Friday, April 4, 2008

Right up your Arse!

When my Blogfather (Lingering Bursitis) asked me to pen a few words on what Arsenal meant to me (a devout Liverpool fan), I accepted with intrigue. (Well, not immediately, as I'm automatically programmed to avoid work. But, not soon thereafter...)

When somebody mentions Arsenal, never is my initial reaction towards the negative (unlike say if you said 'Everton', 'United' or 'Chelsea'). I've never really felt any strong disgust towards the north London club or anything really associated with the Gunners. In fact, where most clubs might garner a tepid or indifferent response from deep within Sven, I hold at least one sympathetic string in my heart for the French club.

Rather odd, isn't it? That a fervent fan of one of the Top Four should actually hold some affection (or at least, not hate) another rival club? Especially when said clubs are facing of in a Red Trilogy that will decide their fates in not only the Premier League, but also in the search for European glory?

Surely, there's something I strongly dislike about the Arse? How could I fail to find something pseudo-inflammatory to say about Wenger & Co.? (They even got rid of Ashely Cole!) It's for this reason I licked my lips at the idea of riffing on Arsenal Football Club ('licking my lips' figuratively... because to do it literally while talking to LB would have been kinda gay. And I only go gay for Fernando Torres. I'm a one-man man.)

Like you may have learned from any bullshit workplace workshop, it's generally good to start with the positives. Firstly, the lack of bad blood between me and Arsenal likely stems from the, um, lack of bad blood between Liverpool and Arsenal. When was the last time things got nasty between Liverpool and Arsenal (enter Hirshey with the answer)? It's been awhile. For better or worse, we've had no pizza-throwing incidents, no touch-line bust-ups between managers and Javier Mascherano has yet to destroy an Arsenal player with his bulldog-like tackling (give it time).

Arsenal is one of the clubs who have enjoyed their recent success by building a club the right way. And by the right way, I mean the opposite of the way Chelsea came into theirs. You don't need me to tell you how trained an eye Arsene Wenger has for young talent (and that's not a phrase you can use in everyday language and have it not be creepy) and point out how well he's consistently spent his transfer kitty. That Rafa has seemingly adopted a similar, if not as effective (yet), stance, by buying up countless young-in's is something I find promising and have rubber stamped with my approval.

I will say, however, that Arsene's eyes seem to have gotten even sharper over the last few years, as it's been sometime since I heard him utter the magic phrase, "I'm sorry, I did not see zee inzident". Incredibly useful in a variety of social situations, adopting a bad French accent and repeating this phrase used to almost always guarantee a laugh amongst my friends.

Another reason for my respect of Arsenal is that they're fun to watch. Usually, I'd be happy to dial up an Arsenal match that holds no immediate ramifications for me or Liverpool and watch their enjoyable brand of free-flowing, (often) one-touch attacking football. Sure, once and awhile they insist on passing it one too many times and refuse to score the easy goal. Or, on occasion, a striker might get the mental Blue Screen of Death and act like a defender on the goal-line, keeping his team from grabbing a vital goal when it would be easier to score himself.

It also helps that almost all the Arsenal fans I know (present blog company being the exception) are not the least bit annoying with their fandom and also seem to share a mutual respect for Liverpool. Much of this probably has to do with the fact that it was only recently that they've climbed out of the 'boring, boring Arsenal' funk and started garnering silverware again. But, it's still fun to think back on the days when they actually played Englishmen and disappointed Nick Hornby over and over and over again.

So, as Liverpool likely fields an inferior team for the Premier League match this weekend, with an eye on booking passage into the CL Semi's (a-gain), you can rest assured that Arsenal will have my full respect and condolences as they end the season with no silverware.

P.S. Methinks Diego would be a great buy for y'all. Go ahead and splash the cash. You've earned it.


The NY Kid said...

Or, on occasion, a striker might get the mental Blue Screen of Death and act like a defender on the goal-line, keeping his team from grabbing a vital goal when it would be easier to score himself.

Fuck you, Nicklas Bendtner. I need to change my avatar.

Eladio said...

How's this for annoying?

strong like bull smart like tractor said...

It's sort of odd - it seems that for each team in the big 4, the fanbase despises two of the other three teams and has grudging admiration for the other. Liverpool and Arsenal don't hate each other nearly as much as they hate Chelsea and Man U, and vice versa.

Ian said...

Bull Tractor - I think its just that everyone loathes Manchester United and Chelsea. The former because they have won so many fucking titles, and the latter because they are a bunch of nouveau riche poseurs.