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Could it be disappointing if it weren't so good?

Here we are at another point of no return. Or some would like to think so. I can relate to that, seriously. Every finals loss, every point dropped and every cup exit hurts like a bitch - my mood changes, I'm disheartened and numb. My missus and my dog avoid me for a minimum of 12 hrs while I feel lost and ask myself when is it going to stop - 2005 and the FA Cup final win, which I so appropriately celebrated in a proper shithole of a pub in Athens, seems like… well, 6 years ago.

The online warfare between the two polarized factions of Gooners is interesting to observe, maybe even study within the frameworks of some social systems theory. Myself, I try to keep as Switzerland of a position as possible, carefully considering both sets of arguments. In that sense, I never have and never will support anyone resorting to disgusting insults or petty name-calling of any of the members of our squad and staff, and this has been going seriously out of control lately.

One of the main (counter) arguments of those who staunchly defend Wenger's way of running Arsenal Football Club has been that Gooners have either been spoiled by him or are 'plastic' fans that should bugger off and support Chelsea. Is being spoiled that bad? A Gooner friend of mine recently wrote to me saying 'not to be spoiled is not to respect what AW has done for the club'. He even went as far to say 'Not to be spoiled, to paraphrase it somewhat, is to be Tottenham' I understand that, and largely agree with it. Arsenal as a club has always aspired to improve, reach new levels and set high standards for themselves and the competition, and in our 'era' all of this was epitomized in the first part of Wenger's reign via great football, trophies, the Invincibles and finally, the move to the new stadium, all built on a self-sustained model of operating. Unfortunately, everything else after that tends to be characterized as decline and the titles that AW won - the point of no return. No return to what, I ask?

The answer is hidden somewhere amongst our participating in the Champions League for almost a decade and a half, top 4 finishes, some solid Cup runs with a couple Cup finals to boot. These are supposed to render us as also-rans, non-competitive and ultimately weak/crap side. I beg to differ. Again, I concur that it would be false modesty or perhaps even blind loyalty not to expect Championship-winning or at least challenging sides, but seriously, how far are we from that?

Admittedly, the last 6 years have taken their toll on us, some like to point to their wallets and others to their emotional distress. We're severely hurt from being so close to reaching that box of candy sitting pretty on the top shelf, only to have the rug pulled from under our feet at the last moment and ending up with a broken jaw. Therefore, the rhetoric of an average Arsenal fan now swings from 'quadruple winners' after 3 wins on the trot to sack Wenger after two consecutive losses. Arsenal is world's most blogged about football club. We have two dead-serious, professional blogs on our Youth team. We know of Angha and Sead Hajrovic. We know who our 6th and 7th string goalkeepers are. Vela has a personal fan website. Isn't this a tiny bit screwed up in a good kind of way?

On the other hand, I don't remember when was the last time I had a discussion with or read something from a fellow Gooner about chants, songs, fan choreography, (except LD, who can sometimes bring the game atmosphere to your home), fan experience, stadia, memorabilia - stuff that is also part of the supporters/fans life. We have all fallen into the trap (myself included) into proving to each other our tactical awareness, transfer market knowledge, scouting capabilities, financial expertise and marketing skills. We all know who needs to be bought, who needs to be sold, who needs to cook the food to our youth team, what formation Neil Banfield should play, where we should tour next preseason, etc.

I wonder, are there any Arsenal fans left that are not experts in all these areas? Or have all those gone on to support the Leytons and Stafford Rangers'? Is there still anyone who supported Arsenal from, say 1971 till 1989 (apart from Goonerholic)? How did they survive the 18 year drought, after the side had set such high standards of winning the division? Was it pure luck? As far as I have read, not only there were no trophies after, say a certain George Graham, but there was also crap football complemented by mid-table mediocrity, bung scandals, empty stands, etc. So how does that decline compare to Wenger's Arsenal decline? And furthermore how does that compare with mighty clubs such as Chelsea and Sp*rs, who've had to wait for 50 years (and some are still waiting) for their 5 minutes of glory? 6 years in 125 years of a football club is exactly 4.8% of the clubs history.

Finally, I firmly agree with my mate's statement that Arsenal and Wenger need to change again in order to get back to the top. Still, there's no better man to do that than the boss himself. And we all have to keep in mind at all times that in spite of everything and everyone, the ball is round and can fall to Martins and Fabio, and not to Bendtner or Chamakh. Hope this rant made some sense to you. Peace.

twitter: ZeeDees






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The Journalist

Writer: G4L Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday March 14 2011

Time: 4:03PM

Your Comments

Very good perspective. Good to put this 'barren' spell into some perspective. There has never been a consistently better and more enduring period in the clubs history than the one current gooners have been and are experiencing now. These really are the good times.
Amos.
What do you guys think about mad Jens possible return? Would it be good for the dressing room?
Dberg
******** mental.. Awesomeest news of the day.
Sajit
Wenger is still the man for the job. No doubt. And if we had a team of Jack Wilsheres we would be winning every single competition out there..
Sajit
Been following since 1979 as my user-name says and i can remeber poor teams mid-table finishes and i love what Wenger as done for the club keeping us in the Champs League and always competitive while building a brand new stadium, just think he needs the help of a David Dein type of bloke to have a little word in his ear now and again and tell him it is alright to spend on experience every so often.
since1979
Good read indeed. thank you
MYGoon
I thoroughly enjoyed reading that. Nice one.
gronedrone
A lot of them are plastics that have never even been to Highbury, they just pick a big club and buy the product, plenty of them at my club as well.
jackstan
Excellent piece.
Gooner_Vin
your still a small club Jackstan
Sajit
you are * still a small club jackstan.. Sorry for the typo.
Sajit
great to read this. I don't always agree with others on the forum but I do respect their views. Wouldn't it be a tad boring if we all agreed on what we thought was right for the club?
Wyn Mills
"Arsenal is the world's most blogged about football club". You will be right about that one. It goes to radio stations and newspapers, who only need to get a headline on Arsenal to sell their papers. A 'sports radio' station in Nigeria just has to have a discussion on Arsenal, practically daily, and that gets all the attention with the lines abuzz during phone-in programmes; rolling in revenues from callers. The club is big money for a lot of businesses; another angle to view this article's perspective from. If it is so disappointing, why is it still so good? eh?
Naijagunner
One of the things that I can't relate to with some fans is how they appear to actively seek out the misery and bile of slagging their team off. I'm not talking about constructive criticism or frustration- no supporter is immune from that. But some people seem to tacitly enjoy failure so they have an excuse to get on the soapbox again. I don't get it. To me, my football club is like my family, it's part of me. It can annoy the ***** out of me but I always want them to succeed no matter what. When people slag them off, it's like they're criticising me and I'll defend them to the hilt, even on occasions when, in truth, they probably don't deserve it. I think some people attach themselves to teams like United or Arsenal as a status symbol, hoping that the club's successes can project onto them. So when the club falls short in any given goal, those people take it personally, frustrated that once again they'll have to take the stick from the plastic United and Chelsea fans in the office. It makes them feel inadequate and they take that out with comments that border abuse of indivfiduals connected to the club. I really don't get it, but maybe I was brought up with an old fashioned view of a football fan and this is a modern progression I'm not at grips with yet.
Little Dutch
Crazy Jens is back.
gronedrone
Well said there, LD. Such are not fans but mere sympathisers, who will drop 'their' club at the mere appearance of adversity or a poor run, contrary to the trophy cause that elicited their allegiances, in the first place.
Naijagunner
Great post LD. I'm exactly the same. It's not uncommon for me to be thinking a negative thought about my club, and some none Arsenal fan will make the exact point I was thinking myself, but because they don't know my team I feel a huge swell of anger, who the ***** are they to talk about my club like that ..... even though I was thinking similar things myself. I think I need help.
Rocky7
Guys, I have followed since 1964, and as a thirteen year old desperate for some success for the club can remember the league cup final against Swindon Town, and you think losing to Birmingham hurts. Believe me these are the good times. Even when we were winning under Graham the football was so dire that it impinged on the feel good factor of winning. I have just been on a break with a Tottenham fan and as much as they are enjoying the Champions League it is just starting to dawn on them that they will probably not be in the competition next year. Unlikely as it seems at the moment but there are ten games left (with plenty of rest periods in between) and 26 points will be enough , especially if three of those are against MU.
grouvillegooner
Arsenal might be the most blogged about, but some of the bloggers are just vile, hateful xenophobes. You know who they are- the ones you've chosen to hide on Newsnow, use shorthand like AKB, and have such brilliant readers that the first comment is always a self-important "First" and then next ten are along those lines. Rubbish blogs, rubbish people. I like the family analogy LD, right on. I presume these anti-Wenger bloggers screamed vitriol at them mum to get divorced if dad missed out on a promotion?
elbondo
Good article and a nice dollop of perspective on the side too. Needed that. And once again, Arsene Wenger is still the man for me.
julieloveshenry4ever
Supported Arsenal since 1974. I remember the **** years, and believe me, I am loving the fact that we are competing - for so many years, we were not. And as grouvillegooner says, let's not forget how dire our football was under Graham most of the time. But, having said that, it wouldn't matter to me if we returned to that (I would rather we didn't!), as it's all about the Arsenal - win, lose or draw. People are quick to forget that we have won 2 (TWO!) doubles under Wenger - I can still remember how proud I was in the 70's that we were one of the few that had done it (and the first London club to do it - let's not forget that the scum were a middlesex team till 1964) I get frustrated too, that we are so close to winning things, but I console myself with the long term view that when we do start to win things, we are (in my opinion) set up to continue winning (as Man United did in the 90s) for a long time. The club have invested in the long term - and I think Jack is an indication of what we will be producing in the future. We are the Arsenal, we are the best...
wembley79
Around 2004 there was an increase of new blogs on the Arsenal and our worldwide fan base exploded as well thanks to the success of the Invincibles. As the club began attracting a lot of newbie fans and got discussed more and more in the blogosphere, we moved to the Grove and dismanteld the Invincibles out of financial requirements. Many of the new fans and the new blogs joined in anticipation of more success and bragging rights which haven't yet accrued to them. The mainstream media has also failed to understand that the stadium move has been incredibly well managed from a footballing perspective. The media can scream and some of the new fans can moan, it wont change the fact that there is a core of Arsenal fans who understand what supporting this club means and have a good perspective on our current state of affairs and our future.
Deltaforce
As an example of how reactive and shallow many supporters and Arsenal blogs are you can take a look at the current list of editorials and 'exclusive' articles (not exclusive in the sense that it's the same theme from everyone) offered over at online gooner over the last 48 hours. They run from 'Not good enough in so many ways' through 'Time to end this ourselves' to 'One Stubborn Manager' with pretty much everything sandwiched in between in the same vein. This is one of the few supporter sites that will deal with the criticisms, failures and shortcomings with a sensible perspective of both views. Meeting with Triumph and Disaster and treating those imposters both the same....as Kipling would wish to do.
Amos.
I can be one of the more critical fans of AW but I don't believe I'm in the same category as the type of fan I've been reading on various Arsenal blogs after the Barca game. The knee-jerk, unthinking reaction to what AW did in that game among gooners as well as most media pundits really beggared belief. What amazed me was that I'm hardly an analytical expert on football tactics but I grasped AW's plan and strategy-and recognized that it was a huge improvement from last season's approach to Barca. You don't have to be a football genius to see what AW tried to do in that game--that he was trying a well-thought out tactical plan that doesn't fit in with the "no plan B" cliche so often attached to him. A plan that was actually quite a good one given the opponent and given the fact that Arsenal are not a Mourinho team. What AW tried to do in that game deserves respect, very few pundits got it (one of the few was Graham Hunter, the Spain-based journo). The discussion on AW's tactics on blogs like the onlinegooner was incredibly shallow.
jaelle
 

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