It’s ghostly quiet. A few leaves rustle here and there, but not indecently; well within the bounds of social decorum. Apart from that, proper Webster’s definition of silence. Two crickets chirp, but Silence wrests control again with a smug slap of superiority. Of course, the crickets are having none of it. Their clarion of camaraderie rings true and reinforcements are brought in; a fierce battle rages as the cricket-brigade tries to fill the air with its trill and Silence tries to put a lid on it all. Slowly but surely, the balance-scale tips; and my bedroom window becomes the bedding ground for a cricket orchestra as I hack away at my keyboard, trying to discreetly re-enter the blogging world.
So, football, eh? The situation is eerily similar to the aforementioned paragraph. Ideally, there shouldn’t be much noise about the place right now, because there isn’t much happening. Countries will soon play each other in some sort of vacation tournament before real football starts in August, Arsenal will buy some players, Arsenal will sell some players, Arsenal will not buy many (many!) players and that will be it. But football journalists and media-folk have to act all cricket-y and fill the internet with their chitter and their chatter even when the situation warrants none. Live tweeting Robin van Persie’s hand movements in Netherlands training sessions; telling us that the M’Vila deal has reached completion/stalled/broken down/reached completion in a vicious jamboree of dashed hopes and website hits; trudging through Wikipedia’s known list of football clubs and appending ‘ Eden Hazard expresses interest in joining…’ to each one; so much goddamned chirping.
I sometimes wish I could start over as a football fan, from scratch. I’d still be Arsenal of course (most of the other teams seemed vile to me at first glance, honestly speaking), but devoid of the ravenous and all-consuming cynicism built over various transfer windows that has systematically corroded my footballing soul. I used to follow these stories with avid interest when I was younger and more naïve. Two trucks’ worth of Kleenex tissues was shipped to my house the day Henry left; a perfectly innocent Phillips television met my hostile fist the day Flamini decided Milan was home; I was in some beastly math class or the other when news of Arshavin joining finally filtered through and I did a barely restrained Zulu victory dance on the last bench…you get the drift. That excitement has become less wide-eyed and less childlike with each passing year, leaving player, failed medical and wage disagreement.
The twin departures of Nasri and Fabregas brought forth no great bangle-breaking from the Nicks household; partly because they were the mother of all open secrets before they finally happened, and partly because, well, the club is greater than the player and so on and so forth. Arsenal would shake its head with disappointment, but Arsenal would move on. And Arsenal did.
Continuing in the same vein, I fully realize the importance of keeping hold of Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott. That two-pronged axis has been our most productive by far last season, and a repetition of last season’s events would represent a failure to learn from mistakes and a worrying compliance with mediocrity. Having said that, calm the fuck down. Inundating the man’s family with abuse because he hasn’t put pen to paper two weeks after the season ended is criminally short-sighted, overly dramatic and plain silly. These actions, in addition to not reflecting well on oneself, are also not exactly conducive to making a player want to stay.
From potential departures to arrivals, both completed and forecasted. Podolski is a good player, but once again, I don’t see myself breaking into a sanguine tra-la-la over the bloke. I don’t know why; he has close to a 100 appearances for Germany, I’ve seen him play a fair bit and he’s good. It’s just the same cynicism rearing its head from gunk-filled gutter water, telling me to look a thousand times before I leap; in fact, telling me not to leap at all because it’s too much effort. It’s the same with M’Vila- it’ll be good for us if he signs, what with ACN becoming an annual affair now and Song hence being unavailable in Jan. But I’m definitely not chomping at the bit waiting for him to sign. If the official site runs the story sometime this summer, I’ll smile in relief, read his interview and wait till I see him on the pitch. Football has taken the impromptu Zulu victory dance out of my system.
What would represent a perfect summer, Arsenal-wise? RvP and Theo stay, M’Vila signs, Wilshere and Diaby get fit before the start of the season and, heavens permitting, we sign some attacking midfielder who shares the load with Ramsey and Rosicky. All of those things are well within the realms of possibility; and I’m just going to calmly wait it out till they happen, or otherwise.
So much goddamned chirping.
This post also appeared on BigFourZa
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