Since the dawn of the age of professionalism and before, abuse has rained in on players and officials from the touchlines. Clubs build new stadia, crowds become more gentrified but the air still rings blue with invective and insult. Fans are never short of an opinion, voicing it in industrial terms. Clubs want a family atmosphere but as hard as they try, every phobia you can think of is exploited by supporters in varying numbers.
The peculiarity is that neither footballer nor official can fight back. If they do, it’s a fine, suspension and humiliation in front of the world for their behaviour.
I’m not before you say it, claiming to be innocent of all charges. Every football fan who gets to a certain age is an angel with a dirty face.
Hector Bellerin receives abuse and criticism which if it were handed out to a labrador would see the RSPCA step in. At the end of the 3 – 0 debacle at Selhurst Park, he was the focal point of frustrations in much the same way Alex Song was at Fulham several years ago.
Yet when Bellerin makes his views known, a section of the support can’t handle it. This isn’t about how he dresses, what he does away from the pitch or how much he earns. This is about you, being a man. If you can hand it out, expect it back. Football creates a cosseted bubble for supporters; players can’t respond in as emotional away but if you’ve given him grief, take a step back and look at yourselves for moaning he is having a go back.
This is nothing to do with wages or footballers being distant. This is all about you being entitled, about you wanting your cake and eating it; it’s all about you.
Get over yourselves.
Confusion Hits Us Everytime
Which brings us to the match of the day. Wait, no it doesn’t. Had we not been dumped unceremoniously out of our own invitation competition, it’s likely we’d have been heading over to Stamford Bridge tonight for another meeting with Chelsea. But we’re not so what else is there going on.
Well, Arsène shocked the world by telling us he had turned down some of the biggest football clubs dans l’arbre. That’s right; he stayed at Arsenal out of loyalty and we should be grateful for it. The old gem about not breaking contracts came out as well but without the addendum of ‘but not through want of trying’.
Ultimately, it was Arsène calling Arsenal out. He’s not leaving the club before his contract is up unless he is sacked. Or cajoled into leaving for about £12m. Whether his resolve will be so great if PSG flutter their eyelashes is another matter.
However, as is his right, he asserted that the contract of employment he and the club signed is worth a damn. Unless it’s mutually convenient for it not to be worth a damn.
Why now? Ivan’s stock is rising at the club and as with any CEO, it’s off the back of the work of the new boys. Huss and Sven landed their January targets and with Raul, they are the moresome foursome. All Wenger has is results on the pitch going his way.
And let’s not kid ourselves here. Lasting twenty-odd years at Arsenal is the mark of a survivor. When Hull were 2 – 0 up, the last rites were administered to his reign. The same when Chelsea equalised in last season’s FA Cup final. Both wins left Stan content in the boardroom, looking at the cup with a happy “shiny, shiny” passing his lips.
Stepping in the Right Direction
It does raise one uneasy feeling. For so long, the manager portrayed the best interests of the club as all that mattered. In one interview, he shattered that illusion. Instead of noting he would do what he thought was best for the club, he has openly declared he is seeing out his contract no matter what. That’s a tricky negotiating corner to back himself into.
To be honest, it’s a sad place for him to find himself. We saw the damage the prolonged doubts about his future wrought across the club’s fortunes last time around. It’s why I thought a two-year deal was odd; it brings the same scenario around too soon.
Arsène admitted his own situation affected the squad. Is he seriously contemplating putting us in that same position again? I struggle to believe it yet am utterly unsurprised. All that’s left is for the club to tell him their view but the question is whether anyone has the cojones to stand up to Stan and tell him the truth.