Pop quiz time:
Raise your hand if you know there is an Arsenal match today?
Ok next question
Raise your hand if you care?
And the next:
Raise your hand if you could care about the result because you feel like nothing will change at Arsenal. . . ever?
That my friends is Arsenal apathy. It’s a real thing and it seems to be growing as you look out among the social media landscape.
In the wake of Arsenal’s loss to Watford, I slowly turned off my TV, walked away and shrugged my shoulders. Sure, I hate it when we lose but my initial, visceral reaction was one of not being bothered. Why should I bother, I thought, the club hierarchy doesn’t care and if they don’t care nothing will change.
What’s more since they don’t care they’ve turned us into a laughing stock. I don’t know about you, but I am okay (to an extent) with Arsenal supporters taking a dig at our club, but when it comes to those from outside the fan base, I get all defensive. I don’t like anyone from outside the “Family” having a go.
However, as insults after insult came in the wake, I found myself saying they were right and what’s more, I just didn’t have the energy to debate them on the issues any more. Again, my thought what’s the point, nothing will change.
I HATE THAT I FEEL THIS WAY.
I love re-arranging my schedule around Arsenal. I love all the speculation that comes with supporting the club. I do love my club. I know everyone who supports loves this club but I am left asking myself, does the board and the owner love this club (rhetorical question folks.)
As the years went on and on, and nothing changed in how we approached things, I got worn down. As I suspect have others. Sure, we bought Mesut Özil. Alexis Sanchez came in. We got our FA Cups and there was a glimmer of hope. But they were false dawns.
Nothing was done or sufficiently done to build up one success to create more successes.
In the wake of the abject performances of this past season, there was some thought that Arsenal might have gotten the point and woken up. We bought Lacazette and Kolasinac was signed on a free transfer. Then nothing. And then the stories came. . . they were counter to the promises we were given when we moved to the Emirates. Goal posts were moved and ultimately “success” was redefined.
It was that moment that I finally broke down. I just couldn’t be arsed any more.
And that hurts.
I no longer rush to catch Arsenal like I used to. If there is a conflict I weigh heavily whether or not I will watch. If I can’t watch it and the result is uninspiring I don’t even bother to watch the recording. I don’t even come on twitter to discuss it. And I love chatting with my twitter friends.
It was only in the wake of the news that Stan had made an offer to buy out Usmanov that I had an epiphany.
This apathy was exactly what he wanted.
If you are a fan of film you may remember the movie Major League with Charlie Sheen and Tom Berringer. In that movie a widow takes ownership of Baseball’s Cleveland Indians. The team is woeful. And the stadium is near empty. She hopes to continue that streak, and then move the team to Florida and a new stadium, etc. She banks on the fans being so disgusted that when she goes they won’t even care. She stops investment in the team, she brings in poor talented players, gets rid of all the perks – anything to make the team awful and the fan base apathetic.
What if Stan’s plan was to get us so broken down in our fight against him that he’s trying to wait us out so he can buy out Arsenal, incorporate it in Delaware in the US where it will be hidden behind some of the strongest (least transparent) corporate laws and where we’d never know what is doing to this club?
It may sound farfetched but the less we seemingly care because we know “it’s not going to get any better” or “there is nothing I can do” the easier it is for Stan to make moves without much fight back from the fans.
But then something happened. . . the outright purchase of the club Stan got a loud response. A very loud one. It was enough to get Usmanov (as savvy a PR opportunist as I’ve seen) make a bold statement saying he had received no offer and allowed him to play to the fragile fan base.
So that was held off.
But it’s likely it won’t be the last we heard of it. Stan could just be waiting and waiting for a more opportune time to make the move he desires.
Arsenal have tired me out. From all the endless debates on Wenger In and Wenger Out. Whether or not Wenger will buy to support the great talent he has here in Sanchez or will they stay or not. The inaction by the club to keep Arsenal at the competitive level they should be. All of it makes me go meh.
We shouldn’t be though. I am hopeful that there is enough fight in all of us that we would challenge Stan all the way to hell.
I may be apathetic but I still love my Arsenal.