14 years. Half the duration of my existence on earth. It has been an era since I began supporting Arsenal FC and the great Le Professeur Arsene Wenger. This really has been a love story – one of my earliest ones. It would be a gross understatement to characterise this as anything but a beautiful relationship – with its fair share of ups and downs – to the point where we have accepted each others’ flaws and love each other unconditionally (actually I do not know how much Arsenal really loves its fans, but let me for now accept it does).
These are really tough times to be in , if you are an Arsenal fan. Two back-to-back defeats to a Manchester City team that easily is amongst the best the world has ever seen. Premier league out of sight, AC Milan drawn for the Europa quarters , Tottenham and United performing better- things can’t get worse. The situation is unlikely to get any better – but I have been surprisingly composed this year. Gone are the days when I used to get upset for days together when Arsenal even drew a match.
Malcolm Gladwell mentions in his now legendary book Outliers that you need to atleast spend 10000 hours on any activity to achieve a near world-class mastery in it. The last time I cried after Arsenal lost was in that fateful Champions League match of 2006. It has been 12 years since then – a whopping 1,05,120 hours – almost 10x the time Malcolm Gladwell says is needed for mastery. I (and many other comrades) probably now have genius level mastery on the art of supporting Arsenal F.C.
For the benefit of newbies who have just started out – here is how you do it, in order:
- Watch the Invincibles Season again and again to remind yourself of how great this club is
- Watch this amazing comeback to remind yourselves of how capable we are of turning things around
- Watch this video on Thierry Henry’s amazing goals to keep hoping that one day , we will again find our new Henry.
- Watch this video to convince yourself that Arsene Wenger is the best (even though your heart might bleed #wengerout – you can do nothing about it)
- Watch the replay of Arsenal Tottenham 5-2 match – because nothing feels better than Tottenham squirming.
- Go through Arsenal’s finances – and be happy that we have a war chest to spend whenever we want to , but choose not to. We will wait for others to get bankrupt and then unleash our beast to attain world domination.
- Watch other Arsenal fans express unhappiness and get happy that you are not alone.
- Realize that Arsenal fans, at this point are mostly delusional and crazy.
- Exercise heavily in the morning so that you fall asleep during the evening Arsenal match. Things are much better when you know them later from google than when you witness it live.
- Wait for the manager to change and then begin from step 1 again.