8 seasons without a trophy with things having gotten worse each season, as an Arsenal fan, I am often posed the question – Why Arsenal? Indeed, why root for a side that has not won a trophy ever since I started following football? Why do we not go the way of the glory-hunter and associate ourselves with the ubiquitous fans of Barcelona or Manchester United? Or why not put the mouth where the money is – the blue half of Manchester/London – the way many of our players did?
It makes no sense for someone two thousand miles away from the scene to stick to supporting the team which gives them countless nights of anxiety and depression, does it? And yet, in any city across the globe, you have thousands of Arsenal fans who put everything aside and silently pray for the entire ninety minutes on each Match day. Jumping in jubilation at each win, no matter how insignificant, and sticking by the side after humiliating losses is what brings the thousands of us together. To console ourselves to sleep at the unsuccessful end to yet another title challenge or a cup run; to steel ourselves as another of our key players betrays us for a rival team and to again get back to the TV screen in hope the next time the team in red and white take to the field is what makes us more than just a club. It makes us a family.
As the longest serving club in the top flight of English football, the beautiful football that Arsenal play has remained, been refined and defines the club to this day. The Arsenal way has characterized the club’s game as much in the glory years as in those of relative dullness. The fairness and the passion with which the game is played at the Emirates is what we’re rightly proud of, something I would never trade for any amount of trophies. No number of cups are worth sacrificing the spirit of the game for, and it is this spirit that Arsenal strives to uphold.
This period of difficulty does as much to strengthen our love for the club as the glory that has preceded it. Persisting through repeated setbacks has been our strength. To stick by the side till we come out victorious – in what many would consider a lost cause – defines our character. We’ve done it before; we hope to do it again. It is this hope that has turned the sinking ship into a rising sun.
Success earned against the odds is after all, much sweeter than that bought by splurging millions left, right and centre. It is said that before the ecstasy, if it is to come, there has to be a period of agony. The agony tests the strength and the ecstasy rewards the love that binds us together as a club – A love far more treasurable than any joy oil-rich owners or silverware could afford.
Check our Tokyo Olympics Coverage here!