It feels pretty good to have graduated from high school. That’s one huge burden lifted from my shoulders. I no longer have to compute the gaining ratio of the deceased partner, nor do I have to memorize a trillion algebraic formulas. My school taught me good principles, but here are 14 things that a literal football club, Arsenal Fc, taught me that my school did not. Why 14? The club’s greatest ever is about to don that number. I’m definitely referring to Eddie Nketiah.
#14. Choose your partner wisely.
As crazy as it sounds, there is only one toxic relationship that a sane person can handle together. Supporting Arsenal is, either way, detrimental to your mental wellbeing; having another stressful atmosphere around when things aren’t going well is a catastrophe.
#13. Anybody can turn their back on you.
Each individual learns in their unique way, and mine happened to be through the likes of Robin Van Persie and Samir Nasri. From being Arsenal fans’ favorite kid to being the most hated player of all time, RVP went from being their most beloved to their most despised.
He joined Arsenal in 2004 as a towering, slender left-winger, but Arsene Wenger developed him into a world-class center-forward. While afflicted with various ailments, he became a goal-scoring machine and a fan favorite.
RVP then went on to win the Premier League Golden Boot in 2011/12 after scoring 37 goals in a season. He then met behind closed doors with Arsene Wenger and issued an open statement on his website indicating that he and the club’s administration disagreed and wanted out. It shocked Arsenal fans when he joined their arch-rivals, Manchester United.
As far as the other one is concerned, the mere mention of this name gets me mad, Samir Nasri. After a dry spell, Wenger appeared to put an end to it by building the team around Nasri as the talisman.
It was exactly then when he decided to join Manchester City since they had a more lucrative contract. Don’t bring up these two names in front of Arsenal fans.
These two incidents were traumatic enough to teach us to be prepared for anyone’s departure and taught us the art of detachment.
The discipline that sports breeds is a testament to your loyalty, and supporting arsenal is no different. There are dry spells, or worse, rivals like Chelsea and Tottenham performing better. What matters most is to stick with our club through thick and thin. I may have learned it the hard way, but I still did.
#11. Shut out the naysayers.
The media mocked Wenger for making the audacious claim that his club might go an entire season unbeaten on September 20, 2002. After losing to Manchester United, they returned the next season to win the league UNBEATEN. Arsenal won 26 of the 38 games it played, drew 12, and lost NONE. Wenger got mocked in the media, with headlines including ‘comical Wenger.’ In response to their taunts, he pulled out a T-shirt that read ‘comical Wenger.’ Don’t let someone tell you that you can’t do something. Put your best foot forward and take pictures.
#10. Back your young guns.
Arsenal has predominantly been a team with a young core group of players. They have a youth academy, Hale End, and the majority of academy graduates have started football matches and gone on to be key members of the club. Arsenal’s current starting lineup includes Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Eddie Nketiah. Under Wenger, the average age of the team that continuously finished in the top four was 24. We have always been a squad that has invested in young and thrived as a result. It is crucial to enable the younger players and put together a team.
#9. It’s ok to start over.
Unai Emery’s appointment as Wenger’s replacement ended in disaster when he got ousted in the middle of his second season. Mikel Arteta, a former player, was appointed by the club. He won a trophy right away, and what happened next was devastating. We went back to the drawing board after a disappointing season, but what followed was truly remarkable. We established a core group and placed fifth in the recently ended Premier League, securing a place in Europe. With an already established core, it’s time to spend filling certain voids to become formidable once more. We began again after being knocked from the Europa League in the 2020/21 season, and we are now here. Never be afraid to start again; you are starting from experience, not from scratch.
#8. Don’t have any expectations, it kills.
#7. Football is an art.
Champagne football is one tradition that has endured. Wenger has set the bar quite high. Play some good football! We were a squad led by a genius, with players that complemented and accepted his ideals. Arsenal are known for playing attractive, fluid football. Never, ever lower your standards.
#6. Never celebrate a draw.
Can’t you do better than an average Tottenham player? The draw is not worth celebrating. Thierry Henry, as the monarch, would say, “celebrating a draw? That’s their standard.”
#5. Start unknown, finish unforgettable.
Arsene Wenger’s appointment in 1996 aroused many eyebrows. During his coaching in Japan, he was chosen over Johan Cruyff to manage Arsenal. Sir. Alex Ferguson, then-manager of Manchester United, openly criticized Wenger’s appointment in a press conference, doubting Wenger’s resolve to adapt to the rigors of the Premier League. When Wenger stepped down as Arsenal manager twenty-two seasons later, he did so with three league titles, including a golden one, and seven FA Cups to his name. Wenger is widely regarded as one of the best managers of all time. It doesn’t matter who you are, it’s about what you got. There is a certain Spaniard at the club who seems to be on the verge of something similar.
#4. All good things must come to an end.
Although Wenger had one of the most colorful managerial careers, his retirement should have arrived sooner. As much as it pains me to admit so, Arsene Wenger’s last few seasons were chaotic. He made some bad mistakes near the end that made things difficult for Unai Emery. It also made things difficult for the following manager, who required three seasons to correct. All good things must come to an end, and the sooner the better.
#3. Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
When starting over, patience is essential because it is one of the most important qualities of a person. When the media slammed Mikel Arteta after two terrible seasons, the club remained by him, but it took him time to deliver, and he did. He has not only brought us to Europe, but he has also assembled a terrifying team. Kudos to management for sticking with him and investing in him.
#2. The right ones always stay.
Allow anyone to walk away from your life. I’ll explain why. Arsenal midfielder Granit Xhaka was booed out of a game against Crystal Palace in 2019 and replied by yelling f**k off to the crowd when being subbed out. It remained a negative mark ever since, as the manager froze him out and stripped him of captaincy. That summer, he was supposed to leave. Mikel’s appointment altered everything, and the player began to smile again. Instead of mocking the management like a specific someone, he became motivated to restore his relationship with the Arsenal fans. Granit stated in a recent interview that he won’t be leaving the club unless he wins something exceptional. During this time, a player who had recently received a lucrative contract extension wanted out, while another player with an intriguing “back pain” had his contract terminated.
#1. The system is bigger than the individual.
The rules are supposed to be followed. Regardless of who you are or how important you are. This lesson was imparted to me by Mikel Arteta’s management. He locked out two of our best players due to disciplinary issues, tossed in youth, and established a culture at the club. The wealthiest earners got quickly kicked out. Everybody is replaceable.
Supporting Arsenal is not for the faint of heart; every day is an event. Maybe all of this was taught in school, and I was simply too preoccupied with compiling my all-time Arsenal XI in my notepad. The point is that learning can occur from any place and at any time. I learned through sports, which remains the greatest teacher ever. Cheers, all good.