The Anger Games (Part 1)
“Ooh to… Ooh to be… Ooh to be a… Gooner! Ooh to… Ooh to be… Ooh to be a… Gooner!”
The Emirates crowd is finally in full throat, urging the Arsenal to bring it home, to seal the deal… It's 3-3, the final minute of extra-time, and they have watched their
beloved team squander an early two-goal lead to lowly Fulham; then fall behind; then claw themselves level.
Once again, this confounding team are looking at snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, under the strained gaze of their angst-ridden Michelin Man manager, whose arm-flapping gesticulations have almost reached lift-off level. Things are as bad as they've ever been: twenty-, thirty-year records are falling like tent-poles in the wake of this season's under-achievers, threatening to bring the entire circus big-top crashing down around them.
Arsenal never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. They seem intent on sliding steadily towards the ignominy of mid-table mediocrity. It's like a game of Snakes and Ladders, but without the ladders.
Snakes and Adders.
But forget about all that for now, as plucky substitute Arshavin races (against the clock) down the left… cuts in towards the box… fires a cross in towards our waiting striker… But, no! The horror! A leaping Fulham defender suarezes the ball out of the air – denying it its rightful destiny in the back of the net via Giroud's beautiful head, which is one goal away from a hat-trick…
Stunned silence, then… HANDBALL! The stadium's indignant, nay, furious appeal can be heard on the Space Station. All eyes turn to referee Dowd, who is waddling toward the action like a stuffed, black, potbellied pig. The game isn't over 'til the fat guy blows, and this fat guy really blows. Expectations are not exactly high. Dowd raises the whistle to the part of him that oinks and…
…points to the spot: PENALTY!
The entire stadium spontaneously
ejaculates erupts. The relief is palpable. Dignity and Hope may survive this assault after all. Everything will be OK in the end – and if it's not OK, it's not the end. (Arsenal's motto of the past few years?) It's our first home penalty in the last 26 league games, a chance to steal 3 points, leapfrog Spurs and start our weary climb up the table to our beautiful bronze podium.
All eyes turn to Giroud, who is in smoking form. He could take the penalty with his head and score, he's that good. But Oli makes no apparent attempt to assume responsibility. Santi is interested, but he loses out to the Lego-haired Mr. Dependable, Miki Arteta, who looks eager to avenge his shocking defensive error at the other end of the pitch.
It's Redemption Time. In fact, to be precise: it's Redemption Extra Time.
The eagle-eyed Arteta places the ball on the spot, and locks his poker-faced lasers on his chosen target, as Schwarzer performs his orangutan routine in goal. The world holds its breath. The whistle blows.
Arteta glides in, blasts the ball toward the bottom right corner. It's a decent strike, but even as it leaves his foot, it's obvious that Schwarzer has guessed right. Left. You know what I mean… His low dive and long reach intercept the ball's path to glory, and it is palmed harmlessly past the post…
The crowd groans. Arteta crumples in a heap. Schwarzer bounces in elation, surrounded by adoring teammates. The final whistle blows. Arsenal players look on in horror: they know what comes next…
The Emirates Stadium lights turn black. Forty blazing halogen beams explode into action, pointing skyward like a giant wigwam skeleton. A deep and thunderous Beethovenesque chord churns the crowd's innards, as the spotlights slowly lower and converge on the prostate Arteta, pinning him to the pitch like a dead swan.
There is a single scream, cut short, as black stormtroopers tackle Arteta's beautiful wife, who is trying to run across the pitch to save her husband. A shudder of anticipation runs round the stadium like a Mexican wave. Like rubber-neckers at the scene of an accident, they are too afraid to look, but too curious to look away. After all, this is the Emirate's first execution since the Black Bag Brigade took over. The first time that the call for heads to roll will actually be answered.
Pity that it's Arteta – he's a popular figure. But rules are rules, and past achievement counts for nothing in this new age of immediate retribution. It may seem harsh, but, as the BBB explained in the Matchday Programme: at least fans will finally get some closure for the pain they suffer weekly at the hands of these molly-coddled, unmotivated chokers.
Arteta's death will take the edge off the sense of frustration and worthlessness that shrouds Gooners after every senseless loss, each clumsy draw. It's justice – Wild West style. If you don't like it, go watch curling. It's Natural Selection, Survival of the Fittest. And it's the key to restocking Arsenal's silverware cabinet.
A sinister, hooded figure, draped in a giant, black silk bag – slowly glides toward the center circle. A single beam picks out the unmistakeable puffy jowls of Black Bag Brigadier Piers Morgan. A mouth-hole miraculously appears in the pasty mess masquerading as his 'face', and a thin, whiney voice, that in different circumstances would be utterly laughable, emanates from it:
“Ladies and Gentlemen. Gunners. Welcome to the Age Of Instant Gratification. You have spoken with your “Boos”, and the Black Bag Brigade has listened. You have brayed for blood, and we will deliver. Right here, right now.”
The opening trumpet fanfare of Strauss's 'Also Sprach Zarathustra' rises out of the silence, and the subsequent orchestra blast coincides with an explosion and puff of smoke on the centre spot. And as the timpani pound their ominous dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum, a shiny silver guillotine rises miraculously from the pea-green earth.
A pair of giant stormtroopers drags Arteta across the pitch toward the guillotine, as Piers Morgan's pie-hole continues:
“As is tradition… Or will soon be… We are extending an invitation. An invitation for the real cancer, the true scourge of our beautiful club, to come forth and meet his destiny…”
The cameras pan in on the ashen-faced features of Arséne Wenger, who is watching helplessly from the sideline, his eyebrows raised in disbelief, bottom lip quivering. The Arsenal figurehead looks exactly like that: a sun-weathered, salt-water stained, piece of driftwood – torn from the bow of a noble galleon, and spat ashore by an unforgiving sea.
Piers' voice barely contains its reedy venom…
“Only your … esteemed … manager – Arséne Wenger – can save your beloved Miki from his inevitable fate…
“So, what'ssss it going to be, Arssssséne?” Morgan hisses. “We can't make you leave. We can't force you to do the honourable thing…
“You were once a beloved leader, but you have brought shame and embarrassment to our club… Your tactics, your selections, your leadership.. They're a disgrace!”
Piers swirls and points to the glistening blade.
“Will you take your rightful PLACE?”
Morgan spits the last word so loudly into the mic that the million-watt subwoofers pop, and the wide-eyed Emirates crowd jump visibly in their seats. The screen magnifies Wenger's discomfort, as he considers this indecent proposal. He looks at those surrounding him for support, for guidance, but is met with blank stares.
The realization sinks in. That – like Gandalf, or Dumbledore, or Yoda – at the moment of reckoning, Le Prof must face the beast alone. The silent Yankee owner; the bloated, toady, board members; the preened, pampered players; the AKB faithful… they are all too spineless, too comfortable to come to his aid. They are behind him – but only so that he can shield them from the vitriol and the hatred.
Arséne clenches his jaw. The lid of the water bottle in his hand pops off in his tightening grip. His baby-blue eyes sparkle, and the signature wry grin lights his face. He nods. And in a quiet, steady voice that shatters the dark silence with its clarity and conviction, he says, “I will.”
Piers Morgan's face is dissected by a smiley slit. He motions for Arteta to be released, and beckons for Wenger to approach the guillotine.
But there is no need. Wenger is already marching forward to meet his fate. As he passes Arteta, their eyes meet, and Wenger gives him a barely perceptible wink.
Arséne arrives at the centre of the pitch, and refuses the hood offered him by the Black Bag Brigadier, whose customary smirk now twists his face in a snakebite snarl. Wenger kneels and places his neck on the velvet-lined lunette. The crowd draws an audible breath.
Piers Morgan, in a theatrical flourish, slides up to the guillotine and, as he reaches for the release handle, he turns to the Black Bag Brigade.
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that Wenger… is… finally… OUT!”
He pulls the handle, which releases the mouton, and the blade slides down, gleaming and hissing, to meet Wenger's pale neck. On the massive screens around the stadium there is a blur, as Wenger's head tumbles to the emerald grass, spouting blood, which pools and glistens in the spotlight – bright scarlet.
(End of Part One)
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New post: “The Anger Games”invinciblog.com/?p=422Please R&RT if you enjoy. Ta!
— invinciblog (@AFC_Invincibles) November 11, 2012
Blogger's note: This blog is satirical. If you don't know what satire is, then perhaps it's best you don't comment on it. I do not condone violence. I'm against the indiscriminate use of guillotines, especially in public places. I'm not a Wenger-Outie, or an Arséne-Knows-Bestie. What I am, is someone who values constructive, proactive debate. And I'm always up for pushing boundaries, provoking, stirring up emotions in the hope that they inspire dialogue.
Football on the pitch is an art, enjoyed on an emotional level by fans. Football and club management are more scientific in nature. I don't profess to know anything about running a club. What I do know is how little I know. I may be mistaken, but I have an inkling that most of the angry voices out there, clamouring for Wenger's head on a stick, belong to people like me: passionate about their club, desperate for trophies, but probably not qualified to run a football club.
I posted a tweet yesterday that got a lot of responses, some pretty vile, others more courteous. It was a joke – in the vein of Jack Handey's “Deep Thoughts”:
— invinciblog (@AFC_Invincibles) November 10, 2012
It was meant to help bring about the realization that our demands have consequences, sometimes unintended and undesirable. It's so simple to say “Wenger Out” – but what then? It's like burning the lifeboats on a sinking ship because you don't like their design… I'd like to see every #WengerOut tweet accompanied by #ThenWhat? It's amazing how few of the WengerOuties have a reply…
Nothing is simple:
Someone has to win. Sometimes it won’t be us. A LOT of money is spent on winning. By buying top players. Often ours. Discovered by Wenger.
— invinciblog (@AFC_Invincibles) November 10, 2012
It is likely, in my humble opinion, that whoever ultimately replaces Wenger will find himself up against the same wall. Won't we look stupid then?
Thanks for reading.