So-all of you who look down on the FA cup…

Stoke City FC

1 - 0

0-0

Arsenal FC

J. Walters (PG) 76'

The title of this post was is the entirety of a tweet from @SandraHelena39 posted in the aftermath of a 0-1 loss to Stoke. My immediate response was “I’m still looking down on it”.

That wasn’t the the right response nor was it honest.

The truth is I’d be happy if Arsenal wins the FA Cup, and as of writing it seems the most likely avenue of ending the current trophy drought. However The FA Cup simply does not hold much personal importance for me. Let me explain as best as I can.

As some of you may know I wasn’t brought up on English football. In my youth football was something you played, not something you watch. The 1st televised game I can remember was 1982 World Cup finals. Not that I can remember anything of the match itself. I stood in the veranda of one of my more fortunate neighbours peeking thorough the window trying to get a glimpse of the most important football match of the day on a small TV set. From that distance to say that you saw anything was laughable. More likely what I saw was more influenced by the commentary than anything else. At the final whistle we were off to the “savannah” to recreate that match, and everyone was Paolo Rossi. No twitter here.

Continues after ad…

By the time I could watch televised football on a regular basis, it was Dutch, Italian, & Brazilian football. Of course I knew of English football and I was always looking out for Arsenal results, but I had no emotional attachment yet. When I became truly exposed to English football and emotionally attached to Arsenal it still wasn’t the romance of the cup. If anything by then the Champions league was the big deal. You win you league and you win the Champions league, everything else is a bonus. So no the FA Cup has never a significant trophy for me.

There is something else.

I don’t really care whether or not Arsenal win a trophy!

My biggest concern is whether or not we win the current game, and how well we play. When we win a trophy I will be happy for the players, it will be the reward of playing consistently well over the course of a season. However it’s a reward for the players, as fans we can bask in the glory of supporting a trophy winning team but this is just as fleeting as a win on the weekend.—Ok maybe it lasts a little bit longer.

Put it this way. Winning a trophy does not reduce the my pain in subsequent defeats nor does it enhance the pleasure of subsequent wins.

So will I be looking down at the FA Cup? No I take that back. If we win it I’ll enjoy it. Probably more than anything else that taunt will finally cease.

And finally…

Today I’m not upset because the chances of winning that trophy has been reduced.

I’m angry because of the way we lost. I’m angry at the manager for his approach to the match. I’m angry because too many players underperformed, I’m angry because I did not enjoy watching my team today. We won’t win the league not because of today’s result, but because we have had too many games like today. Some we’ve won, some we’ve drawn, but playing the way we did as often as we do, means end of season reward is less likely.

2 Comments

  1. SHN

    Hey there, it’s Sandra H – the person who wrote that tweet above, that you responded to.

    l’ll start off with the last section of your post: agree with every single word. Very well expressed. Can’t really add to it.

    Second-I have no problem with your basic position. That is-winning trophies is not a huge priority for you. I’ve been watching football for about 45 yrs (since I was 6 or 7 yrs old) in different countries and for the overwhelming majority of that time, my priority has been to just watch great football, enjoy victories of favorite teams when they happen and an occasional trophy.

    I’m Brazilian by birth & didn’t start watching English football regularly until 1991 or 1992.

    I didn’t grow up with any particular interest in the FA cup, tho I saw a few finals on TV in the 80s. I began to love the FA cup when I started following the Arsenal in 1992 while living in London.

    Some of my fondest memories of the Arsenal are in the FA cup so I do value the competition. I do not object to prioritizing the league or the CL above the FA cup per se. I do as well, up to a point.

    What I object to (and clearly you are not guilty of this) is how some gooners talk as if we should not give the FA cup any effort at all. It’s the sneering, condescending, dismissive tone some gooners talk about it. As if it’s beneath us.

    They talk as if we should give no effort to try to win it at all. As if winning it would mean nothing. This angers me because it clearly dismisses the trophy’s importance to our players. Like all gooners, I’ve watched 9 seasons in which our best players have left without trophies. I want that to end. Players like Sagna & Rosicky, who are still with us after so long, deserve the glory of lifting a trophy with us. And the most realistic one for us is the FA cup.

    I understand that there comes a time when the manager is forced to make difficult decisions that involve ensuring finishing in the top 4 (top 3 preferably). I don’t envy that task and I’m glad I don’t have to make those decisions.

    But for as long as possible-we should aim for the most likely trophy in our reach. It would be a huge boost to the club and to our players. And now that the league looks all but lost, it’s the last opportunity for us to achieve something this season–which has been so promising for many months. It would be hugely deflating to end such a season with nothing.

    It may not matter to you. But psychologically it certainly matters to our players. It’s hugely deflating for them. I want them to feel like all their efforts this season resulted in a concrete triumph on the pitch. They’re already feeling down after the result against Stoke. They have to feel there’s still something left to achieve this season.

  2. Wengerball

    I’m with you 100% that it matters to the players. Hence this paragraph.

    When we win a trophy I will be happy for the players, it will be the reward of playing consistently well over the course of a season. However it’s a reward for the players…

    As someone who has played sports, won and lost trophies. I know how important it is do have a trophy or medal to say “I won that”, for that time I was the best amongst my peers.

    It’s disheartening to know you were good with nothing to show how good you were. Even worse, knowing you were the best but not winning when it mattered most.