The Tale of Amanda: When drawing is losing is winning

Amanda has been an Arsenal supporter since the start of this season.

A Brisbanian-cum-Berliner like myself, friend of my older brother and now good friend of mine, she has well and truly engrossed herself in the world of Arsenal over the past six months.

Amanda has watched almost every Arsenal game this season with me, read this blog religiously and even — bless her little heart — found the time and compulsion to knit me a glorious red and white Arsenal scarf, just to show her support.

Amanda has been a wonderful person to watch Arsenal with this season. She celebrates the good times with beer and excited conversation, is quick to move on from the bad and sincerely appreciates the efforts of the players and the manager, rather than just focusing on the results.

She loves Nicklas Bendtner because he is a character. She loves Wojciech Szczesny because his presence in goals feels like a relaxing back massage. She loves Laurent Koscielny, Jack Wilshere and Robin van Persie because they never, ever, ever give up.

Amanda never speaks about things she doesn’t know but is strong enough to make her own observations and judgments. She never makes the lazy “we need to shoot more” sort of statements but often pitches in with things like “why doesn’t the midfield move the ball on a little quicker?” or “van Persie hasn’t been very involved in this game”.

As you can imagine, the last month and a half has been particularly difficult for Amanda as an Arsenal supporter. For the first time in her admittedly short supporters career, things have been going extremely badly. From everything going swimmingly she has seen us lose the Carling Cup in the most gut-wrenching way imaginable, watched a referee steal away our chances of a huge Champions League upset and seen our title challenge slowly, but surely crumble.

As a result her opinion of football as the most romantic of sports — a perspective obtained via the colour and drama of the World Cup and half a season of promising, exciting football from the Arsenal team she has adopted — is being challenged.

After watching the Liverpool game together at the usual pub, I wanted to go home and bury my head under my pillow.

But Amanda had other ideas.

“I can’t go home after that. It’s too frustrating. I need a beer and some time to calm down.”

So we grabbed two beers from a local kiosk, and plonked ourselves down on a couple of chairs in the street in the sunshine, no more than fifty metres from the pub. There we began to talk about all things Arsenal.

I talked about how only Arsenal could throw away a game from a position like that. She talked about how she much preferred calm defensive players like Djourou and Sagna to Eboué and Clichy. I talked about how concerned I was that supporters would get on Wenger’s back for something he had no control over. She talked about how Cesc plays better with a beard. I talked about how good Robin van Persie’s penalty was under the circumstances.

Then it dawned on me: isn’t this type of conversation, this type of interaction, what being a football supporter is all about?

I know that people love winning. I also know that there are people that love winning above all else, who value the acquisition of silverware as the point of football. But as I have said time and time and time again, I am not one of those people.

For me football, and supporting a football team, is a reflection on life itself. Both have ups and downs. Both contain things you can be controlled and things that cannot. There is excitement, there is disappointment, there is frustration.

But at the end of the day it is about taking on board the range of emotions that come with supporting a football team and enjoying the ride.

This season, Amanda has been a great reminder of the wonderful things that come along with supporting football and in particular, that team we call our own. Knitting someone a scarf has nothing to do with winning, it has to do with sharing an experience and making the time spent watching football in the pub or the stadium just that little bit more special.

She even had the brilliance to finish our de-stressing conversation with the following concluding statement:

“Losing the way we have this season is going to make winning so good. I’m going to party so hard when these guys finally win!”

Amanda might only have been supporting Arsenal for less than a season but she is as genuine a supporter as I have ever met.

On a weekend where a draw felt like a loss, she made it feel like a win.

Spread your love of Arsenal by leaving a comment.



  1. Wenger can moan all he wants but he knows we didn’t deserve to beat Liverpools Reserve Side. I’m slowly turning against this man. When the title is ours to grab and win, we bottle it. So what does he say about this? FINISHING SECOND ISN’T THAT BAD. Behave pal. For you and the Board yes its great. For us, the people who pay for you, sing for you, cheer for you. NO, we want Trophys. It will be 6 years without one which is an embarasment. We have been patient and understanding for this “5 year plan” he had. But now thats over. It’s simple. He changes or he leaves.

  2. Good article.

    Its not always easy to take emotion away from our perspective as far as being an Arsenal fan is concerned, especially after the roller-coaster of Sundays final few minutes.

  3. a very, very good article. One of the best bloggers on the net, other bloggers are all there chanting change, wenger out, eboue out but this blog is something different. I really appreciate what your doing cus you don’t look on the bad things saying “we need to get rid of that player or the manager” instead you look at the situation and have the opinion that we don’t need to change the person but change what they’re doing, i think thats called CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM something that all the other bloggers have forgot and have started to regurgitate what the mainstream media is saying, which was why i started to read blogs in the first place (because of the bullshit that the media came out with).

    very good article!

  4. @ barry – Easy, tiger.

    @ classix / tasos – Thanks for the kind comments.

    @ Dunno! – Thanks for this, I really appreciate what you’ve said here. I try my best to bring only my own opinions and shape the posts in unique ways. Otherwise, as you’ve, what is the point of blogging if you’re just regurgitating the news? Cheers.

    @ Marty – Hey mate, I hope you enjoyed the game under the circumstances. Hopefully you’ll be able to look back on it with fond memories. At least you saw a goal!

  5. Hi!

    What a great post. I agree with you on what it is to support ones team from your whole heart 100%. It is not all about winning. It is soooo much more.

    Go Gunners!!

  6. I am an Arsenal fan; 53 years – a fan; win, lose, draw – a fan; Premier Champs – a fan; Relegation fighters – a fan; ALWAYS – a fan; MY ARSENAL, always Champions!

  7. Nice one as usual, Andy. I have the honour of being an Arsenal season ticket holder and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. To watch the football we play week in, week out is a joy and one I wouldn’t swap for a whole mantle piece of silver, Did anyone enjoy the football George Graham played? I didn’t. Do any of us remember the tiltes we won under him.? I don’t. But everyone who has seen the football Arsenal play under Wenger will remember and talk about it forever. So we haven’t won a title for six years. so what? We’ve been in Europe ten years running; we’ve played the best football in the Premiership; the second best in Europe, and we’ve nurtured players and today glory at the skills of players such as Fabregas, Walcot, Wilshire, Nasri, Djouru, Scezny, Van Persie and the like. It isn’t a;ways easy being a Gooner but it’s the best thing in the world.

  8. The strange thing for me about recent insipid performances and disastrous results is that I am calm before the Spurs game.This does not mean in the slightest that I am confident but it has now reached the point where it can’t get much worse.If we were still in with a realistic chance of winning the league{ not un-reasonable expectations of wins against Blackburn,Sunderland,West Brom and Liverpool would have had us ahead of Man Utd}I would have at best been hiding behind the settee or at worse avoiding the game totally and watching a crap film until 10 0/clock.Now I shall probably watch it but not in a state of nervous anxiety but more a case of waiting for the inevitable to happen.

  9. Thank you, at last a decent blog!
    I live abroad and watch the games on television, and what i often notice is that the supporters at away games are much more vocal than at home (at home much like spectators instead of supporters…).

  10. Love it! Love it ! LOVE IT! the life of a supporter is interesting. I miss my buddies that I could only speak football with, but strangely enough, I made my younger brother a goonner! :)) and believe me, he’s the volley ball kind a guy. we get into these long conversations, and he starts saying “we Arsenal” 😀 that made me smile 🙂 and so happy!
    Amanda has a really clam way of seeing things. I have been seeing red since that lost final. But I agree, very much! that when we will finally win, it will be so sweet, that I will be partying all 7 days :D. Amazing story and amazing post, thanks Andrew!

  11. I also know an Amanda who loves Arsenal, but sadly she is my mother, and I HATE what she has to say about the club. There’s no way she’d have the tactical foresight to even slightly acknowledge the role of Cesc’s facial hair in the intricate balance of the team.

    Interestingly, the only person I really enjoy talking about football with in real life is a dyed in the wool Spurs fan. I’m pretty sure some of the cross-town admiration we’ve both divulged about each other’s clubs would fast get us thrown out of both of our respective fan bases.

  12. what a classy post! you should tell Amanda to keep an eye on songs hair as well ~ as it gets worse so does he, Adebayor lost it when he cut his hair, reminds me of samson and delilah, forget getting a new Pat Rice what we really need is a top class stylist! come on you gooners a win over the tiny totts is all we need to get some real romance back in our hearts, I will keep believing until the title is mathematically ,but will never ever stop being an arsenal fan, as the song goes “no one ever said it would be easy”, peace love and a 3-0 win

  13. Nicholas.. What has the ManU draw done to you now? Do you believe? Hope against hope? I’m waiting for tomorrow’s match before deciding 🙂

    Sorry Andrew. Just couldn’t wait to get that out there. But this article is brilliant mate. I think it is the inclusion of a third party (Amanda) which lends it just the perspective that’s needed. Desperately needed in fact. If Amanda isn’t careful she’ll be dubbed an AKB . What is absolutely right about that article is that supporting a football club is, or should be, about more than just winning.. The real pleasure is in the game itself and supporting what your club stands for. Winning just makes it more fun. But being obsessed with winning takes the fun away. I think this article is right up there with the one about Inter and Barca.

  14. Well Andrew,
    That was a different perspective and perhaps a fitting warm-up to the off season but,wait…
    @ Kel, Shard, Nicholas, Terry, Gruggy and the usual suspects.
    A ManU(re) Draw! What do you think of that? Everytime we get ready to throw the towel in another twist in the plot unfolds. Tell the BBW in the wings to pipe down, we’re not quite ready to name that tune yet.
    Tommorow, White Hart Lane gents. Bring your jangled nerve-endings it’s on again.( it’s on and poppin’ all I see is green so there ain’t no stoppin,) You can finish it yourselves. COYG!

  15. Nema, if that’s your attitude you really aren’t an Arsenal supporter and I don’t think we’ll miss you… should have been with me on the terraces in the sixties and seventies, then you might have had a reason to moan.

  16. What ever hapens , no maters the moment and the time , lose or win… always I’ll be ARSENAL!!!

  17. So as we would have it, circumstances favour us again after the Mancs drew. Or is it just another painful twist in the tale when we inevitably fail to capitalise? The derby game will be vital. I’m also somewhat encouraged that the 2 leaders of the team (Fab and RVP) have come out to take responsibility and reiterated the need to eradicate the fragile mentality and mistakes that we make continually. Lets hope that will galvanise the team to make that final push for the title. COYG!!

  18. @leftcoast

    I note that I am now in your list of “Usual Suspects”! I resent that greatly. I am not on the anti-Wenger bandwagon and will cheer my team on no matter what. I have supported them since 1976 when I was a young bloke and have no intention of turning my back on them. I am just one of those frustrated goooners who can see we are so close but not quite there and Wenger needs to make some pretty big decisions on strengthening the squad before all of us lose faith in him. I admire the football we play under wenger when we are on song but when did we last see that? Barca at home is the last time I can remember. it’s been an awful six weeks or so since then.

    I live in Oz and the Spurs game starts at 4.45am. I will be there infront of the telly screaming my head off if we win but we really need to see a drastic change in form and fortune.

    PS I wish my wife was more like Amanda! She has no interest in my religion!


    In other positive news, Man-Poo’s draw means that the title race is kinda, maybe, a little bit, possibly back on.

  20. Enjoyed the little article on the back page of this morning’s London Metro about Fabregas.

  21. Nice Comment Andy. Of course I’m A die hard Gunners Fan. But we must understand that how long we need to keep being number 2. In Arsene we Trust – How long can it be! In order to be in the winning team we need somebody that could push the team into the next level. Why M.U. without rooney can still win. We do not have any field commander that can steer the team during the game. We are just proud that our Accounting report is not as bad as other teams who are facing a lot of debts.We need to spend to get a better player. As I commented earlier. Arsene please do something.

  22. Thanks for reminding me why I follow football and Arsenal despite most of the internet.

  23. @Terry
    The usual suspect was only meant to reference those I converse with regularly here.
    Perhaps, what I meant was the regular suspects.
    Wait, that’s not any better is it?
    Anyhow Terry, I apologize.(and expect 3 points on the morrow)
    It’s 00:23hrs here I don’t suspect you’re still awake.

  24. Lovely article Andrew.. very refreshing and something I totally connected with, since I only started supporting Arsenal over a year ago.. Keep up the positivity Amanda!! 🙂 Go Gunners!!!! Stop fretting about the silverware.. we have a super team and an even superb Wenger!! In Arsene we trust..

  25. Btw.. I also think Cesc looks and plays better with his beard 😉 I miss Vermaelen 🙁 and will always admire Sagnas commitment..

  26. This couldn’t have come out any better.
    Wait a minute, does that mean Amanda, a six-month old supporter, is more loyal than me, a ten-year old supporter?
    I shame, still a gooner though, anytime. Only that a trophy, at least, makes the feeling better, much better.

  27. I’ve also been an arsenal supporter from this season only..its disappointing for a match to end in a draw and wenger giving a conference “mathematically it was 2 points.psychologically blah blah blah”. what i feel is that wenger should start being more strict and scream out at his team because he is being blamed for the poor results. it gives us a lot to discuss among our friends!

  28. @leftcoast – sorry I took your comment the wrong way. It must be the tension! I don’t know how much more my blood pressure can take! This has been the craziest season I can recall for ages. By all rights we should be well out of the running after throwing away so many opportunities but at the same time we should also be well in the clear after throwing away so many opportunities. If you know what I mean.

    God I hope we beat the Spuds. I want revenge for the last game at the Emirates where we absolutely killed them first half then somehow managed to fuck up and lose. I want to shut those Spurs fans up who think because of a couple of great champions league games that they are up there near us, and most of all I want to keep this roller coaster going for another game or two at least and not throw in the towel.

    C’mon the gooners!!!

  29. Nema Namazi ,
    Just STOP now don’t wait for next year. You are no ARSENAL supporter.
    It is frustrating to throw away matches week after week, it is the players in the TEAM, not Wenger that is the problem. If it is not the STRIKERS, it is the DEFENCE. We need players who can play 120 minutes not 80 minutes. For those players who think that they have to win trophies to be successful, please pack up and go. You get a fancy salary even if you don’t get a result, there is no reason to be complacent. We can learn from SPURS and small Harry.

  30. Go home Arsene, Arsenal don;t need you.
    Looks like we loose again , this time to Stoke, Gunners only play good against BIG teams. Put the tall Dane up front, he can create havoc and also defend. Why waste him. Arsenal needs big tall guys.
    Again, this year has been heartache for all Gunners fans. Go away Wenger. Arsenal will win nothign under your management. I know defenders are not perfoming but it is the overall strategy which is wrong. The team is simply too YOUNG. Wenger only buys those 17, 18 years old, when can Arsenal win back the Premier League. Sorry to say, League Cup is just not enough even you can win it.

  31. See, 2 strikers are better than one. Bredtner created the hole, VP strikes again. What no point, defensive error kicks in again. It is already end of the league for Gunners’ supporters in the world. Stubborn Wenger, we demand you to leave now, go back to Japan. To be frank, you are part of the reason why Arsenal failed in these years. Don;t act like a kid and blame others. Don;t act like Mourinho who never say it is his own fault.

  32. wow…..thank you for that….beautiful words from a beautiful gal…it really touched my heart to read this….well done to both of you, and with supporters like her, we’re always gonna be the class of the, lose or draw..thanks again..i needed that

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