Nine years is a long time for a club like Arsenal to go without a trophy, regardless of the various financial strife the club might have had to deal with in that timeframe. And one thing that every Arsenal player and fan will attest to is that they haven't been allowed to forget it – not by the media, the rival teams' fans or even the players/managers from other sides.
Time and again the words "trophy drought" or "Arsenal haven't won a trophy in X years" have been included in a story involving the North London club, even if that story might have had absolutely nothing to do with winning a cup or adding some silverware. You go into any forum and if anything concerning Arsenal crops up, invariably that trophy drought will be brought in.
Come Saturday evening, Arsene Wenger, whose tremendous achievements have been unfortunately overshadowed over the last several years due to this "trophy drought", and his Arsenal side will have the perfect opportunity to get that never-allowed-to-forget monkey off their backs.
They go into the FA Cup final at Wembley against Hull City as the overwhelming favourites – indeed they have been tipped to win ever since Manchester City were knocked out in the quarterfinals by Wigan, the side that Arsenal fought past via penalties in the semis.
In this ultra-competitive day and age of football, you are always judged by your results – it won't matter in 20 years' time how Manchester City won two English Premier League titles in three years – could be more -- and the manner in which Chelsea became English powerhouses from the nearly-theres.
While history will look at Wenger and Arsenal's run post 2005 a little more kindly than it is done now, if that drought continues, it will only highlight the failings of the club's greatest manager a little more starkly, and there would be no greater pity than that.
Time and again, every player that comes and goes from Arsenal, and there have been plenty of that – far too many to Wenger's liking – talks about how great a manager the Frenchman is, and how they want to win a trophy for their boss; the same tune is being played by the current crop of players as well.
A winning mentality is created with silverware; but over the past nine years, Wenger just hasn't had the opportunity to build a team – what could have perhaps been one of his greatest sides was dismantled when Cesc Fabregas left for Barcelona with Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy following suit to Manchester City.
Plenty more exits have been witnessed, before and after, but this season has been a little different. There was no big-name player leaving, and to add to that one of the best in the game was brought in, in a did-that-actually-happen moment on transfer deadline day last summer. So how fitting that the first time Arsenal have actually spent some money, which the fans have been asking for years and years, Arsenal finish the season with a trophy.
Mesut Ozil might not have had the amazing debut season which sets the tongues sticking out to the ground in awe, but the German certainly has had a major impact on the side, instilling that belief into the squad that they still are one of the biggest clubs in the world, and owe it to themselves, the manager and the fans to constantly win trophies.
The Premier League title hopes might have faded rather quickly at the turn of the year, but there were mitigating circumstances as well with Wenger losing some of his best, most influential, players for the crucial run-in where they faced all the big sides one after the other.
There is no such issue for the FA Cup final – pretty much everyone, barring Theo Walcott, who has easily been the player Arsenal have missed the most this season, is available. Aaron Ramsey seems to be back to his best again following injury, and Ozil looks a lot fresher than he looked a few months back. Jack Wilshere is back in the side, and even Abou Diaby made a comeback from another long-term injury to give Arsenal a boost.
The likes of Tomas Rosicky, Wilshere, Bacary Sagna, Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny will still have that miserable 2011 League Cup final against Birmingham in the back of their minds, particularly the latter two. Overcoming previous disappointment and pushing through is what separates the great teams from the good ones, but Wenger and co. will also have the luxury of fielding several players who have not been tainted by that defeat.
A mixture of horrible pain that needs to be put to rest and a fresh we-want-to-win-our-first-trophy-with-the-club impetus might just be the combination that takes Arsenal over the line – otherwise another million copies and taunts of "haven't won a trophy in X years" await.