Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Thursday January 4 2007
New Vital Arsenal member questforavalon has marked his arrival on Vital with a bang.
Here he asks some questions of Arsenal's identity. Read on Gooners, read on...
In the past there have been numerous shots at Arsenal fielding too many players from other countries. These people argue that there must be restrictions by FA to restrict the number of foreign players to play in the each team of EPL.
But I have a basic question 'What is Arsenal? Is it a English club which plays in a league or is it a club that plays in an English League?'. I think the answer to this question should settle at least few confusions regarding the Identity of the club.
Let me elucidate further: Do you identify with Arsenal because it is the closest stadium to your home so it is a local club, or you like to watch the team play beautiful football even if you are away half way around the globe like myself. I may be biased but I have a few questions.
1) If you want to restrict the number of foreigners who are playing does that mean you would restrict the number of foreign fans and fan club who watches you and contribute significantly to your kitty? Does that mean you would refuse the money of the sponsors because they are not English?
2) Why not stop with the players, lets take it to the logical conclusion. Why not restrict the number of managers of the club. Lets have only 1/4 managers foreign born. So which clubs get to keep the foreign born managers?
3) Lets take it even further. Why not stop the visiting supporters into the stadium because they are not born and brought up near your stadium. No. What about lets not play with other clubs (esp. outside England) at all, because they are not natives? Then we could be the BEST club known to us. It would be the story of frog sitting inside a well and thinking it to be the entire world.
The archaic rules of FA about recruiting youngsters within 15 mile radius was for the time when EPL was in the like little league of baseball in US(where the locality kids joined together to play against next street kids). Not anymore when EPL is touted as the 'greatest show on earth'. Is it fine with EPL and FA to restrict the places in which the EPL is broadcasted (if I am not mistaken FA gets a share of broadcasting money - doesn`t it?).
I am a very recent supporter of Arsenal FC, I started in earnest only last season. I had seen Arsenal on the way to CL finals once n a while. and I had three favourite footballers Henry, zidane and Ronaldinho(ironically because of his amazing goals against England in the 2002 world cup). The CL finals decided me - the spirit and heart shown by Arsenal and I have tried not to miss a single game ever since even if they are shown at 3AM and I have office next day. I want to go there sometime to watch arsenal play live.
Would you say I will have half the team who are the best and half average? How would you feel if you are in army and your commander comes to you and says I know you are the finest trooper so I am going to put you into a life or death situation with the shi**iest guy (no disparagement to English players) because he is from so and so place. I am telling you from experience in day to day life in India where reservation rears its ugly head in almost all aspects of life based on caste, creed and community. I think it is slowly killing the democracy of what it meant to be. That rant is for another time.
Sport has always been one of the finest expressions of mankind's excellence. Like all other expressions it must be beautiful, graceful, powerful and full of speed. It is an art. And it is magic. And it is the unending search for excellence. For an example of how good it can be watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ux9HHjF_8vg
One small point on English values. What is it? Grit, beauty of savage power? If you wanted to watch people knocking each other senseless go watch rugby or American football. Football now is a sport with its own values: speed, agility, skill and co-ordination. Play the football with values of football.
So back to the question: What is Arsenal? Is it defined by the geographical boundaries or is it a concept created in men`s minds? In the words of Marcus Aurelius in Gladiator: 'There was a dream that was Rome. You could only whisper it. Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish, it was so fragile'. Don't wake me from the dream that is Arsenal. Not yet.
Article Submitted by questforavalon
Date:Thursday January 4 2007
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