VI * THE LOVERS (reversed)
“Failure, foolish designs”
Aaah. That magical number, 49… The number of games the Invincibles went unbeaten. A number that is unlikely to be breached in the near future, unless the Man City Oilers or the Chelsea Mobsters, or some other hideously wealthy club decides to buy every top player available and benches all but their Chosen XI, thereby eliminating the competition entirely.
There are a few top division clubs who could field two perfectly competitive First Teams from their 25-man squads, their benches are that ‘deep’. Then again – there’s depth, and then there’s d e p t h…
Looking in from the outside, (as I am), it seems a little skeezy. A bit like having a spare jet. You know: overkill. What with the insurance, maintenance and finding a spare parking spot at the airport… But this new breed of ultra-wealthy superclub seems to subscribe to the “Waste, want.” school of thought, rather than the “Waste not, want not” ideal that binds those of us more financially …um …retarded.
To them it makes sense. Nothing but the best. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Nothing but a few of the best, more like.
Anyhow. I digress. Where was I? Oh yes: 49. That magical number…
It’s also the number of goals that Arsenal conceded in the 2011/12 season. A shockingly high number for a top-four club. I’m not sure what the stats are – sometimes I’m not sure what month it is, to be honest – but 49 seems like rather a lot. Admittedly, one sixth of those came in the Old Trafford Slaughter, a game I eight two even bring up.
If Arsenal was a jumbo jet, a scoreline like that would surely be equal to having catastrophic engine failure in each of its ten or eleven great big white-noise-generating, turbo-thrusters. (I told you I’m not that good with stats…) On that fateful day, Air Arsenal plummeted to the ground in a ball of flame and smoke and screaming engines. Like a banshee that got struck by lightning mid-flight, and hurtled to the ground. You get the picture.
The key to failure of such epic proportions is usually found in the design. I know this from composing the music for the Discovery Channel series “Crash Files: Inside The NTSB”.
One of the things you do when your big, expensive, fancy aeroplane turns unexpectedly into lots of smoldering metal bits and rains down on an unsuspecting suburbia (like Datsun cogs, I suppose you could say) – is go pick up the bits, apologize profusely to those caught without adequate umbrellage, then find a big room where you can stick the found bits together, like a big expensive puzzle.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Well, in the episodes I worked on, the picture of these reassembled bits (however Picassoesque or Frankenstinian) usually confessed everything, like a rat informer with a fear of prison showers and slippery soap.
Of course, you can also use the black box. If you can find it. (Unfortunately the black box has a tendency to disappear into thin air, without a trace, Like socks, guitar picks, or your paycheck… Maybe making it black isn’t a great idea? Right-Said-Fred-Neon-Pink might help. Just a thought…)
Well, I don’t know where Arsenal keeps its black box – Stan isn’t saying – so I had to do it the hard way. Put together the leftover bits of a game/season I’d rather forget. And figure out what caused the failure. And with a little help from the Goonerverse, and Galaxy Twitter, this is what I came up with.
Some of our defensive bits weren’t really the right part for the job. Some were a little leaky. Some were under the impression that they were actually other, more attacky bits, and disappeared off every now and then to do more exciting, attacky stuff. A lot of the bits didn’t fit together very well. Some of the bits worked great together. When they worked, that is, which wasn’t often. Some of the bits weren’t really ripe, in a metallic sort of sense, and no matter how hard they tried to behave like titanium, they were much more plasticky really, and prone to melting at inopportune moments.
Now, does the blame fall on the Little Bit Of Engine That Couldn’t? Or the mechanic responsible for assembling the faulty/broken/wrong/cheap bits he’s been given? Or the designer, who designed the faulty engine? Or perhaps the cheapskate owner who didn’t want to pay for spare parts? Or is the totally unseasonal herd of kamikaze geese that appeared out of nowhere and rammed themselves down the thruster’s throats to blame.
Could be any/all of the above.
Everything but the geese is in our control. So I would suggest, as the NTSB in this little role-play blog of mine, that we fix what we can, and forget about what we can’t. Which seems to be the game plan.
We haven’t bought any new defensive bits. And we’re not being too successful at pawning off the ones that had been in the corner, gathering dust. Perhaps they’ll just go away on their own? I doubt it.
We do have a new mechanic… And from the sound of things, he’s making the bits we have work together in a less calamity-prone kind of a way.
The designer seems to have strengthened the other sections, so that the defensive bits are not as exposed, which is good. (More about that another time…) Unfortunately, a rather vital bit has decided it wants to be part of a rival machine. This happens. Rather a lot, it seems. At least to us. But we’ve found a few replacement parts that seem more than capable of doing the job.
The cheapskate owner has produced the wallet we suspected he didn’t have, and bought some very shiny, tried and tested bits. (Of course,they are from Somewhere Else, and may be metric, whereas we’re obviously empirical – so let’s see if they fit properly. If they don’t – what’s the worst that could happen? It’s not as if someone once sent a billion dollar machine to a red planet and missed it completely just because the units of measurement got mixed up. Right?)
A lot of progress has been made, and more might be being made, secretly, as is our wont. It just remains to be seen if the broken bits mend, the mended bits break, the unreliable bits get riveted into place, and the bits that think they’ve outgrown the machine are ejected to join the Death Star.
In a few days, we’ll see the first prototype in action.
Hopefully, this season, we can save the high numbers for the credit column, and leave them out of the debit column. Which should be easy, since that is Arsenal’s philosophy. Should be.