Friday, August 26

I Know I Am, I'm Sure I Am...

By @AAllenFootball

I don’t need to tell you that we Arsenal fans have endured a tough summer. You know it. I know it. The press can’t stop talking about it and rival fans are revelling in it.

While the wins against Udinese have secured Champions League football and gone some way to reviving a sense of hope for the season ahead, I dare say the doom-mongers will return should Arsene Wenger’s depleted squad be beaten by Manchester United on Sunday or if high-profile signings fail to materialise by midnight on Wednesday.

First things first I want to make clear that I don’t mind moaners per se. It’s impossible to be a football fan and not feel a desperate need to vent frustration when things are going wrong. That being said, up until a couple of years ago, the manner in which people did so was confined to private conversations with mates and family, or else tearful and lonely sulks lying face down in bed (just me?). The internet, and specifically social media platforms like Twitter, has changed that and as a consequence the whole world can now be put to rights in the most public of forums.

Never has it been easier to scream annoyance to such a large audience about the most minute of details. Whether it’s a bad pass, a foul, an offside, a disallowed goal, a crap referee, a shit substitution, an unlucky result, a poor run of form, the sale of a star player, the arrival of an unworthy replacement, another year without a trophy, a bad commercial deal, or the newfound riches of a rival club...the internet beckons your displeasure and stores the stories up like a diary of discontent.

All I ask as the season gets going is that we let go of the unrelenting misery...

We are Arsenal fans. We are lucky to be Arsenal fans. Nobody, except you yourself, is forcing you to be an Arsenal fan. To those who must moan, I’m not asking you to call it a day as a Gooner, but I would like you to reflect on how you think it is helping. Football is a team sport, being a supporter likewise. We need to stick together through the good times and the bad.

Too many fans (and this goes for all clubs) appear to have forgotten that success should not be measured by arrival at a final destination, but rather by the spirit and unity shown all the way through the seasonal journey. You need stamina to be a football fan. And how do you build up stamina? You stoically put up with downturns in fortune, cling to the good old days and pray for a better future.

Between 1998 and 2005 we greedily suckled at the teat of success. In the last six years we’ve had to make do with powdered milk and granted, it hasn’t tasted as good...but nor has it stunted our growth. The vast majority of clubs in England would do anything to experience year-on-year adventures in Europe, to be housed in a state-of-the-art stadium, to have international stars at their disposal and to be as globally respected as The Arsenal.

As Nick Hornby wrote in the foreword to the 2005 edition of Fever Pitch, “There aren’t many football clubs around where both young and old have lived through the good times.”

It’s worth remembering matter what you may have read in the last few months.


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