I was listening to last week’s Arsecast from Arseblog.com and Andrew was speaking with Jon Ronson journalist, film writer and radio presenter amongst other things. Jon grew up close to Highbury and is a huge Arsenal fan but his love for the club wasn’t even due to the proximity to our old ground but after he moved he decided to watch and love football because he wanted an outlet from the worries of life itself. In his words, ‘You are not going to lose your wife, your money or get kicked out of your house just by watching football’. Andrew asked him a very good question, you wanted something to take you off worries and then you decided to add another worry because to be honest that is what Arsenal has been over the past years being trophy less and all.
Watching the game against Swansea and reading tweets intermittently one is tempted to ask whether most Arsenal fans have forgotten how to enjoy football. You almost get an impression that some people have an agenda and would rather be proven right than see the team succeed. How else do you explain that just 15mins into a game that is billed to last 90mins you already start abusing the team you support because you are a goal down. What does a #WengerOut tweet just when the game starts really achieve? Firstly no one at the club is really reading it and you are working yourself up into a storm. How about you watch a lil longer, support the team in your heart and hope the game improves. There is half time to let out all the frustration and analyze the whole half with a broader view but to spend time you should use watching to tweet abuse non-stop throughout a whole game doesn’t help you even try to enjoy what you paid for and using your own time to watch. So you are a goal down and the team doesn’t seem to be playing well, what is your role as a fan.
Arsenal fans pay the highest prices in England and we are very vocal in letting everyone know how high we pay vis-à-vis the lack of trophies the club has won since the move to the Emirates. Watching from home a constant feature of Arsenal games is how slowly the stadium fills up before the game starts, if you pay so high why do you get in so late? Read a lot of times the fans spend some time buying stuff around the ground. Need more proof? See how hard the guys @redaction had to work to get fans in early for the lovely cards fans held up before the Bayern game. It’s was our next game after we got beaten 6-0 and it’s important to stress the ‘WE’ because that’s what it really is. We got beat! Not just the players, all of us. If you have had a bad day at work, having your colleagues come up to you first thing at work the next day telling you it’s going to be a better day sure will help you recover quickly. The atmosphere was so non-existent against Swansea especially in the first half, wouldn’t it have been nicer if the players came out to an amazing atmosphere that gave them some reassurance that they still had the quality to churn out results that saw them lead the league for so long this season. Raise your hands if you haven’t ever needed someone to encourage you to be better, I have and appreciated it when I received it.
Some are of the opinion that its completely the players job to give the fans a reason to cheer, there is some point to that and cheering a team that just caused you some serious pain isn’t the easiest thing to do especially when they go and concede a goal early on in the game but wouldn’t you enjoy a game more if you offer support from the grounds or at home and the team finally scores and takes the lead? You feel a huge sense of joy, relief and pride that you stood by your team when the tides turns back in your favour. I felt that way immediately we went 2 goals up, sadly we didn’t hold the lead till the end.
I am by no means saying the team, manager and club don’t deserve huge criticism for their actions or inactions but to carry on perpetually moaning even early on in a game really doesn’t help anyone. The club needs to find a balance with the fans with regards to pricing of games, how they issue out season tickets, what they do with season ticket holders or corporate ticket holders that don’t bother showing up for games, how the stewards harass fans at the grounds, how to work with groups like RedAction , BlackScarf and AST on improving the atmosphere and club-fans relationship at Arsenal. The Manager has to ensure the team he puts out is the best possible team he can get together to restore pride to the Club and the players that wear the jersey really need to put up performances worthy of the badge in front of their shirts and as fans, we support because we love the club, we might differ on many things and how we want the club to achieve success but we all have the same underlying desire to see the club succeed so as long as the players are still on pitch how about we try and enjoy the game while they still have a chance of winning it and for those at the stadium, support like you are representing the whole global fanbase that wish they could be there but can’t especially for our remaining FA Cup games.
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