I will not support Arsenal again

The social media in Nigeria was active as usual last weekend due to the large number of people who watch European football matches.

Twitter and Facebook in Nigeria goes crazy from about noon on Saturdays to around midnight on Sunday and this is regular on match weekends.

Last weekend was no exception except the fact that fans of certain clubs, tired of the poor run of their teams decided to publicly denounce being fans of their clubs.

Wale Ajayi, a friend of mine, a journalist with African Independent Television and an Arsenal fan posted on his facebook wall after last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Manchester United that he and his family will no longer support Arsenal.

I reprint his message below

After five hours of close door meetings that started at 11pm last night and ended 4am midnight, the family of ADEWALE AJAYI is relieved to tell the world through this medium that from this day Sunday November 4, 2012, we quit forthwith as supporters, loyalists and fans of Arsenal Football club of England.
We have watched with anger, anguish and dismay, the downward slide of a club we loved with passion, we have followed the trend of events as they span out weekly and we have come to the point where we can no longer bear the pains of defeats and shoulder the insults of failures
Added to this, the club coach Arsene Wenger only recently came public to tell the world that fourth place finish is better than winning a trophy a decision that has not only left my family devastated but dejected.
The defeat to Manchester United on Saturday, the lackluster performance of the players, the fact that Arsenal worst player on the day Andre Santos had the guts to collect Van Persie's jersie as souvenir at half time have all combined to buttress the fact that this club has lost direction, lacks ambition and are destined to fail and falter.
The decision to join this club in 1996 was largely because of Arsene Wenger, a man I loved due to his exploits at AS Monaco and our decision to quit today is due largely to the same man who has allowed greed and his penchant for money becloud his sense of reasoning and planning.
Patrick Vierra, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Sami Nasri and lately Robin Van Persie are some of the idols that my little kids have grown to love but their departure have left them with no heroes rather they curse the board for signing disables like Chammachk, Giroud, Arshavin, Ramsey and Scquilachi.
In the last three years, this family has been on holy pilgrimage to the Emirate stadium a place we see as the Mecca of English football, we have spent over 3000 pounds on souvenirs at the Armoury and have invested money and time only to win nothing in eight years.
Enough is Enough, we can go no further. In tears, in pains and in anger we are bowing out now that the ovation is loudest.
The family has summoned an emergency meeting later today at 4pm to decide the next line of action and the possible club to pitch tent with but one thing is certain, it will not be a club in blue.
For their style and the fact that my kids adore Fabregas, Barcelona FC looks tempting but if we must keep faith with the premier league, then we may seek divine direction.
Football is our first love, Arsenal was our life. When Arsenal loses we embark on compulsory hunger strike, before every Arsenal match we turn prayer warriors, and every week, we dedicate a day to pray for Arsenal.
Now all that will stop, we can go about our normal life until we find a club that will turn us into devoted followers like ARSENAL FC.
Till then, its goodbye Arsenal and all my goners friends, it was not an easy decision but we have to take it to save us the agony of living in a world full of headaches, heartbreaks and uncertainties.

For the Family

As if that was not enough, a few hours later, another Nigerian journalist who simply calls herself, Ronke the sports Diva, who is a Liverpool fan tweeted thus “Okay, I will give it a second and final thought! I want to denounce Liverpool Football Club after supporting them for 11 years.”

She went on to add that no other club in the Barclays Premier League deserves her loyalty so who now deserves that loyalty?

She is frustrated at the poor run of the club but I have no pity for her or Wale Ajayi, the former Arsenal fan.

Another friend of mine, Dr. Reward Nsirim had also in August posted in his blog, www.rewardsrhetoric.blogspot.com “Why I’m No Longer 'Manchester United for Life'” and took pains to explain how/ why he arrived at that option for his life.

Many more will denounce their clubs as performances continue to go South but it just shows the strength of character of these fans (except, maybe Reward who gave what I consider as good reasons for his decision)

A true fan stands by his club whether good or bad and a seven year trophy drought should not deter you.

These Nigerians have only just shown that they never had any idea what being fans of these clubs meant, the tradition and history behind them and how you just don’t leave all that and change overnight from being an Arsenal fan to, say, a Manchester United or City fan; or change from being a Liverpool fan to one of any other club in England.

In the last 20 years, and things reached a crescendo three to four years ago, Nigerians began to embrace European clubs to the detriment of their local clubs in Nigeria.

Back when I was growing up, when we gathered to argue or debate, it was about our local clubs- Sharks, Iwuanyanwu Nationale, Bendel Insurance, Leventis United and other clubs that rocked our world in the 80s.

When we talked Nigerian football we knew where we were coming from. Some of us still do. You don’t just change from being a fan of Dolphins or Sharks to supporting Enyimba. You would be an outcast around where you live. A Rangers of Enugu fan would have nothing whatsoever to do with Vasco Dagama same as a fan of Shooting Stars would never go near Femo Scorpions of Eruwa or a NEPA of Lagos fan fraternizing with Stationery Stores.

But as politics and hooliganism destroyed the Nigerian League, cable television began to make its way into the country and just like “nature abhors a vacuum” a lot of Nigerians moved on.

As more Nigerians jettison the European clubs they adore, it is the wish of some of us that they will test the waters in the Nigerian League and pick the likes of Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Shooting Stars or Sharks to support.

But since they most likely would have nothing to do with their own league, let us see how many these disillusioned Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United fans will actually jump on the Manchester City band wagon.

Have a great day
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