Some days ago, The Arsenal won a major trophy again after a nine year wait. People chose all sorts of derogatory names for the very unfriendly situation. “Trophyless Arsenal”, “Barren Arsenal” and what have you but I simply remained my ‘unrealistically’ self never calling my dear Arsenal by the negative name. I started following Arsenal Football Club in 1995 and I have seen the years of plenty when Arsene came and when the lean years came. I chose to call it a period of wait and that is because the club was by no means barren or trophyless, it was going through a period of wait, one I admit we can call ‘drought’.
If a woman gave birth to children before suddenly having a break while trying to have more children, she definitely cannot be referred to as barren. If a farm land has given you crops for years on end and has issues that have prevented further fruitfulness, will it be said that it is barren? So Arsenal was not barren, she had delays; her land was not infertile, it was suffering from drought. That drought has hopefully ended now.
The season 2013/2014 started with nothing much to expect to be honest. Needed reinforcements were not coming through, transfers were not getting done. Dead wood was shipped out but there was nothing to replace the ones we called dead wood. We had no choice but to start the season with what/who we had, which in all fairness is the same that some mid-table teams excel with.
And as it has become increasingly difficult to deliver anything of note since 2005, the season started with Olivier Giroud’s 6th minute goal against AstonVilla. I was not watching, I barely watched all season due to the kind of work I do but thank God for social media, twitter especially, I had real time updates. I was giggling in the office that Saturday afternoon, my Arsenal was cruising. The day however did not end well as Villa came back to secure a 1-3 win. The moans and cries started again…and with it any expectation I had for the season.
The Arsenal however roared back and went on an amazing run got mouths watering. Cynics and those who would never see any good in Arsenal said they would implode in the winter months. At a time, colleagues even said Arsenal would ‘drop’ in October but that quickly changed to November and the eleventh month changed to December. Yet Arsenal did not fall.
The agony of watching (or reading as my case is most times) flatter to deceive over the years got my expectations low. I simply went with the team game by game, motion by motion. Read jibes from folks whose teams were sinking while The Arsenal was trying to make things happen. I told someone Arsenal would have moved forward this season if they get Champions League football and a domestic cup. Someone said my thinking was a reflection of how low Arsenal fans have lowered the standards of excellence and how we have come to define success in terms of Champions League footie.
Realistically however, for a team that had not won anything in years, succeeding in any of the competitions would be just fine. At a time, it looked like it was going to be the league but the familiar failings of the recent past came back to haunt them. ‘Household wickedness’ like some people will call it visited again – injuries, loss of form, reduced motivation maybe, all contributed. The morale of the team went looked like it went low and the swagger with which they played earlier on in the season took a flight. It was back to our panicky Arsenal.
The outgone season while it seems successful will always be in memory – the 6-3 hammering in December by the eventual champions, the 5-1decimation at Anfield, the 6-0 capitulation at Jose’s bridge and of course Everton using a thumping 3-0 victory to show us they were improving under Roberto Martinez. Things looked far from good but it was not totally bad. The Arsenal was getting kicked out of the title race but was holding on to hope in the FA Cup.
The quality of opposition faced in the early rounds was not one to call an easy one. On the way to the FA Cup, Arsenal met and defeated bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspurs. An Arsenal-Spurs game is never an easy one. Coventry got battered and then we drew Liverpool at the worst time possible, shortly after they hammered us. Arsenal won and got their Merseyside rivals, Everton. A close game it was but The Arsenal prevailed with a flattering scoreline.
The semis beckoned but with fear in Arsenal hearts. We did not want to face Manchester City who were expected to rip Wigan apart in one of the quarters. Every Arsenal fan I know prayed for Wigan to do the ‘impossible’ but one of the people I respect most on my twitter timeline said if Wigan can defeat Manchester City, they can do the same for Arsenal. That was very true. In cup competitions, there are giant killers.
People hardly took note of that tweet by @9jareigns, we just wanted a ‘simpler’ opposition for the FA Cup semi final and we got it. Wigan did it, they knocked City out of the FA Cup and set up a date with The Arsenal. The fact that we would not have City to contend with for a place in the final was enough cause for joy.
We got pushed to the limit by Wigan in the semis. Lucky me, my internet was acting up so I could not follow the game effectively. While shopping with the couple I was visiting, my mind was on other matters – Arsenal, going behind at Wembley, winning the FA Cup semi final and so on. Per gave away the goal, Per equalized and we went on to win on penalties. The first trophy in nine years was within reach.
I’ll share my unique experience in the FA Cup final of May 17 tomorrow. That makes it exactly a week. Have a lovely Friday
I am @oscarpoems


About oscarpoems

Finds great pleasure in reading and writing my thoughts. Chartered Animal Scientist, writes poems and articles for leisure and fulfillment. Lover of God, country and humanity.
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  1. Isaacola AA says:

    I hope twelve year waiting for la Decima will end tomorrow.

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