End of season blog 1: it was the worst of times…

May 14, 2012 11 Comments by Sian

Oh God it’s all done and finished and we got there and oh my God what a mess it was in general. I mean truly. From start to finish, there was no medium. There was no dull moment. There was no boredom. Even 0-0 against Bolton away produced murmurings and sighs of ‘We’re just not good enough.’ Everything was either a high or a low. Either we were on top of the world (Chelsea, Dortmund, Newcastle, City), or we were destined for a lifetime in the mire, rotting like corpses, never to see the light of day again, dead and gone, just dead and gone, simply DEAD AND GONE.

The lows… oh my, were they low. I remember only staring into a jug of Margarita after 8-2. We don’t even have to mention the fixture or the date. ‘8-2’ is enough. We got ‘8-2ed’ 8-2 was the day even Ferguson and Rooney looked like they felt a bit sorry for us. And what’s funny is that, for me at least, 8-2 didn’t come even any way close to the lowest point this season. It was horrible, for sure. It was also a bit misleading though, given the teams fielded and the fact we had months and months to make it up. Nevertheless, it was awful.

And I’ve no doubt there’ll be fans of worse off teams than ours looking at Arsenal in Arsenal’s lowest moments and thinking ‘Oh bore off, you know nothing of horror.’ Well, that may be true for you. But I do not care for, nor love the team that causes you heartache. I love this one, and while its trials and tribulations may be a mere knee graze for you, I can assure you they’re a bloody great cliff plunge for some of us.

4-3 was the next low for Arsenal. Again, no fixture or opposition is needed, but it was the match after which I remember asking my dearest dadda if we were getting relegated this season. What a mug. That was the point at which the hand-wringing really started. Check this blog out from Arsenal Vision. I know it’s all hit-whoring, and you should really believe nothing you read in the papers… ever. But somehow we all continue to get sucked in. The worst of it is, at the end of the season when all of their articles have been wrongety-wrong wrong, you can’t even laugh at them, because they didn’t even think it in the first place. Mr. Douchebag Deadline was probably shouting over their shoulder that this was the message they wanted and ‘NO, PICTURE ED, I WANT THAT CREST SMASHEDER, MAKE IT MORE SMASHED, MAKE IT CRUMMMMMBLE!’ I’ve decided that as of next season, not a single journalist will wind me up.* How untorn my spleen will be.

We got through November largely unscathed, having lost Bacary to injury and our pride to Spurs at White Hart Lane the month before. They were playing so well back then. Proper contenders for the title, they looked. We hoped it would not last, but given the way our luck had been going, there was always a dirty dancing devil at the back of our heads telling us there was a chance. Losing Bacary was horrendous though. Like trying to finish a marathon with no legs or head or lungs.

The next real low was essentially January in general. We started off with a loss to Fulham, carried it on with a loss to Swansea, and then came home to lose to Manchester United. That United loss was particularly horrendous, the atmosphere about as poisonous as an infected blister. It seemed that even though we weren’t buried up to our necks in manure any more, even the bright ones started to question the wisdom of the manager. That was a proper hurty moment for me. But worse was to come.

For me personally, the lowest moment of all the low moments we could have been subjected to was AC Milan away. Sounds silly, no? Bit of an extravagant match really, not a league match, not against an opponent we should have easily beaten, rather more of a glamour fixture for us. But my goodness me, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so low in my football-supporting life.

Perhaps it was because we felt we were finally all on the same team. The players knew they were not the flashy superstars of Invincible times, but they bloody well worked hard and looked good. We’d got through January without a league point yet managed to turn things around a little in the early part of February. Interestingly, there felt little worry ahead of the Milan match. Maybe that was a contributing factor. But as we stood there watching the team get utterly torn apart by an ex-Spud and a giant with a really big nose, it felt like all that had come before it was lost. On a big stage, the biggest they’d seen all season, they’d choked in the most spectacular of fashions – even the reliable ones. When Thierry Henry walked over to the away fans – at this point dizzy with altitude sickness – and applauded us for the last ever time, I cried my eyes out. Lordy, what a night that was.

The 2-0 defeat to Sunderland away in the FA Cup didn’t feel that bad comparatively which was odd given it was the end of our last chance at a trophy, but it somehow felt inevitable. I also saw a really shit film at the cinema that night. Crap Saturday, really really crap Saturday.

We had to wait a while for the next low: QPR away. After moments of strength and power, it was all a bit net curtains for all involved. Ditto Wigan at home. Having not lost at home to anyone besides Liverpool and Manchester United, that one came a little out of the blue. Worse was maybe the loss of Mikel Arteta. Our record without him is horrendous, though I guess at the very most positive end of the thinking scale you could at least say it goes to prove what a great bit of last-minute business he really was. Considering the shit some people come home with at midnight on Christmas Eve, we did bloody well there.

And finally, Norwich at home. I like to think they were all just drunk. Given we no longer have to worry about it, the fact they were all just drunk and/or hungover works very very well for me. Lightweights.

All of this shite having come after a dreadful summer probably meant that all of the bad times were amplified somewhat. For me, I was a great big open heart wound of pain from the get-go, having had to say goodbye to Cesc Fabregas in August, so nothing was ever going to be easy. I’m a Weepy Weeperson in general, but that man got more tears from me than is decent.

In general, probably the worst part of this season – besides the injuries and the general unrest among fans – was probably the sudden question over whether an era was coming to an end. More people doubted Arsene Wenger than ever before. Even the sensible ones. We’ve all certainly aged far too much for nine months this season (only nine months, can you believe that? NINE MONTHS?)… but what is sure is that we’ll all start it over again in roughly two months’ time when the team begins training once more ahead of their pre-season tour.

We must be mad, but we will do it again because in spite of all these low points, there have been some MENTAL high points this season too. And they will be outlined in part two of this end of season blog. :)

PS. Even though this is the low points half, please remember we finished OK and we’re safe and we have Champions League football guaranteed and we’re the second happiest team in the league right now!

*until they start on Arsene, then the gloves are off and the teeth are out.

11 Comments

  1. Irishgray
    1982 days ago

    Sian – I personally do not miss Cesc, or any of the others, but nor do I hold any malice towards them. It simply is the way things are these days unfortunately. That being said, Cesc should have pushed through a move in the summer months, same with Nasri. The start of the season would have been much different. Glad to see we have tied up Podolski and maybe Junior Hoilet in the next few days. We also have Ryo, Campell, Wilshire, Diaby(?), Frimpong and Bartley coming thru. Looking forward to next year and some CL football :)

    And on a side note, would like to thank you for persevering with the blog, even though you were buried under Uni work. It really is a breath of fresh air compared to most (Le Groan anyone?). In every one of your postings, the fact that you are a fan comes shining through. Well done Sian, and I am hoping you might throw a few postings up during the off season. :)

    Reply

  2. Gf60
    1982 days ago

    Looking forward to the “Best of times” Sian. Ouch… the worst was a dash of cold water, albeit necessary. It’s all too easy to forget them. Hope you keep posting during the silly season.

    Reply

  3. Maddo
    1982 days ago

    You made me want to cry with the LOW BLOG, I hope to smile with the HIGH BLOG.

    My lowest ebb was the Manchester United game at home. The vitriol against Arsene was heartbreaking. It manifested itself further into my mind when the old guard started voicing off against the team in the newspapers… players who left Arsenal amd Arsene because they were greedy, yet said they loved him and the club so. Hypocrites. Anyway. I’ve personally aged faster in these past 9 months than ever before. I left every strike lashed at Arsene.

    BUT He never ever showed weakness when he spoke about his team because he believed in them and I commend him and his staff for that. Take a bow Sir.

    Reply

  4. JV Mauer
    1981 days ago

    Between you, and Arseblog, and Tim over at 7amkickoff, I need never want for bloggers who lead with their hearts. Thanks for the hours of enjoyable reading and congrats on finishing the degree! How you manage to get it all done, I’ll never know.

    Regarding the 4-3, I think I may be the only Gooner I know who really didn’t mind. We should’ve done better, of course, we’re the Arsenal, and we should win every match 10 – 0. But playing in a gale always means that it’s a toss-up as to what the result’s going to be.

    Here’s to a restful and relaxing off season, and a rollicking great start to our Quadruple winning season in August!

    Reply

  5. FunGunner
    1981 days ago

    Walking us back through the chemical forest of pain with your usual deft comic touch. thanks, Sian. Can’t wait for your take on the good bits.

    Great comments from IrishGray and Maddo as well.

    Unlike some, I have enjoyed this season. Because of the massive highs and lows – as you say, no mediums! – I have felt so intensely emotionally and psychololgically engaged with this new incarnation of Arsenal. I always knew we’d be OK in the end, if only because under Arsene, we always have been. The worst never comes to pass. It’s like watching a really well made 007 or Bourne movie – you know the hero will be all right in the end, you just can’t work out how, so you have to trust.

    Reply

  6. Shropshire Lad
    1981 days ago

    Nice to read an interesting and balanced summary of the season. Love the Christmas Eve comment!
    Look forward to the next blog

    Reply

  7. Tricia
    1981 days ago

    As much as I’d like to forget the lows, it is very necessary to see them. Excellently done. Looking forward to the high blog. Glad to see the back end of this season and I’m proud of the team to make it to where we are now, considering.

    Reply

  8. 1NilToTheArsenal
    1980 days ago

    Brill blog. You manipulative little sneak! Now you’ve got us waiting for the happier (I hope) instalment two.

    Congrats, on finishing university, BTW. My young son once promptly blurted, when asked about his favourite part of school, “recess”. I hope your summer “recess” is rewarding and relatively carefree after all the blood. sweat and and tears.

    What a season, though. Emotionally draining and never truly rewarding. Why is it that I can’t wait for next season already?

    Reply

    • Sian
      1980 days ago

      Because we’re all crazy fools and we’ll never stop putting ourselves through it!

      Reply

  9. Alex
    1980 days ago

    Written like a master story-tale Sian, the most poignant bit for me is when you ask your dad whether we’re going to be relegated this season, always gets to me. Looking forward to the 2nd happier instalment :)

    Reply

    • Sian
      1980 days ago

      Coming soon :)

      Reply

Post a Comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *