The second and final part of the guest post from Poznan In My Pants (PIMP), part one of which appeared on Positively Arsenal on Monday
Exhibit A Of How To Criticise: Tim Stillman
Being constructively critical while striving to be positive is a duty of supporters, in my opinion.
It’s a form of leadership. In fact, let me give you Exhibit A by Tim Stillman: As We Forgive Those… , a pretty critical post on Arseblog that I recently. And while I feel it was harsh in the assessment of the talent in our team, I thought it was superbly written, thoughtful, balanced, and not without an element of problem-solving as well as leaving open the possibility of hope. It might be my favourite critical blog of this season. I don’t know if Tim was striving to be positive, per se, but he clearly strives to maintain perspective.
And one of my favourite things about Tim is that he continually reminds us that football is something you should enjoy regardless of your standing in the league, any league.
Some people seem to treat Arsenal as a self-help group where you unburden yourself of all your angst and traumas whilst burdening the poor therapist who has to listen to your shit (ie the rest of us). This is football. If you can’t fucking keep it together when it’s about your football team, how are you going to hack it back in the real world. Man up, you pussy.
If you can’t come out with 3 or more genuine positives about supporting Arsenal for every negative you express, you might not be a realist. You may in fact be a downer, and you should seriously consider adjusting your ratio for the sake of yourself and the rest of us, though I will grant you that Arsenal doesn’t always make it easy for you.
And then again, Arsenal, or in this case @arsenal, provide reasons to enjoy being a supporter every day. Take, for example, this Gooner:
Her joy at hearing that her beloved Arsenal would be coming to her country, Vietnam, in the summer, was matched only by our joy at what kind of other names these Vietnamese Gooners might have.
I notice that the new Sport du Jour is to find some previously unexamined flaw of the manager or his team to add to their already lengthy list of crimes against Goonerdom. But it’s getting seriously out of hand right now, akin to the French Terror of 1793-94, you know, when they mounted guillotines on the back of carts to dispense quick justice across the land. (The Frenchies of “The Terror” could teach modern day commerce a thing or two about speedy customer service and convenience.)
And right now, no player but Jack W is safe from us. The great crime of our age is mediocrity, and every player is accused of it. The squad in general is accused of it.
And right now, some Sans Culottes have most likely broken into Arsene’s laundry room and are inspecting their way through his dirty undies. No crime is left unpunished these days. It is getting extreme in the extreme. There is no achievement of Arsene that cannot be chiseled away at, undermined or even attributed to another. I have recently debated with twitteratti as to whether the Emirates Stadium was a vanity project; whether Arsene receives far too much credit for the Invincibles; and whether Arsene has ever won anything with a squad of players that were 100% signed by him. (I actually don’t know. Has Mourinho? Has Pep? Possibly only SAF has.). The manager’s achievements are being steadily down-graded. I would imagine it feels easier to guillotine someone once you have diminished them entirely.
Maybe You Will Listen To Gary Neville?
We all seem to rate Gary Neville highly at this point. He has been part of a winning club, a winning team and has been coached by a great manager. And, as he said himself, he is no lover of Arsenal. But let me answer the above with this:
He says we should feel grateful. Are we feeling grateful? Or are we feeling screwed over?
You will also remember that he rated our squad highly at the start of the season, as did many of us. The prevailing view was that we were just a couple of top players short. I think that’s still true today.
Now where was I? Oh yes…
I Saw A Puppy…
I saw a puppy playing in the park today. It was gamboling. I was about to go over and reprimand it since only lambs are supposed to gambol when all of a sudden it stopped gamboling altogether and lay down. It took on a depressed and melancholic aspect. You could tell. It was clear from its aura that, where just moments before it was full of play and puppiness, it had suddenly been overwhelmed by a crushing existential angst, a stark awareness of its own mortality and the fragility of life in general, the inevitability of its aging leading inexorably to slow decay, a debilitating illness and an excruciating death.
Let me tell you, that killed the mood in the children’s play area nearby.
I tried to coax the puppy out of his stupor. I threw a ball. Nothing. I tossed a stick and shouted “fetch.” Nothing. I got down on all fours and attempted to gambol. Nothing. I sniffed his nether regions, as dogs do, and then offered up my own nethers for sniffing. Jean-Paul Sartre could not have been more ennuied than this puppy.
But to be fair, who could argue with this puppy about where his life was headed? No one. He was right. After all, life doesn’t end well for any of us. He was just being realistic.
And so, in the end, for every one of us, it all comes down to whether you are a glass half empty of diseased and decaying puppy kind of person, or a glass half full of gamboling in the park puppy kind of person. Choose carefully. And re-choose it often.
We are in the quarter-finals of the NextGen and it will be played at the Ems. These are our Gooner puppies gamboling about the park. I hope we sell every last fucking seat out and give the young lads a backing that blows their socks off.
It won’t be long until life crushes the joy out of these young faces, too
For every one of the players, it will be a once in a lifetime experience. And I hope we all remember what enjoying our football is all about, win, lose or draw…you know, just before we all age, contract diseases and die.
There! I told you this blog was about the NextGen.
UP THE ARSENAL!
I’d like to dedicate this post to Anna Lvova, @madruskigunner, one of the joys of twitter, as well as her wonderful @AFCphotobank account which might be my favourite thing on twitter. You can find me on Twitter @posnaninmypants.