Welcome to week two of my Season Diary, which comes to you this week from The Twitter Penitentiary.
A crime of passion. Well, that’s the way I see it, anyway.
Anyone that knows me, knows how passionate I am about The Arsenal.
I’m not sure exactly when this became something to be mocked but, well, I don’t really care either. I’ve been supporting The Arsenal for over 40 years, and I don’t know any other way to go about it.
Old dogs, new tricks and all that.
Sometimes that passion boils over. We all know how much of a state this club is in just now, but I don’t see anything wrong with having a bit of pride about it.
It’s like sticking up for your kids, you know? I just can’t help myself.
If my kid is being a little c*nt, I don’t need some other c*nt to tell me. So, I’ll call that c*nt, a c*nt. Then when I get my little c*nt home, I tell them that they’ve been a little c*nt and send them to their room. What I won’t do is call my little c*nt a little c*nt in public, let alone let some other c*nt call them a c*nt, however much my little c*nt deserves it.
I think that should clear up why I’m banged up in here in case you were in any doubt.
I must remember to use the asterisks when they let me out of here.
A couple of days into my incarceration, I bumped into a friend of mine who was also doing time in here. The conversation went a little like this….
“Oh, they’ve got you banged up as well. What you in for?”
“The C word. Again. 7 days this time. You?”
“I used the S word in a tweet of encouragement to our new goalkeeper. Got 5 days.”
“What? You got a 5-stretch for the S word??? Jesus. Meanwhile, there are people out there abusing Edu’s teenage daughter on Instagram and the other week some no-mark I’ve never heard of posted a video of his bird eating his *redacted*. World’s gone mad, mate”.
Twitter jail is a strange place. They let you watch the outside world, but you’re not allowed to engage with it. After a while you realise that’s part of the whole rehabilitation process, and this is a process you have no option but to trust.
At first, you sit there observing what’s going on out there, literally chomping at the bit to get out and say your piece, but after a while, you begin to realise that it’s not worth it. Then, you learn to either laugh at it or ignore it.
Well, that’s the theory, anyway.
I mean, I’m sitting here writing this a day after the Chelsea game, and it’s an absolute lunatic asylum out there. I’m slightly worried about getting out if I’m honest. It feels safer on the inside than it does on the out.
Probably the best thing about not being able to engage with the outside virtual world, however, is that you don’t get caught up with the madness to the degree that you miss the good things. Instead, you find yourself paying more attention to the good things, the good people. The initial frustration of not being able to call a c*nt a c*nt gradually gives way to the frustration of not being able to quote tweet someone that you really agree with, with a row of clapping-hand emojis and a #UTA. Maybe even a heart emoji or two.
These are the people that really matter. These are the people that will be waiting for you when you get out.
It’s easier said than done, and I find myself feeling thankful that I’m going to be banged up for the Man City game. F**k that for a laugh, mate.
Before that, we visit West Brom in what is now the greatest cup competition in world football, the Carabao Cup. For the next step on my road to rehabilitation, I’ve decided I’m going to lock the door and settle down in my virtual cell for this game….
Wednesday 25th August
West Brom 0 Arsenal 6
I Only Sing When We’re Winning
Well, I certainly made the correct decision to lock myself in for this one! What an absolute pleasure it was to watch the football team I support winning 6-0 away from home without a single distraction.
To be able to watch Aubameyang score a hattrick without being told “that’s what happens when you play him in the middle”, or the even more irritating “imagine thinking Aubameyang was past it” tosh, as if suggesting his form hasn’t been the same for a while means you think his legs are about to give way.
To be able to simply flick the TV over for the half-time break the moment Kevin Campbell started talking a load of complete arse about how he was disappointed with some of our play, despite us being 3-0 up, rather than feel an overwhelming need to tell the virtual world what you think of him.
Not once did the fact that it was “only West Brom” cross my mind.
None of that nonsense at all.
Just me, the TV and a few thousand Arsenal supporters in fine voice for the entire 90 minutes and beyond.
On that note, how lovely was it to hear that away end singing Aaron Ramsdale’s name, a young ‘keeper who had been abused before he’d even pulled the shirt on. That was almost topped by the sound of disdain being expressed for a certain online entity. Get out of our club indeed.
All in all, a good night for The Arsenal and a bad night for angry shouty twitter.
Up the Arsenal!
I did decide to open my cell door and have a peep at angry shouty twitter. You know what I did? I laughed at them. This rehabilitation stuff might just be working!
Honestly, when you’re inside, you really do wonder how you can get too wound up by some donut that calls people “Artetasexuals” or whatever, or anyone that actually criticises Arsenal supporters for enjoying watching The Arsenal win 6-0 away?
Right now, when I get out of here, I’m ready to embrace this feeling and enjoy the good moments when I can. The bad ones? I’ll simply lock the virtual door. (Again, the fact that I’ll still be in here when we travel to City will no doubt help as far as that goes!)
I’ll only sing when we’re winning!
Of course, there was plenty of “Man City will be the real test” talk from pundits after the game. Maybe that’s true. Or is it just a test, rather than the real test? Or is it simply another game of football?
Not sure I know what the rules are anymore, but one thing is for sure in my mind; if you can’t enjoy watching your team win 6-0 away, with smiles on their faces in front of a crowd with smiles on their faces that sing for 90 minutes, whatever the opposition, simply for what it is, perhaps you need to find something else to do with your time.
Saturday 28th August
Man City 5 Arsenal 0
What was it I was saying about it feeling safer on the inside than it does outside?
I was as thankful for being in here for this game as I had expected to be. Was I tempted to peek out of my cell at any point today? Was I f**k, mate.
I’m not going to bother going into what happened on the pitch here. If I wasn’t allowed to do that during the game, I’ll be damned if I’m going to three days later! I’m sure I’m not alone in doing my utmost to erase this kind of defeat from the memory banks as it is, and the inability to “debate” over it for a couple of days afterwards has certainly made that a bit easier.
Another terrible result for Arsenal, another important step on the road to my rehabilitation.
I think we’ll leave it at that.
I only sing when we’re winning.
Unlike the Arsenal supporters at the Etihad, who were once again superb for the whole 90 minutes.
So much so, that a bunch of idiots thought they were celebrating City’s fourth goal themselves. More idiots believed it, including those idiots from that idiotic YouTube channel. Idiots.
Tuesday 31st August
Out of Jail
I stepped back out into the virtual world feeling revitalised and refreshed. Rehabilitated? Well, only time will tell.
One thing I do know is that next time, they may lock me up for good. The next few weeks will be my own real test. My Man City away. Let’s be honest, I don’t think my real test can go any worse than that if I were to post a video of me murdering someone’s pets. In fact, some of those performances out there deserved jail time themselves!
As it happens, I stepped straight out into the tail end of the virtual sh*tstorm that hit in the aftermath of the City game.
Having spent most of that aftermath behind bars, there was a hell of a lot to take in.
Maitland-Niles on Instagram.
I had completely forgotten about Sky Sports Transfer Deadline Day as well!
(Not gonna go into that too much here, either. Crack on and give it a rating out of 10 or whatever if that’s your bag!)
Thankfully, with my recent incarceration still very fresh in the mind, I’m still able to be selective in what I give my attention.
Surprisingly, I’m seeing some positive signs among likeminded Arsenal supporters out there (and ignoring the others…this rehab thing really is refreshing!)
It’s open season on The Arsenal out there right now.
There are dozens of “pundits”, “journalists”, ex-“footballers” and other general attention-seekers lining up to take shots at us.
What I’m seeing now, however, is something of a fightback. A lot of us have had enough of it. Those of us that have experienced this kind of thing before the internet gave so many more of them a voice, especially.
We know we are in a mess, but even we draw the line at some complete weirdo on Sky Sports pretending he’s got a text from the agent of a player that we’ve just signed, telling him he’s tried to flog him to every other club on the planet before we snapped him up.
With that in mind, I’m introducing a new feature for the Season Diary; the COTW Award. This week’s “winner” is…….
Kaveh Solhekol – COTW #1
Congratulations, ya big weirdo!
I’m going to have one “winner” every week, and I may even get you involved, dear readers. The only rule is that the cannon needs to be pointing outwards for this one. There are plenty of targets out there, this award isn’t for our own.
So, the “window” is closed, and we now have an international break in which to regroup yet again, before one of the most important run of games we’ve had in recent years. It’s clear through our transfer activity that we are building a squad with the future in mind, but it’s the present we need to focus on right now.
Let’s get behind what we have now, us against them.
And let’s keep the c*nts on the outside.
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.