Arsenal could not lift their 14th FA Cup in front of their fans but they came up with a unique way to take the trophy to them.
It was a message that Mikel Arteta, his players and Arsenal staff hammered home in the aftermath of their 2-1 win over Chelsea at Wembley on Saturday. “It isn’t the same without the fans.”
Not just because of the jubilation of the final whistle, raising the trophy on high from the Royal Box, but the days after, that feeling of a beautiful summer stretching out in front of you but first of all the long weekend that reaches its climax with a trophy parade along the Holloway Road and back to the Emirates.
For all Arsenal’s recent success in this competition it has been longer than the club might have liked since they have been able to hoist silverware from the balcony in front of thousands of their supporters. In the days after the Manchester bombings of 2017 it was inevitably not possible for fans to congregate outside the Emirates Stadium to celebrate their win over Chelsea.
Three years later further events far beyond Arsenal’s control mean no reprisal of Jack Wilshere’s anti-Spurs chants, no salutation for Mikel Arteta, no microphone thrust at Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for him to perhaps make an announcement on the future.
Still there is something special about Arsenal and the FA Cup, something that is worth celebrating in whatever fashion is possible. If the fans can’t come to the trophy then the trophy will come to (some of) them.
And so hours after Aubameyang had sent the 6.3 kilograms of sterling silver crashing to the Wembley turf it made its first pilgrimage from the Emirates Stadium, visiting the homes of one supporter for each of the club’s record 14 FA Cup triumphs.