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Just What Do We Support?

By the time you read this it is possible that Jamie Vardy may have been announced as the second major signing of the summer. If so it will be an almost Fergusonian transfer. Buying the star striker of a top four rival, spending big to cover a temporary injury problem on a player with only a couple of years left in the tank. Aggressive, positive and short term. Well, possibly – that is one interpretation.

Of course Vardy might simply prove to be this summer’s Higuaín. A steaming heap of click baiting baloney providing social media know alls and bloggers like me the opportunity to spout ill informed bollocks about something which was never going to happen in the first place.

I’ll be up front with you; I don’t give a hoot either way. Similarly the Suarez transfer never interested me in the slightest quite simply because it never happened and never came close to happening. It was as worthwhile a use of our time and attention as a discussion on whether or not the earth is flat.

I no longer get angry when people follow up on the journalist’s daydreams and discuss them in all earnest – after all like the flat earthers they do no one else any real harm. They’re entertaining a fantasy which engages and amuses them. So what? The real transfers happen in due course and all the stupid pointless arguments and debates about the hallucinatory targets and fees evaporate like the hot air they always were.

So it isn’t the existence of the Vardy rumours which interests me. It isn’t even the moral debate which signing such a player, even in merely hypothetical terms, has provoked among my friends and other contacts. What made me prick up my ears was a conversation with my wife, a person with less interest in football than I have in macramé, as we traversed the car park of our local Lidl.

I’d outlined the problems people were having stomaching the thought of cheering on a man who has proven to be of dubious moral fibre. ‘But you can’t control that’, she said, ‘you have no say in the players you support. Someone else hires them, someone else picks them. In any case they change every year until after a while the entire team has altered and yet still you support it. Heck the manager and coaches change, the kit and the badge change and even the stadium can change, and still you support it.’

Then came the sixty four thousand dollar question. ‘What exactly do you support? If The Arsenal is like some huge, complex Trigger’s broom, what is it you are actually throwing your weight behind?’ My mouth opened and closed a few times as I absently stowed a half dozen bags of cut price and highly tasty groceries into the trusty Hyundai Matrix.

We can kid ourselves it’s the ethical nature of the club and quietly overlook the scandal of allowing people to work in and around the stadium on match days for less than a decent living wage. We can point to our players’ avoiding the tabloid excesses of those from other clubs as if they were saints rather than simply well drilled and controlled. We can dislike the politics of someone from Leicester City and assume none of the current or past squad are raving right wingers in favour of politicians who’s sole aim is the destruction of all that is decent in our society.

We can make a big deal of Arsène Wenger’s decency, the unquestioned statesmanlike dignity with which he manages our club, but then what if someone like Jose Mourinho was appointed in his stead? We wouldn’t stop supporting would we? We’d perform like moral contortionists, make our excuses and go on cheering for the team.

We stand on feet of clay and I suggest we have no option but to find shoes to fit them. It’s distasteful sometimes but what can we do? The only option is to support someone else and good luck finding another team any better or more consistent with your moral stance. I suppose one could just give up following the sport at all, but where would be the fun in that?

So what did I conclude in the supermarket car park? What exactly do I support? If not the players, manager, owners, stadium, crest or shirt then what? In the end I decided all I was left with was the name. It seems that I support The Arsenal. And like my marriage I do so for better or for worse.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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332 comments on “Just What Do We Support?

  1. When they find they cant “send them back”, cos there is nowhere to send them, they can start rounding them up eddy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every time I try to find some positive idea to come out of all this the awful truth comes crashing back. I haven’t felt this bereft since my Father died 25 years ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see the malcontents are up to the same tricks as last summer, pretending to be in the know about afc transfers, only so they can say afc/wenger dithered or refused to pay the going rate, and missed out on the signing, when the signing don’t happen,

    lukaku is their latest phantom signing, you know the set up already,

    player keen
    contract not a problem
    afc/wenger refusing to meet the asking price
    other clubs interested.

    ah for fucks sake wenger

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  4. Sniper ‏@clockendsniper 22m22 minutes ago
    Imagine having an EU referendum in the same country that adults still ask Memz & DT for Arsenal transfer updates!

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  5. ITV News ‏@itvnews 48m48 minutes ago
    Petition calling for a re-run of the EU referendum tops one million signatures http://www.itv.com/news/2016-06-25/more-than-half-a-million-sign-petition-for-second-referendum/

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  6. Plenty of jobs in the North coming on HW2

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  7. Unless 17 million ppl sign it there’s no point. The rules for a rerun basically allow for any tight run contest’s, which would mean we could have endless reruns the criteria for outright victory would never be met.
    Democracy is dangerous in the wrong hands.
    Just like our experience with football the misinformation in the media is the biggest thing to come out of this referedum. Until we do something about the media it is not our government or the EU who will control us but the Murdoch’s if this world.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. xhaka shit now cos he missed a penalty, oh the state of some arsenal fans.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. by the way with the swiss out, it should mean xhaka joining up with AFC for pre-season no later than Monday 25th July. I wonder will he make the USA trip, our first game there is on Thursday 28th July. He could make the trip, and play in the second game on Sunday 31st July.

    AFC have been linked all summer with a move for Wolfsburg’s Ricardo Rodrigues and their DoF said a few days ago that clubs have till next Thursday to meet his release clause of £19M, after that the fee goes way up, he also added that RR has made it clear he wants to leave,

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  10. in recent days several Arsenal players have been photoed doing some fitness training prior to returning to pre-season training, and in fact Theo Walcott has been in training all summer, he even hired well known personel fitness trainer Bradley Simmonds to oversee his fitness regime. But the malcontents say Theo don’t care about the game or his career.

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  11. Tom Pyman ‏@gooner_tom 21m21 minutes ago
    Sick of hearing bollocks about Wales being a one man team. Are people forgetting they’ve got Bale as well?

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Well done Wales and commiserations to Northern Ireland. It’s amazing how some of the smaller countries are doing so well in this tournament. There could well be a surprise winner of this tournament.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. France-Ireland will be similar to the Wales – N.Ireland contest. Two defence first managers. DD should have the tools in his Arsenal to see off MO’N (who never had much joy against the Arsenal if I recall correctly)

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  14. Not much doubt about where the Venggggaaaarghhh Out vote went is it? Kind of comical. If you think about it.

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  15. Especially in light of the purists or puritans (depending upon whether you prefer Assc.Footy or pgMOB footy) contest just witnessed on the telly.

    What happened to all the genius Scottish football managers. And Scottish football? No wonder they want to stay in the EU!

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  16. passenal the probable reason why small nations are doing well the this Euro is cos there are even smaller nations for them to beat, how many nations are at their first Euro’s, how many there for the first time in 20 years or more.

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  17. That’s true of today’s game, but not in general – Russia, Slovakia and Sweden have history at this level, but they have underperformed. Even Portugal have struggled to date. Spain have been beaten and Italy can’t blame changes to their team for the defeat to Ireland as they had plenty of quality on the pitch on the night. It seems to me that this tournament is quite open, like the PL last season and well organised teams that play with commitment and desire feel that they have a chance.

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  18. Today’s game between Wales and Northern Ireland

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  19. Ukraine and the Czech republic are not small countries in football terms either

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  20. You’ve got to feel for Croatia, but like Switzerland earlier, they didn’t take their chances and paid in the end. Portugal got really lucky tonight. I wonder if they will ride that luck all the way to the final?

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Strikers not scoring many goals so far in this tournament. Giroud doing well. Many interesting facets to the upcoming the match with Ireland.

    Is Scezzz. still injured or did Fabianski retain the No.1 shirt for Poland today?

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  22. Shaqiri’s goal was most definitely a good ‘un. But has he done it on a cold night in Stoke (you can’t blame him)?

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  23. Chris Coleman:
    “With Gareth Bale or Aaron Ramsey on the pitch, a little bit of brilliance can change your life…”

    He’s been piling on the praise to Rambo since the last few matches just before the tournament began. Noticeably different to before where he’s always held back on the buttering up. Obviously it’s the smart and sensible thing to be doing going into and through a tournament, perhaps that is an example of good management? I wouldn’t know but he’s surely reaping some reward. One reason the Experts will never admit that great players need such support is because of jealousy.

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  24. < such support when it matters. The relevance and reference being the unhelpful atmosphere (not an excuse. For the pgMOB. Heh.) in n5 in January/February.

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  25. Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Portugal, Ukraine and the Czech republic, if I;m not mistaken have never won a world cup or a euros, USSR won a euro in 1960 and Czechoslovakia won one euro in 1976,

    most nations have history, even n ireland and wales, r of ireland too, have all down the years beat big teams,

    Greece and Denmark are the only two nations to have pulled of the big surprise and gone on and won the euros, thats two major surprise winners out of 14, we might get one this summer, to make it 3 out of 15.

    by the way we’ve had only 12 teams make the final, and three of them don’t exist as the identity that made the final, USSR, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia

    will we even have a new team(first time) make it as far as the semi finals, we could very easily have Portugal, Belgium, France, England, Germany and either Spain or Italy in the last 8, leaving only Wales and Poland(who have in their history been 3rd at two world cups), so wales of that lot are the only side never to have reached a semi final of a major international championships.

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  26. Casey Stoney MBE ‏@CaseyStoney 22m22 minutes ago London Colney, East
    No wins in 90mins and one…I repeat one shot on target and they’re in the quarter finals. What an exciting #EURO2016 this is 😴😴😴

    Liked by 1 person

  27. szczesny is still injured.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. JB™ ‏@gunnerpunner 49m49 minutes ago
    United offered Mkhitaryan £100k per week more than Arsenal

    Like

  29. afcstuff ‏@afcstuff 5h5 hours ago
    Aaron Ramsey has been named #WAL’s Fans’ Man of the Match for his performance vs. #NIR. [@VauxhallWales] #afc

    Like

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