A Considered Response to Manchester United 8 – 2 Arsenal (part 1)

In spite of being repeatedly called a ‘rag‘, and much much worse, on the basis of a post in which I suggested that Samir Nasri might not be absolutely necessary to Roberto Mancini’s on-pitch plans at Manchester City (although he played well enough yesterday – see, I’m big enough to admit when I might be wrong, but City fans are still dicks in my experience), I am not a United but an Arsenal fan.

I am not a ‘proper’ Arsenal fan. I am not a ‘dyed-in-the-wool’, heart on sleeve (badge tattooed on buttock) supporter. Instead, I am the sort of fan who can explain why I follow Arsenal. In fact, I’ve done so elsewhere so I’m going to leave it there. Pick it up if you’re interested.

I am, then, a typical Arsenal fan.

That is not to say that Arsenal don’t have ‘proper’ fans. They do. There was one in the pub that I was in yeaterday. He had on an Arsenal training top, that’s how big a fan he is – he’s behind the players even on the training pitch.

He is a proper fan, but this isn’t about him, he’ll be fine, and I was pretty put out too.

He’ll be fine because, unlike me and thousands like me, he has no good reason for supporting Arsenal. He just does. Arsenal have a normal number of such fans. They also have a completely disproportionate number of fans like me.

We have loads of reasons to support Arsenal.

Or rather we had loads of reasons. Those are becoming less persuasive and, even worse, just less.

Arsenal, whether deliberately or otherwise, in the late nineties, bought fans like me.

In 1996 football, for various reasons having to do with Tony Blair, The Lightening Seeds and all-seated stadia, became an acceptable middle-class pursuit. In the same year, Arsenal brought Arsene Wenger in from Japan. As well as making hugely significant and lasting improvements to English football as a whole, by introducing healthy eating, fitness training and Patrick Vieira, ‘Le Proffeseur’ (as the English media, with their characteristic blend of flattery and mockery, named him) seduced for his new club a hugely disproportionate section of football’s newly converted followers.

Wenger’s first successful Arsenal team was a microcosm of the new Brittania sought by politicians and intellectuals alike at the end of the decade. It was a very obvious marriage of traditional English values, exemplified by the (in)famous back five, and continental sophistication, inherent in Denis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars and Emanuel Petit’s ponytail. Patrick Vieira managed to encapsulate this marriage entirely within himself. This marriage, this spectacle, this symphony, was all overseen by a wiry bespectacled foreigner who had to all intents and purposes had never played the game. It was an intellectual’s (or in this case an eleven year olds) wet dream, and we went for it big style.

The honeymoon period was a pleasure and then, when that was running out, he changed it. None of us cared too much about the English stuff – that was for ‘real fans’, people who gave a shit whether England did well at the World Cup or not, to worry about – so we didn’t worry when it went. Especially since it was replaced by Thierry Henry and the greatest EPL team of all time (what do you mean football is older than that?). They cemented our devotion.

And then, just as that was passing, we were built a temple.

This was the next logical step; what’s the good of seducing the yuppy if you can’t get any money of him?

Check back tomorrow for a long, painful and personal answer to this question and please don’t be unkind below the line – we’re all upset.

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8 Responses to A Considered Response to Manchester United 8 – 2 Arsenal (part 1)

  1. Gerry Lennon says:

    Yes, I am with you, a ‘typical fan’. However, I am not so sure I shall follow you all the way down the slippery slope of despair … if that is where you are heading?
    Looking forward to Part 2
    Perhaps Part 3 will be even better by Sept 1st?

    • Calum says:

      Thanks Gary, the reason that was only part 1 is that I wanted to see if I could sleep my despair off – have a look tomorrow and see if I managed!

  2. Dave says:

    Having followed City down 3 league tables and back up again. I, as a typical City fan, although a long term season ticket owning typical fan, have no idea what you’re talking about. Thick and thin!! And losing 8-2 at The Swamp is not nearly as traumatic as losing 8-1 at Middlesboro

    I know that success breads popularity, but it would be nice if the term “typical fan” didn’t describe a guy in the pub or a guy sat in front of his TV. If nothing else, why support the Murdoch family and thier shareholding in Sky

    • Calum says:

      Do you have to have a season ticket to be a proper fan? I don’t think that’s true. They’re bloody expensive; as a result a huge number of Arsenal’s season tickets are not even owned by individuals but by companies. There is no way ‘Ford’ (who I know to own tickets to a block of seats at the Emirates) is a proper fan of Arsenal.

      Anyway, more of that in part 2.

      • Dave says:

        I stated I was a typical city fan with the caveat that I was also a season ticket holder.
        A typical fan stays through thick and thin. A typical fan has memories of Wembley and Gay Meadow. A typical fan remembers local derbies against Macclesfield Town and Stockport County as well as that mob from Salford. A typical fan doesn’t give up. A typical fan has despair and joy in similar quantities. A typical fan can see no attraction to another club, only the club the typical fan loves.
        Stick with it. You know it makes sense. Listen to local radio, watch it on the internet, but don’t put your hard earned money in Murdoch’s back pocket

      • Calum says:

        Perhaps that’s the case with typical City fans (although I would imagine that an increasing number of City fans will be attracted by wealth and success and may not endure the humiliation of trips to Stockport as well as you have done). But I think Arsenal will struggle to fill that shiny new stadium this season as things stand – which would suggest that they’ve turned fans off, I may or may not be such a fan. We’ll see.

        I’m not sure where you’ve got the Murdoch thing from, to be honest.

  3. Moses Watasa says:

    Here-below, i reproduce what i wrote on staurday ahead of the Man Utd vs Arsenal Match – and i dare Wenger’s “spokesmen” to defend their profit-maker and attack me again:

    Sad to say, but Arsenal FC are going to be battered to pulp by Man Utd at Old Trafford. Red-nose Alex Ferguson is a soccer master-psychologist who would never back-up Arsene Wenger when Arsenal still boasted a squad to reckon with in 2003. Now, Fergie realises that Arsenal are fielding a squad of mainly “fisher-men” for tomorrow’s match (which he will obliterate), so he offers this sarcastic “support” for the clueless Arsene Wenger. So now, the Arsenal situation is so bad, foe Fergie, now “protects” Wenger from his own fans pressing for some quality signings before 31st August 2011! In fact, realistic Arsenal fans shouldn’t go to Old Trafford – for another round of pain. For a curiously strange reason (it could be marijuana and/or cocaine consumption), Wenger + Board decided 2011/2012 is the season they wind-up Arsenal as a foot-balling entity. As it has turned out, the “busy summer” they promised, meant auctioning of Arsenal’s star players! The transfer window closes in mid-week but can obstinate Wenger + his parasitic Board having refused to strengthen the squad since June 2011 be trusted to do so by Wednesday? RIP Arsenal FC!

    Moses Watasa
    Kampala – Uganda

  4. Pingback: A Considered Response to Manchester United 8 – 2 Arsenal (Part 2) | Good Feet for a Big Man

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