Posts Tagged ‘optimistic’

Forget about money for a second. Forget about Financial Fair Play, £24 million transfers, and oil barons’ bottomless coffers. Money doesn’t guarantee happiness. Money doesn’t guarantee success either (see: Liverpool).

The ball is round, Sepp Herberger famously said, and the game lasts 90 minutes. Anything can happen. Does happen. It’s football. It’s beautiful. And life isn’t always about sport, but sport so often is about life — and the unimpeachable humanity of the men who play this game. The grit and frailty of it all are part of what make sport so appealing. Because it’s real in a way that no carefully-produced TV show or movie could ever be. Sport turns on the hinges of spontaneity, skill, and sheer bloody-minded willpower in the face of adversity. Arsenal are a perfect example.

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This whole series of blogs started with a conversation between Mimsie and myself. She had written a blog about fangirls, and her defence of them challenged me and forced me to view myself as a supporter in a new light. How was I seen? Could I fit the definition of a fangirl? How did the male Gooners I interact with perceive me? As I began trying to figure out answers to these questions I reached out to fellow female Gooners whom I respected and asked them to write about their thoughts and experiences. Mimsie as well wrote an excellent blog on her thoughts and experiences here, from which I will shamelessly quote as I attempt to explain my thoughts.

As I thought about my experiences as a fan, I discovered that it wasn’t about my gender, my preferred midfield, or how much I wanted Arsene as our coach that was important to me. What I wanted from interaction with fellow fans was a sense a community, a place to be heard, to listen, to be challenged and grow as a supporter.

I realized that I have never made my gender an issue. I had never thought of myself as being different to any relatively new Arsenal fan. I love our team with a passion and with every passing year, my knowledge grows. Last season when I had the incredible fortune of travelling to London and watching the season-changing 5-2 NLD, I didn’t view myself as a female surrounded by male supporters. I felt like I had come home. I wasn’t excluded; I was embraced, maybe a bit too roughly while being pounded on the back with excitement, but I wasn’t complaining.

As in the quote below I had viewed my fan experience as ordinary until I was reminded by others that I wasn’t:

“It’s an extraordinarily unordinary fan experience, as far as I’m concerned. Which is fine, seeing as I’m just another fan. Every so often, though, I’m reminded — by blog posts, tweets, off-hand remarks — that this isn’t exactly true. Every so often, you come across a comment that feels like a slap in the face. Because women don’t actually like sports, it’s assumed. Women only care about how hot the players are, not how well they play. Only men can really appreciate football. And therefore men are better fans.”

I mentioned in my introductory blog that recently had my first experience of being told I wasn’t a ‘good enough’ fan based on gender, and while it was shocking and hurtful, it did cause to me to grow as a fan. I hated being degraded, I hated the insinuation that I was stupid and most of all I hated feeling like an outsider when Arsenal has felt like home. The worst moment happened later. While I was sitting up at night stewing over how someone could pass such a judgement, I realized that I have been that person.

I am a hypocrite. I have judged other Gooners based on their opinions, I have called other female supporters fangirls, I have mocked and called into question the support of those who think Wenger should be replaced. I have made other Gooners feel the way a man made me feel and it’s not okay.

Once again Mimsie explains my thoughts better than I can:

“It’s ugly, this hierarchical code that expresses itself as the need to put down a fellow human being in order to feel our own self-worth. Either be the best, or at least make sure there is someone still lower than you on the ladder, and make it clear that you are superior to because of reasons x, y, and z.

It’s sad that we’ve been conditioned to believe such a lie, because superiority is a double-edged sword. The constant drive to prove your worth means you are never actually sure that you’re worth anything at all. The name of this game is insecurity itself.”

Although I didn’t enjoy being judged and questioned based on a gender-biased view, it helped me to expose some of the flaws in my own self and because of that, I will transform what was meant to be a hurtful and belittling experience and change myself into a better woman, better person and better Gooner.

I may not agree with your opinions, I may not care for your personality, style of writing or tweets, but I will treat with you the respect that all fans deserve.  When we met in a pub or hopefully someday at The Emirates again, if you are a Gooner you are welcome to sit with me.

Following on from yesterday’s  introductory blog on female fandom, today I sit down with some ladies I’ve come across on Twitter to get their insight into matters.

The one question I often get as a female supporter is: “how did you become a fan?” Often this is in an inquisitive manner, but sometimes it is asked to question my knowledge or judge if I have been a fan ‘long enough’. The worst-case scenario is when it is asked in the sceptical, “I bet she’s just here for the pretty players” type of way. I asked some of my fellow female Gooners to share their experiences and we spoke of how we became fans of football and what it’s like when people question our beginnings.

Kajal – When people say: “It’s so cool that you’re a girl who is into her football”, my only ever response to this comment is that I am not into football, I am into Arsenal. This results in some rather odd looks or uncomfortably toned answers such as: “Yeah but you still know your stuff”, as if to somehow mark me ‘credible’ in their eyes again.  My love for Arsenal derived from my mother who is your more unconventional football supporter. As a schoolgirl she had an affinity with the (dirty) Leeds, just as my peers toyed with a brief love-in of Manchester United because it was seen as fashionable to do so.

She also has a soft spot for Leicester but I’m more forgiving of that as she used to live there. Her true love, however, is Arsenal and all credit goes to Arsène Wenger for making her fall for his beautiful and more-than-digestible style of football, and not before long, so did I. I got some stick for beginning to follow Arsenal at a time when they were doing well as opposed to attending games from the age of 5 and watching the famous ’1-0 to The Arsenal’s under George Graham (never by Arsenal fans, mind you) but I didn’t care. I loved everything about The Club from Highbury to the detail on our home socks.

Sandra – I’m 52 years old and originally from Brazil and grew up in Massachusetts in a heavily Portuguese area. My Brazilian family kept their love of football when they moved to the US but it was hard to keep up with it at that time. We emigrated in 1964. My uncles fostered a love of football in me so they had no issue about me being a girl. From an early age I grew up with a divided family in terms of football clubs – the Rio side being strong Flamengo supporters, and the other side being strong Corinthians supporters.

In 1970, my family (my uncles mainly) and Brazilian friends wanted to be in Brazil for the World Cup because Brazil had a strong chance of winning it. They planned to travel there. I really wanted to go but my mom couldn’t afford it so one of my uncles lent her money and we spent a month in Brazil watching the World Cup on small TVs. It was a family thing – though clearly it was men who knew the game better.

But I learned from them.

Later as a teenager, college student, grad student and post-grad school I traveled and worked in many countries around the world and went to many football matches.  I  have experienced several encounters in which a male would doubt my knowledge about football but I’d just shoot back with the amount of stuff I did know and then their attitude would immediately change, and they’d take me more seriously.

Jules – Many of today’s female fans grew up playing football. For me, I idolized the US Women’s National Team of the 1990s. They were female role models excelling internationally far more than the Men’s team.  In my personal experience I’ve been in love with the game since I started playing as a child. It frustrates me that there are people out there who consider me a dilettante just because of my gender.  And they almost certainly believe that I shouldn’t wear a jersey as I can’t be a “real” fan. I can’t possibly appreciate the role of a defensive midfielder, or gasp in awe at the beauty that was Andrea Pirlo’s free kick. That’s a false premise based on stereotypes rather than truth.  When I look at my Twitter timeline or the readers of my own blog, I know that there are a lot of female fans. This community has basically live tweeted matches all season and continued to do so for the Euros. Clearly women are still a minority among football fans, but we’re vocal. We’re blogging, podcasting, v-casting, and submitting pieces to magazines. It’s anything but passive.

I think about the female bloggers that I regularly read. I don’t choose to follow blogs based on the gender of who is writing them, but on the quality of writing. Discounting strong writing and analysis just because a woman wrote it would be ridiculous. There’s no reason to close yourself off from different perspectives. I don’t care if a person is from Mars, if they’ve got insight I want to know about it. Don’t worry guys, I read y’alls too. If I’m reading you it’s because I like you, and what you have to say. There’s no quota of types of football blogs that I read. If you’re good, I want to see it.

This past spring MLS suspended Simon Borg for 7 days after he made comments regarding passionate female fans being unattractive to the opposite sex. There were two issues present. One: All men think women who really like sports are unattractive. That’s easily disprovable by going to a professional football (soccer) match. Many men welcome the female presence, as having interests in common is typically a good things for a relationship. Two: Why does my interest in football have to be viewed through the lens of “will a man find this attractive?” It’s incredibly self-centered and heterocentric to think that women at sporting events are mostly worried about how they will appeal to men. This discounts lesbian and bisexual fans as even being considered fans, and also again takes the point of view that women are there to be enticing not cheering on their team. Guess what? We buy merchandise too, and teams like selling merchandise.

I guess the short version of what I’m saying is that I’m a fan. A kit wearing, tv yelling, euphoric from wins and despondent from losses fan. I know and like the game, so please don’t discount me because I’m a female. We’re all on the same side as long as you don’t consider club loyalties.

Does being a female fan mean being different? Is there an invisible line that separates us from male supporters?  As I wrote yesterday I rarely think of myself as being anything other than an Arsenal supporter. My gender has rarely come to mind but yet it impacts everything in life. Here we discuss what the implications of being a female fan has meant to us as individuals.

Kajal – One comment that really struck me as a female fan (I don’t advocate the use of the word Goonerette – if you don’t want to be seen as different to male supporters, why use it) was the failure to understand how I could appreciate the way that Arsenal play without having played football myself. This was actually a valid point, and one that I had thought about on a few occasions. I played football at school when we had to in P.E, tried to join in with the lads at break time at Lower (Primary) School on a few occasions because we thought it was ‘cool’ and practised penalties with my brother when we were younger but I never really understood things such as the mathematics and precision behind free kicks or the weight of a pass in a practical sense yet these are amongst many things I appreciate and fawn over when done well. How is that so? I don’t know the answer to this but I also don’t know how any fellow human in this planet (whether they love football or not) could not be overawed by the magic and trickery of my one true idol, Thierry Henry.

Even discounting his many, many goals, it was his presence on the pitch, the way he was so strong yet ran so gracefully, his nutmeg of Danny Mills, the Trompe L’Oeuil pass to Reyes, his sarcastic goal celebration towards Mr ‘I’m A Celebrity’ Poll, who had given him a hard time about the placing of the ball for *that* free kick. I could explode just talking about this man! I can’t leave this paragraph without the inclusion of his solo goal and celebration against Sp*rs – now the desktop background of many, many Gooners, including myself.

No Arsenal-related, French love-in could be complete without a few words for Mr Wenger. I love the man. That is all. Well, it’s not really all. I look on the social networking sites and see our very own fans calling him derogatory names and I want to throttle the whole lot of ungrateful [insert profanity here]. I just about understand that the man is not infallible but I just cannot fathom why he is subject to abuse from fans, and I’m not just talking about our own ingrates but we know not to expect an ounce of morality from that lot down the road, and that other lot over in Fulham, and that other lot three hours up the M6. The media have to take a large portion of the blame but it’s 5.45am and I’m having to remind myself why Jess kindly asked me to participate in this blogging session so no more on that!

Onto Twitter. The joy and bane of my life. Not only have I had the pleasure of meeting other female Gooners (they really know their stuff y’know! ;-)) but also other Gooners from around the world. This has been extremely eye-opening for me as to how much worldwide recognition and admiration we have but also the dedication and unconditional love from our friends in different countries. The effect Arsenal have had is special, but not as special as the effect these fans have on the Club.

My Twitter followers will know that I do love a good moan so I’ll try not to deprive you too much on here. One of my pet hates on Twitter is a female using their affinity towards Arsenal to get attention from men and use it as a dating service. All female Gooners I follow are beautiful, funny and shame me in my knowledge of Arsenal – past and present! I think we’ve worked pretty damned hard to change the perception of female fans so therefore am vehemently against being tarred with the same brush as those wanting to use Twitter as Match.com (or Shaadi.com for any Indian readers!)

Sandra – In Brazil and other Latin American countries, the stereotype about women and football is typical of the old stereotypes of women and sports here in the US: women don’t get the rules, they’re not interested, they get annoyed that their husbands or boyfriends spend so much time with it, they don’t get the passion involved with supporting a club, etc. And much of that is true – a lot of Brazilian women don’t share their men’s passion for the game.

But at the same time there are always a strong, loud representation of women fans in nearly every game in Latin America. Certainly men are more predominant but women are always there. I’ve been to games in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Ecuador, Mexico. I’ve seen a lot of bad behavior among fans and certainly have been called misogynistic names by drunken male fans but whenever that happened I received support from other male fans who defended me.

Jules – Being female in what is traditionally considered the domain of males is interesting. For most people it’s not a problem, but for others my mere presence somehow cheapens the importance of their interest. Especially in sports culture, women have long been passively set to the sidelines as casual observers. Time and time again we’ve been told that we don’t understand the game, and football matches are often considered a perfect time for boyfriends and husbands to tell the ladies to go shopping. Those old standards don’t hold true anymore. All one has to do is look on Twitter to see that it’s changing. There are tons of female fans, and it’s a good thing.

There is the immediate assumption that if a female is a fan, she’s only there because she thinks the players are hot or is trying to win over a guy. I don’t really understand this argument as all of us have eyes. We can all see that someone is conventionally attractive.  Just because I might find a player handsome, doesn’t mean I rate him as a player if he doesn’t perform on the pitch.  The argument about shallow fangirls who only like the looks is annoying since from the Olympics of Ancient Greece, the athletic form has been revered by our culture. The ESPN Magazine Body issue continues that celebration. Furthermore, there is distinctly a difference between a women who fakes an interest in sports to attract a guy, and women who are fans. The unwillingness to note those distinctions and place all females in one category doesn’t address the personality variance that occurs across genders. There will obviously be fakes who are there for the eye candy, but they aren’t the female fans who watch all the matches, and fret over injury lists. It’s offensive to be considered vapid and ignorant just because I’m female.

Any memories that you would like to share, be it Arsenal-related or more general?

Kajal – Highbury was a special experience that I never fail to want to relive. The magic of attending your first match and have the coach pull up outside and Mr Wenger standing less than six feet away from you is something pretty indescribable. That’s something I miss at Ashburton Grove, it feels like the players are now too exclusive for their own good and your only chance of seeing your heroes off the pitch is if you wait long enough for them to drive out – and that’s if their chosen car that day doesn’t have blacked out windows.

Sandra – Two of the worst encounters I’ve ever had was in England – involving a couple of Spurs fans and one Stoke fan. All three treated me and my two female friends appallingly. With the Spuds it was outside White Hart Lane; with the Stoke fan it was in a pub watching an AFC-United game. They said we should go back home and start cooking, we don’t know shit about football, we’re ruining the game, etc.  They were drunk of course.

Most of the time I’ve found men to be incredibly happy and impressed that they’ve found a woman who knows the game and loves it as much as they do. But there are always a few who feel like we’re intruding into their space just by being at a game or at a pub watching it with them. Most men I find are also tolerant when we express sentimental attachment or physical attraction to players. That’s been my experience, anyway.

The one thing I’ve always had some trouble dealing with in football being around drunk men. Wherever I’ve gone, very very few women are drunk and a lot of men aren’t but a lot of men always are. Especially in England and the UK generally – it’s a massive drinking culture there. And I’m not much of a drinker (this always was a topic of jokes in my time in England). It’s not a moral issue with me, nothing like that. I just don’t drink a lot. I don’t mind a little now and then but it’s just not a big part of my consumption habits. Over time I’ve gotten used to it and a lot of guys are perfectly funny and pleasant when they’re drunk. But it’s something I’ve never been crazy about. Never stopped me from attending games, though :-)

Jules – I spent Easter morning 2012 at a pub in Brooklyn, NY watching Arsenal play Manchester City. Initially I was the sole female there, and my husband playfully teased me about being the only girl in the pub. I ordered a cream ale and ignored him. It was nearly match time, and all I could think about was how it was a must win match for the Gunners. Many a weekend morning has been spent watching matches with the boys. It’s amazing how the moment you prove yourself as knowledgeable the anti-girls attitude pretty much disappears. It’s not much different than the experience a new guy in a circle of soccer fans would find. You have to size people up and determine how much they know, which really isn’t different from any other interest on the planet. I don’t have any problem with that as I can hold my own, but I distinctly have been questioned about my knowledge of football spanning from the offsides rule to how I believe Messi would fare in a cold wet night at Stoke. I’d really like to see that match.

A big thank you to Kajal, Sandra and Jules for their contributions and insights. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s finale where Mimsie will share her experiences and thoughts

Jules’ blog can be found in it’s entirety here

While writing this series of blogs with the ever excellent WengerBoy1 (find him here https://twitter.com/#!/WengerBoy1) we discussed how often we see our defense being blamed and agreed that it was an easy assumption to make but not necessarily correct. With a season of some unfortunate results such as  the unmentionable game against United, it’s easy to understand why people believe that our defence is just not good enough.  However while we have a knack for making defensive blunders and causing heart-attack producing moments, I believe that our backline – when not injured – is solid.

Bacary Sagna

Sagna is probably the best right-back in the league at the moment. He is consistent, breaks down attacks and has a surprising aerial ability for a player his size. He is tenacious when attacking and his dependability allows Walcott the space and security to keep pushing forward without worrying about being caught out.  While there are times Sagna can be outpaced and manoeuvred by skilful forwards, he is one of Arsenal’s most steady and important players.

Laurent Koscielny

Koscielny is Arsenal’s best defender and has been brilliant this season. Calm, solid, pacey, and strong, Koscielny has given consistent performances despite having inconsistent partners. He has faced the likes of Messi, Aguero, Ibrahimovic and Ba and remained controlled and comfortable while doing so.  So far this season he has proven his ability in tackling, clearances, interceptions and positioning while offering up one assist and a goal.  Koscielny has provided 2.7 tackles per game and has an impressive interception rate of 2.8 per game. This puts him ahead of defenders such as Vidic, Cahill, Ivanovic and Kompany. Perhaps it’s time we all forgave him for the Carling Cup error and appreciate his defensive skill.

Thomas Vermaelen

Verma is our most popular defender and brings an aura of steel and hardness that has been lacking from Arsenal in recent seasons. While there are times when he lacks alertness and pace, he offers a sense of leadership and organization that is vital in our defence. Vermaelen often makes important clearances, tackles and provides matchwinning goals.  He has struggles with injury and spent plenty of time this campaign at left-back. When given the chance and a consistent run of games, he and Koscielny have blossomed into a formidable due and the match of any other centre-half pairing in the league.

Kieran Gibbs

I have debated between Gibbs and Santos as our no.1 left-back for quite some time. Until I realized it’s not necessarily a choice between Gibbs and Santos that I was struggling with, but the need to understand the role of a left-back at Arsenal. In truth Gibbs and Santos are pretty much interchangeable; they are good players, maybe not great, and assets going forward. They can both struggle with their defensive duties and put unnecessary pressure on our centre-backs. At first I thought this position was the weak spot in our defence, when in truth I didn’t understand the tactical reasoning behind this. More than any other defender it is important for our left-back to have the ability to go forward and provide an outlet. Whereas we have Walcott’s pace and directness on the right-wing, the players on the opposite flank tend to cut inside onto their more natural right side. In order to provide width to our attack we need a defender with the pace and attacking prowess to move forward and on the overlap, allied with the ability to whip in a cross. So while the left-back is an important part of our defense, it is an equally integral part of our attacking play.

Wojciech Szczesny

Larger than life, passionate, talented and a true Gooner,  Szczesny has been inspiring and a revelation of a goal keeper.  While many of us were crying out for a keeper, Arsene had this man up his sleeve.  Saver of penalties and man of strength perhaps, the best thing Szczesny inspires in this team is confidence. The players trust him and this allows them to focus on their own duties instead of worrying about what is going on behind them. His double save at Anfield from Kuyt’s penalty was the stuff of legends and he secured us a spot in the Champions League with another penalty save against Udinese.  While there is room for improvement in his game – his distribution and record against free-kicks need improving  – Szczesny is one of the most promising keepers we’ve seen in the league and the long-term option for Arsenal.

Thanks to Darren_V_ for his tactical help on this blog.  Follow him here at: https://twitter.com/#!/Darren_V_

Better Late Than Never

Posted: March 17, 2012 by lpgcast in LPGCast
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Apt title considering how late we are posting this AND how late we scored the winner.


“2-0…and we kept the hope”

Posted: March 11, 2012 by oranjesky in Exile in London
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I wanted to write this blog straightaway to describe for supporters that don’t get to see Arsenal in the flesh what it is like being at The Emirates. The excitement of seeing the team you pour your heart into, the players you know better than some of your own family and the drama of watching the game unfold live in front of you. But I couldn’t. Every time I sat down to write, I was overwhelmed by my own feelings.

 This season has been difficult.  We’ve been labelled Wenger’s worst side. We’ve lived through the worst defeat in living memory, and as a collective fanbase we’ve all experienced doubt, frustration and hurt with this team.

 And yet there have been moments of pure football magic; moments of exhilarating highs and times where I almost remembered when watching football was fun.

The atmosphere before the game was one of nerves and grim determination. We arrived at the game early in order to take it all in and I’m glad we did. The Emirates itself is beautiful. On a rare bright and sunny London day the stadium gleamed and the Arsenal legends looked like Centurions standing guard over the enemy. I stood and watched the red-and-white shirts and scarves flow past me, and I cried as the pitch came into view.

 The nerves started to settle and the doubt began to give way. Looking at the sea of red seats, reading all the banners and watching Gooners stream in and take their seats, I felt for the first time since arriving in London that I was home.

Being at The Emirates reminded me of what football was about. It’s not about the wages or the transfers, the trophies or the point tallies. Football is about joy and, more importantly, it is about hope. When Spurs scored right away I didn’t give up or get angry. When they were awarded the penalty that never was, I waited for the crowd to turn – but that didn’t happen either. Instead the Emirates’ faithful made the decision to believe in hope; the hope of the next chance, the next goal, the next time, and the next half.

It was a choice that has defined our recent turnaround. We came to support our team and they in turn responded with the character and commitment we have been longing to see. I found my joy in Arsenal again that day. Sagna exhibited that it was possible to achieve the seemingly impossible with determination and steel. Walcott turned doubters into believers. Rosicky showed why loyalty and dedication still pays in football. Szczesny reminded us of the importance of celebrating with the little people, and Arsene proved he still knows  best.

The problems of our team are still there and one win against our rivals hasn’t changed them, but it has set the tone for the rest of the season. There is a tangible feeling of self-belief within the squad again, a rekindling between the fans and the team, and the sense of hope has returned. After all, this is The Arsenal.

One Aaron Ramsey

Posted: November 5, 2011 by oranjesky in Exile in London
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Truth be told, I am unashamedly an Aaron Ramsey fangirl. His shy interviews, quiet confidence on the pitch and his uncanny ability to steal Nicklas Bendtner’s clothes and look better in them won my heart. I cried when he got injured and I fiercely defended him when others doubted his ability to come back from this. When he returned to The Emirates to score the winning goal against Manchester United it was one of my proudest moments as a football fan. I was excited for Aaron’s future and was looking forward to seeing his partnership with Jack grow. Then the summer of 2011 happened. With Cesc sold and Jack injured, I was concerned over Ramsey’s ability to step up and fill the role Arsene wanted.

So often Arsenal have turned to youth players to up their game and rise to the level needed, but Cesc Fabregas is not a man easily replaced and Aaron is a very different type of player. He lacks the vision, creativity and dynamic skills of our former captain. He sometimes dwells on the ball and can be indecisive in front of goal. His first few games of the season were worrying and fans were beginning to doubt his talent; calling him overrated and not good enough for Arsenal.

What they couldn’t see is that Ramsey’s skills lie in the fact that he is box to box, hustle and bustle type of player. He doesn’t fit the tiki-taka style that Fabregas was an exponent of, and we have had to adjust our play since his departure. Ramsey likes to play the ball longer and is good at getting stuck in. His pass completion is around 95%, his through balls are often game changing, he is striking up good understandings with Gervinho and van Persie and his midfield relationship with Arteta is flourishing. He is aware of the expectations that surround him and recently had this to say about the comparisons between him and Cesc:

“Cesc is a different player. He was a great player for this club but hopefully I can bring my own style to this team and create opportunities to score goals and get on the scoresheet myself. That’s what I am aiming to do.”

 

He is well on his way to living up to his own definition of success. Aaron made the assist for van Persie’s first versus Bolton, scored the equaliser in the better-forgotten game against Tottenham, came off the bench to give us the win over Marseille away, ran the show against Chelsea and provided a beautiful ball to Walcott which led to the first goal against WBA today.

Ramsey’s ability to grow and mature into the player we now see is why us fans need to try and develop patience with players. Sometimes they have off games, a run of bad form and lack confidence in their own abilities. It is at such times when they most need the faith and support of fans to rise up and become integral parts of this Arsenal team. As usual Arsene said it best:

I believe Aaron is on the way up…that he is improving now is normal because he is young. At his age there is still a lot of room for improvement for him. The worry we had was that he would be psychologically touched by the fact he was out for such a long time and we would see that when he goes into challenges. He got over that hurdle and I have been impressed with the way he dealt with the whole situation.

No player is above criticism, there is always room for improvement and Aaron is certainly no different. He may not be everyone’s first choice and he may struggle to stay in the starting eleven when Jack returns but he is a player with heart, the drive and determination to move forward with this team and fight for success and that is enough for me to believe in one Aaron Ramsey.

From Your Eyes

Posted: September 16, 2011 by arsenalofka in Roza's Pub
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Saturday, September, your room somewhere not near London or UK. You’ve just prepared your favorite beer and a bag of chips(or pizza maybe? Whatever you fancy). You are sitting in your most comfortable seat, checking your twitter timeline for the last time before you close it. You don’t want anything to mess with your already-slow connection. The online stream is prepared for almost half an hour, fingers are crossed. You knew the starting line up perhaps before Wenger did. It’s not hard to know it, really, when half of the team is injured or sold or having visa problems. That’s just one of the benefits of being an Arsenal fan. Sarcasm, yeah.

You turned off all your instant messaging tools, and closed all tabs except the stream. Now you’re ready. You took the first sip of cold beer, tastes so good. Two guys in studio are jabbering about things you know all too well. How many injuries there are, how many kids, did they recover from the Old Trafford slaughter, how the season is over and September has just begun. Finally, you see that beautiful expensive stadium and your favorite team. You forget about everything that you knew before and you whisper to your bottle of beer: “4-0, no problem at all. “ And then it starts. He passes wrong. He is so damn slow! Why are you playing anyway? You are sure you could play better! Why doesn’t he pass the ball to this guy on the other side? FASTER, dammit! And it continues for another 10-20 minutes. Then they manage to score and the world is ok again. Not for long of course, cause why the hell do you pass the ball to goalie! And so on… until you found yourself with half eaten pizza/chips, too much beer bottles around you, praying for the final whistle before someone is fouled in penalty area and scores a penalty for 1 miserable point.

When it’s finally done, and they did manage to win it, you’re still not satisfied. The game was awful, you couldn’t relax, someone got injured, they are shit! So you rant about it on twitter or facebook, whatever you fancy. You find thousands of people who totally agree with you. And then, there are some people who see that we actually won, we actually didn’t concede a goal, and new players were actually pretty great. So, what to do now? Stay grumpy and complain and hope for the worst? Or, jump on the positive train and be happy cause we won 3 points after, well, a while? I will stay positive, I always do. And I also recommend it to all of you. I guess it’s a lot easier to play and win when you have bunch of optimistic people behind you, rather than grumpy old men swearing at every wrong pass you make.