Epilogue

 

The gooner goading would irritate me a lot more if I thought they believed in it unequivocally.

The last time I watched Arsenal Fan TV (the final weekend of Premier League action) they were crying about their league campaign and spoke about the FA Cup final like it was nothing more than a consolation prize (again). Granted, this profit-making You Tube channel isn't the spokesman for their entire fanbase but it's representative of the atypical modern Arsenal fan. It's also a wonderful blend of comedy, plastic philosophy and broken soundbites. The rhetoric is Christopher Morris in tone and serves as a gentle reminder that for the most part we have been damned with Garmonbozia for rivals; negative energy with no real physical form.

Their faux celeb fans were adamant that a cup win would mask the wrongs of their manager. 'We want to be winning titles and finishing about Tottenham' they proclaimed. The sheer audacity of it, positively dismissive in the moment.

Now it's their weapon of choice and somehow validates everything, correcting the ills they've cursed all season long. At no point is there a suggestion they are self-aware enough to consider that their hypocrisy is being digitally chronicled. The ego is a consumer of truths. I wont begrudge any club for winning a trophy, it's what we all aspire to, it's what we all want. It takes a particular creed of supporter to be able to pull the soul out of a victory and stain it with petulance. 

It's proof that football fans in general spout absolute bollocks to fit the narrative of that particular day, stuck in a perpetual state of rationalisation. Look, I'm guilty of it now. I know some of you are too, using another clubs success to distort and devalue your own teams progression. In our case, we've been better than decent for two seasons, punching above our weight and contending. We've been fantastic yet there are some that linger on with doubt. A mindset of fragility appears to be the common denominator for one and all.

Don't be daft, don't be weak. Don't define yourself by the being of others. This is advice often ignored.

Even when they knew the cup final could offer them redemption they still persisted with their managerial witch hunt and struggled to accept their reality, slagging off players they are no doubt worshipping now. Apparently this is a consequence of ambition and hunger (in their world, this means hating on the success they are blessed with because it's not the ilk of success they crave). This is what (according to them) makes them better than anyone else. The hunger. Most on the outside, looking in, see nothing more than starvation. 

Their dependency on how they define their own self worth is disturbing. Celebrating and bragging is part and parcel of rivalry. Most of the time the set of fans are deserving of the personal glory (afterall, only the winning team should give a toss about winning it) because they haven't spent most of their time pretending it wasn't a big deal or important.

Of course, the manner in which they've reacted, heightened levels of excitement, at its purest level probably has them experiencing the moment the way it should be. Rather than the dismissive afterthoughts (aforementioned) they often tag to it because of the delusions of grandeur they suffer in the league. Still, in time, they'll sink back to their default position and internally dismiss this achievement because they are obsessed with the ones from the past.

This is a rant about Arsenal but not really. It's aimed at the hive consisting of all supporters. Same twisted perspectives, different colours.

Social media forces modern day supporters to constantly measure up to their rivals, to always have a tailored response at the ready and avoid losing face. Add a hashtag to really drum it home and boost that self-esteem.

Enjoy the moment because it passes soon enough and then the present day eclipses all and darkness festers once more. The unavoidable truths start to sink their razor sharp teeth into the flesh and tear it to shreds. Before long, Thursday nights will see them bemoaned and mocked and others will do their best to avoid the same fate.

Of course it f*cking irritates the f*ck out of me. I'm fully triggered.

You don't get an open bus parade for momentum. However, football is mostly about identity at its core and having one that is whole and not fragmented to f*ck. You need a foundation before you build anything on it, otherwise you can't sustain it beyond a one-off occasion. Is that what we want? I'd hazard a guess we want a lot more than that (although a starting position would be appreciated). Before someone shouts out they wouldn't mind what the Woolwich have (cup final wins), be careful what you wish for. If you need me to explain this then I'm sorry, I can't help you.

We've had a tremendous season, we're edging closer to the hedonistic heights we seek to own all of the time and not cameo every ten years or God forbid, under-achieve with earnest consistency.

The Gooner honesty from their pre cup final ranting is correct. It masks their corrupted state. Their hate for the board, their confused emotions for their manager. Oh how the privilege live, with their days out at Wembley after airbourne banners and flag waving protests.

It irritates me but it won't tomorrow. Because I know what most of you know and what them lot all understand deep down.

Even in the midst of all our suffering and impatience and troubled seasons, we didn't lose our way. Perhaps a momentary wobble post 2011 when expectancy was superior to our teams output and the fanbase cracked with impatience as we zoned out and back in again. But we've readjusted organically and together. Club, coaches, players and supporters. To be able to win silverware and do so with longevity in mind to win more, we have to first be good enough, strong enough. The foundation is imperative. This isn't the Spurs of old, plugging away to grab a day in the sunshine because attaining more was impossible.

Do you think the players and our manager are suddenly hollow with grief? Get a grip. Their mettle hasn't dissolved over night, why should yours? 

I know it's a psychological brain melt and actually winning anything (for this team) will mean something so much more to our future compared to those distant cup memories. The fact you're hurting, in a perverse way, means it matters. That we know we are deserving of more. That we have to achieve more. We have to earn it first.

Are you really going to hate on our ambition? Are you going to dismiss the complete reinvention of our culture just because them lot down the road have momentarily regained their voice? Have you forgotten the all consuming emotion of the finale at the Lane and the empowerment you felt belonging to this football club? Much like they did last season when they stole in for 2nd spot and pretended all was well again, are you going to pretend it suddenly counts for nothing? Are you that insecure? 

Take a deep breath. 

Even when they win, they lose.

Reach on down and grab your balls. They're in the same place they sat a couple of weeks back.