"Dad, Man U just made a tactical substitution. Imagine that! Imagine having enough players to do that Dad!"
In the seven seasons my son has had a season ticket he has gone from an innocent little boy who would jump on the spot with excitement at the thought of watching The Arsenal to a cynically sarcastic teenager fed up with the same old nonsense. One the one hand I admire his comment. It's the kind of thing I'd tweet. That's my boy! On the other hand it's a punch in the guts.
Going through yesterday's game is pointless. He did this. He did that. The ref....the crowd.....All pointless. It was only one game. We can recover and probably will but this is all about the bigger story. In many ways it's about how a teenager has had his hope eroded since the Highbury move.
Writing any Arsenal blog is getting harder and harder as we can only say the same stuff over and over again. This is nothing new. It's something I've spoken about to other bloggers since I joined in about 3 years ago. There are only so many ways to moan about losing your best every year and the desperate need for signings. This summer made a nice change. We didn't lose a gem to a rival but excelled ourselves in kicking an enormous opportunity in the groin. We all know this. It's been said a billion times by a million Gooners. The only people who don't respond to it are the tiny few who can.
I'm a huge fan of Arsene. If you are an Arsenal supporter you can be nothing else after what he has done for us. However he is making it harder and harder to defend him. I really worry, especially after yesterday's press conference, that he might be going a bit Brian Clough.
Getting rid of so much deadwood was essential but without replacements is madness and you have to ask who brought a lot of these players in the first place. Somebody saw something in them to bring them to the club. What happened? We're they good enough and destroyed or are we shopping at a level where that's what you get? Take Gervinho for example. I was amazed how misty-eyed people became over him when he left. He was clearly not good enough for us. He added absolutely nothing to the team whatsoever and missed open goals against division 4 teams. He was a nice fella though so it's OK to wish him well but he, to me, summed up where we are. A second tier team shopping in Aldi to save money. But who needs to go? If Arsene goes do we trust the board to replace him with the ambitious and trophy hungry dynamic manager we crave? Don't hold any breath.
The club and my son's hope has been slowly eroded. They have brainwashed us into thinking 4th a bloody trophy & fooling us into thinking we are still challengers because we have a big ground and free sticker books. I'm not even demanding a cup. I just want the hope back. I want to share that feeling of elation with my son when we score and moved back to the top of the league. I want to hope Man U lose because it helps our chances rather than because I just hate them. I want to kick off a season thinking we could have a good go at this. Nobody had that feeling at 3pm yesterday and how we felt at 4.45pm wasn't as surprising as it should have been.
To cheer myself up yesterday I went 'Arsenal fishing.' I walked up the pier and laughed at all the other fishermen with all their equipment and knowledge of how to fish properly. I had a bucket of stones. Free stones from the beach. I threw a hand full in. I must hit something eventually. Nothing. So I had one last go. I saw a big fish. I threw my big stone. It made a splash, missed by miles and he swam away. The other fishermen with their buckets full of their days work turned and laughed at my empty bucket. I left with nothing and hungry. Next time I go I'm taking someone who knows what they are doing. They might be able to help me make a tactical change if it's not working out. Imagine that.