Editor’s note: They asked Nick Hornby to assess the news that Arsene Wenger was leaving Arsenal Football Club after coached the team 22 years.
The school his sons attend is just a stone’s throw from Highbury Stadium, where mobile phones are not allowed to be used on the premises. Each morning, his boys and friends go to school while their mobile phones are left in their kitchen. Mobile phones will keep silent until the end of the educational day.
On a Friday morning, my sons leave their mobile phones in kitchen as normal. I started to read newspaper in the suddenly peaceful house. But, the rare peace was broken up by buzz and ping at the same time. There is a common goal of all calls – Arsenal Football Club, which could provoke some simultaneous activity. Even though the news involving North Korea’s nuclear strike will last for several days. Besides, his own phone started to ring, too. By this stage, it is difficult to imagine what else could have happened, except for depature of Arsene Wenger.
In their mid-teens, boys leave their phone in my house almost every day. No one of them saw Arsenal’s football games at Highbury. After this time, they began going to the Emirates from 2008 to 2010. They also enjoyed some good times during this period. They witnessed the prime time of Cesc Fabregas’s and Robin Van Persie’s football playing career. They witnessed three FA Cup final wins only in four years. In addition, they also witnessed Thierry Henry second debut at the age of 35.
However, these above highlights don’t count for much. Taking advantages of outstanding performances of eminent football players, Barcelona garnered comfortable win in their second leg. Henry scored a goal at the end of one disappointing game I have ever seen. The nine-year trophy drought was ended by late scores of Laurent Koscielny in the game. His score contributes to the comfortable win against Hull City.
Most of the time, there are more disappointment in their life than pleasure: champions challenges and big games against big teams. The former petered out in March while the later often ended with humiliation. Nevertheless, any football fans of Arsenal has not seen the humiliating scene that their team conceded eight in a game until 2011. Most football fans were disappointed by the dismal football game rather than inspiring by a exciting consequence of football games.
While parents of the boys remember something else: the eight-year splendid, in which club Arsenal performs as well as any football club in Europe. It’s wonderful to own a season ticket in this period. Watching football games they played in London will be the best entertainment.
When pundits criticize football fans for their short memory, football fans may claim their memory are short. When surpass a certain age, the splendid history of Arsenal may not count for much. However, my sons and their friends will remember things what a 68 years old did decades ago.