The pros and cons of being a passionate Arsenal fan

THE FAN/CLUB RELATIONSHIP Part Two, the benefits and disadvantages by Jon fox

How important in your life is passion? Do you relish enjoying extreme highs and extreme lows? As an Arsenal fan you cannot hope to experience one without the other. How many of us are either in rapture or despair following a game, according to how our team has done? Is this healthy? And if you are not like this are you even a real fan at all? In this section of my trilogy I will explore my own personal thoughts on what is healthy and not so healthy in being a passionate fan.

Before going any further, I contend that all passion is proof that you are really alive, I don’t mean just literally alive, of course not, but that you are actually living as we humans are made to live, to feel highs and lows, in fact, to be a normal and proper functioning human at all.

Imagine if you can, how awful a life without any passion must be. I doubt anyone reading this can even comprehend that dismal state, and whyever should you when you are all passionate football fans, or else you would not be on here reading this!

It is often said by players that scoring a vital goal is better than sex! Presumably, most players, though perhaps not keepers, have done both, so should know! So then passion is surely a healthy thing and good for us. But how about if you are older and have a heart condition? Is it still healthy even then? What this tells me is that there is never a one size fits all where life is concerned, and that itself is a good thing as it makes us more sensitive to the needs of other people, or should do anyway.

What about abusive and aggressive language at grounds then; is that good or bad? Most of us would say it is bad and of course so do I. But some health professionals would argue it’s better to let off steam vocally rather than come home and take it out on the wife, partner, kids or even the cat! Equally, some would not. It seems there is never universal agreement on most matters where people are concerned. And that too is a good thing, I would argue, even though I foolishly spend much time on this site saying the exact opposite to some who disagree with me. On Ozil for example!

So then, is knowing that you are doing something that lets off your own steam but may upset others, a good or harmful thing? I think we all should know that answer, don’t you!

What I am leading to is the realisation that we are all fallible human beings and should be glad for that, as being fallible makes us of more interest to others and even to our special loved ones. To be fallible is proof of our real humanity and to be able to admit it is even more so.

But if this is the case, as I passionately believe, why do we so admire strong players and criticise weaker players? Because football is not like our everyday life and when we are passionate, we are less in control of our emotions and of how we behave. THAT is one of the disadvantages of extreme passion, surely! In part, passion explains hooliganism, though there is far more to being a hooligan than just passion. It involves being of bad character and a loser in life!

There are many other emotions we experience at matches and when discussing them. We may feel pride, sadness, a sense of belonging to a tribe, which we all do. We all need tribes in life, be it our family, our work, friends who share similar interests or just drinking in the pub being with our mates. But it is surely when we really believe that OUR tribe, whatever that tribe be, is superior to all the tribes of others that we are in danger of arrogance, poor judgement and lack of self-awareness.

I have always believed that being true to oneself, allowing for our own faults but being at the very least aware of those faults, is the key to being a mature and well-rounded person. That is not easy to do and it is far easier to go along with the majority in our tribe, most tribes in fact, who loudly proclaim the superiority of that tribe. Is this not in essence exactly what the Nazis did in Germany and what racists and warlike people do across our globe! Are you in Trump’s tribe or in the tribe opposed to him? Both are tribes my friends and both believe they are right and the other tribe wrong. Is that a healthy way to live then? I think not. But is there an inbetween tribe about Trump and if so, has anyone heard of it. Again, there is no easy answer, as some matters divide us so very much that we do not even try to find common ground. And that is the first step towards enmity, which is not intelligent. Is it!

If you can be certain of being right consistently just 52% of the time, you can make a fortune on the stock market or in a casino. Why not do so then, unless, deep down, you do not believe you can be right even just 52% of the time. That is a sobering thought my friends and maybe, just maybe, it is worth remembering that, the next time you argue passionately why, say, Nketiah should start instead of Lacazette. It is not the actual players names that matter but the principle. Not even 52% certain remember!

Despite all this profound nonsense my friends, I still believe that true passion AND PASSION FOR OUR CLUB – THE GREATEST CLUB IN THE HISTORY OF FOOTBALL, AS ALL OUR TRIBE KNOWS – is overwhelmingly important and we humans are designed to be passionate. Otherwise we would be still living in caves. But then again, at least the planet itself would be healthy and not overpopulated! Please consider my pros and cons the next time we are “right” and the other party or tribe, is “wrong”.

I freely admit that many of the faults I describe are true of myself. I comfort myself in the knowledge that I am at least aware of some of them and that, like us all, I am also human and therefore fallible. To be human is to be blessed. Though I love dogs and cats, they can never be Gooners, nor get a spine-tingling thrill at 11pm on October 5th on finding out that Thomas Partey, the greatest box to box player in the world today, as all our tribe knows, had finally agreed to join Arsenal Football Club, by far the greatest team the world has ever seen!

In part three I will explore the future direction of where we fans, and our club may be in years to come; the years hopefully beyond Kroenke’s ownership.

Stay safe and why not write an article yourselves!

Read Jon’s Part One here – Being an Arsenal fan is a one-way love affair

Jon Fox

6 Comments

  1. Mark says:

    Weird article with no cohesion. What exactly is the writer trying to get across?

  2. Highbury Hero says:

    Good article Jon. Certainly better than the first. I am in agreement of some of the things you have mentioned as they are the same with what I am currently writing. I was waiting for your part 2 to see if it was too similar but I see they are different enough for me to send it for consideration.

    1. jon fox says:

      Thanks HH and best of luck with your article. This site needs many more and different writeres to keep it improving. Diversity in all things and the more the better. One for all and all for one – my own life philiospohy writ large!

      In my own part three, which I will make less heavy going and less philosophic than part two, which it has suffered from, I will discuss in more detail my thoughts on the way that top football and fanhood will most lilely change in the years ahead.

      Right now , with this daft and harmful idea of ” Project big picture ” being proposed, surely all fans will be wondering where the game is going.

  3. ken1945 says:

    Worth waiting for Jon – have to say it was a little heavy going at times, but a really well constructed and personally based on your life experience.

    Worth linking this with Dan’s article on the thoughts of the PL clubs “Project Big Picture.”

    Looking forward to how Highbury Hero sees it Jon – young and old on the same topic should be really interesting.

    Don’t wait to long for the third part though Jon!!!

    1. jon fox says:

      Very fair comments Ken and I thought it far too philosophical, upon reviewing it personally. Too heavy for this site. It IS the type of article that I contribute on political sites, leaving out the football elements of course.

      LESSON LEARNED THOUGH, as I need to stick closer to the actual football and less to life related comments. Wrong horse for the wrong course actually, as the paucity of comments suggests.

  4. Sid says:

    Great article, Mr. Fox! It quite rightly describes the ups and downs of being a passionate fan.
    P.S.- It has inspired me to start working on an article which I had been sitting on for a long time, though whether I would be able to complete it and send here remains to be seen, lol!

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