How did I become an Arsenal fan: I love sports and after watching the 1994 World Cup I had a love for soccer. As a youngster in the 90s I had no clue of European Soccer Clubs. Then in 2008-2009, I found out about the UEFA Champions League and I was hooked. I got into watching the major European Leagues and my love for the sport grew even more. I couldn’t decide which team to root for but I always had a love for Arsenal. After years of mulling I chose the Gunners and haven’t looked back. I often joke that Arsenal’s coach Arsene Wenger looks like an older version of Michael Cera. Juno is one of my favorite movies but that’s not the point of this post. It often gets frustrating watching Arsenal play but I know they’ll turn the corner in the EPL and do more than just finish in the “Top 4”.
I posted the paragraph above a few years ago on The Short Fuse when a new season was beginning and they wanted to know how fans started rooting for Arsenal. As you can see I’ve always seen Arsene Wenger in a humorous way. I knew nothing about his history as a manager let alone his history as Arsenal’s manager. In 2013, I knew nothing of his 3 Premier League titles, his then 4 FA Cup titles or his then 4 FA Community Shields with Arsenal. I only saw a humorous coach. He fiddled on the sideline with the zipper on his gigantic coats. He kicked and wrung the neck of water bottles in angst. He battled opposing mangers on the sideline. He even had to deal with slipping and falling at a train station after a tough defeat. All of that time my fondness for Wenger was growing. The simple everyday things made him relatable the more I watched The Gunners play. Like most fans he’s never shied away from how much he loves Arsenal. Nor has he shied away from how not winning stung him. He has been loyal to the club, players and fans when things weren’t in his favor. It’s easy to carry yourself in a dignified manner when things are going well and he did it when it wasn’t the best!
Hearing Arsene Wenger talk in interviews as he reached his 20th season with Arsenal was amazing. Reading his views on things outside of football has been wonderful and refreshing. Until we got to this point I hadn’t given much thought about how I’d feel when Wenger was no longer the manager. The best description I can give it now is mixed. On one hand I’m excited for the future to see what manager comes in and how the team – hopefully – progresses forward. On the other I’m sad. I haven’t always been happy with Wenger during my rooting days but he’s truly something we may never see again. He transformed how the beautiful game was played in England. He gave fans The Invincibles in 2003-2004. Then in the rugged and rough times he was able to pull off 3 more FA Cup titles. No it wasn’t what we all wanted but it surely was great seeing him celebrate. There are plenty of quotes I could find to show how diverse he is but I’ll just give these 2:
“The only moment of possible happiness is the present. The past gives regrets. And future uncertainties. Man quickly realised this and created religion. It forgives him what he has done in the past and tells him not to worry about the future, as you will go to paradise.”