Video game representation of Arsenal's FA Cup win. (No jinxes)
Why Keane & Carra’s Criticism Of Arsenal's Celebration Is Bull****
After vociferous celebrations following last season’s Champions League qualification & March’s victory at White Hart Lane, the Arsenal players were once again roundly criticised for their reaction to the penalties triumph over Wigan in yesterday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley.
Who is possibly to say how much a player can celebrate? They have just reached the final of the most prestigious domestic cup competition in European football, and are 90 minutes away from ending a well-documented nine year stretch without a trophy.
Are there differing grades of celebration? How much is one permitted to celebrating advancing in a competition they are under immense pressure to win after an arduous start to 2014, a mountain of first-team injuries, and no win in their last four games?
Roy Keane said that the players need a ‘reality check’ after beating a ‘Championship team.’ Well that Championship team are the current holders of the cup, having knocked out Manchester City in the previous round. Arsenal have beaten Tottenham, Liverpool & Everton on the way to their first FA Cup final in nine years. But of course, they should have the courtesy to keep their celebrations to a minimum.
They players were exhausted after 120 minutes and the overwhelming pressure of penalties as overwhelming favourites. They knew the significance of the result not only for their season, but also for the future of the club’s most successful manager – whose future hung firmly in balance when Jordi Gomez put Wigan ahead in the second half.
Penalties are anguishing at the best of times, let alone during an FA Cup semi final. The sheer relief alone is enough to understand their reaction to winning; are they then meant to curtail their overwhelming joy because it was only a Championship team?
Sections of the media often complain that the FA Cup isn’t taken as seriously anymore, or that modern players don’t care or play for the fans; and yet now their not allowed to celebrate the biggest win of their season!? Give me a break.
And so what if they want to take a selfie? People across the world take selfies everyday for no reason. And yet footballers aren’t allowed to celebrate something fantastic with a smile? As Theirry Henry emotionally put in a Michael Parkinson interview back in 2005: ‘Footballers are human beings too.’ Let them act like it.
Social media is a wonderful invention and it allows fans to see the human side of their sporting heroes – we should be relishing the fact that they want to post pictures of them as happy as the fans in the stadium are.
Jamie Carragher criticised Wojciech Szczesny for taking a selfie after Arsenal’s victory in the North London Derby in March, saying that Tony Adams & Patrick Vieira would have never been seen to do that.
Well yes, of course it would have been different ten years ago, namely because there were no smart phones, no social media, and no common notion of ‘the selfie’ – not because former players were somehow above it, as Carragher suggested.
If the players had left the field quietly with handshakes after Santi Cazorla’s penalty yesterday, no doubt there were have been calls that Arsenal were somehow belittling the great competition and did not understand the significance of success to the fans.
They’re one game away from ending an embarrassingly long spell without silverware for one of Euope’s biggest clubs & resurrecting the country’s longest serving manager’s wonderful career; let them have their moment.