State Of The Blog Address – 2013
When I started Invinciblog in mid-August, it was my intention to create an Arsenal blog that was different. Eclectic. Unpredictable. Personal. There are some superb blogs out there – brilliant in their analysis of all aspects of Arsenal: the team, the tactics, the finances, the politics – written by Gooners far more qualified than I in providing insightful commentary on the daily ups-and-downs, ins-and-outs, comings-and-goings (or goings-and-goings) of the Club.
I wanted to present a unique window on the Gunner Experience. Specifically, this Gunner's experience. And, in the interest of freshness, I wanted to explore different ways of presenting the agonies and ecstacies to which Arsenal fans willingly submit themselves by choosing to support this particular club, using different media, satire, parody, divination…
Being a football fan is like subscribing to the world's greatest soap opera. Its plot twists and turns, the characters rise and fall; it is drama, unscripted, relentless. Football is Life made visible. Politics, Economics, Spirituality, Anthropology – they are concepts made tangible, objectified, when viewed through the prism of the Beautiful Game. Allowing yourself to fall under Football's spell means giving yourself over completely to the power of the moment – placing your current well-being in the hands of an unrepentant and unguided Unknown.
For this reason, it is often a truly frightening experience. As fans – we are at the bottom of the food-chain. We have limited ways of affecting this world in which we find ourselves. We have our voices, and we raise them. But this isn't a Democracy. It isn't even a Benevolent Dictatorship. So our voices often go unheard. We shout louder. But that doesn't help.
It is a system so vast and complex that it is almost impossible to truly comprehend. We are given fleeting glimpses of its inner machinations; only occasionally do we get to see the puppet's strings. But we really know very little, and it comes as little comfort to find that those above us in the food chain seem to know little more. The truth of the matter is that, like the old adage states:
Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em, and little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum…
Despite the best (or worst) intentions of those who attempt to control the Game – the owners, the governing bodies, the clubs, managers and players – there remains an element of chance, of unpredictability, that I believe is the thing that keeps us, as fans, addicted. Odds can be beaten. Champions fall from grace and the underdog has its day. As in Life, there are cycles: today's Goliath becomes tomorrow's David.
The game is played on the pitch, and the ball, the posts, the match officials – all have their 'say' in writing the script. Fans, schedules, weather, germs; transit strikes; draws… all agents of chance that can dramatically affect the outcome of a game, a season, a tournament.
Our only hope is to try and weather the storm, take the ups with the downs, accept what we cannot change, affect what we can. To find our centre in all the spin and chaos, to maintain constant when all around is change. To do this with humility, humour and compassion makes the experience more bearable; and that's hopefully where this Arsenal blog can contribute.
I don't have all the answers: in fact, most of the time I'm not even sure what the questions are! My aim is to reveal the zen at the heart of Gooner maintenance. Thankyou all for allowing me that privilege, for egging me on, for forgiving me when I miss my mark.
Peace. Prosperity. And here's to a fantastic 2013.
Come On You Gunners!