Enjoying The Simple Pleasures

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.

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74 comments on “Enjoying The Simple Pleasures

  1. I tweeted this

    george rodger ‏@Blackburngeorge
    Sissokho with an assist ,OMG we should has bought him #wengerout. He is disrespecting us not listening our demands #twittertwat

    People think its normal..Well actually it is ,sadly


  2. Good deal, TS. The girls are ok overall, they were both sick over the weekend but they are getting better.

    Harry, whether the guy is young or old, he is pretty dense.


  3. Any player bought by any other team is somehow “Arsenal missing out”. Don’t get the logic behind it.


  4. Thank heavens I only follow George on Twitter. Poor boy will get swell headed. Ha, Ha, Ha.


  5. @Evil

    Yeah. I’ve had a few Twitter exchanges with people recently who seem to have views akin to holocaust denial. We have a shit squad they say, with only about 14 useful players, and we never sign anybody. When you point out that actually it’s not that bad, and we’ve signed 16 people in the last 3 windows, you get told that the majority were kids and only about 4 players out of that 16 are any good. So you go through the names – Podolski, Cazorla, Ox, Mertesacker, Arteta, Giroud, Jenkinson, Eisfeld, Gervinho, Santos, Benayoun.. and you establish that out of those there are 5 almost certain starters. You then look at the names in the squad, and by my reckoning, actually, there are about 18 to 20 quality players who have been used extensively and don’t appear to feature on the “deadwood” lists of most moderate fans.

    Of course, one can get accused of being too optimistic, but it’s utter bollocks to suggest our squad is lacking in quality.


  6. @Muppet
    That’s too often the problem in such discussions. They present their point of view, you go on, cite facts and disprove it. So they take the facts that you have given them and adapt their point of view ever so slightly, so that it’s still the same but explicitly excluding the facts you have used to disprove them.
    And then the next round starts. They give their modified opinion, you give them facts and they don’t even get the idea to think if they might be wrong, but instead they just adapt their opinion again. And again. And again.


  7. @Evil

    Absolutely. Sounds like we all have similar experiences. Some are won over slightly, I guess it depends on how open minded they are.

    On the other hand, I got accused recently by somebody who called me a demagogue. This guy was trying to hold Wenger to account because apparently Wenger made a statement that he would sign a replacement for Song. I made the point that it didn’t matter because we got Jack back from Injury and signed Cazorla. The guy was having none of it, in his eyes, Wenger and the club had committed a major atrocity, making a promise that wasn’t kept.

    You can’t win. Especially if people believe the club have reneged on promises.


  8. Before I was turned out into cyberspace by Yogi,Some posters were using statements attributed to Fagregas,which were made up by a magazine,,to prove a point.I proved the statements to be false ..Two days later the same people were using the same argument in a discussion with someone else.They knew it was lies ,but carried on regardless.
    I then got scolded for calling them liars.


  9. PG,

    Yep. That’s what really infuriates. When you know what is being asserted is untrue.

    The best one I heard recently was the Ba signing. Wenger was being castigated for not signing Ba, and people were ridiculing him his statement that he choose Giroud over Ba.

    What they didn’t know that before the chavs went in for Ba, actually in the summer, they went for Giroud. Giroud, being the smart guy that he is, went for us instead of the chavs.

    Massive irony.


  10. Hi Team Spirit – nice to know where I can catch up with you again.

    Sorry to hear your girls weren’t well Paul, wish them a speedy recovery.


  11. Funny, Phil (new alcf dude) wanted to take AW to task because he said there were two players in every position. Phil said we do have 2 players but loads of them are not close to the first team. I asked him to name the loads and most of the players he named were on loan and Squillaci. He also mentioned Gervs and Fabby. I had to laugh because it is obvious that Arsene is dealing with players currently in the squad. So, instead of admitting that he was chatting bulls he does what Evil just described.


  12. Thanks, Passenal. I checked on them and they seem to be doing much better.


  13. @Muppet
    Funny, even I didn’t know that. Makes me like Giroud even more!

    In fact, I don’t get all the moaning about Giroud. I expected him to take some time to adapt but from the very first time he took on the red and white in a competitive match, it was obvious that we are dealing with a striker of real quality. His movement was just perfect and I realised that once he clicks, he will score them for fun. He set himself a goal of 12 – 15 goals this season in the league and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Giroud eclipse that as he is already on a very good way to meet that target. Is probably going to end the season with 20+ goals in all competitions.


  14. The new breed over on ACLF are mostly negative.Its an uphill struggle for the likes of yourself Paul .
    Shame ,that place was like home to me a year ago.But now I think back ,the writing was on the wall even then.


  15. Paul-N,

    Yeah. And the other thing people forget is that the squad never used to have 24 players of very high quality. It’s only the chavs and city that have forced this requirement in order to compete with them. You point out to people that these teams have 2 internationals in every position, you get no response. They don’t realise that the goalposts have been moved since 2004 to such a massive extent.


  16. Evil,

    Agree on Giroud. And I think there is a lot more to come from him.


  17. I know George and I am really dissapointed about it. I have had to back off because I just have had my fill of the negative, know it all commenters.

    True dat, Muppet. And, George has been trying to get some to understand that for a while now. The only way Arsenal could have overcome that was for the players to stay and buy into the project. They did not, so the team has been rebuilding for a good number of years. Only Arsene could have kept an ever changing team at the top.

    OG is a beast, by the way. Two goals of real class over the weekend. What I also like about him is that he will try any shot. I forgot who he tried that long distance shot against in the early part of the season…Stoke?


  18. Shotta ,its been a while since someone called me a boy


  19. Well., George, someone had to remind you of the child inside. *Chuckles out loud*


  20. @Evil and @Muppet

    Not only did Giroud pick us over Chelsea, he turned them down when they offered double the wages and signing fee that we did. From what I gather, we pay him 45k a week while Chelsea offered him 90k. Makes you love the guy even more


    It was indeed against Stoke that Giroud tried that audacious shot to try and chip the keeper while about 40 yards out on the left. It ended up on top of the net but if he’d scored that, it would have been amazing. He’s had a few nearly type moments, that shot against stoke, that bulldozing run from midfield to hit the post against Fulham or that astonishing scissor kick against Brighton that he tried for his hat-trick…he’s going to be an amazing player for us getting us 25+ goals and 15+ assists a season IMO


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