With the fallout from the Leicester City game still taking place, I found myself reliving some of the dramatic moments yesterday by taking in a few blogs and watching a new video of the game at the weekend with somewhat of a decent production value and a little bit of dramatic music thrown in too. It was great to relive those moments because I must admit, at the time inside the stadium, you don’t always have the opportunity to take it all in. It happens too quickly, you see. There’s extreme euphoria of a late goal, then the realisation of how close you came between agony and ecstasy, then you finally become reflective and can take it all in.
As I was leaving the ground on Sunday I said to The Management that despite the happiness and jubilation I felt walking out, it’s somewhat ironic that for large parts of the game I was nervous, frustrated and annoyed that our title challenge could be petering out. I probably only spent about 25 minutes in total with hope and expectation that the title dream was still on! Which means by and large I was a furrow-browed, internally tormented, morose football fan. And I wonder why she wonders why I do it!
We all do it for these feelings of jubilation. Of hope restored. Of belief that “it’s on” and dreams of seeing our club be victorious in May. But much like a football match in general, a season can be 90% torment and 10% glory, when the highs are rare and it becomes about just getting the job done.
That’s why I am disappointed for people like Joey Barton, who was talking down the players taking pictures of themselves after a successful game. Or of fans who what to chastise the players. Or of opposition fans and commentators who say “look at them. They act as if they’ve won the league already. Save it until May”.
Why? Why should you save your positive feelings and excitement until the end of the season? Why should you bottle it away? These extreme highs in football are so rare, that bottling anything away until you’ve won something means that the vast majority of people with an interest in football will spend most of their times unhappy and some will only get that happiness once in a blue moon.
I say we should revel in what joy we can get. We play Hull on Saturday lunchtime and I would guess that by tomorrow afternoon (Wednesday) I will already start to look at that game. I’ll already begin my process of making myself nervous, the excitement of a last-gasp winner will already be fading away, consigned to the annals of my mind reserved for positive feelings related to football. I want to keep this happy feeling forever but I know that it can’t last, so for now I will just bask in it, like some sort of African lion on the Serengeti.
Sometimes moments in football have a huge impact on teams. How do we know that this game against Leicester will not have that same impact? Arsenal are a team that – with their tails up – have a swagger about them that is not easily matched by any team. If those Arsenal players are feeling confident then you can tell. You can tell by the speed and accuracy of the passing, of the movement and interchanges of position that look so seamless, of the way in which when they try little flicks they come off. If this Leicester result has me on a high, what will it have done for the players in that position?
So whilst people like Joey Barton will always take the “not for me, not when you haven’t won anything” position, I find myself politely disagreeing with him, because if those players can build momentum and if they’re feeling great, we’ll see it on the pitch.
And that’s what all of us want. Especially going in to a crucial part of the season.
Catch y’all tomorrow.