VIRTUAL INSANITY at Arsenal as Arsene Wenger’s men roll their sleeves up

Week 32 – Virtual Insanity

Arsenal City Flamini

I’ve said a couple of times this season that it can be difficult to write when things are going well for Arsenal, as there is far less to dwell on or debate over when everybody is happy.

If I can just ask you one favour, and that is if you ever hear or read that from me again, could you please kick me in the bollocks, call me a cunt and force me to write out the definition of the word “difficult” a thousand times.

In my own blood. With Diamond Lights on in the background. In Stewart Robson’s day centre.

Anyway, let’s start with the Swansea game eh?

Arsenal 2 Swansea 2

We were poor last night, of that there can be no doubt.

The freakish equaliser at the death can be no excuse, as in the first half especially, we didn’t do enough to win the game, I’m afraid. I do think if that equaliser didn’t come, however, it would’ve given the team a massive boost.

We actually looked like we needed the kind of boost that a come from behind, winning fugly kind of result would have given us. This was the kind of performance we’ve seen on many occasions after a painful defeat.

We looked scared, tired and totally bereft of confidence, until those two quick fire goals put us 2-1 up. I can only hope this devastating blow doesn’t affect the rest of our season, as we still have some massive games ahead of us.

That’s the game covered as I saw it anyway, but as usual these days, it’s not just the game we are talking about after!

Flamini Swansea

I don’t know about you, but I am sick to the back teeth of everything that goes on between games. That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of debate to be had, and questions to be asked and that, but the toxicity of the atmosphere is both out of hand and out of proportion.

As I wrote that I thought to myself “how the fuck can you get a toxic atmosphere on your phone?”  Seriously, it’s social media, not a real fucking place!

If it were not for Twitter et al we would all still be extremely pissed off, but unless your place of work, or day centre, consisted of entirely Arsenal fans, half of whom share your stance on the situation and half who don’t, then this “atmosphere” would surely not exist.

Instead, we all jump onto our phones or PC’s and look for either our comrades in arms, someone to disagree with or simply someone to reassure us everything’s gonna be alright.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met people through Twitter who I’m happy to call good friends, and I’m fully aware none of you would be reading this right now if it were not for social media, it’s just that there are occasions when the Darren Berry of five years ago would kick @DBerry1974 square in the bollocks for giving any kind of fuck what someone says on the internet.

I also wonder whether Arsenal supporters around the globe, or just those who simply don’t or can’t attend any matches actually perceive the match day experience itself, because in my experience, there is still a huge difference between the match day experience and everything that goes on between.

Perhaps it’s about who you surround yourself with before and after a game as much as anything else, I’m sure that works on both sides of the imaginary fence, I’ve not seen anyone hanging from the rafters of the North Bank yet and, the Villa game aside, I can’t say I’ve personally felt any more than the general ire that comes with poor performances and defeat than any other season.

Maybe that’s just me though, I don’t know. Don’t @ me.

Enough is Enough

It’s due to the above that I am not going to mention what I originally intended on focusing on this week, which is the shocking abuse directed at the manager, and among fellow supporters. You know, that “toxic atmosphere” thing.

Wenger Out 2

Most of us have been guilty of that at some point or other. Instead I’ve decided to focus on the match day experience as it actually happens, and I can’t think of a better time, or a better game to do this.

So here it is….

Arsenal 1 Manchester City 1 – No clean sheet, one dirty bed sheet

After all the shit that went down after the Swansea game, and all the talk of protests and all that, I personally could not wait to just get back to just going to watch a football match with friends.

To me, that is still what it is all about.

The Swansea equaliser hurt a lot. As much as anything else this season, if I’m honest. But come Saturday I’d almost forgotten about it.

If the worst thing about an early kick off is that we are pretty shit at them, then the worst thing about a late kick off is the clock watching while waiting until it’s a reasonable time to go to the boozer before the game.

Yes, I know any time is a reasonable time, but I have things to do and shit.

Anyway, on arriving at the pub around 3 o’clock, everyone was in good spirits, even joking about how many City were going to beat us by. The words lubricant and bumhole were even used at one point.

Not in the toilet, before you ask.

This is the whole point I’m trying to make, no matter what goes on in between games on the glorious invention that is social media, not one thing has changed for me as far as the match day experience goes. In fact, it has got even better this year.

Once again I met people for the first time that I would probably not have met if it were not for that toxic place we spend so much time on in between games.

The football wasn’t too bad either actually, and for the record I was one of the select few who left the lubricant at home, thinking we could get something from the game, and I celebrated as much for our equaliser as I did for any of the goals against Everton that took us to a Wembley semi-final.

FBL-ENG-PR-ARSENAL-MAN CITY

And therein lies another important point for me.

Sometimes, you can lose yourself enough in a football match to forget everything else that goes on around it – the ball hitting the net is all that it’s about for a split second.

After the game, a few more beers, more chats with people I met for the first time, a few songs, another great day out.

Come to think of it, I can apply that to every game I’ve attended this season.

I apologise if this all sounds a little bit wanky, cringey or #GoonerFamily for any of you, but it’s surely better than jumping straight on your keyboard on a Saturday night to moan about the fact that hardly anyone turned up to see what work of art you created on your spare bed sheets, no?

Exactly.

Until next week,

Up The Arsenal!

Darren Berry


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