Warning: If we don’t get a slush of mails today, there will be no mailbox this afternoon. Have an opinion, people. Express it. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Being a fan is not about being rational
I really do understand, and sympathise with, Arsenal fans’ exhaustion and frustration.
Assessed rationally and dispassionately, they’re in a much better situation than the overwhelming majority of football clubs. Large, modern stadium that they own. Debt-free and cash-rich. A squad replete with exciting, high quality attackers and Theo Walcott. Stable ownership, and consistent strategic direction given by a long-standing and impressive manager. Regular Champions League football, and competing for league titles and other cups.
But the whole point of being a football supporter is that it isn’t an exercise in rational analysis, it’s an atavistic, emotional and cathartic experience, where adults (and, being Arsenal fans, relatively educated and affluent adults) excite themselves to absurd emotional highs and lows watching millionaire man-children kick a leather ball for 90 minutes.
And understood as an intrinsically emotional experience, being an Arsenal fan must be incredibly frustrating. The majority will have experienced the first ten years of Wenger, and become accustomed to winning the league, and having a team with obvious mental strength. If they didn’t win a European trophy, they were still a team that combined good football with a winning mentality and record of winning trophies.
In much the same way that United fans became frustrated with Fergie’s lack of progress in Europe (he should have won at least a couple more European titles), Arsenal fans simultaneously take for granted their current uninspiring success, and have expectations set higher by ten years of league titles and challenges.
Factor in the repetitive and predictable quality of how and when Arsenal fail (about February/March every year, a combination of injuries and mental collapse), and I’d be bloody frustrated too.
Why aren’t City buying defenders?
So the news is that Manchester City just signed Leroy Sane for £37mil and rumours of Marlos Moreno and Gabriel Jesus are making the rounds.
If the rumours are true then I fear we might have a case of misplaced priority from pep. Now don’t get me wrong, these kids are talented, but rather than trying to chase the top kids around the world why not promote from within. City have invested millions of pounds in the EDS and there’s loads of talented youngsters in there, but there has been
very little progress promoting the kids into the first team.
The signing of Zinchenko and Sane shows an intention to work with young players. Shouldn’t that zeal be directed at the academy right now, City’s academy is regarded as one of the best (it is on the basis of facilities alone) in England but has the unwanted reputation of being unable to promote youngsters, here’s a chance to change that and I
can’t help but think that if City go ahead to sign these kids it will only stifle the progress of the academy kids. I believe such money could be reinvested in other areas of the squad. City’s defence is an absolute wreck with Kompany’s injuries and the lack of reliable options at full-back. These are much more pressing issues that should be dealt with quickly or could be their undoing in a season that could be so promising.
Pelumi (United fan from Nigeria)
Why do fans care about money?
When did football fans become obsessed with transfer fees, net spend and shirt sales? The only thing money wise that should be annoying us is ticket prices, especially now that Sky and BT have set teams up with enough cash for the next 427 years.
What happened to just wanting your team to sign a player, being the next Fergie over a few pints and serenading/slating players. Why does anyone care what’s being spent? I’m not saying that disrespectfully I just really don’t understand it. If I go to a festival I don’t care what the acts are being paid to play the gig. If I’m at the cinema I don’t care what the actors were paid. It wasn’t always like this.
Paul (Loved your Championship article, it has gotten me even more excited for Friday) NUFC
Arsenal already play with a back three
Someone wrote in a few mailboxes ago with the idea that Arsenal should play with three at the back. I thought it was a great idea until I realised that during their most successful spell last season, they actually did!
It’s to do with the Bellerin-Monreal dichotomy. Bellerin was encouraged to go forward with Ramsey, nominally on the right, tucking into the centre. When Bellerin went forward, the rest of the defensive line (including Monreal who would sit back) would shift to the right, effectively forming a back three! It’s why Nacho doesn’t get that far forward.
Uday (Yes I am very bored) AFC, Delhi
Confidence, confidence, confidence
Anand raises a point that comes up in the mailbox every so often…why would you go sit on the bench of a superclub when you could be a key player elsewhere and still earning fabulous money?
Surely to reach the level of being wanted by Barcelona or Real, you have to have supreme confidence in your ability, to the extent that you probably think you will make it into the side, at least for a reasonable amount of games? These players have probably been told multiple times that they wouldn’t be able to make it, with some being released as kids before rebuilding elsewhere, or struggling to get into their current team’s first XI earlier in their careers. This internal drive and confidence is what has helped to make them such good players (maybe not the very best, but a level above that which 99% of us will reach), so while we think ‘He won’t get a game there’ they are more likely to see it as a challenge, but one that can be overcome.
This is before we even consider injuries, fallouts, loss of form etc, that could see a supposed superstar out of the team with the squad player assuming their first-team role.
Jack (What happened to people sending their tips?! Need help for Champo games this weekend if anyone is feeling generous. Will Degsy be posting something?) Manchester
Dundalk so close to the Champions League
You may or may not be aware of this. But Dundalk FC of Ireland last night beat BATE Borisov of Belarus. BATE are the only Belarusian team to have qualified for the group stage of the UEFA Champions League (2008–09, 2011–12, 2012–13, 2014–15 and 2015–16). Dundalk have never qualified for the Champions League. Dundalk almost went out of existence as a football club in 2012, yet last night we beat a team who recently took four points off Roma and drew with Bayern Munich.
Usually when an upset like this happens it is due to some last ditch defending by the winning side, or a fluke goal from a set-piece. But not this team. Last night, particularly in the second half we beat the opponents based on skill and commitment. The visitors introduced an Arsenal old boy in Alexander Hleb in the second half to ignite some impetus to their cause, but to no effect. In plain sight we were technically better in every sense than our opponents and deservedly won 3–0.
I sit here this morning in work thinking “Did that happen. Am I still dreaming. Are we actually about to step into the qualifying stages of the Champions League?” So I ask you as a football fan to stop for a second and think about that. Really think about what is happening here. Because this is really something special. Yes I’m being a bit ‘Disney’ and dramatical, but f**k you. My club, my town, the place where I live, are now €5.2 million richer. But more than that, we now stand on the cusp of something great. Champions league qualification. Last night was history, but there is still something more in the tank from this team.
Ciarán, Dundalk FC
Lauding King Kenny
Thank you for the portrait on the King.
There are truly no words to describe how dear this man is to the hearts of Liverpool fans.
He gave us so much joy and success as a a footballer and cared for our city in our time of need.
He owes us nothing.
Thank you Kenny for everything you have done.
H, (long live the King)
…‘He only stopped when he’d broken himself’. I was holding it together until then.
Icon isn’t anywhere near enough. There’s lots of icons. Hell, Zlatan is an icon to lots of people. You can be an icon without ever having a hundredth of the impact Kenny had on his city and his club.
There’s only one man fit to be called the King. Excellent piece on a truly brilliant footballer and incredible human being.
Matt (guess where I’m from) LFC