In at 7pm last night. I feel ashamed and sad. What have I become? Someone who is working all weekend again. That’s the person. Anyway, enough of my woes…
First up, I read a pretty interesting article on foreign fandom on The Guardian. It’s a take on foreign football fan extremism more than anything, I quite like that they’ve found an American who laps up British culture, I’ve not met too many Americans who tell you they are English-American, so to see an article about a guy who isn’t English American, and he’s adopted the thuggish side of our culture and likes Arsenal is pretty damn interesting.
‘I’ve found this outlet for performing loyalty, perpetuating a legendary verbal history, defending something at times very blindly and feeling pride in something only slightly larger than myself, all the while feeling this great sense of brotherhood and immortality.’
I’ve only experienced a basketball game in America, and I was pretty disappointed by the lack of rivalry. The spitting blood mentality that pervades the English game is something I only enjoy at a football game. You don’t get it in many other sports. I certainly didn’t see it in basketball.
‘Hey mate, why don’t you tell that person behind us to shut the f*ck up?
‘Because in America, we’re civilised’
Anyway, what the article highlights is something you see on online. By taking on a subculture, which is love for English football, you have to be an extremist to fight your way into the conversation. You have to go to extraordinary lengths to catch a game on your own, you have to go to even more extreme… almost perverted lengths to find people to watch the game with (Hi @ArseFanAmerica, would you like to go on a football date with me?). So that’s why you can’t underestimate the power of a foreign fan.
Like I’ve said before, the passion for the sport is quite incredible. When I was last in the States I spent two nights out with two sets of fans that read the site… both ended at ridiculous o’clock, both were mostly spent debating the Arsenal. It’s a different kind of relationship with the game, because in places like America, you’re not just following a foreign game, you’re also sectioning yourself off against home grown sports that have huge followings. It’s the same here with NFL. The geekery and love for the game over here is immense. London shuts down when they play games over here. They’re a nut case subculture who have to immerse themselves twice as hard to be accepted by American fans.
So there we are, if you’re an Arsenal fan abroad, you are an extremist jumping on a sporting culture because it is more aggressive and vitriolic than your own.
How about a break? Check out the below pictures I’ve managed to source from an ‘OUTSIDER’… get it? This is what it looks like to stand on the roof at The Emirates.
In other news, Laurent Koscielny has clubbed together with a few rich pals to keep open the oldest accordion factory in France. What a story. What a distinctly middle class cause. But very sweet all the same. It’s always a good idea to keep skills in your own country. China and their assault on everything has killed industries all over the world. Nice to see that Laurent, the accordion playing centre back, is fighting against the evils of globalisation!
Matt Law of The Telegraph pulled together a nice interview about Theo. What I like about it is that Theo isn’t moping, he’s not talking about dark moments like so many of them do. Missing out on sport is sad for any man in his mid-twenties, but put it in perspective… you still have a healthy family, you still have financial security and you’ll play again. It sounds like he’s cracking on with it. He’s not getting fat and he’s focused on coming back a stronger person.
What I love about Theo is the maturity he has.
‘I was never tempted by any of the offers from people saying they could get me fit for the World Cup. I followed the club advice. I went to a consultant, Andy Williams, in London and it was a great decision.’
Falcao being fit for the World Cup with the same injury? Seems like a totally mental claim…. but we’ll see. I’d rather we do things right and get him back fit and on time. Arsenal just have to work on how they bring players back into the side, one can’t help but wonder if there was more we could have done to make sure Theo was back for more than 6 games?
Ok, so Stoke are on the cards today. This is a game I think we can afford to continue to rest key players. I think I’d leave Ozil on the bench, because the run we have after this game is hugely important. The way I see it, we have 5 games ahead of us to win the title. If we take 11 points from them, I think we’ll have a hugely advantageous run in. We have Stoke, Spurs, Chelsea, City and Everton. All massive games, all games with something on them. We need to have players fresh for these games. We can’t lose today, but I don’t think we will if we play a rested side like we have done over the past few weeks.
Do you need Ozil to unlock Stoke? Not in my opinion. But we’ll see. This is the start of our surge for the title. This is the point where we make our case for players in the summer. This is where we see what the team are made of. It’s all geared up for the greatest finish in Premier League history. Every point, every moment, every decision… they all add up to something. It’s not ‘game by game’… it’s a strategic game of chess the rest of the way in. Does Wenger like to play chess like Jose? Well, he’ll have to, because Jose is far better at the run in than Arsene Wenger. This is where the boss asserts some dominance back at Jose. This is the point he proves a point to the nation about Jose…
It’s all up to Arsene, he has a decent squad at his disposal, it’s how he uses it that’ll define this season.
Have a great day Arsenal fans.
DO NOT FEED THE STOKE FANS AS THEY WILL WANT MORE THAN JUST YOUR HAM SANDWICHES DASHED WITH DIJON MUSTARD.