The world of football has changed in so many ways since first I clambered up the steps at Highbury and looked down in awe at the scene before me; an oblong of green set at the bottom of a man made bowl, the concrete sides towering above it. There it was the home of my schoolboy dreams, the canvass on which I had for all my growing years drawn in my mind’s eye the daring deeds which I, “Roy of the Arsenal” had performed heroically, defeating all and sundry with magical skills and wondrous last minute goals.
It had not been easy being a gooner, raised in a family of spuds and living many miles from the ground despite having been born In Walthamstow. Indeed in those days I don’t remember being called gooners, we were the Gunners and proud of it.
But in the fullness of time a gooner I became, the umbilical cord of that born again experience, when first I discovered the team that played with the cannon on its chest, still keeps me joined some sixty years later to the wonderful club that has meant so much to me over the years.
Still from those far off days, it is the humour I remember from watching the Arse, the banter with the oppositions supporters was, pointed, cutting and at times downright hilarious . We had the morons of course, but they were few and far between and usually dealt with by the crowd itself.
The days of the football hooligans that led to all seated stadia lay well in the future, these were the days when we didn’t win anything but still the humour remained, It was a scouser who I first heard tell an Arsenal player “he was as much use as a chocolate teapot” and another as “useful as a third tit on a nun”.
So where I wonder did the hatred come from, the obscene chants that are classed by many as funny these days. Even our refined, cultured, intelligent manager is bombarded on a weekly basis by brainless choirs regurgitating accusations far too vile and scurrilous for repetition on any blog with aspirations to quality.
Tribalism is fine, it helps the common cause and binds the supporters together in a collective quest to play their part in motivating and driving the team onwards and upwards, supports them through tough times and rejoices in their success.
But why the sectarianism, racism and the vitriol poured on rival supporters, particularly in our case the spuds and Chavs
Yes I know there are those that will say football grounds are not the home of knitting circles. But where is the respect for the skills of opposing players, who if the truth was told, we would love to see in our shirt, and the supporters who had they been born, like us in different places would in all likelihood support some other team.
I have never been to the Emirates, but read constantly the comments of those that do, that we don’t support or cheer our team enough, maybe, and here I can only surmise, maybe the trend to abuse more than support, and attrition rather than respect, is what keeps the much derided corporate customers embarrassed and quiet.
Writen by dandan