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Every defeat is the possible start of a new era

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

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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.

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21 comments to Every defeat is the possible start of a new era

  • Polo

    Well written and agreed.

  • nicky

    Yes a good post Walter, which I hope will be read and digested by all those who think Arsenal’s season is already over and life isn’t worth living. 😉

  • laos gooner

    It is good to see in this age of twitts and farce book that you should take time to define what being a “supporter” really means. We can not all be loud mouth idiots a la Morgan. His attacks on our team (not his) do much more damage than a defeat. Everyone should be kept away from his vitriolic drivel in my opinion.
    We need to capture the mood of our away support, those people who outsung the scum at very old trafford as one of our worst defeats ever unfolded before their eyes. It is never easy losing any game. It limits how many sites I can visit as there are quite a number that one may believe were written by spuds. That sums it up for me. You want to sound like a spud? You want to fuel their rants against us? A resounding no should be heard. With our relationship with the media being a constant thorn in our side we have to guard against being drawn into their mud slinging ways. I did enjoy the start of the Grove tour which takes place in the media room with the comment ” they do sometimes have to write nice things about us” which for me hits the nail on the head. Should we not have loyal supporters who contradict the sentiments of the hacks who wish to put us down. Yes Tuesday hurt, I shall still be watching on Sunday. I will believe until the final whistle that we can beat 14 man scum. Taylor as ref is something scum fans are citing as reason for thinking they will win comfortably. Still I shall be believing until the final not quite so neutral whistle. If only there was a way where we could replace the moaners with motivators in the grove. We should be getting behind the team, not joining those in front with weapons raised waiting for the command to fire. Let us not forget the old cliché love hurts.

  • apo Armani

    Walter this a well written and accurate article.

    I am with you on this point especially:

    “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.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A big LIKE from me , Walter . Supporting the Arsenal over the course of 45 years has never been easy, but at the end of the day , it has been always fun.
    On paper we are strong and capable , but this does not seem to be translating on the pitch . Why ? I really have no idea . But like most AKBs , I do hope that we right ourselves in the next match.
    So lets get going , guys !

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Thanks Walter, Im with you and the other posters here.COYG!!!!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Why tigers are smarter than men –
    http://www.gocomics.com/calvinandhobbes/1995/03/18

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Milo’s way of dealing with the mid week game.

    https://youtu.be/-n6ZeaeY7zE

  • Fishpie

    Walter, you conclude with: “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.” You, Tony, this site always make me marvel at man’s ability to stick in there and believe. And I thank the Lord such people as this exist. I too feel better after a defeat if I allow myself to reflect on the potential of the team to put a run together. In fact I know it will happen, it always does, every season pretty much, its just a question of waiting. So no, that doesn’t sound stupid at all. What is stupid on the other hand, in my opinion, is hoping that any such run is the equivalent or the start of a new era. A new era implies, to me at least, a change and a sustained period of success. The evidence suggests however that the most we can hope for is two or maybe three very good European performances, a half season’s worth of good league form and, these days, a good cup run. Not bad many would say. Great in fact others might add. But a new era is not what that adds up to. The defeat against Olympiakos reminds us that the old era is alive and well and that Mr Wenger doesn’t have the ability to correct what needs correcting (and what has needed correcting for how many seasons is it?) even when he has significantly more financial resources than before and deeper pockets than most clubs we play. The manager, in my view, with better resources behind him, with time to build his team (this current team building goes back a few good years now) must continue to demonstrate his team is improving, learning from the manor of past defeats, building on the momentum of two good cup successes. Olympiakos was a reminder Arsene and his players are not very good at learning. But we are only 3 points behind the League Leaders. That is very positive. That is a good position to be in. So I feel good. There is a lot to play for, a lot to go for. Arsene and his players can push for the new era you hope for. But if they just do what they have the habit of doing,repeating the mixed performances of the past, I believe you have the right to be disappointed, to express that disappointment and to come to the logical conclusion that after all this time it does appear that the new era might best be sought by changing things around. No guarantees there of course. But at least you would wasted your hope on seeking something better, trying a few new things out, aiming for something more rather than wasting it on certain, endless, fruitless repetition. I know Walter you will find fault with this , as I find fault with your thinking. But I don’t find fault with your spirit. It puts me to shame.

  • Josif

    “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.”

    Excellent piece, Walter. I would like to mention a great example for this sort of defeat as a start of a new era.

    I mean, what you have described can pretty much apply to our defeat against Blackburn in FA Cup 2012-13. Following that one we have been on a victorious streak for 12 matches and counting. 🙂

  • Pete

    Josif – yes, I was thinking of the Blackburn defeat as well. Their goal was a dreadful scuff too!

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    don’t forget:

    https://youtu.be/q10IwsjJEe8

  • Menace

    Good article Walter.
    When Arsenal get defeated I can accept it & move on. But when we get robbed! I get upset & want all the wrongs righted so that it does not happen again. It is what we do in normal life. We don’t just accept robbery as the norm. Wrongdoers must be punished. In football wrongdoers seem to get away with their crimes. The officials, leg breakers, divers, cheats & those that adjudicate on these without anyone to answer to.

    It is good to see some lawful access to sporting injury. I think the police have a lot to answer for when a sporting incident clearly breaks the law. One can stretch reality & say why boxing or cage fighting is not stopped by the law. It is, if it strays outside the law.

    Football seems to be getting away without any protection of players not even from the laws of the land. An example is the Costa incidents on Koscelny. The initial elbow & ‘slap’ were ‘not seen’ by the officials nor by the commentator who was actually looking at the incident occur. The second incident seemed to escape the vision of the officials as well! However, it was when Costa ‘chested’ Koscelny to the floor that brought reaction.

    The police who are at the game are just as culpable, because they have a social responsibility to ensure peace is maintained. They must have seen the incident because like the officials, that is what they are trained to do. Incidents like that are what incites riot. They should have submitted a report of what they saw, unless they are totally avoiding paper work & do not ‘feel’ responsible to report physical assault on a sports field. Physical assault that is socially critical as it will be copied & aped across playing fields of all ages as acceptable within both the Laws of the Game & the Law of the land.

  • apo Armani

    So nice to hear AW tell the story about pundits and media being boring and more so that they can’t correctly analyze a football match!!

    They are so stupid though; that it won’t make them question any of that!

  • Sally Pally

    Thanks, Walter – well said!

    apo – I agree, the press conference is full of this pathetic desire to bait managers. It is so often not about sensible questions at all. It is so dull that the media have very little analytical ability and are much more interested in finding a way to goad whichever manager is doing the conference. The better questions in this one might be about losing Koscielny and about United having Carrick back. Those two things are key in this game. But none of them seems to care a jot about interesting football stuff, just very banal, dull questions. A lot of the questions have very little originality, it seems. How boring they make it for everyone when they are like that. Let’s hope it improves. Sometimes they are better but with all the information they have available, are they not capable of asking questions which would make the conferences worth listening to? Of course they are, but they choose to do the dopey thing and talk irrelevant rubbish.

  • Polo

    Fishpie, didn’t those Newcastle United fans wanted “change”? Well look where they are after the “change” they wanted.

  • Pat

    Like apo Armani I was just watching Arsene Wenger’s press conference and savouring his put down of the journalists.

    He also said, in the Champions League teams are afraid of the quality of English teams and come to defend and score on the counter. Sometimes they are lucky as this week and score three goals out of four shots. Annoying, but there it is. Just lose concentration for a few seconds as we did after the second hard fought goal, and you lose the game.

    I feel the same as you, Walter, somehow this season it doesn’t hurt so much. We are still in there in the Premiership and that’s where my hopes lie. But I do agree that this is a team that is still being built.

  • mojola

    I think over the years wenger has been let down majorly by his players. The painful thing for me is that after every defeat,he will be the one to take the brunt of his players lack of effort/ mistakes.he passed in buying players hoping his players will deliver,they need to repay the faith the manager has shown in them by playing well for him.they owe him that( chamberlain, gibbs,ramsey)and I hope when they finally become consistent to deliver quality football week in week out,they don’t get their heads turn by the Barcelona nd cities of this world

  • GoingGoingGooner

    The thing is…I like our players. Hey, if AW can improve our team by buying other players – that would be great, too but I LIKE OUR PLAYERS. They represent me well and they conduct themselves well. I really don’t like it when purported supporters treat them poorly. I don’t take it personally if a player doesn’t play well; I would rather that the players all play excellently. But, when a player plays poorly it is no excuse for me to yell degrading personal epithets at him. The same obviously goes for AW.

  • goonersince72

    Well said Walter.