Time For Some Perspective

Being a football fan is really difficult.

Those that follow the most successful teams are rarely satisfied as their team must win every game and every trophy in order for them to achieve satisfaction. Then again, the fans that cheer on the others just want their team to be as successful as those above. No-one is happy.

This seems to be especially true of Arsenal supporters at the moment and I for one am struggling to understand why.

I haven’t written anything on this site for a while though, so let me begin by trying to sum up last season. In a word, I think I’d plump for “anticlimax”. I’m sure there are many who would have me hung, drawn and quartered for the failure to use a more emotive word such as “DISASTER” or “CATASTROPHE” (the capital letters being a key aspect of the delivery of the sentiment) but I’m afraid that “anticlimax” (lower case) is the furthest I’m going to go.

Humans have infeasibly short memory spans. The fact that regular polls of the “Best Song Ever Made” type always include a few of the current top 10 seems to back this up and the way people seem to feel about their football club seems to be almost entirely down to whatever has happened most recently. In order to study this further, we shall have a look at two examples from last season – Liverpool and Arsenal.

Liverpool’s season began in the most embarrassing fashion possible. For months, they were in genuine, serious danger of being relegated. Losses to Blackpool and Wolves (amongst many others) in the League and a home defeat to Northampton caused fury amongst the Liverpool fans and cost Roy Hodgson his job. By the time the season had ended however, the fans were wearing smiles as wide as the River Mersey and talking excitedly of the next season under the guiding hand of King Kenny.

Arsenal managed to put themselves in contention for all four trophies at one stage but an end-of-season collapse left them with nothing. The complete opposite to Liverpool’s season. Not quite.

Liverpool’s supporters have probably enjoyed their summer, basking in the glory of finishing 6th against all the odds and looking forward to their Messiah’s first full season at the helm. Arsenal’s have been left with the sour taste of another trophyless season, some awful defeats away to Bolton and Stoke and an embarrassment at home to Villa. Add to that the imminent departure of our best player and it feels like the world is about to end.

And yet overall, our season was much more successful than theirs. We didn’t lose to anyone from a lower division. We didn’t lose to Wolves or Blackpool. We reached the quarter-final of one domestic cup and the final of the other. We only lost to the Best Team In The World by a single goal over two legs and defeated them at home. We finished 4th and qualified for the Champions League.

You might argue that every team has different expectations but I would suggest that this time last year, the fans of both of these clubs would have had similar hopes. The only difference is that they enjoyed the end of their season whereas we only enjoyed the beginning and the middle.

Since then, the prevailing feeling of us Arsenal fans seems to be restricted to one unified view. We must buy as many players as we can get our hands on, they must all be at or near the peak of their careers and they must be paid whatever it takes to make them play for us. Then, and only then, will we achieve our aims. Not only that, but if we do manage to do that then we will definitely win every single football match we play and the world shall feel our fiery wrath. Or something like that.

Of course, the trouble with these sentiments is that not only is it totally impractical and insane but every single other team in the known universe feels exactly the same way! Even the fans of Manchester United are probably worrying about why they’ve spent so much on Ashley Young when Barcelona (the only team that were better than them in Europe last season) have Messi and Iniesta. As I said, no-one is happy.

Apart from me. Well, OK, I wouldn’t say I’m happy about losing the Carling Cup final in such embarrassing fashion. I’m certainly not over the moon about throwing away any chance of winning the league despite beating both Chelsea and United. And I’m not whooping for joy at the thought of Nasri and Fabregas leaving the club. But it’s July. There are still 6 weeks to go before the season starts and even then, every team in the league will have 0 points with 38 games to play. By that time, some teams will have spent more money than we’ll all see in our lifetimes on players who turn out to be useless and some will have done some shrewd deals. By that time, we might have done either.

We’re all in the same boat and, whilst we probably won’t win the league you never know. Fabregas leaving (assuming it happens) will be a blow because he’s such a great player but does anyone remember someone called Henry who used to play for us? A lot of people made a lot of fuss about the decision to let him go but you know what, we survived and for my money, were a better team the year after he left than we were during his final season at the club. Life moves on, we always knew Cesc was going to leave so let’s just see what happens.

It is hardly likely that the club are going to let it all go to rot and not at least try and replace him as well as strengthening the squad. So what is the problem with us fans waiting to see what happens, enjoying the (rather sporadic) sunshine and all trying to calm the hell down? It’s not long before we all have to start fretting every week about our football team for a whole 9 months so let’s just relax and enjoy life while we still can.

Categories Arsenal/Champions League/F.A. Cup/Football/League Cup/Positive/Premier League

Post Author: Simon Barnett

One Reply to “Time For Some Perspective”

  1. I believe we are basically singing from the same hymn sheet.

    I had intended to write a review of last season but it was so obvious it wouldn’t have taken enough words to make it worthwhile. Instead I will write a review of how I see things for the next few seasons as far as AFC is concerned.

    Assuming we don’t go down the road of a sole billionaire owner which I desperately hope we won’t, our pre season expectations will be to finish in fourth place having fought off Liverpool and Tottenham although I’m not convinced about the latter. We know we can’t and never will match the squads of the “big 3” but that doesn’t bother me. If players such as Clichy, Nasri and Fabregas would rather make occasional appearances for a “big” club and collect their mega wages then good luck to them.

    My hopes for each season are that now and again, we win one of the cups. All three are, in the end, knockout tournaments so there is always a possibility that with a favourable draw and on the day any team can win such as Birmingham City!

    At the end of the day we are true Arsenal supporters and at the start of the season 11 players will take the field at St James Park, Newcastle wearing those famous red and white shirts and will have my 100% support because that’s what being a proper football fan is all about. Yes there will be many times when we will complain about certain players and the manager but I have been doing this all my life and this is all part of the Arsenal supporting pleasure.

    I could write more about the way the game is changing for the worse, the crazy transfer fees and wages but what is the point as nothing will ever change in the near future.

    So finally I agree, let’s enjoy the summer close season, ignore any transfers and rumours and look forward to another season of supporting the greatest club in the world.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.