2016/17 – The Arsenal without the Internet
Last Friday I was lucky enough to attend the end of season supporter’s event at the Emirates, which included Q & A sessions with Ivan Gazidis and Lee Dixon.
I was going to cover this in more detail, but in all honesty everything worth covering was either covered on the night by The Arsenal Twitter Speed Tweeting Squad, or in articles since and a full transcript is here.
I can summarise though; Lee Dixon once had a ruck with Dennis Bergkamp, he also told us Ian Wright once chinned Steve Bruce in the tunnel.
The Emirates pitch is being turned into a beach for the summer (see photo below), oh and if you are going to an event that is handing out one free beer token per person, it’s always handy to be there with someone that doesn’t drink…..
I had a couple of beers afterwards with people whose views I don’t always necessarily agree with on Twitter, and after standing there simply having a couple of pints and chatting about The Arsenal, it struck me, for around the ninety thousandth time, how completely different the Social Media world and the real world are.
That may seem like a case of stating the bleeding obvious, but in some cases it really isn’t.
Spend a few days on Twitter and I guarantee you that you will find people that have become so consumed by it that the lines between the real world and the online world have become so blurred that I’m not sure they can tell the difference any more.
If, like me, you are a fan of South Park, and have seen the episode where Stan gets sucked into Facebook, I’m sure you will agree it’s a bit like that.
I know I’ve wrote about this kind of thing before, and if it seems like I’m banging on about it then there are plenty of blogs out there that will inform you of who we should sign this summer, how they would fit into what formation we should play next season and all that lark for you to run along to if you wish.
This time of year brings out the worst of it all as well.
It was actually last Friday night that the news of our move for Jamie Vardy broke, and the clamour to shout the loudest on Twitter over who knew first, and most, began almost immediately.
There are certainly people out there that do get a bit of inside info, I don’t doubt that, but you can probably count them on one hand. There certainly aren’t thousands of them, however, and I guarantee you that none of them go by the alias of Agent ITK or whatever.
Let’s face it; if you spend all day browsing the Internet on numerous devices simultaneously, you’re bound to spot something of substance a split second after it’s put out there.
If that’s your bag, fine, each to their own and all that, it’s just the desperation to be seen as something you’re clearly not, to thousands of people you’ll never meet, that I’ll never understand. That and the way people get so incredibly stressed over the transfer window. I mean, I get it, we all want the Arsenal squad to be one that will challenge for honours in a way befitting of the club, but bloody hell, give yourself a break.
I could ramble on about this all day, but the chances are that if you’ve got this far and agree with even half of what I’ve written then there really is no need to say any more. What I will add is that if you spent the whole of Monday refreshing your Twitter timeline in anticipation of Jamie Vardy’s decision on whether to join Arsenal or not, you missed the British Summer, sorry.
We have the Euro’s coming now, which give most of us the chance to put all the rubbish aside for a few weeks and watch some actual football.
Of course, it also gives some the chance to suggest which players we should be signing off the back of one good performance, and the click hungry journalists the chance to feed on that by linking us with whoever just played well in a position that we are apparently looking to strengthen in. Just imagine if there were football accumulator tips on the numbers of players linked to Arsenal during the Euros as well as all the other bets you can have!!
Honestly, call me old fashioned, but what on earth was wrong with not knowing whether a player had signed or not until you saw him on the back page of The Sun holding the shirt up (or wearing it, I think they used to do that in those days…)
Anyway, all of this got me to thinking what the summer would be like without the internet, and I’ve looked into my crystal ball to the start of the 2016/17 season…..
“I decided to give up at the end of the 2015/16 season, when things got too much.
I had always enjoyed a tweet or two, but I now found myself spending far too much time on Twitter, to the point where I didn’t know what was real any more.
At the height of my addiction, I found myself charging my iPhone up to five times a day, and going on benders where the threads would sometimes last up to five days.
Twitter was my main problem, but this also led on to other things.
Sometimes I would start on Twitter, then move on to watching people shout at each other (sometimes it would seem they were shouting at me) on YouTube, then before I knew it I would wake up with my phone in my hand on a forum somewhere.
In fact, it was when I woke up to find that I had commented on the #WengerOut Papa New Guinea Facebook page that I thought to myself (ironically) “Enough is enough.”
I tried just giving Twitter up at first, and got my football fix from the online tabloids, but I found this to be nothing more than a gateway, and the temptation to start tweeting again was too strong.
So, I decided that the best thing to do was give up anything football related on the internet, cold turkey. It was tough at first; the habit was hard to break, but after a few days of instinctively reaching for my phone during every spare moment of the day, only to see the plain greeny,greyish Nokia 3310 screen staring back at me (I gave up my smartphone to help with the cravings), things began to get easier.
Things got easier still over the next few weeks when I started to think about what I was “missing.”
Acronyms such as AKB and WOB had stopped flashing before my eyes when I closed them, a well-known side-effect from being over-exposed to an Arsenal-heavy Twitter timeline.
I had no idea what this weeks “scandal” was, who was making the most noise, what this week’s Shouty McShoutyface was doing to be noticed on Social Media by people they would never meet in real life.
The only childish arguments I had heard in weeks were those that my children had, and they were far less childish than watching supposed grown adults insult each other on the internet.
But best of all, it was the summer – or as it’s commonly known in football; the “Transfer Window”, and I got out just in time. I spent my summer enjoying the European Championships, it was nice to think to myself “Oh he looks like a good player”, every now and then, and allowing myself a chuckle at the thought of some sad case linking us with a move for him.
Once that was over, I just enjoyed the summer in general. Even the record rainfall since records began didn’t bother me too much.
Get your replica wall clock here
Fast forward to the first home game of 2016/17, and I arrived at the pub pre-game full of confidence for the season ahead.
I had arranged to meet my mates via text, they’ve been very supportive since I gave up.
They still tweet, and I could tell that some of them felt a bit awkward using Twitter in front of me, but I’m ok with it, especially as I wouldn’t know the team line up until I got into the ground otherwise (remember those days?!)
It’s been 90 days since I last logged on now, and I feel comfortable enough being around people that are tweeting.
Our failure to sign a striker in the summer hadn’t really bothered me too much, certainly not as much as the fella that had chained himself naked to the Emirates car park when Arsene Wenger gave Yaya Sanogo the number 9 shirt.
On my way to the ground now, after having a few beers in good company. The only thing I’m thinking of now is getting into the ground and watching the game.
I’ve been told that “things are gonna be toxic” if we don’t win today, and I don’t know what the hell that means.
Toxic? Well, I did have a kebab on the way home last night.
Anyway, I’m completely buzzing for the game now……just like I was before every game when there was no Social Media to tell you how you were supposed to be feeling…….”
Up The Arsenal
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.