tonight I am going to a meeting of the first belfast Arsenal supporters club...yes indeed. I am sure there are many different reactions to this statement but why I mention it is that for me, this club represents so much that our society should aspire to. I can almost now hear some of your reactions to this statement.
Its quite simple ( which is exactly as it should be). The Arsenal suppporters club is composed of members from all walks of life, male, female, black and white. We meet regularly but we don't always know the background of the person we socialise with. Nevertheless we will often find ourselves in the ecstatic embrace of a stranger when the ball hits the back of the net! No one is judged, no one is criticised and no one is laughed at.
Everyone at the club has different reasons for their love of the Arsenal. For some it is the revival of childhood wonder and excitment. For some it is the fun of being part of something passionate.
For all it is the laying aside of our 'other life' for ninety minutes.
I listen to so much snobbish nonsense spoken by people who view soccer supporters as some kind of non thinking thug. The truth is that these snobs need to find targets to belittle in order to make them feel more secure in their own ( often artificial) existences. I use the term 'existence' because sadly there are many who don't experience a 'life'. As we in the club leap into each others arms as the winner goes in on the 93rd minute, we are alive and we are happy. We are all the things that so called intellectuals try to explain and experience all their lives.
So now its time to go. My red and white shirt awaits!
Think again.....you know it makes sense