Two seasons ago when Arsene Wenger was still coach of Arsenal, I had an encounter with a celebrated football commentator on issues pertaining to Arsenal. He came for a football conference in Lagos and I was to cover the conference as an independent journalist. After the conference, I walked up to him and asked him one honest but blunt question; I asked him why he hated Arsenal with so much passion! During the course of the conference, he spoke so much about how Arsenal was doomed for destruction, simply because Wenger was in charge and how Wenger had lost ideas on how to move the club forward.
As at that time, he probably said those things because he felt nothing could ever salvage the worsening situation at the club. Just like many other football commentators who felt Arsenal was finished as a club, my friend here felt strongly that my club would never break away from the shackles of stagnation. He even advised me to go and support another club; he suggested Chelsea for me! O’ boy! He had just pressed the wrong button, as I proudly told him to his face that I was going to remain an Arsenal fan until death called me. I saw the surprise on his face, but who cares?
My question now is: am I doing wrong by supporting my club and sticking with them, even when things are not going well? Would the world classify me as being stupid for not knowing when to let go my love for a club who seems not to care about my love for them? What really classifies me as a good and loyal supporter of a club?
Over the years, I have learnt never to give up on people. I was taught by my mother while growing up that everybody has his or her own good and bad times! She made me realize that just like in marriages where people vow to stick with their partners till death calls, I should also learn to stick with whomever or whatever gives me joy and peace of mind, even it becomes difficult to do so. Life is all about times and seasons; in life, we rise and we fall. Arsenal may be going through a rough patch that has lasted for three years now, but who says Arsenal cannot get back to being the loving and successful club we once knew it to be? Who says Arsenal will not rise again? Is there any football club in the world today that has not gone through its rough patches? Why do some fans easily give up on Arsenal just because we have not been doing well recently? As I round up this my little epistle, would it be wrong for me to ask you fellow Gooners what it will cost you to keep supporting Arsenal, even in these trying moments? We are Arsenal and we are proud.