I’m in my hotel room, and I am exhausted. It’s not that I stayed out way too late drinking lots. I had a few beers after the show last night, but nothing crazy. It was just that when I got back to my room (after a delicious kebab about which I now have some regrets), my mind was buzzing so much I found it hard to sleep.
To say we had a great night at Union Chapel was an understatement. It’s always a pleasure to do these shows, with James obviously, but also Elliot, Clive, Tim and Paul from the ArsenalVision podcast. You never take for granted how lucky you are that you can sit there and talk about Arsenal in front of a crowd like that with your friends. What a thing it is. The people who listen to the podcast every week, every episode, support us on Patreon and much more. It’s so wonderful.
But then yesterday we had a very special guest. I’d been working on it for a while, but didn’t say anything to the other lads about it because I didn’t want it to be disappointing if it didn’t work out. Thankfully, it did, and I don’t think I will ever forget the roar of the crowd when I had the honour of introducing Arsenal legend Ian Wright. The roof nearly came off the chapel. It was honestly incredible.
— A random Gooner 💙 (@SmeglessWonder) May 27, 2023
Ian generously stayed with us for the whole of part one, we did part two, then went upstairs to the bar where I met so many people. As ever, the geographical spread was amazing. Folks from Australia, Canada, all over the US, Iceland and beyond. It reminds you that while Arsenal is a club rooted in North London, it is in the hearts of people everywhere who essentially make pilgrimages to support and watch this team.
Anyway, I got back to my hotel. I slept fitfully, I suspect because of all the adrenaline and the excitement, and here we are this morning. It’s the final game of a season which may for some be viewed as disappointing because of how it played out, but for me has been so much fun along the way. Obviously I want us to improve, to do better, to win things, but it’s not the be-all and end-all. The experience of joy you have in August is just as meaningful in May. It’s nice to have been reminded of that in so many ways.
Today, I’m going to go and watch Arsenal, and while this game isn’t really meaningful in terms of points or league position, I do think it’s one that we need to win just to put a cap on this campaign. The last few weeks have been difficult, but to go out on the back of a victory would be a lovely way to end the season. The connection that the manager has spoken about so often this season has just become a little strained. And look, that is the reality of football: results matter so much.
The connection has been good because the team has been good, and while it is a two-way street, human nature is what it is as well. So, today it would be nice to play well, score a few goals in the summer sunshine, and give the team the recognition for that – and what they have given us for most of the season. After that we can take stock, get ready for what is going to be a busy summer, and deal with whatever comes our way.
Again, I just want to say thanks to everyone who came last night – to my podcast friends who made my life a bit easier as I paced nervously backstage beforehand, and to Ian Wright. What a night.
Hope to catch up with some of you before/after the game today.
Come on Arsenal!