Arsenal in Paris
Well that was a fun trip wasn’t it? A 2.30am start on Tuesday to get to Luton. Few beers in the airport. Board the plane. Few more beers on the plane. Get to Paris at 9.20am. Get to hotel. Can’t check in. Have few beers in the hotel. Check in at Noon. Go straight to pub. It’s hot. Too hot. Have a lot of beers in pub. Have a panini. Head to stadium. Police escort. Watch game. 1-1. Poor away following. Get held in. Get released. Go pub. Few beers. Head back to hotel. Few more beers. 2am. Bed. Wake up. Check out at noon. Beer in hotel. Head to pub. Few beers. Train to airport. Get to airport. Few beers. Board the plane. Few more beers on the plane. Land in Luton. Train back to Kings Cross. Underground back to Walthamstow. Order curry. Watch Spurs. Laugh. Bed.
A lot has been made over the last few days of some fans on a train having a sing and a dance. More videos will come out over the next week of fans in the main square, or under the Eiffel Tower, having a song and a dance, throwing a few beers in the air, and generally making a fool of themselves.
Whilst I think this behaviour is a bit cringey, especially when you see middle aged men involved, if this is how fans wish to support their club abroad then fair enough.
Often over the last few years we have heard ”I have spent £1000 on my season ticket, I can show my support how I wish, even if I boo the team”. Well it is the same in this scenario.
The trip cost me, flights, hotels, trains and spending money, around £300. And we got dirt cheap flights due to my quick reactions to the draw. Others would have spent well over £500.
Spending that money gives you the right to act a knob abroad if that is your choice.
And we have all done it. I remember doing it in my 20s. At AC Milan away. Going into their main square. Heading to Lidl to buy cheap beer. Throwing a few cans in the air. Fulham away around a similar time. A good sing song on the train at other passengers expense. It is harmless fun.
Obviously I grew out of it. Now my idea of an enjoyable away trip is to find a nice bar and have a few beers in the sun. Bit of peace and quiet. Relaxing abroad. I am sure when I am even older, I might even be interested in a bit of sight seeing. But that’s unlikely, considering I spent 3 weeks in Australia a few years back and just saw the inside of a couple of bars and the inside of the MCG & SCG. Three weeks in Australia and we spent 3 hours on a beach.
Where I do have an issue with fans behaviour is when it comes to the attention seeking. The self promotion. When I had a laugh in Milan, I had no interest of being on camera. Let alone getting my own camera phone out, videoing myself acting like a knob, then uploading it to YouTube so that the world can see I am a bit of a knob. Just for hits. Just for attention.
Most of those behaving in this manner are kids. Students. Youngsters. They know no better. I was the same at their age. Eventually they will grow out of it, as I did.
But the ‘older lot’ do make me wonder. Leading a bunch of kids, like they are The Pied Piper of Hamelin. They are the ones who do it for the attention. I do wonder what line of work they are in. I would probably get the sack if my match day antics ever appeared on YouTube. Acting a knob abroad would lose me respect in my office, respect of my management, respect of my clients. I guess if you are on minimum wage stacking shelves in a warehouse, no one will notice. No one will care.
We all saw the damage a bit a “banter” did for Chelsea fans. Why record ourselves misbehaving and stick it up online ourselves? Grassing ourselves up?
The attention seeking nature of some of our fans will get eventually get them into trouble. Whether at work, at home, or with other fans. If you record yourself, you only have yourself to blame when it go’s wrong.
It is the modern era we live in. Not just football, but life. A celebrity culture where people become famous for being famous. Graffiti artist Plastic Jesus summed it up well with his stop making stupid people famous piece. It is the era we live in. Kids grow up idolising some idiot from TOWIE, a slag from Geordie Shore, a knob from ArsenalFan TV. It is up to parents to teach their children better. To educate them to find a real role model. To not idolise a pillock.
This behaviour has been in celebrity culture for a few decades now. It is now filtering into football. With Twitter and other forms of social media, people now become a face due to shouting at a TV recording themselves. Idiots with a phone who do not go to games becoming famous. It is part of modern culture. And what happened in Paris on the train, with attention seekers seeking attention is part of that. Arsenal have lot’s of them. Other clubs might mock, but their fans are starting to go the same way.
My second issue is with the self promotion as “this is how the real Arsenal fans behave”. You are not the real Arsenal fans.
There is no generalist real Arsenal fan. There were about 1,500 in France. Some went into a square and threw beer. Others made noise on a train. Others sat in a bar. Others saw some sites. They are all real Arsenal fans. They do not represent each other. One group of fans doing one thing is no more real than another group of fans doing another thing.
Let’s stop this one upmanship. Let people show their support of the team how they wish. Call people a knob if they are a knob, and ultimately come judgment day we will all be judged.
I had a cracking trip. Chilled out. Met some new people. Met people who I would certainly class is proper Arsenal fans. None of which we singing and dancing on a train. It was a top trip. Even if our end was a little sparse and did look a bit like a college trip.
So I spoke a bit about the actually trip. What about the actual game?
It wasn’t that great to be honest. European aways often are not. By the time the game kicks off, tiredness is kicking in, as the alcohol.
A 1-1 draw is a decent result in the hardest away game of the group. The team we put out was surprising. Why drop Petr Cech? – Although David Ospina was easily man of the match. Why still no Granit Xhaka? – He was class when he came on (I think he came on?). Why not start with Olivier Giroud up top? – Maybe we wanted to play on the counter attack with pace up top.
The Giroud red card was a joke. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has had the run in the team everyone wanted and has shown he is not good enough for Arsenal.
We should qualify from this group.
With home games against Basel and Ludogorets coming up, we should be 7 points from 9.
It was a good in Paris and leaves us top of the group
Spurs are a joke.
Celebrating getting the highest home attendance in English football history whilst losing 2-1 shows how insignificant they are.
Well done. 85,011 is the largest amount of fans who have seen their team lose a game in England. Good job.
It is a bit like boasting about sleeping with hundreds of women, when infact you only have sex with prostitutes. Renting a stadium and breaking an attendance record, then boasting about it, shows that Spurs fans suffer from little man syndrome.
A bit like building a stadium with 100 seats more than Arsenal. Well done, you have a few more seats. But you have not won the league since 1961.
13 league titles, you’ve only won two.
They mock us for the Top 4 Trophy. Yet for them, top 4’s their everything.
Over 20 years of finishing below The Arsenal. They clearly do not have much to hang on to. They laugh at us for losing a Champions League final, but they’ve never made one. They mock us for being knocked out of the Champions League, yet they were not in it at the time.
They say it shows they are bigger than Arsenal, forgetting that Arsenal were playing at Wembley nearly 20 years ago.
Dare mention that we get bigger weekly attendances, they are quick to point out its not their fault they play in a smaller stadium. Yet mention that when Arsenal played at Wembley, capacity was capped at 74,000 (and we had attendances of 73,000+ at 5 of the 6 games), they disregard their own ‘smaller stadium’ argument.
The fact is, at £25 a ticket, Spurs still struggled to sell out. If Arsenal played a home game at Wembley, they would sell out 100,000+. And still have people moan that they did not get a ticket.
So well done to the 85,011 who went to Wembley. I am sure in years to come, you will be telling your grandkids that “you were there in 2016”. But just don’t mention the result.
And finally, Hull away. We have shuffled the pack well over the last couple of games. A win against Watford and a draw in Paris. Now it is important we back this up with a victory against Hull.
Three points is important.
It will be the first game of the season I am missing (Frankie Boyle at the Pleasance Theatre on Caledonian Road were bought in the summer).
So to all those travelling. Enjoy yourself. Support the team how you wish. But don’t make a knob of yourself and stick it up online.
Have a good day