Over the past few years I’ve scratched my head trying to rationalize the changing moods of fans around the world. In my youth your football team and its players were god like figures who were held in the highest esteem.
Us kids were in total awe of the players, our imaginations were our TV sets, as most of the families in our area were too poor to ”waste” their hard earned money on an unnecessary luxury, and the mental pictures we had were from our scrap books which were full of black and white pictures cut from the Sunday newspapers. Each week we would cut out the latest standings and pin them up in the kitchen, and we’d spend hours figuring out where we were most likely to finish, usually around mid table.
When my Grandfather took me to my first game at 10 years old, I was already a seasoned supporter but getting inside Highbury changed my life and meant that I simply had to see every game, but with no money I had to be very resourceful, and I was, rarely missing a game despite getting severely scuffed knees in the process. I was totally awe struck – there I was sitting in the corner of the field, after manipulating the stewards into believing I’d fainted, getting patted on the head by my idols, a kid’s fantasy come true.
The managers were talked about with reverence and we always wondered how they could be so smart and wondered where they gained the knowledge to run a football team. Names like Herbert Chapman, George Allison and Tom Whittaker were spoken about in our family discussions and their accomplishments were compared and the comparisons created much banter, most good natured, but not always.
From Tom Whittaker’s last League trophy in 1952/53 we went through an awful period of only winning trophies in 3 of the next 36 seasons – until George Graham won the League title in 1988/89. It was during that period that our managers and teams came under a lot closer scrutiny and strong “anti” opinions started to form.
Team finances were never discussed, after all, we were not clever enough to understand them and it was none of our business anyway. About the only time money spent came to light was when a transfer figure was revealed. Nobody knew or even cared about team finances – that was always considered to be only the club’s business and were usually kept under wraps. I cannot ever remember one single discussion with my family, friends or other supporters that revolved around finances.
Talking about transfers, the only time we knew about them was when they were announced. There was seldom paper talk about potential transfers during the season and transfer windows never existed, players came and went at any time during the season. We would, of course be envious of some of the wonderful teams that came to Highbury and of their great players. Frequently wishing that we had been fortunate enough to have those players at Arsenal, but that was the clubs business and not ours, you see our business was to support – and that is what we were good at so we stuck to it.
So what has happened to the “real” Arsenal supporters?
Today it would appear that every Arsenal supporter is an “expert” on everything and they have earned imaginary degrees in every subject pertaining to football.
How did they develop this level of “expertise”?
The answer is simple, they’re known in the trade as “Red Top” degrees, and you earn them firstly by being able to read and secondly by having the necessary lack of grey matter to believe everything you read.
Those more accomplished “fans” have found that the internet is also a route to instant education and they have found others of a similar persuasion who are attempting to upgrade their “Red Top” degrees to become a “Phd in Red Top’s”.
These experts then band together and go in search of legitimate sites, run by passionate supporters, and infest them with their “deep understanding” of everything pertaining to football. These sites then become contaminated by the virus and as yet no anti virus has been developed to eradicate them. However this is not all bad as they prefer to be with their own kind so that they can spread their “wisdom”
A little knowledge is always a dangerous thing and today’s media coverage allows some people to become these instant experts that are just like some of the old vinyl record players, once the needle gets stuck in a groove – it “needles” you.
I say we are very fortunate bloggers to have found an internet oasis called Arsenal Arsenal.
Please take into consideration, that these are the ramblings of an old fart.