Following the Arsenal has been a significant part of my life for some time now. If you listen to the Soccer Yanks podcast (if you don’t, you should), this will not come as news. I’ve occasionally written about them here at Soccer Yanks. Many moons back, I also had a few articles posted at Arsenal America. Although my commitment to the Gunners has never wavered, my commitment to writing about them has ebbed and flowed.
Cannon Fodder, as I’m going to call it, will be my chronicling of the greatest team the world has ever seen throughout this upcoming 2014/2015 campaign. It will be my personal slice of Soccer Yanks dedicated to ME! Not exactly me, but to Arsenal and my following of the club. Thoughts, feelings, musings, complaints and praise. It will be less game recap-y and more a barometer of the mood on a weekly basis. This will be my re-commitment to writing about Arsenal, and I will be held responsible for following through with said commitment. So, why cannon fodder you ask?
Every Arsenal fan, the youngest and the oldest, is aware that no one likes us, and every day we hear that dislike reiterated. -Nick Hornby
It is a quote that can be difficult for an American Arsenal fan to understand. And at first, I, as an American Arsenal supporter, did not exactly relate to what Nick Hornby was laying out. But over the course of the last 10 years or so, as my dedication to Arsenal grew, the quote began to take root. The more I understood of the league and the club, the media and supportership, the more I started to believe Nick Hornby, but perhaps with a predilection for the tongue in cheek, as Nick’s underpinnings may circuitously suggest.
I am impassioned by the club, but not impassioned to the point I can’t take a joke. Bearing the weight of the cannon can sometimes be daunting. If you take it too seriously, it will crush you. Then again, if easy is your preference, there are a few other clubs that would better suit your desires. Arsenal is a great club, but it hasn’t been all roses and Premier League titles around here for the last couple of years.
From Wikipedia (the end all and be all)
Cannon fodder is an informal term for combatants who are regarded or treated as expendable in the face of enemy fire. The term is generally used in situations where combatants are forced to deliberately fight against hopeless odds (with the foreknowledge that they will suffer extremely high casualties) in an effort to achieve a strategic goal.
To push the obvious even further, no I do not equate sport with battle, but terminology for one does lend itself well for the other. In that sense, sometimes, we the fans, are the cannon fodder, fighting against hopeless odds. Before you go getting all hardman on me, yes, I understand there are far far more bleeker teams to follow around the globe. Hell, there is always someone better off, and someone worse off, those worse off, sometimes, they are the cannon fodder. Sometimes the club’s rivals are the cannon fodder. And sometimes, crushed by it’s own weight, Arsenal itself is the cannon fodder.
With that, I’ll leave you with this little morsel:
I am going to make this the greatest club in the world. -Herbert Chapman