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The fan who never saw Arsenal lifting a cup

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The fan who never saw Arsenal lifting a cup

By Isaiah “Isaic” Saw

Being an Arsenal fan in Malaysia is the last thing you will ever want to do. Here, 7 out of 10 people would be rooting for the red side of Manchester. The remaining 3 would be fans of Liverhoof and KGB Fulham.

Yes. It is THAT hard being Arsenal’s fan here. More often than not, you cannot even find an Arsenal fan out of 10 people. But nevertheless, I had the privilege to watch Arsenal for the first time in 2000, when I was 9 years old.

Back then, I had no clue what football is, let alone Arsenal. But it was a match (I forgot against whom) which prompted me to learn about football. It was not until 2006 when I found out that the team that sparked this hunger for football was Arsenal.

Since then it has been a roller coaster ride with Arsenal. I did all I could as a fan, defending the team when they lost, cheering the team when they won against the legions of Manc and Hoof fans. In my years of knowing and supporting Arsenal, I have never saw Arsenal lifted a cup. Yes, NEVER. As you all know it, Arsenal last lifted a cup in 2005. But the stories I heard and read about Arsenal, their warrior-like victories and heart-breaking losses from fans all around the globe gave me passion and desire to support this club.

This club is a different club from the others, no matter on what aspect. From the style of play, to the management of the club. From the fans to the players. Everything is different. Mancs have the Glazers to rob them, a manager who only has the word F**k in his dictionary and arrogant fans and players alike.

Their fans are the worst lot as they will taunt other clubs at every opportunity.  But ask anyone of them why they support the Mancs. The answer will be “because they always win”. But is that the ultimate thing in football? Perhaps but personally I think it was a matter of winning the right way.

Arsenal has it. Financial security, a modest manager who hates to lose and rarely bursts into rage, exciting football, humble fans and players are all in the Arsenal. I can tell you this. Fans of Arsenal in Malaysia are the most modest and polite lot you will ever encounter.

Over the years, I have seen the number of Arsenal fans grew. It was in 2007/08 season where Arsenal mounted a very clear title challenge. And it was then I saw Arsenal’s fan-base in Malaysia growing . But sadly Birmingham ended our hopes. Eduardo was never the same player, the fire inside crippled as well.

Finally the Mancs won it. And the season after was a time where the team licked their wounds and healed their hearts of that fall. But it was also a season of transition, as the pundits always put it, “from boys to men”. This season we saw our beloved club mounting another challenge and going far too. The wannabes from 2008/09 were gone and now we have warriors and warriors-to-be hunting for glory. But it also crumbled. Like everyone else, I am disappointed, sad and angry.

However, I am comforted. Comforted by the very fact that Arsenal is going forward whereas the others are crumbling under financial scrutiny. And also the players could only get better. Won’t they?

So I don’t understand, why the calling for the manager’s and some of the players’ head? Maybe I have not been a lifelong supporter, not yet, but those who claimed they are, shouldn’t you be more mature in what you are suggesting? Suppose the manager or the players are at fault, shouldn’t they be forgiven on the basis that they are only humans, just like you? I have never seen Arsenal lifted a cup but I can dare say I have better passion for this team than others do.

I have never seen Arsenal lift a cup and no one can want that more than I do  yet everything has its place and time. Who am I to tell a man how to do his job? If Arsene Wenger, as some suggest, has lost it, can they do a better job? I am not trying to anger or accuse anyone. But it just baffles me how this is happening and turning out to be.

The team deserves our support. They fought and fought and fought with spirit. Perhaps it was fatigue, perhaps it was injuries but nevertheless, they gave their all. We have seen that and one day, this team will deliver and hopefully it is next year.

Patience is always the key to success. Remember, Thomas Edison only succeeded in inventing the lamp after 9999 failures. Football is a game of grit, determination, guts, passion, skill and pace. Glory is the outcome. Arsenal has all this and the success will come in due’s time.

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Untold Arsenal – the index of everything

Football and plumbers

Woolwich Arsenal – where we all come from

Making the Arsenal – how it all happened

37 comments to The fan who never saw Arsenal lifting a cup

  • walter

    Great article Isaic. Really loved it.
    And in those years we have won something but it is not in the trophy cabinet and it is unvisible and there fore forgotten: the fact that thanks to our board and manager we have a future that is secured for maybe the next 100 years. We won’t live to see it but I know that my grand-grand-grand children could support the Arsenal as I know our club will be there. Not all clubs can be sure of that. We can.
    That unvisible trophy is worth a few titles and cups for me.
    But yes, let us win something next year so that fans like you and like my son who has the same age as you and who also not have seen us lift a trophy in real life get the reward for their great support of this great club.
    Well done Isaic.

  • Aniruddh

    Something an Indian can relate to easily, btw I’ll be visiting Malaysia in a few days time can you suggest a good place to watch the Chumps league final?

  • Cujo

    I too only started watching football since 2007 and started supporting Arsenal because i loved the way they played. I had no clue about the invincibles season. discovered that out much later. Yet i consider myself a die-hard supporter. Trophy or not.

  • Hat’s off for such an inspired article mate. I second your thoughts, every single one of them.

    When you say, ‘but personally I think it was a matter of winning the right way.’, I’m sure every Gooner will agree with you, with their heads held high.

    Ours is not just a club, it’s more a family, a global family of Gooners, Gooners & more Gooners.

    We play the ‘beautiful game’ beautifully. Period.

    I’ll quote you again to sum up my feelings for the only religion I follow :- ‘Football is a game of grit, determination, guts, passion, skill and pace. Glory is the outcome.’

    To the Arsenal.. Glory beckons..

    PS: Here’s something on similar lines from my blog, hope you’ll like it 🙂 – http://11gunners.com/11gunners/once-a-gunner-always-a-gunner/483/

  • Fabian

    Hey Isaic and Cujo,
    I also only started watching football since 2006 after the world cup in germany. I came from a town in germany which is between Gelsenkirchen and Dortmund so since I can remember it was the comparison between FC Schalke 04 and Borussia Dortmund which disgusted me, so I resisted to be interested in football until the world cup took place and the atmosphere put me under the spell of this awesome sport. After the world cup there was this hunger inside of me which led me came to the conclusion to watch more matches. That leaded me to arsenal, cause I loved the style titi played during the tournement, so I decided to watch the arsenal matches. After that decision I became also as Cujo a die-hard supporter. I love this club and nevertheless that I haven’t seen our players raise a trophy I’am proud of this club and I watch every match I could see here in germany (via the internet thats nearly every game 😀 ). I also think that we have a great future to come. I hope I could soon visit the Emirates to see a game there, until that happens I hope that Arsenal will be drawn to the group Schalke will play next season in the champions league, so I could visit the match here in germany.
    And by the way, sry for my bad english, but hope you could understand what I was trying to say 😀
    Greetings
    Fabian

  • momat

    great article from fellow my malaysian.
    it’s true that being arsenal fan here is hard. 🙂
    i’m proud that you are amongst who really loves the club because of the club tradition itself rather than complaining about lack of trophies. nobody denies that we are disappointed and angry when lose at the final third of the season, but we should also be proud because we have overachieve with the squad last season.
    we will comeback stronger next season.believe me.

  • TrAnE

    A very good article indeed. You’ve captured the way people follow football in some parts of Asia, perfectly.

    I’m from India and the way people call themselves fans, just baffles me. If you want to pick a club that wins every time, that is fine with me.

    It really pisses me off when a person who doesn’t follow ‘his’ team, a name-sake supporter, brags and boasts about the achievements of ‘his’ club.

    I share a similar story to you, Isaic. I knew the alien-headed guy who used to score spectacular goals. I knew his name was Henry. But, I used to call myself a ManU fan, only because they win and I was carried away by the hype around Beckham in those days.

    It’s only the last 2 years that I’ve sincerely followed football. Every minute of it dedicated to the Arsenal. I too, haven’t seen Arsenal lift a trophy. But, I can say one thing with absolute certainty.

    I am with the Arsenal, through and through!

  • Sums up what we feel in Indonesia mate…great post
    🙂

  • Kerink

    nice one, isaac..
    its nice to see fellow malaysian put their thoughts here..
    im also malaysian and support arsenal since 2006 and the best thing ive ever seen is champs league final..
    but i also share the same thought, just enjoy the football, the moment will come..
    sorry for my bad english..

  • isaic

    Oh my goodness, i never expected such good reviews for this article! But i am grateful and special thanks to Tony too for posting the article here.

    Aniruddh – hmm, which parts of Malaysia you are visiting? There are some pubs here which broadcast the match, it’s comfortable but if you are looking for atmosphere and good food to match that, i suggest you the mamak stall. You can ask any Malaysian here and they will direct you to a good one. or you can call Sukumar Krishnan at 012-393 5026. He’s in charge of the official Arsenal Supporters club here. =)

    Tazz- yours is very inspiring as well. Like you said Once a gooner always a gooner!

    Fabian- wow! haha! well, Arsenal is a special club indeed!

    momat- yea ke? I am from taiping but in pj studying now, you?

    trane- glad you are back from the dark side! 🙂

  • isaic

    walter,

    i agree. i think the neutrals are beginning to see the beauty of Arsenal. Cos even in these so called ‘barren’ years, the number of fans actually grew… 🙂

  • gfd

    not that i have a soft spot for french but i supported manure when they had cantona. and has since converted to gooner by another french man – our manager the lord 🙂

  • Can I throw my bit in. Although a north Londoner by birth and upbringing my parents moved to Dorset when I was 11, long before the internet and satellite TV. I had virtually zero access to Arsenal from the south coast of England.

    So I didn’t see them lift a cup – but mind you that was also because they didn’t lift anything during that long period in the 50s and 60s.

    After finishing my studies I lived in Algiers for a year, and my only contact with Arsenal was short wave radio – with very poor reception. That year Arsenal did do something – and it was just my luck – I’d gone to live in north Africa during 1970/71.

    Maybe that’s why I now value every second of every game I go to.

  • isaic

    TCP_13 – well, we are neighbours you know… 😛

    kerink – no probs, dude… malaysia boleh!

  • Lanre

    Can u believe i shed a tear reading that? I think its just down to my tiredness. I luv ur article. Speaks everything i have in mind.

  • Sharky

    For those people who say that Wenger has lost it, the following is what it really means to lose it.

    The Manager keeps all his players on the pitch during the half time break and bollocks them in plain sight of a jam packed stadium full of supporters. Now that’s loosing it.

  • Venky

    Patience has a limit my friend. No body is angry at the manager just for the sake of it ( particularly against unarguably the greatest manager of the club in my opinion ).He has done marvels at the club no question about it.Certain group of supporters are angry just because of the fact that he is too stubborn to see and accept certain frailities which are clearly visible to every single football fan. For instance,we didn’t sign someone in January when we needed a striker most,which would have seen us champs. Fine,we never knew whether the club had money or not at that point in time, but then when you have no money you have to come out and be transparent to the very group of fans which makes your existence possible,then the fans would be more forgiving,otherwise they would keep on thinking about what happened to the money of Ade and Toure sale?. And now singing praise about a uselessly useless GK, this would only make anyone with common sense think that he is not going to buy a keeper this season as well.How many games did Fabianski play in the last few months and how many blunders in that?. Manu,Porto, Wigan,Blackburn,West Ham,Birmingham,Spurs – these are all games we lost points because of all the goal keepers in the squad. Wenger may see something in Fabianski in training which we don’t know but blunder after blunder is hard to swallow. Nobody is asking the manager to spend millions like Chelsea or Manc or Real do, we are just asking for a few decent signings ( for which you yourself said had money even before January) to have a depth in squad to last a long season. Wenger is great manager no doubt, but through out history we have seen great men doing silly mistakes and I am afraid he had already done a few in the last few seasons. And last but not least who are you to question the judgement of supporters who actually pay to watch?. You have your own way of supporting and they have thiers?.

  • Lanre

    It gives me great joy to see people like you support the club greatly. I want to believe that the best fans of arsenal are outside the UK. I stand to be corrected. I am a nigerian

  • Diego Del Aguila

    I Feel Exactly the same here in Venezuela…

  • critic

    nice article.
    if u keep winning things it’s hard to remain humble, arrogance comes naturally. That’s what has happened to manure i think. But, nonetheless most of utd fans are glory hunter.

  • Gooneraside

    @Venky

    Try writing in paragraphs.

    Then people might bother reading all you write.

  • Leo

    @isaic,
    you’re my idol, reading your article is more or less speaking for my heart. Thanks for representing the foreign Gunners.

  • Dec

    What a strange phenomenon we are, those of us who carry the Arsenal flag in distant lands but never get to the UK. Since I was 9 years old 39 years ago, Arsenal have been a huge part of my world. Shedding tears at defeats, feeling on top of the world when we did well, enjoying every minute of it regardless. All the while envying those lucky fans who could actually go to Highbury or now The Emirates and support our heroes (shame on those who booed Fabianski last week). What a privilage you enjoy. I suspect an honour taken for granted by many. For years, I ripped pages with photos of Arsenal stars from the Shoot football magazine (remember that?) and papered the wall with them, then waited patiently to see if Match of the Day might show a few minutes of the game on a Saturday night, if they didn’t there was the Big Match on Sunday afternoon with good old Brian Moore (RIP).
    All this time, enduring the same isolation that Isaic describes so well. Everybody else appearred to support Leeds, Liverpool or latterly ManU and Chelski.
    To many, we may seem like a Gooner-lite type of supporter, but the pain, the elation, the passion is as strong as any season ticket holder. The wonders of modern comms and virtually every minute of every game on TV somewhere has changed the isolation of the school years through the seventies and early eighties, to have Arsenal fans at our fingertips 24/7 makes such a joy these days. Still doesn’t make up for the exile from the stadium but it’s a nice part of the day when we can log on and exchange opinions and views.
    So those of you luck enough to go to the games, treasure the opportunity to watch the Arsenal in the flesh, and make you voices heard (in a positive way). You’re cheering for many more of us who wish we could be there but can’t. 2011 will be the year!!!!!

  • Jonathan

    I have been a gooner since 1997… My Stepfather was born and raised in Islington, and in fact was signed for the Under 18s… he was badly injured and that was that, but he introduced me to football here where i live NY, USA… Now I live, breathe, eat, sleep, and bleed Arsenal. They have become my passion and my one true love… I am proud to say i support Arsenal wherever I go. The manc fans and blues fans over here are brutal but every football fan can appreciate our style of play and for that, i will always be proud of our team… When i hear of football fans who speak of us, they always are complimenting us and this makes me proud as ever. We may be on a drought in regards to trophies but we are not far from a title winning team… Arsene will bring the pieces to bring the title to the better side of London 😉

  • lp

    Isaic, well done mate.
    I remembered when i first watched Arsenal played in 2000, it was like watching a ballet. The way Henry played was superb, the team passing game was fast and not afraid of going forward and they still do till this day. Don’t really care if they win a trophy or not as long as they still have that pride to go forward and make the club better and better every season.

  • R.D.E.S

    Well , isaic finally spoken out what Malaysian ought to say about arsenal and the world. Bravo Isaic 😉

    Strongly agree about Arsene Wenger and his team are mainly just humans after all , can’t force them to do what human can’t do.Yet their passion for football are that clear enough , they doesn’t kick people , and they seldom play rough , show great skills in football , nice strategy , nice personality… more to come. Obviously , they are worth for our cheering.At least they kept a clean record than any famous football team in England , won’t lead to bankruptcy , now that’s what I mean 😉 A clean football. Can anyone keep that for years ? huh ?

    I suppose you know the answer. Don’t you ?

  • AnonymousGun

    Wow.. and here I thought I’m the only Malaysian around here 😀

    Coming from a close Malay family.. almost all my uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews and niece all supporting either ManU, Chelsea or Pool so yea.. I can vouch the hostility feeling that most of us suffers.. But this year, I had a privileged to laugh at the Pool’s family members (after all the torment earlier of the season how it will finally be time for the 20th title HAH.. it wont be long before I reign on the other families. Life gonna be worth it .. especially when you the only one supporting a different team then the rest of your big family XD

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice to see that passion has not diminished in the young generation of Arsenal fans , and even more so in my fellow Malaysians.Isaic ,a very fine and articulate post as befits this site -good on yer !I have to agree that Arsenal fans are polite and gentlemen to the core – I ‘ve yet to meet a disagreeable one .I think Walter did a post on this some time back and I expressed the same sentiments .
    I ‘ve seen Arsenal lift trophies and have endured barren years but it was all worth it.I belive AW will lead us to more glory in the coming years.Keep the faith.Next season will mark my 40th year as a fan and the hunger and passion is still there for all things Arsenal.

  • isaic

    wow, thanks for such great reviews.. It’s my first time writing an article as such. and so glad that many Malaysians and Gooners afar share the same sentiments.

    I have yet had the chance to watch a match with fellow Malaysian Gooners because of transportation problems but nevertheless, our hearts are one with Gooners around the world.

    Gooner for life!

  • isaic

    @venky,

    A point that I have to clarify. I did not question the judgements of those who pay to watch but to all gooners who are not as supportive as they should be. Remember Sir Alex F word has had barren years longer than Wenger. So be patience, nobody builds rome in a day.. =) have a nice day

  • Kerink

    @anonymous gun
    totally agree..
    my dad and brother are manure and i remember when i was 10, my dad bought manure shirt for me..
    i feel very special to be a gooner surrounded by manure, pool and chavs fans..
    im only 19 and always love the club, the fact is i dont know a single player from my state football team but i know every single arsenal first, reserve and youth team player..
    go gunners!

  • RKS

    @isaic
    I came from a large family that supports Man U and I’m the only guy that supports Arsenal.
    So, imagine the torment I’m getting everytime Man U wins a game or the title.
    Then, one day, as I going thru a blog, I stumbled on this:

    Fact:
    Manchester United is the most widely supported English club in Malaysia

    Reason:
    They won their 1st title in 26 years on 1993 & proceed to win further 10 titles to date.

    Reality:
    Majority of their fans in Malaysia are glory hunters. They are not born in Manchester nor are they Mancunians. They love the Red Devils because they know
    year by year they will be happy with a club that win titles regularly.

    You should have seen their faces! They can’t deny it!

    P/s” I’m from Malaysia too and there is quite a big group of Arsenal supporters in Cyberjaya.

  • Cosmojon

    Nice article.
    Taiping was a pretty place. Although my gf hated it-she had a lot of people stare at here o_O
    Anyway, good article, one of my pet hates is when a fellow arsenal fan tells me that they have a better opinion than me just because they’ve supported the club for longer or they’re from London.
    Keep up the good work in supporting the club!

  • wen_detta

    erk..u guys have no shame..don’t judge people if you are not in their position..they are core fans that Arsenal club can’t live without..

    btw, im malaysian 😉

  • Hey, I’m from Malaysia too. Just saying

  • Arsesession

    Isaac, wise thoughts constructed so elegantly.

  • Arsesession

    @ Venky,

    Every year, Arsenal are in the market to buy top talent. Would any decent player want to join a club that is in financial straits? Wouldn’t other teams vying for the same player, leverage this information against you?