I am done with football.
My relationship with the game is dead.
My relationship with Arsenal is strained.
My relationship with Arsene Wenger is over.
I have tried to remain loyal. Tried to work through the problems. Tried look on the bright side, find that silver lining. I have naively thoughts things would improve. Clung on to great memories of the past. Even some good memories of the recent past. But like many a relationship, it is time to call it a day.
I am drained, emotionally and physically. There are only so many beatings I can take. Only so many times I can get knocked down and get back up again. I need to walk away. Get a fresh start. Learn to love again.
Football is something I fell out of a love with a long time ago. The way fans are treated by all clubs, no matter if you are Chelsea at the top of the league or Leyton Orient at the bottom is nothing short of a disgrace.
Clubs simply do not care about regular match day fans. And the authorities, the Premier League, the FA, the Football League, care even less than the clubs.
The commercialisation of the game, the globalisation of it, has ruined it for match day fans. The clubs concern is no longer the well being of the thousands that go through the gates every season, and have done for years, but their extended reach. For a decade now they have cared about income, cared about attracting more foreign fans, than cared about their most loyal fans who would stay with the club no matter the situation.
Fans who go week in week out are trodden on by all clubs as they chase the dollar, yen or riyal. Clubs would rather 60,000 different people turn up to each game, all spending £100 a ticket, going into the club shop, spending many more hundreds, than 45,000 season ticket holders, who go in and out, have a grumble, don’t spend much at the ground, but are happy(ish) to pay their £1,000+.
Ticket prices are not just an Arsenal thing, but a football things. Leyton Orient, the leagues lowers club, currently charge £20 – £39. How is that right? And they are a club that are currently being ruined.
The FA have a fit and proper person test. I would love to know what it actually is as the likes of Leyton Orient have been badly let down. As the clubs chase foreign investment, it seems both them and the football league do not care how shady this money is, or even if it exists. Coventry, Leeds, Leyton Orient, Portsmouth, and more. The list of clubs with dodgy owners gets longer every year.
Add in the TV companies, changing times not matter if fans can get too / from games all for prime time viewing. Add rail companies and airlines hiking up prices as soon as a game is announced. It all leads to a feeling of not being loved. Everyone is out to make their buck. Their slice of the pay. And we as fans are the mugs. We are the ones no one cares about. Yet we are the ones who travel up and down the country week in, week out.
I have not enjoyed football for some time, but what dragged me back was my love for Arsenal. And now that is dwindling.
I moved house early in the year and it has meant that I have been unable to go to as many games in 2017 as I would have liked. It is damning that I have not actually missed football.
2 weekends ago, when Arsenal were playing Manchester City, I did not even watch the game on TV. I was busy in my garden, in the sunshine, painting a fence. I only realised the game was in with about 10 minutes to go.
The fact is, when I have not been at football, I have not missed it.
A few years ago, I made an attempt to go to every Premier League game. I ended up one short. I planed holidays around football. I sacked off family gatherings for Arsenal. My life was about football.
The year before that, I was up at 2am in Thailand watching games. I would not dream of missing a game, whether it be at the ground or on TV. I would get itchy if I was close to missing a game. And if I did miss one, I would spend the entire time refreshing my phone, annoyed that I had missed a game.
But things have now changed. I no longer care. Arsenal do not care about me. Why should I care about Arsenal? I am merely a number. A body through the door. I am not even a bum on the seat, as if I do not take my seat, the club has already got my money.
Arsenal Football Club is rotten from the top down. We have owners and a board who seem happy sitting round their oak table smoking cigars unable to actually make a decision. We have management, coaches, players, all of whom see the club as an employee. A way to become millionaires. They do not care.
We have fans who I can not relate too. And it is not just the selfie holding foreign fans who I can not stand. It is the majority of our fan base. What ever happened to going to a game, having a pint, enjoying time with your mates.
Every is now vying for their bit of attention. Waving to the camera. Trying to be front and centre. Everyone wants their 5 minutes of fame, even if it embarrasses themselves, their family, their children, their club, their fellow Arsenal fans in doing so. Everyone wants to be a celebrity.
No club has fans like Arsenal Football Club. More interested self publicity. Making a quick buck off the club whilst slagging it off. It is all just embarrassing. This isn’t Arsenal.
I always thought I was a fan who stuck with the side through thick and thin. Would stay to the end, no matter what the result. The first time I walked out on a game was the 3-0 defeat to Everton in 2014. I went as the 3rd went on. I have now walked out of the last 3 away games.
At Liverpool it was a couple of minutes before the end. I could not bare listen to the Scousers sing You’ll Never Walk Alone. WBA I went at 3-1. I was surprised when I got back to the pub that a couple of my mates were already in there.
Last night I went at 2-0. I just did not want to be there anymore. I wanted to go home. It was a Monday night. I had a 90 minute train journey to look forward too. I just wanted out of their, I did not like the toxic atmosphere. The toxic performance.
I do feel like a fraud. I should be there through thick and thin. But if the players and management do not care for Arsenal, why should I care for them?
Then we have Arsene Wenger himself.
Those that know me will know I have wanted him going for a few years now. Whilst I will not shout abuse, wish death on him, or undermine his legendary status at the club, I have quietly wanted him gone whilst keeping an unbiased view point with no agenda. I have attempted to be level headed.
The man has now lost it. His selfishness shows no bounds. He sits smugly stating he “knows the future” when it comes to his contract, yet will not tell anyone. He thinks he can do no wrong. He is turning into a Scouser, it is never his fault.
His arrogance, his selfishness, his stubbornness, it is all becoming sickening. It is getting to a point where he is ruining his own legacy.
Whilst remove Wenger from his position as manager will not change the club overnight, he is one of many rotten apples, it would be a start. He should have resigned last night.
He claims to have dignity, class, but if he did he would fall on his own sword. Admit things are not good enough, and leave now. Sadly, he has £8million reasons not to leave. Why would you throw away £16million+ over the next two years if there is no pressure from above to do so?
Wenger has always presented himself as a gentleman of the game. He is now an old man who screams at his long suffering wife to get him a cup of tea, despite him being right next to the kettle.
It is never nice seeing a grand parent slowly losing their marbles, becoming a horrible person, as you have to love them no matter what. As their mind go’s downhill land they become more abusive, you still have to love them. But you will just start visiting them less. Stay for shorter periods. You turn up out of duty rather than love. That is what it feels like with Arsenal and Arsene Wenger.
There are only 2 games left this season I have interest in. Spurs away and the FA Cup semi final. I doubt I will go to any other game this season.
The sad thing is in a month it will be season ticket renewal time. I will renew my home season ticket. I will renew my away season ticker. And I will go again. I will return home, to a one sided relationship where VI know I ma going to get abused. But there is still love in the heart. And it is that love that will keep me going through the bad times.
I am, like many others like me, a mug.