A guest post from Finsbury
I’m not sure where to start with a review of this football game between Arsenal and Southampton on Wednesday.
The post match comments here on PA were interesting and the match plunditry was very funny to read afterwards having been at the game myself. Thanks to all for that. Not sure I can add much, but for what it’s worth here are my thoughts. I’m going to focus on the booing of the substitution and I’ll explain why at the end.
A friend had offered me a ticket to the game late on. Someone in his family were still recovering from an operation. And going to the football was a welcome distraction for me as a member of my own family had been in the Heart Hospital in London for an operation as well, earlier in the week. It’s a specialist NHS hospital located in an older building, not a “progressive” PFI construct. The quality of care and professionalism from all staff were of the highest order inside an institution that as far as I know (not very far!) is not yet crippled by this modern format of medieval debt peonage. A model that is contrary to the very concept of the Hospital itself considering that most of the earliest charitable hospital type institutions were as far as I know, crazy as it sounds, built on donated land for a reason. Not paying extortionate rents to third parties who had been gifted land. I’m drifting off on a tangent here. Again.
A hospital for the heart
Why did I want to reflect on the substitution? We’ve observed a pattern of some Arsenal fans choosing to repeat the drone from an extreme media (extremist in relation to the discredited and bizarre economic theories as above that they consistently propagate), words which can be observed to bare no relation to what is happening upon the football pitch. Lots of examples:
E.g. the tragic spectacle of people who invest a lot of time in football as Arsenal fans slagging off Mesut Özil, one of the most admired footballers on the planet (with flaws like all players!), on podcasts that were longer than a football match after his last game against Chelsea although anyone and everyone could see the player was injured and hobbling during that game. Strange behaviour. And then latterly the booing by the loud minority of Groaning Experts of Chamberlain’s substitution during last night’s game is unfortunately another example of this unflattering posture. Overall there was a good if slightly nervous atmosphere from the home fans to my ears last night. I had a good time and so did many many others. But back to the Ox.:
In his own words Chambo had only recently returned to top level fitness. For the first time since last August (when I had him down as my prospective nomination for player of the season. Another friend picked Ramsey last pre-season). He picked up a knock in the West Brum game and probably only started this game as it was against his old boyhood club. So with Giroud also having just returned for his first start and seventy minutes of top flight football on the weekend the swap between the two once the line ups were announced with another game coming up in three days was predictable before kick off.
We can see the impact of such heavy schedules, games every three days, upon players with the trauma experienced on the Southampton bench. Koeman taking a gamble or two that didn’t pay off. Arsene gambled on rotating the Ox with OG, and it worked. Tough luck Ronny.
The management of players’ fitness, of Khedira and Schweiny with their niggles, of Özil was the most impressive part of the German summer campaign for me. And it was central to their own planning too. With the Xmas fixture crunch coming up, with the Ox’s recent form, his own comments on his fitness, you’d imagine that decision would make sense to most football followers, or people that have played amateur sport at any level.
Of course people are entitled to an “opinion”. But we have observed that for a minority that their opinion is getting further and further away from the football pitch. An example of mass hysterical confirmation bias? Unfortunately so, that is what the booing by some of the Ox’s substitution was. And it’s not a good look. I don’t recommend it.
People do enjoy being a part of mobs, always have always will. But you do need to be careful that you don’t get trapped within the herd. That’s when it can be dangerous, the predators might eat your soul alive leaving your body nothing more then a zombies carcass. No heart left.
I don’t expect every football fan to have played high level sport in their youth or to have some or any experience of sports physiotherapy etc. why should they? But I do expect people who write about football every day whether by choice or for pay (whether they admit that or not!) to understand the basic demands and requirements involved in any top level modern sport. So, I’m very glad for this blog considering the proven and undeniable scale of the trolling of AFC fans in the media and elsewhere whatever the reason and also the poverty of the overall plunditry when compared with other sports. Who out there is surprised at Adrian Clarkes sudden popularity with all these podcasters after he replaced that bigoted buffoon thanks to an online petition started by AFC fans? Against a groaning employee of the club no less! The irony is too beautiful. There’s a lesson there. For some. But they’ll probably ignore it and groan away over the next few weeks with festive cheer as Sanchez rotates with Walcott (hopefully!), as the coaches juggle their way through the Xmas Crunch.
I’ve heard that those who used go to football in order to have fights used to save their energy for the opposition. But in the main I understand that traditionally people went to football games to to see friends, family, to watch some football because, well, because they like football. To relax. Sometimes a temporary rest or balance to any troubles. Not to have someone troll them into acting like a troubled soul in front of others.
I’m not concerned with transparent and lame agendas. I don’t like to see any Arsenal fans make fools of themselves and the club. Who would?
“So long as they continued to work and breed, their other activities were without importance…petty quarrels with neighbors, films, football, beer and above all, gambling filled up the horizon of their minds. To keep them in control was not difficult.”
In the late seventies Terry Gillian looked into the future (probably with some medicinal aid) and he saw the faces of Adrian Durham and those stupid enough to listen to him.