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My heart bleeds for the 21st century Arsenal enthusiast. As Im sure some other poor accursed bastards does for me. Somewhere.
Bizarre Löw Triangle wrote:
Silverware is seriously over-rated.
They didnt spend a billion pounds to win either.
An Arsenal supporter my age has seen their team be the champions of England five times and the FA Cup winners five times. They've done the double once, gone a whole Premier League season unbeaten, won the European Cup Winners Cup, won the League Cup twice, played in a Champions League final and played in the Champions League for something like fifteen consecutive years. You'll have to forgive me if I'm not choking back tears at the notion of them being in fifth place in the Premier League table and out of the cups (except for the Champions League, which they're not out of just yet) before the start of March.
My Name Is Ian wrote:
I got the number of times they've won the FA Cup in that time wrong, too. It's six, not five.
i don't have a problem with someone like freedland getting involved in football late in life, bringing his kids along actually seems like a decent enough reason to me. there have always been plenty of middle-class people at football games sitting in the stands, with the singing and atmosphere usually coming from where people were wedged together behind the goals. what made these masses of people good at making football noise was not so much that they were working class but that they were deindividuated. the change in atmosphere at grounds today has more to do with the abolition of those areas than the presence of too many freedlands.
the problem with an article like freedland's is that in its ingenue enthusiasm it doesn't realise how obvious or even obtuse its points are to more seasoned fans. he should probably read a bit more before he writes. but then, i suppose this is intended more as a missive to freedland's regular readers in the grown-up part of the newspaper - you know, football isn't as completely idiotic and pointless as we've always assumed it to be! which implies an interesting range of unspoken assumptions about the millions of people who do watch football.
anyway, i await kevin mccarra's analysis of the situation in syria with breathless anticipation.
Can't imagine Bernard Azulay would be too impressed.
Not sure if it's the worst, but I found it incredibly boring. Gave up less than halfway through.
I liked garcia's post up there.
What irks about that article is not that JF has become a middle-aged convert to the safety of Premier League Goonerism (who cares?), but the way in which he attempts to justify it. Football can be compared to ballet and dance; David Badiel, an avid fan, but also a respected writer of fiction. Well established pursuits of civilised people, donchaknow, and, hey, football's not that different!
If you want to like football, like football. Make comparisons by all means to find parallels and interpretations, but not as attempts to justify it as acceptable to a particular social group. Reminds me of all the superfluous conversations people tried to drag me into at my rugger-obsessed university.
Excellent post from garcia. This article isn't really written for people who are football fans already, and I think the objectionable bits of it are more attributable to garcia's noted ingenue enthusiasm, as crass and insensitive as some points can seem (there is a slight condescending tone in there).
I bet the 'red and white scarf' JF owns is Appleberry though.
There's a link on that page to buy a ('Guardian') Cantona 'trawler' tshirt. The Guardian does have some funny ideas about people reading the sports section of their paper.
I think it would do JF some good to be pointed in the direction of some good quality football writing, as in its absence he is receiving gems of wisdom like these:
Mongomerie is a MUFC season ticket holder apparently. HE can go fuck himself.
The thing is, the game was never ours. It was ugly and dying because 'they' didn't give a fuck about the people they were selling it to. He's some cunt.
I'd agree with garcia, especially with regards to the column's intended audience; something which is harder to differentiate online than in print - I doubt this article appeared in the sport section of the paper, after all.
Nice to read anything on Arsenal that doesn't go on and on and on about how Wenger should/shouldn't be sacked, too. I'll give him that, at least.
But yes, EIM, please suggest some proper writing to him, or he might be taken in by The Dark Side.
There was a worse tweet from Montgomerie prior to that:
It's probably not the worst piece on football ever. It has some merit. Not much, but some.
1) Piers Morgan is a massive tumbling tumbling dickweed. Quoting him favorably suggests the author may also be a douche.
2) What Garcia said. It's great that he's finally seen some light,, but there is a fair bit of condescension and class prejudice implicit in this piece that he doesn't apologize for.
3) Arsenal are right out his door which, based on my limited knowledge of London real estate, suggests this guy is well off. As such, he doesn't understand this "escapism" bullshit that he's talking about. And I know Piers Morgan sure as hell doesn't. Not in the way that coal miners or garbage collectors do. For people with hard tedious jobs, following the football or whateversport they follow, may be the most pleasant or interesting activity they get to do all week. It's not an escape from life, it's a vital part of it. It is on a short list of things they live for, literally.
4) This guy doesn't know shit about tribalism. Does he depend on other Arsenal fans for support in his daily struggles? If his factory went on strike, would the more fortunate Arsenal fans come round his place with a hot dish to make sure his family was ok? Of course not, because not only does he not work in a factory that could go on strike, he doesn't have to rely on the community for anything.
As I understand it, in the traditional football fan culture, supporters of a club were a "tribe" not because they supported the same team, but because they lived and worked and maybe went to church together the other six days of the week.
A tribe is a group of people who share each other's struggles to some extent. Shared disappointment in coming in fourth just doesn't count.
Besides, you can't really call it a tribe if you joined it at age 40 voluntarily. That's nothing at all like growing up with it from a young age. Not necessarily worse, just very different.
Now, I don't need to worry about going hungry during a strike or anything like that, but I definitely care more about the teams I support along with my immediate friends and neighbors. The team is just a symbol of our community, not the reason for its existence. Maybe the this guys neighborhood around Highbury is a tight knit "tribe" of folks. I doubt it, but even if it is, supporting Arsenal are not what made it that way. Does that make sense? It would help if I could draw a picture.
It's different in the US. For us, allegiances - at least for pro teams - are almost always regional, often covering an area too big to even be considered a single community. The team contributes to regional or community spirit, but it doesn't create or define a community separate from the one shown on a map.
My experience supporting teams is that a fan base is a whole bunch of little clans in a loose confederation. Like, the people who gather at such and such pub before every game are one group and the people across the street are another. Or if you always tailgate with the same basic group of people or get to know the other people with tickets in your section. That's not really a tribe, however. More of a gathering.
BTW, the official nickname of the sports teams at my college alma mater is The Tribe. We dropped the Indian related imagery because it was a bit racist, but we've stuck with Tribe because we're a fairly tight-knit community, or at least, aspire to be. But a college isn't like the fanbase of a pro team.
5) I totally agree with EIM that football isn't really about football. At least not always. I've used that same line with respect to our game called football. We often see these big city snobs looking down their nose at college football fans or the "Friday Night Lights" phenomenon in small towns. They say asinine cliches like "football is a religion in X." They dont understand religion, for one, but they also don't understand that the sport is not really the point.
That doesn't mean that it's ok to put that much pressure on kids to win and all of that stuff, but the fans aren't oblivious to all of that. We're not just dumb rubes. Well, some of us are, but that's not why sports are popular.
6) But sometimes football (or whatever sport) is just about that. There's nothing wrong with appreciating the game itself and becoming engrossed in the technical minutiae and excitement of the game itself. Since ancient times, people have enjoyed watching skilled people do something difficult. Maybe it's got an evolutionary advantage. I'm not sure. But life would be a lot more boring if we couldn't do that.
I'm more of that kind of fan. Even if I'm watching a college game, I like to just get a bit lost in it. Soccer is good for this because there aren't many interruptions. I don't want to sing and dance or play the drums because it would distract me from watching. I'm glad that other people sing and dance and play drums.
7) The one really good thing about this piece is that he sticks up for the live experience and supporting a team rather than just passively watching Barcelona on TV. Would he be so enthusiastic about it if "his team" wasn't in the Premiership or playing in a state of the art facility near his house? Unknown. but at least he advocates eating local, so to speak.
8) These douches are probably right that football matches in the UK are probably safer than they used to be, and having more games on TV is, ceteris paribus, good.
But what is so offensive, is the assumption that the only way to make it safer and more accessible was to sell it out to rich assholes in corporate boxes. The Bundesliga, as well as rational thought, proves that is false.
The Premiership is probably a better level of football than the old 1st Division. At least at the top. But I'm not sure it's made the game better throughout the Premiership let alone improved the pro game overall. And it hasn't helped the grassroots of the game or the British national teams.
9) I think that's all I have to say.
Reed, you need to forward that very well thought out work to JF.
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