Manchester United Send Arsenal to the Darkest Day in their History; An Arsenal Fan’s Recount


As someone who has lived and breathed sport ever since they was old enough to comprehend what it was, last night was something I have never experienced before and I hope will never experience again.

I can honestly say I have never felt more humiliated in my entire life.

In kindergarten I remember I wet my pants in class because I was so terrified of my teacher I didn’t want to ask if I was allowed to leave. I made a speech at an 18th birthday party and got absolutely nothing of a reaction when I attempted to make jokes. Once a hairdresser ‘misheard’ me and shaved my head when I had asked for nothing of the sort.

I can continue with a lengthy list of fairly embarrassing and sometimes humiliating moments that have lived with me over the course of my life so far, as we all can, but never have I felt anything like I did last night.

As soon as the team list came up I had a sickening feeling that the night could take a turn for the worst. The ‘worst’ as I defined it was not even close to what transpired.

I am not going to sit here and dwell on Arsenal’s defensive incapabilities, nor am I going to make mention to the squad of players that are injured, suspended or unavailable to play due to lingering transfers, nor the recent departures. I won’t put it down to fatigue following a trip to Italy mid week.

At the same time I do not want to take away from Manchester United, who were truly spectacular.

Arsene Wenger cut a figure on the sideline that I had never seen before. Always 100% certain of the situation he was in, it was the first time in 15 years I have seen Arsene Wenger vulnerable. His guard was broken down and smashed into oblivion. There was no where to run, no where to hide, and really no one else to blame.

Despite what we would like to think, none of us have any real idea what is going on behind the scenes of Arsenal, nor any other club for that matter. We do not know why Arsenal have not addressed their major issues in the transfer market nor why there seems to be reluctance to do so. The easy and most common answer is to blame Wenger, and few have given him mercy.

I honestly don’t know what to say.

Every time I see that scoreline my stomach lurches.

I was watching the game last night with one of my best friends, who I have watched the majority of Arsenal’s games with over the past few years. The fluctuation of contrasting emotions we experienced was extraordinary.

Despite the starting 11, as with every match, it began with pure excitement and optimism. The game was somewhat balanced in the open exchanges but the continual frailty of Arsenal’s defense kept us edgy. Welbeck’s goal was the fulfilling of our fears and it sparked one of the most almighty defensive collapses in the history of top flight football. Walcott quickly regained our hope as he won a penalty and the ever reliable and newly appointed captain stepped up to level the game.

I turned to my friend before the penalty and said I promise you he will save this.

As Arsenal fans we have become accustomed to some of the greatest luck related injustices. We always find ourselves on the receiving end of resurgences, of comebacks and of name making performances. De Gea had been identified as the weak link in the Manchester United chain and had copped unbelievable scrutiny less than a month after making his debut. It was all set up for him to establish himself in the league and win back everyone’s respect.

He did just that. It probably was the end of the game.

Ashley Young went down the other end and plucked out a most spectacular goal and it was all over. From about 2-0 to 4-1, my friend and I found it comical. Whether it was out of sheer depression or just our way of coping with what we were seeing, we began begging for blood and wanting to see Arsenal slip further and further behind because it was the only way the manager, the board and the owner would pull their finger out and get the club to where it needs to be.

The 5th goal changed everything. It suddenly wasn’t funny anymore. It was past the point of beneficial. Where before the overwhelming emotions were anger and frustration, it had now turned to pain and humiliation. Complete and utter dejection.

The 6th came and it was just silence.


I apologise for this article really lacking any real substance, failing to discuss any real issue and basically looking more like a journal entry. However I do not apologise for the emotions that I and many hundreds of thousands of people around the world have felt over the past 24 hours.

It was the most humbling 90 minutes of my life.

It is by far and away the lowest point in the history of the club and the memory of this game will forever haunt us.

I refuse to sit here and talk about who Arsenal should be buying and why. I refuse to sit here and place blame on the player’s that let down this legendary club. I certainly refuse to write off Arsene Wenger and protest that he leaves the club. I will give Wenger the benefit of the doubt and reserve my feelings until the transfer window is closed.

To the non Arsenal fans that are reading this, do not pity us. It is one game of football and despite the incomparable humiliation we suffered, it will not define our players, our club or our season. If you have friends that are gooners, give them a break, lay off the banter and just let it be. There’s nothing to gain from it. I have a couple of very good Manchester United friends who told me it wasn’t even enjoyable to watch, that they too were saddened. I can’t speak for all of you but I hope that feeling is widespread. Regardless of your feelings towards Arsenal or any other team for that matter, no one wants to see what we saw last night.

To Arsenal fans…man…we just have to move on. We will never forget that game, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before you can start moving back toward the top. I think it is fair to say we hit rock bottom, but our definition of the phrase is contrasted so greatly to the majority of the football world. We have not been relegated, we are not out of any competition and we still boast world class players in a world class stadium with a world class manager and world class fans. None of that has changed. We have been through 6 years of hardship and it is likely that will continue this season, unless drastic and uncharacteristic changes are made.

I ask all of you to hold your judgements and criticisms until the window is closed. I am sure they understand, as we have for a long time, the perilous position the club is in. The threat to our existence as we know it has never been greater, and if the powers that be did not comprehend that before they travelled to Old Trafford, they certainly will now.

I woke up this morning and had a text message from another one of my good friends who too is a huge Arsenal fan. The text simply read ‘just checking you’re still alive’. Whilst I assume it was a joke, albeit a legimate question given the circumstances, it alluded to the most accurate definition I can describe the feeling the game left me with.


Had you ever experienced a death either in the family, of a friend or within some sort of a community you will most likely have experienced that horrible empty, nothing feeling that saturates your body. In no way do I wish to offend anyone by comparing Arsenal losing a game of football to the death of a family member, but it is that feeling of emptiness that I have only ever experienced before in a situation of a death.

That is how I felt all of today. I believe that is because a part of the club died last night.

A part of Arsenal died on that field. It is something that I am not sure we will ever get back.