The
social media in Nigeria was active as usual last weekend due to the large
number of people who watch European football matches.
Twitter
and Facebook in Nigeria goes crazy from about noon on Saturdays to around midnight
on Sunday and this is regular on match weekends.
Last
weekend was no exception except the fact that fans of certain clubs, tired of the
poor run of their teams decided to publicly denounce being fans of their clubs.
Wale
Ajayi, a friend of mine, a journalist with African Independent Television and
an Arsenal fan posted on his facebook wall after last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to
Manchester United that he and his family will no longer support Arsenal.
I
reprint his message below
After five hours of close door meetings that started
at 11pm last night and ended 4am midnight, the family of ADEWALE AJAYI is
relieved to tell the world through this medium that from this day Sunday November
4, 2012, we quit forthwith as supporters, loyalists and fans of Arsenal
Football club of England.
We have watched with anger, anguish and dismay, the
downward slide of a club we loved with passion, we have followed the trend of
events as they span out weekly and we have come to the point where we can no
longer bear the pains of defeats and shoulder the insults of failures
Added to this, the club coach Arsene Wenger only
recently came public to tell the world that fourth place finish is better than
winning a trophy a decision that has not only left my family devastated but
dejected.
The defeat to Manchester United on Saturday, the
lackluster performance of the players, the fact that Arsenal worst player on
the day Andre Santos had the guts to collect Van Persie’s jersie as souvenir at
half time have all combined to buttress the fact that this club has lost
direction, lacks ambition and are destined to fail and falter.
The decision to join this club in 1996 was largely
because of Arsene Wenger, a man I loved due to his exploits at AS Monaco and
our decision to quit today is due largely to the same man who has allowed greed
and his penchant for money becloud his sense of reasoning and planning.
Patrick Vierra, Thierry Henry, Cesc Fabregas, Sami
Nasri and lately Robin Van Persie are some of the idols that my little kids
have grown to love but their departure have left them with no heroes rather
they curse the board for signing disables like Chammachk, Giroud, Arshavin,
Ramsey and Scquilachi.
In the last three years, this family has been on
holy pilgrimage to the Emirate stadium a place we see as the Mecca of English
football, we have spent over 3000 pounds on souvenirs at the Armoury and have
invested money and time only to win nothing in eight years.
Enough is Enough, we can go no further. In tears, in
pains and in anger we are bowing out now that the ovation is loudest.
The family has summoned an emergency meeting later
today at 4pm to decide the next line of action and the possible club to pitch
tent with but one thing is certain, it will not be a club in blue.
For their style and the fact that my kids adore
Fabregas, Barcelona FC looks tempting but if we must keep faith with the
premier league, then we may seek divine direction.
Football is our first love, Arsenal was our life.
When Arsenal loses we embark on compulsory hunger strike, before every Arsenal
match we turn prayer warriors, and every week, we dedicate a day to pray for
Arsenal.
Now all that will stop, we can go about our normal
life until we find a club that will turn us into devoted followers like ARSENAL
FC.
Till then, its goodbye Arsenal and all my goners friends,
it was not an easy decision but we have to take it to save us the agony of
living in a world full of headaches, heartbreaks and uncertainties.
SIGNED
ADEWALE AJAYI
For the Family
As
if that was not enough, a few hours later, another Nigerian journalist who
simply calls herself, Ronke the sports Diva, who is a Liverpool fan tweeted
thus “Okay,
I will give it a second and final thought! I want to denounce Liverpool
Football Club after supporting them for 11 years.”
She
went on to add that no other club in the Barclays Premier League deserves her
loyalty so who now deserves that loyalty?
She
is frustrated at the poor run of the club but I have no pity for her or Wale
Ajayi, the former Arsenal fan.
Another
friend of mine, Dr. Reward Nsirim had also in August posted in his blog, www.rewardsrhetoric.blogspot.com
“Why I’m No Longer ‘Manchester United for Life’” and took pains to explain how/
why he arrived at that option for his life.
Many
more will denounce their clubs as performances continue to go South but it just
shows the strength of character of these fans (except, maybe Reward who gave
what I consider as good reasons for his decision)
A
true fan stands by his club whether good or bad and a seven year trophy drought
should not deter you.
These
Nigerians have only just shown that they never had any idea what being fans of
these clubs meant, the tradition and history behind them and how you just don’t
leave all that and change overnight from being an Arsenal fan to, say, a
Manchester United or City fan; or change from being a Liverpool fan to one of
any other club in England.
In
the last 20 years, and things reached a crescendo three to four years ago, Nigerians
began to embrace European clubs to the detriment of their local clubs in Nigeria.
Back
when I was growing up, when we gathered to argue or debate, it was about our
local clubs- Sharks, Iwuanyanwu Nationale, Bendel Insurance, Leventis United
and other clubs that rocked our world in the 80s.
When
we talked Nigerian football we knew where we were coming from. Some of us still
do. You don’t just change from being a fan of Dolphins or Sharks to supporting
Enyimba. You would be an outcast around where you live. A Rangers of Enugu fan
would have nothing whatsoever to do with Vasco Dagama same as a fan of Shooting
Stars would never go near Femo Scorpions of Eruwa or a NEPA of Lagos fan
fraternizing with Stationery Stores.
But
as politics and hooliganism destroyed the Nigerian League, cable television
began to make its way into the country and just like “nature abhors a vacuum” a
lot of Nigerians moved on.
As
more Nigerians jettison the European clubs they adore, it is the wish of some
of us that they will test the waters in the Nigerian League and pick the likes
of Enyimba, Kano Pillars, Shooting Stars or Sharks to support.
But
since they most likely would have nothing to do with their own league, let us
see how many these disillusioned Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United fans
will actually jump on the Manchester City band wagon.
Have
a great day

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