Friday, August 15, 2008

I can feel it in the aiiiir!

And you can hear it in my voice (1,000 points to anyone who catches that reference). The start of the 2008-09 soccer season is upon us and for the Train of Thought club of choice, Arsenal, the season kicks off in earnest tomorrow morning against West Bromwich Albion. In one respect, the start of this season is almost less thrilling due to the fact that soccer never really went away this summer, what with Euro 2008 and even the Olympics to some degree. But for Arsenal supporters such as myself, the end of last season seems like it was years ago.

This is because everyone wrote us off last term, expected us to struggle to finish fourth in the league and Arsenal overcame the naysayers, only to finish agonizingly close to winning the Premiership. Last year also saw the departure of Thierry Henry to Barcelona, a horrifying leg break for Eduardo da Silva, a UEFA Champions League defeat to Premier League rivals Liverpool aided by extremely dodgy refereeing decisions, and the constant presence of this clod.

So this year we signed some players, saw some other bammas leave the club, and will hopefully sign a few more before the Aug. 31 deadline and have a go at this thing. For a comprehensive Arsenal season preview, click here for Arseblog's take (by far, the best sports blog of all-time). Soccernet offers a team-by-team preview for the whole Premier League here.

Some of you may be asking, "Why do you care so much about a team you've only followed for a few years, plays overseas and that you have no real tangible connection to?" Thank you very much, that's a great question and I'm glad you asked that.

To me, this is simply what being a fan is about. It's hard to fully explain why we care so much, even for teams that we grew up supporting. But once you establish that bond, true sports fans will remain loyal to that team forever. With Arsenal, there were a number of qualities that I could identify with and they reminded me of the soccer version of so many teams I follow in other sports. Pretty much, it was JJ that got me back into soccer at the beginning of college and Arsenal was his team of choice, so it only made logical sense that they became my squad as well. Between their attacking, fluid style of play, their legendary players of the past and present and their anti-media darling status in England compared to Manchester United and Chelsea (think how the Redskins are perceived in comparison to the C*wb*ys, Patriots and any team Brett Favre is playing for), it was a no-brainer to put on a red & white shirt every Saturday. Besides, as JJ once pointed out, their logo is a fucking cannon (customary cool old school logo to follow)!

So there you have it. To readers of the blog who don't consider themselves big soccer fans or sports fans in general, it is my aim to get as many people into the sport as possible, whether you decide to follow Arsenal or another team. Also my apologies to RB, an admitted fan of Real Madrid, for single-handedly deciding that the Gunners are the Train of Thought official soccer club, but we have you outnumbered two-to-one here. Here's to the new season, we'll be raising glasses all weekend long to celebrate. Cheers!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah that tag pretty much says it all. Any reference to the first single off of Beanie Sigel's not so classic "The B. Coming" has to be called out.

    But as to Arsenal... I'm too excited for the start. Yeah I'm nervous, and there's probably good reason to be even more worried than I am, but once the whistle blows at 7:45 tomorrow morning, I'll be living and dying with each text update.

    I like your explanation of why we follow arsenal, because it's strange to tell people that you feel similar amounts of passion for local teams as you do about an English soccer team who you've never seen live. People don't really understand why it's always fun to talk about when sp*rs last won the league and immediately develop an unspeakable hatred for anyone who signs for Chelsea or Man U.

    I will say nothing tops someone overhearing you call a player a cunt to immediate outrage, not understanding that in the same way you call Damon Jones(HAHAHAHAHA) a bamma, you'd call a soccer player like John Terry a cunt. It's just British, so blame them if you're offended. And like I've told anyone who expresses outrage, if
    John McCain can say it to his wife
    , why can't I say it about a crappy soccer player?

    Come on you Gooners!