FAN POWER AND RESPONSIBILITY by Uche
Hello everyone. Lately I have been wondering how Arsenal can improve as a team. The transfer window is closed, so clearly buying players is not an option. After exploring the usual areas of player, manager and board improvement, it just occurred to me that a huge aspect of our club that always flies under the radar is the fans. Football fans always feel like they are the only ones who have earned the right to be as critical and as petulant as possible. I suspect that it is because some wise guy once made the claim that the customer is always right. And of course season ticket holders are customers but beyond that, they are also fans and their every word carries a lot of weight.
The reason I am talking about this subject today is that I was raised to demand more from myself. Self-improvement is vital for every human being. So I try to demand more from myself as a father, professional, husband and sibling. Today I have chosen to demand more from myself as an Arsenal fan. What triggered this? Well, every issue these days seems to somehow boil down to our strikers. I am of the firm belief that we have given Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott so much grief and abuse that we have become a part of the problem ourselves. Just in case we have not realized this, our players read the things we write and tweet and a striker with battered confidence is of little help to the team. I watched Olivier Giroud come in as a sub in place of Theo Walcott against Stoke City and when he got that goal, the look of relief on his face and the burden he bears all day round with the constant abuse, brought tears to my eyes.
As a fan I have realized that Giroud and Walcott may never be Aguero and Lewandowski but they are hardworking Arsenal players and responsible men, who train every day with the intention of doing well for their club. They are not criminals. They are not corrupt politicians or terrorists. They are decent young men who turn up and try to do the job they were hired to do. If we truly love this club like we claim to do, we need to measure our words. Coming on here to abuse and ridicule Walcott may give us that immediate gratification that venting does, but it hurts our club. Our players are football fans too. They read football articles like me and you. They pray for Wenger to bring in world class talent like we all do. They hurt when we lose and guess what? They are the ones who hurt the hardest because they have to deal with the abuse and still turn up and play. I have a question for everybody on this site. Imagine being in a job where you are abused round the clock and taunted that you are not good enough, no matter what you do? How do you think this will affect you as a person and professional? It is a lot to deal with for the average person. The customer may always be right but when our players lose confidence, the fans also share the blame.
We cannot make Wenger buy a player if he does not want to or cannot get that player. We should have realized this by now. What we can do however is to make the players we have believe that they can do the unimaginable and actually win something. They have won two trophies now so I am convinced that they are capable even though it will be very difficult. As the parent of an autistic child, I have often had to sit my eleven year old daughter down and tell her that despite her limitations, she can develop her talents and be somebody someday. Like her father, she has the artistic gift and draws quite well. She has made unbelievable progress from age three when she could not talk till now. If you see her now, you will not even know she has a disability and she speaks very well. This is what can happen when someone in need gets the right support. We often claim that Arsenal football club is family to us. It is time we started treating our players like family, because those of us who are fathers and mothers of kids who aren’t geniuses don’t abuse our kids and remind them of how average they are.
Theo Walcott deserves our support. He has been injured for a whole year and you can see that he is hesitant going into challenges. It is not easy. We look at this guy and wonder why he cannot be more like Cavani or Henry but that doesn’t make sense. Every human being in this world has something that they are good at. Theo cannot dribble and offers little aerial threat. Sometimes you wonder if he is even on the pitch. But he scores goals. That is his talent. For a guy who has got us eleven goals in his last eleven games, we have to realize that this guy is our most reliable goal getter and not the Benzema that we don’t have. We are capable of supporting the players we have and give them the courage to perform above their perceived limitations. If we learn to do this, we will be doing our beloved club a lot of good. Our club needs us now more than ever.
I for one will never come to this site or any site ever again to abuse an Arsenal player. Never again. Peace.
Lagos – Nigeria