Stoke Away and the Ramblings of an Arsenal Traveller

The head is cleared, the alcohol now out of my system, the disappointment has subsided. Up until now, I really have not had the energy to write anything and I have struggled for inspiration recently.

This lack of inspiration is not just due to the defeat to Stoke on Saturday, but my general apathy towards football at the moment. The game in my heart is slowly dying.

I can handle the poor performances on the pitch – usually – that is part of football, and something you have to accept. But the poor performances on top of the cost of ticket prices, on top of the cost of away travel, on top of awkward kick off times, and more recently, on top of not being able to get a beer at half time, I am starting to wonder why I do it.

With my general apathy to the game currently, when we do get a result like yesterday, it really does knock me for six. I have no problems with a defeat, and even of a shocking performance, but this season, more than any, poor performances have grated me.

As a fan traveling up and down the country, you put a lot in. A lot of hours traveling, a lot of money, your sell your soul to the club. You basically live and work just to spend your weekend in a crap northern town, losing your whole weekend to traveling and hangovers.

You learn to take the rough with the smooth. For every 6-0 away to Chelsea, you have a 5-2 at the same ground. For every 5-1 at Anfield, you have 1989. For every League Cup loss to Birmingham, you have victories against Hull. It is a tough existence. A rollercoaster.

Luckily we support The Arsenal, a successful side, so we do have more up’s then downs. We can quite easily go 4/5 months with seeing a defeat on the road. This however also makes losses hurt more. You are used to winning, not used to loosing.

Support Burnley? You know before leaving the home that you are likely to lose. You have not built your hopes up. It is a case of limiting the damage. Lose by the odd goal, you are happy. Score a goal but lose, not bad. Take the lead? You are ecstatic. Grab a draw? It’s party time. Win? It is the best day of your year. And win away to a big side, hell, it is better than when your kids are born.

Whereas at Arsenal, even a draw on the road is disappointing. Had we snatched the equalizer on Saturday, it would not have changed much. We should not be drawing at Stoke. They are games a fan supporting a club such as Arsenal expect to win. The failure hurts double.

But Stoke away, a defeat should have been predictable.
23 Oct 1996
Stoke City v Arsenal
Draw
1-1

01 Nov 2008
Stoke City v Arsenal
Lose
2-1

24 Jan 2010
Stoke City v Arsenal
Lose
3-1

27 Feb 2010
Stoke City v Arsenal
Win
1-3

08 May 2011
Stoke City v Arsenal
Lose
3-1

28 Apr 2012
Stoke City v Arsenal
Draw
1-1

26 Aug 2012
Stoke City v Arsenal
Draw
0-0

01 Mar 2014
Stoke City v Arsenal
Lose
1-0

06 Dec 2014
Stoke City v Arsenal
Lose
3-2

Arsene Wenger has won once from nine attempts in Stoke . It truly is a shocking record. It makes me wonder why I traveled up to the game with so much hope. It clearly is silly. They are clearly a bogey team to us.

Why so few wins? Who knows. Sometimes you just become someones bunny, a term iconised by Shane Warne who’s bunny was Darryl Cullinan. In 7 tests, Warne took the South African batsmen’s wicket 12 times. It was unprecedented.

Stoke at the weekend were actually a double bunny. In head to head between Wenger and Mark Hughes, Wenger has lost 6 and drawn 2 . He has never beaten a Mark Hughes away side.

What is odd is when you then look at the home record, it is the exact opposite.

From 8 games at the Emirates (or Highbury) Arsene Wenger has won all 8. I doubt if 2 asides in the Premier League have such contrasting home and away records.

It can be tough being an away fan. But what is for certain, next time we travel to Stoke, I will be like a Burnley fan. I will expect defeat. I will expect nothing from the game. I will go home happy if we get a draw!

Keenos

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2 thoughts on “Stoke Away and the Ramblings of an Arsenal Traveller

  1. Didi

    Is hard being an arsenal fan, u take the good and the bad. Sometimes more bad, but at least we did the arsenal way. Threw out the years I have come to relise, disappointment comes w supporting afc. So the sooner u relise that, the lest drinking u do. Afc fan have to relise that if we were to get anything out this season, we realy have to support our team, no matter what happens. If they can’t except it, than don’t support us, go to man city, better yet Chelsea, or who ever wins the EPL.

    Reply
    1. yinkami

      It is wenger who should leave arsenal not an arsenal fan that is expressing is true feeling about how the club is disappointing

      Reply

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