A letter to the Arsenal fans… from the Emirates Stadium
When I came into this world, I could not open my eyes for a long time. I remember that it was 2006 when I first opened my nimble eyes. It was so bright that I could hardly see anything.
After a few months I witnessed something inside of me which I found really beautiful. I saw two teams come out from a tunnel and play with a ball, which I later came to know was called “football.”
Since then, I have witnessed many matches inside of me. My favorite colour is red because everybody is dressed in red during matchdays, and I think it is an alluring spectacle.
I also started supporting the team in red, because I felt a strong connection, which is pretty hard to explain.
It has been 15 amazing years and it still feels like I was born yesterday. How time flies! But the last year was pretty difficult and confusing for me. People usually come inside of me from August to May. After that I take a long nap for 3 months before waking up for a new season in August.
Nevertheless, the last year was strange. I had to forcibly shut down or let’s say sleep in March for the reasons I still don’t really understand.
They say “home is where the heart is,” but the home has not felt like home for over a year now.
It was March the 7th, 2020, when you all went berserk inside me after Alexander Lacazette scored from a Mesut Ozil assist in the 78th minute against our London rivals West Ham.
Although I hate when people leave me after the match ends, I know that they will return in a few days, which makes me feel good.
But it was different this time last year. Nobody came after the match against West Ham. I waited and waited. March went by. April, too, went by without anyone attending the matches of Our beloved Team. I asked myself many questions. Have they stopped enjoying football? Do the people don’t love Our Club anymore?
I never found an answer to those questions, nor did someone tell me.
May came by and still there was no sign of My People. I was very confused for those three months. It was the first time since my birth in 2004 that people disappeared in a flash and did not return for a long time.
Those were the toughest periods of my life, as days felt like years.
Emirates, too, wants this whole ‘virus thing’ to end soon
I spent three lonely months on my own, expecting to see people coming through the main gates of Me. But no one came. I was certain that it was not the summer break as I saw people in jackets and coats when We enjoyed Our fabulous win against West Ham.
But I do remember that my keeper, the groundsman, started wearing a cloth, which covered his nose and mouth. I had no clue why the keeper was wearing a thing which looked so incongruous.
I heard bits about people talking about some ‘virus’ inside the halls of me. I did not understand what that word meant, but it sounded pretty serious with the way people spoke about it.
I also learned the reason why people were not attending the matches of our team. It was ‘lockdown.’
I didn’t really understand the term initially, but later came to know that when it is imposed, people are forced to sit inside their homes.
It sounds frightening.
Although My Players returned in June, the most spectacular thing about football was missing. It was obviously the Fans. Without the fans, the wins were less enjoyable and the defeats harder to take in.
Without that “human presence” during the games, football loses it’s essence. It is called “The Beautiful Game” worldwide. And fans play a major role in it.
Calling the referee “twat.” The pre-match congregation in pubs and restaurants. Parents picking up their kids when Our Team scores. People shaking their head and screaming at the referee (which I found amusing) when we concede a goal. There are so many things I miss.
All that has been replaced by nothingness. All I can hear is the player and the staff shouting. It’s just a football match now. Nothing more than that.
But there is hope. Hope that You all will be welcomed for the last two matchdays of the Premier League season.
But hope can sometimes be a bad thing, especially in the current climate.
Until then, take care.
In the end, nothing can separate fans from football. And I think that’s beautiful.
by Yash Bisht
Connect with the writer via Twitter/Instagram: @yarsenal09