I’ll be honest with you.
There are players at Arsenal I do not rate.
When I was a kid, I had an unconditional love for each and every player who wore red and white.
That changed at Wembley in 1988 when Gus Ceasar gave such an inept performance in defence against Luton Town that I found myself re-addressing my formerly blind loyalty to every Gunner. That defeat hurt me badly and I blamed him even though Nigel Winterburn could have wrapped up victory with a penalty.
Football supporting is like that – it doesn’t always follow logic.
Over the years, there have been players who have simply not convinced me they are worthy of wearing the shirt – Ceasar, Nelson Vivas, Chris Wreh, Chris Kiwomya, Igor Stepanovs, Phil Senderos and Manu Eboue to name but a few.
Ironically, I’d love the latter two, Senderos and Eboue, to be available tonight to take the pressure off the creaking defence and give us some more options.
That’s the fickle nature of football supporting...
We don’t have to blindly praise everyone who plays for our team, nor believe that the players or manager never make mistakes. They are human and, whether Le Boss admits it or not, he is always learning, just like the rest of us.
But, whatever we say to our neighbours on the terraces, our mates in the pub or on blogs and forums, one thing is absolutely certain: when the whistle goes, we are SUPPORTERS of ARSENAL F.C.
Never forget that.
This season has gone predictably badly – the failure to sign new players or of the likes of Alex Song or Denilson to step up and prove themselves to be the next Mathieu Flamini has made it a desperate time.
Football is a game, not a war, but it dominates our lives so deeply that a bit of Bulldog Spirit is what separates the true fan from the weak and the feeble; those who know that hell or high water, the Club will endure and produce moments of glory as opposed to those who want to stick in the knife if things go awry.
Listening to the commentary of the Manchester City debacle last weekend, I was proud, truly proud, to hear our fans singing their hearts out despite what has been described as one of the most inept performances under Arsène Wenger.
What disturbed me at the Aston Villa game was how many fans started to leave with 10 minutes or more left – whatever happened to standing by your team until all hope is lost? It was a disgrace.
There are so many readers of this and other Arsenal blogs who are desperate to get to games yet do not have the money or opportunity to do so.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to see the team, in times of delight or despair, need to do our bit for true Gooners everywhere by getting behind the team and cheering them on.
Going back to what I said at the beginning, there are Gunners I don’t rate. I doubt Denilson is good enough to fulfil a long-term berth at Arsenal, if we are to be successful. Aaron Ramsey and Abou Diaby are, in my mind, more capable of having a positive influence on a game.
That is just my opinion and there will be thousands of you who disagree.
But would I EVER jeer him or abuse him or wish him physical harm, willing him to do badly so he is dropped? Never.
While he is on the pitch and fighting for Arsenal, he is one of us, and he deserves our total and absolute support.
To the likes of Afsar Gooner, who suggests we all boo Denilson and urges someone to break his leags: please go and support T*tt*nh*m or Ch*vski – they deserve you.
You are not worthy of supporting a club with the tradition and integrity that is The Arsenal.