End of the Silly Season
Tuesday 2nd September 2014
Today I have been nursing a bit of a hangover. Not the first (or last) time of course but generally I don’t tend to go too mad on a ‘school night’. On this occasion however, a night of live music at Camden’s excellent Koko had been booked a few weeks back and thoroughly entertaining it was too. I open my thoughts with this information as it confirms I didn’t have the misfortune of having to consider watching ‘Transfer Deadline Day’. I’m sure there are many out there who don’t agree with me but its a day that gets totally on my nerves. The best bit is when it is all over for four months or so. Or is it? Today sees the opening of the latest ‘rumour mill’ of course. Another hundred or so players we have signed, are linked with, have been seen looking at property in London N5, are currently undergoing a medical etc. etc. etc.
Of all the current social media options I quite like Twitter. Simply because it is less intrusive than some of the other platforms available and also because I can choose who I want to follow. But all those of you who like to keep an eye on what people have to say through this medium will also be very aware that it is hugely opinionated and more often than not a huge chunk of it is absolute and utter rubbish!
For me there is one question that all us Gooners need to ask themselves. If we go on a ten match losing streak, if you travel all the way to Burnley on a wet January evening and lose to a last minute winner, if you sit in a 20 mile traffic jam trying to get to see your team, if your other half is giving your earhole a right old bashing because you want to follow your team, if you can’t really afford it……..do you wake every morning proud to wear that cannon on your chest? If the answer is yes then you and I are from the same stock. If you fell asleep after winning the cup back in May and awoke as the new season started would you change your allegiances based on what players were running out in the famous red and white? And that is why the transfer ‘window’ or whatever they call it these days is totally and utterly irrelevant.
I simply couldn’t give a flying pheasant who is out there on that pitch. If they give their all and its not good enough so be it. There are two teams out there both trying to win the same game. And like every team’s supporters all over the globe I want mine to win as much as anyone else.
I live on the Isle of Wight these days so following our team over land a sea (and Leicester) has to be a regular occurrence if I am to attend every game. Away games in particular can involve quite a lot of planning. Choosing the right ferry bookings is one thing and on Sunday morning we were treated to a quite glorious crossing over the sunny Solent before heading for Leicester for the first time in many years. Only once before have we visited the Foxes’ ‘new’ stadium, a late sending off and equaliser not making it an overly enjoyable day if my memory serves me right.
Like all travelling fans, regular visits to cities and stadia usually set up a routine we can follow each time but Sunday was not one of them. Parked up however, we enjoyed the pre-match refreshment and atmosphere before making our way along the terraced streets echoing with memories of a Dennis Bergkamp hat-trick and Wrighty’s first goal as a Gooner among countless others.
As always the travelling Gooners made plenty of noise in a sundrenched King Power Stadium and even more so when Alexis slotted home to deservedly put us in front. Things however, didn’t go so well from there. Laurent split his head open and was visibly groggy and it was disappointing as to how easy our hosts were able to put in the cross that led to the equaliser. We are told time and time again how players train hard at ways to prevent crosses coming in. It certainly didn’t look that way on this occasion.
I remember Leicester having one great chance in the second period but other than that we enjoyed huge long periods of possession. Faced by a blanket defence however, we seemed to lack that sharpness and cutting edge, Yaya seeing his shot saved after a superb sweeping move probably our best opportunity. On a hot day we definitely looked a little bit tired in the latter stages, not helped by the fact at least 3 of our players seemed to be suffering with knocks. We could put the tiredness down to having played two more games than everyone else in the opening 2 weeks of the season but no excuses, it was a game we should have won. We didn’t, we’ll take a point after not playing particularly well and we’ll move on to Man City at home in a couple of weeks, another side who found breaking down a blanket defence too tougher obstacle to overcome this weekend.
Moving in to the first International break we haven’t made what can be described as a blistering to start to the season. Five points, unbeaten, two away games out of the way and through to the Champions League yet again however, suggests to me it hasn’t been too bad either. We will get better, I’m convinced of it.
Dortmund, Anderlecht, Galatasaray and Southampton have come out of the various hats/balls since I last aired my thoughts. Nothing ‘different’ yet again, when asked what I thought about the draws the only word I could come up with was ‘boring’! With plans and trips organised and in place however, I’m sure they will prove as entertaining as always (although I will be altering my chosen diet in Istanbul!)
My late night train journey home last night saw my phone confirm Danny Welbeck is a Gooner. Welcome to the Arsenal Danny. Be as proud as we are and you’ll be just fine.
Victoria Concordia Crescit