I have often said to anyone listening – and to a few who probably were not – that there is a certain magical element to football rarely encountered in other sporting environments. Although I follow various sports and enjoy all manner of different cultural (and less-than-cultural) pursuits, there really is nothing like football for its combination of excitement, intrigue, glamour, history or sporting endeavour. And that’s just a small and somewhat incomplete summary of the attractions of something that has at different times been called ‘The Beautiful Game”.
Whilst many of us have mixed feelings about the march of technology and social media in particular, this too has also worked to add to football’s magical mix. There are countless numbers of football followers who ONLY know each other through the pages of social media, be it blogs, Twitter, Facebook and the rest. Many have subsequently met up at matches as a result of online encounters. Whilst it’s usually great to get together with like-minded supporters, the main magic has in fact already occurred as technology has effectively done the hard part and made the introductions.
Whilst I can’t speak for all blogs, here at PA we have many more readers and visitors to the site than actually contribute by way of written comment. I think this is likely true of most blogs. Whilst there may be many different reasons for a disinclination to ‘join in’, sometimes it’s something as basic as the language barrier.
I myself – and I know there are many like me – have always marveled at our overseas support and the latest bit of football magic appeared recently during the sellout games in the East as local Arsenal fans flocked to the games in Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan in their tens of thousands. A little surreal? Perhaps. Unexpected? Not totally! But absolutely welcome. It also got me thinking just how many follow the club from abroad and what it must be like to do so, possibly knowing that you may never make it to the Emirates in person. For those fans, the blogs and Twitter are key sporting lifelines that create connections between those close in mind and attitude even though they may be many miles away.
By chance, I was again contacted last week by a hugely passionate and touchingly sincere Arsenal supporter from India. What follows is the word-for-word exchange I had with one I’m proud to introduce as my friend, Nidheesh. I wanted to share one overseas supporter’s experience of football – of supporting Arsenal specifically – as he expressed it via his online conversation with me a few days ago via the Direct Messaging facility of Twitter.
Nidheesh is a reader of many blogs but has previously steered clear of making comments (despite my earlier attempts at encouragement) on account of what he feels is his insufficiently strong grasp of English. I hope Nidheesh will feel ready to share his views and thoughts in the near-future but for now, he has kindly agreed to allow me to reproduce his comments here from our recent exchange. His words appear in italics with my replies following in plain text; each paragraph represents a new Direct Message:
Hi Andrew, hope u r fine… I cant help myself but ask u that, do u believe what some people here saying Cesc has become a Gunner again?
AA: Hi Nidheesh – I honestly don’t know but some who know much more than I seem to think Cesc may be returning. Have to wait and see I guess!
Thx for the reply Andrew. I am literally praying everyday for all pieces to fall in the right place come the end 🙂
AA: The foundations run deep and all our structures stand straight and tall; I’m sure we’re going to be just fine. Enjoy these times – exciting!
England is miles away from me. I may not see any of the players with my naked eyes. I wont be evn able to fly to London in my life ever…
But still I feel some telepathic kind of strng affinity for this club. I consider Arsene as a senior member of my family with admiration
Believ me when we score a decisive goal and when Arsene smiles wholeheartedly, I too is smiling inside… I am exsttic to see Arsene happy
All my glory hunting plastic club supporters used to mock me nd make fun of our miserly approach. Earlier I tried to convince them our sitn [situation]
But now I tell them, “Ya u ppl are right , wht to do?”, Bt inside I am laughing wid a feeling that says “You guys will never know this love”
When I saw the pic of all Arsenal boys sitting in frnt of the Hanoi Pagoda, I feel them as my own. I remembered what Dennis said
U don’t support a football club for its titles or tradition. U support them because u find yourselves in some corner of it.
Andrew, Sorry if I have went overboard, But lack of my English skills prevents me from expressing my love for The Arsenal to the fullest.
AA: Nidheesh – you have expressed yourself perfectly! For most of my life I lived too far from Arsenal’s stadium, never thought I’d see them
AA: for myself but eventually, after years and years, I finally got there and now I’m lucky enough to have a season ticket. So I understand you!
AA: Are you in India? What is your first language if you don’t mind me asking? How do you get to watch the games on TV?
Please ask anything Andrew, I feel honoured to have company of a match attending gooner. Yes, I am from India, from South India.
Actually, Kerala, my first language is Malayalam. We get to watch Arsenal on TV.. The premier league matches (3pm) kickoffs usually comes<<<
<<at 8.30 pm here, and the champions league matches comes at around 1.:15am.. I think we are getting the American commentary hre by Tony Gale
AA: Ah, you have to suffer for your devotion! Well the evening kick offs mean most don’t get home much before midnight which is late for those
AA: working the next day. Also, bitterly cold in winter! But all worth it. Hopefully you WILL make it over here one day, don’t give up hope. A
Never felt like a suffering at all, I am working in a post Office which starts around 8.30 am. So I can’t stay all night till 1 am for >>
ECL matches, I go to bed at around 10 pm with alarm set on 1 am, But even my biological clock has understood the occasion and wakes me up
a minute or 2 before the alarm goes, I read somewhere that if u have a strong desire to accomplish something, ur subconscious conspires u to
[make] it happen
Let me go further ahead on the story, I am an Engineering graduate, but working in public sector wich demands lesser skills, in fact
the prospect of watching the match at The Grove alone makes me motivated to achve a job that rewards me better and make life bit more [adventurous]
I remember one of ur comments elsewhere, about u getting ur father in law(was it) to watch Arsenal for the first time.. Do you remember>>>
<<the phrase u coined??? The magic wich turns a 70 year man to a 7 year old boy… 🙂
Nidheesh can be found on Twitter @Nidsenal
It really does make you think how little fans appreciate it when they are able to regularly attend games.
That was very much on my mind when I posted the article, George. I first went to Highbury, with my Dad, in 1973, didn’t make it back until the 1990’s and was offered my first season ticket after a seven year wait when the Emirates finally opened. As a result I have always valued the opportunity to experience every game I’m fortunate enough to now attend. And I empathise with those supporters – not just those from overseas – who can not, and may never, make it to see the team in our North London home.
Certainly their efforts to loyally follow the club despite their own personal challenges – or the setbacks endured by the club – put some of us more ‘local’ Gooners to shame.
Nidheesh, if you are reading this, make yourself comfortable on Positively Arsenal. I am also from India and I understand some Malayalam, so if I can be of any help (dont think you will need it), feel free to get in touch with me.
Good one Andrew. I did chat with Nidheesh a few days earlier, when he had requested to join PA’s blogging partner, Oooh to be a Gooner. And me being from India, can say that, there are a lot of passionate Arsenal supporters here. People for whom, nothing comes ahead of the club. People who have had broken marriages and relationships, cause of the uncompromising support for the club. People who decided to take alternate career paths, that wouldn’t prevent them from missing the Arsenal play. It’s crazy I know. But overseas supporters deserve respect, for their commitment and passion for the club. And I’m glad, that here at PA, it is well appreciated. VCC.
Gooner_optimist – I think you are quite right, I think our amazing overseas supporters DO deserve our respect for their commitment and passion for the club. I don’t honestly think there is sufficiently widespread appreciation of their (your) existence and contribution. I was certainly guilty of this.
I believe his twitter is @Nidsenal and not @nid666
he spoke to me from @nid666 yesterday
Thanks eltamatrox – have updated (I think he’s recently changed it?).
“We are interested in the ones that last because that makes a successful sportsman. That doesn’t necessarily mean successful sportsmen are happy people, but it means they are determined and they are ready to hurt themselves to be successful and that’s the type we are looking for. The people that are very demanding with themselves and each other for a long time. That consistent motivation is applicable to football, business, anything you do in life.”
…and that’s why wenger dont want players that need to be told what/how to do or carried by the hand or intimidated to perform or else….
hence throwing them in the deep waters when they can hardly swim…hence insisting on they learn from mistakes….to see who means it and who doesn’t.
when you have vieiras and henrys and dennis its easier…but with a group of 17 yearolds..it takes time till they become the motivated characters who know what to do on the pitch and how to do it. and till they learn they need our support. fullstop.
“When you are in a squad of 30 people, the players detect at a huge speed the weakness in your personality.
So that’s the moment of truth, when a person sits in front of you. They observe you and then they try to decide if you can help them. If they think you are the man who can help them, they will respect you. The next step for them is deciding whether they are in a squad who can help them to be successful. We had that problem when we were under financially restricted conditions. For some players we didn’t have enough stars to be successful as quickly as they wanted to be. Of course, that’s one of the problems we face in our job.”
1. “we had that problem…..” – BINGO !
2. last 3 sentences where he says “for some players” …add “and fans”
This is why being an Arsenal fan is so good for one’s mental and physical health. To see, hear and read about our fans in every corner of the globe warms the cockles of the heart. Thanks Andrew and Nidheesh for that lovely piece. The comments it has stimulated were also very welcome. I’m so proud that I can stand next to Sensational Arsenal and Gooner_optimist in my ‘virtual’ stadium watching the Arsenal knowing that they and others like them are from India and beyond.
This confirmed an idea I had a while back. I suggest to Pedantic George, Andrew and others….Would you consider a series of posts from PA readers/supporters ‘Introducing’ themselves? The how, why and the what they love about Arsenal?
Arsenal’s Virtual Stadium – nice one Georgaki!
Over to PG on the commissioning front – but I always love to hear from all our fellow supporting Gooners far and wide, as well as those closer to ‘home’.
How do you cope with having a multi-cultural squad?
AW: By creating a culture of our own.
fuck yeah!!! the kind of culture some don’t appreciate and mistaken it for always being there….even before him. !!
I would welcome any input for regulars alone those lines Georgaki.
This blog is for the regulars,a place to feel free to support without constraints.
I think that is a great piece and please contribute any time Nidheesh. Your commitment to the club does you great credit and I do not know if I could manage it, especially the 1 am kick off
A million thanx for the post Andrew, It is a feeling which goes beyond the words when you are regarded as one among them by the match attending gooners who live and breathe the club.
SA, I had been a silent follower of ACLF for over three years and I used to read your comments there, but never knew you were from India. And of course a beginner always needs help from his seniors. I am glad that you are here ready to offer me your helping hand.
And following an inspiring chat with Andrew, I myself took a vow to regularly feature on Positively Arsenal from here onwards. To begin with some positive vibes I went on and changed my twitter handle.
The tragedy is that people have been attempting to denigrate far away fans for years. Yet Arsenal, and others are now described by themselves as “Global Clubs”. For better or for worse.
Years ago I called my avatar finsburyparker after a local newsletter (genius that I am I shortened it to finsbury, just to confuse people. Sorry.) as a pre-emptive strike against having to talk about football with enlightened individuals who think that people that don’t go to games are not proper fans.
It is a mind set: “We used to watch Arsenal before Wenger ruined Football.” is the gist of it.
You all remember how the gr*tty groaners out there would quibble, grunt and moan if you ask them to consider that Big clubs (as in Oil/Gas clubs or the two Sillies from Spain) have been after the Arsenal manager in the recent past. Some have said it’s the managers agent putting these stories about.
Here is an interesting quote from the Chelsea manager, taken from the Manchester Grunt.
“As you know, he had all these chances to leave, all these good, important clubs interested in him, so when he refuses and he wants to stay at Arsenal it’s because he loves it there. It’s because he has expectations for the future.”
If Maureen is as I suspect, human and not a complete moron then you’d expect him to have learnt a little humility upon his travels. Though it’s hard not to laugh at the debacle at the end over there in Madrid, I would guess that this time round he will try to not piss off good flair players like Robben & Duff as quickly as he did last time and so retain his better players, and therefore not descend into the boring tripe he served up after he quickly lost the squad he inherited last time out. He should be a better manager. If having better managers in the league at City and Chelsea (was Benitez that bad?) is a reason why some people are publicly stating that the current arsenal squad are not able to compete for a title this season when they were in their own words capable last season, then that just about makes sense. Just. If that is not a consideration then that is a disappointing statement.
Thank YOU, Nidsenal.
Nice new handles by the way! Just need a gravatar now and you’re set to go.
Make yourself at home.
“Virtual Stadium” – I like that Georgaki.
Lovely stuff Andrew,and welcome Nidheesh! I’m in Spain till Friday-any news on youknowwho? was chatting with a Barca season ticket holder last night, get the feeling he loves them more than they love him, maybe he was at home in north London all along?….
Expanding on Gerogaki’s virtual stadium phrase, I was thinking that supporters on PA who do not get to go to games or watch on tv and instead watch on streams, could do an online chat/video on an application like gtalk or skype during the match. I do not know if this idea has already been mooted.
I do not always have enough bandwith to be able to join, but during the times I would, it would be great to be on an online call with the likes of Georgaki while watching the match.
I think the one thing isolated Gunners like myself miss is watching the match with friends who are Arsenal supporters. Having said that, I would gladly watch by myself than sit next to a moaner.
Nidsenal, I hope you realise your now one of the gang and will be expected to comment more regularly, anything we don’t quite understand someone will just ask you to put it differently. We are from all over the place on P.A and so we quite often misinterpret each other (even those who live relatively close to one an other )
I hope you, with the help of AA, have inspired more fans to feel free to express themselves and join in the debates.
well done and welcome
Some good ideas posted today about a ‘virtual’ stadium. Maybe we should consider a skype link or something during a game….that would be cool….
Andrew and Nidsenal you have delivered a top result today….thanks
Back in my childhood days, it was David Beckham mania which have aroused our interest in English football. There was an article in a monthly sports magazine here which mentioned the tragedy of 98 and the ecstasy of Old Trafford at 93rd minute. It all felt like a fairy tale to us. Just to watch Becks play, we tuned up to ManUtd matches.
But since the bootcamp fiasco happened and Becks left England my zest for football was quite dampened.
Then a few years later I entered college and was staying in hostel. I got a ferocious gooner as my neighbour. He used to chat about Arsenal all the time. One night he took me to the TV room, there was this match : AC Milan v Arsenal UCL round of 16 in the year 2008. The match was goalless for about 70 minutes or so. But my mate, he was making OOOHs and WAAAUUVs whenever Arsenal cling up 4 or 5 passes together, and when they moved the ball quickly around. I remember asking him “Whats there to be so excited about in this?(bloody me), the play isnt anywhere near the box and nobody is even taking a shot. He replied only with a smile (I now understand what that smile meant).
Suddenly out of nowhere some guy scores a goal and immedietly is rushing towards his bench and buried himself into his manager’s arms, like a son who’ve met his long lost father getting confused by experiencing the emotions which he has never felt before. I saw his tears. The whole team cuddled up.
That very moment I fell for this TEAM. Some kind of chill ran through my body. My mate went mad with joy and hugged me hard. I too cheered with him.Thereafter it was our Arsenal, whenever we met, the talks were all Arsenal. I sort of felt like some unknown part of my brain got triggered that night, the eagerness to know more and more was remarkably fuelled by the sheer passion which I started feeling after every match.
In the web world I debuted with Arseblog and soon got hooked to ACLF, It almost became a norm to read the previous days blog (coz we get the curent day blog by around 1pm) every day for about 4 years.
Now I feel immensely proud to have educated myself through all of you maestreos over these years and finally to make the step up and deliver a post by myself.
By now, Arsenal is not just a club, its a way of life for me . I in my own ways try to emulate those values and principles possessed by Arsene Wenger and upheld by Arsenal fans.
I recall Nick Hornby saying something like this in Fever Pitch : ” For me the real world was happening only on the matchdays, the whole weekdays between 2 consecutive matches was just like some big advert building up to the giant occassion ahead”. There is’nt a better way I can put it about myself than this.
WE ARE BY FAR THE GREATEST TEAM THE WORLD HAS EVER SEEN
Cheers Anicoll, Mel and a_o_b, I am finding it easy once i have started.
No comment: None needed. Welcome Nidsenal – wonderful!
A skype link during matches on sky and links is an incredible idea.
It would be like sitting with your mates.
We can do this? Is it simple?
I am excited now
I am also an Arsenal Fan from South India and these words “U don’t support a football club for its titles or tradition. U support them because u find yourselves in some corner of it.” is hundred percent true and i for one am proud of the fact that we do things the right way “The Arsenal Way” and after reading the article i feel exactly the same way how Nidheesh feels.
What wonderful stuff today! Welcome, Nidheesh, even though you’ve really been here a long time. I too am a long distance supporter, from the US, where everyone supports ManU or Chelsea or Liverpool. I’ve interacted with exactly one local Arsenal supporter, who turned out to be a Ramsey basher. (Those of you who know me well can imagine how that went.) So I live by my online interactions. And, like Nidheesh, I am grateful for how I have been embraced by this community of fans, both local to London and thousands of miles away.
Thanks, AA, for “introducing” Nidheesh around, and thanks for a great post in the middle of the nightmare that is silly season! Oh and so as not to confuse you, Nidheesh, my handle on Twitter is kmwood02.
Blimey, Nidsenal, there’s no stopping you now!!
Welcome to the gang, friend.
I’m sure Arsenal will tour India soon, in a way they have to, in order to meet fans like you. The joy on our fellow Indonesian, Vietnamese and Japanese fans faces in seeing the Gunners in real life for probably the first time, was a pure delight. I doubt one of them sneaked out with 20 minutes to go like some of the idiotic season ticket holders do at the Ems.
Bravo Andrew !!! well played sir..great signing!
I doubt one of them sneaked out with 20 minutes to go like some of the idiotic season ticket holders do at the Ems….ahahah love it.
what abotu the other fella who was running after the bus….here he was viewed as someone to be mocked..even by our own ( sadly)…” look at the wenger apostle running to say hi to his cult heroes”…such cultists…. despicable….clearly gloryseekers.
hehe as for them cultured fans who are looking for someone to blame they can blame the whole of arsenal presidents/owners in the past who did FUCK ALL to cement Arsenal among the worlds biggest and most organised and famous of football institutions/clubs, and to have some respect for the man who took the club that resembled a gardenshed of alcoholics and turned it into ISO quality standards….
arsenal dont win titles ….easy …the manager is to blame!!!!
hmmmm ,hallo…….do the owners want the title? did they come out requesting same from their management? Did the owners ever express what their objectives or targets are as a company/football club? Oh i see….
What about using our brains a little and think….were the owners at any point in the last 10 years WILLING to compete financially with the russian moneylaunderer and the opec countries just to win a shiny metal cup for the idiots in the stand? Were the owners prepared at any point to take on the media and the f.a and protect arsenal’s interests on the pitch? did they ever show intention to get into the faces of the milans juventus bayerns madrid and barcas of this world? Oh they didnt….. ? How about telling uefa to be more careful when they appoint referees for our games? No? None of that either huh…?
easy…the manager is to blame….sack him..enough !!…..
ive reached the point now when wherever i see or talk or hear an Arsenal fan saying ” we were big before arsene”..and “we were already part of the big boys without him” …” we were a rpoper club back then, everyone knew us” …i laugh and mock and bring them to the point where they want to hit me…. …better them going mad trying to face reality than me going mad trying to explain the self-explainable…..
apparently big is having crook disciplinarian scotsman and going for the cups with defenders who tied themselves with a rope to keep in line……progress sophistication class…yep just look at paul and ian…
one other thing i laughed hard with was reading how it was easier to forgive tony for abandoning the team in the middle of the season defending our title (oh captain my captain) than accepting a convicted racist to the team ( suarez)……..where to start? lol…a mans struggle with alcohol its how some called it….pmsl…yeah struggle alright the bottle was there holding a gun screaming drink me…and yeah the convicted racist is the one who was found guilty of using offensive language in a football match…i dont knwo the leaglities of ti but surely labelling someone as a racist is pretty serious and you need to know what youre accusing people for…just saying……
i hope you all realise by sarcastic tone is not a sign of disrespect to the clubs past players or “philosophies”…i just like tkaing the 9iss out of them fools who insist on comparing monica belucci to the gran rooney shagged….
Hunter, have you been drinking too much souma?
no but i had three pints at lunch… they were forced on me…real struggle..
… a garden shed of alcoholics….
hahaha. Liked that.
and there was us,
acting all classy and well mannered and letting Nidheesh think this was a swanky place to hang out.
Well I suppose every family has got one……
What about this skype link idea?
Nice ANDREW. Very touching and I can relate. You are spot on the the FOOTBALL IS KING comment. Followed closely by ROCK&ROLL and ladies of course. KEEP ROCKING…. ARSENAL….
Hello, PG, Arshavin is back to normal!
As for Hunter 13, he should read the FA “stitch-up”!
Luis Suaréz at the time of the Evra incident, had little or no English.
Page 52, Paragraph 202 states “…. it is the Commission’s task to decide whether tyhe use of the word in England is abusive or insulting. The use of the word in a particular way might be seen as inoffensive by many in Uruguay. The same use of the same word in England might nevertheless be abusive or insulting”.
The English word “black” does not mean “blackie” or “nigger”.
The Spanish word “negro” cannot be translated as “blackie” or “nigger”, as Evra, at first thought, using a French word instead.
The 3 FA appointees, harped on throughout the report, that “negro” could and should be translated as “blackie”. We are not given the full report by the 2 “experts in Spanish”, from the University of Manchester, only excerpts to suit the case in support of Evra.
Liverpool FC, on their part, should have insisted that a representative of the Uruguayan Embassy in London, be present at that “kangaroo” court!
The Report specifically states, that Luis Suaréz, is not a racist. Evra agreed that Suaréz is not, racist.
The English word “negro” has meanings, that the Spanish word “negro” as spoken in Uruguay, does not and cannot be translated into English as “blackie”.
The 3 Stooges, did not give due weight , to the Suaréz complete lack of basic English knowledge.
The FA failed Suaréz, Liverpool FC failed Suaréz and the football community have failed Suaréz.
I do not share in the faith that Ivan Gazidis has, for Richard Law. Law seems to me to be hopeless in the field of transfers.
Wonderful piece today, one I identify with a continent or so away! Welcome friend.
By the way, Arsenal aside, we spent yesterday watching sublime Virat Kohli and spinner with googly you can’t pick Mishra demolish our beloved Zim (again) and enjoying every minute even so. One day, one day, we’ll catch up to this level. Maybe sooner than we think.
I think a skype or Facetime link would be easy to set up. I imagine setting an ipad up next to the TV screen facing the viewers. So we would be able to pan from the game on the TV to the ipad and see the Gooners in India jump with joy when we score……
The three stooges listened to all the evidence – listened to all the arguments – over three solid days-wrote up an 84 page judgement concerning the behaviour of Suarez – and quoted from the Hispanic language experts on the basis that both, each instructed by the opposing parties, agreed on every significant and relevant issue – they explained exactly why they had taken certain evidence into account, weighed some more heavily than others.in fact exactly what they were supposed to do – and did.
Do you do a lot of this legal malarkey NOTH ? Judging ? That sort of thing ? Trials ? Giving or hearing evidence under oath ?
Save Suarez -the victim !
Nice one, Andrew and Nidheesh! I’m a Gooner from Nigeria myself, I took the step you’ve taken today a while back at the Goonerholic virtual bar. I can totally relate to your post, don’t give up your dream of going to the Emirates, we will get there one day.
I will try look up and follow you on Twitter.
I dont think we would be able to video with multiple people on skype at the same time. They only allow one-to-one video calls for free. However, we can have video calls with multiple people on gmail hangouts at the same time. All you would need is a gmail account, a decent enough computer and a friends list.
Dont know about facetime.
what a wonderful read, it is always nice to read these stories, I too support The Arsenal from afar…Bermuda to be exact, one of my greatest pleasure was being able to attend my very first match at Highbury in Oct 2004 when we stuffed Charlton 4 nil, I was sat behind the goal when Thierry scored that awesome back heel goal, what an atmosphere it was, my missus and I had a wonderful day. I also had the pleasure of going to the Emirates in Nov 08 however we lost to Villa, nevertheless I still went into the Armoury afterwards and spent 200 quid. Those have been the only times, other that I watch every game on tv and read as many blogs as possible. as you can appreciate it’s not easy to fly across the pond to come watch my beloved team play so in the mean time I have been flying to New York to watch King Henry, he still possesses that magic after all these years.
Hello BdaGunner – well I hope you’ll be able to comment on here from afar in future also. You were lucky to just make it to Highbury before it all came down; steeped in history, a much cherished memory for all of us who were lucky enough to get there.
Yes ArsenalAndrew I’ve bookmarked this blog, thanks.