|28 Aug||3:00 PM||P||Manchester United (A)||2||8||Lost|
I don't really know what to say when you've taken a really terrible punch or stream of verbal abuse or maybe even just indifference from someone you love, especially if you've taken it repeatedly, and especially if the person doing the hurting acts as though you've no right to feel hurt at all. What to say?
The match on Sunday hadn't even concluded when Lily Allen's anthem of wounded defiance, "Absolutely Nothing," came to mind. For a few moments it was a contest between that and Paul Weller singing "The Bitterest Pill" but that song would ascribe too much new feeling to what happened. No, we've seen this too many times. For those of you who don't know the tune, the lyrics go:
"My heart is aching And I've never felt this bad I pinch myself To check that all of this is real /I keep faking I'm not letting on, I feel this sad And then you've got the cheek To ask me how I feel /And I say absolutely nothing I'm absolutely fine Absolutely nothing You can say to change my mind"
Because what in hell was I going to say after that? Get angry? Get really angry? Vent my anger at someone? At whom, exactly? At Silent Stan? At P. Hilly and Bad Board Records? At Ivan the Terrible Executive? Maybe I could just walk over and kick Pat Rice in the alberts for lack of a real culprit? How about the Lewins? I mean, they certainly deserve a bollicking for "allowing" all of Arsenal's players to "become injured," don't they?
No, none of that would do a damn bit of good. It's just "absolutely nothing" at this point.
And yes, the truth is, I've never felt this bad about Arsenal. I had thought once before, when the Club lost to Valencia in 2001, that I felt physically ill after a defeat. 15 minutes from the end of that match, I was certain that the Gunners would go on to thrash Leeds and play in the Champions League final. That really hurt. And it wasn't that Arsenal had lost to a better team, or some bizarre officiating decision--that team was as good as any the Club would ever put on any pitch anywhere and I'm sure, had stupid John Carew not managed to score the single greatest goal of his stupid career, Arsenal would have beaten Bayern and lifted the Big Cup (I can dream, and you can save your dispute of that thought for another day).
Watching that side that season and its greatness being deprived of two trophies (I don't need to mention Stephanie Handjob and the FA Cup final, do I?), I was convinced that, after two consecutive years of reaching finals (bitter, bitter shootout in the Uefa Cup still stings, Turks jumping on the tables of my local) and being Premier League bridesmaids, that there was something incisive lacking at Arsenal.
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now I'm longing for those days.
What exactly can you say after the team you support capitulates like Arsenal did on Sunday? "I'm angry!" Right. Good. Go ahead and be angry there, Stanley. That will certainly get you far in life. "I'm disappointed." Yes, welcome to the club, be sure to wear your member's cloak and use the secret handshake upon entering.
I think you can say absolutely nothing. The theme of Lily Allen's song is that it's happened so many times now that getting upset or even saying anything is worthless. The Club is essentially a "someone" that we all love and for some reason the Club has chosen to hurt us, the stupid ticket / shirt / membership / matchday programme buyers, repeatedly, with no compunction. And in fact, the one time that supporters did speak out about that hurt, the gaffer reacted with such indignation that THEY are the ones who should've walked away feeling sordid and horrible.
Think about that. Arsenal haven't looked this bad since the bloody 19th century, and yet, all I can say is absolutely nothing. We saw it coming. We feared it. We imagined the worst. And after all that, it was STILL WORSE THAN WE IMAGINED. If any other club loses by a worse scoreline in the league this year, I will (censored) in my own (censored) and then eat the remains. If an odds maker is offering a line on another team losing 8-2, take the opposite, because I promise you it won't happen. There you have it. You saw the most horribly abysmal result in the league this year on Sunday, and yet, what can you really say about it? Absolutely nothing.
And I would like to say one more thing: The terms "plastic" and "day-tripping" and "glory hunters" are often tossed about among supporters as a means of separating "the men from the boys" or "the truth from the lies." So let it be said that there is no better bunch of supporters, anywhere, for any sporting club on the bloody planet, than the ones who stood and yelled their guts out for the most shambolic Arsenal side ever on Sunday. It was as much a two-fingers at the likes of $ammy N. as it was proof to the Mancs (who insist on chanting filth whenever Arsenal play at OT) that Arsenal supporters are the reason that this is the best Club in the world and a memo to the players who DID actually try that if you wear the red and white shirt with the cannon on the front, you will never, ever know that kind of UNCONDITIONAL support ever again if you leave. Chase cash if you will, but that sort of love is unmatched.
And that, I am sorry to say, is my version of absolutely nothing.
Gunner 'til ya die.
Victoria Concordia Crescit.
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