The Road to Wigan Fear
The Premier League is a bastion of ballbaggery. Players who believe they are brands, owners who openly pillage supporters and supporters who openly degrade themselves and the game with their acts of public knobendedness. Yeah, ok it’s also the best and most exciting league in the world and I do actually believe that. Despite me hating most things to do with top level football in England, I do genuinely believe that it is rivalled by no other league in the world. Except Italy, where they look smart as fuck and do mad things like chuck mopeds into away ends (no one was hurt) and have orchestrated acts of mass “pyro” rather than the “ooh, I sneaked a smoke bomb into Craven Cottage” shite that “we” manage. Oh, and Germany where they dress like dicks but they have huge, packed grounds because tickets are affordable and where there is usually 90 minutes of noise.
But in terms of the actual football, it’s very strong. And, let’s face it, it needs to be good in England because “the product” overall is shite. Good football – generally fucking abysmal experience, which is why we have seen a rise in those Against Modern Football types, who are against football so much that they spend money going to over-priced football but make colourful and vocal statements whilst there, thus increasing the spectacle for on-looking non-Against Modern Football types who have infested the game. Talk about feeding the hand that bites you. Where am I going with this? Right, fashionable Premier League clubs…
Arsenal Football Club is a club for whom I have a great deal of admiration and respect. Their late snatching of the Division One championship in 1989 has much to do with me finding it hard to “hate” Arsenal – as so many people do – as does their wonderful sides of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, against which United had some unforgettable tussles. They play football the “right” way, they nurture youth and they have a genuine heritage. They’re everything Chelsea aren’t, which is a big plus in the eyes of most football supporters. However, if a view was to fester that only certain clubs of an apparently high stature should be in the Premier League then I’d hazard a guess it festers more in the stands at Arsenal than anywhere else and that doesn’t sit right with me.
The Arsenal crowd gives off more of a vibe than anywhere in football. I don’t mean in any way to compare “The Library” to the wall of noise at the San Siro or bouncing upper tiers of Boca Juniors’ Bombonera, but in terms of mood I think that Arsenal fans convey themselves onto the pitch more than fans of any other club. Sure, they’re up for games against Tottenham and United and the atmosphere might be better than normal for games against new foe, Chelsea, but they are a moody and disgruntled bunch who look down on visitors and they don’t mind people knowing it. If the collective thoughts of Arsenal fans were gathered and displayed on their large scoreboards throughout games, they’d constantly read “who are these cunts and why on earth are we not winning 4-0?”.
You can only imagine how much of a nuisance it has been for Arsenal fans to have to sit through visits from Bolton, Blackpool, Burnley, Blackburn and Wigan Athletic. Not only are they lower league, Northern non-entities but there isn’t even a hope that a win against these teams will prove to be good watercooler banter in the office on Monday morning. Some people from Manchester, Liverpool and Leeds do indeed make it to London but no one from anywhere else up North even goes to the South East except for football and there’s no chance of Arsenal fans ever working with fans of clubs from the once industrialised North. And so, all they are is a scruffy, noisy, small-allocation-taking, interference with what should be a run of the mill (pardon the Northerner pun) home win every other Saturday afternoon.
So, some of their wish for a League of big games came true last night as Wigan Athletic were relegated from the “Greatest League In The World”. A league, it would seem, where you have no credibility if you have empty seats in your “stadium” or your own museum showing off all your silverware, and where only the biggest brands in football belong. A league where it would be much nicer if Watford or Palace came up because then you could do the away games easily and wear your Arsenal shirt on dress down Friday the week after a big “derby”, of which there’d be one almost every week, with the occasional visit of Manchester or Liverpool to keep things spiced up. How they must’ve enjoyed that last night, Arsenal fans, putting aside that nagging FA Cup win for Wigan of course.
Wigan, you have been a pleasure to watch. No, I don’t mean the plucky Northerner routine and taking on the big man. I just mean pissing off new football knobheads with your unfilled ground, your smaller than average away following, your big galloots roughing up fancy-pants footballers the league over and, not least of all, your turning up against big clubs and playing nice football to humble the spoilt, mardy-arse fans of the fashionable few. There’s no pat on the head from us, just a big bucket of best wishes and a hope that you come back soon and make Arsenal season ticket holders look at a fixture with you and go “for fuck’s sake, not them”.