“Fever Bitch” – Modern Football’s Transfer Warfare; The Arsenal Edition

As you can see by the
title, I’m thinking of recreating Nick Hornby’s legendary book, following the
highs and lows of being an Arsenal supporter back in the 80’s.

Now of course that book was all about the relationships
between a man and a woman and a football club, and the feelings that were
involved while juggling all three in the same headspace. Mine however will have
to be brought right up to date, and probably won’t involve any football
whatsoever.

It will involve The Arsenal of course (the main subject of
both – naturally). But it won’t involve the games or the climax or finales of
matches and seasons, or successes and failures, oh fuck no!  Not a bit of it, sure that seems to mean less
and less nowadays, it only plays second fiddle to most people’s favourite time
of year  – the bastarding transfer
windows. Sure some only seem to appear at the start of June and disappear again
until September, only to crawl back out from under their shitty rocks when
January comes into sight.

Researching into writing a book like this has become so easy
in comparison to back in the 80’s, thanks largely to the internet, or more
importantly – Twitter. Ah yes the blessed Twitter, a platform for every form of
human from the sublime to the utter bastard, from the beautifully melancholic
to the utterly vile, from cute photos of dogs to shots of mutilated ballbags
(best description of Twitter I’ve ever seen, even if I do say so myself). So
from a distance anybody can judge what a certain set of supporters are feeling.

So let’s just say it wasn’t me who was writing/researching
for “Fever Bitch”, but somebody who had no allegiance to our club. Let’s say
it’s ‘Zank Frappa’, freelance journalist from Zurich, for example. Now Frank
wanted a club to base his story on, and from afar he saw The Arsenal – a
fantastic modern club, with a brilliant manager, who have qualified for the Champions
League 16 years in a row, with some of the best young talents from all around
the globe on its books, plus a sparkly shiny new stadium and now with a bank
balance that makes us the envy of boardrooms and supporters all around the
world, and for the fact we are always described as having class. Plus we wear
red and white, and Zank Frappa loves red and white. Earlier research had given
him this info, and a lot of stories he found echo’s the class on show at the
club.

So Zank picks us to write about, but with the season not
started yet and no point heading to London until it kicks off, he wants to do a
bit of research on us the fans. So naturally the best way to do so is to log
onto Twitter and do a search for ‘Arsenal’, ‘AFC’ , ‘Gunners’.

What Zank discovers upon doing so shocked him to the inner
pit of his young soul. “Class? they say they have class? What the fuck!”.
(Immediately reaches for the cheapest bottle of spirits, gin preferably for
Zank, and cucumber –very modern). See what poor Zanky baby doesn’t realise is,
that our fanbase turn into absolute bellends during this period of the summer.
Not all of course, but a vast majority – well a vast majority on Twitter anyway.

He’s greeted to such crazy ramblings, that his head spins,
“What the fuck? Do these people actually support the same club?”. Some stuff
like as follows – (now we’ve all seen these tweets I’m sure, so nobody can
accuse me of making any of them up, unlike some people who do seem to just make
stuff up to fill blog posts and fit their agendas, none of that here I’m
afraid.)

1.      
A 16 year old kid taking abuse because all he
has seen is Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, so therefore he had never seen the
real Arsenal or the bad, bleak times. And their conclusion to this was that the
poor kid couldn’t ever be a real supporter. Of course their argument was going
against their own agenda, as these people were just admitting that before
Wenger the times were bad and bleak but he obviously changed that – but they
actually want him sacked – Logical, me no think so!

2.      
A young child wearing an Arsenal jersey holding
a knife under the tweet “Sign some players or else”. (I’m sure you’ve all seen
it.)

3.      
The usual overseas fans getting abused and
ridiculed as their support doesn’t count. I’m not even going to go into it
again.

4.      
People saying that Arsene Wenger (still our
manager) is walking round the training ground like the dude from ‘A weekend at
Bernies’. (early onset dementias I think they called it.)

5.      
And of course the latest one, that a supporter
wants Arsene Wenger to get brain cancer, so then he’ll be forced to leave the
club. (Holy mother of sweet divine Dennis, what the fuck is going on with our
fans?!)

6.      
We’ve got blogs stating that Wenger won’t be
signing anyone.

7.      
We’ve got others saying that he’s over-ruling
the board, even though they want to spend. (now the last I saw, Wenger picks
the players and then either Dicky Doctor Law or Ivan G. head off to do the
finalising, and if the board really wanted to spend, then they’d just come back
with the player and tell Wenger they’d paid the said amount, and sure it’ll
take him a year to find out, when the accounts are shown, and by that stage
he’ll be all settled in) so I don’t buy it for a minute, but a lot of folk do,
as it comes from large accounts, and numbers make them more credible.

8.      
And of course we also have the complete opposite
too.

So much so that Zank Frappa is ¾’s of the way through his
bottle of gin, feeling like he’s just got off a funfair waltzer and puked on
his pet parrot. He (and I) can’t believe the shit that’s been typed. Now you’d
think this is all just ‘KOK’ – kids on keybords – “Ah sure pay no notice”, but
it’s not, it’s grown fucking men, and in some cases, it’s grown men who’d
always come across as so chilled and intelligent throughout the whole season,
but with the dawn of summer as the transfer window creak’s open, they change,
they turn, they morph into some bloodsucking scumbag, all abuse and vile to
almost anything that types, like when the moonlight hits the man before he
turns into the werewolf, or like Richard Keys getting hit with a spotlight and
another sexual harassment charge.(same difference).

So for the love of god, take a step back away from the
keyboard, go grab a can or two, sit on a beanbag in your garden and have a
relaxing drink and a long chat with yourselves, please, for your sake, for our
sakes, and for the sanity of poor Zank Frappa, who was last seen rocking
forward and backwards in a chair at his window, ala Norman Bates, while staring
aimlessly at an aeroplane ticket to London and slowly moaning
‘Nooooooooooooooooo’.

Zank Frappa before research.

Zank after research

P.S. I’ve been so sickened by Twitter this last week or two,
I was going to send in the shortest blogpost ever, which would’ve looked
something like this –

“Catch a fucking grip” {full
stop}

And I’m sure some of you wish I had stuck to my original plan.

Anyways, until the future,

Keep it sane, and keep the faith.

#UTA.

John Woods


One Response to “Fever Bitch” – Modern Football’s Transfer Warfare; The Arsenal Edition

  1. Andre H██ August 7, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    "Now of course that book was all about the relationships between a man and a woman and a football club"
    Just finished Fever Pitch and you may be mixing up the book with the movie as the book was almost exclusively about the relationship between a man and a football club. Perhaps a chapter or two focused on a woman interceding in that relationship, but his father was more prominent as the other person in the relationship than anyone else

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