I think I made an error over the weekend. Not in going to the Gooner friend’s flat from which I am now – hopefully jokingly – barred from watching those games I cannot get to at – and barred because we normally lose or occasionally draw.
My error wasn’t even the optimistic amounts of wine I ‘tasted’ on Saturday night, leading to a terrible headache combined with the recollection of a 4-3 defeat, both of which steadfastly accompanied me throughout Sunday. The error wasn’t then going to a local bar to watch the Sp*rs vs Liverpool and then ManU vs Chelsea games, and to then wonder how The Arsenal will fare in the reckoning this season.
No, my error was in not keeping my head, my sense of footballing rationality, and bending under the weight of negativity experienced in the wake of a defeat.
I’ve mentioned before that I count myself fortunate to have been supporting Arsenal since a time before it was the norm to assume that we would challenge for anything. Indeed, one year in the not too distant memory we actually finished 10th. TENTH. To steal a line from an Arsenal glory day:
WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT?
Who remembers that first season in the Premier League? Here it is courtesy of ArseWeb:
P W D L F A W D L F A Pt Season 1992-93 1. MANCHESTER UNITED 42 14 5 2 39 14 10 7 4 28 17 84 10. Arsenal 42 8 6 7 25 20 7 5 9 15 18 56
No doubt the very thought of us finishing 10th this season would send shivers down some Gooner spines, but then there we’d ago again with the psychology of deserving fans, and it wouldn’t be the first time that happened for many of us. Of course we can raise questions as to how our beloved club has fallen in form in the last two, few, or several seasons – indeed as a football fan it is our place to question as well as support our clubs.
But we shouldn’t fail to forget that “Arsenal’s present lack of success is scarcely a drop in the ocean”, as mentioned in an excellent piece by Sam Wallace today for The Independent. Indeed, in terms of Wenger’s record, our current ‘success’ (and we might define that more by fourteen successive Champions League qualifications than the odds-against acquisition of four trophies we consider ourselves as having a shot at) isn’t suffering too badly either.
Those shots at trophies may have gotten longer of late, and our form in the here and now might suggest that some sort of disaster is occurring. Yet, if like me you find yourself uncharacteristically down in the dumps at the moment I’d urge you to re-assess things in terms of a longer perspective (and remember this and this for some light relief). Football seasons are long. Football histories are longer. We’re not in a good way, but let’s not forget that it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last. That Arsenal is still here, and that it is so well regarded globally is something we should be thankful for.
We’ve survived and endured as a club, and recently shone thanks to the very man currently in control. If he does go in the not too distant future, and if that is what is ultimately needed to change our trajectory (although I don’t believe it is), let’s not make the error of forgetting the club’s past; the more recent as well as the almost forgotten. And some of the glory in between.