Magic doesn’t exist.
I know that’s hard to take, and probably not one to share with any kids you might own/disown at a time when a fat man swoops through the skies propelled only by flying reindeer and slides down your chimney – as well as those of millions of others – to deliver presents, and all in the space of 12 hours. However, it’s true.
And the same can be said for the curse of Arsenal’s third kit – it doesn’t exist.
Hideous black (or navy)
Of course, the kit itself is a monstrosity. I’ll run the risk of offending the yellow-shirted purists who dislike any away kit without a dominant golden colour, and admit that I actually prefer our blue kits in general.
Bright yellow isn’t a terribly flattering colour on anyone without a healthy tan, and let’s face it: in an English winter where the sun rarely shines at all and when it does is about as weak as me in the gym doing chin ups, it’s pretty hard to get enough of a tan to pull off egg yolk yellow.
Last year’s third kit was – to me – a thing of beauty. With its diagonal stripes of mid and deep blue, punctuated by jazzy accents of fluorescent green, it tempted me into investment. (This was only possible once I finally found the lesser-spotted-ladies-shirt in the tiniest-ladies-section-in-the-world part of the armoury store of course. It’s the 21st century; sort it out Arsenal and Puma!)
This year, our alternative strip looks like a PSG cast off, with random fat strips of colour bleeding up from the base of the shirt, and bizarrely angled up to a rectangular panel on the middle with the Fly Emirates logo. To me it feels like someone at Puma, presumably short of sight, stitched some random snippets of old Arsenal shirts together. Pretty much the only redeeming feature is the neat golden crest which stands out against the navy backdrop.
It’s a vile concoction and one that has been frequently linked with some fairly lacklustre performances while wearing it.
We wore it for the 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday which is so far a particular lowlight.
We wore it for the loss draw at Norwich which was also pretty grim.
We wore it for our 5-1 drubbing at the hands of media darlings Bayern Munich just a fortnight after we had ‘done a job on them’ wearing our delightful scarlet home kit.
And of course, we are wearing it for our crunch tie at Olympiakos.
3 games, 5 injuries, 9 goals conceded, and just a solitary point. Bodes well…
But for all its horror, the shirt is still not the root cause of all our troubles.
Just a kit
Just because all apples are fruit doesn’t make all fruit apples, to pinch a phrase from wordsmith Matthew Wade!
A big European away game, a match where we suffered injury after injury and conceded a terrible goal because of an individual error, and a midweek Mickey Mouse cup game where we played a bunch of kids is hardly a sample size which is either large or representative.
The blue kit is not less aerodynamically streamlined that it’s red and gold counterparts. The colour does not intimidate the opposition any less. It isn’t some sort of kryptonite which damages our players and makes it inevitable that they pick up injuries. And some sort of all powerful football deity is not looking down on us from above and decreeing that just because we have pulled on a navy monstrosity that we should therefore lose. It’s 100% within our, and more importantly the players’, control.
I mean, do you still believe in Santa Claus?
Of course even though the sane among us know that ‘the curse’ isn’t real, footballers are notoriously superstitious, and in a game of confidence it’s vital that we end this run pronto. We don’t want the association between losing and blue to become to entrenched. After all, we can leave that to Chelsea.