If at first you don’t succeed, try again. If at nth time you don’t succeed, do not try again.

Gone are the days when soccer was the preserve of men. Today, we women also enjoy it as much as male counterparts and it is not surprising to see gender specific jerseys of the top European clubs in our shops.

In the spirit of love for soccer and the excitements in the premier league this season – the wins and losses, the jeers and cheers, the love and hatred for the game, let us go philosophical and take a lesson two. Shall we?

In my few years of following the premier league, one of the teams that have caught my attention is Arsenal. I like their tenacity and drive and the fact that despite their recent problems in matching the big teams especially in the EPL and Champions League, they have always maintained hope of a better and brighter day that will take them back to the time of the Invisibles.

The hero of the Arsenal story over the past decade or so has been their French Manager, Arsene Wenger who has been manager since 1996. His hay days with the club were all rosy and successful. He won the Premier league and FA Cup in the 1997/1998 season and led the team to the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final where they lost to FC Barcelona. Those were the glory days of Arsenal. However, the story is not the same today.

Winning trophies has been trying and discouraging. The club is now only scavenging on past glories, as is the habit of many of us. You hear a lot of folks reminisce about “the good old days”, not “the now better days”. The question here is what happened? How did it get this worse? Who is to blame for such unfortunate turn of events? The forward-looking introspection is, “What do you do to solve the problem, instead of thinking of the past years of plenty?”

Try again. Try again

Tis a lesson you should heed

Try again

If at first you don’t succeed, try again

Then your courage should appear

For if you persevere, you will conquer and never fail

Try again.  

This poem above has prevented a lot of people from giving up. Trying again is okay. In fact, that is what we all do. If you fail WASSCE, try NOV/DEC, if you trail a paper, re-sit it.

In our health sector for instance, trial and error is the bane of human life yet our patients are alive and kicking. So trying again over and over is good because we are neither perfect nor jacks and jills of all trades. But… It is not all good.

When you keep fixing something for a very long time, it wears off due to the pressure, push and pull, it is subjected to. Some things, when fixed, never go back to their original state. Arsenal is worn out. It has undergone hassle and bustle from the manager, players and their supporters. Yet, its health keeps deteriorating. Some relationships need to be let go, especially when there is no marriage in sight. After all the chronic cheating, and promises of change; after all the battering and promises to reign in the anger; after all the emotional torture, let it go. It is not worth the fight.

Channel your energy into something profitable. When you realize, you are failing in a certain field of expertise, no matter the effort you put into it, my sister, and my brother, drop it and concentrate on weightier matters. Time is too scarce a resource to waste it on the irredeemable. And learn not to repeat such mistakes.

“It is well. It is well. It is well.” This mantra when chanted countless times loses its lustre and consolability. I am tired of hearing Arsenal fans say, “it is well, next season, we will win the league”. I am tired of hearing their self-encouragement, which leads only to more losses. I have lost count of the several times they have had to convince themselves of a better tomorrow. They have accepted all the failures with hope that a brighter day is coming when they will smile again. Nonetheless, the future is bleak. Till when shall we wait for redemption? Till when?

Change? I guess you are tired of hearing the word, too. Change is constant. Change is a necessity. When you decide to stunt its manifestation you end up hurting yourself. Arsene Wenger has been with Arsenal for as long as Robert Mugabe was president of Zimbabwe. Young supporters know no coach apart from him. Some change, fresh air is all the team needs.

No matter how good a leader is. No matter how smart a leader is. No matter how energetic or boisterous he is. Irrespective of his charisma and poise, education and wisdom, when he is not performing he needs to go. That is why we have elections. So that the fresh blood who come into the game when the other players are tired can shake up things a little. Arsene Wenger, like Kwasi Nyantakyi, needs to go. For as long as I can remember, Kwasi Nyantakyi has been the GFA boss. Yet, the state of sports affairs has worsened considerably. We need new energy and spice to get things to work again. You have been in the comfort zone for too long. It is time for change.

Arsenal is like one who has access to a lot of food, and nutrients in their right proportions, yet remains slim. Arsenal is one of the expensive clubs in the world. They can buy any player they want and not feel a dent in their purses. With all these resources at their disposal, they are unable to yield the desired result. Money answers all things, but money is no guarantee for success as PSG have made taught us recently. That you have everything you need to succeed does not guarantee your success. Invest your time and resource wisely.

A lot of us these days take advantage of those who believe in us. It is not unusual for fans to change their social media handles to that of their favourite teams and players or even coaches. That is solidarity. That is loyalty. In their own way, they are saying ‘Come rain or shine, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until the bones are rotten, I am with you always.”

Here is a twist to it: There is vulnerability in declaring your stance. The subject of your affection becomes complacent. They begin to think it is their right to be given the attention, whether they deserve it or not. They become so comfortable that they are offended when the shade is taken away from them to bear the scorch of the sun.

That right there is Arsenal, one of the most successful team on planet earth. They feel entitled. They feel no matter how much of a mess they are, the supporters will always be there. They take advantage of their supporters; those who believed in them when other teams trolled them. Those who were at the mercy of memes and offensive jeers. Some even lost friends and families due to their loyalty to their team. Yet, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.

When you lose, do something to show your fans and supporters that you are able to turn things around. Looking unconcerned for things to worsen is wizardry. Losing 0-3 to Manchester City, twice in a week shows they are not ready to change.

Be alarmed, when you or your partner is no longer fazed by failure. You are bound for doom when your conscience is seared with hot iron, so much so that you can no longer feel the sting of failure. Check yourself when you do not care whether you win or lose, life goes on. This lackadaisical mentality is a killer.

At this state, apostasy sets in and you no longer feel the need to be forceful. You no longer think it necessary to retreat, recoup and re-strategize. You lose your sensation to pain. This is the beginning of metaphoric leprosy. Check yourself, lest you drift so far that your ailment becomes resistant to treatment.

Have you ever been in a group where you are left to do all the work, yet credit goes to the group after success is clocked and the blame apportioned to the patriotic one when things go awry? Yes. This is the state Arsenal finds itself. I blame the Gunners who expected Arsene Wenger to resuscitate Arsenal all by himself. As good as he is, he is unable to do all these alone. Today, he is termed the Odomfokumfo, the doom of Arsenal. He takes credit for all the trophies and wins as well as the losses. Ironic right? A team that does not work together is bound to fail irrespective of how good the leader is.

Always remember your loyalty is yours and yours to decide who deems to be at the receiving end. Only fools do not change their minds. Go where you are appreciated, not where what your offer; expertise, time and other resources, is rated above you, as if they can get the content without the container.