder role- then it’s simply embarrassing. It’s admitting that after getting rid of Vieira 5 years ago and winning nothing at all in the interim without him and never adequately replacing his role on anything more than an intermittent basis despite trying out probably 10 different players for it, you’re bringing back the old and worn out version of the man to try and recapture something long lost, and do so on the cheap. It’s like dating that girl who you ran around with back in high school when you’re 35, because both of you got fat and ugly and no one else would have you, and you know you don’t have to do much but talk about old times to impress her. Have some self-respect.

I hate to belabor the old analogy, but it still fits: one of the points where I realized the current hierarchy in charge of the Knicks was actually serious was when they told Patrick Ewing to politely fuck off when he inquired about their coaching vacancy. Ewing is every bit as much a Knicks legend as Vieira is an Arsenal legend; I would rate #33 the second greatest Knick of all behind Clyde Frazier and he’s one of only 8 players in team history to have their number retired, and a poll of Arsenal fans some years back had Vieira at #5 among the greatest Gunners. But the Knicks would not have Patrick back, because bluntly put: he wasn’t good enough, and they were not fucking around any more. The team was going to be bad anyway and they could have had their Patrick in as a sop to fans and a nice PR move, a warm gesture to the past; instead, they went out of their way to make a serious investment as an organization in Mike D’antoni, one of the best coaches in the entire league. If Arsenal go for Vieira instead of any number of other options literally world-wide for the same position, I take exactly the same lesson in reverse. The best defenses I’ve seen of a Vieira move so far have been “if it’s him or nothing, better him”, and maybe that’s true (or maybe it’s not if he proves disruptive). But the point remains: this is not a move you make if you’re not fucking around anymore. A serious club does not make their fans wonder if it’s this or nothing, after 5 years of waiting.

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July 30, 2009 - Posted by | The Arsenal, The NY Knicks | , , ,

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