Losing is a fact of life. Most of us have lost throughout our lives. Most of us will continue to lose throughout the remainder of whatever is left of our lives. For many of us that is why we support The Arsenal, because we hope against hope that somehow their winning will make the reality of our losing that much more palatable; that much more digestible; that much more bearable.
I have always spoken up for the team I have loved and supported for almost five decades. I have always defended the indefensible; always refused to listen to the doubters, always shouted down the detractors, always preached positivity rather than negativity, always stood for calm and reason over hysteria and fury.
When Arsene Wenger delivered nothing for five years I was the idiot standing there saying… forget it; it’s not that important; after all, they entertain us; after all, they’re just kids; they’ll come good; we have to be patient; we have to allow them to mature; we have to wait.
God; I feel such a fool.
I’m not going to talk about the specifics of the game; what is there to say? On Saturday the team was arrogant, and lazy, and undeserving of the support and adulation they enjoy from so many caring and long-suffering supporters around the world. On Saturday they were a disgrace and they should hang their heads in shame, but will they…? Somehow I doubt it.
What is it about today’s superstar and pampered footballers that they can treat so many loyal and steadfast supporters with such contempt?
Because that is what we witnessed at the Emirates at the weekend; utter contempt! Contempt for the badges; that so many of them kiss without a moment’s thought or emotion; contempt for the people who work all the hours God sent, just to spend their hard-earned money and few free moments sitting and watching the team they love, strut and pose for their own self-aggrandisement; contempt for the trust and faith that so many ordinary decent people have placed in them for so very, very, long.
Earlier in the week we were all privileged to read the financial reports, and see the tangible rewards of so much patience and loyalty and trust from Arsenal’s long-suffering fans.
Yes that’s right; it came from the fans, because, whatever words of adulation we might utter in reverence for Ivan Gazidis and Arsene Wenger and Cesc Fabregas and little Jack Wilshere, that’s where the money actually came from… Not from Russian oligarchs, or American tycoons, or stiff-upper-lipped English aristocrats, or hoity-toity, spoilt-brat, silver-spoon-in-the-mouth pretentious English ladies.
It came from you, and from me, and from all those millions of ordinary unsung nobodies who pay at the gate,or buy the Sky Sports packages, or the Arsenal TV online. It came from all those millions of people who will never bask in the adulation of the crowd, never stand before a TV camera, never offer an opinion to the masses, and never have another human being hang on their every word.
It came from all those ordinary hard-working people, who buy the shirts, and the coffee mugs, and socks, and the DVDs, and who sing the songs and stand-up for the team, and pray for the victories, and defend their beloved Arsenal against all those second-rate detractors who sit like carrion crows at a road-kill; all those ghouls who, unlike artless idiots like us, know it’s just a question of time, and who sit waiting for days just such as Saturday to prove their vindictive points.
We care of course… Each and every one of us poor fools who slavishly follow our beloved Arsenal cares, but do the players and the management and the board care in anything like the same way?
Of course they don’t.
They care if the club loses money. They care if they don’t get their win bonuses, or share of the spoils. They care if the stadium isn’t full. They care if the financial institutions mark their potential for investment down a point or two. They care if the television revenues drop, or the shirt sales take a dive, or if they don’t make the lucrative stages of the Champion’s League.
But they don’t really care about the team, and they don’t really care about us. They don’t really care about the anguish and the heartache we feel when the team we love and support turns in a performance so gutless and insipid as to shame every loyal Gooner and supporter of the club?
Of course they don’t, because this is what Arsenal, and every other football club in the land, has become.
The club we have followed, and loved, and cherished, and lived, and breathed, for so many years, somewhere and somehow lost its way. Somewhere and somehow it became a financial institution; a money-making scheme for wealthy investors who care nothing for the hearts and souls of literally millions of supporters around the world.
In a day or so I will undoubtedly feel differently, but right at this moment I don’t care if Arsenal is owned by Arab sheiks, or American tycoons. I don’t care if the club is owned by a cooperative of supporters, or a quirky old-English luvvy who just wants to do the right thing. I don’t care if we made money, or lost money, or sold another block of flats, or paid off another gazillion of debt.
All I care about is that we have just rolled belly-up once again, and yet another winter is approaching where the only thing I and every other loyal Gooner has to look forward to is getting pissed at Christmas and New Year, and waiting for the next set of unfounded rumours about who we won’t buy during the next transfer window.
I wonder if any of them know exactly how I, and so many other Gooners feel at this moment?
What am I saying…? Of course they don’t. After all, they just turned in the best financial results in Arsenal’s history… why should they?
Rant over… now what about tomorrow night? Are we gonna stuff those bastards or what?
Written by mikeB