Ok, technically that is still true, but we all know that it’s not going to happen, and this blog is not even going to mention it after this paragraph, but that’s what we do these days isn’t it? Jump on the most attention grabbing headline without bothering to read the article to check whether there’s any substance to it.
I was going to go with something like “ItDoesn’t Matter If We Finish below Spurs,” but that’s been done already.
Being a headline writer must be the most satisfying job in the world right now, and one of the easiest.
Imagine waking up and knowing that however badly and half-arsed you do your job, you’ll have a successful day knowing that all you have to do is get Arsenal fans wound up on the internet?
It’s not like the content has to match the headline either, God forbid anyone actually read anything in context when it’s easier to get outraged by something.
What a time to be alive.
So now that I’ve got your attention, thanks for reading on, those of you that haven’t disappeared straight back into the Twittersphere after reading the headline, calling me a deluded AKB or something.
This is the first piece I’ve written in quite a while now, for one reason or another.
The main thing I wanted to achieve when I began writing the Season Diary a while back was to cover the ups and downs, and roller coaster of emotions we go through as Arsenal fans throughout the season.
This involved looking at the mood and reaction of fans on the Internet and social media, predominantly on Twitter.
And there you have one of the main reasons I haven’t written in a while. I mean, I’m not mental.
It’s become an absolute circus these days hasn’t it?
Not a good circus either. A circus where the clowns don’t bother with custard pies and those cars that fall apart, they just stand there arguing with each other for hours.
Football is, and always has been, a source of great debate. It’s one of the reasons we love it, and this season more than any other in recent years is a source for a lot of debate. But when it’s the same old arguments every frigging minute of every frigging day, it ceases to actually become a debate at all.
It wasn’t always like this was it? I’ve had many along conversation about football over the years, but I never felt the need to pester the fuck out of people with my opinions until they agree with me.
I know that everything in the garden is far from rosy – if this season were a garden, it would be a garden in one of those programmes about hoarders, about a hoarder that hoards faeces and VHS videos of Albion Market – but when everything that happens anywhere suddenly becomes about Arsenal and Arsene Wenger, it goes beyond ridiculous.
When you can’t even fart on Twitter, without someone bringing Arsene Wenger into it, then sometimes you have to take a step back from it all.
You can’t actually fart on Twitter, I was being metaphorical, but if you could I’d lay money on someone comparing it to what sh*t used to stink like when we were still at Highbury. Or something.
Is this the Real Life, is this just Fantasy?
I recently had a couple of weeks without Twitter in the lead up to the league game against Watford, and it was wonderful. I went to that game without knowing what I was supposed to be angry about this week, without any preconceptions or anything.
It was almost like the old days. I went to the pub, went to the game, watched the game, and then went home.
Ok, an easy win at home may not be the best example given what’s happened in the games since then, but the point still stands.
It’s got to a point that the actual football itself has almost become a sideshow.
I’m becoming increasingly convinced that if the Premier League just suddenly ceased to exist, it would take some people a week or two to even notice.
In fact, I’ve began to think that if it wasn’t for the fact that I am lucky enough to attend and witness Arsenal matches in the flesh regularly, I would be suspicious as to whether football actually exists, and that this whole thing isn’t just some kind of bizarre online reality experiment in which we ourselves are the “stars”.
That might sound a bit far-fetched at first, but it’s not really if you think about it.
For example; take a step back and look at some of the pointless arguments you see pretty much every single minute of the day on Twitter, and then watch an episode of Big Brother.
If you have been lucky enough in life never to be exposed to Big Brother, it can be described thusly:
A bunch of attention seeking, wannabe celebrity f**kwits are put in a house together, given alcohol and forced to carry out pointless tasks.
All the while, they are being manipulated by an unseen entity into embarrassing themselves for the public’s amusement.
Pointless arguments and personal meltdowns ensue.
When these people come out of this house, they then believe they are actually famous. Actual “celebrities”. And, for a short time they are, until people lose interest and they have to face up to the reality that being famous for getting an erection under a duvet live on camera or whatever isn’t actually sustainable.
Now, picture this…….
“Day five thousand three hundred and fifty eight, and @WOBBYTHEWOB1886NOT1996 and @ArsenesTriColourWillyWarmer are arguing for the eighty thousandth time over who was Arsenal’s best ever manager, after another poll was posted by @ArsenalPointlessW*nkyPolls……..”
“Day five thousand three hundred and fifty nine, the Arsenal fans have been given the task of jumping up and down like raving lunatics after Arsene Wenger’s latest press conference, whoever makes most noise wins a dozen more followers…..”
Seriously, that’s what it’s like, all it takes is for someone to pipe up about something, or one of those dreadful clickbait headlines and it sets everyone off.
I’m not saying any “side” is worse than the other here, by the way. In fact, the sheer embarrassment that some see fit to divide the fan base into “sides” leads me to refuse to acknowledge there are any “sides” at all.
In my opinion, if you think pigeonholing millions of people around the world into acronyms is in any way normal, then you’ve lost touch with what normal is.
In the 1980s, there was a computer game called Little Computer People, which was a little person that lived in your computer that you interacted with, fed, and kept entertained. He even entertained you for a while too, by doing a little dance or something.
If you ignored him for a while, he would tap on your screen, demanding attention.
If you kept ignoring him, and didn’t feed him, he eventually gave up and died.
I’m reminded of that when I open Twitter and see every single little thing being analysed to the nth degree.
I’m reminded of it when history is being rewritten in 140 characters just to support someone’s argument, or to give them their five minutes of “fame.”
I’m reminded of it when opinion and debate is replaced by the constant need for one-upmanship and the near desperate need for attention.
I’m reminded of it when I see that some people have already decided on what you’re going to argue about when the next manager comes in.
Then I think back to the Watford game, and the thought of thousands of wannabe Big Brother “stars” banging away inside my phone for two weeks before the game, like starving Little Computer People.
Then, occasionally, a game of football breaks out amongst it all, and for ninety minutes or so, I’m reminded of how things used to be.
Now, retwteet this blog please, they’ve closed the auditions for Big Brother…….
Until next time.
Up The Arsenal
*No Little Computer People or Twitter users were starved to death in the making of this blog
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.