It’s been almost ten years since I last blogged about Arsenal. In that time our club have won four more FA Cups in dramatic, emphatic and glorious style. We’ve lost a European cup final to the Russians from West London. The most successful manager in our history stepped down and was replaced by a Spaniard who was subsequently replaced by another Spaniard, although we’re a bit more familiar with this one. And of course, the world has changed irrevocably in the light of a virus that has spread across the globe.
We now watch matches on television in front of empty seats with fake crowd noise pumped through our speakers. Fans who are fortunate enough to watch their team live, the adjustment has been hard. The match day rituals; the journey on the train, the beers with friends, the food from the familiar haunts and the spectrum of emotions that only live sport can provide, all indefinitely on hold.
But against the backdrop of chaos and carnage across the world, one thing remains the same. You still ‘feel’ it.
The nerves before a match, the belief in the team, the despair of conceding, the joy of scoring. It’s all still there. That maelstrom of emotions that truly make football the beautiful game. And we love it.
So for now the beers remain virtual, the cheers muffled by microphones and the socialising hampered by WiFi speeds. But we will be back soon my friends and once again we’ll go through those same rituals and superstitions. Singing for the boys, cannon on the chest. Together.
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