I have a problem, not a little problem but a huge great rolling stone ball of a problem that even Indiana Jones would struggle to get away from. I love football and I love Arsenal, the highs and lows that this great game can give are some of the most diverse you can have in life. The problem is I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that I am falling out of love with it. I have been sitting here over the off-season reading twitter, the forums and the media and it is becoming silly.
It seems to me that the game – no the sport – is moving away from the thing I first went to watch, back in the early 1980’s.
It isn’t about meeting your friends on the terraces or in the pubs now to support your team, it isn’t about having fun singing and shouting yourself hoarse. It is not about wondering where the club will finish, hoping for a good cup run, it is now about the way the club is run. It is about the amount of money spent, it is about who you can or cannot buy. It is about the formation, who plays where and when.
The fun has been taken away from the game I love.
I am not looking back with rose-tinted glasses about how great it used to be. I am looking at the here and now. Who can honestly say that the way football is now, is what we really want? We pay thousands of pounds each season in tickets, travel, drink, food etc and for what? For the media to rule when and where we play, for the media to decide who is great and who is not, for the media to push their agenda onto us the fans.
I remember seeing the England football team at our school sports ground back in the ’80’s. I was excited to see Sansom and Rix, but also the other players – I didn’t care who they played for, they were England. Now it’s not England, it’s JT from Chelsea or Stevie G from Liverpool. I can’t now watch an England game without the media pushing their club sides at me. I turn on Match of the Day and have to put up with the ramblings of senile old duffers who think that because they played a few years ago they can tell me about the game. The game that although basically the same is totally different. Would Hanson be able to cope with the pace and law changes in today’s game? We have Match of the Day deciding what the talking point of the day is dependent on the say so of a former ref sitting in the background who only answers to the secretive ref’s organization.
We are in a world now where the media is king in football, they can make or break managers or players, a mis-timed tackle can become the focal point of a whole week’s news on TV and the radio whereas a dive for a penalty can be glossed over or even erased from the highlights. Now you will probably call me paranoid and to be honest sometimes I think I am but this seems to affect Arsenal more. Or perhaps it’s just I am looking for it more with Arsenal. But how many clubs have a section of a radio show dedicated to problems they may have? How often do other managers get criticized and lambasted the way Mr Wenger does in the media. I know that there is an agenda against Arsenal (paranoia alert) and there always has been – George Graham’s brown paper bags, Paul Davis punch, the brawl at OT, Patrick getting an extra game for failing to leave the pitch quick enough. Shall I continue?
It is driving me to despair at the game and my support of The Arsenal. If things are told often enough then no matter how big the lie or the accusation then people will start to believe. And that is the point we are at now. Day after day I read on twitter and the forums about Arsenal’s problems. Day after day I hear, read and see the media having a jolly laugh at Arsenal not buying this player or doing that but overlooking the fact that 98% of all other clubs are in the same boat. But not a word about them. And day after day I see, read and hear Arsenal fans agreeing with them. Fans being sucked into the abyss, groups set up to march around the ground to moan about things we have little insight into, fans calling into radio shows to moan about this and that without looking at what has gone on over the past decade within football and more importantly Arsenal. They listen to Adrian Durham, read the red tops and the like, and take every word as gospel.
I sit at games looking at the fans around me not celebrate Arsenal scoring because it means that Wenger won’t leave, their hatred for our manager so great it obviously hurts them to celebrate. We have fans writing on forums saying that Wenger isn’t all that and in fact has done nothing for Arsenal. When you push them for answers it is a speech right out of the media hand book, almost quote for quote, and we, as supporters, have to put up with it.
And in the end it gets to you.
Well it’s got to me. You can call me paranoid if you like but Arsenal are an easy target for the media and they feed off it and some of the fans feed the fire and it’s making me: think why bother? Why bother going if fans are going to moan, why bother when the game ends and the highlights you see show little resemblance to the game you watched. Why bother when the reports you read highlight one incident but overlooks many others depending on the media viewpoint and why bother when the fans don’t think for themselves and just lap up the *** (*Please fill in your expletive) fed to them by the media and those with agendas against The Arsenal.
You can find me @Swales1968