Sunday, 18 May 2014

FA Cup Winners 2014

Nine years is a long time. Regardless of how you look at it. In 2005 I was in my first year of secondary school, this year I've graduated from University. In that time period I've watched the club I love come agonisingly close to winning another trophy, pretty much every trophy under the sun. The Champions League final in 2006 which sadly I don't think I'll ever get over. Countless title challenges, League Cup finals. But yesterday all of that became utterly irrelevant.

I stood watching the game tick by having gone two down within ten minutes, seen Santi Cazorla pull one back through a sensational free kick and then Koscielny pivot and fire between the keepers legs. I had the horrible feeling we'd go to penalties and once again hope would be dashed in the cruelest possible way in football. We spurred chance after chance and everyone was fearing the worst. Then, as if written, the man who has changed his career and the clubs fortune so many times this season popped up in the right place at the right time. 

Some neat link up play saw Giroud side on to the goal being hassled by a defender before backheeling it to Ramsey who, right on cue, poked it home sending Wembley, the Emirates and thousands of pubs, bars and supporters clubs around the world into absolute pandemonium. It was a moment I doubt many people who were fortunate enough to experience with other fans will ever forget. The moment was almost coupled with one of pure agony when Fabianki came tearing out of his goal and was easily rounded by Aluko, whose shot seemed to travel forever and I thought was destined to bumble into the bottom corner but bobbled harmlessly wide.

From there we held the ball well and did our job and the outpouring of emotion on the final whistle was something to behold. At the Emirates where I was, there were scenes of joy from the young to had never seen Arsenal win a trophy to the old who had seen many. The girl behind me was in floods of tears, people piled onto the pitch and for myself personally a moment I'd waited for from the day I was 12 years old was one of pure ecstasy.

Watching the team lift the trophy one by one was brilliant but nothing compared to the deafening cheer Arsene Wenger got as he himself lifted old cup. The man who had brought every single player in that team to the club and who has been at the butt of criticism from fans within our ranks and of course those from other clubs, deserved every moment of happiness. As did the players who earned it. It was a day for everyone connected to the club to revel in and enjoy. 

There will be time for reflection this season in due course but for now this is the time for the players, the staff, the manager and most of all every single fan like myself to enjoy and celebrate. For the 250,000 (yes that is a quarter of a million) strong that took to the streets of London today for the parade, soak it up and remember every moment. I tried to find one photo to sum the day up nicely but couldn't so here are three. Till my next post, enjoy being FA Cup Winners 2014!