Great is Your faithfulness

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Through the Lords mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not; they are new every morning; Great is your faithfulness, (Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV).

For many of us, 2021 was a year which presented many challenges: redundancy, sickness, isolation and sadly the loss of loved ones. For others it was also a year of great opportunities and breakthrough. 2021 indeed was a rollercoaster of a year which has now passed and today – 1st January 2022 – ushers in a new year and with it a new beginning and chapter in each of our lives.

We should not take it lightly that we have made it into a new year after what many of us are likely to have experienced during 2021.  Therefore, we would do well to be reminded that we are still here only because of the grace of God and for that we must be thankful. 

There is no guarantee that 2022 will be a year without challenges and one would be rather presumptuous to think otherwise. But we can be encouraged in knowing that just as we made it through last year; we can experience the same during this New Year. We are here because the Lord’s mercies and compassions towards us failed not.

With each waking morning, may we then give thanks to the one who is keeping us; and as He blesses us may we in turn do Him proud by blessing others. He who has brought us safely through 2021 has a plan of good for us all in 2022: For He knows the thoughts that He thinks towards us, which are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope, (Jeremiah 29:11, NKJV).

So today, as you embark upon this new day, new year and new chapter in your life, why not begin it with God knowing that whatever is to come, you have a friend with you who His faithful; and as He has seen you through 2021 with all the challenges it presented, He is more than able to do the same for you this year.

I wish you all a year of joy, contentment, good health and wisdom; and may you be blessed to be a blessing.

©Copyright 2022, Darell J Philip

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Arsene Wenger: Invincible (2021)

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Arsene Wenger: Invincible (2021)

Fear guides the restriction of our ambition. You have not to be scared. Be audacious. Be ambitious. Your life can be wider than your widest dream,” ( Arsene Wenger, 2021).

I remember it like yesterday. The very first time that Arsene Wenger was announced as the new Arsenal Football Club Manager was during the very same season that I was chosen to be a member of the Official Arsenal FC Ballboy and Ballgirl squad. I remember being particularly proud of having the squad number 10 as that happened to be the squad number of the legendary Dennis Bergkamp in the Arsenal First team squad. I also remember at the end of that 1996/97 season when Wenger arrived and we finished in 3rd place, that I had the opportunity to shake his hand and thank him in his native French (Merci Monsieur Wenger) at the end of season awards at Highbury for all who had officiated for the club during that season. 

Nobody knew who Arsene Wenger was. In truth he was an enigma to us all. Little did we know that some 22 years later after his arrival to the club he loved that he would leave a legacy which marked him out as the most successful and longest serving manager in the history of Arsenal Football Club. And among the greatest of his achievements was to do the impossible in leading his talented team of players to win the English Premier League Title without a single defeat during the 2003/04 season.

The release of Arsene Wenger: Invincibles (2021) tells that story in his own words and he has a great supporting cast in Martin Keown, Lee Dixon, Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Ian Wright, Dennis Bergkamp and Arsenal’s greatest ever player in Thierry Henry. The documentary would not have been as interesting without the contribution of Sir Alex Ferguson who built a fierce rivalry with Wenger during those early years where only Manchester United and Arsenal were dominating and competing for that top spot.

While Wenger was unable to recapture the glories of the past towards the end of his illustrious career, he has left an indelible mark on the sport as a manager who paved the way for the likes of Jose Mourinho, Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp – managers imported from diverse European leagues who have become successful in their own right in today’s English Premier League.

If the nicest thing we can do is to send our roses of appreciation to those we love while they are still living, then a statue in honour of Arsene Wenger while he is still here with us would be fitting. 

It was a privilege to be a ballboy at the club when Arsene Wenger arrived; euphoric to be in Emirates stadium shouting my head off at the return of Thierry Henry scoring  a goal on his second debut in the FA Cup against Leeds and a delight to be among the crowd of red and white during the 2014 FA Cup parade – the first of three before Wenger took his final bow from the club which he lived and breathed and gave his all to. Audacious he was; ambitious he is and for us fans he gave us something wider than our widest dreams and for that I say “Merci beaucoup.”

Living Legend: Arsene Wenger 

© Copyright 2021, Darell J Philip