Wednesday 23rd March 2017
When it comes to an entertaining away day, all the ingredients are still there as they have always been. Consequently, Saturday was filled with the usual banter and laughter. We got beat and that filled me with levels of disappointment and frustration to match any one out there. But there are an increasing number where a defeat or a bad spell like the one we are experiencing right now are dealing with it with sheer anger. Almost using the situation as an excuse to rebel. To join in with an ‘anti-establishment revolution’.
Lunchtime kick-offs are a potential problem for me and my fellow nearby Gooner mates given where I live these days. Staying the night before is often the only option although admittedly as long as that isn’t too inconvenient I’m never against a Friday overnighter somewhere! Alternatively I have to leave early, very early at times. Saturday was one such occasion and it didn’t help when our first ferry option was cancelled due to the crew not getting out of bed or something. It is absolutely fantastic living in a relaxed part of the world. We do however, have to accept the situation being a tiny bit over ‘laid back’ now and again!
A quick taxi divert to one of our alternative (but slower) cross Solent options and we were on our way, our smooth car journey along the M275, M27, M3, A34, M40, M42 and M5 seeing us parked up and having just over an hour to enjoy the pre-match fare provided by our usual hosts for this fixture.
Overall it had us in fine spirits and we looked forward to the game as we always do. That anticipation however, was definitely accompanied by a degree of wonder as to how our travelling army of fans would react on the day given the hype surrounding both our team’s current form and the future of our boss.
To be fair I heard nothing but full support for the team before the match and during the vast majority of the first half. I didn’t see the aircraft although even that was nothing short of farcical given the two messages. I’m sure there are people out there who know who arranged them but I couldn’t help but have the cynical view that it was the media or someone connected with another club who find the divide amongst our own fans comical. Seeing Arsenal ‘fail’ pleases the majority more than anything else remember. That has been the case ever since the thirties when we dominated and was quite clearly born out of jealousy. So anything that can be added to stir up the fire those responsible will only be too keen to get involved.
I’ve mentioned it before but during periods like this we have always stuck together. Unfortunately however, we seem to have a generation these days who get pleasure out of joining the ‘knockers’ from outside of our club rather than standing as one against them.
Other than the defeat one thing is more disappointing than anything else from our trip to The Hawthorns and that is our inability to deal with our hosts’ set piece threat. Everyone knew they had one. But we coped abysmally. Our record cannot be argued unfortunately. Defensively, as a unit, we are weak and easily penetrable right now. And in a situation like that we will continue to drop points.
Murmurings from the ‘rebels’ began once we went 2-1 down and intensified when The Baggies nodded home the 3rd with another unmarked header. And we can talk all we like about majority ‘for and against’, the fact remains there is a severe lack of unity amongst Gooners right now.
That, along with everything else, is not just a negative but surely doesn’t help the situation we find ourselves in.
The fact only 4 teams can win the FA Cup and we are one of them will see many of this country’s football supporting fans looking at us as spoilt children right now and the fight for match tickets for our semi final against Man City feels no less intense than our previous recent visits. And if there are any Gooners out there that are so fed up with supporting their club they don’t want to go to Wembley please feel free to send your tickets my way. We have hundreds within our supporters club who would love to be there to support their team.
And it’s the super rich boys from the Etihad that we welcome to North London next as we look for a strong end to what has been a hugely inconsistent season.
Enjoy the international break and wear your cannon with pride. I certainly will be. That will never change.
Victoria Concordia Crescit.