You Can Get What You Want

I stood outside the pub. It felt like the coldest day of my life. It really wasn’t but my extremities would dispute the point. They have the final say. The front door was locked and my body ached and my head hurt. I just wanted to be inside. That’s really all I wanted at that moment. 

I was on the shaded side of the street. In a moment of sheer brilliance, I decided that the short walk to the opposite corner would provide the comfort of the sun’s bright rays. I walked across. As I stood there with a good view of the front door, I noticed a couple approaching. I could see Arsenal tops under their winter gear – one even looked a bit foreign to me. “Do I have that shirt?” I wondered. I imagined myself inside the two large duffle bags I have that contain not just Arsenal tops but a number of other tops that I haven’t worn in a long time, if ever at all. I struggled to remember when I got most of them. I saw the Nantes Atlantique top, the Spain top, the red Sunday league club top worn when I played for NSC. We (NSC) were actually a decent collection of players but we were mostly users of some drug or another at the time. We never really reached our potential. No surprise there. I comforted myself in knowing that I have MANY Arsenal tops that they’ve probably never seen. I drew mental picture after mental picture of some football top or another. I remembered the Hamburger Sport Verein top that was given to me by an ex teammate and good friend. I gave that shirt away. I still cannot figure why I did. I felt a rush of anger coming on so I moved on to the Nigeria top. It brought back fond memories of the 1994 FIFA World Cup Finals. Well, fond until Robbie Baggio brought the Flying Eagles crashing down to earth. Of course I rarely wore those tops even when they were new – I am Arsenal through and through – but they and many others in those two bags, helped me manage an exercise that could have ended abruptly and angrily. I still wish I had that Hamburg top. That’s really all I wanted at that moment.

By the time I came back from daydreaming about the precious contents of those two duffle bags, the couple had made it to the front door. There was a man standing in the doorway of the building abutting the pub. I walked over. I wasn’t cold any more. I just wanted to watch the match. That’s really all I wanted at that moment. 

The couple were engaged in idle chatter with the man in the doorway. The topic turned to what caused our failure to win the league last season. Yawn! Never one to eavesdrop or interject or more importantly, to discuss things Arsenal with total strangers, I surprised myself when I did interject a key point at a key moment in the on-going conversation. My contribution was short but calculated, “We only needed four more goals last season.” Silence from the space that the male half of the couple occupied would have more than made up for the cold. He’d been talking too much crap about the team. Silence! That’s really all I wanted at that moment.

The man in the doorway asked me to explain. The male half of the couple shut his hole. “YES!” I thought. He too seemed interested in my explanation. I said, “Would it have been unfair to ask for four more timely goals last season?” Essentially, to say that four draws would have been victories if we’d scored when we really needed to. The male half of the couple had stopped his rant about how Gallas (yawn!) was guilty of murder at St. Andrew’s. His other half was just there as a sidekick. She just wore the shirt. I can’t imagine that it meant much to her. It is trendy to wear football tops. He then began complaining about the price of season tickets at The Emirates Stadium. He expressed how he was ready to give up his tickets. I looked at the time. There were five minutes until kick off. The door opened. I sat at the bar, ordered a Bloody Mary, asked for a menu, and focused on the match. We needed three points. That’s really all I wanted at that moment.

The couple were joined by three more individuals – a West Ham fan, and two of the most non-descript people I’ve ever seen. They could’ve been invisible if not for using their outdoor voice. I easily overheard them blabbering. One of them stated that he felt Arshaviin was over-priced at ₤15mil. I thought, “David Bentley cost ₤15mil – the man who cannot get into Spurs team and certainly can’t touch AA23.” Another shouted, “He did nothing against Spain.” I thought, “Wow! It took the European champions to stop him.” 

We’ve signed a dynamic, versatile footballer who scores and creates chances for others when he isn’t scoring. The thought of any combination of RvP, Eduardo, Theo, Togo, and Bendtner teaming up with Cesc and Andrey gives me more hope that we will challenge for honours. I longed for the player who would allow us to not depend so much on Cesc. I wondered who that could be, how much it would cost, if he’d be willing to join us. Arshaviin kept coming to mind. I wanted the player. I got what I wanted.

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