Serious talk of elite managers, elite players, systems and tactics is the lifeblood of the serious football fan and there are always fixtures to look forward to and world class players to watch.
Alex Ferguson elevated Manchester United to that elite status so that they stand on equal footing with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Juventus and those other clubs that have consistently vied for that trophy with the large ears. Some clubs with their names etched on as past winners can look back with fond recollections and imagine future efforts to add to their haul.
The smokescreen of consecutive qualification hides the fact that we have only ever come close to winning the trophy once (possibly twice); these are not the credentials of an elite club.
The Invincibles did not reach this peak but the 2006 side reached the final, by beating the big boys, where selection decisions and fortune cost us. Okay, that's how it went but our club, having tasted that magic should have said 'we will return"
We did not then have the desire or ability to say "let's get back there with the big boys and win it next time". In other words small fry thinking.
We seem to be just there to make up the numbers year on year and from 2006 we have drifted further away from challenging. If we were a 'lesser' club that would not be a problem; it would be a bit of a bonus, but we are The Arsenal, a club that established itself in the ECL and then conceded that we were not big enough to stay and certain powerful people at the club need to be reminded of that.