Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Gunners or death

Some obnoxious nudging from my good friend B’more has forced me to acknowledge that my beloved Arsenal are now fifth in the league tables, while B’more’s boys Liverpool are managing to hold on to the top spot. It is insult added quite literally to injury after Fabregas was maimed and forced out of action by Liverpool’s Alonso in December. And while it was reassuring at least to see Arsenal’s win over Bolton on Saturday, that 2005 FA Cup trophy is getting smaller and smaller in the distance as we get further away from their last major title win, which was against Manchester United nearly four years ago.

Still, I have faith in the Gunners. It isn’t blind faith. I do believe they’re coming back to form. But it started me thinking about how we assign our loyalties - especially in sport - and why.

I remember when I started my love affair with Arsenal. It was 1997, I had just started university, and I had the temerity to join up with a women’s squad to play inter-faculty football. It was, after all, a time for new beginnings, new interests, and as it turned out, new ways to feel stupid and inadequate. Women’s football on the campus at that level was hilarious. Most of us knew nothing. And the few who did were right snots about it. We found a coach with a sense of humour, and started in earnest with early morning, late evening and weekend practice sessions.

Our first match was demoralizing. Picture twenty (the goal-keeps at least had the good sense to stay put) petrified but aggressive women all charging after one ball, getting to it, and then each having no idea how to deal with these other nineteen women before them. It was greater comedy than the theater department could ever have produced. I hate not being good at things. When I encounter things I am not good at, I promptly stop doing them. Of course, this is a ridiculous habit, since it means that unless you have some inherent genius in this area that rushes to the surface, you’d never learn anything or discover any latent talent. What kept me with the team was the determination of the women and my newfound interest in the game. This interest prompted me to start watching the league matches that year.

So I turned on the television one day and encountered a dejected Arsenal leaving the field after a 3-1 trouncing by Blackburn. It had been, I was told, the latest in a series of defeats that season. But I liked the look of them. I thought they moved magically as a team; I was drawn to watch Bergkamp, Vieira and Petit; and I decided at that point to root for the underdogs. I think I was the good luck charm. That year saw a legendary resurgence. An embattled Arsenal took the Premiership trophy and went on to their second league and FA Cup double. I went on playing football. When campus play ended, I joined a community team, developed a decent left foot, and settled into my position in the middle. And I became an Arsenal fan for life.



  1. My english cousins are all gunners, every last one of them. So many ppl to tease, and you now.. jeez, oh vell.. just one more. :)

    Don't feel bad though, you could be a liverpool fan, they seem to be allergic to silver. *snigger*

    I've been a United fan all my life it feels like. I liked how they played from very young, they were winners and played like winners. Having my dad's scrap book of EPL clippings to look at and add to, kinda pushed me toward the EPL too.

    We watched alot of football my dad and I, he watched me develop an intense hate for Juventus and Madrid.

    I'm pretty sure were I an englishman I would be one of those Mancunian hooligans that would kick your ass if you ever spoke ill about 'the lads'.

    You'll notice that Assinal escapes my hate list, its not because I like them, or think they're ok, it's because they are insignificant. :) Did that make you wanna punch me in the throat? (lol)

    Gear up for next year Marsh, this season is lost to you. Your boys arent gellin. That little spat the other day they had still lingering.

  2. 'I've been a United fan all my life it feels like. I liked how they played from very young, they were winners and played like winners.'

    Considering Scum United won only 4 trophies in the 70s and 80s combined (one was the SECOND division title. :-S), it is clear that Philip is a teenager. *snigger* As such, me further insulting would be categorized as bullying. It is further instructive that he was filling an INHERITED scrapbook of the EPL (which only came into existence in 1992). As I said, no bullying, so I done.

  3. In moderating a comment from 'S', either we had a technical glitch causing it to disappear, or 'S' dropped his cojones (or her 'cojonas', a word I've invented but it works) and erased it.

    Too late, though. I see you. I was told that I should have 'turned on the TV when Man U' was playing. To see what exactly? S, You're missing an important step in the fan-making process: the admiration part. Man U is football establishment and half of what's wrong with the modern game. I'll leave them for you and the bandwagoners and stick with my Gunners. But thanks for offering. Do come again.

  4. I think you'll find that I ackowledged your loyalty to Arenal and life time membership; your over zealous editing makes it look so different; you're not a journalist are you? LOL. I just stressed that you turned on the TV and you could have supported Southampton if they'd won on that day. I'm off to look for my cojonas. What I said was that it's a seson of 38 games and then MUFC win the lot. Facts always hurts the others. No bandwagon jumping.It's a bit like Notra Dame or Milan here in Barbados.

  5. It's not editing. It's called an excerpt. My point is that it has nothing to do with who was on TV when I turned it on. That's the step I mentioned that you're missing. I had to admire what I saw. And Man U doesn't inspire admiration. Don't be stressed about how I came by my loyalties. I'm not.

  6. No Nigel, do continue! coming to the end of your little comment there I was hoping you'd have the balls to say what team you back, if you back a team at all. Or are you one of the many football history majors?

    I was not aware (comes with being a teen i guess? lmfao) that watching football was the preserve of the aged.

    All this hate because I said I liked United, what was it? A 3-0 drubbing at home? A come from behind victory in UEFA?

    Come Nigel, go with this kind lady, show her where the bad bad United touched you, she will make it all better.

  7. LOL. As an ardent subscriber to the Mongoose Chronicles, I figured that it was clear from my entry on 'Who let Marchesa into the good stuff?' which team I support. Further, the opening of this very posting by Kaddelle herself, re-states that information. But to be clear, I support the most successful club in the history of English football. As a member of football's aristocracy, I am sure you will know who that is. YNWA.

    Dear Moderator, see how much more interesting sports postings are? No need to thank me. :-D

  8. :) Yes, B'more. I'm grateful for the nudge, annoying though it may have been. The two of you are confusing the dialogue with all these name changes. I hope no one was trying to be all undercover (if so, you weren't doing a very good job anyway), because I'm about to out you.

    Philip = GBL Blog; Nigel = The Dark Knight = B'more mentioned in the original entry.

    I'm done here. As you were.

  9. haha.. hmm.. the team that has been blighted by the very creation of the EPL it seems. (tough break on that one) Noone can dispute the titles over the years, most recently one or 2 FA Cups, a good CL win in 05 it was?

    I like liverpool tho. they take the beat downs we give them like men. Even at Anfield.

    And from the time you started on that historian trip, I knew you had to be a liverpool fan, honestly..history is slowly becoming all you guys have left.

  10. hhhmm, I cant stand Man utd fans!! However, U gotta have love for Liverpool!! the fans can be little shits at times @ u Nigel...anyhow, I dont need to say no more, Im a GOONER FOR LIFE. From day dot. Marsh, we could be here all night if i get started, cos I know Nigel will start with all the football u know he was tellin me how shit Arsenal are at the SQUARE ONE SHOW?!! lol........Nigel, its me the Nicola, the english one!! hahah, ARSENAL FOR LIFE BUDDDYYYY!!

  11. LOL. nicola is a fibber. i would never say that about the gunners. while not a gunners fan (and amazed at the carte blanche of your manager), i have always considered the enemy of my enemy to be my friend.

  12. LOL....really now!!

    well right now Im watching a lovely game as Spurs get an ass whooping from Burnley!! even if they still win on aggregate, they still got thier asses whooped! Thats what I like to see!.....


Creative Commons License
This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Licence