Many Arsenal fans allowed themselves a brief moment of schadenfreude at Old Red Nose and the karmic nature of his exit from the European Cup. Or whatever they call it these days. OK so some people went beyond the briefest moment of schadenfreude and into a full orgy of delight. Given their history of benefiting from atrocious refereeing decisions and the Purple Veined One’s reaction to a shopping list of favourable, erm, ‘mistakes’, who can really blame anyone for at least a smirk? Anybody need a particularly pertinent example? How about when Eboue got sent off for bumping into Patrice Evra. Seems that the old fart thought that was a perfectly acceptable decision at the time, so he can’t really complain about what happened on Tuesday night can he? Obviously he was disappointed at being beaten and Maureen seemed disappointed at beating him if his post match comments are to be believed but there wasn’t anything to play for after Sunday anyway.
Surely both managers were aware that the result last night ceased to matter once The Spuds had been crowned kings of the solar system in perpetuity. Hanging on by your fingernails for an undeserved home win by the odd goal has by universal acclaim become reason enough to proclaim them The Lords of the North London, England, The World and all galaxies known and unknown to man and woman kind. They have a player who only Messi is the equal of and the balance of power has now firmly shifted in their favour. Yep, after only one result decades of football history can now be consigned to the dustbin.
It has been a comical week to sample the sports media in this country. And bear in mind that the Spud love in isn’t merely an Arsenal fan obsession, I’ve read similar complaints from supporters of other clubs without our specific axe to grind. “Why “one Liverpool fan asked on twitter “do we all have to love Spurs now?” Why indeed ? Beats the shit out of me. Also why, when I drove back on Tuesday night after thankfully missing the football, did I make the mistake of turning on the car radio? BBC 5 live had all the characteristics of one of those communist television stations playing sombre music 24 hours a day on all channels because the great dictator had just died. The outrage and grief was still pouring out when I hopped in behind the wheel the following morning. Have they been up all night, I wondered? Whining and wringing their hands over Real Madrid’s dastardly impudence in getting the last great British representative knocked out of Europe. Forget that once more we are still in the competition and they are out of it. That didn’t merit a mention. No, it was as if ManUnited TV had taken over the BBC. I know we moan about perceived injustices against our great club, but we’re fans, a one eyed bias is entirely natural and in fact precisely how things should be. But why was Nicky Campbell so terribly distressed that the team from the land of Corrie got beaten? Again, it beats me.
One Manure fan said yesterday that we as Arsenal fans have a collective screw loose because we always try to make every issue about us. I pondered on this comment for a while, wondering if maybe there was a grain of truth to the accusation. “Same old Arsenal” as the terrace chant goes, “always appropriating events more properly pertaining to supporters of other clubs and seeing them through the prism of an Arsenal perspective” Doesn’t really scan that, but it is interesting to hear a different complaint about us as supporters. We always make everything about us. The point was swiftly made that for them to complain about poor refereeing after all the help they’ve had against us in the past is certain to make Arsenal fans at the very least blow a raspberry. But it’s more than that. It’s more than the old ‘We’re all affected by poor decisions and as such all have a vested interest when officials get it wrong’ line.
When you really think about it the simple unvarnished truth is we are absolutely 100% bound to make it all about us. I only care about Arsenal football club. When you boil it down if there is a sporting story and it cannot be in some way made relevant to AFC, well, frankly my dear, I don’t give a hoot. This how the thought process goes: Lance Armstrong? I’m pretty confident Arsene wouldn’t tolerate drug taking in fact didn’t he just call for mandatory blood tests? See? It’s that simple. Bloke breaks world diving record ? Yeah right just like that fat cheat Rooney when he dived to rob us in match #50.
Think for a minute of the hideous alternative to us making it all about us. We would have to sit and discuss the relative merits of players from other clubs. To do that with the slightest degree of accuracy we’d have to build a foundation of knowledge about them and to do that we’d have to watch them play. A lot. I wouldn’t want to trot out media fed clichés about a club, its manager or playing staff and so would need to really study them in order to form valid opinions. Well I don’t know about you but I have enough of a problem keeping up with the Arsenal first team squad, not to mention maintaining tabs on the upcoming youngsters, to have the time or energy to start compiling dossiers on footballers from elsewhere on the off chance that they might make the news. Talking of youngsters what about Nico Yennaris interception dribble and volleyed goal in the Next Gen yesterday. That was all the more incredible considering he was wading waist deep against the tide when he did it. We’ve not seen much of Nico since his brief flurry of appearances in the first team but I still think we have a great young player on our hands there.
Which kind of ties in with my main point. It’s like when the transfer tittle tattle starts up and I’m left adrift bobbing on the speculation ocean. It’s partly because I don’t care until a deal is done, can’t be wasting time speculating on speculation. But it’s also partly because I’m far more interested in watching the development of our own youngsters, about whom I actually know a little bit, than I am in discussing players from other clubs who I only see when we play against them. I’m always bewildered how people know so much about this transfer target or that brilliant young championship player. Unless or until they play for Arsenal they don’t actually exist in any real sense. They’re just a scattering of pantomime villains, gits and vaguely remembered faces for the most part.
You see it’s simple for me. I don’t need to make the news about us. It really is, and really always has been, all about Arsenal.