It’s Happened Again! Wilshere In Trouble
Tawdry glorified magazines devoid of almost all integrity and relevance is perhaps a better description for the publications that have the temerity to call themselves newspapers for these days there is little written, especially in the sports pages, that can be considered news or a journalistic interest piece.
It’s happened again!
When Arsenal took to the streets of Islington last year to celebrate the end of their trophy drought and display their reward to the tumultuous crowd Jack Wilshere wasted no time in delighting the red and white throng with a bit of Spurs baiting.
Just over a year later – having helped his club successfully defend their title and claim their second major trophy in two seasons – Jack Wilshere, obscured behind large sunglasses on an overcast, rainy day in N5; no doubt feeling the repercussions of an evening of celebration, once again exhilarated the crowd with the rendition of a few match favourite chants.
The way this wonderful interaction with the fans has been reported you’d think Wilshere indecently exposed himself outside a shopping centre before doing a naked square dance and forcing bigotry on innocent passers-by.
Wilshere has been accused of breaking some sort of moral code, bringing the game into disrepute, overshadowing the success of his club and being a bad role-model to young children who are probably exposed to far worse language at home, in their school playground or on the internet.
The overshadowing comment was a strange one as the indignation at his singalong was entirely fabricated by the media. Ironically it was the reporting of this “offence” that overshadowed the win. The media chose to run with a sensationalist story rather than have to begrudgingly dedicate 4-5 pages on just how superb Arsenal were. I guess it is easy for some of these media employees to write pages of how mortally offensive Jack was than to congratulate Arsenal on a professional and highly entertaining win.
Football has become a dull, sterile media environment. Players rarely go out in fear of being papped and reported as womanising drunkards when in all likelihood they were just being social with the friends they rarely see given the surreal bubble most elite-level footballers live in.
The increased professionalism of the game and the approach players have to their bodies and match preparation has improved the game exponentially but it has also forced the players and the fans to drift further apart. Supporters cherish the memories of “lad” players who they might easily bump into on their local high street and bemoan the fact it is now almost unheard of Joe Average buying a drink in his local boozer on a Tuesday night for one of his heroes.
Scenes like the ones from outside the Emirates, two years in a row, show that not all footballers are emotionally detached from the spirit of the game – the supporters. Jack understands us because he is one of us. It’s rare to be able to say that a player knows what it is like to be a fan. Not all supporters like those chants but the vast majority of the club’s adoring fans do.
I’ve seen a lot of fans from other clubs – ironically Chelsea the most – saying how classless it was of Jack to sing those songs but I’ve heard very little in the way of indignation or great offence from Tottenham fans. They might not like the songs, they will most likely be rankled most by them, but they understand them. They understand the rivalry and so does Jack.
The Chelsea fans who traveled to the Emirates to celebrate by Adams’ statue were roundly condemned and labelled as sad and possibly some Chelsea fans saw this as hypocritical but maybe their lack of a local rivalry means they just can’t understand how different those situations are.
Arsenal and Tottenham have a rivalry that goes back over 100 years and for the large majority of that century we have been league rivals. Our mutual antagonism is deep-rooted and cherished. We love to hate one another. Despite being largely unsuccessful during the same period, our barren run brought great joy to Tottenham fans. We celebrate finishing above them out of tradition, not a lack of ambition, and they celebrate beating us as though they’ve won the league.
Chelsea don’t always have QPR and Fulham to play so maybe they can’t understand our rivalry with Spurs the way other clubs with local or regional rivalries do.
Spur fans can take it – they give Wilshere and co plenty twice a year – and if they can’t well that’s just their too bad. We should not feel any sympathy for the emotionally fragile people who are comfortable dishing it but cry insult when it’s given back.
The media, and maybe by extension, people, are oversensitive these days. This isn’t new. This isn’t exclusive to the “disrespectful” Wilshere. This has been going on for decades. “Banter” is part and parcel of the game. Modern football – and over media-trained footballers – is full of platitudes and cliches and not enough character.
Nothing Jack said was particularly noteworthy beyond reporting how he entertained and connected with his fans on a real, unfiltered and unrehearsed level – and also how teammates like Szczesny and Bellerin who completed their education at the club joined in with great delight and enthusiasm, how great is it that they know these songs? Our songs.
The most outrageous thing about all this is how it has been reported and hugely inflated as a story.
What do we think of the media?…..
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