Even though I took a small siesta after I saw Spurs’ first goal I was able to wake up in time to see Gary Cahill’s set piece goal and then PFA player of the year (er, last season…), Eden Hazard, fire in the winner (er, draw-er…) and it was all very exciting. The pace of the counterattack was strong and the first time strike was of title-winning quality. The place was rocking. There’s nothing quite like a stadium singing about their (ex) manager. Soon enough at Arsenal, I fear… Hopefully there wasn’t too much anti-semitism, a problem to which we’re not immune either. http://dailycannon.com/2016/05/anti-semitism-its-not-just-about-tottenham/
I don’t mean to be cynical…so I won’t be (or at least not too much)…
A foreign Billionaire owner bending the rules (just a little…) but bringing in a nice and very experienced manager who added a few good players to an already decent group. Add to that some modern elements (stadium, pitch, fitness ideas) and a fan-base with zero expectations and all you need is a little magic. Or a lot of magic. In the end, despite almost all believing that Leicester would revert and relent, it seems that, as they sometimes say, “Together, anything is possible.” At Arsenal, it’s in our motto: Victoria, Concordia, Cresit. I’m no Latin scholar, but I think it’s victory, concord–the opposite of discord–and growth with the usual translation, “Victory through Harmony,” not being too far off. We’re lacking the two Cs, so why should we get the V?…Oh wait, that means something different in England…
Congratulations Leicester City, 2016 Premier League winners.
Sorry, no sour grapes for me.
That it could happen with Tottenham reaching too high (like the fox in the fable, you know, about the sour grapes…) and falling flat seems all the better.
Chelsea have a very nasty edge and the only times this season I saw them as motivated as they were last night was in our two matches–the ones which dented (if they didn’t kill off completely) the Arsenal season and spirit. How did we have two players sent off in those two but nobody went off in last night’s? I guess referee Mark Clattenburg didn’t want to kill the “spectacle.” as he did in our home match and as Mike Dean did for the one at Stamford Bridge. There was a retrospective ban in that one for Diego Costa (while Gabriel Paulista’s red was rescinded) as perhaps we’ll see after last night. Though they will go down as the worst title defenders in PL history, you have to salute Costa and John Terry (the playing faces of the Jose Mourinho legacy…) for getting their mates up for it against their London rivals and using the hate of their supporters to motivate their own.
Hate, I fear, does seem to motivate… But it’s not as much fun as love… 🙂
So, congrats to Leicester but Arsenal’s season isn’t over yet.
We still have a (remote) chance to finish as the top team in London and I think we should go for it. We’ll probably try for a bit of Claudio Ranieri’s more Italian style of football (or at least defending and trying to nick goals on the break) up at Manchester City with the hope that some extra rest and European distraction takes a toll on the (Blue) Mooners. It won’t be easy, especially given the form our team is in, but it seems infinitely better than looking over our shoulder and inventing scenarios for Manchester United or West Ham to catch us. What could be worse than for our top 4 place to come down to needing a result in a game between this season’s biggest losers (us and Aston Villa) on the final day?
But that’s Arsenal, so we should be prepared. Nothing easy, nor fun. For some reason it’s what we do. We worry and we turn inward to create scenarios about how bad we are and losing all our matches. Or we believe we should win them all just because we (as supporters) are going to spend the time (and perhaps the money) to watch. Some have probably chosen Arsenal as their big team because their smaller club would never get close. That’s a big price to pay and there must be some Leicester based Gooners (and others who turned to supporting a non-local club) paying it today . Even a trip down to the pub costs the price of a beer or two. (Sorry, I’ve yet to find a pint that will last the full ninety.) Listening on the radio, I have gathered, however, is still free, but that comes with journalists viewing through the opposite of red (and white-sleeved) tinted glasses. Everybody loves a villain and somehow–even for ourselves–we’re it.
Where is the Love? Where is the Magic?
Personally, this is my preferred version of songs with this title, but now I’m dating myself… Besides, I can’t ever listen to too much Fergie…
We used to have some magic. Somehow, with money troubles all around us, or at least a stadium that could not meet the demand for tickets, an unknown manager with the same name as the club (spooky…) inherited some quality players, added some good ones and got everybody together with some modern ideas to win some trophies and create some history. If only Arsenal had spent the money and bought the rights to the term “invincible,” the DVD wouldn’t have to be called “49.” Instead, they spent it on that new stadium and new players and more contracts for that manager. Ten years ago it all seemed a pretty nice thing, at least among the Gooners I met when I lived (briefly) in Highbury.
I also met more (many, many more) Gooners on the internet, which I soon learned, was where the line between support and critique was a very permeable one. In fact, I learned that by critiquing I was supporting, and those who accepted the status quo were actually failing in their duties as supporters. Revolution (or at least suggesting major, minor and oftentimes speculative or impossible tweaks for improvement) was going to happen one keystroke at a time. A form of magic if ever there was one.
So, magic (at Arsenal) turns out to be about believing that we (or at least somebody new) can manage the club better than the current manager. It’s also about spending money to match the biggest spenders, unless (of course) the players turn out to not be worth it. (That would be stupid…) It’s about playing players who are on the bench or out of favor (sorry, American spelling…or not fit or out on loan…) because, at one time, perhaps in a memory from the stadium or from Match of the Day (or in a youtube compilation or because somebody said so) we remember them doing something that has to be better than what’s on display.
At terrace level, the tickets are too expensive but the football isn’t worth watching so the seats stay empty. Maybe being able to say you can afford them–and/or having your accountant write it off as an expense–is the real magic of being an Arsenal supporter.
Last weekend it came down to protests with signs printed, you guessed it, from the internet, and manager Arsene Wenger doubled down by criticizing (ugh, z instead of s, more Americanisms…) the home support in the easier matches. It was ugly but we won the match and afterwards he addressed the happiness issue. “You want to make the fans happy. I’m sorry if I don’t achieve it. I’m irritated and frustrated if I cannot keep people happy. I want to make people happy.” I preferred a small quote from beforehand, one perhaps missed by those so incensed by his accusations. “When a club cannot enjoy anything anymore it is in trouble.”
In my view, Arsenal is in trouble. These are not happy times at our club and if being a football supporter is (as is sometimes said) all about the suffering, Arsenal as a club, including our manager, players, fans–and our internet–is perfecting the brand. Leicester winning the league, however–something their long suffering supporters could not have dreamed up–is the antidote, and I cannot begrudge them (or anybody else) for enjoying it.
So, congratulations to Leicester City. For Arsenal there should be a lesson in it: onward, and, ideally, upward. Away from (self) hate and towards love…Maybe? As it is for all football supporters, our club is not (and never will be) good enough to avoid the suffering, but, perhaps, we’re good enough to dream. As such, back to the future, I say…