Dear Mr Piers Morgan,
There have been very few occasions where I felt that being a voyeur and watching someone else’s misfortune is so sado-masochistic that it rivals performing the act of Japanese disembowelment with a blunt Swiss army pen knife. So it was that I wandered back to the Online Daily Mail to see the aftermath of this self professed Gooner, who had called for Arsene Wenger to go after the Man City result. It takes a lot as a national newspaper to lower themselves to the level of the Le Grove web blog, but there we are. I gave you both the Friday Finger in TGIF and left it at that…
Until I saw your reply.
Let me remind you of what you said…
“Today’s squad is full of boys who would run back to mummy at the first sign of Roy Keane’s snarling shadow emerging into a tunnel.
They’re physically small, emotionally immature, and psychologically fried.
With no leader like Adams or Vieira to guide them, and no older, experienced players to look up to, they don’t know what to do as the pressure intensifies, the fans get on their back, and the losses accelerate.
Everyone is desperate to play us now, because they smell the one word that nobody ever associated with a Wenger-led Arsenal: fear.
Once the toughest team in the Premiership, we’ve become a soft touch.
And that, I’m afraid, is down to the manager. Wenger stood on the touchline for most of the second half yesterday looking like a Death Row inmate waiting to be taken to the electric chair.
He looked angry, frustrated, careworn, and suddenly very old. I never thought I would say this, but I think it’s time Arsene Wenger and Arsenal parted company.”
Try looking Fabregas in the eye next time you interview him and repeating those words. But you had begun like this.
“Right. That’s it. Season over, and it’s not even bloody December. Arsenal were pathetic yesterday. No, hang on, that’s too generous.
Pathetic means ‘causing or evoking sympathy’.
I don’t feel any sympathy for the team who capitulated so appallingly to Manchester City. I feel blind fury, bitter resentment and a slow, seeping, horrible realisation that one of the great love affairs of my life is rapidly coming to an end.”
If I tell you that you made a gloomy Insider on this site called Maximus sound positively euphoric. I was not only angered by this outburst, but for me it confirms that The Daily Mail has now become no better than the rest of the anti-Arsenal moronic tabloid Red Tops that slink around the alley ways of Fleet Street like a kerb crawling punter cruising for his next fix of illegal adrenaline soaked titillation. A scenario which is like a bad nightmare which leaves one wondering how such a notion could ever have arrived in a head supposedly logical and coldly sane.
But your next piece had me rushing headlong to exhume the contents of my stomach into the welcoming bowl of porcelain. It was pusillanimous at best and at worse, it had the stench of hypocrisy and panic. The fear perhaps of no more privileged drinks in the Diamond Club, or no more inside bits of information as Press officers and managers of the Club removed your mobile phone number from their memories.
Sports journalists get many perks, a few do reveal their affiliation to this club or that, but I have never seen such a U-turn performed with the alacrity of a Harley Davidson doing a 180 degree turn in a skid pan of Elephant’s diarrhoea. But what of the reasons for getting it so wrong? You said…
“I was depressed, frustrated, consumed with blind anger and behaved like most football fans behave in the immediate aftermath of a terrible loss – irrationally. Foaming at the mouth
‘Enough was enough,’ I stormed. ‘He must go!’ And for the rest of the evening, I congratulated myself on my fearless one-man campaign to oust the greatest manager in Arsenal’s history. Then I went to bed and, at 3am, reality dawned with the power of a demented 10-inch maggot crawling inside my ear. What was I thinking? How could I do this? Had I lost my mind?.
Ok pleading temporary insanity is always likely to get the blue rinse grannies on your side, but will it silence the howls of the lynch mob, baying at his doors of your e-mail client?
Apparently you realised the pain when you received e-mails like this…
“And then came the ones that really hurt. From Manchester United fans like Myles Bailey: ‘How can you Gooners want to throw the baby out with the bath water? I remember certain individuals advocating getting rid of Alex Ferguson in 2005 – two titles and a Champions League later, where are they? Wenger’s made a mess, but if anyone can get Arsenal out of it, it’s him.’
And, worst of all, from Spurs supporters. Dozens of them. All hooting with laughter, and praying that I get what I want. ‘There’s nothing better than seeing you Gooners on the way down,’ wrote Mike from Upminster, ‘and I have to agree that Wenger should go. Keep up the good work and long may Arsenal fail.”
If I may descend into the vernacular…
“It’s a bit f*cking obvious aint it mate?” But when does the opinion of a Manc or a scum supporter ever bring a real Gooner to their senses? The very notion of that prick of conscience is just nauseatingly pathetic.
You finished with the litany of predictable excuses…
“A real fan wouldn’t conveniently erase the memory of the dark Arsenal days, when whole decades seemed to drift by with nothing but mid-table mediocrity, and woefully tedious football, to boast about. A real fan wouldn’t, in summary, be such a pathetic, limp-wristed, squealing, prawn sandwich- eating, disloyal little prat.”
Which just goes to show that you don’t really understand what being a real fan is. These stereotypes are those held up by a clique of fans who like to think themselves holier than thou. Those who feel that you could not be a real fan unless you knew who Malcolm Mcdonald was and how many goals he scored for the Arsenal. I rally against this inverted kind of snobbery. The homophobic echoes were also mildly curious given your highly public position.
If you eat, drink and breathe The Arsenal with a passion, and will defend the honour of the Club, against all those outside of the family of Gooners, If you would fight or lay down your body to assist another Gooner in distress, then I don’t care if you have been a fan for five months or longer than five years. If the first news that you want to hear involves the Club in general and the team in particular. If you could dress yourself with every item of clothing emblazoned with the cannon crest, or have it tattooed across your forehead, then that is what it is like to be a real fan. Real fans grieve the losses and become hysterical with the victories. Being an Arsenal fan is do things “The Arsenal way” Pray tell, what way of the Arsenal uses betrayal as a theme?
You see, you don’t really get it do you Piers… It’s not the prawn sandwiches or the early leaving that defines a plastic Gooner. Many of these fans have seen the worse of the Arsenal and travelled to a darn many more away grounds in the cold and wet than anything you could ever conceive. These fans have suffered, and they do hurt, but when you cut them despite all things considered they still won’t bleed red and white. Why? Because this is due to the fact that they could even for one microsecond countenance the thought of walking away from the club that they supposedly love. That is what defines a plastic Gooner, you see Piers…
Being a real Gooner is knowing that you are a Gooner for life… Arsenal ‘til I die.
So whether your life span is equivalent to the kind of maggot that you described in your head, or the centennial divide of giant Galapogos Tortoises, it is the fact that you are fused to the heritage and fabric of this great club like a conjoined twin that in essence defines a real fan. The fact that we are lucky enough to have witnessed and have been present, at the time that the greatest living manager in Arsenal’s history walked the hallowed corridors of our club. An awesome recognition indeed. There will be many of us who can tell our grand children that we were there when Arsenal history was being written like The Invincible Season, a humbling thought don’t you agree?
It is true that some us here have misgivings, and dips of depression, but we would never ever indulge ourselves in such a brutal act of treachery, which was made worse by the fact that here was a supposed famous Arsenal fan who had even rubbed shoulders with the great man, who then followed it by stabbing him in the back. I have nothing but loathing and contempt for your attention seeking exercise of self flagellation.
Fabregas the King.