By Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw, senior psychologist at the University College Hospital of the North Circular Road with apologies to China Miéville.
There are two Arsenal’s: The Arsenal and The Arsenal. They sit next to each other but to each the other does not exist. You cannot be in both and cannot easily travel from one to the other. Be in one and it is hard to understand that the other exists, could exist or even why it should exist.
In The Arsenal there is a new manager with a fantastic track record of winning trophies both with the biggest of clubs and lesser clubs. A manager who has been a major success in his last two jobs winning trophies all the way. A manager experienced at working with the team of players and the team of lawyers, transfer agents, contract writers, fitness experts and the like that make up the modern club.
In The Arsenal there is only incompetence and indecision. Possible transfers are bungled allowing other clubs to move in. Contracts are poorly written, players want to leave, the wrong men are signed, transfer fees never maximised. Even people with no experience of football management, or come to that experience of any type of management of a company, are able to point out the faults and could do better if only they were given a chance.
The Arsenal and The Arsenal exist alongside each other. Each can be glimpsed by the other but rarely is, simply because it is so difficult to see that the Arsenal other than The Arsenal exists.
In this world of The Arsenal and The Arsenal rumours abound but because the club is in a state of incompetence modeled perhaps on the Football Association, the rumours are never fulfilled.
When The Arsenal announces ‘Phenomenal’, ‘Signing of the season’ – The Arsenal fans are elated with links to perhaps a
(For the record the invention by The Arsenal is of PSV Eindhoven player Hirving Lozano according to Football Fan Cast was reported in Publimetro and then picked up by The Arsenal. But not by The Arsenal.
The Arsenal in the shape of the Daily Express tell us that Arsenal are going to sign Cristian Pavon. The Arsenal in the shape of the Daily Express tell us The Arsenal’s bid has been dismissed as mere wishful thinking by The Arsenal. Meanwhile The Arsenal never thought about the player and never made the bid at all.
Arsenal Fever tell us The Arsenal has contacted PSG concerning Goncalo Guedes a 21 year old forward from Paris Saint-Germain, according to reports in Cadena COPE. That is Cadena de Ondas Populares Españolas a Spanish radio station. No way of checking of course. The story was in the Metro, well know advocates of The Arsenal. That was in
Of course occasionally The Arsenal catches a glimpse of The Arsenal as when Sky tell us that “Arsenal are likely to be able to conclude a deal to sign Lucas Torreira this summer, says Dharmesh Sheth”. But this is The Arsenal, in which world the source of a story can be the TV station’s own reporter. It is true because we said it. That’s The Arsenal. The source is the outlet, which is clever. Even a drainpipe doesn’t claim to be the source of the water that flows down it.
But The Arsenal is often contradictory as the Express tells us that “Lucas Torreira rejected Gunners medical in surprise revelation.” The Arsenal thus fractures into The Arsenal and The Arsenal but it is always different from being The Arsenal.
Stories from The Arsenal come from nowhere – as with Arsenal ‘considering move for Senegal’s World Cup 2018 star M’Baye Niang’ in the Daily
As a result The Arsenal becomes a confusing land in which supporters say “I don’t understand” as in the Football FanCast headline “Don’t understand” … What they don’t understand is why we are giving away Ospina when we could sell him. And why don’t they understand? Because they are in the world of The Arsenal, instead of The Arsenal. In the world of The Arsenal nothing makes sense.
In the world of The Arsenal there is a realization that 97% of what is said in newspapers and blogs about The Arsenal is untrue, a fantasy to trap readers into a make-believe world in which they can exist with their chums seeing an Arsenal that doesn’t exist. It is a world of misery and failure, with incompetent managers, idiot executives, and the like bumbling and failing to make transfers. In this world nothing makes sense.
Alongside it The Arsenal exists in a world in which most years the club makes three or four transfers and plays these players. As with all other clubs some of the transfers work, some of them don’t.
In the world of The Arsenal Aaron Ramsey will be as great as Zinedine Zidane if only he could overcome the fact that he isn’t as great as ZZ except in flashes. Or as the article says, “Ramsey has only ever been at these moment ary peaks for moments.” And for a second The Arsenal and The Arsenal meet as those of us with The Arsenal can agree because haven’t we all had that feeling that Pain the Arsenal express. Having momentary peaks for moments.
But such joning of The Arsenal and The Arsenal last just seconds and slips apart. In The Arsenal “Ever Banega set to turn down Arsenal manager Unai Emery” (The Sport Review) but at The Arsenal there never was an attempt to sign Ever Banega no more than there was for the other 97%.
At The Arsenal the players are awful, and everyone with any sense can immediately see it as we find with Football London’s headline, “A poor man’s Senderos!’ – Some Arsenal fans call on club to sell defender amid Juventus interest. The player is Mustafi – picked on after the interest in knocking Xhaka died away a little.
But The Arsenal doesn’t ask: if Mustafi is so bad why do Juventus want him. Only in The Arsenal do people say, “how come it is only you who see Xhaka as awful?”
We have called them the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal – the AAA – but they call themselves The Arsenal. We call ourselves The Arsenal. The Arsenal and The Arsenal. There is no connection. We are worlds apart.
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