Why us gooners have much to be proud of
The recent world cup final was contested between a technically gifted Spanish side and a very hard working and talented Holland. The Spanish victory was hailed by Alan Hansen and co, as a good result for football. They marvelled over the passing game and technical brilliance of Spain.
Yet I was not impressed, probably because I have been accustomed to this calibre of total football week in week out at the Emirates. Pundits were throwing out superlatives as if it was confetti. Conversely they could not wait till they condemned the Dutch as aggressive hooligans who simply ruined the spectacle. As it happens I completely agree with what they had to say. What is mighty irksome is the fact that they are not consistent.
Re-wind to Saturday, 27 February 2010. An away premier league match at the Britannia. Arsenal, much like the Spanish, pass and pass to unlock even the most stubborn of teams. It is this attractive football that makes me feel proud to be a gooner.
The match was marred by the horrific injury to one of our most coveted youngsters, Aaron Ramsey. I can’t help but compare the aggressive style of football Stoke utilized to what the Dutch did to counter the Spanish passing game. And yet the very same pundits were straight to the defence of Tony Pulis’ side. Their game plan was always to roughen us up saying that our foreign contingent can’t handle it. What I cannot understand is why that is acceptable when it comes to players like Ramsey, Eduardo, Diaby, Nasri etc and not when it is the Spanish national side. The standards change as soon as it’s anyone but Arsenal.
All of this makes me think of another similar situation when double standards were once again used. I remember when Eduardo was accused of diving against Celtic and was awarded a penalty. Yes in hindsight I can accept that the challenge was fairly innocuous. But that did not justify the witch hunt which proceeded. The situation is made worse when players like Rooney and Gerrard do the exact same thing, yet when they do it it’s called being a clever footballer but when it comes to Eduardo he is labelled a cheat. Could this all be out of envy?
Arsene Wenger has transformed the world of football. He has improved diets, shown that a football club can be run without a billionaire owner, finish consistently in the top four of the most competitive league in the world and won trophies along the way. And all this was not at the expense of our identity, tradition and history unlike our blue London rivals.
When I go to the Emirates I always have a smile on my face when I see parents who bring their children. I feel at home at the Emirates. And yet when I go to any other stadium I never have the same feeling. This speaks wonders for our fans and speaks wonders for our manager. Someone who has assured our future in a very competitive market has to be applauded. Maybe it is all this that makes the tabloids and pundits inclined to take every opportunity to take a swipe at the gunners?
All I know is that our squad is improving and with possibly a new goalkeeper and one more defender the project that Wenger started may finally come to fruition. For this we must be very proud.
And you might also enjoy
Arsenal 100 years ago – the Woolwich Arsenal web site
Making the Arsenal: if you are not taking this book to the beach questions will be asked