They say that ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’, and after a small eternity of not seeing the mighty Arse play, I cannot wait for the new season to start. Simply seeing our players on a green pitch again during recent friendly games, made me realise how much I’ve really missed our team over the last few months.
I am full of optimism about the forthcoming season, and feel that this could be our year. Just watching Jenkinson, Gibbs, Vermaelen and Koscielny running around with such energy and eagerness in recent friendlies, made my mouth water. The triangle of Song, Rambo and Jack seems to have transformed over the summer into a confident, multi-skilled and graceful midfield war-machine, and then there is also the delight of proper, fast and effective wing/attacking-play by the likes of Ryo, Theo, Arshavin and Gervinho. Most of our established stars, for various reasons, have been taking it easy during pre-season. It is going to be a long season, so I do not mind at all. Take it easy boys and focus on what really matters this season: carrying the team through the difficult patches that we will undoubtedly have to face again.
The one thing I am wary about though, is the way the ‘outside world’ will be trying their hardest to spoil our enjoyment of the new season.
TV football commentators, especially those of Sky, are the biggest culprits. I cannot stand to have to hear again and again and again the oh so familiar and regurgitated platitudes such as: ‘Arsenal have not won a major trophy for six years and counting’, or that ‘Arsenal’s beautiful football is pointless if it does not deliver titles and cups’, or that we ‘do not do ugly goals but always want to pass ‘it’ into the goal’, or that we ‘Southern Sissies’ cannot take it if we are being roughed up by the teams ‘Up North’ etc, etc. Does this sound familiar to you?
Then there are the newspaper articles and fan blogs. For a while the Newspapers will look for ways to build us up, only to drop us again at the earliest convenience. The smallest thing that goes wrong and all the above mentioned platitudes will be in our faces again. The fan blogs will also be full of the articles based on ‘I told you so – nothing has changed’ rhetoric, as soon as we lose or even draw a game. On top of all of that, we will have to put up with fans from other, recently ‘more successful’ teams at work, in the pub, within our families and from our friends.
I know I am not the only one who gets affected by all this negativity, and that’s why I have formulated eight tips to build up the necessary immunity, in order to enjoy the new season as best as possible
Tip 1: Manage your own expectations: our team has the potential to win one or more cups this season, but there are no guarantees. The higher the expectations the harder we could fall. I rather have high aspirations but more realistic expectations.
Tip 2: Keep believing in Wengerball – success is so near and lady luck might be on our side this year.
Tip 3: Don’t jump to conclusions if and when we lose a game: last season once again showed us that our campaign had many twist and turns and that the outcome of an individual game, either positive (beating Citeh away and the Chavs at home) or negative (drawing at Wigan and at Newcastle), does not predict the way we will finish.
Tip 4: Try not to think too much ahead and only focus on the next game coming.
Tip 5: Be very selective about which papers and blogs you read, and footie TV programmes you watch: choose those that take a fair/balanced approach and avoid those that are scripted to be negative about Arsenal whenever possible (vast majority at the moment). Arsenal Arsenal is the best place to be, most of the times.
Tip 6: Turn off the sound of your TV-set when watching our team: I found this very helpful last season, especially during the second half when the commentators get tired and start reading of their sheet of ‘cheap and easy platitudes’.
Tip 7: Tape the good games, and watch them again and again when you are feeling low.
Tip 8: Keep telling yourself and subsequently your colleagues, friends and members of the family that there is nothing better than to be a Gooner: six years without success is nothing compared to our fantastic, trophy-full history; we are a model of financial sustainability to all clubs in the UK/Europe/World, and play a brand of football that everyone wants to watch. We might not always get to our destinations, but our journeys are eventful and laced with excitement and splendour. This video could not summarise any better on what it is to be Gooner:
Wishing you all a fantastic football season, and hopefully some silverware at the end,