Well we’re rounding the corner of the interlull and by golly, hasn’t this felt like a longer than usual one, eh? It really has dragged on and I for one cannot wait until the weekend.
Actually, scrap that, I cannot wait for next Monday, because that is when The Arsenal play.
I went for my run first thing this morning and was listening to one of the many good Arsenal podcasts out there. In said podcast one of the presenters talked about how they ‘love football’ and something dawned on me:
I actually don’t love football.
I LOVE The Arsenal, but I wouldn’t say I love football in general, if I’m being honest. I’ll watch it if it is convenient, I can appreciate the game and moments of skill, I can watch great goals and acknowledge the ability in scoring them, but for football itself, I hold no obsession or love. I haven’t watched a minute of Champions League football for about three years and even then, it was the Champions League Final. I don’t bother with the Europa League. When Arsenal are out of the FA Cup I’ll only put it on if I am out of my house and it is on the right channel at the right time. For example, I took The Management to a spa overnight stay for the day of the Villa game. We rushed to get there early because I knew that Arsenal were on BT Sport and for the first part of our spa getaway the wife sat in a chair looking at her phone whilst she waited patiently for Arsenal to finish. When it got to halftime she got up and went to one of the Jacuzzi’s that was just outside our suite we were in. Then, when the match was finished, we both went off and enjoyed the spa.
We were meet some of her family’s friends in the evening in the town we were staying at and whilst she got changed I drank Jack Daniels with Coke and put the Middlesbrough vs Chelski game on. Because it was convenient. But even then I spent half the time looking at the game and the other half of the time looking at my phone – Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Skyscanner, etc. I just couldn’t get in to the game and for quite some time I’ve always known that I’m just not really in love with ‘The Beautiful Game’.
I think it’s because of some of the media narrative spun around those financially doped clubs. Perhaps it has been because Arsenal has faded a little bit in terms of competing for the top honours, or maybe there are just some teams that I just don’t find entertaining enough to watch. I was 17 when Wenger took charge of Arsenal and he brought some amazing and exciting football to us Gooners. We were used to fast-paced, athletic, dominant football that delivered results and as he once famously said “if you eat caviar every day, it is difficult to return to sausages”. Maybe that has had an impact on my perspective on football as a whole. Arsenal have me for my whole life. I will stick with them through thick and thin. I am an addict and I cannot – and have no desire to – part from them. My emotional connection to the club runs that deep that it doesn’t matter how turgid the football is, I’m still finding the channel they are on so I can watch the game wherever I am.
But football…well…if there was ever any love there, then it feels like it seeped away long ago. Things like the Super League, the financially doped clubs, the fact that every match is televised, that games are on at silly hours and you never get a 3pm kick off any more, the impact of social media and the never-ending pursuit of all fans to turn everything in to memes, the constant one-upmanship on social media to have an ‘original opinion’ no matter how mental it seems, the rise of the football fan celebrity who goes on YouTube shows and shouts and slobbers without any real coherent argument, all because of their desperate search for attention – it’s all just put me off football a bit.
The joke that is the PGMOL, the moronic statements of pundits who are ex-pro’s and actually have lazy and outdated views – all of it just contributes to my general feeling of ‘mehness’ if I’m honest.
You may be reading this thinking “hold on a second mate, you literally write about football every day, you go on a podcast, you’ve done a few bits on TV, you’re part of that culture of fans trying to make themselves heard” and in one sense maybe you are right. But for me personally I don’t feel like that. I started this blog because I enjoy writing – always have since I was in Year 3 of primary school. I also love The Arsenal. I also had The Management getting the hump with me because I couldn’t get to sleep one night because of Oleg Luzhny. I started writing as more of a diary and if people wanted to read those thoughts then great. And of course I have a little look at how many people read my ramblings, because I am a human and most of us have elements of narcissism in our personality, but I have no desire to be famous as a football fan. Because I’m just not in to football that much. I do a podcast with a couple of mates on Tuesday evening because to me it is an opportunity to chat with mates like I’m down the pub. I get that when I go to games, but I want more of it, so when I’m asked to go on a pod and chat with mates then to me it’s just that – an opportunity to talk Arsenal. If I’m ever asked to go on a football podcast, i’d probably say no, because it just wouldn’t interest me. It was the same when I did the LoveSport show with Dave, Charlie, Giles and Harry. It was just mates talking football in a room. It was a fancy room with sound proof walls, which was kind of nice, but overall it was about talking about The Arsenal.
If gone in to a little bit of an existential waffle this morning, so sorry about that, but I guess that’s what the interlull will do to an Arsenal fan. Not a football fan.
Catch you all tomorrow. Hopefully we start to get interesting news and a clean bill of health coming through about the international players (as I’m sure you can imagine, I took no notice of any of the games and haven’t checked online this morning!).