It’s that time of the year: the new season. I have been an Arsenal fanatic for as long as I can remember and the condition has grown worse with the years. And in case you thought Nick Hornby had the last word with his away trips to see the reserves play Doncaster in the rain, I have confessions of my own. Don’t press me. There used to be a time when the pressure of it was bearable: years and years when Arsenal finished 5-13th in the League. They won some and lost some. No grief and no expectation. In this relative calm along came Arsene Wenger and everything changed: horror of horrors, Arsenal began to win things and expectations rose and anxieties with them. Injury time and Arsenal still behind. Match after match. Sometimes they pulled the iron from the fire – but alas not every time. Last season there came a time when Arsenal lost and mathematically it looked impossible to win the Premier League. To my surprise a sense of relief swept over me. Nothing more to grieve about, No last minute tuning into the radio, no windswept terraces, nothing, nothing, nothing. And now it is starting up again. We Gooners still don’t know the starting squad. Wenger specialises in last minute transfers. He loves a bargain. Arsenal will be stonger this season but so will Man City and Spurs. You can take nothing for granted. They might but then they might not. What will I do for this team this year? Will I do anything. What about my blood pressure? You can take tablets now for high blood pressure. Would I do it, take the tablets. What is wrong with you Charlie, why this worsening condition? I don’t know Doctor, the reply. How can I say, give me the certainty of finishing 5-13 and all will be well. Remove my hope and give me indifference and the tablets. Smash my tv set and tear up my season ticket. Do it now Doctor, please me. There, there, have a tissue, old chap. It won’t come to that. Trust me, I support Wigan.
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