Wednesday 27 June 2012

Giroud Chose Arsenal Over Chelsea

It's the day after Olivier Giroud signed on as a Gooner. Enough reason to have a smile on my face when I woke up this morning. My wife saw the smile and asked why I had a smile on my face and years of experience ensured I said the right thing.

I looked softly into her eyes and said, "Because I'm lucky to have you."

I had told her the truth but not the truth about why I was smiling. Just a little white lie by my reckoning. The truth would have gotten me a long drawn out hiss and something about "you and your darling Arsenal sef."

The little white lie earned me a kiss and ensured she'll go through the day with a smile on her face. And we both ended up happy. You've got to know what makes your missus tick.

Anyway, Giroud was reported this morning to have said, "The choice was between Arsenal and Chelsea. I chose Arsenal because of the club's philosophy and stability."

Hehehehe! That is sure to endear him to many Arsenal fans but what strikes me is the fact that the two reasons he gave for choosing us are the two key reasons for most of the criticism we've faced over the past few years from fans and foes alike.

Many believe we do not have a Plan B going into games and will continue playing "pretty football" even when it isn't taking us anywhere. That happens to be the truth and while I sometimes wish we could play rough and ugly and get the necessary three points in the bag, I also know deep within me that that pretty football is what made me drop my anchor at Arsenal. It is the reason I became an Arsenal fan.

Arsenal's football philosophy is a demonstration of Joga Bonito -The Beautiful game. The belief that football should be entertaining for its fans. It's looking more and more like an obsolete approach to the game as even the Brazilians who first perfected the art seem to have abandoned it for a more pragmatic approach. But then you look at the likes of Barcelona and the Spanish national team and idealists like me continue to retain the hope that Joga Bonito will not go the way of the dinosaurs.

I believe very much in the entertainment value of football. It is the reason I loved to watch Jay Jay Okocha at work; it is the reason I loved to watch Kanu play.While I am not happy that we have not had a trophy in seven years to show for it, I will get more satisfaction out of winning the next one from winning it by playing The Beautiful Game.

As regards stability, especially this last season, I saw Arsenal fans begin to question Wenger. Even those who had propounded "Wenger Knows" all these years began to question "The Professor".

I must admit I've remained an avid supporter of Arsene Wenger for selfish reasons. I've argued against his being sacked because I believe there are not many coaches in the world who believe enough in the philosophy of The Beautiful Game to adopt that approach at the expense of results. And who can blame them? The game has no patience these days with managers who are not getting results.

Besides that, I honestly believe there is no better manager to keep Arsenal as competitive as we have been these past few years on the budget the club owners have made available to him.

Contrary to popular belief, It seems we still retain the ability to attract top players as the signing of Podolski and Giroud have shown and for reasons other than silly financial considerations too. I've got my fingers crossed as I await the announcement of Yann M'vila as a gunner.

The morning after that I will wake up with a wider smile and when wifey spots it, I'll ensure I say something this time that will get me more than just a kiss. Always a beautiful way to face the hustle and bustle of Lagos

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Naija End Gooner