What is Arsenal?

I spent too long on Monday explaining how little as fans we really know our team. Instead I tried to emphasize the anomaly that the club is, in a league of slightly predictable anomalies.

We know what Man United is. We know that when we look at the parts of the machine, there are few players in that team we would like over ours. We could say the same about Chelsea and City, Spurs and Newcastle and so on. Actually, I bet out of all of the above teams, the most players we would want from any one team would probably be Newcastle – which is strange no?

We know how City, United, Chelsea and ourselves will get on. We know how Stoke, Everton, Liverpool and Villa will do. We know because like Malcolm Gladwell writes in Blink, “The key to good decision making is not knowledge. It is understanding. We are swimming in the former. We are desperately lacking in the latter.” Or, “We have, as human beings, a storytelling problem. We’re a bit too quick to come up with explanations for things we don’t really have an explanation for.” Or even, “being able to act intelligently and instinctively in the moment is possible only after a long and rigorous of education and experience”

If you haven’t read it, it is worth a go as it makes sense a lot of the time. As does his book Outliers and The Tipping Point. All lend themselves brilliantly to analyzing, or at least appearing to analyze sport. In Outliers, Gladwell’s premise is that to be extremely good at anything, to be regarded as a genius in your field, you have to spend 10,000 hours practicing that activity as some kind of apprenticeship. The funny thing is, if we start supporting from an age of 8 or so, and we think about football on and off for 4 hours a day, we will have completed our 10,000 hours by the age of 15! And what the hell do we know at 15? Certainly what do we know about football? Have you ever heard teenagers argue about football? It is like listening to chimpanzees fighting. So therein lies the rub. We have hundreds of thousands of over-qualified experts, unheard in the melee of genius-turd, spouted off like some Sony Bravia advert in which we are both the paint and the sprinting clown. Football is the boring block of flats.

You see the thing is, we have no idea what we are talking about. None. Even football managers and players talk a bad game. They might tell a good story, or be able to explain some interesting insight into why circumstances transpired in a favourable or unfavourable manner based on a decision they made or didn’t make. But the one thing they don’t get any better than us, is the meaning and qualification of what it is to be a football fan. So they need to do their job without acknowledging us or they end up sinking to our level. We all have strange and lucid gut feelings based on the hours accumulating meaningless and trivial facts and bias that bring no reward to our lives. Most people do things/work on areas of themselves to make them seem more attractive. The generating of football knowledge is not one of them.

We give ourselves over to something weaker and more secretive than religion. There is a flexible and odd moral code that can bridge the disgusting (I’m thinking of the songs about Adebayor and Hitler being a Gooner because he killed Jews), to the amazing (Muamba, the pre-match laying of flowers by the Arsenal players at Anfield ’89).

The amount of time we spend trying to think things through is directly at odds with our real feelings. Feelings about a Wenger who mirrors the worst in all of us. His inability to budge from his self-belief/opinion, his myopia to suit his needs, his devotion to that which he truly cares about (parity within pay and stability/family life within the group). All of these things are things we see or believe we see in ourselves. Much of that which we love or hate is mirrored in our own beliefs and failings. Why should football be any different?

Anyway, I digress. What I am trying to explain, is that the game itself and the ritual around it are two very different things. One is steeped in tribalism, camaraderie and emotional abandonment. The other is the achieving of immediate objectives based on the qualities of one team to try to beat or hold another team. I am going out on a limb and assuming few teams go out to lose (in any sport).

So then we have the challenge of what makes a fan, set against what makes a professional footballer. From here on in, the links and comparisons could decend into the hilarious. I apologise if I let go of the reins. If I do, this will be both in surrealism as well as experimental sentence structure.

An English fan is an amalgam of branded clothes and sportswear, beer, regular (if unreliable) sources of opinion and conjecture, spurious recollections of the past and projections for the future. A studied and dissonant rabble of solipsists resembling the French Foreign Legion and in the main, suffering some type of physical and psychological atrophy. (Woooah horsey!)

The fan reacts on the hoof and thinks in detail at a later stage. The fan loses all sense of discipline because the abandonment is the drug that invigorates a meaningless and often one-way faith. The real fan doesn’t care about their self-image, because they have long-since recognized that they come a very distant second to the physical demands in the overwhelming emotion that is blind faith.

The quality player is (mainly) fit, disciplined, single-minded, aware of their duty and the impact it has on a team, a good decision maker and able to do so in an instant under stress/pressure.

Why have I spent so long trying to establish this? Because Arsenal is a crazy anomaly that occasionally tries to play like the crappiest fans (8-2 L), but let themselves down by reluctantly and more frequently resorting to skill (5-2 J).

So much as I would like to talk about the merits of Arteta, Wilshire’s absence, defensive indiscipline, us being a selling club and so on, I find myself having to justify why I want to talk about it in the first place. For all the tactical inefficiencies and genius displayed by the various factions of the team, I find myself worryingly overcome by my own fits of rage at the inane, docile, simian and discombobulated expressions too often worn in recent times by the likes of Eboue, Vela, Almunia (who always looked like a homeless person caught defecating in a backstreet), Djourou, Song, Arsharvin, Clichy, Chamakh and so on and bloody so forth.

With that in mind, caring about whether van Persie stays, or if Podolski will be a hit almost seems meaningless. The amount of time we have invested in our madness has already elapsed and taken its true form. The delusion that success on the field, will bring the fan some kind of moment of clarity is as nonsensical as manufacturing and using a home-made catheter when your junk and bladder are in perfect working order.

Man United fans are miserable. Man City fans have been and are already miserable. All fans are bloody miserable because it is that state of being which we enjoy. We just tend to confuse it with thinking. The temporary elation in success brings us worryingly close to a realization that the meaning of football is to chew us up and spit us out. Results and achievements are ephemeral and the solipsism of the fan is what it is really all about. Wenger and his strange habits show he is human and suffering his own madness. Good. Serves him right.

Written by fergalburger

151 Responses to What is Arsenal?

  1. Rasp says:

    Wow fergalburger, that is quite an epic first post. Thank you for extending the diversity of our subject matter into previously unknown territory – I thought I was reading a thesis for a PhD!

    Were you a follower of Krishnamurti by any chance?

    So to sum it all up ….. Arsenal supporters are a bunch of miserable fruitloops who deserve everything they get ….. yep, I’m afraid that sums me up perfectly 😕

  2. fergalburger says:

    Two spelling mistakes I have spotted so far. 1. Trival – trivial. (Schoolboy error). 2. Reigns should be reins. I think that might have been autocorrect but still could be schoolboy. Sorry.

  3. […] What is Arsenal? […]

  4. fergalburger says:

    It’s a funny old game. It does my head in.

  5. Rasp says:

    Morning fb, It’s an excellent article, don’t beat yourself up over such little things – I have made the amendments

    My guess is that a lot of bloggers are reading it for the 2nd or 3rd time before they dare comment 😆

  6. Omar says:

    Well that was depressing.

  7. fergalburger says:

    Me too! I am wondering already what the hell I am talking about. I think I get my points??? Thanks FB 😉

  8. Rasp says:

    Morning Omar, Fever Pitch summed up the bitter sweet experience of being an Arsenal supporter in a more graphic way. When you look at it, there is probably more angst and pain than joy ….. but we love it any way because the highs are so immense.

  9. abunaheemah says:

    Couldn’t deduced anything from dis article. Try to write something in a way that would be understood by the reader. Hey, we are not in a Ph.D class lo! Nevertheless, thanks for the write-up

  10. oz gunner says:

    good write up FB, I don’t necessarily agree with it but hey we don’t all see the game in the same way. I love the game, i love the emotion it brings but I’m more of a glass half full guy, you appear not to be. thanks again.

  11. fergalburger says:

    I think I agree with you Oz Gunner. I think it comes down to my perception of devotion to something that seldom rewards and if it does, is pretty short lived. Next time I will talk about football as I think I went in a little too abstract.

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    Feralburger,
    Frankly, I think you’ve over simplified things 🙂
    Bloody love it, just so much truth.
    The actual winning of a trophy is such a short termist emotion, and actually pales into insignificance when compared to the journey. The meeting up, the discussions, the evolution of a team and players, and the just being bloody miserable!

  13. mickydidit89 says:

    Also, I’m a massive believer in the 10k hour rule. Ask my children and how much I bang on about it 😦

  14. Red Arse says:

    FergalB,

    A fascinating, intriguing Post giving us a somewhat uncomfortably voyeuristic look into another person’s psyche.

    I have a couple of observations that perhaps you might wish to consider.

    You speak of Arsenal as being an anomaly within a ‘league of anomalies’. As the definition of an anomaly is normally taken as being a deviation or departure from the norm, it holds that if we are, as you claim, in a ‘league of anomalies’ we would be with other clubs also deviating or departing from the norm, which would make that context “the norm” — which I think you would agree is a paradox at best or an oxymoron at worst?

    The piece has a tantalizing melding of the solipsism of the apparent preoccupation with and indulgence of your own egocentric football feelings and desires, in juxtaposition with the chaotic and apparently anarchic feelings, desires and motivation of other fans, which you imply are an amorphic whole, which is difficult to comprehend, as you subsequently refer to them (the fans) as “a rabble of solipsists” which to my mind, seems to defy logic.

    I say this in the context that I assume you were referring, in the Post, to metaphysical solipsism which is based on the concept that no reality exists other than one’s own mind or mental states. This is usually summed up by the assertion that “only I exist” therefore there is no other reality. In which case a collective “rabble” of solipsists cannot exist.

    My comments are not important, in the great scheme of things, and you have produced a uniquely challenging and stimulating Post, which I am sure will generate a great deal of puzzlement and discussion on AA, and that is what is important!

    Excellent! 🙂

  15. Rasp says:

    Morning micky … I bet there’s a certain buddhist who’d be itching to comment on this post 😆

  16. Slimgingergooner says:

    I’m definately a glass half empty guy when it comes to life, but football, and my faith in Arsene Wenger, make me the opposite when it comes to the beautiful game. I dont follow football because I want to feel success, if that was the case I wouldn’t be wasting my time watching games like Greece v Poland! I watch it because it brings me joy that I don’t see or recognise in other parts of my life. It’s an escape from the boring reality of work, bills and mediocre tv! For 90 minutes I am a player, a manager, a pundit and a fan all rolled into one, and more importantly, for 90 minutes, I am that 12 year old kid again without a care in the world, wondering when I will next be able to get out on that field and play the game that I love.

  17. mickydidit89 says:

    Rasp,
    I hate Buddhists. Violent bad tempered thugs 🙂

  18. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Hi Fergal, magnificent post, and yes, i had to read it twice. hahaha.

    i understand were your coming from (i think hahaha) but speaking from a personal perspective i try not to over analyse it. My love for Arsenal is rooted in emotional attatchments going back to childhood. Ime neither ashamed nor ecstatic about the attachment because it is what it is

    My love for football is purerer than the above. Its not riddled with bias, contradiction, resentment or fanatiscism like it is for The Arsenal. It is simply that for me, Football is a beautiful game to watch and fills me joy.

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    Ha ha Feralburger,
    You walked head first into an RA response. That’ll learn you 🙂

  20. LB says:

    So does that mean we have signed Giroud or not?

  21. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    You just set the record for most dictionary glances in a comment haha.

    @ Slim

    very well said.

    @ FB

    You can talk about what ever the bloody hell you want because your writing style is great and I’m sure no one on here would complain. Like Slim i get satisfaction from sitting down and watching 90 minutes of the Arsenal. We can play poorly and I’ll go to bed angry at 4 in the morning but hey I’d be more pissed off if i didn’t watch it at all. Sport is massive, if it brings me so much joy I can only imagine what joy it brings to those less fortunate.

  22. TotalArsenal says:

    Fergul, surely you are Will Self in disguise. Please tell me it is true! 🙂

    I am going to have to read your post again to get the full value out of it.

  23. Shard says:

    Asking what is Arsenal, is like asking what is love. You can break it down to its chemical level with the hormones and pheromones, can talk about the emotional stupidity that it brings about, or the feeling of bliss. You can look at the tangible, material things that people in love exhibit and look at it dispassionately like a psychiatrist might attempt to. The person(s) involved will always feel they know best and no one else can understand them or know what they truly feel, and because they feel that way, that’s how it is. There is no answer. Arsenal is what you make it. Facts don’t stand a chance when it comes to emotion. Arsenal is love..It is unique to each person in its meaning. I suppose religion/God could also be an analogy. As could drugs 🙂

    Following a sports team is about escapism. By investing your emotions in it, you are offered the chance to be like Messi, to be faster, more skillful than you are (not taller though 🙂 ) It also offers you moments the likes of which cannot be replicated. The moment when a goal is scored out of nowhere. Those are the ‘highs’. But, there is no escaping from yourself. If you’re generally a miserable git, you’ll find misery in the game (misery likes company), and if you’re generally seeing rainbows everywhere, you’ll find that too. The highs are shared with the tribe. The lows are left to yourselves to navigate how you will, though you’ll pick up fellow travellers on the way.

    Fans are mostly miserable because we’re all looking into the unknown.What next? The past offers us some comforts and clues. Memories of better days gone by, or promise of better days to come again. But we don’t KNOW. And that is scary.What adds to the misery is our complete and total belief that though we share ourselves with others of a similar frame of mind, we are actually alone.Oddly enough, that loneliness is our final security. Since no one else can truly understand our personal viewpoint, no one else can project their fears on us.

    Whether its through fear, or the desperation of reaching new heights (fear is also a motivator), we don’t let go, instead hold on ever tighter All the while seeking some personal validation/justification for why we must do this.

    I find it best to not analyse the why. Just know that it is and enjoy the journey as a whole. Which means I modify my earlier contention, and say, Arsenal is life, simplified 🙂

  24. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    “Love conquers all” ?, well in football “Joy conquers all”

    This is such a great post its forced me to examine my feelings about 2 great Arsenal eras. The George Graham early years were the joy was more deep rooted in tribalism and the end of frustration. The Wenger teams, were the joy was more than tribal, it was astheticly beautiful, bringing out the best in every one. I now undertand what “Adams, would you believe it” realy meant. The taking of a rugged brilliant defender and transforming him into some Beckanbeur charachter. With out doubt, that was football bliss.

  25. herbsarmy says:

    Fascinating debut Post Fergal. I’ve followed football, and in particular Arsenal from an early age, and it fills a niche that no other sport could offer. The joy and pain never really balance themselves out as the rewards are so few, but for the short time we do get to experience the euphoria of being part of a winning side, however insignificant our own particular role, the disappointment evaporates and makes the whole experience even more enjoyable.
    On the flip-side, imagine a world without either Arsenal or Football.
    Humans have an inherent need to belong to something, and for many, Football and Arsenal fill that void.

  26. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Oh, and by the way, i was one of those teenage chimps, arguing and fighting over football. It ruined my education, stunted my growth, and meant i could not form a meaningful relationship with a women till i was 30. But hey, who cares, it was great. hahahha

  27. Rasp says:

    Well Red Arse hasn’t disappointed me …. now I’m waiting for TotalArsenal’s response to today’s post 😆

  28. fergalburger says:

    I should have addressed the insanity of love more. Furthermore, I should have emphasised the parallels between genius and madman as love is a very similar abandon of the self to a ‘higher’ power. The drive to fulfil or succeed or whatever.

    Red Arse you definitely pick holes in the right place. Maybe I am using language without properly establishing my context. I wrote a whole paragraph about the anomaly that our club is but then I deleted it because it started making even less sense. However I shall explore it in due course for sure.

    I am not sure about the complexity of pluralising ‘solipsists’ and calling them a rabble. We have our own feelings and slants on our club, football and so on. Yet we bond in a weird and wonderful way that is very isolated and almost lonely. One that we can relive and say ‘did you see that?’ or something of the like. Once that has done, we sink back into ourselves and fit in into our own emotional and chronological contexts and sequences. There are many of us who do this and though we are products of the ‘Highbury Library’, I’d still call us a rabble.

    Next time I really have to talk about football. I make so much more sense when it comes to that. (Total irony intended!!!)

  29. fergalburger says:

    Will Self??? My Red Arse I am. He’s a part time Fulham fan or something. (Which is a contradiction in terms)

  30. Nice article Fergal, I am at work so have only read the once, will need a second viewing to get full effect and appreciation.

    Are we sure Fergal isn’t RA in disguise trying to intellectuallise the blog 😀

    Anyway as i read to the end I kind of realised this could just be entitled “What is being a fan?”

    At the end of the day all sense goes out of the window for most of us, why else would people support the Spuds, if it was a decision based on who would give us the most joy we would be changing team every couple of years.

    As to your most excellent point about the longevity of the ecstasy of a trophy triumph it is so true, i probably cheer just as long when we score a goal as i have when we’ve lifted a trophy.

    And at the end of the day why do i go to football and why are blogs so massive, because it is shared emotion, and it is the sharing with anyone and everyone that small thing you have in common makes being a football fan great.

  31. Red Arse says:

    Fergal, 🙂

    I said earlier that what was so great about the Post was that it would make all of us stop and think about what being a fan (a Gooner) meant to each of us, and would draw out some very interesting observations.

    The prose, syntax and words used in the Post, well constructed and clever as they were, were not, in and of themselves, the important driving factor here, it was instead the content that was so enticing, subliminally inviting the rest of us to reciprocate our own views about the complex emotions and innermost thoughts on what being a helplessly addicted fan of a great club meant to each of us, and comparing our experiences with your own.

    And what a fantastic response so far.

    Wonderful! 🙂

  32. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi again Fergul. Wow mate I hope you feel better for letting it all of your chest! 🙂 Thanks for a beautifully written and intriguing post.

    What is Arsenal? For me, it is simply the home of football. Some were raised by their families into lifelong supporters and others were lured by its attractiveness – the beauty of its football/ the culture of the club. I belong to the latter category.

    The great thing about football and therefore about Arsenal is in fact that nobody understands it perfectly/ knows it all. We blog because we enjoy to water the potted flowers of our collective Arsenal memories and to share insights, theories, experiences, hopes, etc with regards to the future. There is a lot of fun in this, and it would not happen if football could be deduced to an exact science.

    Supporting Arsenal actually brings us together and makes us think less about ourselves, contrary of your view of us all being sufferers from solipsism. At ArsenalArsenal there is strong joint desire to focus on the beautiful/positive aspects of the game and our team, and bloggers support each other also with regards to personal difficulties as well as successes (if you read back the blogs you will find many examples of this). The meaning of football is therefore not to chew us up and spit us out; it actually provides us with a platform to find and appreciate beauty and bring people together. Key is though not to take it all too seriously, not to have sky-high expectations, or to focus on winning things as a means.

    Do we invest too much time in our ‘madness’ as you called it. Definitely so.To a certain extent supporting Arsenal is pure escapism, but why should we deny ourselves the pleasure of it? And why are you not enjoying it?

  33. goonerjake says:

    A near perfect article. Interesting read some good points argued and informative. Because if something is not either informative or makes the reader follow a course of action it loses real impact. To make it perfect mr fb try to be more specific at times and choose a vocabalry that everyone can easily understand otherwise your points will be lost and then what good is it. Anyway fantastic post.
    And what is arsenal? Not the players, not the board or owners, not the ground but its the fans overlapping over the years. You carry the torch your life then pass it on.
    P.S fever pitch is the book I most agree with, the emotion of it was as if I had written it about myself.

  34. dandan says:

    Welcome Fergalburger, clever article. But my: what a complicated life you must live. What is Arsenal? a simple question in my book.
    Apart from my family it is the one constant in an ever changing world and life, It also changes, of course it does, as the personnel and stadium changes and yet it doesn’t, it’s still my Arsenal that famous football club located at THOF.
    Miserable no, don’t do miserable, annoyed yes. Losing to Swindon, Luton and numerous other lesser teams have annoyed me over the years, but then 90 other league clubs didn’t get to Wembley that year did they? So my ego is fuelled by the pride of that fact alone. Picking negatives is an art form for some on here, picking scapegoats has long been part of the right of passage among certain fans. Glass half full of course, how could it not be? Longest serving club in the top league stands us apart immediately. Relegation? Unthinkable: Classy? Undoubtedly: Wenger? Best thing that has happened to the club in my 60 odd years of watching. Delusional of course I am, buts that the point my world is a better place because of my Arsenal, its trials, tribulations and triumphs have been shared with like-minded fans on terraces in pubs and all places that people gather. It has filled my dreams and turned some of those chance acquaintances into lifelong friends.
    Now in my grey years a new world of blogs and bloggers have appeared on my desktop a worldwide network of friends has opened up bringing those pub conversations to a retirement, that though full is further embellished by their banter and interaction and all based around the club that I love.
    What is Arsenal? It is here alive on this blog, an all-embracing entity that is all that you want it to be.
    Keep smiling Gooners we are the Arsenal

  35. Red Arse says:

    TA, 🙂

    As usual, you are supportive of the author who has put his time and attention into producing an excellent Post, but the discussion points you raise, emanating from the piece, are excellent too.

    I agree with Fergal regarding the trials and tribulations we all suffer supporting the Gunners, but I also agree with you that the exhilaration and sense of “oneness” with the club and the other fans overrides all.

    It is an indulgence for grown men to give themselves up so fanatically to supporting a football team, but the very vicariousness of ‘belonging’ as Herb has said, makes so doing all the more exciting. 🙂

    Fergal, we are on this earth for such a short time, just go with the flow, the joys of being a fan are often fleeting but so are the pains and frustrations. There is always tomorrow — until there isn’t! 🙂

    Slough off your despondency, it’s life, enjoy it while you can!! 🙂

  36. Timmy says:

    Sincerely, this post by FB caught me off balance.

    Anyway, this is my take. Any fan’s view of the Club or whatever entity they support pretty much depends on the singular reason why they support in the first instance. Therefore, the expectation of the fan from the Club/entity will largely depend on the same reason they are supporting.
    If you are born as a supporter, then you may be excused for not having a particularly defined reason. However if you are made a supporter, then there must be a clearly defined reason for support.

    As for me, I am made a supporter by virtue of this clearly defined reason “That Arsenal represent Influence”. I do not see any other football club that has much to do with Sound management, beautiful display of football mastery, Charity, Good Neighbourliness and Touches of influence to the poor like Arsenal. And that to a large extent formulated my view of what I expect from this club. It has nothing to do with trophies or whether they win or not. If they win good, if they don’t too bad, if they win trophies wonderful, if not another time will come, as long as those virtues we exude are not found wanton, I am ok.

    So do we still categorize this as an “anomaly’?.

  37. samuel says:

    Reading utter garbage like this it,s no wonder the club hasn,t one an
    ything for seven mediocre seasons,a mediocre article just like the te
    am ?

  38. fergalburger says:

    I am really not that serious. I tend to write like someone holding their breath under water. I just see how long I can keep going until I either feel satisfied or that I have no idea what I am talking about. I would say there is a fair measure of each in the above post.

    But I will say this, the joy of goals, interplay, banter, certain chants, renditions of Arsene Wenger’s Red and White Army for 25 mins solid, the North Bank’s high pitched mocking of Chelsea’s chants, the whole Clock End taking on the Spurs fan in the pink shirt; all of these are reasons for my renewing when I feel low about the commodification and depletion of our playing staff.

    Anyway, fandom, love, joie de vivre and so on are all great reasons to want to belong. It doesn’t matter as said by one of the postings, whether you support Spurs (poor them), or Wycombe.

    Why has no one picked up on the facial expressions of the above players? Doesn’t it annoy you when Song screws up and never apologises unless it says Henry or RVP on your back? Or when Djourou trips himself up and stares as though he just put on his dad’s pants? Or when Clichy checks his watch after 82 minutes and throws himself at speed in between the legs of the opposition? Or Eboue going crosseyed at a referee decision made purely to take the ball away from him and spare him further ridicule?

    As we go madder, their faces become more passive. Even when scoring.

  39. fergalburger says:

    Samuel is your keyboard upside down?

  40. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi RA 🙂

    What a fine comment earlier on! 🙂

    I am more and more convinced we suffer so much from the trials and tribulations of supporting Arsenal as a result of our high expectations, which stem largely from our recent glorious past. As Wenger once said: ‘Maybe we have given them too much too soon. When you eat caviar it is hard to go back to sausages.’

    It would be interesting to measure who is the happiest Gooner on AA at the end of the season. I bet both Rasp and GLiC would score very high as they both are good at keeping realistic expectations.

    If you ask me, the key challenge is to find a balance between hopes and expectations.

  41. Rasp says:

    Hi samuel, I’m sorry the article and the team disappoint you ….. Here’s an idea; don’t read any more articles on AA and find another team to support….. that should make you a happier bunny

  42. Scott says:

    I’m a three quarter glass full guy,in life,in love,in football and in Arsenal.
    I’m being honest when I say I just done get why so many fans seem so down all the time on the club….it just doesn’t register with me.
    I couldn’t watch a game that caused me so much angst and distress….I’d follow lawn bowls instead.
    I enjoyed the article immensely,but also plenty of the comments that followed.
    Well done to all,but special applause to Fergal for starting this conversation.

  43. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Anyway, what would we do without football? In the past ive tried to ween myself with other hobbies but nothing works. i took up golf and everytime i hit the ball i imagined it was a Brady pass. Tried scaletrex but the speed of the cars reminded of Overmars. Attempted boxing, but kept fantasising i was punching Graham Roberts. Took up long walks but all i could think about was our league position. I even tried that sex thing, but at the crucial moment had to constantly stop myself from shouting goooaaaaalllll. hahahaha

  44. Scott says:

    Smile Samuel,it won’t hurt…..too much.

  45. Scott says:

    TMHT,sex is what football fans do to pass time during the ad breaks 🙂

  46. Rasp says:

    Hi TA, speaking personally, I don’t consider introspection a particularly healthy pastime – especially for those with a ‘half full’ outlook.

    The chinese will often ask westerners who delve into their culture why they question something in which they believe – they can’t understand why acceptance is not enough.

    It is true that without curiosity, invention would not exist; but I can’t see how society would suffer if navel gazing became extinct, except that it may encourage humility ….. or am I getting too heavy now 😆

  47. Scott says:

    Well said Rasp.

  48. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Scott, hahahaha. My first wife to be, tried to seduce me when i was watching Arsenal Forest back in the 1989 season. she came down looking great in heels and undies but i basicaly told her “not now love, weve got a corner”, she wasnt best pleased. The great thing was though we won 4-1 hahahaha

  49. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp, your last comment just makes me think how much I am looking fwd to having a beer with you again at the start of the season! 🙂

    Some very fine comments today, especially: Terry, Shard and of course ‘AA’s own Socrates’ dandan. 🙂

  50. Scott says:

    TMHT,my missus is none too pleased during the ad breaks when i tap her on the shoulder.
    I guess waking her at 2am isn’t the best way to seduce her!!!

  51. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Scott, hahaha, the add breaks is a great idea. Overhear they go on for about 3 and a half minutes, just enough time to keep everyone happy, well almost everyone. hahaha

  52. goonermichael says:

    Fucks sake what a post. There really are some great writers on here.

  53. Slimgingergooner says:

    TMHT,

    The other half tried to seduce me once (first and last time!) during the Arsenal v Liverpool CL game, just at the moment when Walcott ran 80 yards and we scored! She fell off the sofa, so loud was my cry of GET IN THERE!

    Safe to say I didnt ‘get in there’ that night!

  54. tissiam says:

    what is arsenal?i have to admit it you manage to lose me&probably most of your readers!i wish SHARD had written the article!he managed to summarise it in just a few words &pretty well too!!”WHAT IS ARSENAL”IT IS WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT!!this article was a pointless exercise & waste of time especially yours since you thought it long &hard,seriously if you have nothing interesting to write about just just dont write!!once again congrats to SHARD for a good reply!!

  55. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Slim, hahahahhahaha

  56. LB says:

    “Not now love we’ve got a corner”

    Hahahaahhahahahahahahahah, now that is funny.

  57. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    tissiam, waste of time? seems to got have a lot of good responses.

    i have an idea, why dont you try writing one?

  58. mickydidit89 says:

    Tranzplant ha ha
    Reminds me of an Alan B’stard line where his Wife moans to him after a quickie that it only lasted 20 secs and he replies “Oooo I am getting better. Last time it was 30 sec”

  59. Slimgingergooner says:

    Tissiam,

    If you have nothing constructive to say, then don’t bother. Waste of yours and our time.

  60. mickydidit89 says:

    LB,
    I think this line of Totals was aimed squarely at you:
    “We blog because we want to water the potted flowers of our collective Arsenal memories”
    🙂

  61. goonermichael says:

    Herb
    I just read your comment “the rewards are so few”. I want to take you out and get you pissed.

  62. Rasp says:

    …. Better still Tissiam, take a leaf out of Shard’s book and take the time to try to understand what the author is saying and then respond in a more generous manner.

  63. goonermichael says:

    I just sold “oh bondage up yours!” by Xray spex for £32 on ebay.

  64. LB says:

    Micky

    That really is a good sentence and it isn’t even his first language. Scary!

  65. mickydidit89 says:

    GM,
    Just glad to be rid of it were you? 🙂
    Only saw them once at the anti-nazi do da in Victoria Park while waiting for you know who

  66. TotalArsenal says:

    Timmy, fine comment earlier on. 🙂

    This hits the nail on the head:

    ‘I do not see any other football club that has much to do with Sound management, beautiful display of football mastery, Charity, Good Neighbourliness and Touches of influence to the poor like Arsenal. And that to a large extent formulated my view of what I expect from this club. It has nothing to do with trophies or whether they win or not. If they win good, if they don’t too bad, if they win trophies wonderful, if not another time will come, as long as those virtues we exude are not found wanton, I am ok.’

  67. Big Raddy says:

    FB. Great article. I have to admit there were words I looked up.

    I loved football first and then Arsenal. I still get huge enjoyment watching park football and a lucky enough to live close to a number of pitches.

    With Arsenal it is a different experience. Like many armchair fans I can get so tense I cannot watch – it ceases to be enjoyable. Why do I get so involved into something I have no control over? No idea but I keep doing it.

    My tribe is Arsenal. My church is THOF. My extended family has millions of members. As Shard says, Arsenal is Life.

  68. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Was it the Damned or the Clash headlining?

    GM. You are well rid, and for a huge price. The beers are on you

  69. herbsarmy says:

    Hi GM,
    that would be great if I wasn’t tee-total (save for a bottle of whisky at christmas and new year).

  70. mickydidit89 says:

    Clash Raddy.

  71. TotalArsenal says:

    Micky, LB,

    That line was heavily influenced by a beautiful passage in a book by Milan Kundera (‘Identity’):

    “Friendship is indispensable to man for the proper function of his memory. Remembering our past, carrying it with us always, may be the necessary requirement for maintaining, as they say, the wholeness of the self. To ensure that the self doesn’t shrink, to see that it holds on to its volume, memories have to be watered liked potted flowers, and the watering calls for regular contact with the witnesses of the past, that is to say, with friends.”

  72. mickydidit89 says:

    Raddy,
    You only really have to read this site to get a damn good picture of who and what types make up The Arsenal Family.
    Pretty much all quarters of the planet. Old’uns, young’uns, boy ones, girls ones, unisex hair people, accountants, miscreants and even overweight buddhists occasionally.

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    Total,
    This Milan Kundera fella smokes dope for sure!

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    Back to work.

  75. oz gunner says:

    @ terry,scott,slim

    Hahahaha im in stitches over here. I know what you mean scott when you slink to bed at 2 in the morning after an arsenal win with a big grin on your face. Like a young kid with a pocket full of dreams,but you know if you wake the mrs those dreams will get crushed quick smart!

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    He sure does Mickster! 🙂

  77. Slimgingergooner says:

    Oz,

    An Arsenal win is like Viagra,

    A defeat on the other hand is like watching SuBo ‘flicking’!!!! (tried to keep it clean Rasp!)

  78. goonermichael says:

    I’d forgotten Xray spex were at the ANL clash gig. What a rubbish song, hasn’t aged well at all. Listened to the pistols album the other day, still love that though. I only got £8.50 for a French pressing of God save the Queen 😦

    You need cheering up Herb. A trophy next season would help!

  79. Gus says:

    We had a psychological post a few days ago, today we got a philosophical post. What will we get tomorrow? Football? Surely not! Loved the article, reminded me of Fever Pitch.

  80. Red Arse says:

    Hi Slim, 🙂

    Just out of curiosity, you understand, but what is a “SuBo” and how does ‘flicking’ it help?

    Is it as pervy as it sounds? 🙂

  81. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    Welcome FB, and congrats on your maiden post. As maiden posts go…thats quite a weighty one.

    I read Blink a few years ago, and was very impressed by it.

  82. SharkeySure'sGhost says:

    “LB says:
    June 20, 2012 at 10:29 am
    So does that mean we have signed Giroud or not?”

    It means that when we do sign him, you’ll think you know why we did, but actually you probably won’t.

  83. Rasp says:

    Gus makes a good point …… what are we going to publish tomorrow? ….. nothing at the moment, the cupboard is bare.

    It doesn’t have to be an epic, just a couple of paras to spark a discussion – so come on you lot, get typing or the RHWP will be after you.

  84. evonne says:

    Hi Fergal, I am glad I didn’t tackle your post in the morning, the answer would bug me the whole day. I don’t know what is Arsenal to me – everything? That’s probably a slight exaggeration. But only slight. I wake up in the morning and check the news if anything happened at the Club in the past 8 hours; I talk about Arsenal to unsuspecting strangers; I am delighted I can blog with other loons who want to talk Arsenal 24×7; Arsenal is what makes me ecstatic, but can also throw me into deep depression. It is not just football, it is the atmosphere, the camaredie, the little and big tales, history,achievements, dark moments, collection of shirts and old programmes,the whole shebang.
    I love my family, one of my dogs, but I love Arsenal more than my cat or the other dog 🙂

  85. evonne says:

    Stoke and Sunderland for starters – we might be left with only half the team fit for the next fixture

  86. GunnerN5 says:

    Let’s test your knowledge of the EPL.
    Try to resist going to google for the answers.

    1. How many teams have appeared in all time EPL?
    2. Which team has the worst goals against per season?
    3. Which team has the least goals for per season?
    4. Name the teams who have scored an average of 2 goals or more per game?
    5 Name the teams who have a goals against of less than one per game?
    6. Name which teams (who are currently not in the EPL) which have appeared for the most seasons – and for how many seasons.

  87. Rasp says:

    GN5 … that would have made a great post for tomorrow!

  88. Slimgingergooner says:

    Susan Boyle masturbating….

    You asked!

  89. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Lovely, a GN5’er

    1) 46
    2) totnumb
    3) Birmingham
    4) Arsenal, Utd, chelsea
    5) Utd
    6) west Ham, 16 seasons

    ok GN5, put me out of my misery

  90. RockyLives says:

    Only on AA 😀

    Fergal, that is a simply brilliant debut Post.

    Not for the philosophy (which is fascinating and has brought out the site’s Philosopher Kings in full force).

    Not for the over-riding thesis, which is interesting and challenging and – as others have said – does indeed make one examine one’s own reasons for supporting Arsenal.

    Not for the essentially unanswerable question posed in the title (although attempting to answer unanswerable questions is what has led to us becoming the pre-eminent species on the planet).

    But for the sheer bloody brilliant humour. I burst out laughing several times while reading through.

    “Like chimpanzees fighting” is a great (and true) image; and who cannot love your description of a football fan:
    “An English fan is an amalgam of branded clothes and sportswear, beer, regular (if unreliable) sources of opinion and conjecture, spurious recollections of the past and projections for the future… suffering some type of physical and psychological atrophy…
    “The fan reacts on the hoof and thinks in detail at a later stage. The fan loses all sense of discipline because the abandonment is the drug that invigorates a meaningless and often one-way faith.”

    Yep, that’s me to a T.

    Welcome to the list of authors Fergal. I think you’ve found your spiritual home 🙂

  91. GunnerN5 says:

    TMHT,

    Good try, 100% wrong.

    Question 6 should read for 9 or more seasona.

  92. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    hahahaha, not the answer i was hoping for GN5.

  93. GunnerN5 says:

    Terry,

    At least you put yourself out there and tried, maybe the questions are not very well worded?

  94. RockyLives says:

    OK Gn5
    Total guesses all…

    1. 35
    2. Fulham
    3. Sunderland
    4. ManUtd, Arsenal
    5. ManUtd, Chavs
    6. Blackburn

    100% wrong? Probably 🙂

  95. GunnerN5 says:

    Rocky,

    You are right, 100% wrong, although you do get 2 half points.

  96. RockyLives says:

    Haha 🙂

    You had me going for a second with “you are right” 🙂

  97. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Nothing wrong with the questions GN5, just the answers. At least Rocky puts me in good company. hehehe

  98. GunnerN5 says:

    By the way my answer to the headline post is It’s part of my DNA.

    No other explanation is required.

    D = Dysfunction
    N = Named
    A = Arsenal

  99. Big Raddy says:

    1. 43
    2. West Ham
    3. Stoke
    4. Liverpool, Man U, Arsenal, Man City,
    5. Man Utd Arsenal
    6. Boro, Bolton, Brum, Blackburn (just because the are the B’s)

  100. GunnerN5 says:

    Gee, I didn’t think they were so tough.

    BR. 100% wrong – but very close on two.

  101. evonne says:

    GN5
    1 42
    2 Wigan
    3 West Ham
    4 Shitty, ManU
    5 Chavs, Spuds
    6 Leeds 40

  102. GunnerN5 says:

    Evonne;

    You have just joined the list at 100% wrong.

  103. kelsey says:

    Mr Burger,

    I have read your post several times and find it hard to put into words how I personally feel.

    Here is an article I found in The Observer some 5 years ago,which sums it up quite well.

    Fever Pitch is a wonderful memoir, the most influential football book ever written, and an important source for our image of the football fan. The fan, as most Britons have come to think of him, is a creature tied for life to the club he first “fell for” as a child. Hornby says his love of Arsenal has lasted “longer than any relationship I have made of my own free will”. But is Hornby’s fan found much in real life? Or are most British football supporters much less loyal than is usually presumed?
    High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article.

    Let’s start with Hornby’s version, because it is the accepted story of the British fan. As far as life allows, the Hornbyesque fan sees all his club’s home games. (It’s accepted even in the rhetoric of fandom that travelling to away games is best left to unmarried men under the age of 25.) No matter how bad his team get, the fan cannot abandon them. When Hornby watches the Arsenal of the late 1960s with his dad, their incompetence shames him but he cannot leave: “I was chained to Arsenal and my dad was chained to me, and there was no way out for any of us.” “Chained” is a very Hornbyesque word for a fan’s feelings for his club. Often, the fan uses metaphors from drugs (“hooked”) or romantic love (“relationship”, “fell for”). Indeed, some adult Englishmen who would hardly dare tell their wives that they love them will happily appear in public singing of their love for a club.

    Ideally, the Hornbyesque fan supports his local side (even if Hornby did not). This gives the fan roots, a sense of belonging. In a wonderful essay on fandom in the highbrow journal Prospect in 2004, Gideon Rachman quotes an archetypal declaration of faith from a Carlisle fan called Charles Burgess: “There never was any choice. My dad … took me down to Brunton Park to watch the derby match against Workington Town just after Christmas 41 years ago – I was hooked and have been ever since … My support has been about who we are and where we are from.”

    Rachman is a commentator on international politics for the Financial Times, but his essay is a key text in the British debate about fandom. It is the anti-Fever Pitch. In it, Rachman outs himself as a “fairweather fan, an allegiance switcher”, who at different times in his life has supported Chelsea, QPR and Spurs.

    He treats the passions of Hornbyesque fans as slightly bizarre. After all, in England one’s choice of team is largely random. Few clubs have particular religious or class affiliations, and few English people have an attachment dating back generations to any particular location. Some children become fans of their local team, however terrible it might be, but if you live in Cornwall or Somerset or Oxfordshire you may have no local professional team, while if you live in London or around Manchester you have many. As Rachman asks: “Why devote a huge amount of emotion to favouring one part of west London over another?”

    Nonetheless, the Hornbyesque fan is a widely admired figure in Britain, at least among men. But how true is this model of fandom? Does it really describe the way most British fans feel about their clubs? Hornby himself recognised the existence of casual fans in football. Many of the people who pop up briefly in the pages of Fever Pitch enjoy the game but are not wedded to a particular club. Hornby calls this type the “sod-that-for-a-lark floating punter”, and speaks of it with admiration: “I would like to be one of those people who treat their local team like their local restaurant, and thus withdraw their patronage if they are being served up noxious rubbish.”

    Broadly speaking there are two types of football fan: the Hornbys and the sod-that-for-a-lark floating punters. The sod-that-for-a-lark people are heavily represented among foreign fans of clubs such as Manchester United and Liverpool and even seem to be pretty common in Britain. No doubt a club such as Hartlepool has a higher percentage of devoted Hornbys among their fans than, say, Chelsea, but then clubs such as Hartlepool – which last season had an average gate of 3,835 compared with Chelsea’s 41,588 – don’t have many fans full stop.

    One might carp that the sod-that-for-a-lark lot are mostly just armchair fans, and that “real” fans tend to be Hornbys. However, it would be wrong to dismiss armchair fans as an irrelevance. The overwhelming majority of football fans in Britain are armchair fans, in the sense that they hardly ever go to games. In a Mori poll in 2003, 45 per cent of British adults expressed an interest in football. But the total average weekly attendances of all professional clubs in England and Scotland equal only about 3 per cent of the population. In other words, most of the country’s football fans rarely or never enter football stadiums.

    If we want to unearth the Hornbys, we need to concentrate on the elite of fans that actually go to games: the spectators, the fanatical few, those who presumably support their club “through thick and thin”. At least, that is the theory. But we studied attendances in English football over the past 60 years (Paul in ’t Hout’s marvellous website, http://www.european-football-statistics.co.uk, has statistics on attendances and league performance for all clubs in the top four divisions of English football from 1947 through 2008) and found that even among the actual spectators, a startlingly high proportion appeared to be sod-that-for-a-lark types.

    Using this data on attendance, we can find out (a) the annual mortality rate of football spectators – that is, how many of the people who watched last season don’t come back the next, and (b) the sensitivity of new spectators to the success of teams – do most newcomers flock to Chelsea when Chelsea win the league?

    To do so, we constructed a very simple model. It consists of two elements. First, there are the “new fans” coming into the game. These are estimated as the difference between the total attendance for the season and the number of loyal fans left over from the previous season. New fans divide into two groups: those who come to watch the team depending on its success, and those who come for random reasons we can’t explain – a friend invited them, a girlfriend left them, etc.

    The second element of our model is the “loyal fans”: those who come back from the previous season. Loyal fans are estimated as the difference between the total attendance for the season and the new fans entering the game. Of course, the difference between the loyal fans plus the new fans and last season’s attendance is the “lost fans”. These lost fans also fall into two groups: those who were lost to the club because its performance declined, and those who were lost for other random reasons that we cannot measure – they got back together with their girlfriend, took up DIY, etc.

    This model provides an estimate of the fraction of new fans that a team can expect to attract as a result of the position it achieves in the league.

    We found that spectators are only mildly sensitive to a team’s performance. Annual changes in attendances implied that the club that won the Premier League would attract 2.5 per cent of all new spectators entering the league the next season. However, a team that finished at the bottom of the Premier League, or the top of the next division down, the Championship, does almost as well: it attracts 2 per cent of all the league’s new spectators. Indeed, judging by the ebb and flow of crowds over the 61 years, most people seem to go to a plausible club playing near their home.

    These are the newcomers. But how many of last year’s crowd do they replace? The data reveal how many spectators each club lost or gained, season by season, for 61 years, as well as how many spectators the league as a whole lost or gained. So for every club we can calculate the average percentage of last season’s fans that did not come back for the new season. And the percentage that fits the data best? 50. Yes, on average in the post-war era, half of all spectators in English football did not take their seats again the next season. The long-term devoted spectator of the kind that Hornby described in Fever Pitch, far from being typical, is a rare species.

    Of the 50 per cent who do not show up at their club the next season, the largest group may well continue to be monogamous fans of that club. They just can’t afford to go any more, or are busy raising children, or have moved away, or simply care less than they used to. The object of their love might not have changed, but the intensity has. Many of them may once have been Hornbys who fell for a team as an eight-year-old when their father took them to their first game. However, by the time they are 28 or 88 they are no longer the same fan. For many people, fandom is not a static condition but a process.

    Other fans will have lost interest altogether. Others still might be shifting their allegiances to another club.

    Then there is a dirty secret of English football: many fans support more than one team. Hornby himself, in Fever Pitch, supports Cambridge United while he is attending university in the city, as well as Arsenal. In fact, whereas the usual analogy for football fandom is idealised monogamous marriage, a better one might be music fandom. People are fans of The Beatles, or The Cure, but they generally like more than one band at the same time, and are capable of moving on when their heroes fade.

    And yet, against all evidence, the stereotype persists that the typical British football fan is a full-on Hornby. This is no surprise, because the tiny percentage of fans who are Hornbys dominate the national conversation about fandom – naturally, as they are most motivated to enter it.

    However, there is a deeper reason the Hornby version of fandom remains so popular. In a country that is unusually rootless, this account of fandom tells a story of roots, of belonging – a lifelong love of the club your father or grandfather supported before you.

    Britain was the first country on earth where peasants left their native villages to go and work in rootless industrial cities.

    Today the average Briton changes his residence about once every seven years, more often than all other Europeans except the Nordics and the Dutch, according to a Eurobarometer survey for the European Commission in 2005. Many Britons emigrate. About 6m of them now live outside Britain, as do another 50m-odd people with British ancestry. It is hard for people this transitory to build up deep ties of any kind, even to football clubs.

    And Britons have suffered yet another uprooting: as well as leaving their place of birth, many of them have left their class of birth, too. This upheaval began on a large scale in the 1960s. As the economy grew, and more Britons stayed on at school and went to university, a mostly working-class nation turned into a mostly middle-class one. For many people this was a traumatic change. Their fathers had been factory workers, and now they were managers/professionals. They lost touch with their roots.

    Naturally, many of them began to worry about their authenticity deficits. In the 1990s, when football went upmarket and the proverbial prawn sandwiches replaced the proverbial pies, there were endless laments for a lost cloth-capped proletarian culture from people who themselves somewhere along the way had ceased to be cloth-capped proletarians. They yearned to be authentic.

    All this makes the “true fan” a particularly appealing character to Britons. He is our version of a blood-and-soil myth. The fan has roots. Generations may pass, and blue collars turn to white, but he still supports his “local” team in what is supposed to be the “working man’s game”. Many Britons who aren’t Hornbyesque fans would like to be. The fan is more than just a compelling character. He is a British national fantasy.

  104. kelsey says:

    Eat your heart our Red Arse 🙂

  105. evonne says:

    GN5 – I am in good company 🙂

  106. Red Arse says:

    Hi, Kelsey, darling, 🙂

    I read that comment with my eyes out on stalks.

    This looked like the birth of a PhD thesis, and I thought to myself, “our Kelsey has been hiding his light under a bushell”. 🙂

    Then I went back to the beginning and saw that you had actually given credit to an anonymous journalist in the Observer.

    Well done you! 🙂

    I think the journo deserves to be named tho, because, as a critique of a wonderful book, this ranks way up there.
    It was written 5 years ago, but both the book and the dissertation by the journo still relates so well to the contemporary Post written by our burgeoning author Fergal! 🙂

    Kelsey is back with a bang, and a meaningful extract!!

  107. kelsey says:

    1. How many teams have appeared in all time EPL? 45
    2. Which team has the worst goals against per season? Swindon/Sunderland
    3. Which team has the least goals for per season? Derby
    4. Name the teams who have scored an average of 2 goals or more per game? United,chelsea,Liverpool
    5 Name the teams who have a goals against of less than one per game? Chelsea
    6. Name which teams (who are currently not in the EPL) which have appeared for the most seasons – and for how many seasons.Sheffield United 6

  108. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. Thanks for wasting 10 minutes of my life 🙂

    The above is written by a man with no understanding of what it means to be a fan. It is impossible to intellectualise football fandom if one isn’t a fan. In my entire footie life I have only met one fan who has changed teams and he stopped being a Spud which is entirely understandable.

    Furthermore, the stat that 50% of people who regularly attend stop going the following season is pure bull.

  109. herbsarmy says:

    Brilliant Kelsey!
    GN5
    1) 42
    2) & 3) Changes every year since the PL started
    4) Man Utd; Chelsea; Arsenal
    5) Man Utd; Chelsea; Liverpool
    6) Middlesbro’ – 14; Blackburn – 18.

  110. dandan says:

    BR Please stop taking words out of my mouth. 🙂

  111. kelsey says:

    BR,
    He said we were the exception. Sorry about taking 10 minutes off your life and also to dandan 🙂

  112. Big Raddy says:

    Kelsey. Well, he is wrong. Though one could say we are exceptional !

  113. Big Raddy says:

    Brilliant news for BR fans. Johnny Depp has left Vanessa Paradis. ……

    Vanessa – if you are reading – would you like to come with me to the Emirates. We can share a superb kebab beforehand accompanied by the finest soft drinks and surrounded by wonderful friends. Please say Yes (and I won’t tell Mrs BR who would kill both of us in the most unspeakable manner)

  114. evonne says:

    Raddy – any woman that walks out on Johnny Depp is clearly insane.

  115. chas says:

    Great post, fburger.

    I’m not sure I understood a fair chunk of it, but this reflects more on my simple view of the world rather than on the post itself. 🙂

    I have read Outliers and one of the bits I remember the most from it was how chance plays such a large part in how things turn out. Football fans try to bring some order and structure to a game which is essentially based on chance (how else could the chavs have won the CL?). Why does a player arrive in the area at exactly the right moment to find himself on the end of a deflected cross? Or a shot cannon back off the woodwork instead of just grazing it and continuing its journey into the goal? The sheer unpredictability is breathtaking and enough to turn any fat, peace-loving buddhist into an angry blob of jelly.

    As long as my memory is still functioning, I will be obsessed with all things red and white. I have no other choice.

    By the way, the description of Almunia always looking like a homeless person caught defecating in a backstreet, had me in fits of laughter when I read the post at lunchtime. Thanks for that, worth the admission fee on its own. 🙂

  116. GunnerN5 says:

    Here are the correct answers to the six questions.

    1. 45 different teams
    2. Swindon Town -100 goals against
    3. Watford – 32 goals for.
    4. Man U- 2,0 average goals scored.
    5. Man U .85, Arsenal .93, Chelsea .96, & Liverpool .98 average goals against
    6. 5 different teams.
    Blackburn 18 years
    Middlesbrough 14
    Bolton 13
    Leeds 12
    Coventry 9

    Looks like Kelsey came closest – his prize is that he has to memorize his post from 6:01 pm

  117. RockyLives says:

    Ah Gn5 – I see I misunderstood some of the questions.

    I thought No 2 meant the average worst goals against during their lifetime in the EPL. And that No 3 was similarly about an average…

    Ho hum.

    “Looks like Kelsey came closest – his prize is that he has to memorize his post from 6:01 pm” 😀

  118. ak47 says:

    gutted ive ended up reading your first post so late. enjoyed that alot.

    the perks of being an arse. ill look forward to a weekly slot? 🙂

  119. Scott says:

    Rasp,and you wonder why I’m loathe to write an article…….check out the quality of work these guys are putting forward lately lol!!

  120. RockyLives says:

    Rasp
    Quickie in drafts.

  121. Rasp says:

    Hi Scott,

    As it stands we have nothing for tomorrow so I’d currently be grateful if ‘arry Redknapp submitted a post 🙄

  122. Rasp says:

    And then my hero rides across the horizon – thanks Rocky 😆

  123. Scott says:

    What’s all the chatter on the net aout Vermaelen being liked to Bara….all based on a photo of him and Puyol??
    Shit a brick,Puyol would be the last Barca employee TV5 would visit to discuss terms.
    Some people have little to do with their lives,don’t they??

  124. Scott says:

    I could do an ‘arry post,but the amount of censoring would mean half a dozen words would get through lol.

  125. RockyLives says:

    Scott
    Just get your dog to do it 🙂

  126. Rasp – posts in drafts from both Raddy and Rocky

  127. RockyLives says:

    Hello Peaches 😀

  128. fergalburger – great post, some people just don’t get it – the madness that is, Fever Pitch shows absolutely the type of supporter that expects the worse, watches through their fingers, from behind the sofa or can’t bear to watch at all.

    Like chas, I love the ride, the expectation that something unexpected can happen – for me, just being there gives me the buzz. Winning is great but if you break down the hows and whys of things happening so much is left to chance.

    It is madness but I love it and all the people that share it with me 🙂

  129. Hello Rocky – I’ve so missed being here but I just can’t get on during the day at the moment 😦

  130. RockyLives says:

    I guess this is a busy time for you Peaches – though the weather can’t have helped.

  131. weedonald says:

    So if I correctly decoded your wonderfully exotic post, we are all AFC addicts suffering from a self-deluded, metaphysically challenged desire to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Football. in the fleeting and ephemeral illusion that what we are seeing adds some meaning to our mundane existences?
    That said (and it was a mouthful) I am unable and unwilling to return to whatever reality those who do not have the intelligence or wit to support Arsenal claim is the genuine article!

  132. chas says:

    fburger,

    I meant to ask,
    (8-2 L) does the L mean Loss?
    (5-2 J) I’ve no idea what the J stands for?
    In bold, too.

  133. Scott says:

    Isn’t it obvious Chas?
    Actually….wouldn’t have a bloody clue 🙂

  134. evonne says:

    Monster and Scott – honestly!! J is for JOY

  135. chas says:

    So what does L stand for? I must be an opposite.
    Lassitude?

  136. chas says:

    .. It must be…..

  137. Big Raddy says:

    chas. Lovely start to the day.

  138. Big Raddy says:

    It can’t be…….

  139. chas says:

    This is for Micky.

  140. chas says:

    …It should be…

  141. evonne says:

    L is for gLOOM

  142. evonne says:

    wrong link, sorry

  143. Scott says:

    J is for Job Done.

  144. kelsey says:

    For those with a nervous disposition especially concerning the team we all love.

    Telling yourself to stop worrying doesn’t work—at least not for long. You can distract yourself or suppress anxious thoughts for a moment, but you can’t banish them for good. In fact, trying to do so often makes them stronger and more persistent.

    You can test this out for yourself. Close your eyes and picture a pink elephant. Once you can see the pink elephant in your mind, stop thinking about it. Whatever you do, for the next five minutes, don’t think about pink elephants!

    How did you do? Did thoughts of pink elephants keep popping in your brain?

  145. evonne says:

    Kelsey – Na$ri is gone, no point spending next 5mins thinking about him

  146. Rasp says:

    Morning all……

    …. New post ……

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