Guest post by Matt Windmill (@MattWindmill)
The sense of anticipation building as you catch the train, the odd glimpse of a red and white here and there, the knowing looks and acknowledgement from like minded strangers.
The breeze as you enter the fragrant air of North London, a sea of red, white, yellow and blue as the hustle and Bustle builds.
You can almost taste the nervous excitement as you walk along St. Thomas’ Road, weaving in and out of one way pedestrian traffic, the odd snippet of the same conversation heard, the smell of various international culinary delights filling your nostrils.
The glow of the floodlights of Highbury visible after dusk, like a homing beacon drawing hypnotised souls towards it centre.
The unmovable smile as you catch a first glimpse of 11 heroes in red & white jogging on to the immaculate pitch preparing to play the beautiful game just for you.
OK, OK, you caught me being a bit of an old romantic!
I still remember the first time I made that journey as a young boy, the smile and sense of awe not leaving me throughout, feeling lucky to be part of the greatest tribe in existence.
These days the walk is slightly longer, but no less atmospheric as the crowd assembles, flowing across the bridges to the greatest stadium in Club Football.
The current day is an interesting time, full of transfer tittle-tattle, stories on every medium imaginable of the next great player to pull on an Arsenal shirt, and of the one that got away.
Some of us are even ancient enough to remember when the first you knew of a new signing was the excitement of reading about it in the Evening Standard, I know, hard to believe for the younger generation permanently on the grid.
Loud voices from every angle, Football management experts, telling us who we should sign, mixed with so called ‘in the know’ character’s angling for more follower’s by tweeting the latest name of our next superstar.
Endless debate about what our great manager should be doing, the irony lost on those who think they can do better.
Amidst the madness it got me thinking, when did we forget to just support?
There is a clue in the title for those who are not sure what it means.
Unbridled support – through the good and the bad times, and before the doomer’s start, there have been plenty more good than bad.
Did a whole generation become bored of just supporting?
Are the negative souls amongst us just a reflection of today’s ‘want it all now’ society, or have they simply been spoilt over the last 15-odd years, becoming so used to the high standards set and maintained by the greatest manager in our history, that any slight drop is met with a teenage like strop?
You tell me, but in the meantime, if you see a guy walking along St. Thomas’ road with a big grin on his face ignoring all of the surrounding nonsensical conversations about the failings of Ramsey, or the limitations of Djourou, it might well be me, seeking to recreate the simple pleasure of going to see The Arsenal for the very first time.
I know I probably will never to be able to, but believe me I will get pretty damn close and I suggest those of a negative disposition give it a go sometime, you never know, you might even enjoy it.