By Walter Broeckx
As in most things in life there are two ways in how you can react to bad things like a defeat of Arsenal that come your way.
One way is to take it on the chin, swallow what needs to be swallowed and then get up and move on.
The other way is to get hysterical, shout, yell, stamp your feet on the floor, boo, and blame managers and players.
I must say there is nothing wrong with being down after an Arsenal defeat. The final score can hurt. But it also doesn’t always reflect what happened on the field. We all know this and if you don’t then I wonder if you ever watched much football.
We all know that at times a team can attack for 90 minutes hit the post and crossbar several times, face a keeper that stops all and everything that comes his way and then suddenly on the one and only counter from that team they score and win the match. If you have followed Arsenal for many years you sure must have seen that scenario unfold in front of your eyes.
Those are frustrating defeats. But does such a defeat means that the team is useless and the players ought to be given away and the manager should be sacked? Not for me. These things happen, not just to Arsenal. It is one of the most frustrating things in football. But we cannot but accept the final score as it is.
But in this era of the final score being the only thing that matters some don’t look at the match itself. We lost 0-1 so we must have been shit. We lost 0-1 so the manager is clueless and we will never win again.
In this modern era of twitter and facebook I see a trend that really shows this. As I usually watch the game and type the match report at the same time I try to be not only a fan but also a spectator. Of course you will see me get lyrical when Arsenal score even the most incredible fluke. That is the supporter getting the upper hand. When the opposition score an amazing goal I will just “report” it. I might show football-wise appreciation for the goal but the hurt of that goal will be bigger than appreciation of the football lover inside.
But I also do have a look at the facebook pages and twitter messages and there I see a trend that only the score matters.
We might be shit and don’t manage to get a string of 3 passes together for a long period but if we score a goal for some we are suddenly world beaters. When we win we are great. But on the other hand the scenario of us being on top and suddenly get caught on a counter and fall behind then we have been shit the whole match according to the same people.
We are really gliding in to a society where only the last 5 seconds count and nothing else. In a society where a win is all and everything, no matter how it came to that win.
Of course I do feel happy even if we win 0-1 with a lucky goal and completely against the run of play. Because at the end of the day I want Arsenal to win. But I will not really say that we have been great if that happens. In fact it rarely happens to Arsenal to win that way if I remember it correct.
But if we would lose such a match I will not call the players and the manager shit and clueless. I will support them for their effort and hope they can do better next time.
Even after two unexpected CL defeats I still support this team and manager. To be honest I do love the buzz of the CL a bit but I never really think of it as my most important competition. Not at this time of our existence. I don’t really care what the manager or the players think as they might find this the most important trophy but I don’t really agree with this now.
A new era has started a few seasons ago. And as I do believe that growing a team is a slow process with ups and downs I know it will take a few years till we reach a level that will make us really compete for the CL. Arsenal is building slowly, as always has been the case throughout most of our history. And some players are still a bit young to deliver at the highest level. But just let them grow.
You can and will learn more from a painful defeat than from an easy win. Now for those saying: they will never learn and give a list of names of previous defeats I only ask to look at how those defeats came. And if you do you will see that they are not all the same. Defeats yes, but not the way they came about. That sometimes was completely different and sometimes some strange match twists happened not always things that we controlled.
For the moment Arsenal is blowing hot and cold (at the same time at times). We can go from being great to mid-table form from game to game. I acknowledge that this is frustrating for a supporter. But that is part of a growing process. It is one of the symptoms of a team that is growing with players that are growing.
When we do bad, I always remember the great spells of a match. Because that is the thing we should build on for the next match. Try to avoid the (sometimes personal) mistakes and try to duplicate the great spells going forward and try to score more.
And I also always try to remember that every defeat might be the start of a new era. Just as every winning (or not losing) run ends with a defeat the same goes for the start of such a winning (or not losing) run. And that is why I feel down after a defeat for a while, but then remember that even the invincibles had to suffer a painful defeat to start their winning run.
So you never know that the defeat of yesterday might be the start of something amazing and a great run might be on the way. How stupid that might sound after a defeat but if you keep that in mind and hope for the future you will always feel better after a defeat. Well I do.
@UntoldArsenal on Twitter
2 October 1993: Liverpool 0 Arsenal 0. This was the first of four successive 0-0 draws in the league. The sequence ended on 6 November with a 1-2 home defeat to Aston Villa.
The Untold Books
- Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years
- Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910
- The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal