Friday, November 30
Living my life to the full is something this blog has made obvious down the years and consequently it is not just my friends and family who know this to be the case.
Fortunately my health and life has allowed me to do this as much as possible so far and that is something I never take for granted. An example I guess is the fact I wrote these notes whilst making my way to London's o2 Arena to see The Rolling Stones.
Why have I started my ramblings like this?
Following my team all over the world is something I do not just because I am one of the many millions of us with a passion bordering on obsession but also because, even when things don't go as hoped, I thoroughly enjoy doing it. I cannot emphasise the word 'enjoy' enough.
That sense of belonging to a club, the almost tribal aspect to being a fan, especially away from home, the banter with fellow Gooners and opposition fans and the sheer range of emotions it all brings are an incredible mix.
That has been the same in all of the five different decades I have been fortunate enough to follow my chosen passion.
There have been periods during that time where my team have not only had a poor season but have been a million miles from potential success. Times where gaining a UEFA Cup spot was something we celebrated with gusto. Times where (no disrespect intended), losing at home to the likes of Coventry, Bristol City, Walsall in front of crowds less than 20 thousand was not unusual.
Now please don't get me wrong here, I know times have changed. Some of the teams we have witnessed in relatively recent times were that good we may never see better again in our lifetimes. Please note I use the word 'may' here. We all hope to see the future will hold times to match those.
Everton away is a tough game. In any season. They do not lose many at home. In fact the last time they did was last season...to us.
We all travelled in our thousands once again to support our team on a freezing cold night in Liverpool. And in a hard fought and entertaining game we came away with a deserved point for our efforts.
A good result in any season and one that brought November to a close, a notoriously difficult month for us, even in our most successful of seasons.
Like most of us I do enjoy a bit of 'people watching'. At Villa and Everton there was a small minority of travelling Gooners who expressed their disappointment vocally. There is no point in denying it, I saw and heard those doing it.
Talking to a long term and fellow Gooner at Goodison as we headed away we couldn't do much more than shake our heads and smile.
We all have our opinions and are fully entitled to express them but I couldn't help but notice the majority expressing their negativity were of a demographic that do not remember anything before the late nineties. In other words they were brought up on nothing but incredible success.
This trophyless period we are going through is a bit of a reality check for me. Football is about the things I mentioned earlier. Complaining after a draw away at a good Everton side is definitely not part of that and it is a side I really don't enjoy or take pride in.
We don't have a divine right to win football matches. Every time we run out there is an opposing team doing their utmost to prevent us from achieving that.
Enjoying going to football is something I will continue to do, week in week out. And that will remain the same should we be in the top four or get relegated.
That anticipated enjoyment continues with the visit of Swansea on Saturday.
Proud to be a Gooner.
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