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.
‘We had to respond – that’s what we did’
Arsène Wenger was a happy man after his side secured their place in the Emirates FA Cup semi-finals with a 5-0 win against Lincoln City.
It was a morale-boosting result following a tough run, and the boss admitted he was relieved with the display when he faced the media after the game:
on making it into the semi-finals…
We were a bit nervous because your confidence drops when you don’t have the results. The team was unjustifiably criticised for our last game against Bayern Munich because we had an outstanding game. The game was killed not by the fault of the players but we have to take a distance with us and have a look at a bigger perspective than people want to do. Overall we had to respond today and that’s what we did. We had an outstanding game against Bayern Munich but our game was killed by the referee. I watched this game three times now and it’s still the referee who killed our game.
on why he put out a strong team…
I didn’t want to gamble today because I knew that it was very important to win the game and I felt as well that the team had performed well against Bayern and I wanted to give them a chance to find their confidence back by winning the next game. That’s why I maintained 90 per cent of the players in the starting line-up. They have been hit very hard after the game [against Bayern] and that is always dangerous because your confidence can go very quickly.
on whether the group has discussed the Bayern game together…
on whether any players said they let him down…
I would like to watch the game with you. You will see that the players did not let me down. Nor themselves, nor the club. I think we had an outstanding performance as long as we were 11 against 11.
on whether scoring five goals pleased him…
I think we had two different five-goal games. The first one at Bayern, I accept that we collapsed in the second half. But when you are down to 10 men against a team of that quality and you conceded a penalty, get a sending off and you find yourself down to 10 men with four goals to score, it is not a football game anymore.
on whether he is happy now…
I’m always focused on the next game. Overall I am of course happy that we won the game today, but I know that what is in front of us is more important. To keep the team focused, we go to West Brom and after we have an international break. It’s important, we’ve lost some ground with some teams at the top.
on Lincoln City…
It was difficult. They knocked Ipswich out. They knocked Brighton out. They knocked Burnley out at Burnley. You could see in the first half that they had a very direct game, but they had clarity about what they wanted to do and they did that very well. Overall I think for us it was important to be focused not to make a mistake. They had a big crowd behind them as well and they had a chance. There was a big save from Petr Cech in the first half.
on whether he would like to see Lincoln win promotion…
I watched them as well against Burnley. They have quality and I think they will come up, yes.
on what’s wrong with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain…
Hamstring. I don’t know [how serious], we have to assess it. It didn’t look a big one.
on whether he’s kept the critics off his back…
You should sit in my seat for a while and then you would understand that it is an impossible job to keep everybody quiet. Ideally, I would love to. But unfortunately, practically, it is very difficult. But we try.
on whether winning the cup and finishing in the top four would make this a good season…
I’m not in that mode in my mind at all. I just focus on winning the next game always and that’s what I want to do.
Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170311/-we-had-to-respond-that-s-what-we-did-#KeZC5k077tj0VCZ0.99
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so why wasn’t the west ham lad sent off for giving away the first penalty v afcb, he pulled the stirker back, no attempt to play the ball, again rules only apply to Arsenal players
afcstuff @afcstuff 3h3 hours ago
Arsenal’s record at the Emirates Stadium:
628 goals scored
235 goals conceded
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1886 @1886_blog 2h2 hours ago
I assume those who missed today’s match “in protest” won’t be applying for a Wembley ticket…
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I think its high time that Positively Arsenal take a stance on the biggest issue affecting Arsenal in many a long year, and i can think of no better place for it to be done than in tomorrow’s match report.
So just where do the good folk of Positively Arsenal stand on this vital issue, is it in or is it out
answer the question boys
Vic Akers in
Vic Akers out
come on, make a stand, and don’t shy away from it, its the burning question of the day, probably the most important in living memory, the members deserve to know.
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Theo WalcottVerified account @theowalcott 38m38 minutes ago
On to semi-final #facup & happy to have equalled @IanWright0 FA cup goal record
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sometimes reality is stranger than fiction,
an x file type occurrence today,
200 villages reported that their idiot was missing
200 idiots seen marching in London N5
mulder, scully, what say you.
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The Lincoln city fc fairy tail is all the news today, but the one thing not mentioned is that they are being bank rolled big time by a south african business man. He has been pumping large sums of money in to the club. It why they have been able to fill their squad with player who have league experience, and why they are 5pts ahead with two games in hand at the top of the National league.
Arsenal need to announce the Wenger contract decision on April 1st
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Mel O’Reilly @MelOreilly1970 Mar 9
These snidey journos sticking the boot into Arsene now will bump into him working at the next World Cup & ask to have selfies with him.
Thank you Stew for that truely positive and uplifting post, am delighted that you’ve managed to pull the disparate streams of my thoughts into a coherent and cognisable entity.
The league table of the blogs and media outlets that are able to be accessed, or am bothered to follow, sits in the folder. Over the last few years the numbers have diminished significantly from Championship sized to less than that for the Scottish Premiership. Positively Arsenal crept in and then as if under the management of Mr Wegner swept to the top of the table because of posts such as yours. Ignoring the baiters, idiots, desperate celeberaties and ex-footballers is easy when you simply look at what they do, what they’ve achieved and their abilities to manage or coach. So the message from your post and Arsenal supporter is well what works for me.
0.3% of the crowd demonstrated (assuming they even attended the match – although why they didn’t give their tickets to someone who supports the club is a curiousity to dwell on) is not a significant number – I stand to be corrected by the data/number guru. Yet the other 59800 supporters got no air-time, distorted? dishonest?
Perhaps it’s because The Arsenal try and play the right way and it’s worth persevering with when it works, it’s beguiling, bewitching, compulsive and we can stand toe-to-toe with the best in Europe on a level playing field and for me if they fail along the way I can live with that because they risked it all following Mr Wegner in attempting that. (It’s also I would hazard why we have no 15:00 Saturday kick-offs as it makes for compulsive viewing with a knackered ref officiating.
By the way the match was tops.
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New post up comrades