Date: 1st March 2011 at 9:49pm
Written by:

The week has been an extraordinary one for mistakes, both on and off the football pitch. Our own week was completely ruined by a freak mistake, and whilst the mistake made by our boys was neither malicious, dangerous, arrogant or even illegal, we do now have to suffer the consequences of that error.

Mistakes are made all the time, by everyone, there are no exceptions, as Carlo Ancelotti quite rightly pointed out when grilled on the Ashley Cole shooting incident that happened at the Chelsea training ground over the weekend ‘Who in this life never makes a mistake? Who? Maybe just God’, and he’s right on the money (with the exception of claiming god is infallible, he’s made some horrendous clangers in his time. George W Bush, The Riverside Stadium, French toilets, and Chris Waddles pronunciation of the word ‘penalty’), to a man …. and woman (don’t want to end up like Keys and Gray now do I?), we all make mistakes.

However, it’s not our mistakes that define us, it’s how we learn from them that ultimately creates our character.

To build that character, we have to man-up (or woman-up, again, don’t want to get in trouble) to our mistakes, and deal with the consequences of our actions. We can’t just hide behind the fact that we all make mistakes, because to do that is to risk making the same mistake twice.

Both Wayne Rooney and Ashley Cole have escaped reprisal for making a pair of quite disgraceful mistakes, mistakes that had they been committed by your average Joe on the street would warrant a trip to the local cop shop, and certainly in Ashley Cole’s case, prosecution and possibly a little time at her Majesty’s pleasure, yet the privileged pair were allowed to hide behind loop-holes to protect their fragile egos.

Rest assured had Wayne Rooney been given a 3 match ban for his malicious elbow to the side of James McCarthy’s head forcing him to miss matches against Chelsea, Liverpool and in all probability Arsenal, that’s not an action he would be repeating. Instead we’re treated to Alex Ferguson in no way condemning his actions, infact claiming that due to the FA tying their own hands behind their back Rooney hasn’t done anything wrong at all.

They’re just not going to learn until someone has the balls to stand up and say ‘you’re wrong’. The managers are reluctant to say the players are wrong, the FA refuse to admit their referees make mistakes, and the officials themselves flat out refuse to own up to their errors in judgement. How Mark Clatteneberg can come out after seeing replays of the incident and claim he saw what happened and believe he acted accordingly is nothing short of a disgrace. It’s a bare faced lie and an insult to anyone who watches the game. But until the FA gets rid of this stupid rule, and it is their rule, that says they can not issue retrospective punishment if the referee has dealt with an incident, then referees will continue to make these glaring errors knowing they will not be held accountable.

This leads me back to the mistakes made by Arsenal players on Sunday, and let’s not just single out Szcezny and Koscielny here, the whole team was abject and embarrassing, mistakes were made by all.

However on this occasion these mistakes weren’t painful to anyone else but ourselves, they weren’t intentional, and the guilty parties need no reminder nor reprimand for their actions. They don’t need character assassinations to help them build character and to not make the same mistakes again, because they’re living with the consequences of their actions every time the switch on the TV set or pick up a paper. They’re being slaughtered as if they’d elbowed someone in the head or shot them with an air rifle, when in actual fact, they made honest, human errors, and if Rooney and Cole can get off scott free with what they’ve done, then surely what happened to our players is something that’s quite forgivable.

There’s no question that the moral of everyone connected with Arsenal football club was absolutely destroyed by our cup final defeat, players and fans alike visibly distraught at an unthinkable loss, but now is not the time to falter. Whilst everyone is sweeping despicable acts under the carpet, we need to do the same with our own grievances. We need to show our players the affection they need to repair their damaged souls, we have to get behind our boys with complete conviction, if we want them to be able to give 100% on the field, we have to provide 200% support.

President John F. Kennedy once said ‘the time to fix your roof is when the sun is shining’, well make no mistake, it’s absolutely pissing down outside, but the roof still needs fixing, and we need to hold hold the umbrella to make sure our players can mend the damage as easily as possible.

As a famous Vital Arsenal writer once said …. Up The Arsenal!