Celebrate good times, come on…
And there it is. The first swathe of celebration policing out in full force.
Richard Keys has well and truly gone in on Arsenal having the audacity and gall to celebrate winning a football match. I mean how dare they?
Andy Gray brought a little balance to the argument, where he seemed to agree with Nigel De Jong around teams actually being allowed to be happy at winning a game of football, before going back to being influenced by his old mate once again. Continuing to compare his playing time from the 70’s to the 90’s as like for like versus the game of today. Apples vs Oranges is the only way to describe this argument in honesty.
This occurred last season as well around the way that Arsenal celebrated versus Wolves, having won a game with 10 men on the pitch after being (rightly) highly aggrieved with Michael Oliver’s refereeing decisions that evening.
Steve Cooper seemed unimpressed by the antics citing that it wouldn’t be acceptable at Nottingham Forest even if it was accepted at Spurs. I also remember Neymar having rainbow flicked the ball over a player during his time at Barcelona, only to be scolded by the opposition player, manager, and media for being disrespectful to the game.
I find it hard to accept that, especially when crunching tackles stopping the flow of the game are widely lauded. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
This all got me thinking around what the actual point of it all was.
Why do fans pay to go and watch football at the weekends? Why do they follow their teams up and down the country as well as further afield in European competition?
Why are goals cheered? Why are wins cheered? Why are refereeing decisions cheered? Why are throw ins cheered?
I could go on and on, but you get my point. Every single element within the game is there to be celebrated, because we are all seeking out to firstly be entertained and secondly find happiness whilst watching the sport we all love.
Why then should there be some archaic, unwritten rules (written by people who have never played the game at the top level no less) that should be abided by? How does it affect them? It doesn’t.
Mikel Arteta on player celebrations: “I encouraged them to celebrate every victory because you can tell how difficult it is in this game to win football matches. Our supporters are the same, every time we win we should celebrate.” #afc pic.twitter.com/5QKLPHovqJ— afcstuff (@afcstuff) February 25, 2022
There will be some who might even say that it is a calculated attempt at eking out further engagement on the social channels as this is what the game is about, but there was a large part of me that really bought into the fact that Richard Keys is someone who genuinely prescribes to this view.
His antics on Sky Sports would allude to the fact that his views are somewhat arcane, dated and above all prejudiced. It corroborates the honesty that I felt I saw in his impassioned speech, where he continued to speak over two former players of the game belittling what they knew of their own dressing room experiences.
We are here to be entertained, not to check an invisible rule book as to whether our happiness is warranted at any given time.
The game is there to be enjoyed and loved by us all and if a club can’t celebrate a victory having been taken in the last 5 minutes of a game, then what’s the point of it all?
Nigel De Jong said, no matter who they played if they won in this way, they would celebrate.
To be honest, why does it need to stop there? Why can’t the players, fans, manager, and club as a whole, no matter who they are, celebrate a win however they like? Imagine being a club that doesn’t tend to be in contention for trophies and second guessing whether you’re allowed to be happy when winning a football match, playing the sport you love and getting paid very well for it?
It shouldn’t have to be something held over the players, fans, manager, or club as a whole in any respect.
The game used to be attending by largely working-class folk, who used it as an escape from the routine of their lives to eke out joy and happiness in a bubble with likeminded people surrounding them.
Whilst some of the demographic has very much changed globally, the sentiment remains. That’s what keeps us tuning in and turning up week after week.
So I say let Arsenal, and whoever else, celebrate however they damn well like. Otherwise what’s the point of it all?