Why do we love the Arsenal?By: Perry | July 9th, 2012
After enduring one of the worst summers in living memory for any club, and then back it up with the worst start to a season that Arsenal have had to endure for almost 100 years, I’m beginning to wonder whether we will find ourselves going through the exact same again this season. I guess we have made a good start to the transfer window, but I am now fearing the worst.
When I say that I am fearing the worst, let me make clear what I mean. I do not mean that I think the club will perform worse than we have in the past few seasons and fail to gain Champions League qualification again. I do not mean that I think we are about to experience a player exodus throughout this transfer market and beyond. What I fear the most, is that once again the club will be verging on civil war at the supporter level, in the dressing room, and perhaps worst of all, at the management level.
I am very cross. On top of the fact that he who must not be named has blindsided his club quite a bit, he has left me in a situation whereby the articles I had planned for the next few weeks (some of which I have written) are now not nearly as relevant. I guess I knew deep down that the situation of-which-we-dare-not-speak would come to a head at some point, but based on last season I guess I was expecting it to take a little longer before the Arsenal fan base degraded into anarchy, much like last season.
Like every other season in recent memory, I had begun to tell myself that it was in fact this season that was going to be different. Most years we are always very close, or at least Wenger tells us. I’m not convinced that we have been close to winning the league for quite a while now, however, we always seem to be building towards being competitive.
Some seasons (such as the 2010-2011 season) our consistency has been at fault, and in other seasons we have just lacked quality or depth. Some will claim that we have been much more injury stricken and have much worse luck with the draws in cup competitions (such as constantly drawing Barcelona and AC Milan), and whilst I think these arguments are reasonable in my eyes, they do not place us any closer to winning a trophy. We need to be able to better these teams in order to win, and we fail to do so. It doesn’t matter whether it is the fifth round of the FA Cup or in the final of the Champions League, the bottom line is we haven’t been the best in any competition for too long.
However, as I stated earlier, I have this permanent urge to forgive the team and the club for their inadequacies due to the permanent state of rebuilding that we seem to be stuck in. Our club boasts some of the world’s most talented players. Arsenal have players such as Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jenkinson and Gibbs. These names include only those that feature regularly in the first team, and not the many others who are yet to make the jump (Miyaichi and Afobe, for example, jump to mind). The fact that Arsenal boasts some of the best young talent in the world, and especially the way in which these players are used regularly in the first team during our campaigns is one of the main reasons that I love this club so. Arsenal develop these great young players who are the pride of the club into superstars, and whom fit into the Arsenal playing style perfectly.
This brings me onto my next point. I remember roughly this time last year a large riot erupting outside the station from which the Homey train was leaving, about whether the fans would rather win trophies and play an ugly style of football (Stoke jumps to mind) or whether they would rather we continued to play attractive football and continue our trophy drought. At this point in time I think that question is irrelevant, however, it amazed me how passionate people were about the Arsenal playing style. None of us have any real ability to control the way the club is run or the way the team play. There are really only two people who can have any influence on these matters, and as such there is no real point discussing how the club is run (although it still won’t stop me). At this point in time Wenger is the manager, and while that remains the case, I believe that we will continue to play attractive football, and this attractive football is another reason that I love the club so. I honestly believe that there is not a single club who plays more attractive football in all of England, if not the entire world, and this gives us fans even more reason to be proud of the club.
After taking a weekend away, I was planning on waking this morning and writing something. I didn’t know what I was going to write, but given recent events it wouldn’t have been too hard to come up with something. But I sat at the computer this morning and couldn’t decide what it was that I would write. I didn’t feel like writing a vitriolic piece about he-who-must-not-be-named, or about how I think the club is being managed poorly at a number of different levels. The fact was that I could only think of negative things to write. I really don’t think we need more of that being thrown about, we have two whole months left where there will be plenty of it, and I’m sure I will contribute.
I instead found myself thinking about why it is that I love the club so much. What is it that makes me stay up until 4AM watching the guys play when I have to be at work at 9? What is it that makes me spend hours scanning the internet and watching old games in order to analyse how the team and club are going? What is it that makes me want to write pieces for this blog in order to keep it alive?
I love football, and the bottom line is that no one does football better than Arsenal. That is the simple answer.
I follow lots of sports. This time of year is probably the worst of all, especially if the World Cup or Euros/Olympics are on. For example, tonight I will be up until 2AM watching the Tour, after having stayed up until 3AM last night watching the tennis. As soon as the Tour is over the Olympics kick off. On top of all of this of course, there is local sport on. I follow many of these sports, and do enjoy watching them. I just don’t feel passionate about any of these sports, however. I have teams that I support, but I don’t really care if they lose, so long as I get to see a game of Rugby, or a game of tennis.
In football though, there is Arsenal, and teams that I hate (with a few small exceptions). I feel like my love for the game has been converted into a love for Arsenal, because they stand for everything that is still good in the game. I always stick by them, and although they have disappointed me at times, I feel like they have always stood by me.
I think it is important for us all to step back and contemplate why it is that we follow the Arsenal sometimes. Until today it had been far too long for me. The bottom line is, that I love watching the lads play, and when they do, I feel proud. Obviously there are times when I feel less proud than others, but at the end of the day, I love watching Arsenal play. I’m sure most of you are the same.
Just try to remember that over the coming months when things go badly. No matter what happens, on August 18th, we will get to watch Arsenal play their opening competitive fixture for the season. I am looking forward to it, and I have faith that the club will continue to satisfy us as fans.
As I mentioned earlier, I worry that the club will become very polarised again. Whilst we can’t really have any control over what happens in the dressing room or boardroom, we can control what happens amongst the fans.
Until next time.