Finding myself on my uppers and trying to claw my way out of a protracted period of poor health, I’ve taken to earning a few quid by going out to work. A wildly radical idea which, like Arsenal’s season, has yielded mixed results.
Lately I’ve been working for an organisation which provides support for adults with disabilities and learning difficulties. It is an area of employment which offers wildly varying emotional rewards and extraordinarily poor financial ones. No one employed there is in it to get rich but there are some highly motivated and above all decent people both giving and receiving support. As you can readily imagine in such exalted company I stand out like a blind cobbler’s thumb.
One of the people I’ve spent some time with is an Arsenal supporter and other than that I shall respect his privacy and tell you nothing of his circumstances. I can tell you he has been in a ferment this past week because today he’s travelling up from the West Country to the Big Smoke in order to watch his favourite team play in the FA Cup. Yes it would have been cool to have seen that particular shift pop up on my rota, no it did not.
What is wonderfully refreshing about being around this particular Arsenal supporter is his undaunted passion for the game. Regardless of the results and the negative commentary he listens to from the pundits he always seems happy to be a fan. What he singularly fails to do, and this really sets him apart from you and I, is to follow the team online.
What a joy to be around someone who doesn’t indulge their disappointment beyond a quick conversation with me or one of the other staff members but instead gets on with looking forward to the next game. It has been an invigorating, affirming and wholly positive experience. It of course throws into sharp contrast the verbal war zone of Twitter and the poisoned pond of the comments beneath the variously negative or sarcastic Arsenal blogs. I trust he will be allowed to enjoy his match day experience without the ridiculous, ruinous masochism of the disenchanted infecting the atmosphere. A fun filled carnival of football followers or a malignant miasma – only his fellow fans can decide.
Personally I shan’t be watching as I have landed a photography job at a gig being organised to celebrate the birthday of a well known local musician. Should be a good blend of light hearted portraits and band shots, not to mention every photographer’s nightmare; capturing the ‘fun’ of a party in a darkened hall. Moving subjects, poor lighting. Say no more.
Those of you who will be watching the game ought to be in for a treat. If the wonderful football we saw before the plug was pulled on Tuesday evening is anything to go by then Lincoln City are in for a torrid time. At stake, a semi final in our only remaining cup competition. Having won this venerable trophy in two of the last three years we all know what a wonderful end to the season such a prize can provide.
It is a simple and obvious fact that from now until that fateful day in May we have so much to play for. The battle for a top four finish is as fierce this season as it has ever been. Spurs, no doubt stung by the final day debacle of 2016, will be doubly determined to end their dreadful record of finishing below us year after year, and of course we are only a couple games away from the potential of a Wembley final.
Given that little list, anyone, whether they come from a pro or anti standpoint, who wastes their time and emotional energy getting excited about anything beyond the games themselves, surely deserves to have their bumps felt. Forget what may or may not be going on in the changing room or the boardroom. Spare no thought on the manager or players’ future plans. Don’t bang your head against the impenetrable wall of poor decisions and woeful commentary. Seriously, give it all up, nothing will change, nothing you do, think or say will make a scrap of difference. So why not just enjoy the game, revel in the tension and excitement of the run in and take the summer off until we go again in the Autumn?
I know one young man who will be doing just that and I’ll tell you something for nothing, he’ll be a whole lot happier than you or anyone else who gets themselves sucked into the morass of pointless argument, opinion and debate. Why not try it for just one game? Watch, enjoy, then just get on with your life until the next fixture comes around. Who knows, you might actually start enjoying football again.