Ok, we lost 6-0, more about that another day. It has been done to death by blogs today, and will continue to do so until we spank Swansea 8-0 and everything is sunny in the Arsenal garden again. Yesterday, despite the defeat, I have never been prouder to be a Gooner. Prouder to be an Arsenal fan.
What happened yesterday was a thing of beauty, and you had to be at the stadium to understand it. From the first minute to the last, and beyond, the atmosphere was electric. At 3-0 down to 10 men, the clock turned 30, and it started “49 49 undefeated” and it continued. The noise decibels only reducing for half time.
As the Chelsea goals went in, the singing got louder. A mark of defiance. I remember a few years back when we played Leeds United at Highbury. Leeds lost 5-0. It was Arsenal’s unbeaten season, Leeds went on to be relegated a few weeks later. But their fans did not stop singing. It sent a shiver down my spine, making me realise that ones love for a club is over and above anything. As Leeds fans stood shoulder by shoulder together, I released it was this resilient attitude that allows the UK to be a world power despite its size.
Yesterday was our ‘5-0’. The circumstances might have been slightly different. The score was 6-0, it was all but confirmation of us being out of the title race than being relegated, but the feeling was the same. A feeling of defiance.
Throughout the second half, the majority of fans stayed. And backed the team. No matter opinions on Wenger and the board, there was a realisation, we needed to stand up and be counted, even if the players are management shirked the challenge.
Whilst Chelsea fans sat on their hands, only giving it every now and again (One mug wearing a Sky Blue SuperDry hoodie – you’re 40, stop wearing hoodies, asked the guy sitting next to him “who’s that” when Salah came on, despite ‘giving it large’ to Arsenal fans), Arsenal fans did not stop. Leaving at least something to be proud of despite the scoreline.
Yes, it was not perfect. I saw a couple of Arsenal fans getting attacked for singing ‘One Arsene Wenger’ in response to Chelsea fans singing ‘we want you to stay’. Likewise, chaps who unveiled a small black BSM flag were also abused, showing that there are tossers on both sides of the fence. Overall though, the crowd came together as one against a common enemy.
And it did not stop at the final whistle. Walking down the Fulham Road, Arsenal fans were not quite. On the platform at Fulham Broadway, the noise continued. On the train to Victoria, it was bouncing, and in the Willow Walk after the game, the atmosphere, the defiance, remained. We might have lost the battle on the pitch, but off it, victory was ours.
The men and women at the game yesterday standing side by side, backing the 10 men for 90 minutes, are the real hero’s. They are the ones who would stay with the club throughout all scenarios, through relegation, and who deserve success. They are the fans who I would happily be in the trenches. It makes me very proud to say I was one of those fans. I am a proud Gooner.