“Guess It’s Over, Call It A Day, Sorry That It Had To End This Way”

So sang American candle-lit crooner Johnny Mathis in a duet with Denise Williams “back in the day” as they say on that side of the Atlantic in 1978. And so it is with the Arsenal season. We all dreamed of glory and silverware, dreamed of Wembley and the Bernabéu, FA Cup and Champions League finals, League titles. None of it was to be.
Spurs winning at Eastlands on Wednesday night means we now have to beat Fulham on Sunday to be absolutely sure of a third place finish. How did we conspire to manage that? We should have over the hills and far away by now. We’re simply not consistent or ruthless enough at the moment. Issues that have to be addressed in the close season that is now rapidly upon us.
I always love World Cup summers. For sporting obsessive anoraks like me it provides endless fun, especially in the group stage when game follows game, day after day. I only wish I could be following football’s quadrennial world summit in the happy afterglow of trophies galore.
As it is I had to suffer the entire day yesterday working in the shadow of the heart of the evil empire – White Hart Lane. I worked as a polling station presiding officer on the general and local elections in a church hall on Northumberland Park, literally in the shadow of that tip they call a football ground. I was somewhat cheered by my first voter right on the dot of 7.00am being a Gooner in full Arsenal regalia. Top man! He was obviously out and proud, given he lived two minutes walk from The Lane. I’m pleased to report that I wasn’t one of those who turned away hoards of angry voters!
If we’re disappointed now, imagine how we’ll feel on Sunday if we manage to stand on our crank in the golf shoes once again against the Cottagers and Spuds win at Turf Moor. Aside from sentencing us to the play-off round of the Champions League, we’ll never hear the end of it from Spurs fans. Who would have thought that for the first time in decades there might be no St Totteringham’s Day this season, never mind it being delayed to the final weekend of the season.
All that makes a win on Sunday essential. A point will probably do it, but let’s win to make absolutely certain. I for one will REALLY be spitting the dummy if we blow third place AND gift it to Spurs.
As I blogged earlier in the week, I shall be taking my mind off the game on Sunday by supporting Barnet in their relegation decider against Rochdale at Underhill tomorrow. I know many Gooners don’t give a monkey’s about the game in general, just Arsenal. I’m probably a minority I know but, whilst Arsenal will always be first above all in my heart, I love the game too. I’m a bit of an obsessive that way, which is one of many reasons I’m a sad, lonely bastard! I’m so obsessed with the game I’ve even been to watch a Paraguayan third division game! Such is the life of the football anorak.
Let’s get our heads focussed and see of Fulham (who will hopefully have all their attentions on their trip to Hamburg for the Europa League Final). Ending a fifth consecutive season trophyless is bad enough. Losing out to Spurs for third place would simply be too much to bear.
Keep the faith!

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