Sunday 7 December 2008
Toys out of prams
There's been a lot of reaction to yesterday's events and rightly so, however this is no isolated incident, I have read and written a lot about this topic already this season, it appears that there is a lot more whinging and moaning going on within our own supporters than we've seen before, and it seems rather out of perspective with facts, so what is going on?
Well firstly we're fourth in the league, eight points off the leaders, we've lost some games unexpectedly but then again we've beaten Manu and Chelsea already too, we're still going strong in the Champions league and had a decent run with the youth in the joke cup. On top of this the club is in a very strong financial position in times when many clubs are on the rocks. In perspective things could certainly be going a lot worse, certainly it only takes a short memory to remember the days when we were struggling near the bottom of the table with the likes of Helder and Kiwomya in the side, if one goes back a bit further than this then one can easily get to some very very barren times when today's position would be taken without so much as a nanosecond's thought.
I'm sure if some of our rather demanding fans were Manu fans, then they would have been booing and abusing their own players while the score remained at nil nil at home to a poor Sunderland side, however their real fans kept supporting the cause and were grateful for the three points at the end of the game. In fact some have even called yesterday's 1-0 performance against Wigan as 'shit' and claimed that playing with Song was like playing with ten men, I struggle to find words to describe this kind of lunacy, maybe some people's inadequacies make them want to take it out on other people? Who knows. This is a Wigan side that was extremely unlucky not to take one, and maybe three points from Anfield recently. Some of the attempted justification of this kind of childlike behaviour does not cut the mustard.
In some people's eyes when we play well and lose, it's all about the result, but when we don't hit top form and win, it's all about the performance, it's almost as if they want to moan and whinge, they have an unquenchable thirst for the unrealistic, no team wins every week playing well, just look at Liverpool this season, they've been average at best but have ground out the wins, some people are demanding a Utopia that just doesn't exist.
In earlier games I've seen some utterly mindless criticism of our own players from our own supporters even when they're playing well, I just cannot understand what is going through these people's cranial vaults, it certainly isn't the firing of neurones. It's very popular for this brigade to scapegoat one or two individuals despite the fact that it is a team game and that the scapegoats are sometimes amongst our better players. It's easy to see what you want to see, so if you make up your mind that a certain player is useless then it's easy to fit the facts to your own prejudice, this is lazy and dangerous thinking.
Manuel Almunia, Emmanuel Eboue, William Gallas, Alexandre Song and Denilson seem to be some people's favourite targets. In fact this season the bigger and more established names such as Cesc, RVP, Walcott, Clichy and Toure have all had their fair share of stinkers as well. Ironically Almunia has been outstanding despite what some might say, while Song and Denilson have put in some good solid performances of late. It's easy to label Eboue as a lazy waste of space, but yourself in his shoes, would it not get you down to be abused by your own supporters even when you're playing well? We're in danger of alienating more players than just Eboue if this kind of behaviour from our fans continues, also it's hardly going to attract in future signings if they see that our support is as fickle as they come. I also wonder if we could have picked up a few more points if all our supporters got behind the team a bit more, rather than hurling abuse at a few convenient scapegoats.
One thing we should remember is that we're primarily Arsenal 'supporters'. There's an ugly streak in society these days that is now manifesting itself more than ever in football, in the week that Liverpool supporters booed their side off as they went top of the league with a draw we have seen some Arsenal fans abuse one of their own like never before. This ugly streak is the group of people who see everything as their 'right', they are people who will never enjoy life because they are never able to see what they have got, they always focus their attention on what they have not. Life is not about the end product of living, for we all end up as rotten corpses in the turf, it us about enjoying the majesty of the process, it's about appreciating what you've got. I think some of us have become too spoilt. I just wonder how much of an effect the abuse dished out to Eboue yesterday will have on keeping other players at the club, players like Cesc, it certainly can't be doing much good.