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Why its great to be a gooner this Christmas

By Simon Bailey

Ho, Ho, Ho, Merrrry Christmas.

Lest we forget, tis the season to be jolly and all that, and now that the public holiday of enforced jollity and happiness is upon us, i feel compelled to write about why supporting Arsenal is like having christmas every day.

Seeing as how I have no flying teapot or spaghetti monster, this time of year seems a bit daft to me. It is quite apparent though, that most of the rest of everyone cheer right up, and for a couple of weeks there is peace on earth and good will to all men, dare i say even the spuds.

Now, you might think I’m a bit of a grumpy bollocks or scrooge, but nothing could be further from the truth. If anything I am in danger of a happy-overload. I dont see a half empty glass or even a half full one, to me the glass is always overflowing (but not in danger of spoiling the carpet). And before you ask, no, I’m not cracked, under the influence, or even remotely wealthy.

And I’m not going to try to convince you that Arsenal are the only reason for my rosy outlook on life. But i firmly believe that Arsenal are the only football team I could ever support.

Take, for instance, the last month. Having just qualified for the next stage of the Champions league, we were beaten twice on the bounce by Chelsea and City, two of the biggest spenders in the world, let alone the EPL.

Since then we have won three and drawn one in the league and lost an inconsequential CL tie. All of this without a striker or left back. And without a sugar daddy, or an unservicable debt, or criminal charges. But in a new stadium under what is probably the Carlsberg Manager.

As a snapshot of Arsenals’ season, its been quite a poor month (August and September; won 5 – lost 1, October; won 4 – drew 2), but we have battled and, despite the odds, prevailed.

As the season now seems to be measured in points lost rather than gained, it is interesting that in December, we have dropped 2 points so far. As opposed to Liverpool – 8, United – 6, City and Spuds – 5, and Chelsea – 4. Its only Villa who haven’t dropped any points ….and we’re playing them next.

These results alone should be enough reassurance for any Arsenal supporter that she or he is supporting the right team, but theres more.

I should utter a word of caution here, what I am about to tell you is highly likely to render you all so utterly ecstatic, that multiple crises may occur.

Still reading? Comfortable?

If we consider the twenty clubs in the EPL, Arsenal stands head and shoulders above the other nineteen in every category. (Obviously I’m not talking about the actual players here, because as we well know, Arsene recruits mainly from a lesser known tribe of European Pygmies that roam the lowlands of Switzerland and the high plateaus of the Netherlands.)

Firstly the Club itself. Its owned by several shareholders, most of whom are sound. They don’t lend the club money to buy players or stadiums, but they don’t take a dividend either. The board seems to have a good working relationship with the manager and are fiercely opposed to any external takeover bid.

Although there have been murmurings and in-depth reports of share by share trading in the last couple of months, the situation seems stable enough. Its hard to control who buys shares in the club, but any imminent threat from the east looks to be parried neatly from the west.

In 1996, the aforementioned board (or some/most of them) appointed Arsene Wenger to manage the club. This was the moment that Premier League football was created. I know that it is generally accepted that it was actually created 4 years earlier, but the aforementioned four years were merely an extension of the booze and, latterly, drug addled first division.

Arsene changed all of that. In thirteen years the league has become the best in the world by any measurable standards, because of Arsene. And within the success of the league has come the success of the team. If I can paraphrase W. Churchill,

‘never on the field of football endeavour has so much been accomplished for so many by so few’.

We are in arguably the strongest financial position of any club in the league. Even taking into account Chelsea and City and their respective manager-merry-go-rounds.

The whole sugar daddy approach to club ownership is at best, dangerous, as many clubs have found to their chagrin. And lets face it, it sort of really goes against the concept of sportsmanship to endeavour to buy titles. Its all a bit grubby. The various plights of Liverpool, United, Portsmouth, Hull etc are great examples of how not to organise your club finances.

Arsenal, under Wenger, have revolutionised modern football with strict diet regime and specialised physical training. Modern scientific approaches are definitely the order of the day. A world wide scouting team coupled with the excellent youth training and development  provides world class players that are schooled in the Arsenal way at a fraction of the cost of a comparable player on the transfer market. The emphasis placed on  science and youth development are no small thing. Indeed they are integral to the success of the club.

Did I mention that our home is the most modern stadium of any club in the league, if not Europe? And did I mention that when the mortgage is paid off, the extra matchday take each year (as against the take at Highbury) will be enough to let us play in the transfer market with the sugar daddies, if we even need to, considering the previous point.

In 2009, Arsene has made four major deals on the transfer market. Two in and two out. Spent 27 million,  earned 40 million. We got Arshavin and Vermaelen, they got Adebayor and Toure. That sounds like we got two better players and 13 million quid, and here’s me thinking that ‘arry was the biggest gangster in the league.

But above all this, above being best at everything, is the football itself. There is no point in being best at everything if you look like a bunch of one legged pirates having an arse kicking contest, and this is where the genius of Wenger is most apparent.

The quality of the football that is played week in – week out is sublime. I catch myself sometimes with my mouth hanging open, about 4 ft from the screen, totally caught up in the events unfolding before my unbelieving eyes. Even when we’re not on our game it’s still enthralling. Even when the spuds comeback from 4-2 or thrash us in a carling cup match, even when Liverpool cheat us out of the champions league its still the best 90 minutes all week.

This is my reason for being a Gooner. Personally I don’t need the crutch that is our outstanding success in global football terms, just watching the team play is all it takes.

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15 comments to Why its great to be a gooner this Christmas

  • Gf60

    Happiness is NOT being a spud. TRUE happiness is being a gooner.

  • Slikk

    @Gf60 couldn’t agree more!

  • walter

    This christmas will be a special for us in the low countries as we travel to the Emirates for the game against Villa. If Eurostar gets us there …

    Simon, I totally agree with you and your fine article. If I would be a Liverpool or MU fan I would be a scared fan. Now I am totally relaxed for the future of our club for many years to come.
    We got one of the best managers in the world, not only football wise but also economical very responsable.
    I think if Wenger would have left a trail like some other managers with all his clubs going bust or about to go… I think he couldn’t live with himself in that case.
    So yes I would love to see trophys back in the Emirates, and I know they will come in the next years and in big number, but indeed the joy of how we play our football is great. I like the way you described watching the TV… and must say I know just what you mean. 🙂
    Also the joy on bringing up our own players and just add a little bit of extra every now and then is a great joy for me.

  • Read this blog amongst others now and then but never comment. Just thought I’d post to let you know this is probably the best Arsenal one out there as it always has that something special that makes it better than the others, bit like Arsenal. Keep it up.

  • Roh aa23

    Splendid post Simon…
    lookin forward to a “2010” wit more of the same from the Gunners…
    Oh… To BE a GOONER…

  • IndianGooner

    Not only will this Christmas be happy but 2010 as well.. They have been playing exceptionally well after the defeat to Chelsea & ManC inspite of injuries.. I dont remember seeing the same team sheet for 3 consecutive games this season but the understanding between the players have been excellent…

    This season has been an awesome ride till now and is going to continue as one hell of a ride till the end!! I’m excited just like a 10-year old on his first trip to an amusement park!!

  • Valentin

    Have you seen the rumour that Kolo Toure want to leave Manchester City?
    Maybe the greener grass is not that green after all.
    Man City had a target of top 6 finish with 70 points. Looking at the way his team played, Mark Hughes was going to miss both targets. That’s why he deservedly got sacked.
    Look at how the ‘poor English manager got shafted by nasty foreigner’ card is played.
    The British media were clearly disappointed to hear that Roberto Mancini could speak fluent English. They will not be able to use that as a weapon against him.
    Funny how all those has-been formar players dismiss his credential and hype up those of Mark Hughes. Three scudetto are less considered that 1 place in the semi-final of the Carling Cup.

  • Valentin

    I could see Arsenal winning the title and the Champion’s league.
    That would really be the kick on the naysayer.
    Arsene needs to buy two players in January: A big striker who can play on his own on 4-5-1 (Chamack is a no go so maybe Hoarau or Gignac) and a right sided central defender as back up. If Gallas is injured, we will not have anybody to take his place unless Arsene consider that Kyle Bartley is ready. Vermeulen, Senderos (assuming he does not leave) and Silvestre are all left footed.

  • LRV

    Kudos Simon for one of the most excellent posts yet. Yesss!!! It is most certainly enthralling to be an Arsenal fan. Everything is so well oiled, so well planned, so well organised that it is even enthralling outside the football.

    Many Arsenal fans have wondered why Arsenal and Arsene Wenger is target by the media, the football authorities and some other envious managers. Permit me to tell you something that you may not be aware of. Sir Alex F-Word is ever getting closer to retirement. The xenophobic media, FA and the envious, hero-worshiping neanderthal managers wants Sir F-Word, being British and all, NOT to be equalled, or surpassed in the claim for credit of the EPL’s ‘best/most-exciting in the world’ achievement which in turn led to the Richest-in-the-World acclaim. To forestall this happening, Arsenal and Arsene Wenger must be discredited at every point to hide their achievements.

    But Arsene can smile brightly because when the Sun shines in the day, no blanket in all the world is big enough to hide it. Even at night, when the Moon shines so bright, though not as bright as the Sun, the art is yet NOT discovered to cover it up. Not now, Not ever.

    To all of them I say, their time of all-day rain and typhoon is nigh, from which no bolly, however big, can afford them protection.

    Comeuppance! Remember it, is comming.

  • LRV

    Sorry – Typo! I meant “targetted” up there and “brolly” down there.

  • Arsesession

    Well conceived and constructed thoughts, as usual.

  • Consolsbob

    Very nice, Simon.

    Just put in on posters everywhere and head it:

    ‘If you are not an Arsenal Supporter, you should read this. (If you are, read it and smile)’

  • Hartwick89

    Happy to see this article posted especially since Kroenke is quietly consuming buyout threshhold. Anyone looked into his dealings in America? Although not directly mentioned I feel it appropriate to bring it up. What would be the result of the possibility of a takeover, furthermore, would this help or hurt the Arsenal cause in the bloggers opinion? Cause I agree currently we have trended right.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Aye Simon ,tis the season and Arsenal are the reason to be merry.After those defeats in Manchester and to Chelski,not to mention that draw to West
    Ham, it looked rather gloomy.But morale boosting win away to Liverpool and that win over Hull sets us up well for the New Year.All I want for Christmas is a 2-0 win over Aston Villa .C’mon Santa, you know I ‘ve a good boy this year.
    To all Arsenal fans a Merry Christmas and a happy new year!

  • Armin

    I have same feeling almost every year. Arsenal is the team which don’t need silverware to be special (but its welcome when it came, preferably this season, if not, when ever).

    Only we have movie and books about us.