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Football, the ups and downs just like our every day live

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

By Walter Broeckx

Supporting a football team is not always fun. I think most of us will agree with that. Certainly  after two defeats in the league.  But in a way supporting a football team is like the everyday life of you, me and a few million others.

There are days in our live that from the moment we wake up till the moment we go to bed everything just works out for us.  We don’t burn our lips or tongue when we drink our morning cup of tea (or coffee but I’m a tea drinker). You step outside to go to work and your car has no frozen windows so you can start it right away and don’t have to defrost it in the ice cold morning. You have no traffic jams when you are on the road, you even don’t have to stop for a red light. You have a great day at work with your boss coming over to tell you what a great job you are doing a few times that day. You go home and your wife/friend/whoever cooks made your favourite meal and it tastes heavenly. There is a great movie on TV, you have a great conversation with your wife/friend/whoever is in your house in the evening and the you go to bed and then I leave it up to you to fill in the dots…..

So it may happen on occasions that you have such a day. Enjoy it to the maximum is my advice. Alas, not all days are like this. In fact I think you seldom will have such a day. I usually burn my tongue in the morning once in my hurry for that first hot drink. I don’t have the traffic jams that much but my boss is not singing my praise each day (although I cannot complain about him at all). I don’t eat my favourite meal each day (I would get overweight I think) and sometimes there is nothing really on TV that is worth watching. I don’t have a great conversation each day with my wife and about the rest well I will fill in my own dots if you don’t mind…..

Supporting a football club (or any other sport club in fact) is more the second version of life than the first I gave.
The first version would be winning each game. Well no club manages to do this. Not even Barcelona can do this. They come close but they also have their bad days.

At Arsenal we have the second version of life for the moment. That is for sure. We, and this goes for all those who have been supporting Arsenal from before the 2003-2004 season have been blessed with the invincible season. This was as close as any team in the modern era of football has been able to come to the first utopia version of live. Those who have had the honour and privilege to have seen it have been blessed.

And sometimes I wonder now why on earth didn’t we enjoyed it enough. After a while it became …dare I say it… maybe a bit boring. Because the hope/fear for the win/loss is just what makes it so exciting to be a supporter. If you know you will not lose the game because you seem to be invincible then it takes a bit of the joy away of the win itself. You kind of expected us to win our games in that period. After a while you took it for granted that you would not lose the game. So winning became a bit of a ‘oh yeah, sure just another good day at the office..”-feeling.

But those days are gone, even though we would love to see them back. Will the ever come back?  I doubt it to be honest. If you just look at the crazy amount of money that some teams have thrown around and still they are not able to come even close to what Arsenal have achieved in the unbeaten season.  So money cannot buy you an unbeaten season. Only building a team can achieve such a thing. But because of the money teams it is much harder to build a team to reach such a high level.  Certainly when important members of that team in the build up want to go home or want to earn more money. Last season I felt that if we could keep the team and add one more “unknown” person in each line we could have another invincible team. Things turned out differently because of money and DNA.

So we are fully in the second version of life like I described it in this article. Some good moments, followed by not that good moments.

And then comes the most important thing for people if you want to enjoy life completely.  You could moan and groan and say you will never be happy till we have another unbeaten season.  But why make yourself unhappy with something that has only happened twice in the last 150 years of football? Maybe it would be better to enjoy things more when we win.

Maybe we should take it one game at the time. Our team is down to the bare bones because of the injury situation. The full back crisis has literally cut our attacking and defending wings. We could have had more defenders one could say but how many full backs do you want us to have? 3 is clearly not enough. 4? Even at right back this isn’t enough. At left back just for the moment but playing a young central defender over there is not the ideal situation.

Buy? We only could buy English players because of the 25 squad rules. But are other clubs willing to let a player go to Arsenal? And do these players want to come over in the knowledge that as soon as our regular first, second choice players are recovered they would be on the bench at the best or in the stands as a more possible option.

So it will not be easy in the next weeks. That is something we can be sure. It will be hard for the players who are still standing to perform. But in a way isn’t this when a true supporter shows his real colours? Isn’t it now that a real supporter does what he should do?

The last defeat is what it was: a defeat. But the next game is the one that matters. And when you seem dead and buried you sometimes find some resources that make you  stronger and better. And to get the players to that level it is also up to us supporters to make them believe they can do it.

If we don’t make our players feel that we want them to do well and fight for the team, how do expect them to want to give that little extra that could make the difference between win or lose a game.
We know that we are up for a major battle, we know that our team is weakened in an incredible way because of injuries. But we must make sure that those players on the field feel the force coming from the stands. Let us fight for what we are worth. Let us try to overcome the weekly ref errors we have to overcome each week.

Let us just do our  best as supporters to lift the team and if we win this game then for God’s sake : just enjoy it! Don’t moan about something that could have been done better. Just enjoy it when we win.

And if we would lose? Remember that there is always another game coming our way. Another game to  play and to support the team. And if you can’t stand it anymore: nobody forces you to go along with it. Let the true supporters who will be there win or lose do their job: supporting the team. Supporting in good, but certainly supporting in bad times.

42 comments to Football, the ups and downs just like our every day live

  • Sam

    Fantastic read Walter. How does the saying go, ‘you’ve hit the nail straight on the head’?.

  • Mandy Dodd

    some proper perspective in here. things may go well this weekend, or a combination of events may conspire to send the aaa, the haters, the media and the pundits into an anti Arsenal frenzy.
    supporting this club has its frustrations, the endless injuries, the refs, producing great players then losing them too soon, players out of form, the events of last summer, from what i have heard were not helped by certain transatlantic negotiating tactics when trying to buy and sell players. But whatever, we have a team to support and a game this weekend.
    We will now do very well to finish well in the league, too much has gone wrong this season. We will rely on other faltering, others without the injuries or financial constraints we seem to have. But we still have at least a chance of the top 4, whatever the pgmol may try and arrange, we can still do well in Europe, we have the next round of the cup and top players are coming back.
    There have been many times when i have willed the club, just sign that keeper/ defender / striker, lets win something and shut them all up. But in the last few years, not to be.
    If all fails and the worst happens, there is still Arsenal and still next season, maybe with a few less AAA if they do what some are currently saying they will

  • mike collins

    Supporting a football club is actually like having a nasty virus that attacks you as a young kid and never really lets go. It does go into remission at times as at the time when I worked in the middle easy and vowed never ever to renew my season ticket. But just when you think you are free of the darn thing it comes back in all its red and white ferocity. Thats why Fever Pitch was such a great book and why it even transported itself to North American sport. This viral attack is not just the province of Arsenal supporters but affects even Spurs fan and in them brings out symptoms of envy and lunancy. I mean hoe sad am I as I still have on my favourites the web site of Grays Athletic Football Club in Essex when as a kid I lived about a hundred yards from the ground which has long gone. This certainly does not mean we should not critique moves by the club such as why a certain Russian is so lazy and not committed and why our right winger appears to be going backwards. But just to show this is not at all new. Just before the 1970 and 1971 seasons brushed away the cobwebs of many rotten years the club had a forward of great talent and a product of its youth system called John Sammels. Mr Sammels went from being a fans darling to an object of derision and booing because it was obvious that he was pulling out of tackles and not working hard. And this was when players came to the ground on the tube and certainly never had the loot they do today. He was defended by the club and management but the supporters could see with their own eyes and pretty much forced him out. Just one of my petty peeves when opinions on players by supporters who pay good money to attend are dismissed by management.
    But even with my jaundiced view of transfer moves and failure in my opinion to shift out under performers I shall still glue myself to the television this Sunday and on my next visit to London will have my photo taken next to the three statues. Oh heck is there no cure.
    MC

  • Rhys Jaggar

    The healthy perspective is to say: ‘what am I prepared to spend to support the team?’

    From the answer to that you determine whether you watch at the pub, buy SKY/ESPN, go to a few games, get a season ticket, get a corporate ticket or buy a box.

    The frustrations, rages and anger of fans usually comes if, even subconsciously, there is a sense that they should be paying what they are paying to see what they see.

    I had quite a few people ask me what I was paying for my tickets when Emirates Stadium opened. Most were flabbergasted at how expensive it was. Which kind of says that Arsenal haven’t been undercharging the fans the past 6 years!

    Fans get angry when they hear that players are earning £2m+ a year but are clearly not drilling themselves professionally in certain basics aspects of football. No-one minds losing to the genius of Messi, Ronaldo, true brilliance. Sure, they rant a bit, but no deep anger exists because you can say: ‘Too good’. But people get very angry shelling out a lot of money to see basic lack of professionalism. This isn’t a lack of support, it’s a support which demands proper standards.

    Fans get angry when they pay to point out to the manager things which are then clearly worked on in training. They wonder why the team hadn’t worked on it in pre-season training.

    Fans get angry if they think players have been nobbled, thereby depriving them of seeing players play they have paid to see play. They can’t be sure it’s happening, but it gnaws away at them. Because it’s either that or season after season of wrong-headed training leading to unnecessary injuries.

    Fans get angry for many other reasons.

    But the day you will have a completely dead Emirates Stadium is the day they are no longer capable of getting angry.

    Because they no longer care.

    Then you’re on the road to getting a half empty stadium.

    Arsenal fans since 1986 have supported a team with genuine chances of winning trophies.

    It’s a totally different mindset to being a fan of, say, West Ham, Norwich or WBA, who get that chance once in a generation (West Ham’s two FA Cup Finals recently were 2006 and 1980).

    It may be that there will be some fans who see Arsenal going that way and simply can’t get up for that kind of supporting. People can judge it or not judge it, but it’s a different mindset, a different attitude required.

    Right now, the perception is that Arsenal is a selling club, not a champion club. It may be right, it may be wrong, but that’s the perception.

    This summer can see the club go in a number of directions, depending on what happens on the pitch the next 4 months.

    If they want to get into the ECL again, they’d better beat Man Utd on the weekend! Or hope Chelsea have another slump before season’s end…….

  • Walter, truth be told, this season is washed up and we only have faint hopes of qualifying for the Champions’ League.

    It really is frustrating, it’s as if we never learn. Check Swansea third goal(at 2-2) and compare with the third goal(also at 2-2) in that CL match against Liverpool, about 4years since, with virtually different personnel and nothing has changed. We really have to look at ourselves and see what is wrong with us. Are our training methods making our players get these lengthy injuries? Or why do players get less committed once they join us, or why we don’t take shots or score from dead ball situations.

    There’s something fundamentally wrong and we all have to sit down and see what those problems are. It is really frustrating. The team has been declining gradually since 2006 and we’ve done nothing to check that decline, now it’s coming to a head. It is now beyond sheer optimism. If you can’t beat your mates and you still can’t beat your juniors, then you have a big problem.

  • Stevie E

    9jagunnerdoc
    I can’t believe a football team lost a football match by the same score twice in 4 years!!! Have they learned nothing?!?! I doubt very much any other team have lost a game from a position of “drawing” within a four year period…

  • DC

    Nice piece Walter!
    Sport is certainly something that will bring out all of the emotions within human-beings and it all stems from our innate love, commitment, and pride in our team!
    The knowledge of enjoying pleasurable times is easy for the likes of us who have been there during the wonderful days of success and “the invincibles” , and THEY WILL certainly return again, but for those who came to the party late or of an inpatient disposition, this time is very hard and filled with incredible frustration, anger, disappointment and a feeling of having been let-down; and this must be aimed and vented at someone!
    History can be a wonderful thing as it shows you how life works in cycles that challenge one’s belief and devotion to something, and what happens if you keep the faith and belief! Look at Barcelona and ManU fans; do you think that could ever have thought that they could have achieved what they have back in the 80’s and early 90’s? I doubt it, so they enjoy it now whilst they can.
    The same history is written for Arsenal and all that is required is the same faith and commitment from all those who truly love the CLUB and what it stands for! The good times will return again and the critical fans will attain pleasure yet again. But as night follows day, it will also leave again and those same fans will be angry and frustrated again. So just enjoy the good times and the cycle of life in all that we do in this mortal existence!

  • Cape Gooner

    Walter, do you know anything about “a Swedish academic whose report on last season concluded that Arsenal had been wronged by more bad decisions than any other team.”

  • elkieno

    DC, well said vouldnt agree more!
    Comon The Arsenal!!!

  • dan

    Mike “FUCKING” Dean – someone is having a laugh!!!

  • Mandy Dodd

    some very interesting comments. I think the word frustration is the key. I do have some sympathy with supporters who claim we do not learn from mistakes, such as the annual injury situation, like Xmas, it comes around the same time every year so it could be argued there is no excuse for not being prepared. There is also an arguement we have gone backwards a bit, but we have to consider what we are up against. Compare and contrast our luck this season, to that of say the Spuds.
    I have read there may be a board shift this spring / summer (articlas / tweets from Alex Fynn). If true, could be interesting times. As someone who believes that the board and Wenger share a philosophy, but at the same time , do not always really help Wenger, I will be interested to see the effect of new faces, and how they interact with Wenger. But thats all speculation.
    For a bit of perspective, I enjoyed reading this, from a link posted on Arseblog:
    http://angryofislington.com/2012/01/19/arsenals-finances-the-plain-truth/

    Nothing in there that we on this site do not already know and understand, but in times like this, confusion, bad results, doom mongers and self harmers, clamour for signings, mixed messages from the club,left backs, does no harm to remind oneself of how the club are run and what they stand for,

  • @walter nice piece.

  • Mahdain

    just look at the points we have lost due to ref decisions http://www.debatabledecisions.com/the-decisions-so-far

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    Very nice link you’ve given, cheers.

    I assume that the “mixed message” you refer is that Arsene reinforces that a NON-top-4 finish is a calamity, whilst Hill-Wood verbally lowers the bar and says no problem, AFC is ready for that contingency.

    In any case, even the blind can see that if we’re not top-4, then RvP is gone. It begs the question: is management already counting RvP’s departure value? Surely responsible contingency planning would dictate having scenario for his/our loss. But to say this out loud whether than say AFC is doing everything in our fiscal powers NOW to ensure a top-4 finish, cannot encourage RvP. Nor can it encourage players or any would-be x-fer players. Is Hill-Wood preparing us for ex-RvP? Bullying RvP to scale back demands? Counting the departure money? Are Arsene and Hill-Wood now in public (coded) disagreement on this very point? What else to make of the “mixed messages from the club” that you mention?

  • bob

    — sorry, should be “rather than say” (not whether)

  • bob

    Walter,
    We have arrived at a cross-roads. Today we are this-close from turning upward (if/as the injured return and do well) toward a top-4 good times finish, OR a turn into a disastrous non-top-4 downward spiral. We are on the cusp and either direction is possible. At a fateful moment, a tough-minded, specific analysis of the potentials for going in either direction would be of value.

  • @Walter the Swedish Academíc,do you have anything about him a site or something?
    Mike Dean,we have not won the last 10 games he have officiated against us!! Any Angels tomorrow to come to our rescue?

  • bob

    A possible point for January analysis. Why not advocate a sale of Arshavin now (the 4-goal debut is long gone), and a buy for one of several of the needs that commentators here have been raising over the last month…?

  • bob

    Rhyss Jaggar,
    I appreciate your clarity in making the distinction between: the fan mindset that is linked-to a chance for a trophy VS the fan mindset that loves its team come what may (perhaps with a generational chance for a trophy). I think many fans are deeply and permanently conflicted about this ongoing, abiding back-and-forth. Is one the “true” fan and the other a false, fair-weather fan? Can someone admit to this conflict and still be a true fan? We are again at a time when this conflict or choice surfaces again with exquisite torment.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thanks Bob, yes was referring to the apparent PHW and Wenger contradictions, but I would also add the Wenger quote along the lines of – If we lose both Cesc and Nasri, what does that say about us as a club? Then, Stan comes over and Wenger, in my view quite wrongly, seems to have been told to sell Nasri. then Wengers comments last month – along the lines of – we will look at loan LBs – we do not want to be dropping points over a lack of LBs , unfortunately, none have come in and we have dropped such points.
    I am not having a go especially at Wenger here, just think that the manager and board seem to be at odds at times, and this is not helpful but as I say, I am expecting a board shake up in the coming months, but no idea what form it will take
    I think one of the main reasons for fan anger at Wenger is over raised expectations, sometimes, unrealistically raised expectations. Promising silverware, as he did at the start of last season (or maybe the board forced him to make such a promise) – is not a smart move if it all collapses. We were promised the stadium would allow us to compete with the top clubs, this is clearly not the case for now. I do not think it is really Wengers fault, a lot of unseen events have come to pass, and I still believe the past and current board expect far too much magic value finding from Wenger. Wenger has become the sole focus of blame for many issues. And maybe the sole focus of blame for some people with uneventful, or maybe unpleasant lives who need a trophy to lift them out of whatever it is. This is why I value this site, and take time to remind myself the sort of points in that link rather than slip into frustration, anger and depression that seems to afflict so many Arsenal fans, at least fans of a certain ilk…

  • Mahdain

    results are smiling on us but the question is will we take advantage? i highly doubt it..no matter how i try to be positive about the match i just cant and no its not even because of our injuries but rather the man in the middle named mike dean…i really want to believe he will put his anti arsenal bias aside tomorrow but i just cant…tbh i will be happy with a draw

  • Mandy Dodd

    Maybe he will want to do his Spuds a favour and hit Utd

  • Mahdain

    @mandy depends on what webb has up his sleeves in the city vs spuds match..if city lose then perhaps dean will think about giving his spuds a shot but then will riley allow him to do that against his pal? say city win then riley will want united to keep up pace with them so thats a lose-lose situation for us..the only thing we can hope for is that dean wakes up tomorrow and decides he will do his work as how its supposed to be done and ref the match fair and square

  • Mandy Dodd

    fair and square, think you are expecting a lot from Mike Dean!

    Off topic, but hopefully, looks like Frimpong ok after nasty looking kick in the eye.

    He has just tweeted: You lot should stop caring about me I hope petrov foot is on after hitting A metal face:)

    He is still a bit raw, needs to watch what he says a little and with the refs we get, needs to take care with some of his tackles but this could be an Arsenal legend in the making. Looking forward to seeing him, Jack, Rambo and hopefully Lansbury grace our team, then nobody will accuse us of being soft and lacking passion. Some of them are no slouches when it comes to skill and technique either.

  • Mahdain

    @mandy lol perhaps…and where does le coq fit in that midfield? he has been great everytime he plays

  • Mandy Dodd

    Want to be seeing a lot of him as well,as you say, he has impressed not forgetting Arteta and Ryo plus Ox.
    Some players will be on their way in the summer for one reason or another I guess, but with our injuries, there is room for everybody.
    Who knows, maybe even a Gourcuff as well, think Gotze and Hazard now out of our price range

  • bob

    To thicken tomorrow’s plot(ting?), the match will be the first broadcast to a non-subscription audience in the US. This is a big deal, because EPL football hasn’t been broadcast except on subscription cable TV and it’s in a big spot in the run-up slot to a major US football playoff game. Oh, and did I say that it’s on FOX TV (Murdoch’s US flagship station). That said, is there any way Brand ManUre can be allowed to fail in Fergie’s big marquee Yankee moment? Surely US fans will learn a lot about this season being the run-up to the Fergie XX, and enlisted in the march to this consummate emotional payoff. Ah, what an introduction to the beautiful game. (That’s all, he Shudders.)

  • DC

    Bob,
    If that’s true about nationwide televising, then that would be great!
    The one thing US fans don’t like is sport that is not competitively equal and is decided and influenced by an arbitrary official who is clearly incompetent or favours one side over another. In addition, without any recourse for dynamic in-game corrections of mistakes, they will just switch off! If the ref and linesmen do not have a good game, it will damage the reputation of the EPL as a fair and competitive spectacle and they will continue not embrace “soccer”, and in particular English football” as a sport worth taking time to enjoy as entertainment!

  • Anne

    @bob:

    I’m not sure whether I’m in suspense or trepidation over this 🙂 I think it will definitely tell us a lot, one way or the other.

  • bob

    Anne,
    Yep, highly trepidatious to be sure! Serious prayer power must be brought to bear (the good lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise).

    DC,
    But the presenters, biased as ever, may well shape the unknowing audience’s perceptions – as Americans don’t know “soccer” and can easily be led to think what they are told by manipulative Foxes.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    Have you noticed how many promotional interviews with David Beckham they’ve been showing where he refers to “football” as “soccer?” All with perfectly positioned hair gel of course? 🙂

  • Anne

    @bob:

    lol…sorry, I’m still laughing from your “creek don’t rise” comment 🙂

  • Anne

    @DC:

    American audiences have largely failed to notice that most of our sports have been fixed since before most of us were born.

    If we don’t have the controversy, its because the questions aren’t even asked here. In my opinion, at least.

    The good thing about football is that it’s harder to fix because the nature of the sport triggers critical thinking skills in the audience. At least to a certain extent, I believe.

    That might sound esoteric, but it’s definitely my opinion 🙂

  • DC

    Bob, Anne,
    You might well be correct but I also hope you are not.
    The Murdoch empire is not as it once was, and one hopes that the fixing foxes are finally being caught-up by the ethical hunt!

  • DC

    Anne,
    Your opinion is shared by several here I am sure?! 🙂

  • Ten players out including five defenders and midfield anchor man. Add low morale to that and we surely need a miracle today to save face.

  • Richard B

    Supporting a football club is no different now than it has ever been. The big change is the amount of ‘information’ that the fan has the ability to access and, likewise, the ability to share.
    Most of that ‘information’ is based on ill-informed conjecture and most of the sharing is driven by attention seeking or commerciality or both.
    All seater stadia mean that we can’t now go and stand somewhere else if we don’t like what the person next to us is saying – whther that be positive or negative.
    If you don’t agree with what emanates from the media, change your source of information. Watch games without commentary on TV and only read websites with an editorial direction that you approve of.
    Life’s much happier that way – and it’s only a mug who seeks the opposite.

  • bob

    DC,
    From your keyboard to god’s ear, BUT I think you are way too premature and naive on the loss of worldwide clout of The Mogul, just because it’s had to eat some humble pie in the UK lately.

  • bob

    Anne,
    Yes, his has become a full-fledged new “bend” for Bend-it-like-Beckham: now a full-fledged LA celeb who is becoming a far better “ambassador” (advertising face) for EPL football in the US than the two-faced (yes!) international (too blokish) international Avatar – Rooney/Fergus. I think that if US TV ratings are high for today’s AFC/Manure match, then Der Fox will have expanded his presence inside the hen house. What to wish for? Big ratings or a big flop? Talk about a double-bind…

  • bob

    Richard B,
    No man is an island. When the great majority of the daily media had turned on Arsene in an actual Arsene Out Campaign (which may recur), then you can screen out everything as an individual, but that does not mean that much of the rest of public opinion will not impact what happens in life. You can’t just click off/switch off and pretend that the rest of what’s happening – like it or not – isn’t happening. Alas.

  • Passenal

    Great post Walter. Sadly it will go over the heads of the ones who need to get it, but just don’t.