*Opened Twitter, typed Alexis, muttered ‘fuck it’, unfollowed, closed Twitter*
I did that last night as soon as he retweeted that lame-ass video of him playing GGMU. Like really? A piano? But I don’t care. The Chilean mercenary is off my social feed. I don’t have to suffer his bare-chested gym selfies anymore, nor do I need to keep a tab on dog food. But just before I unfollowed him on Instagram, I read his emo-post thanking the Gooners. Thank you for the memories, yeah, yeah, been there, seen it. It was RvP all over again. But one line jumped out.
“I remember today, a conversation I had with Henry, a historic Arsenal player, who changed club for the same reason and today is my turn…”
Wait, what? Theirry Henry advised him to leave Arsenal? It shocked me, initially. Then, I remembered Henry’s anti-Arsenal opinions on Sky Sports. But this?
How did we end up here? Seriously, what’s wrong with my team? In the 20th year of supporting Arsenal, I have never felt so much disgust for the North London outfit. Disgust, yes, that’s exactly the emotion that I have experienced while suffering through this Alexis saga. It’s ridiculous. For all the cannons on the crest, Arsenal has yet again surrendered.
It has because Arsenal doesn’t get it anymore. The unveiling of Henrikh Mkhitaryan was the prime example. While United went all in to create the best player intro ever, Arsenal posted an article along with a couple of images. I understand we got the rotten end of the deal – Mkhitaryan is a discard but he still is a top player. He’s not Alexis but pictures of an ‘I-have-cried-all-night’ eyes of the Armenian didn’t soften the blow.
Arsenal used to get it. It made you dream, took you to places you have never been. It helped an introvert kid create a world of his own where he was a part of a world-beating team. It made him believe that there exists a world where God walks on water and there’s a speed demon who can cure your entire week’s sadness by beating up your bitter rivals. It made you believe that you can take on the biggest bully in the yard and win. Win, in style.
Even when the titles dried up, the football flowed – Hleb to Nasri, Nasri to Cesc, Cesc to a wonderboy called Jack, back to Cesc, Cesc to Robin. They ran, they passed, they scored. They lost but they played with swag. They lost a lot, they lost big but we hid their fragile fuck-up routines behind cute flicks, mesmerising back-heels, delicious volleys and a number 49. It was a candle burning at both ends but Arsenal was beautiful.
Now, Arsenal has officially become a joke, a mess that smells like balls. And we don’t know who to blame for it. There are too many egos in this Arsenal story. Too many sixty-year-olds who want to stay relevant. Well, there’s an entire football world out there where the superclubs have changed the meaning of relevance. But Arsenal act like it doesn’t even exist! Things are happening at a pace that Arsenal can’t match. Arsenal hates contracts. Arsenal makes fun of the shareholders. Arsenal mocks at Directors of Football. Arsenal hates Fan TVs. Arsenal does all that because they want to do the right thing and rightly so, they aren’t important anymore.
We still believe in them. We always did. When Henry left, we believed in our stadium project. When Cesc went home, we curled up in our bed, cried our eyes out but held on to RvP. When the ‘little boy’ jumped ship, we transferred our faith to a German wizard. Then, Alexis happened. We were back. COYG – we crooned. Stand up. Arsenal was back as a force. We sank City, put three past Chelsea, another three past United. Leicester beat us to a title, we didn’t care. Fuck it. Next season is ours. Alexis scoring. Ozil assisting – it was old-fashioned Arsenal porn. Pimple-faced gamers creaming in their pants. One FA Cup. Two FA Cups. The Phoenix was rising. Get a new manager, get Lacazette.
Lacazette came a season later. Wenger stayed, Alexis didn’t want to. “Show me the money”- he said. Wenger smiled. “Show me the money” – he repeated. Gazidis waited. And a bit more. Manchester United didn’t. City had him in their bag but United cut in from the left, left City on their back and unleashed the ‘Money ball’ at the Chilean.
It was too much to resist, for anyone.
There’s a part in the video where Alexis takes a deep breath after putting his shirt on. He jogs on to the field and looks around to take in all in — the ambience, the stature, the history and the magnanimity of United. His eyes twinkled. I have watched the video a few times now, it looks stunning. United understand the significance of this signing. So does Arsenal. Hence, the Twitterati are sharing pictures of a certain Dortmund striker packing his stuff into a metallic supercar.
*Opens Twitter, types Auba, closes Twitter* – Naah, fuck it!