39 Comments

Arsenal Versus Hull: It’s Good To Talk

Precautions

 

Dear Stew,

Like you I am an Arsenal fan, unlike you I’m really pessimistic about the team and its prospects this season and for as many seasons as I can remember. It confuses me how you remain so positive given our palpable lack of success and the vanishingly small likelihood we will fulfil our potential this year either.

Disgruntled Supporter.

 

Dear Disgruntled Supporter,

Thank you for your polite enquiry and for not calling me a deluded four letter word who conflates Arsène with Arsenal and suggesting I’m satisfied with fourth place every year. You know how those clichés can, in very short order, become like sand in the Vaseline. It appears to me the first significant difference between us is our definition of success. Yours seems rigid and narrow while mine is broad and flexible. These definitions are seldom intellectual positions at which we arrive after much thought, they are more visceral, instinctive and as such the differences between us are almost impossible to reconcile. It seems therefore we’d be better off trying to find common ground rather than simply exploring that which divides us. After all we both support the same team.

Stew.

 

Dear Stew,

How is wanting to win the league ‘rigid and narrow’? Doesn’t having a ‘broad and flexible’ definition of success simply mean you settle for second, or usually fourth, best?

Disgruntled Supporter.

 

Dear Disgruntled Supporter,

Allow me to explain. If failure is defined by not winning the league then since Arsenal last won it there have only been four successful teams. All others therefore have been failures. The supporters of 88 clubs have all been supporting failed teams year in year out since 2004. They can by your definition have taken no pleasure in this and all of them must be deeply depressed by the state of their club. Take my local team Bristol Rovers for example. They have enjoyed back to back promotions from Conference to League one, and yet by your definition they have been failures. That seems pretty rigid to me.

Stew

 

Dear Stew

But Arsenal are not Bristol Rovers, we should be winning the league.

Disgrutled Supporter

 

Dear Disgruntled Supporter,

How so? No team has a divine right to win anything. My point about Rovers is that their fans have enjoyed the last two seasons immeasurably. Their definition of success has been sufficiently elastic to allow them to take pleasure from every and any triumph. This is my approach to Arsenal. Last season Arsenal were deemed to have failed. Yet I can’t remember enjoying an end to a league campaign quite as much for a long time. Once the title and the cups were beyond our grasp my definition of success became the highest league finish achievable which also meant finishing above Spurs. It wasn’t what I’d hoped for at the start but by allowing myself to be flexible I felt we still had much to play for. Automatic Champion’s League qualification and maintaining Arsène’s proud record against our historic rivals. As such the final day of the season was a magical and thoroughly satisfying experience. By limiting my definition of success to the league title I would have denied myself that pleasure.

Stew

 

Dear Stew

So you celebrate failure, you’re happy with second best. I’m not, I’m only happy with winning, I want the best for and from my club.

Disgruntled Supporter

 

Dear Disgruntled Supporter

Then you are doomed to a life of unhappiness relieved only very occasionally by fleeting moments of satisfaction. I on the other hand take pleasure from every good performance, every great move, every wonderful goal, every exciting cup run whether it ends in glory or not. Oh and by the way, you might not like this but I also get to enjoy the triumphant moments when the club wins a trophy every bit as much as you do.

It’s also worth considering that however you and I define success and whatever aspects of the season we choose to celebrate, the results will be precisely the same. So who really wins here?

Stew

 

Dear Stew

Wow I hadn’t thought of it like that. So do you not get angry and disappointed when we lose then? How do you cope with that?

Disgruntled Supporter

 

Dear Disgruntled Supporter

That’s exactly the same for both of us. I feel sick, don’t want to talk about football with anyone, get bad tempered and my wife assures me I’m like a spoilt child who’s just been told his parents can’t afford to take him to Disneyland. This sometimes lasts for days.

Stew

 

Dear Stew

Blimey, we have more in common than I thought, except you seem to enjoy supporting Arsenal more than I do. I hope you’re wrong about these attitudes being visceral and maybe I can become more like you and actually start to enjoy my hobby of following Arsenal rather than finding it a daily burden which only makes me angry and depressed.

Tell me how do you think we’ll get on against Hull? We’ve been terrible in our last two games haven’t we? I think we should play the kids – after all they obviously want it more look how well they played against Southampton.

Disgruntled Supporter

 

Dear Disgruntled Supporter

The result against Watford was a massive disappointment and yes our first half display was way below the standard we’ve come to expect but we were far from terrible in the second half. The Chelsea game hinged on one significant and appalling moment when Hector was assaulted, other than that there’s no shame to losing against the form team at their home ground – look at their results against the other big sides.

Today I expect us to bounce back in style. We seldom go on a losing run, we have a hugely experienced manager who understands how to deal with these situations and we have some of the best players in the world. I for one am excited to see how the lads respond – whoever he sends out.

As to which players Arsène should pick, well I’d leave that to him if I were you.

Stew

 

Dear Stew

But surely I have the right to an opinion? If I think Giroud should be dropped and Welbeck unleashed I have the right to say so.

Disgruntled Supporter

 

Dear Disgruntled Supporter

What rights human beings do and do not have is a fascinating philisophical topic into which I fear we do not have time to delve. The problems with us fans picking teams are manifold. We do not have the information on individual fitness levels, the long term plans for the season, the combinations the boss has planned and is developing, nor how players have performed in training. Above all our theories are meaningless because they never get tested nor can we ever be held to account for them, they are, by definition, fantasies.

Speculate away by all means but the problem is if I picked my first team it would be based on my personal favourites and I would in all probability end up starting with eighteen players including some who have retired.

Stew

 

Dear Stew

Sometimes I think you don’t take any of this seriously enough.

Disgruntled Supporter

 

Dear Disgruntled Supporter

Nailed it

Stew

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.

39 comments on “Arsenal Versus Hull: It’s Good To Talk

  1. Excellent Photo Steww towarm our hearts on a very cold winters morning.
    This whole piece is amazing accurate up until the point when the disgruntled supporter wants to be more like you, unfortunatley their downward spiral of doom will only be interupted by small branches of comfort in many aspects of their life.
    I see that disgruntled oik with the banner at chelski was 25 …YES 25 what does he have to be unhappy with in his ARSENAL lifetime is he sure, when I was 25 I had seen the double winning side of the early 70’s and at the other end of the decade the Brady era that won the Cup in 79. Maybe he should have experienced just three trophy seasons in his first 25 and still learn enjoy to enjoy so many times inbetween.
    Todays game I taking both my lads, Thanks to Steve I connections, and even though its cold and early we will still be going with a positive attitude (even though my youngest only got in at two in the morning and I need to drag him out of bed). I’m looking forward to see the fast moving Wengerball flowing before my eyes thats thrills me and makes me smile automatically. COYG

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Thank you for this masterpiece. Absolutely fantastic.

    Liked by 7 people

  3. Stew
    Great piece.Love it.

    You could have added the misery of United ( they have been unsuccessful since 4vyears Liverpool (unsuccessful since Epl started) mind you these are the most successful English clubs ever.

    And the disgruntled supporters can see what happened to Leicester after one bogey year helped by the PGmo.

    We are still better off and enjoying the season.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Tasty, with just a hint of sweetness.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Aah Stew..the lovely thoughts of a true gooner. Thank you

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Come on the Arsenal!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Remarkably restrained responses at times. I salute you.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Delicious,

    Like my boiled egg and slice of sourdough toast with butter and marmalade.
    Breakfast means Breakfast, after all.
    Voices in my head often have those kind of conversations too, Steww.
    They also tell me to kill all the hu-mons, but I ignore those too.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Hull have had a recent uplift in fortunes,
    Today won’t be too easy for the gunners.

    Like

  10. What Foreverheady didn’t take forever to say.

    And a bit of Anicol too.

    By the way, I wonder who Chelsea get to half-kill with impunity this weekend? I trust the stretcher-bearers are starting their warm ups and Burnley NHS “‘Accident’ and Emergency” services are on standby.

    As for Arsenal, shocking that as well as being managerless at the end of the season according to ‘Wrighty’ (who will henceforth be rebranded ‘Wrongy’ should this particular speculative stab-in-the-dark fail to bear fruit), but our season is said to be all but over.

    Apart from the small matter of the FA Cup and some other trifling competition abroad somewhere. Who’d have thought the double is still very much on? With our Premier League commitments curtailed to ‘just’ finishing in the top 4, I would say the chances of silverware – domestic or otherwise – is still VERY much on.

    COYG’s (but don’t beat yourselves up if we don’t get 3 points today, eh?).

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Ha ha – just re-read MarkyB’s comment: “Remarkably restrained AT TIMES”! Presumably unbridled, out of control dogma the rest of the time!

    And why not; it’s the unending search for doom and gloom that gets to you after a while, let’s face it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Good to see Bellerin back in the side; just hope Hull’s bully boys don’t follow the media’s moronic guidance and target the latest ‘soft centre’ to grace our back line.

    Come on Hector, ‘man up’ ‘cos the ref’s are unlikely to offer much protection in the current climate.

    Like

  13. Hi stew, I am not sure about this flexible version of success as you call it. I think the both of you guys are a bit extremist in some sense, one guy only sees titles as true success and the other changes his version of success as the season progresses. Look, I think there is a simple version of success for me that encompasses most variables and conditions and seems to be fair to both players and managers given all things being equal. For the time it has taken to assemble and economic resources spent on it, I think we can safely say we are only successful in a season on the end of a title challenge( That’s the last 3/4 seasons for obvious reasons). Everything else outside of that is somewhat settling. With all due respect, I think stew’s opinion of success is just a bit of semantics, if success is broad and flexible, how do you enjoy that?. It seems success is then what ever you want it to be, and in that case, the board can interpret our form as whatever they want to suit any agenda. How does someone become accountable in a setting like that?. Appreciate any feed-back. Have a good one guys.

    Like

  14. one day Coquelin will score a goal.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Amazing Steww, thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. both side with some good chances

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Damn lucky there. Hand ball. Fortune follows the brave.

    Like

  18. That photo at the top of this article is soooo brilliant.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. a bit too open a game for my liking

    Ozil has been a bit off, getting in great positions but pass or choice of pass not been his usual standard
    Alexis missed a few good chances and lost the ball a lot, but he “handed” us the lead

    Like

  20. So, Ox is tugged around, Theo gets battered, blah blah blah. Walcott booked.

    Liked by 4 people

  21. kos is a bit off today.

    gibbs and theo booked in double quick time.

    Like

  22. I’ll shut up.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Nnamdi Obinwanne ‏@obisingledigit 21m21 minutes ago

    Sanchez’s goal is legal as he”wanted it more”than Hull wanted to defend.Just like Alonso wanted the goal more than Bellerin wanted to defend

    Liked by 2 people

  24. alexis is the breakdown point of an attack once again.

    Like

  25. Good god. How this team misses @19SCazorla. His technical leadership is so grossly underestimated.

    Like

  26. Eduardo: Alexis is wonderful scoring goals but he is unreliable technically.

    Like

  27. a win is a win is a win

    made all the sweeter that it has pissed off so many pundits and commentators, and not forgetting the WOB

    Wenger’s suspension finished,

    Xhaka’s suspension finished.

    level on points with title chasing spurs

    Liked by 1 person

  28. MJ ‏@MJ_Boh_ 2h2 hours ago

    Alexis scores an unintentional handball will get talked about 250x more than Marcos Alonso literally knocking a player out cold.

    Liked by 4 people

  29. Jeorge Bird ‏@jeorgebird

    Arsenal U18 v Norwich: Virginia; Osei-Tutu, Ballard, Pileas, T. Bola; McGuane, Gilmour; J. Willock, Burton, Medley; Fortune.

    Norwich 1 Arsenal 0. Former Gunner Benny Ashley-Seal opens the scoring.

    Arsenal U18s came from behind to beat Norwich 2-1. Medley (a centre back playing on the left wing) scored
    and then sub Smith-Rowe hit winner

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Sadly missed the match, but briefly heard a snatch of radio at about 2.25pm. Commentators were moaning, so I knew we’d won.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Can you imagine a ref apologizing to one team on a questionable call?
    Apparently Clattenberg apologized to Hull players for nor not ruling off the Alexis goal. How come? He is not supposed to have access to video or to have a mobile phone in his booth. Isn’t that subjecting himself to undue influence and potential bias?
    As I tweeted to AlabamaGooner, Can you imagine that happen in the NFL with their use of video? That would have been sorted out on the field immediately after the ball went in.

    Liked by 4 people

  32. if the alexis opener should have been ruled out, then we should have had a penalty a couple of minutes before that for hull player handling the ball, it was same thing, ball hit at him and hit hand, and changed direction, rules only don’t apply when its arsenal.

    Liked by 4 people

  33. At the start of the season the gibberish merchants, the dancing monkeys and the circus clowns all told us of their earnest concerns regarding the football emanating from the feet of Oxlade Chamberlain. Mind bending reflections within their echo chamber (the inverse of The Total Perspective Vortex).

    Tells us all more about them then any of it did about Chambo.

    Liked by 3 people

  34. Clatters genuinely distraught following on the Arsenal opener. He’s got a FUFA badge to preserve!

    ROFL!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. New post is up. I can only apologise

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Fin’s @ 3:20 pm – Clatters forgot the PGMO memo to rule vs AFC in 50:50 calls. Stick around for the blowback.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. How could anyone criticise Ox Chamberlain? What did they say?

    Like

  38. Love a controversial win for us after all the bullshit talk about the assault on Hector. For a change we got a bit of good fortune in our favour.

    The 2 goals flattered Alexis massively today as he did not play well. I’d like to see his passing accuracy stats as it looked like most of his passes were wayward. I wonder if he and Ozil are ‘little bit off form’? as neither were that effective.

    Nobody stood out for me today but collectively it was a good effort against a tough opponent. And credit to Hull for trying to play football rather than the usual fouling, negative 10 men behind the ball and maximum time wasting we usually see from the opposition at Emirates. I hope they do well against our rivals

    Liked by 4 people

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