Don’t worry, I know, the irony is not lost on me; all we needed was another Arsenal blogger. I used to blog much more often a few years ago but there are too many out there. I figured I’d watch and blog once in a while but I just haven’t gotten around to it. Now I feel is the time. I’d like to start with a little anecdote.
I’m 26 years old now and about 8 years ago I came to University to try to become a lawyer. I finished my secondary school in 2005 and since then I have completed a Bachelors Degree in Politics and will complete my second in law this June. It has really been a struggle and I’ve grown up a lot in this time. At times I can hardly believe it has taken so long and I have my fair share of regrets, especially
as people I know have moved so far ahead. Many a time I’ve thought that Law wasn’t for me and that there had to be some way out. Through it all my family have been understanding and supportive and I’m very grateful of that.
The obvious question is why am I baring my soul so abruptly to you all like this? I guess the reason is I feel like it’s a redemptive time for me. The worst thing that any person can ever experience is stasis. 8 years is a very long time to feel a certain way, and every unsuccessful year feels even more difficult to bear. However, it is during this time that I have come to find my love for football. I think it coincided with my use of twitter and the fact that the World Cup was coming to South Africa in 2010. Everyone knows they’re more Arsenal fans on Twitter than Yanited fans in London and I was pleasantly surprised to find so many that felt like I do. Thing is I have always feel I have been playing catch up. I’ve always been an Arsenal fan, well sort of. Before leaving home for University I didn’t identify so much with football. The first clear memory I have of being an Arsenal fan was losing the Champions League final to Barcelona. It really hurt that day and since then I have become more and more of a fan.
You can understand then, why this season would mean more to me than to most other Arsenal fans. I have never seen our team lift a trophy. I have had to watch many other teams and our ex-players lift trophies at other clubs and it’s been shit. Sport is about memories and although “It’s only Ray Parlour!” and such commentaries have come to mean something, I never experienced it live as most of you did. It’s always a memory or a story. Imagine not having lived through the Invincible or seen the 98 double-winning seasons. It’s why the promise of this year was almost too exciting to bear. Perched where we are now, 4 points below the League leaders and one win away from Wembley, is a completely new experience. We can win the domestic double this season and I wonder what it will feel like. I wonder if like me, Arsenal and Arsene have a chance at redemption.
I’m not trying to make it sound so dramatic but it kind of is. In the last week, the inbred Arsenal cynicism has once again reared its head and for a vast majority of fans, the chances of winning the league have gone. We still have 30 points to play for but that doesn’t seem to matter, because there isn’t any sense of belief. Am I the only one who thinks we can do it? It’s not naivety either. The difference between us and them is belief. Their prick of a manager Mourinho, a man that grates me, has the mentality of a winner and that what sets us apart. However, look at our team! The starting 11 this weekend, even with all its injuries, is amazing. Yes, we can’t score goals like Manchester City and Liverpool but Giroud has scored more goals than Chelseas’ strikers combined so that’s not an excuse. I wish I could speak to our players directly and just SCREAM IT into their heads! Ozil, Cazorla and Oxlaide Chamberlain ahead of Flamteta can beat any side in the league if they believe they can. This side has beaten Bayern AND Dortmund away and still think Chelsea and Spurs away is beyond them? I really don’t understand.
I can only dream of what it feels like to lift a trophy. I can’t imagine the explosion of emotion Iker Casillas felt after lifting the World Cup trophy just 15 km’s away from where I’m sitting (14.6 kms according to Google Maps). It overcame him to the point that he kissed his wife full on the lips on live television. It looked a beautiful moment. What I do know however is pride. Walking across that stage and receiving my Bachelor of Arts in front of family was really a great feeling. That’s what I want to feel for the boys after the game against Chelsea away. I know they can win, but if we lose the league title to them, then let’s make them suffer to death for it, not that shower we saw against Stoke on Saturday. I’m personally counting down the days until I sit for my final exams, knowing there is nothing they can throw at me that will rock me. After all this time, this is my beginning. That’s what I want to see on the boys faces this Saturday against Everton. Some hope, some determination and mostly belief. We are the Arsenal. We are better than them. Let’s go ahead and fucking do it!
COME ON YOU GUNNERS!