In Week One of these
diaries I explained how my main aim was to diarise the “rollercoaster” of
emotions we go through as fans during the close season. I wanted to show how we
go from one extreme to the other from week to week and sometimes, on weeks such
as this one, from day to day.
This week has been a perfect example of that rollercoaster
which, let’s be honest, up to now if it were a rollercoaster it would be one of
those kiddies ones that just goes round in a circle with no real excitement.
I usually start writing from the Monday, possibly before the
column you’re reading is even put out, and this is what I did this week. I was
never going to literally write a diary, I’m not Adrian Mole or a teenage
girl, but I have separated this week’s into two parts, and I think it captures
the changing moods of the Silly Season pretty well.
One – Reasons to Be Cheerful
Firstly, I feel I should point out that once this week’s
column is published I will be sitting in a bar in Prague, drinking ridiculous
amounts of ridiculously cheap beer. With that in mind, I am in a rather happy
place for week three of the Silly Season Diaries, unlike some it seems.
I don’t know about you but I’ve noticed a “little bit”
negativity rearing its ugly head over the last few days. It’s always there, of
course, but I find some of these people lurk in the Twitter shadows, waiting
for the slightest sign of insecurity to manifest itself in the usually more
level headed of us, before creeping up, slowly secreting their negative vibes.
So basically, a few weeks after the season ended we are almost back to where we
were about six months ago. Nice.
Funnily enough, as I’m writing this I’m doing a job in an
office where an Arsenal season ticket holder is right now talking about what is
wrong at the club at the moment. Apparently “we shouldn’t have signed that
African bloke ‘JERNINHO’, and his hair looks stupid, he should just go bald.” Oh,
and we should get Ashley Williams to replace Laurent Koscielny, and Aaron
Ramsey would struggle to get a game at Norwich City….Oh, hold on! He’s now just
said we have too many French and African players! Oh wait, it gets better….the
last good one was ADEBAYO… (That’s not a typo). I’m going to stop
listening to this pillock now before I lose my job. Great timing though mate I
must say. Dear me.
But, like I’ve said before it’s all about opinions, and everybody’s
entitled to their own. This week though, I’m having none of it. This week I’m
choosing to ignore any negativity and focus on the positives. I’m going to
carry on where I left off at the end of last season. Maybe it’s the fact that I
know by the time you read this I will be sitting in a bar in Prague, drinking
ridiculous amounts of ridiculously cheap beer (did I mention that?) I don’t
know, but this week I’ve decided to forget who we might buy, who we should buy,
who we shouldn’t buy, what positions we need to strengthen in etc, etc, etc.
In fact, while listing these positives,
I realised that there were actually too many that came to mind to go through in
one week, so I decided to spread them out over the next few weeks. (Anyone
would think there’s not much happening eh?). Food for thought, that.
To add to the fun this week, the first person who posts in
the comments section which band I’m going to see while in Prague from some
subtle hints in the text wins a night out with Tomas Rosicky*. A once in a
lifetime opportunity (literally, probably) I’m sure you’ll agree, so pay
attention, there will be clues. There may also be a couple of unintentional red
herrings that I’ve only just noticed, sorry….
to Hold On to What We’ve Got……
To me, this is the most important, significant and downright
obvious point about this summer. The first time in recent years, where we are
not waiting for the inevitable sale of our best players, and / or our captain,
which is something we should be basking in right now. I mean, we all know how
painful the last few years have been in that respect, so if you can’t at least be
grateful we don’t have to go through all that crap again, then I don’t know
what to say to you.
The only possible doubt may be Bacary Sagna, but with Carl Jenkinson
waiting in the wings that could be a lot worse, and Kos is going nowhere. Needs
to give his agent a slap though.
Over the next few weeks I will be looking at a number of
players individually, players who in my opinion could be just as important as
whoever we may or may not bring in during this transfer window.
Laugh at Tottenham
They say laughter is the best medicine, do they not? We’ve
had more than our fair share of, erm, Bad Medicine over the past few summers, so any time you feel any of those negative vibes
creeping up on you, take a few minutes out of your day to imagine what it’s
like to be one of that lot up the road. If fourth place isn’t a trophy,
then what the hell is fifth place? Again. If you’re worried about which players
we haven’t signed yet, imagine what it’s like be in the position of having no
Champions League football to attract new players with, while all the time
looking over your shoulder at Real Madrid et al getting ready to pounce for
your best (only?) player. So, do
yourself a favour, take a few minutes out of your day to have a good laugh at
Tottenham Hotspur, it really is cathartic as well as great fun.
to Kick Off – 54 Sleeps to go…….
Another reason for my upbeat mood this week is the fact that
the 2013-14 fixture list was released this week. I won’t cover all the fixtures
here, I’m sure you already would have gone through them over and over again
yourselves, we are at home to Aston Villa for the first game, always nice to
start with a home game.
If this doesn’t get you foaming at the mouth then you need
to have a word with yourself!
For me, more than anything, it reminded me of what is the
most important thing of all – how much I love watching The Arsenal. That, my
friends, is what it’s all about. 54 sleeps from when this column goes out, the
time for talking is done, and I cannot wait.
I cannot wait for the butterflies a few days before Saturday
I cannot wait for that first post-match pint.
I cannot wait to see the team coming out for the first time.
I cannot wait to celebrate that first goal.
All I can think about at the moment is getting the season
started and getting behind The Arsenal, whoever we have or haven’t signed, come
the eve of the first game of the season it won’t matter one bit to me. I will
be there cheering on whoever is wearing the red and white that day, and every
day of the season after that. We sold our captain last year, as we did the year
before along with some greedy, Gail Platt chinned six month wonder, and you
know what? I couldn’t have given a shit in that week leading up to our first
game of the season, and it will be the same this season whether we sign Wayne
Rooney or Mickey Rooney. Whether we have signed Marouane Fellaini or decided to
give Marouane Chamakh a run as a midfield enforcer. Come 3pm Saturday August 17th
(or whatever time and day it ends up, but you get my drift), only one thing
matters – The Arsenal. If you are
ever unsure of what the phrase “nobody is bigger than the club”, then that is
the feeling that sums it up. I would love to be able to bottle that emotion and
force feed it to some people.
Part two – It’s Happening
Ok, at the time of writing (Friday) it hasn’t actually happened
yet, but it’s looking more and more likely that it might actually be happening.
Gooners on Twitter were shaken out of their midweek malaise after hearing
that betting had been suspended on Gonzalo Higuain becoming an Arsenal player.
Of course, betting being suspended can only mean one thing – erm, you can’t bet
Cue much pant wetting, excitement and YouTube searching – is this it? Is it
actually happening? The Big One? I would be very surprised if it doesn’t happen
now, so there you go – one more reason to be cheerful.
Due to travel commitments I will be submitting this piece on
Friday evening, so knowing my luck Arsenal will announce the signing on
Saturday morning. Either way, I will cover what happens next week, whether it
be the excitement of a major signing or whatever the opposite of that is.
One significant thing that stood out for me though was the
fact the Sky Sports News app headline changed from “Higuain Off to Arsenal?” to
“Higuain Off to Arsenal”…..Never underestimate the importance of a “?” people,
it can change everything.
For example- “Chris Waddle gets paid to commentate on ESPN”,
and “Chris Waddle gets paid to commentate on ESPN?” – See the difference there?
Whatever does or doesn’t happen though, as I said above,
this week has served to remind me of one thing….
I cannot wait to get back to doing what I enjoy the most about being an
Arsenal supporter – watching The Arsenal.
Next week: More reasons to be cheerful, including The
British Core (and possibly Higuain, you never know….)
Until then – KEEP THE FAITH.
Islington born and bred, Arsenal through and through. Supported the Gunners for all of my 46 years (so far!) through thick and thin.
Clickbait: Life as a Modern Football Fan – released 2019
Currently working on my next book – Over Land and Sea (and Lockdown), Arsenal 20/21 – A Diary of a Season – due for release Summer 2021.
I will back the club I have in my blood to the hilt and I don’t care what you think about that. UTA.
AGAINST MODERN FOOTBALL.