I have been in a bit of a rut for a while now, because of the topsy-turvy manner our season has gone and this affected my writing about this team we have all chosen to support, for various reasons. Right now, as I pen this, on the eve of the mammoth match against the Red Devils from the North West, my spirit is at the lowest of ebbs. I am being urged by an inner drive to come out with this piece, but trust me I have no peace, of mind. I am inclined to write this due to a certain urging that abides in me at this period in time as I strive to pick a topic in particular to talk about.
I am as disillusioned, as the next fan is, with the way our season has unraveled in a period which we should scale through almost unscathed. Alas, we are reeling from three defeats in the last six games. The manner in which these defeats occurred lay in front of us, various problems they are, but problems that have been occurring for years now. Usually Gunners revel in defeats suffered by the enemies from West London, Chelshit, and I, normally a huge fan of this, cannot even bring myself to mock their current sorry predicament. This is because despite the problems they face now, it is no secret that in the next transfer window, they will fight tooth and nail to purchase a player or two to abate their current problems. Same cannot be said of our team. The problems we face today are no new ones. They are problems that have been allowed to grow and flourish with time and care and now are large, nutrient-sapping conundrums which threaten to derail an almost promising season.
The ease with which Dinamo Zagreb and Olympiacos beat Arsenal leaves a sore taste in the mouths of many fans. We have faltered several times in previous seasons, but this was supposed to be the year; with Chelshit stumbling, Manchester Petrol City fumbling, and the others bumbling their way to the finish line, to make amends for all the years spent in the wilderness as a majority of the Emirates Stadium debt was paid off. We find ourselves though in a quagmire. In a rut which may not end because several of the current squad members lack the mentality to want to go out there to win, at all costs, they lack the mentality to put their bodies on the line, to bring home the elusive Premier League trophy that the faithful who throng to The Emirates every match day despite atrocious ticket prices deserve more than any other group of fans.
Gary Neville after our recent capitulation to the Greek Champions spoke about the team focusing mostly on the aestheticism of their game rather than on the tactical matchups and instructions handed out to them during training, as a result they lock in on a particular game later than they should have. Gary in recent times hasn’t spoken as one of the brightest amongst the lot, which he is, but I agreed with this assessment. There is too much focus on their looks, playing the perfect pass and scoring that picture perfect goal. That is all well and fine, but to stop our almost insuperable decline into mediocrity of football, a really long, hard look should be taken, at everything happening behind the scenes and in view of the camera with regards to the club.
The fans of several great clubs have gone through periods of long suffering, Liverpool fans can quite attest to that fact. We’ve been spoilt rotten, Arsenal fans, as consistently on tight budgets Monsieur Wenger has come up with teams that have consistently qualified for the Champions League. But let’s be honest, is it alright to support one of the largest and grandest clubs in all of football and be content with just participating in the largest and grandest club competition, the UEFA Champions League, without really competing, because truthfully we have made a mockery of ourselves in this competition in the last five or so years since we last reached the semi-finals.
My thoughts may be coming out in an uncontrolled manner and I put them down as they come, but bear with me. These are the feelings of a fan like you, a fan disgruntled, a fan tired of coming up short, all the darn time. I have been a fan since 1999 when I saw Thierry Henry play for this marvel of a football club. Sixteen whole years of my still young life spent supporting what I consider my first and undying love, Arsenal. There are some fans that are looking to jump ship now that we are taking on water and it’s fully understandable. Some are insufferable in their support and at the slightest of problems, seek a way out. Some have also accumulated enough stress from supporting the team and also want to find their way out. There is actually a running joke in Ghana, which says, Arsenal fans rarely suffer from heart conditions because of the continued passion with which we support our boys in red and white despite the numerous impasses they find themselves in. To an extent this is true. But there’s only so much straw a camel’s back can take.
I pen this with the fervent hope that despite all the heartbreak suffered over the years and being suffered currently even, the tides will turn. Happy times will return to The Arsenal. Heady days will return. We shall persevere because we know no other team to support; we know no other team to love.
Bear with me. This is a fellow fan suffering inconsolable heartbreak because his team looks headed down the edge of the cliff. But these are the ramblings of a young guy who wishes and hopes for better for, and from the team he holds dear to his heart. Bear with me. As we continue on this perilous journey called supporting Arsenal with the aim of reaching our destination, a land filled with trophies innumerable.
Editor’s Note – Written pre Man United but the author was keen still to see it published.