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Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?


Day Trippers

By Celine Dion
April 3 2011

I am 36 years old, I have been married for 8 years and I am the father of two young children aged three and five. I started going to the Arsenal in 1986 when I was about 12 and it became part of my life from there. When I was younger football was something I took for granted. I used to say that if I had only 20 pounds to my name, I would spend it following the Arsenal.

 Because that was all it cost, 20 pounds, to travel by train from my home in Kent to Highbury and stand in the north bank with money for beer and food on the way home, or to take the tube to Watford and do the same, or even travel to Norwich, give or take 10 pound more.

 

So it was easy to become part of the family of Arsenal, you soon got to recognise the faces that went to the away games, or formed the hard core support in the back of the North Bank or Clock end, you got to know the songs and the camaraderie, the people and the names. It was like opening the door to a wonderful new world. Players like Merson and Wright were like fans on the pitch, and the team had grit and heroes like Tony Adams.

Life changed for me after that. I went to University in Liverpool. I did the odd away game in the North, but in the main and for many years I was only interested in nightclubs. I met Mrs Celine Dion, and lived with her in Camden. During the wonder years of 1998-2005 I was rarely at the ground, and if it was, I was paying over the odds for a seat.

When the Emirates was built, I saw this as an opportunity to get back to how things were, and get regular football back into my life. The bug took hold again very quickly - moving to the present day, I HAVE to go to every home league game, other match going fans will understand this, something would be wrong if I sat at home when I could actually go to the game.

 

 Opium of the masses the heart of a heartless world

Life can be pretty crap, outside football; big business has taken a grip of our country and our lives. Saturday is something I look forward to, too much so, in fact, as the antidote to the rubbish dysfunctional life I lead. It’s not just the game itself, it the ritual, it’s the beers before the game, it’s going to the Gunners, it’s talking to the away fans on the way back to the station.

 

 But there’s a distinct difference to it all nowadays. The Emirates has a lower tier of cheap seats, or so-called cheap seats, £35 a throw when Wigan or Wolves are in town. But these sell out quickly; most Arsenal fans need to pay £50-60 to watch the team. Plus travel. Plus £3.70 a pint and £5 for a small cardboard box full of chicken strips. With train fares, programmes, and all the rest of it, a day at the football doesn’t cost £20 anymore, it costs £100 at least. And that’s just for me. Heaven forbid if I wanted to take one of my kids.

But what about the team nowadays - well, the Arsenal team has got progressively worse since 2004 and there’s no way anyone at this point in time can disagree with me. There’s no two ways about it, each time a top quality player leaves, for whatever reason, they are replaced with a cost-cutting alternative. Eduardo for Henry, Almunia for Lehmann, Denilson for Flamini and Flamini for Gilberto, Squillaci for Gallas.

 

The spreadsheet-shuffling marketers at the top of the club know exactly what they are doing, they have been peddling the brand of Arsene Wenger and his cut-price youth driven title winning potential for years and years now. They have successfully drawn Arsenal fans into the economic argument, you hear people saying ‘We don’t want to run the risk of going BANKRUPT like United or Chelsea COULD.’

 

Like there’s something terribly WICKED about spending 15 million on a player, even though everybody else does it and we used to as well. As if Arsenal are some kind of hippy co-operative movement that charges everyone £2 a seat to watch their team of plucky underdogs ply their trade against the unseemly monoliths of Chelsea and United. It’s all bollocks, frankly. Twenty five million pound a couple of times a year isn’t going to send a club our size bankrupt, loan or no loan. And even if it was, sell some of the underachieving injury prone sh*te that’s in the squad already.

 

Take a walk around the middle tier of Arsenal as I have done. Half the investment bankers in Europe can be found there, drinking Chateau-Lafitte and eating big fe*king cream cakes. The whole place STINKS of money. Increasingly, I find that the people who are most protective (and they are, condescendingly and vehemently so) of Arsenals’ magical team of accountants and their representative on the pitch Mr Arsene Wenger, are people who don’t actually go.

Throwing it away
As for the people who do go to the Arsenal. Well, there’s something wrong frankly. Yesterday we played Blackburn Rovers. This is our best opportunity in the last five years to win the league. A bit injury hit - but not half as injury hit as usual. Out of the Champions League nice and early. The league has become a bit of a holy grail for me personally. It hurt me when we got so close with the Hleb/Flamini/Adebayor team, then just broke it up and started again. It hurt me last year when we threw a great position away last year when we failed to predict our yearly injury crisis in the second half of the season and ended up getting twatted by the likes of Wigan.

This year was our window of opportunity, Chelsea got caught short with an aging team and a run of poor form in a way that is unlikely to happen again for a long time, Man City are a year or two off total dominance, and United whilst a better team than us, are catchable. Our first team is ridiculously dependent on Fabregas, and I would suggest that this season was rather an important one to nail down a trophy to show him it might be worth staying.

So I turn up to the Blackburn game, after the disappointment of the lunchtime United comeback, and I’m pretty psyched up for a victory that will at least keep us on their tails until the big Liverpool Spurs and United games. But the whole place stank. You would think that with a couple of hours extra drinking time people might be in a singing mood, but apparently not.

 

The team were prancing round in their usual directionless fashion of late, for their third draw against much less powerful opposition. The great failing of Arsene Wenger is that if at first he doesn’t succeed, he just tries the same f*ck*ng thing again and again. Doesn’t vary his tactics, still hasn’t sharpened up the physical side. Why change when you’re already a genius?

 

The crowd is busy eating their little tubes of Pringles with their bulging bag of Arsenal Merchandise tucked neatly under their seat. Fabregas is on the bench, having a little rest. Shows you how much Wenger wants the league doesn’t it. He plays the bloke with an injury in Barcelona, when the Cup with Big Ears is flashing her knickers at him. But not against Blackburn in the title race with eight games to go.

 

Blown Title Race

So that’s it really, we blow the title race, and everybody goes home again. Chattering happily. Off for a drink, or perhaps a nice meal. The man on the tube next to me was having a read of ‘The Spectator’. I’ve done about a grand and a half on football this season, the wife’s not talking to me, but the club doesn’t give a f8ck about that, it’s got three more just like me, even if they’re from Stockholm and wouldn’t know the words to any Arsenal songs even if I gave them a little card with them all written down.

 

Day Trippers

It might be a small detail, but take a look at the toilet queue outside the gents by block 22. Stretches back to the turnstiles with people patiently waiting ten minutes for a p*ss. Oblivious to the other toilet two blocks down five times the size with no queue. The people who were at the last game will not be at the next game. And the people at the next game will not be at the game after that. And that’s just what the club wants. Just a big revolving door of tourists sampling the Arsene Wenger experience once or twice a year and taking home a big shopping bag of Arsenal tracksuits.

 

Its money not trophies

They don’t care if there isn’t a big party in May in The Gunners because they’ll be back in Kuala Lumpar. It’s dawned on me. I’m just watching a big spreadsheet, that doesn’t give a toss whether it wins anything or not. How much more money do you get for winning the league than coming second? About a million pounds. So what’s the point of spending the twenty million on cover for Song or a striker better than Bendtner or the invisible man?

 

That’s right, there isn’t one. Just make sure you don’t drop out of the top four. Do you think Tesco’s’ main objective is to win Supermarket of the year? Nope, it’s the bottom line mate. We are all having the urine taken out of us by a load of accountants and a load of mercenary players who think they are better than they are. Why do you think they don’t come and clap the away fans? Because they couldn’t give a f*ck, half of them, that’s why. They just play their athletic ballet dancing routine football and if it doesn’t win back they get into their big jeep and go home again. Same again next week, and next year. The money comes rolling in, lovely.

Better to walk?

Well it’s all bollocks and I’ve had enough of it. But if there’s one thing I’ve learnt in life, you won’t beat corporate power, especially when most people can’t see what’s happening. It’s better to walk away.

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Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Arsenal Times (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 11:30
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011:04:10:19:57:49 by Padre Pio.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 11:45
I'm not going to walk, but its time for a merchandise strike. No progs, mags,kits etc. no@#$%&food or drinks. Time to pressure the board.



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
NobleTrojan (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 12:14
I believe it is time for a new manager. I care about winning. Bring Mourinho.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
03/04/2011 12:21
Brilliant post as always mate.its times like these when I really think our club @#$%& stinks.and il make a pledge now if there is some protest at barnet or wherever in the summer im gonna be there

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
noggygooner (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 13:45
Excellent stuff and very very true.Great read.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
PKGooner (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 13:49
Very well written, as always.

Agree 100%.

Lots of talk about plenty not renewing next season. It'd make me happy seeing empty seats.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Goons_with_Guns (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 15:21
Well written, Celine (ha): you have my empathy.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Flava (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 15:25
36? (Sm22)

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
salisbury69 (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 16:47
Every word of this post is spot on, I cannot argue with any of it. That idiot of a Chief Exec let the cat out of the bag a while back when he admitted that winning trophies is not the main priority. Our club is currently the laughing stock of English football. And for me to say that takes a lot of doing. I bleed AFC and have supported them for 40 years. I am fed up with AW shouting from the rooftops about how good we are and it being time to show everyone. And as for being up to win all 4 trophies, where did he get that from? Most honest supporters had that feeling of an empty season again, and a while back too. I feel sorry for AW in one way. He has been our best ever manager, but the way he is going, he will be remembered for all the wrong reasons if this keeps going.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Bergmars (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 17:27
Bunch of negative moaners and groaners,we are always top four in the CL,we spend no money and still compete what do you whingers really want.



A shadow of what we were

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Bergmars (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 17:27
PS agree with every word.(Sm128)



A shadow of what we were



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2011:04:03:17:30:17 by Bergmars.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
salisbury69 (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 21:08
Quote:
Bergmars
Bunch of negative moaners and groaners,we are always top four in the CL,we spend no money and still compete what do you whingers really want.
We are far from negative. Why are we constantly in the top 4 without spending money? What could we do if we spent some? What 'Us Whingers" want is a bit of ambition to match the hard earned money we keep coughing up. Judging by the fact that you believe we are whingers and moaners, I presume that you are more than happy with what is happening and where the club will be heading again next season.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
03/04/2011 21:13
Hes being sarcastic mate.its what you get called round here if you dont worship the ground aw walks on

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
03/04/2011 21:53
you have to read the PS then it makes sense



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Bergmars (IP Logged)
04/04/2011 07:42
Quote:
salisbury69
Quote:
Bergmars
Bunch of negative moaners and groaners,we are always top four in the CL,we spend no money and still compete what do you whingers really want.
We are far from negative. Why are we constantly in the top 4 without spending money? What could we do if we spent some? What 'Us Whingers" want is a bit of ambition to match the hard earned money we keep coughing up. Judging by the fact that you believe we are whingers and moaners, I presume that you are more than happy with what is happening and where the club will be heading again next season.

Its called sarcasm mate Ive been called a moaner and a groaner for putting forward similar views,the Wengerdrones will be out in force by mid week,they will give us the same spiel,exactly why AFC get away with their spin because fans are actually spinning for them.Lack of real investment is the root cause and Wenger knows it,he is nothing if not stupid.Move to the Emirates and all will be paved with gold,we do not want to hinder the young players coming through,which ones would that be then Arsene.No its time the club was honest, Hill Wood is a throwback and modern football is nothing like when his family ruled,if there is no money its the boards responsibility and no one elses,when does the bright future become the prsesent,my guess is never under this regime.
We have many average players on big money again poor managment,we signed front loaded sponsorship again poor managment,far from seeing the future this lot cant find their backsides with both hands.In Jan we were down to two GKs one of which is Almunia who even Wenger does not rate,we needed cover for the CBs and Song,nothing done but then the club dribbles out we tried to sign so and so we tried to sign Reina,laughable just like Wengers we tried to sign,Cech,Ronaldo,Ronaldhino,Drogba,typical of the last six years always NEARLY.



A shadow of what we were

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
04/04/2011 10:58
If you stop us moaning we are deprived of a major pleasure.
Nick Hornby wrote in fever pitch of a Gunner fan shouting "Thousand pound a week? You should pay us that to watch this rubbish".

moaning is a good old Arsenal tradition.
But of course Bergmars was only joking, he actually agrees with the article, and so do I



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
hippogunner (IP Logged)
05/04/2011 08:16
I'm 47 Celine. I've seen this before in varying degrees. This club has a tradition of disappearing for years. They never built on the success of 1971. They sold the best players from the late 70's/early 80's era. And now they don't want to respond to the new football era of spend spend spend.

I don't want us to fork out fortunes on new players but I'd like to see 50 million spent this summer on some proven quality. I wouldn't want that if we'd occasionally spent big in the last five years but we haven't and our squad is inferior to City, Utd and Chelsea no matter what the league position tells you, and come the end of the season will we be second? Because if we can't beat Blackburn at home, probably our easiest remaining game, I hold little hope for us securing more than 10 points from our remaining fixtures.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Padre Pio (IP Logged)
05/04/2011 10:56
Spot on Hippo Wenger is following the Arsenal way. Only one man built a dynasty - Chapman, He died but the dynasty continued. But once his dynasty died we never saw one again.
wenger has been good but never built a dynasty. Why? Because as Hippo argues the cash was never there to strengthen the squad.

Therefore the board since the 1950s has to take most of the blame



- until Wenger moves on, they'll always be the also-rans in the major competitions. A club in elite purgatory. Always good enough to make it to the big race, never fast or smart enough to push over the finish line in first place. That's all about the manager. Until he changes, Arsenal fans will continue to celebrate glorious failure.

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Goons_with_Guns (IP Logged)
20/04/2011 02:32
You won't believe it, Celine, but I received a reply from Ivan "The Terrible" Gazadis from a letter that I wrote he and Danny "The Dead" Fizman last week (Yeah, I plagiarized your post:

Thank you for your email. I appreciate you taking the time to write.



Everyone at the club understands and shares your disappointment and frustration at recent results. Nevertheless, despite the recent setbacks we remain in second place in the league and have a chance of the title. It is important that we turn our recent performances around and finish the season well.



I want you to know that everything we do on and off the pitch is designed to make loyal supporters like you proud to be part of your great Club. That involves balancing many competing factors and we make all decisions carefully and thoughtfully with the Club's long term interests at the heart.



We understand the magnitude of our responsibility on your behalf and we will work hard to restore your faith as we move forward.



Thank you for your support of the club.



Best wishes



Ivan





Ivan Gazidis

Chief Executive Officer

Arsenal Football Club plc

Highbury House

75 Drayton Park

London N5 1BU

 
Re: Worse since 2004 Blown title race Day Trips Better to walk?
Blaine (IP Logged)
20/04/2011 04:19
Great article.

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