My plan for reigniting the flames of my blogging inclination was to start afresh at the end of the season. By that I mean when we’ve discovered who’s won the Europa League, FA Cup and the Champion’s League finals and proceedings for the 2015/2016 season have been brought to a close in their entirety. Then, after a moments pause, I quickly realised I actually don’t give a sh*t about the victors in those competitions and that the campaign ends when Arsenal’s does in my humble opinion.
So, with that in mind, I’m starting afresh right now; reinvigorated and chomping at the proverbial bit. Think of me as similar to Sean Connery’s character in Finding Forrester; for too long I’ve languished away in a dingy hideaway until the moment to rise triumphantly with new writing presents itself. Except I’m not Scottish. Or an award winning author. Or in my late 60s. And I haven’t formed an unlikely but heart-warming friendship with a troubled yet gifted youth born on the wrong side of the tracks who’s seemingly destined for great things with the aid of my sage-like tutelage.
On second thoughts, that analogy makes no sense and the film was only really memorable for Connery’s bewildering delivery of the line, “You’re the man now, Dog”.
The 2015/2016 Premiership (I know I shouldn’t call the Premier League the “Premiership” but it’s easier to type, so f*ck it) campaign has not been one I’ll remember from an Arsenal perspective. Yesterday’s 4-0 battering of Villa felt like a damp, soggy sponge left in a darkened room. When the greatest of opportunities presented itself, Arsenal took it upon themselves to howl in the face of glory and gleefully make a complete mess of everything. Never in my years of supporting Arsenal have I witnessed a better chance to mount a challenge for title glory. Yet we didn’t and when it mattered most, conspired to display new, breath-taking levels of silliness and maddeningly poor performances.
However, all that is in the past where it belongs. Many will still harbour ill-feeling towards players and management alike. Whilst I don’t dispute another’s right to splurge their feelings across the internet, vitriolic or otherwise, I prefer to take the whole epic saga of cock-uppery (not sure that’s a phrase…) and plant it hastily into the nearest drawer marked, “F*ck off and never darken my doorstep again”. It’s all over now.
The upcoming weeks are the perfect opportunity to discuss the future of the team and who we may/may not acquire once the transfer window opens – we’re all looking forward to the transfer gossip, aren’t we? Today, folks, I’m going to reserve to the three players we all know are leaving the club and the catastrophic, wildly hilarious events that saw the unlikely return of St. Totteringham’s Day.
So, those three players; Tomas Rosicky, Mikel Arteta and mankind’s last hope for clean, sustainable energy, Mathieu Flamini. In a way, I love all three for different reasons. Whilst it’s pretty difficult to label any with the much-fabled status of Club ‘legend’, it’s equally impossible to deny the impact they’ve had on Arsenal. Flamini hasn’t exactly covered himself in glory for the majority of his second spell, but there have been moments; that 20 yard volley at White Hart Lane and his hilarious cameo against Barcelona in which his only notable contribution was to hack outrageously at an opponent and concede a penalty within 30 seconds of coming on the pitch. He’s had plenty of detractors, but I’ve always maintained a soft spot, primarily because he’s an unpredictable lunatic and once the fury subsided it’s hard to deny the funny side of his antics.
Arteta and Rosicky, on the other hand, are pure class. Neither have truly fulfilled their potential because of injury, but both have always conducted them selves with consummate professionalism and grace. Rosicky’s goals against Spurs, especially this one, are the stuff of which dreams are made. The diminutive ‘Little Mozart’, when presented with the opportunity, added urgency, fluidity and technicality to our midfield and will remain an enormous “What if?”. Just how good could he have been for Arsenal minus those interminable injury woes? He’ll be missed for the things he accomplished and the sense of what he might have.
Arteta came in at time of turmoil for the Club. We’d lost Fabregas and Rosie O’Donnell to large bids from abroad and domestically and everything was at sixes and sevens. Mikel took a pay cut to join from Everton and instantly applied coolness and class to a midfield that lacked exactly that. His tenure as Club captain saw 2 trophies and his performances picked us off the canvas. For that alone, he’ll always command my respect. He may never have appeared a natural defensive midfielder, but he put the needs of the team before his own. Mikel lead by example both on the pitch and behind the scenes when rendered unavailable by injury. The standing ovation he received from the Emirates crowd yesterday was nothing more than he deserved.
Yesterday could have been the first time since 1995 Spurs managed to finish above us in the league. But, like the gift that just refuses to stop giving, they saw fit to get absolutely battered by already-relegated Newcastle who played a large portion of the 2nd half with only 10 men on the pitch. The most unexpected and gloriously welcome St. Totteringham/s Day. I’m still chuckling to myself now. Those Spuds, they never learn, do they? Perhaps next season they’ll consider waiting until things are actually settled before spewing idiotic boasts across cyberspace. One thing’s for sure; when it comes to spectacularly f*cking things up, there isn’t a team on planet Earth or the cosmos beyond that compares to Tottenham Hotspur.
So, folks, on that note I shall bid you farewell for today. There’s a handy little comments section below this post that presents you an avenue in which to get all those thoughts off your chest. Feel free; pour your hearts out. I’m here to listen.
I’ll be back tomorrow with a report of a fancy-pants event I attended on Saturday. Keep those eyes peeled. Until that time, and as always; thanks for reading, you beautiful bastards.