A guest post from Seebs
Singapore, half time, first friendly of the season, a young side are putting on a decent display in extreme heat. Stupidly I wandered on to twitter, hoping to see praise for Chuba Akpom and Alex Iwobi, only to find many showing frustration at the game. One person twitted “that’s 45 of my life I’ll never get back”, I couldn’t believe it. At first I was annoyed and I was going to add a sarcastic reply however, as I know the person and know their passion for ARSENAL, I resisted and then started thinking about things that drives supporters.
This is not anything to do with AKB’s and wob’s but actually goes across the spectrum. As we have seen on this forum the arrival of a relationship with ARSENAL is different for everyone and probably means something slightly different for everyone as well. I think I love ARSENAL more than anyone else in the world and I would imagine most would inwardly feel the same boast (whether you’re from N5 or north Australia). I know there are people who spend more money than me and I know there are people who spend more time than me on our beloved club but I validate my illogical reasoning with the hurt I feel when something bad happens to the club or the elation I feel when even the minor positive happens. My life is undoubtedly affected by the club and my wife understands that our diary is guided by the diary of ARSENAL and knows she will lose me on certain occassions and I am unavailable even to listen to a conversation at some points. She says I love ARSENAL more than her and jokingly I say that’s because I’ve loved ARSENAL longer than I’ve loved her, but in all seriousness there is a commitment there. This love means I hate anybody attacking my club, I love watching even the most boring game, I would never walk away or turn off even if we were getting stuffed and reading about our history feels me with a warm glow.
I do think of the club as “THE ARSENAL”, an institution full of class that you have to pay your dues to truly belong. I remember at a wedding I went to many years ago, two young lads were introduced to an uncle they hardly knew, there Mum said they had just started supporting ARSENAL (although knowing their family there would have had little choice). Their uncle stood up straight and almost ceremonially shook their hands and welcomed them in to an institution he said would be with them all their lives. This red and white cloak we all wear as we go about our daily lives manifest itself in different ways, on here we support everyone hoping they will come good while others have a standard of which they believe must always be matched to be truly representative of a great club. This standard has obviously been raised by Arsene and invincibles and there are fans who will match every game, every player and every situation with not just invincibles but the best of the best of the invincibles.
As I look at the many ARSENAL books in my collection and the massive history columns that make up the ARSENAL empire I can understand those who say this or that is not good enough for our great club however if you look deeper into our history you would find many who if judged with hindsight would fail the modern fans test. In my first Highbury years there was a CB who wasn’t blessed with the skills of Bobby Moore in fact many would include him in the list of our worst ever CB’s, his name was Terry Mancini and as a young defender I loved him. He scored one goal but it was a very important goal and it helped ARSENAL stay in the top division that year. Modern day fans would have castigated him but he is part of our history and part of “THE ARSENAL”.
Arsenal, in whatever form turn me on, I still get the infantile excitement and nerves I got when I was a kid, whether its watching on the telly, getting off the train on match days or sitting in a cold rickety old stand on a Monday night watching the stiffs. There are many fans however who have let their love of the image, the institution, the banner, “THE ARSENAL” get in the way of their pure enjoyment of game. So I would ask them once again do you love ARSENAL or the idea of ARSENAL?
Seebs (arse or brain)