Where has our class gone?
The joy of Saturday is still hard to contain, how sweet it is to savour victory in the face of such overwhelming scepticism. This was the best of Arsenal Football Club, when everything was going against us we found victory through harmony. A bad run of results, slaughtered by all and sundry in the press, written off, injured, suspended, fitness tests, the European and British champions in town, a shitty ref who wouldn’t give us the clap, and we still did it. This was a heart warming result that harkens back to the days of George Graham. (Wenger’s best have rarely been this sort of underdogs.)
So, you might ask “why this title?” Well in the 36 hours since I was able to download the highlights of the game from Arsenal TV online I have watched them at least 15 times. This has finally got me pissed off enough to abuse the platform of this website for my own personal agenda. I am told this is one of the sites that the press office follows, (If so I doubt they care what I think anymore, if this were the stadium I’m sure they would have got text by now: “loud, fat man standing and swearing. Children crying – please eject”) so I hope they hear the angst of a normally rabidly loyal partisan and take note.
In days gone by Arsenal could be relied upon to go the extra distance to treat the fans with grace. (Yeah I know about the Highbury box office, but overall they treated me and my Nan extremely well in fairness.) As a teenager, when I wrote to Arsene Wenger with my scouting reports from Channel 5’s Thursday Argentine football night I always got a signed reply. That sort of thing means a lot to a kid. When my Nan spoke at the final meeting at Islington town hall for planning approval for the Emirates the club got in touch. In fact Peter Hill Wood personally wrote a very genuine thank you note and invited our whole family to watch the players train and then have lunch with the squad. This remains a truly memorable day in my life, one that the club was under no obligation to provide, but the class of the establishment shone through. (Do you think fatty Usmanov would do that? Would he even bother to get an underling to produce a formulaic stencil in business speak?)
So this is why I am pissed off and calling out the declining standards of class at this club: despite a barrage of emails this season asking for some explanation as to why the quality of internet highlights has declined so drastically they refuse to respond to me. Before anyone asks I am completely sober as I write this.
Last season highlights were 15 minutes approximately; now they are about 10 and this includes a newly extended introduction of no use to anyone who knows the team. Last season they were edited with care, every effort was clearly made to show each major incident as well as to give a feel for the flow of the game; now major incidents are missed completely, the build up to goals is often not shown in its entirety, and no passages of play are included to give a feel for the performance.
Now I watch EVERY game anyway, but I enjoy what I think are these magical times at our club. One day we will sit around tell people too young to remember what these teams we have now were like, how good Wenger was, the marvel of Henry or Bergkamp, and struggle to find words to convey the deft, cerebral brilliance of Cesc Fabregas. I love this shit with all my heart and I don’t see why what was such an enjoyable and quality service last year needs to be so shoddy now. I think it is fair enough to ask for an explanation, if it is just laziness then perhaps something can be done to remedy it. If there is a genuine reason, I struggle to imagine one, then fair enough. But I find it disheartening far beyond the original issue that the club doesn’t even have the time anymore for common courtesy.
Apologies to anyone who found my malcontented ravings boring, but we all have our gripes with something. If nothing else it is a change form the usual complaints about the defence and midfield, these I think are rather good by the way. Up the Arse! I look forward to hearing from the club soon.
***See Arsene’s Wonderkids on GoonerTube with music by the AwayBoyz***