Why do I care for a football team thousands of miles away? Why do I do a fist pump when we score, especially after giving everything? Why do I say “we”?
I just do. It is not just the characteristics of the club that has me in love with the club. There are other clubs like us, Dortmund being a prime a example. While I admire and respect Dortmund, there is something special about Arsenal that I cannot describe. Having said that, the character of a club is the identity of a club. If tomorrow, our club were to become Chelsea-3, I would love the new Arsenal no more. Damn! That sounds like the story with my ex-girlfriend.
In this post, I want to talk about how at Arsenal, we do fair play (generally).
On the pitch, I have seen opponents not playing fair and within the spirit of the game. I have seen referees pouncing on chances to give us a disadvantage. This list is big and I wont say more. If the opponent plays clean and beat us well, I could possibly, maybe, begrudgingly accept that they just played better. However, when they shove and kick us out of the game, it is a shame for fair play in sport. Different styles of play are needed in football, but you cannot call rugby a style of playing football. What happened to Diaby, Eduardo and Ramsey was horrific beyond words. That is not football. Teams like Stoke are needed though, to play the part of thugs. To be the guys Arsenal run rings around. Even such thugs should be limited though. They should not have been allowed to hurt Ramsey like that and get away with it. After the wobbles against stoke and the media glee that their “no-nonsense” style of play was spoiling our triangles, we have come to own their asses in the past couple of seasons. I hear that Cardiff city are joining the ranks of the football-dead. Bring it on bitches!
When our players are roughly tackled, given the short end of the stick, it is nice to see them rise above it while also not accepting being bullied. It is especially heartening to see players fighting for each other. That is one reason I really liked Fabregas. If a team-mate was being harassed, he would get stuck into the opponent and then ask what the problem was. I would like to reuse the Rocky quote used by Mel here: “At Arsenal we never started fights-we just finished them”.
The reason I hate Barcelona is the amount of cheating they do to win games and the amount that goes unpunished. You are one of the best teams in the world for God’s sake! You dont have to resort to diving and the assistance of the referees to make sure you win at all costs. That is why their records dont mean that much to me, which does belittle them, considering the incredible amount of hardwork they put in behind the scenes, but that is what a negative view can do. People, including me would respect Barcelona if they lost a few more games but fought valiantly and with honour.
I am proud in seeing our players not resorting to such tactics. There have been times when our players have dived to win matches, hugged a guy to death (yeah, you Koscielny) or shouted at the official. It spoils the experience of the game and I feel sorry if the opponent is a lower ranked team (minus Tottenham, Stoke, etc. obviously) and did not deserve to lose. Credit to Arsenal for making such incidents few and far in between. Special mention should go to Walcott who has only dived once, as far as i remember and duly apologised for it. What the hell? When was the last time a player apologised for diving? We are being told that it is ok for Suarez to dive and be racist because that is how they roll in Uruguay. Ah Suarez! Eventhough he is in the mould of a creative centre forward and even if he was offered for a tenner, I wouldnt want him anywhere near London Colney. I would like to think that Arsene would agree.
Off the pitch, the club has always conducted itself with dignity and fair play. Any transfer or even enquiry is done discreetly and by following the rules. True, the players we get seem like steals, but it more to do with us spotting potential rather than actually fleecing a club. I am sure that if we enquire about a player and if the other club says that the player is not for sale or they value the player quite a bit over our estimation, we move on. Eventhough Arsene these days answers questions about transfers more openly, he never says shit like “The boy wanted to come, but the club are being complete tossers and not letting him go. I dont get why they wont let him go. He wants to come, we want him, what else matters? It is not like he has a contract with them or something!”
We stay quiet until a particular player has signed for Arsenal. We do not tap up. Thank god we dont talk about DNA and force a shirt on a player. Hang on….maybe Fabregas has actually gone undercover, feeding Messi stories of glorious Arsenal and after we sign Higuain, he will force the Arsenal shirt on him at next year’s world cup. So by my calculations, Messi will sign in 2014 and Fabregas will re-join in 2015 (so as to not raise suspicion). To the rest of the world, it will look like sweet revenge, but the whole thing would have been Arsene’s master plan all along. We dont do evil, but if we do, even that will be classy.
Stay classy Arsenal!
Editors note-Arsnal won the Fair Play thingamabob last year,despite being bottom after 2 months