On January 1st, this blog will be 10 years old.
I wish I could tell you a noble lie, that I started 7amkickoff so that I could develop a community of like-minded individuals, intellectuals who wanted to muse over how Arsenal were like Shakespeare (King Lear, clearly) or talk about how post-structuralism relates to football, but I didn’t. I started writing every day for selfish reasons: I wanted to be a better writer and if I’m honest, I just wanted to be heard.
When I started this blog I had been following Arsenal for a few years and since I’m an American that automatically meant that I was clearly an expert at all things Arsenal and English. There were all these other Arsenal blogs popping up every week and I would leave a comment on them, some brilliant insight into how Wenger was forced to build a youth team because of the stadium, or how no other manager in the world would or could do what Wenger was doing in the post-invincibles era. But the comments went unreplied to, unrequited.
So, I thought “well if those guys can do this, I can too” and I started writing, every day.
The blog took a slight turn for the weird when Opta data was published in the Guardian. I was a stats guy from my time watching basketball. I had even been the ESPN fantasy basketball correspondent for the Seattle SuperSonics back in the days when the internet was still fresh and mostly unsullied (before 4chan and it’s newest incarnation, Twitter). So, I was well versed in the meaning of sports numbers and how they could be used to help understand the game. I started consuming and writing about football using stats. That made people angry. How dare I butress my junks using stats? Stats don’t tell the whole story.
Eight years later, here I am. Still doing mostly the same thing. Things have changed around me, blogs have come and gone. Writers have come and gone from the site, the community has grown and changed, people have loved and hated me in equal measure in the comments and I’ve even had a few real life stalkers (yay!).
Twitter and the twitification of writing has taken over modern discourse. Not just sports writing. We even have the first Twitter president, a man who watches 8 hours of television a day, eats burnt steaks, gets his news from Fox and Friends, and tweets his proclamations from on high like some kind of modern Roman Emperor. War is peace, reality is fake, racists are good people too, but Hillary, Obama isn’t an American, we save health care by destroying it, we build the economy by cutting taxes, bitcoin isn’t beanie babies, education is slavery, science is wrong, nothing is real, reality is nothing.
We live in the dumbest of timelines.
Humanity is coming to an end, hunched over our phones, tweeting out memes about how stupid everything is while the earth turns into an inhospitable burning husk. Good work, everyone!
One thing that hasn’t changed since 2008 is Arsenal. Arsenal is constant as the North Star.
Let’s go over a few of the things about Arsenal that haven’t changed since 2008:
- Vulnerable to counter attacks
- Insanely high line when chasing games
- Switching off
- Showing up to games thinking we got the win in the bag
- Defensive midfielders? No thanks!
- Wondering if we can win the Premier League with gaping holes in the squad
- Every year in Europe
- Rarely challenging for Europe (one year, 2006)
- Getting smeared by the big clubs in Europe (except one year)
- Disorganized defending
- STERILE POSSESSION
- Inanimate carbon rod
- Self-destructo in big games
- Don’t like it up em
- Try to walk the ball into the net
- Theo Walcott
- Unlucky Theo
- Spend some money
- Spend some more money
- Why are you only buying Petr Cech? Are you insane?
- I love my daughter and I always will: she was born just four months into this adventure
- Always in our shadow
- Why do the refs hate Arsenal?
- Same old Arsenal, always cheating
- Leg breakers
- Hate Chelsea
- Hate Man U
- Hate Jose Mourinho
- Arsene Wenger
It’s funny too, because one of the main reasons I started this blog was because I was tired of the Wenger Out people… way back IN THE YEAR OF OUR LORD TWO-THOUSAND-AND-EIGHT. I wanted to educate people on Wenger’s master plan. Show people that he was an utterly brilliant manager who was doing something with project youth that no other manager in world football would do. And I stand by that, he really was. But now?
I guess the debate there has shifted a bit, there are a few people who are always going to be hardcore Wenger inners but most of us have come around to the idea that maybe Wenger should retire. Maybe he will. I have a weird feeling that he won’t.
And here I write 1000 words a day on a topic that is unchanging. Don’t ask me how I do it. I don’t even know. Maybe I’m a Russian bot. I can’t even construct an argument that proves that I’m not a Russian bot.
I’m not writing this to tell you that I’m retiring. I might just put it in my will that this site must be funded to live for at least 50 years. I’m pretty self-centered, not sure if you noticed. That said, I do want you all to organize me a testimonial. I had a dream that someone got me in a room with Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg, Patrick Vieira, and DJ Tayo. I don’t know why Ljungberg was there but let’s make that dream a reality.
Or not. Whatever.
I am writing to tell you that I’m going to slow down. I am working on a book and I need to dedicate more time to that and less time to the news cycles about same old Arsenal. I will try to give you a column once a week and a couple of short posts twice a week. Probably some garbage to debate as if we make a damn drop of difference in this crazy old world.
So, for example, today. Here’s what I’m wondering: if Alexis, Ozil, Mertesacker, and Wilshere are all leaving Arsenal (they are) that means Arsenal are due for a major rebuild. That means that Arsenal are due for a major rebuild in the summer that Wenger is in the last year of his contract. Do you think Arsenal are crazy enough to let Wenger rebuild the team in the final year of his deal? What players in their right minds would come to such a club? Is this all just more evidence that Wenger’s going to be fired this summer? Or is that just wishful thinking*?
Anyway, I have to go to work. I have to feed the chickens and shit the dog. See you in the comments.
This is not my best post.
10 print “sorry”;
20 goto 10
*I DO NOT WISH FOR WENGER TO BE FIRED