- Large football organisations exist to benefit those who run them
- This time it’s true: a game to remember for all time. AFC 3 Liverpool 1
By Tony Attwood
The CNN website summed up the situation yesterday quite well saying, “The Emirates erupted as Trossard’s shot squirmed into the net, with Arteta leading the party from the touchline.”
I’m not sure Arteta was actually leading anything, the whole stadium except the morose bunch of Liverpool supporters in the south east corner, erupted, and carried on erupting. We were happy, we felt joy, we wanted to share it with each other (lots of hugs with those around me) and show our appreciation to the players and the managers.
It was in short a shared moment. But not everyone liked it. The Sky Sports line was taken by Gary Neville, who told us that the celebrations showed immaturity.
Now this is quite a worrying thing to say – for a man employed by Sky Sports to be so ignorant of the passion and intensity with which supporters follow their chosen team.
Mind you I suppose it comes about through having had a life removed from the real world of supporters, where instead of being paid to play, or indeed watch football we actually have to go to work to earn the money to be able to pay to get into the game.
I have a season ticket but looking at Arsenal’s prices I think it would have cost me £136 to buy my seat just for the match. And surely if rather than being paid to watch a match and pontificate, one actually has to pay £136, it is not unreasonable to jump up and down, shout, and indeed hug the person sitting next to you (who has like oneself been occupying that seat come what may since the early days of the Emirates Stadium.)
In fact if there was any immaturity it was that of G Neville, who takes the money for punditing without actually bothering to find out what it is like to be a supporter. I imagine Gary Neville has never had to drive 86 miles to a road in north London where one can park, then get a tube in to Finsbury Park station and actually walk, and do the reverse journey only to find Finsbury Park underground shut and so have to walk to Manor House, and then get on a tube train that is so full one has to stand, and then walk the mile back to my pal’s house before driving 86 miles home again on a motorway with a speed limit of 50mph and solid four lanes of traffic all the way.
And throughout to pay for the privilege.
Jamie Carragher also had a go at Martin Ødegaard who apparently was “playfully taking pictures of the club’s photographer.”
His comment was “Just get down the tunnel. You’ve won a game, it’s three points. You’ve been brilliant, you’re back in the title race, just get down the tunnel, I’m serious, honestly,” (Sky Sports )
Now let’s consider that. Why should the club captain not take a photo or even several photos (if that is what he was doing – I didn’t see it)? It was a moment of sublime glory for Arsenal whom the media have written off throughout almost all of this season.
When I got my research degree following three years reading and writing in the libraries of London University Insitute of Education, I had pictures taken of me in gown and mortar board holding the prized certificate. That certificate was then framed and still hangs in my house, a memento of three years solid work 50 years ago. I also have shots of the moment, and indeed my beaming parents who were rather knocked out that their son had done it. And what is wrong with that?????
We should be encouraged to celebrate achievements. Only surly downbeaten complaining ne’er-do-wells and curmudgeonly deadbeats can’t stand it when other people can’t applaud achievements that are not their’s.
And that’s the point: we didn’t give a toss about the pundits, and that they could not stand.
I remember at the end of the Unbeaten Season, when Arsenal had disposed of Leicester City (who had just been relegated) in the final match, Arsenal players took the obligatory lap of honour, and as they passed the away support at the Clock End, those Leicester supporters applauded Arsenal players. Now that was real gentlemanly support. Leicester had had a dreadful season and yet their support could take the time to stay, watch Arsenal revel in what they had done, and applaud them!
Indeed I think we can seriously say of Jamie Carragher and Garie Neville they are clearly not at the level of Leicester City supporters. These are men who should be reminded that people like those Leicester fans, and indeed myself (since my journey to Arsenal is almost the same as theirs was) are the people who go to games and spend a fortune on so doing, because they love their club. Carragher and Neville are mean, measly, curmudgeons, nothing more nothing less.
It would be good to think that in retrospect Carragher and Neville feel ashamed of their own behaviour. Sadly I doubt they will ever realise how appallingly awful they have been.
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