Posts Tagged ‘hope’

“2-0…and we kept the hope”

Posted: March 11, 2012 by oranjesky in Exile in London
Tags: , , , , ,

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.