By Simon Bailey
They may be Anti-Arsenal, but they’re our Anti-Arsenal
Why they haven’t got a leg to stand on.
I love the Arsenal. No, I mean it, I really love the Arsenal. There are things I love more; my family, my home, and my dearly departed brindle lurcher to name a few. But apart from these, the Arsenal is my all consuming passion.
All of my work buddies and friends support different teams, and of all my family only my eldest son and father-in-law are fellow gooners. My missus worships the ground that Torres walks on, and her brother is a spud.
This past year I have had supporters of United, City, Villa, West Ham, the spuds, Liverpool and Pompey join me to watch games either in HD or via the internet. There is always plenty of banter and mirth making, but we are all bound together by our love for our respective teams.
Not many of us actually get to see our teams play in the flesh, and indeed if I get to come over twice a year to see us play, then that’s a good year. But we are all dedicated footie supporters.
I have often heard cries of anguish when their teams lose but not once have I heard any of them complain about off field issues. My wife never complains about Rafa or Hicks or Gillette or the Europa cup. My buddy Shocky doesn’t care that United are wallowing in debt. John, my brother-in-law doesn’t give a hoot that the spuds never amount to anything. And Arlo and Stan (Villa & WHU) are eternal optimists. I could go on but it’s the same story for all concerned.
I am not saying that all fans of other teams love every aspect of how their team is run, let’s face it United and Liverpool fans have plenty to complain about. However Ferguson, Benitez, and Zola are not the targets. Sure the press may occasionally have a half hearted pop at them but it isn’t sustained and the next issue will generally have a different target or theme.
So what’s up with Arsenal and Arsene? Why have the the press and the anti-Arsenal painted a great big bulls-eye on them?
It can’t be silverware, because in the last 10 years only three EPL clubs have more than us.
It can’t be league position because in the last 10 years we have never finished lower than fourth. We have been in the Top flight longer than any other English team, indeed it’s almost a century since we were promoted from the second division and we haven’t looked back.
It can’t be lack of European football because for the last 10 years we have had it every year.
It can’t be our financial situation, because ours is currently the best in the EPL. I know Chelsea and City have sugar daddies but they still can’t manage to post a profit in their respective end of year accounts, and we all know about the situation at OT and Anfield.
It can’t be our lack of youth training and recruitment, because ours is the best in the EPL if not the world. For instance, the whole of the Ivory Coast national team were recruited and trained by one of our worldwide soccer schools. Our youth and reserves teams are playing exceptionally well and have been for a few years now.
In fact we are doing so well on this front that it makes it almost impossible for Arsene to find better players in the transfer windows. Last year we signed two first team players, Arshavin and Vermaelen. Both of these deals went to the wire because Arsene will not pay over the odds for anyone.
It can’t be because our manager and most of our players are not British, because its 2010. Britain is truly a multi-cultural society, the French own and supply many of our utilities: power, water etc. and there is a great big tube linking us to the continent.
Most of our hospitals are staffed by immigrants, who also do most of the jobs that are ‘beneath’ us. Our national dish is Chicken Tikka Massalla, most of us drive to the match in cars made by non British companies or watch it on TVs or PCs manufactured abroad. Sky Tv is owned by an Australian, ESPN is American and Setanta is Irish (yes, I still get to see 3pm Saturday kick offs every week on Setanta).
It can’t be our lack of training and playing facilities. Our state of the art training ground in Hertfordshire, funded from the profit from selling Anelka, is the envy of all EPL teams and we play at the newest and best ground in the country.
It can’t be because our players continually exhibit anti-social behaviour in public because, driving offences aside, the most recent scandal was a photo of Bendtner with his trousers round his ankles looking bewildered as he left a night club, and we all know that the photographer paid his mate to pull them down at just the right moment, hence the bewildered look.
In short, they’ve got nothing, nil, nada. Not a leg to stand on. Every argument thrown up (literally) has been countered very eloquently by the Pro Wenger / Arsenal crowd.
In this lead up to the world cup, in which many of our players will be going to South Africa, the English press, as is to be expected, are whipping up a pro-English furore. Unfortunately for us (or fortunately) not many of our players will be sporting the 3-lions crest and so negativity towards the opposition (us) wrapped up in fervent nationalism is the order of the day.
This doesn’t bother me a great deal because English press = Engand squad = no brainer. The beauty of the internet is that anyone with an opinion can voice it quite anonymously.
This is where Anti-Arsenal has exploded. Any two bit scrote with a hangover and a bad attitude can vent their frustration free from the normal restrictions of truth, clarity and news-worthiness. To tell you the truth, I read Legrove every day, normally for the hilarity factor of the ‘bboooommmm’ first comments. Although I heartily disagree with most of their content, I have to admit that, as a diatribe, most of it is well written. Unlike many blogs with the word ‘Arsenal’ in the title.
The question still remains; why so negative about the team they love? I think it’s just another facet of the modern society we live in. Impatience is the new patience. As I pointed out earlier, over the last 10 years we have been very successful, but 10 years is 2/3 of a lifetime for a lot of bloggers and so the five-trophyless-years stick which they beat their keyboards with is pertinent to them.
We all know that if Arsene left, two things would happen. Firstly he would be able to walk into just about any team in the world. Secondly, we would struggle, probably for years, to replace him.
We also know that if Arsenal reverted to football 2.0, things wouldn’t change for the better. We might be able to buy our way to a trophy or two a-la United or Chelsea, but there’s no guarantee. We could always do a Harry and bankrupt our team for one bus-top parade. Or we could do a City, get a sugar daddy and still fail to play inspiring football or fill our stadium.
Personally I wouldn’t change a thing. Not the manager, not the team, not the press or even the anti-Arsenal. They are all now inextricably linked and are what make The Arsenal what it is today.
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