Today at I am delighted to welcome James Stokes as a guest blogger to North London Is Red Follow James! James is a blogger who needs no introduction as I am certain that you are all regular readers of his highly entertaining site The Armchair Gooner. Take it away James…..
Hello delicious readers of ‘North London Is Red’. My name is James ‘Raul’ Stokes, and I’ll be your guest blogger for the day. I hope you’re all well and dandy. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Many football pundits regularly use the expression, “rollercoaster of emotions”. Such clichéd dross invariably gets spluttered across the airwaves by stiff dullards such as Andy Townsend, and ordinarily I wouldn’t give it the time of day – instead preferring to create something a little more mellifluous and interesting of my own; “perilous autobahn of trembling sentiment and incandescent fury”, for example. After the events of the past week, I find Townsend’s version to be rather fitting.
What’s struck me the most is the factions amongst our fan-base. You’ll know the ones I mean, they use monikers that comprise of capital letters and brandish idle threats to cover seats with rubbish bags. Far be it from me to discount the opinion of anyone here. Each fan is entitled to think whichever way they see fit about our beloved club. My point is simple; I believe all this hatred, all this animosity, is having an adverse affect.
Take one second to imagine this scenario. In your gainful employment, whether you’re a barman or accountant, how would you react if every slight blunder you made was met with cacophonous howls of derision? Would you be able to maintain a steely determination about your tasks if those in the opposing office greeted you with songs questioning your sexual practices? I’m pretty sure I’d struggle. Imagine how some of our players feel – the poor lambs. Yes, I know they’re extraordinarily well paid, and I’d happily be called a useless “see you next Tuesday” for a 7-figure annual income, but please bare with me. After all, they are just human beings at the end of the day.
Of course, I’m not suggesting we all embrace love and understanding and start making one another daisy-chains. That would be idealistic nonsense. But I do believe there has to be a point when we stop – when cheering our own team takes precedence over handing out abuse to one of our ex-players – regardless of how much they might deserve it. And a point where Twitter isn’t used as a medium to lambast Aaron Ramsey simply because his haircut offends your delicate sensibilities, or he misplaced a pass in the 37th minute.
In the Arsenal community there seems to be too much anger. I don’t dispute there is plenty to be aggrieved about. The incumbents of our board are ageing, misanthropic, feculent morons with more concern for profit than for Arsenal. To them our club is nothing more than a cash-cow they’ll happily flog until it’s dry – and I say “our club” on purpose; the quicker they realise that, the better. But all that hatred and bile is of no use to anyone.
As fans, we are entitled to opinions and abhorrence. Football would be a tedious and unrewarding pursuit if debate was removed. However, there are, in my opinion, 90 minutes when those opinions should be put to one side. It doesn’t matter where you are. Bristol, Mars, Wolverhampton or a as-yet undiscovered planet inhabited by talking blocks of cheese; when Arsenal kick off, get behind them. Cheer them on, sing songs about our players and will them toward victory. Leave all the bitterness and Gloomy-Gus syndrome at the nearest exit, and pick it up later.
Make no mistake, boys and girls; the players stand a far better chance of getting out of their current funk with us behind them. We are Arsenal. We’re all in this together – well, we bloody well should be, at the very least…
And that’s me done for now. I’ll finish up by extending my gratitude to Daniel for allowing me the opportunity to blather on all over his blog, and by thanking you, the intrepid peruser. I hope you’ve enjoyed my little contribution. If not, the comments allow you a very handy avenue in which you can call me all sorts of names. I’ve been writing about Arsenal long enough to be pretty thick-skinned.
Fantastic stuff James. You are totally right, we all need to come together for 90 minutes every time Arsenal take to the pitch and just support our boys. The discord amongst the fans cannot help our players at all, especially when their backs are against the wall. As you say, we are in this together and I said last season that much rests in the hands of the fans.
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