Stone Cold Friday: Time For Arsenal Supporters To Move On
Monday’s post was originally going to be entitled, “********. There Are Going To Be A ******** Of ******* Whinging ******** About This Week”. Seems I wasn’t alone in thinking that. Darius agrees.
This past week is one of the most depressing I have witnessed as an Arsenal supporter. I’m not talking here about the loss to Man United in the Sunday league fixture at the Emirates. Far from that as I’m a bit more realistic that we won’t win every match we play. It’s more the mass hysteria and the venomous negativity after the self destruct button was engaged by the footballing establishment and Arsenal’s own home grown doom and gloom merchants.
I always find that 2 things help following a disappointing loss.
Firstly, the faster the team gets back on the pitch and corrects the situation, the happier I tend to feel. The Arsenal team didn’t cover themselves in glory on Sunday, and any self respecting player will want to put this right for their own sake and for the sanity of Arsenal supporters.
Secondly, I also find that it helps to reflect after the cold light of day has passed. Football is a profoundly emotive subject and many a time as supporters, we can overwhelm ourselves by our propensity to take leave of our faculties that are responsible for perspective and reason.
I don’t know what it is, but it’s like there’s an unbearable fragility within a section of the Gooner nation that cannot stomach adversity. It’s a characteristic that bears its ugly mug every time Arsenal doesn’t win by playing champagne football.
Let’s get a few things out of the way. I don’t have an issue with fans who like me get bitterly disappointed when the Arsenal team loses. It’s unreasonable and arrogant to expect that we will win every game. No one has the divine right to do that. In fact, I am normally fairly satisfied if and when we lose but the team show great spirit, application, sheer determination and fight. The kind of fight that sees the team scrambling to the death for that desperate point or that elusive win.
There are cases where the team literally throws the match away, and many supporters will be bitterly disappointed. The rightful expectation will be that the team puts this in order as soon as possible.
In this respect, I have no issue with the debate and critiquing of tactics and poor individual or collective team performances. I have no issue in folks expressing the fact that improvements need to be shown individually and collectively.
We’ve had many discussions for example, about the mental fortitude needed by the team, as well as the virtues of defensive discipline that needs to be drilled into the entire team. We’ve expressed our desire to see the players be forced to eat, sleep and breathe this sort of discipline so that they’re better equipped to deal with the different challenges and obstacles that opponents present from time to time.
In my view, what has been unacceptable and bang out of order in the last few days is the outright and wholesale negativity and venom towards Wenger and the team. I’m usually pretty selective about what Arsenal blog or newspaper I read, or what I watch or listen to – but the Armageddon type of hysteria and negativity that has been floating around the Gooner nation has been sickening.
There’s even a petition that has been started to get the Arsenal board to fire Wenger. Supposedly, the myopic view is that the usual suspects of Guus Hiddink, Frank Rijkaard, Jose Mourinho et al, will certainly do a better job. I’m not even going to waste any more real estate on this blog discussing how ridiculous it is to even contemplate a change in manager, but I just wanted to highlight some of the ways in which this extreme hysteria is manifesting itself.
Clearly, the Arsenal team has a lot more work to do. I’m actually quite happy that the January transfer window is firmly slammed shut – so we can get on with the job of fighting on in the league without the speculative distractions of player transfers. I don’t believe that buying ’off-the-shelf’ solutions whenever you face an obstacle is the answer to every problem. I’m not averse to bringing in new players – in fact I support that.
However, any new player being brought in has to absolutely add value and has to be the right fit for Arsenal. I have faith enough that Arsenal has the best and most extensive scouting system in the world and if such a player was available and was value for money, Arsenal would get that player.
I don’t subscribe to the nonsense of spewing out every so called ’big name’ player that the tabloids concoct. I would suggest that our scouting network is in a better position to figure out whether a player is good enough for Arsenal or not. If tabloid journalists were that good, they’d be earning better money as football scouts in the first place instead of concocting rumours linking players to clubs.
I still have the conviction that we have the personnel to cope for the rest of the season. We need to actually just get on with the job. The issues for this team are not personnel based; they’re more to do with application and mental strength.
Perhaps Hull City forcing Chelsea to travel back down south with a point is reminder enough that perspective and faith do have a place in this mad world of football. It’s certainly not impossible to beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, because we beat them in the corresponding fixture last season – and we had a weaker team then. We certainly won’t win if the players don’t style up and play like they actually want it more than Chelsea, and we certainly won’t win if the fans self destruct at every available opportunity.
There is such a thing as working together and supporting each other. The team needs the supporters, and the supporters need the team to deliver. Unfortunately, as supporters, we have a lot to learn from teams like Liverpool and stoke City. The match day support that their team get – win, lose or draw lifts the stadium atmosphere to heights that we can only dream of.
When our players are having a nightmare on the pitch, you cannot under-estimate what role good solid support plays in lifting the players’ individual and collective games. It’s as much a reminder of why they must lift their game to prove their worthy of the shirt, as much as it is an affirmation that we are all right behind them.
I’m sure that like Arsenal, the fans from these other teams have grievances about all manner of issues. The difference is that they know when and how to lift their team when it most counts on match day.
Maturely and rationally debating the poor form and tactics of the team, as well as showing absolute vocal support when it’s most needed are both responsibilities we have as fans. They are not mutually exclusive and can exist in the same space.
Posted on February 4, 2010, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, Football, Soccer, Stone Cold Arsenal, Stone Cold Friday. Bookmark the permalink. 392 Comments.