Which Arsenal Fans Are Best?
Hello fine people. I would say good morning but it might not be morning where you are and that’s the deliberate segue I wrote to lead me on to the topic of this post.
I’m not going to go into names or finger pointing because it’s not just one person that does this but in the year 2014 how does location hold any relevance to the validity of people’s opinions on Arsenal Football Club to certain supporters?
We live in a global society and Arsenal is a global brand. Dismissing the opinions of others, however asinine or incorrect, based on where they live or come from is just pure elitism – and elitism has no place in modern football.
Football is an inclusive game and is not the property of one class set or nationality.
Some of the most astute followers of football I know come from the US yet 10 years ago, and in some cases even today, some people would dismiss the opinion of a “Yank” because “they don’t know what football is”. Do these erudite, articulate and passionate Arsenal fans deserve to have the relevancy of their opinion reduced to the country they reside in and then dismissed? Intelligent human beings know the answer to this… f*ck, even my cat knows the answer to this and she lies outside the bathroom door every effing night and cries in pain when I accidentally step on her despite knowing it’s happened every night for the past 7 years.
And usually found with location elitism is ticket elitism, it’s the sports spectator equivalent of “Do you even lift, Bro?”. Is the opinion of a 20 year old season ticket holder who inherited their seat from a family member and has been going every week for the past year more relevant than that of a 60 year old who has never owned a season ticket but has been watching football, and specifically Arsenal, for 50 years?
Being a “local” Arsenal supporter is a not just a genetic coincidence it is often a passion of indoctrination. Coincidence and circumstance dictated where you where born and the environment in which you grew up in. Being born into a middle-class family in North London instead of a struggling agricultural one in the Philippines is luck – it doesn’t make you better, but most people know that.
Growing up an Arsenal supporter in North London, and in cases all over the world, is often as a result of indoctrination. I was indoctrinated as an Arsenal supporter and I will indoctrinate my son as an Arsenal supporter and he will love Arsenal as I do – if he knows what is good for him – just as my father passed on his love for Arsenal to his sons.
Indoctrination into Arsenal fanship is akin to being “born” a Gooner. Like many religions, your “faith” was chosen for you before you were born.
There is an oft misquoted proverb that I think is quite apt for this topic; “Blood is thicker than water”.
The proverb in full is “The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”, which means the relationships we choose to form are stronger than those we are born with.
I’m not suggesting that Gooners who had no family affiliation with the club but still chose to become supporters are better than those who are born into Arsenal families. The whole point of this article is to express my disdain for any form of supporter elitism.
What I am trying to say with that proverb is these people chose to become Arsenal supporters, they chose to love the club, to follow them through thick and thin and nine trophyless years. They were not indoctrinated from birth. They are often not entirely surrounded by other supporters – in fact, many Nigerian and Ghanaian Gooners will attest to the fact they are often the only or one of the only Gooners down the local sports bar and are surrounded by Chelsea and Man U fans. Still they support.
They are physically not able to attend games but their opinions are less valid and their support reduced to “buying a few tops”. No, I do not accept that. Their passion burns as bright as any season ticket holders.
I did not choose to become a Gooner, that was chosen for me, but I like to think that I still would be a Gooner if I had the choice. People who are not born into Arsenal families or are not “local” found something to love and cherish for their entire lives in our wonderful club and some cretinous clowns would diminish that because they don’t have an N5 postcode.
If someone is chatting rubbish about Arsenal Football Club then it is completely within your rights to challenge them on their opinion but you don’t have to bring location or access to tickets into it. Some of the most idiotic people I have had the misfortune of communicating with about Arsenal have been season ticket holders and some of the smartest have never been to a game and vice versa. There are intelligent people and morons in all walks of life but discriminating and stereotyping never made someone less of what they are. It just makes the discriminator look like a punk.
There are communities of Arsenal supporters all over the globe – as demonstrated by the incredible amount of officially recognised supporter clubs out there – and within each of those communities there will be someone whose opinion you don’t like. If they are an idiot, tell them they are an idiot but please don’t mention their location or ask how many games they’ve been to because that just makes you look like a c*nt.
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