Stone Cold Friday: Is Arsenal’s Hill Of Beans Becoming A Mountain?
I’m curious. When you send huge quantities of spam emails, surely the idea is to entice someone into your web to be able to rip them off. Thus, marketing a product would play to it’s strongest points. So why, dear people, are those who try to flog me Viagra – 2 kids already, quite happy with that BTW – lowering their discounts as the night gets older? Surely they should be increasing or at the very least, holding firm? Anyway, Darius is on the case. No, not that one. This one…
I have a sequence of rituals I perform before every Arsenal game. It’s a habit I acquired from way back in high school when I was convinced that our First team school rugby squad was bewitched. Believe me, we had some insalubrious characters that would give the Mystic Meg’s and the Odome Browns (Whoopi Goldberg in Ghost – anyone?) a run for their money.
After the last training session before the game, I would take a shower in every cubicle. Shower rooms in boarding schools weren’t anything to write home about, and I suspect being anal about this ritual made me overcome the health and safety concerns of the dodgy shower cubicles.
If you asked me now why I did it, I honestly have no cotton-picking idea – but I’ll tell you what, the damn thing worked. Every time I was picked for the team and I did the shower routine, we won the rugby match the next day.
In recent times, I’ve found myself doing the following before Arsenal games:
- Switching off any device that has pre-match punditry to avoid any negative energy
- Checking and double checking whether my beer or wine is chilled to the right temperature. I take beer during afternoon games and white wine for games at night – I’ve been accused of being a borderline alcoholic at times, but there’s absolutely no evidence to justify this accusation.
- I take off my home Arsenal shirt, turn it inside out, and then turn it back again before putting it on. I know, I know – it’s like dressing up for a phone call – but it makes me feel good.
- I tap the door frame of the living room with all my fingers at the same time – making sure to do it 5 times and only 5 times.
- Exactly one minute to kick off – I switch on the telly, the radio or ATVO (whichever I’m watching or listening to on the day) and sit to toast the team before taking my first sip of the beer or wine at kick off.
On Wednesday, for one reason or another, I missed at least 3 of those rituals. Earlier on in the day, I’d jinxed Wookash by doing an exclusive piece on my blog about his high profile howlers.
Imagine the shock on me when in the 11th minute Wookash became the 2nd Arsenal goal keeper in as many weeks to get their name on the score sheet.
I’m one of those people who believe that doing something once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence and third time around – it’s just bang out of order. So this is why I pose the question for us to debate today.
Do Arsenal’s Keystone Cop moments simply amount to a hill of beans or are they becoming a mountain of distractions? Whilst scraping me off the ceiling last night, my wife injected a huge dose of reality in my system by posing a few very interesting questions.
”Who are you actually pissed off with? Is it the referee, Fabianski, Campbell, Nasri or Clichy for giving the Porto winger the keys to the left flank of the Dragão? Or is it Wenger for being courageous enough to give the young players he believes in the opportunity that any footballer would kill for?”
I actually concluded I was simply just expressing the raw emotion and frustration that is normal when the rub of the green doesn’t go our way.
I’m lucky that Flint, one of my most loyal followers on Stone Cold Arsenal has had the privilege of being an Arsenal supporter for over 50 years. I tell you – Flint’s experience and sense of perspective is invaluable and could well benefit our core of plastic ’Johnny come lately’ customers who suggest that they’re ardent supporters.
Here’s a bit of insight and perspective into Arsenal’s goal keeping tribulations from Flint:
Bob Wilson, in fact, is a good illustration of why we need to remain patient with our project, certainly in the ‘keeper situation. Unfortunately it is not a position where you can afford much.
Arsenal had always had 2 long term goalkeepers from 1946 to 1961, in George Swindon & still my favourite Jack Kelsey. Jack had his career ended by injury c1961 & we then had several occasionally brilliant but mostly unreliable ‘keepers. including Bob, until Fingers Furnell came from Liverpool to be a little bit more reliable but I would not put him in even Almunia’s class.
Bob had a spell of about 4 games, starting brilliantly against Forest & ending looking like the amateur he still was against Chelsea. He disappeared for 5/6 seasons to reappear after Fingers made a mistake too many. He was totally different & was superb, particularly in 70/71, until he retired c1974.
What I am saying is that perhaps it is too early for Fabianski. We have not produced a permanent ‘keeper through the youth system since Jack Kelsey. I know from his book that he got off to a very poor start, in the 1st team, but made it whilst still very young, a couple of seasons later. Same with Jennings at Tottenham, he had an awful start there.
Jack was, in my opinion better than Seaman, so you have to be a great to make it so young. Fabianski has a way to go but for me Sczezsny has the look of an early achiever.
On a side note, I see Given did no better than Fabianski against the Delap throw, in the recent 2 matches. It ain’t so easy.
My opinion is that the individual errors and lapses of judgement are just a hill of beans that don’t amount to anything but a learning process. Unfortunately for Arsenal, we’re at a higher risk because of the club’s courage to stand by their players and give them opportunities to prove their worth, despite some inevitable mistakes that will lead to goals and lost points.
What was telling for me on this issue was Wenger’s response to being asked about not purchasing a striker. Wenger used Nicklas Bendtner (who was present with him at that press conference) as an example.
The manager’s view was that having taken Bendtner in at the age of 15, and investing in him for 7 years, it doesn’t make sense to turn around and drop the player because of misguided pressure from outside to buy as a knee jerk solution to every problem.
Wenger’s unwavering faith in his charges is as commendable as his courage in facing the adversity that comes their way when they go through a difficult patch. It is this courage and support that will stop the hill of beans that are the growing pains of any development process becoming an insurmountable mountain.
The more relevant question is whether some Arsenal supporters (or customers) have the spine to stand the heat of the real-time education the youngsters are having. I’m sure there are those who’d prefer that Arsenal throw the baby, the bath water and the whole bathroom down Holloway Road.
Posted on February 19, 2010, in Arsenal, Champions League, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer and tagged Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer, Stone Cold Arsenal. Bookmark the permalink. 304 Comments.