By Woolwich Brooks
Unfortunately for my little sister (and by little I mean 22), she ended up along with me in our local for last weekend’s draw with Fulham. I don’t need to go into any details of the game, mainly because I have mostly forgotten a lot of it thanks to what I consider a fantastic performance on Tuesday night against Citeh.
But a not all-too-brief chat with my sis after the game will likely stay in the mind for some time to come, and on what some people consider to be our 125th anniversary day, I suppose it’s a good time to share it.
My sister, more interested in tennis than football, asked me a very straight question: “Why do Arsenal have this image as the good guys?”
Being a Gooner all my life I have always taken as given that the Arsenal is the most intelligent and respected team in the world, and naturally has the most attractive fans, so I didn’t give the question much thought.
I think I came out with something to do with fact that it’s to do with the players. Being an arsehole in professional football goes hand-in-hand with being money-hungry, and since Arsenal don’t have the deepest pockets, it’s always the arseholes that run off to get richer and become even bigger arses somewhere else (talking of which, did anyone else spot how big Nasri’s looked on Wednesday? I noticed Arseblog did!).
But I ended up thinking about her question again whilst stood at the Emirates on Tuesday night.
I was expecting us to lose; and to lose badly at that. But we didn’t. In fact, I’ve never been happier with a loss than this one.
Looking out on that field I had never been prouder to be an Arsenal fan. This was for a whole lot of reasons. For one the crowd were louder and more passionate than I’d ever heard them before. I thought the mainly fringe team were absolutely incredible and showed a commitment and passion that shows how proud they must be to be a part of this club.
But it was one tiny moment involving Fabianski that made me smile and warm the heart of this bitter twentysomething Arsenal fan. Just towards the end of the game, one goal down that came against the run of the game, we win a final corner. In the corner of my eye at the opposite end of the pitch, the Pole that has never really come all that good starts creeping forward and waving his arms toward the bench.
It becomes clear after a few moments he is trying to ask Wenger if he should get into the Citeh box. The Boss gives him a very frustrated looking wave up to do so. He moves up for the corner and following the break has to leg it back and some comedy tackling ensues.
And we know how it all ended.
But I loved what I’d seen. A player totally sidelined and left to play in the fringe matches has enough passion for what he is there to do to not only care about coming forward for one last push, but to even look for permission from his boss to do so.
It was a really great sight at the end of a great performance.
And so, I came away disappointed but once again feeling proud to be involved in what little way I am with this club. A club where sideline and fringe players still give all they can. A club that my little sister seems to think of as the good guys.
And a club that is celebrating its 125th birthday today. Here’s to the Arsenal!