By Walter Broeckx
As we have the luck of having a real life long Gooner amongst our readers he can bring some perspective on the day. He can point at events even before WW2, a time we only have seen in books, films and on TV. I always like his comments who are something to remind us on how things go in football for any club.
Now we are facing a bit of a bad spell some supporters show their true colours a bit. And I must say I don’t like their colours at all. Because the way they behave is as if there are only two colours in the world: black and white. The more clever fan will already know why I don’t like this colours in particular. Yep. How can any Arsenal fan only see two colours and certainly how can he just see it all in black and white. If you are such a fan of those colours you can change your sympathy this weekend.
Or a player is brilliant or he is rubbish for some fans. One second he is the best, the next second he is the worst player ever seen in an Arsenal shirt. Nowhere in the world can a player go as fast from zero to hero and back from hero to zero as an Arsenal player.
And on top of that nobody remembers how they praised him/or told him to get lost the second before. For some an Arsenal player is as good as his last shot. It went in: world beater. The keeper saved it: rubbish. Ore in colours: scored a goal and all is white, keeper saved and all is black. Of course we all know better than the manager, the entire coaching staff. We know who to buy (I know which car to buy if I would have the money – but I don’t have it so I don’t have to buy it or even look at it) but some of them know it but well as they are only their own experts and don’t have a job in real football they do nothing. Surely if it would have been that simple a lot of you have missed a great career in being a manager, a players agent or so.
Let us take a few examples of this strange and I fear rather bizarre habit of many Arsenal fans to change their point of view on any player in a moment.
Let me start with Santos. Now we all can hate RVP as much as we want for leaving us. I haven’t dealt with his betrayal but well I can only accept it. Did I ever mention that with the team we now have I think we would be next to MU in the league table if he would have stayed? One more reason to hate him from my part. But that is not the subject of this article. Yes we supporters may hate him. But well I do think that there are not many professional football players out there who hate another player.
There is no real reason to hate each other unless your opponent has kicked you in order to ruin your career. Then I can understand players hating each other. But this is rather seldom the case. So why would Santos hate Van Persie? Unless of course Van Persie has knocked him on the face in training or so. But there is no rumour of anything like that. So we can all assume that Santos is a rather friendly and sunny chap who is having a sunny look at life. A very common thing for Brazilians in fact. Maybe we could learn a bit from them. Less moaning, more enjoying life.
So Santos plays against MU and he is playing against a player who he has played with for a year, possibly has became a good friend during that year and who he still has contact with. You would be amazed how close the football world is outside the pitch. They talk with each other, laugh with each other. But on the field, they just play for their own teams.
And Santos had the foolish idea to ask his colleague, former team mate and friend for his shirt. A rather common thing in Brazil it seems. So Santos sees no harm in doing this. And as much as we hate Van Persie there is absolutely no reason why Santos should hate Van Persie. During the start of the game and the final whistle they can fight each other but Santos sees no reason in fighting Van Persie at half time or after the game. For a professional football player, playing against former team mates is just part of the game.
And then we see again this pure black/white vision. Santos should be sold immediately and should never play a game for Arsenal again. Last seasons sunny chap who after a difficult start came to some good games and performances (already long forgotten by the black/white thinkers) and then got a bad injury that kept him from the field for months. Suddenly he is the face of evil for Arsenal fans.
And yes I know he wasn’t playing very well since Gibbs got injured and he had to replace him. But did we forget his contribution from last season. Because let me remind you that Santos is one of the reasons we play CL this season. He was the one that started our come back at Chelsea after playing a very bad first half and then suddenly raised his game and was very instrumental in us winning 3-5. He also was the one that brought us back to 2-2 at West Bromwich in the final game of the season. I’m not saying he did nothing wrong in total but now just saying : “he is rubbish”….well isn’t that a bit black/white?
I think the truth will be out there in the middle. Santos is a player that needs a few games to find his feet. And sometimes it doesn’t work at times. I can see him struggling. But what do I do when I see a player struggling? Call him shit? Call him rubbish? Will it help him? No I will try to support him. I will try to shout his name and hope he will lift himself back like he did against Chelsea one year ago. But somehow a lot of Arsenal fans seem to need someone to moan about. And I must admit that Santos did himself no favour by asking the shirt of a former team mate, colleague and friend. But remember players don’t hate each other. Leave the hating to us, the supporters. Why don’t we rather hate Van Persie because he knew all too well the cameras were watching and he knows all too well how things work in England.
Santos who hardly speaks English and has no clue about the football culture in England could have been saved by his former friend. Just saying : I will give it inside would have been enough. Van Persie chose to do it in front of the cameras. Knowing Santos would be dead after that. Maybe NOW Santos can have a reason to hate Van Persie.
Let us move on to the next left back we have used after Santos. Yes our current captain Vermaelen. Terribly at fault for the first goal at United. And after a few dodgy performances before he has gone from zero to hero and back again by the fickle Arsenal fans.
Remember when he came? And Tony Adams saying: too short, not good enough…. Vermaelen starting with half of the fans already against him. Because Wenger knew nothing (with all the things he has won) and Adams was Mr. Arsenal and knew much better (what did Adams win as a manager again?). Vermaelen came and conquered us all. Make him captain they shouted during his first season. The zero was suddenly a hero.
Then came his injury and a long recovery. One lost season but he came back to his former level. Scoring and defending. We all wanted him back in those days. And now suddenly he is back a zero. After his mistake against United, after some not convincing performances he is rubbish. From black to white and back to black again. Some really seem only to like the colours of that other team in North London.
But maybe there is something else. Just the title of a rather popular book these days there is something in between. And I think that most of us will fall in that category. The ones that know there is also grey. And there are maybe 50 shades of grey between black and white. I’m not a colour expert at all but for me things are not just the colours I dislike.
All those who now declare that Vermaelen is rubbish, was rubbish will always be rubbish; know what is behind him not playing as good as he has done? Well the reason is rather simple. According to the press in Belgium Vermaelen is carrying an ankle injury since a few weeks. He has been playing with pain killers and is getting anti-inflammatory pills. Just like at the end of last season he is playing through injury. He is playing through the pain. Yes he wasn’t that good but there is a good reason for that.
Why didn’t Arsene say this you might ask. Well even that is rather simple. If Wenger would say: Vermaelen has a problem with his left ankle and can hardly play the first thing that some teams will do is make sure he will be out after a few minutes playing. A little knock on that already injured ankle and off he goes. But let us just call him rubbish that is much easier you know.
And remember Vermaelen is now playing out of position because Santos not performing as hoped but also because Santos being hated by a part of the fans. I sometimes wonder if we have to be so sensitive about what a player does at half time? We can argue that his performances were not good enough. Fair enough. But let us preserve the hating part for the players of the other teams.
Because as it stands now it seems that many Arsenal fans are doing a great job in doing what the supporters of our opponents should be doing: hating Arsenal players. Other supporters don’t need to boo our players. We just do it for them. It’s a mad world out there.