I’m not sure if you heard, but Arsenal won a big game on Sunday.
They don’t do that very often, although that certainly seems like it could be something you already know given that the media never, ever, ever shut-the-hell up about it.
They pile on the pressure, they ask what’s wrong, they mock and ridicule and question the balls of the team, some of the players barely out of their teenage years and some of them still in them.
It is a constant, unrelenting narrative that fills back pages, radio shows and TV segments.
On and on and on and on and on they go.
So, you’d think that if you were to finally break through and detach yourself somewhat from the label of perennial bottlers you might be allowed to be happy about it, right?
Sit down, put your camera away. Nobody wants to see you happy!
You are Arsenal, you fail – be miserable.
That’s how it felt when Jamie Carragher went on his Monday Night Football rant about the Arsenal players taking pictures of themselves after achieving something most people thought they couldn’t do.
Refusing to heed Gary Neville’s advice to let Arsenal enjoy it given the hard time that they’d had recently, he just wouldn’t be stopped.
“It’s winding me up,” he screeched. “It’s an absolute joke.
“We’re talking about one giant football club going to another giant. We’re not talking about a lower league team going to City and winning.
“Of course, you have celebrations at the end of a game, but one thing that’s winding me up full stop in football is this nonsense. Team pictures on social media after games in dressing rooms.
“Normally you have those pictures with a cup. It’s not just Arsenal, plenty of teams do it. It’s absolute nonsense. Stop doing it.
“It’s like a picture you put on your mantelpiece when you’re finished in 10 years’ time. What’s that? Oh, we won away at Man City.”
Of course, had he delivered his point in a slightly lower pitch I might have been inclined to agree with some of his points.
We are Arsenal football club, it shouldn’t be like winning a trophy to win at a place like Manchester City.
But those are the times we live in now, things have been tough for Arsenal, especially against the big boys away from home as a string of baseball scores will tell you with just one glance.
You cannot be allowed to heap criticism on the club every week and then expect, after a number of years, for the pressure not to explode when the valve is finally released.
Things haven’t been great at Arsenal over the past ten years. We all know this.
But what has been worse has been the relentless coverage of Arsenal’s plight, especially when that lot up the road can only dream of one of Arsenal’s ‘worst’ seasons happening to them.
Perhaps it’s a sign that Arsenal are taken far more seriously than Sp*rs and more is expected of them, but even Liverpool, who haven’t won the league this millennium get a break from having to listen to ‘not since 1990’ every. Single. Game.
It started around the five-year mark for Arsenal – no trophy in five, then six, seven, eight, nine years before, during and after every match. They couldn’t add years to it fast enough.
Sp*rs haven’t won a trophy in almost seven (and that’s if you count the league cup, which only Spurs do) and that’s rarely ever mentioned, although their fans were often quick to mock Arsenal for their lack of silverware over recent years. You have to go back to 1990/91 for the last time they won a trophy that actually means anything.
With Arsenal picking up the FA Cup in May the narrative was forced to change. No longer could pundits bang on about ‘no trophy’ and all that criticism had to find an outlet.
It found it in Arsenal’s record against the top sides.
On Sunday Arsenal played Manchester City for the third time this season and beat them for the second.
Another narrative is creaking but the likes of Jamie ‘Henry says get out of my way’ Carragher is holding on to it for all he’s worth.
Maybe he knows that if people stop criticising Arsenal they might turn to his beloved Liverpool and ask just why, exactly is it, that they have never managed to win the Premier League.
This one’s for you, Jamie: