For many reasons it’s a tough time to be an Arsenal fan. As Arsenal’s form fluctuates between average and abysmal, arch-rivals Tottenham are going from strength to strength, and the gap between the two teams appears to be greater than it has been for some time, albeit in the opposite direction. Add to this the problem of Piers Morgan championing himself as the voice of Arsenal and all in all it’s a pretty bad time to be a Gooner.
Note: I started writing this on Sunday night after watching Arsenal struggle away at Sunderland and Tottenham trounce Newcastle at White Hart Lane, but thought “well given I will be watching Arsenal Milan on Wednesday and potentially going to the return leg on March 6th there remain obvious reasons why I would remain an Arsenal fan.”
A few days on from originally pondering this issue the question seems even more poignant. Let me explain why I see this as a reasonable question.
Arsenal fans have gone to great lengths over the last 5 years to explain why it doesn’t matter that Arsenal have not won trophies because they play the best football and offer the most enjoyable spectacle for fans. I for one have been a proponent of this argument, telling my many Manchester United fans, all of whom obviously grew up in Manchester/ first watched Man United / friend’s cousin’s uncle was a Man U fan…, that I would prefer to watch the beautiful game with no two minute trophy lift at the end of the season than a series of solid defensive displays and 1-0 wins. I believe that even up until last season this was the case. I loved Nasri’s early season form, Fabregas was still capable of dominating or changing a game, Wilshere was playing with the composure of someone at the midpoint of a world-class career and van Persie was still smashing in goals with ease. But this is no longer the case.
If, like me you don’t have a boyhood link to a football team, the first game you went to was a game in Dingwall involving Ross County and your Dad couldn’t give two shits about any of the big teams in England and supports Kilmarnock, you make a choice who to support and there is no reason other than the mindless loyalty fans usually devote to their clubs as to why you shouldn’t switch your loyalty from club to club, staying loyal to your footballing philosophy rather than your club.
This makes it a little awkward for an Arsenal fan at the moment. Clearly Arsenal are not the purest footballing team in the Premiership anymore, there is no exciting signings and even the perennial potential of the team looks a little worrying. So who to support? I would say the three best footballing sides right now are; Man City, Tottenham and Swansea. As much as I would love to see Swansea rewarded with a large fan base, most of their good players will move on and trips to Swansea aren’t particularly exciting. So that leaves City and Tottenham. The issue with City is that whilst their on-field play may be indicative of a pure footballing philosophy their off-field business is anything but pure, they are trying to buy the league and appear to be placing very little impetus on developing their own players.
So there we have it, one option left: Tottenham Hotspur. With attacking full-backs, speedy wingers and the creativity of Modric and van der Vaart running the game Tottenham offer the closest thing to pure football available at the moment. If everything we said was true and Arsenal fans chose to follow Arsenal as they offered the most aesthetically pleasing football, surely it is only a matter of time until they start transferring their allegiance across town to Tottenham.