With Ribbons Intact
Tuesday 21st February 2017
What is it with Arsenal bashing? Why us? Always.
We should have won the league last year. Liverpool shouldn’t have. Nor Chelsea. Nor Man Utd. And definitely not Tottenham. Maybe if any of them had put in a performance against the deserved Champions we might have won it. But that doesn’t matter. That’s our fault. We should have won it.
We should have won the league for a number of years now. And the fact we haven’t we are being absolutely slaughtered for it. No mention of Liverpool going 25 years without doing that despite spending horrific amounts of money. Tottenham doing the same and still waiting after near on 60 years is not worth a discussion. And Chelsea going 50 years until they pretty much bought it is all very hush hush.
Knocking the Arsenal is nothing new. We have always had to deal with that. But things have changed a little for me.
So, after a disappointing period, the vultures were well and truly circling above Gander Green Lane last night. Nothing (and I mean nothing) would have pleased the football world more than seeing us get beat last night. But I (and fortunately all of the people I attend fixtures with) were thoroughly looking forward to the whole event and were not going to allow the knockers of our great club to ruin it. It was a special occasion in many many ways. Almost unique in fact. And we came through it with a win to send everyone but us Gooners home disappointed.
But it wasn’t all good and I will detail just why……
Back in January 1993 we played Yeovil away in the FA Cup 3rd Round. I remember the hype surrounding the fixture due to a combination of our hosts being a non league side, the link to our previous fixture back in 1971 and the fact the whole football world wanted us to lose. We had a fantastic day out, Wrighty banged in a hat-trick and that was that. A few months later we put the grand old pot in our trophy cabinet once again.
But the difference back then was all the criticism, all that dislike of the Arsenal, all that desire to see us fail made us Gooners stick together. The attitude if everyone else is against us we’ll make doubly sure we are in it as one. That ‘siege mentality’ we’ve all heard about. And that is in a season where we had already lost against the likes of Norwich, Blackburn (twice), Wimbledon, Leeds, Southampton, Villa and others. A season where leading up to the Yeovil game we had scored 1 goal in our previous 7 league games! In a 1-1 home draw with Middlesbrough for the record…
But, that sticking together, that ‘us against the world’ doesn’t seem to be the case any more.
Once again, every single person outside of Arsenal FC wanted us to lose last night. And that I completely understand. But the fact, even in the away end of Gander Green Lane with only 750 of us present it felt like there were many who would have been quite happy to see us get beat I genuinely do not get. Why bother going if you don’t go to enjoy it? What is the point of constant negativity? Back in the day, even if we weren’t exactly overjoyed about the way things were going, we certainly didn’t show that to anyone outside of the club. We are Arsenal. Bollocks to everyone else. I wish I could say that is still the way. But I genuinely don’t think amongst the ‘new generation’ it is.
Or maybe I’m just getting old.
‘Minnows beat the Arsenal’. The headlines were already written. And we would have endured that until the day we died. But on the night, due to a thoroughly professional if not stunning performance we made sure it didn’t happen.
And no matter how much it was expected we should take that with pride, satisfaction and class and look forward to a quarter final where we’ll need to go through it all again.
Those of us who were lucky enough (and in the majority of cases deservedly) to have a ticket for tonight’s match were thoroughly looking forward to it. Supporting a top side we have been able to travel the globe and visit some of the world’s greatest stadia. And some of our most awesome moments have been in the world’s greatest club Cup competition.
And to win it 12 times you need to overcome many teams.
But to visit such a stadium for a massive fixture with interest being present globally is kind of unique. Winning would make sure it wasn’t an experience ruined.
This season we have beaten Burnley twice, both with last minute winners. At the weekend that team lost, at home, to a team from the conference.
So, apparently, that means last night was easy for Arsenal. Should be a stroll in the park.
We all knew that wasn’t the case. Everyone was waiting for us to fail. But we didn’t. Sorry about that.
I had a bit of PMT in the build up. To be fair I always do for cup games. But that fear of embarrassment intensifies that emotion. But once the game had started there wasn’t a single moment where I felt we would lose. And as a result, into the last 8 we go……yet again.
We now have a short break due to Southampton’s success in the League Cup. A rare weekend off. And it’s my birthday. So I will enjoy it. And if you want to knock me for that you go ahead.
We’re used to it.