I Am Gooner

Posted: March 27, 2011 by oranjesky in Exile in London
Tags: , ,

     Living in Canada, the sports scene is a wasteland of hockey fans and – worst of all – golf watchers. Finding a fellow football fan is an exciting and often random process. If that fan happens to be a Gooner they immediately become your new best friend forever while the rest of the people present drift away or politely grimace and nod as you exclaim your love with your new forever friend. With such a bleak and often Manc-filled landscape, I, like so many an international fan, turned to the Internet.

      At first I was amazed and excited by what I found: blogs aplenty, football communities and a vast amount of Arsenal supporters on Twitter where I could share in the joy of being a Gooner, and it was like the first glow of a new relationship. I found people who loved Arsenal, loved the players and loved Arsene just as much as I did; we basked in the wonderfulness of our team and each other, and my belief in the fellowship of The Gooner was never stronger. Then I made the rookie mistake of reading blogs and comments sections after a loss, and I was shocked by the amount of rage, anger and blame I found there. Sadly in the past four years not much has changed. I learned from those days it is better to avoid all media, blogs and especially Twitter after a loss – indeed, one of the few benefits of being an international fan is that I don’t have to see the results of all our games splashed across the television and newspapers, but now it seems negativity and disbelief has become en vogue for a large amount of supporters. I’ve spent a good part of the season frustrated at the anger and rage of fellow fans. I was disappointed in those who turned on our players and furious with the ones who have joined the “Wenger Out” brigade. Until recently, that is. Anger is an emotion of passion. It consumes you, fuels you, drives you and it is impossible to stay that angry at something you don’t care about.

     So I try not to judge those fans anymore, I do my best to read, listen, and somehow learn from what they say. I may not often agree but that doesn’t afford their right to an opinion any less valid, There is no denying our team is going through a difficult time right now and no matter where you are in the world it is a painful yet exciting time to be caring about Arsenal. We need to find the ability to connect again as a fan base; Gooner on Gooner crime has got to stop. Lest we forget the club’s motto – Victoria Concordia Crescit – we all desperately want victory but I fear some of us are willing to sacrifice the harmony.

    So I apologize if my eternal optimism and my love for our team and manager is grating to you, but if you can forgive me for my rose-tinted, Pollyanna outlook, I will in turn ignore your angry tweets and abusive blog comments and together we can rise above and support our team, The Arsenal. Maybe it’s time we dusted off the now immortal words of our little Russian: “it was very hard days for me, but now it doesn’t matter, Now I am Gooner, that is what is important.”

  1. Binha says:

    That’s beautiful, beautiful post! Really well written and expressed everything I believe in! The season is not over, there’s still a title we can win, we should stay together and support the boys! Like you said, of course there are many issues that must be addressed, but in the meantime, let’s keep the faith and not turn on each other!

    You keep posting darling, you’re very good at it 🙂
    A++++ for Shava’s quote!

    • oranjesky says:

      I think it’s so important that we support eachother right now. There are so many people willing to tear us down. We need to wait to see what this season brings then discuss how to make positive change!

      Shava never fails to provide us with excellent quotes!

  2. V says:

    Love it BB. This is the kind of thing I talk about often. Well put AND it makes me happy to live in Arsenal capital! awaiting the next one xxx

    • oranjesky says:

      I love our home supporters! Even those dreaded ST holders 🙂 We should be excited to meet fellow Gooners! We have the best possible thing in common! I’m glad I met you!

  3. Sarah says:

    Perfect post is perfect. Turning on each other when we’re all supposed to be supporting the same thing is ridiculous. We have enough people outside the Gooner bubble to attack us for supporting our club, we don’t need to be attacking each other.

    The last paragraph = ❤ There doesn't seem to be many of us optimists around atm but rose-tinted and pollyanna, if that's what it is to be called, is the way to go tbh. Love you and this post for your eternal optimism bb.

  4. newfiegooner says:

    Great post! The negativity is certainly a challenge for those of us who use Twitter. This would certainly still be the case in person, I think, if we had a pub culture here, as there is in Britain, but not as bad as it is online: the impersonal aspect really makes a difference when it comes to people’s bravery.

    • oranjesky says:

      I agree, I do think as international fans we miss out on experiencing what is part of being a supporter for home fans. It’s so easy for us to call each other “plastic” or fake.

      It shouldn’t matter how we chose to support Arsenal, We all love the same team. We just need to wait it out and see what happens. I believe Arsene will make changes this summer if he needs too, no sense in us turning on each other now.

  5. Steven Chambers says:

    That’s your problem though. Too many get too attached to players. Me, I care more about the Club. Players come and go, and the Club will always be here after they go. And as for the ‘wenger out’ brigade, they have a right to an opinion, they’ve waited and some have waited along time. And I may not agree with them, but they do have a right. I still believe in Arsene, but some don’t, and they have a pretty solid reason for not doing so. Also see you having a dig at ‘Le Grove’ when you probably don’t even read it. They have pretty idiotic commenter’s on their blogs but the stuff they write isn’t that far-fetched. Like today for instance, saw a lot of people having a go at someone for saying ‘sell vermaelen’. Well guess what, they never said that, far from it. They actually said he should be monitored because of his severe injury and that reinforcements should come in because of the amount of setbacks he did have. And like I have read your piece, there are different kinds of fans that deal with defeat and disappointment in a different way. They or I can’t help it, so sorry to all you calm and well-thought fans out there that can see the big picture. We see a team that have went out of three competitions in 3 weeks, lost ground in the title race and suffered a lot of injuries. We’ll always support our team, but nobody is safe from criticism or untouchable. When the players step out on the field, we’re behind them every step of the way but fans are not stupid, and I hope you’re not either. Players here are just not good enough and we’ve saw that this season. When thee ‘first 11’ have suffered a few injuries, the players that have had the opportunity to stake a claim have never stepped up. So there has to be big changes in the summer, or we risk falling behind when Chelsea go again and Liverpool and City spend also. We have the money there and it’s time it gets spent. And until then we’ll support our team through thick and thin, and have a little go after a game if someone hasn’t played well or let the team down, it’s what fans do. I don’t have a ‘favourite’ player so a guess it makes it easier for me. Club comes before any player so ANY player that isn’t giving enough will be criticised, and I won’t make excuses. Arsenal have been my club for 10 years, and I’ve seen great periods and not so great ones (for six years). But I do believe in Arsene, and I trust him to make some decisions in the summer that most fans have wanted for a long time and then we can push on to bigger and better things, hopefully.

    • oranjesky says:

      Thank you for commenting, I think in essence we are agreeing with eachother in a round about way, I agree that all Arsenal fans have the right to their opinions, and comments, that was my point as well. I’m just asking that we put aside our differences for the rest of the season, and support the team as best we can.

      I actually wasn’t refering to Le Grove because I don’t read the site so I can’t comment. I was speaking to some comments I have seen on Twitter. I’m not sure how someone having a favourite player fits into this but I do agree with you about our back up squad. Some improvements are needed for sure.

      I think in the end, we all want to see Arsenal achieve bigger and better things, thats why we love them.

  6. Squid Boy says:

    Excellent post, couldn’t agree more. There really is no good that can come of us fans turning on each other, be it negative nellies having a go at the optimists or ST holders declaring themselves “better fans” than those abroad.

    Supporting Arsenal is both an individual and communal thing. Individual in that we all have different opinions of where the Club is and the direction it is taking, and because we all deal with defeat in different ways. And communal in that we all desperately wanna bask in the warm glowing warming glow of success and silverware.

    We have to learn to deal better with the individual aspects, to understand each other. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone, but everything wrong in disrespecting them. Because a fractured fanbase simply does not help the team.

    Case in point – the Barca home game. If we’d gone 1-0 down to anyone else, the bitching and moaning would’ve been out in force. Too often our fans go into matches with a sense of entitlement. But that night, we had humility. We pulled together and look what happened? We beat the best. I’m not saying it is a guarantee to victory every time, but putting our own differences aside and fighting for the common cause instead of peddling our own agenda certainly won’t hinder the team. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll help them.

    There’s nine games to go. There’s a title to be won. Let’s leave the moaning and bitching aside for now and get behind the lads. Let’s sacrifice the individual to help reach our communal goal.

    • oranjesky says:

      ” There is nothing wrong with disagreeing with someone, but everything wrong in disrespecting them. Because a fractured fanbase simply does not help the team.”

      Great quote! You summed up exactly what I was trying to say in two sentences! No matter who we are or what our views, supporting the team is always the most important thing.

    • Darren says:

      I find you have to have reasons to actually disgaree however. MAny ppl seem to miss that part.

  7. Wiltz says:

    Easy on the golf fans!!!

    Com’on you Blues!

  8. avefrater says:

    Finally got a chance to read it and I love it! 🙂 Some days it’s saddening how ironic our motto can be, but I’m glad I found a small subset of people who can be positive about the team, at least.

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