Football fans generally have two emotions, elation or agony. Those are certainly the two I remember from being a young girl standing on the terraces.
If someone had said to me 30 years ago, ‘one day you won’t feel as though you belong or you will despise the club’ I would have argued with them all day long. How could I not love everything Arsenal??
The Arsenal were my love. It’s where I belonged and where I made my best friends and memories.
The football didn’t really matter. If we lost we felt disappointment, I don’t remember coming away feeling angry. Maybe some anger at a referee, or anger at opposing fans, but not anger at my club. We looked forward to the next game. Someone would get it if we had lost.
Half time we might sing ‘Georgie, sort em out’, we knew he would, George knew.
Fast forward to 2018.
Blue shirt, Cannon facing the wrong way, inept performances, a chairman who treats us with disdain and excuses that run out of every pore of the club.
Fans who treat us a hobby not as a cause, and the fever pitch fans who got involved when football became fashionable. None of us wanted it to be fashionable. We liked it that no one liked football. We were looked down upon by the rest of society.
Now we sing to our manager ‘Spend some fu**ing money’ or ‘Get out of our club’.
We now stand where we’ve been told to sit down, hoping the stewards won’t tell us to sit.
We have no idea who will be sitting next to us from week to week, we don’t know the stewards name, we boycott the shop, we’ve stopped buying programmes and when we concede we accept it. We are becoming as passive as those who run our club. I’ve not seen much anger this year.
It’s been like watching a social experiment, how to silence the masses.
We clap poor performances and have been brainwashed to ‘get behind the boys’ at all costs.
We hear more and more ‘there is no point in protesting, there is no point in making a noise’. We buy tickets to games we have no intention of going to…… and we all just wait. We wait for the day it’s going to change.
Earlier on this season I wrote a blog about when anger turns to apathy…..the signs were all there.
Friends whose lives revolve around their job of following the club, started to talk about giving it all up.
So, why do we bother? We bother because we remember. We remember what it was. We bother because without bothering, we wouldn’t ever sit in a pub again and talk about those great days we’ve had with the only people in the world that understand. Choosing not to go is a huge decision, only a few will really understand that. We are scared of not being part of the new dawn that can’t be far away. We are scared of throwing away a huge chunk of our lives.
The club have become unrecognisable to me. We write and they ignore us, we protest and they wash over it in press conferences. But, we did start to get to them, we were being heard even if they wouldn’t admit it.
I’m not sure those great days will ever come back, but to a certain extent that is up to us. We have to continue to force change. We mustn’t mirror the apathy on the pitch. We need to reclaim our place as football fans…. followers of The Arsenal.
It’s our club, it’s still our name on the badge. Anyone who is thinking about bowing out, do so with knowing you have made as much noise as possible before you say goodbye.