Posted by SmartArse
It is no exaggeration to say it’s been a fairly depressing week to be an Arsenal fan. I was heartbroken on Saturday, sat like everyone else at the Emirates in shell-shocked horror watching the Spurs fans almost explode with joy. Then Tuesday went and slapped us all in the face with its sheer limp-wristedness.
As many, particularly this excellent article have pointed out this week, we’ve had worse runs in the past. In fact we’re still in a remarkably good position; second in the league, still very likely to qualify for Champions League knockouts and have a Carling Cup quarter final to look forward to on Tuesday. Let’s face it, we’re hardly Liverpool.
So why has this run in particular felt so god-awfully shit? It certainly has something to do with the fact that we have some serious worries; the defence, a lack of leadership, Denilson, but more than anything else it’s because while it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped for us, it’s going rather swimmingly for Tottenham.
And for the first time in my life that’s really bothering me. At just 21 years of age, my actual memory of Arsenal football barely stretches beyond Arsene Wenger. I was only just 8 when he joined the club. In that time Tottenham have been second class, a footnote to our masterful years of dominance. So, strange as it may seem to any old timers, I’ve never really got the hatred. I know plenty of Tottenham fans, but even their blind idiocy couldn’t annoy me that much, because they were so utterly and repeatedly wrong. They were a pitiful joke. They were, if you will, the Audley Harrison of football.
Now, things are a little bit different. We’ve lost two consecutive North London derbies in the league. Even their inevitable comeuppances are becoming rarer. The Champions League humiliation I expected evaporated after one half in the San Siro while our own campaign has wilted against opposition Wigan could probably handle.
So now I’m starting to really, really hate Sp*rs – the deluded fanbase, their sycophantic media following, the disgusting abuse of Arsene Wenger, the lot. But you know what, I’m actually kind of enjoying it. There’s something immensely exciting about having a proper rivalry. It makes the derby games so much more special. The atmosphere in the first half on Saturday was as good as any I’ve experienced as an Arsenal fan. And of course, despite the fact that the sky feels like its falling in, it’s not. We’re still streets better than Tottenham, bad as we have been in our last 135 minutes of football.
And it’s not just Tottenham either, we have loads of potential grudge matches. Consider La Liga, where everything boils down to two enormous fixtures between Barcelona and Real Madrid. Not many of the other games matter at all. By contrast, I hate half of the Premier League right now. I can feel genuinely fired up against the Lily White Cnuts, Manure, Chavski, Barndoor’s billionaires and of course, the Neanderthal thugs of Stoke City Rugby Football Club.
It’s a bloody odd season. We may well be lucky to still be right in the reckoning, but there we are and for now at least, on every front.
To paraphrase Le Prof, I’ve been raised on caviar with the success of the Wenger years. But let’s not exaggerate. We don’t resemble sausages just yet. I won’t care if we’re not as good as the teams of yesteryear if we can nick a trophy. I certainly didn’t when we won an undeserved FA Cup in 2005.
So heads up Arsenal fans, it’s really not that bad. If there’s a lesson I’ve learnt, it’s that hatred can really be rather good fun, especially when we put it to use taking rightful revenge at Shite Hart Lane.