I think it pretty much sums up the failure of this season, that we as a collective of Arsenal fans were endulging in a heck of a lot of schadenfreude when the Tiny Totts result came in against West Brom. I too partook; we do, after all, have little else to get excited about right now.
Perhaps there’s some comfort in the seemingly inevitable for a change. Arsenal under Arsène Wenger will always scrap for fourth, whilst the Spuds will exhibit the same level of ‘mental strength’ as their rivals. Maybe it’s a north London thing.
Of course it’s not over yet and Leicester have three games they could easily lose, but I’ll be hoping Chelski nail the coffin on Spurs’ title aspirations next weekend.
Look at what I’ve become. Reduced to a man spending three paragraphs talking about the Spuds. That’s how low The Arsenal have plummeted in 2016. Depressing, eh?
Still, at least I got to see Jack returning at the weekend, eh? He also looked like he had that bit of a burst about him too, which hopefully he’ll inject a little bit of life in to the team next weekend, when we play Norwich. Lord knows we need something. Anything. Even the threat of a Champions League qualifier probably won’t be enough for this Arsenal team; they’re very accustomed to it by now.
Anyway, back to Jack, who says it’s great to be back. I hope we see a little more of him for the next few games. I’d then love for him to get a full summer of rest before trying to repair his punctuated Arsenal career, but as is usual, there’s an England manager who will no doubt want to run him in to the ground before tossing him back to Arsène like a used up oily rag. I really have no idea why you’d take a player who has spent the entire season out injured but Woy, like Arsène, has his favourites. So even if Jack Wilshere reported to England duty like Shannon Elizabeth in Scary Movie with his head detached from its neck, he’d probably still get naked on the bench for the first game of the group stages. We just have to deal with it and hope he makes it back to London Colney in one piece.
Boy, do I want to avoid talking about this season, eh? Talking Spuds, England, what’s next? A blog monologue on the merits of celebrity football fans like Piers Morgan?
No. I’ll never sink into that particular ring of hell.
Have you ever felt in this level of football purgatory with three games to go? I don’t think I have. I’m sure it was like it in 92/93 when we finished 12th in the league, but at the time we had two cups to worry about, so the league just became one of those things that we had to deal with. We won those two cups too, so that season will always be remembered by me for Andy Linigan, Steve Morrow and Tony Adams’ header in the semi final against them.
I listened to the Arsecast Extra and one of the comments from Arseblog stood out for me, which was about how much more detached from the football we all were because there wasn’t the level of coverage at the time, or social media. I was just 10 when we won the FA and league cups, so for me I couldn’t watch many of the games throughout the season as my Dad hadn’t hooked us up with Sky yet, so I can totally empathise with what Arseblog said. Which meant that the cups became the lasting memory of that season and as a result, to me, the season was an unbridled success.
Which is why seasons like this one, as well as previous ones in the last decade, mean so little in hindsight. 2005/6, 2006/7, 2008/9, etc, etc, all merge in to one. The only one that stands out is 2007/8, when we had a very real chance of winning the league. But that had gone by April too. But despite this, I don’t recall being so eager for the end of that season as I am for this one. This season feels worse than any of the previous ten. This one seems to be more purgatorial (that even a word?) than anything I’ve ever known.
And what is probably making it all the more boring is the prospect of another year of this. We’ve got at least another year of Arsène Wenger and if the board have their way, we’ll be looking at another three after that.
Bloody hell that’s a depressing thought; this current malaise could have no signs of abating, we could have no immediate light at the end of the tunnel and the football purgatory could continue as we perennially slump from early excitement to eventual disappointment and top four chase.
And we’ll be told from rival fans to be grateful. And from corners of the media that we should be thanking our lucky stars that we’re not Leeds, or Charlton, or Portsmouth. But for every Charlton, there’s a Leicester. For every Leeds there’s a Totteringham. Think of the energy that Liverpool fans have, despite being generally pants. What would you give to have the excitement back? Because that’s why we all go to football. For hope, excitement and memories. For the Andy Linigans, the Ray Parlour’s and the happy times. Not what we’ve got now. Not for the ‘financial security’ and dividends. That’s not why I watch football. And I’d like to take a presumptive guess that you’re the same.
So let this football purgatory please be over soon. Let the sun set on this season and let’s have the summer to recharge our weary batteries. Then we can hopefully build up enough hope that something different will happy next season – in a positive way.