Vital Football

Latest Arsenal FC News

A Source of Inspiration

A Source of Inspiration

7th May, 2008. Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.

The LED screen outside every stadium gate was showing the same message, after the team clinched the record 31st La Liga title: 'Gracias aficion. Campeones: 31 Ligas formamos un equipo.' (Something like 'Thanks for your support. Champions: 31 league titles make a team.') I saw a few brave away fans wearing the blaugrana colours gracefully smiling at some over-zealous Madrileños who bragged about Real Madrid's success in front of them and made fun of their rivals in chaos.

The notoriously horn-happy Spaniards got even more ecstatic: one in about five drivers who went past Paseo de la Castellana sounded the horn in celebration. And in the typically terrible Madrid traffic, the Barcelona team bus arrived, facing a hysterical crowd of home fans greeting them with 'Campeones, campeones, ole ole ole!' and some swear words unknown to me. Unlike the Real bus, in which players looked through the clear windows and waved to the huge crowds jumping up and down on Avenida de Concha Espina, the Barcelona bus, with dark tinted windows through which nobody could see the players inside, sped past the jeering home crowd.

I had never seen the guard of honour before. Lined up nicely but quite possibly grudgingly, the Barcelona players put on a string of brave faces and applauded the beaming Real players emerging from the players' tunnel. I saw Leo Messi's face up close in a newspaper later: graceful, sad but defiant, almost in disbelief. You just knew he would come back and be the one to emerge as a champion.

There were two glaring absentees in that line-up: Samuel Eto'o and Deco, who picked up their fifth yellow cards in 'suspicious' circumstances in the match before. Quite why a stroll in the park that ended 6-0 against the struggling Valencia would yield two yellow cards and the attacking duo's suspension, nobody cared, except a couple of claims in the Spanish press that they were 'cowards' who chickened out of the daunting prospect of travelling to the triumphant capital.

On the pitch, I saw panic in the defence and midfield and felt sorry for them and their fans. The only two attacking players who kept trying their best regardless of the circumstances were Leo Messi and Thierry Henry, the latter scoring the consolation goal towards the end of the 4-1 disaster that turned out to be the last straw on Frank Rijkaard's aching back.

Fast forward to 2nd May, 2009. Same venue.

Deco was long gone, nowhere I'm afraid. Eto'o, after being named by Josep Guardiola as one of the players who could leave in summer, had decided to stay and prove his boss wrong. And the young manager has gladly admitted as much this season. When he went missing in the previous Clásico, who would have thought that he, Henry and Messi would form the holy trinity that outscored any entire team in Spain, and in fact any entire team in the top four leagues in Europe?

This Clásico ended 6-2 to Barcelona after yet another brilliant attacking display that silenced the Madrid crowd and all but sealed the outcome of the title race, before they would also claim the Copa del Rey and reach the Champions League final in Rome.

16th May, 2009. Old Trafford.

Perhaps if Man United managed to score against Villa or Spurs, we would have had to form the guard of honour for the champions, just as Chelsea did in 2007. We did not suffer anything close to the humiliation that Barcelona endured either.

I personally think it's less painful to watch the rivals celebrate after the game than to have to applaud them as the confirmed champions before it. But it must hurt either way. Would this episode be a source of inspiration for us?

If for a player it didn't hurt, please dump him Arsène. If they felt the pain, the jealousy, the defiance, the desire to come back and win burning in them, they have a chance.

Pain, what pain? It was inspiration.



For the very latest Premier League odds

For massive weekly jackpots - Play the Football Pools Online

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Writer:Gooner Lou
Date:Sunday May 17 2009
Time: 11:01AM

Comments

0
gr8 article , it actually reminds me with the situation goin on in my country , i wish arsenal the best of luck next season
mr.x
17/05/2009 11:21:00
0
Good article Lou, I was having a similar conversation with a yiddo mate I watched the game with last night. I said it might be an inspiration for us, he said 'why, it didn't work for us when you won the league at the Lane', I replied that's cos we're not *****e. He was not happy.
Ozi Gooner
17/05/2009 15:33:00
0
if only...we will wait and see
number14
18/05/2009 10:15:00
0
Great article, Lou! Great reading. We can only hope it'll provide inspiration. And I esp. loved your line "If for a player it didn't hurt, please dump him Arsène." Amen!
jaelle
18/05/2009 17:22:00
Page 1/1
  1. 1

Login to post a comment

Recent Arsenal Articles

Behaviour Rules - Some Initial Reaction

Various rules on what is and isn't acceptable are being rolled out this season in an attempt to reduce 'intolerable behaviour' towards match day officials. What's the initial reaction?

Wenger Impressed With 'Encouraging' Xhaka

Gunners boss pleased with his new boy

Rob Is Holding His Own

New centre back impresses on his debut

Line Up vs MLS All-Stars - Walcott Up Front?!?!?!

Preseason friendly team news

Archived Vital Arsenal Articles

Vital Arsenal articles from

Site Journalists

Rocky7
Editor email
Profile
ClockEnd124
no email
Profile
Amos
no email
Profile

Current Poll (see more polls)

Player of the Year
Suggested By:
Petr Cech4%
Hector Bellerin7%
Mesut Ozil76%
Alexis Sanchez10%
Olivier Giroud3%
ScoopDragon Premier League Network Sites

League Table

# Team P W D L Pts. GD
1 AFC Bournemouth 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 Arsenal 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 Burnley 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 Chelsea 0 0 0 0 0 0
5 Crystal Palace 0 0 0 0 0 0
6 Everton 0 0 0 0 0 0
7 Hull City 0 0 0 0 0 0
8 Leicester City 0 0 0 0 0 0
9 Liverpool 0 0 0 0 0 0
10 Man City 0 0 0 0 0 0
11 Man Utd 0 0 0 0 0 0
12 Middlesbrough 0 0 0 0 0 0
13 Southampton 0 0 0 0 0 0
14 Stoke 0 0 0 0 0 0
15 Sunderland 0 0 0 0 0 0
16 Swansea 0 0 0 0 0 0
17 Spurs 0 0 0 0 0 0
18 Watford 0 0 0 0 0 0
19 WBA 0 0 0 0 0 0
20 West Ham 0 0 0 0 0 0
Latest F1 News
Latest Vital Boxing News

Recent Arsenal Results (view all)

Vital Members League Table

RankNamePoints
1.Naijagunner8
2.Joe_@**1