I made a vow to spend this season supporting one of The Big Four clubs in the Premier League.
The Reason? It’s a protest… English football’s biggest clubs have decided, through their monopolisation of the game, that none of the other 88 clubs in the football league will ever win anything ever again. Ever.
So, if football has sold its soul, why shouldn’t I? If I want to ever taste victory in my lifetime, there is no other way than to give up the team I’ve supported for 25 years. And why wouldn’t I want to taste victory? Isn’t that one of the reasons why we all started out?
Also, I want to see if I can emotionally detached myself, completely, from the club I loved all my life, to love another.
- Aug 18th: Took my match-going mate to the pub and confessed that I was to one of The Big Four clubs. He hated me (for a while)
- Sep 2nd: I email all four clubs, asking them to “come and get me". All direct me to the website for some reason, apart from www.manutd.com, who bollock me for having no passion and saying there is “no need to convince” me because “we are the most successful club in the world".
- Sep 20: Ticket doubts - the first problem with supporting a Top Four club is the price and scarcity of the tickets. Especially when you discover it costs £9 to watch AC Milan, and you can buy the tickets just before the match starts.
- Oct 1: Fulham try to recruit me by sending me a letter asking me to be a fan and pretending it was signed by Lawrie Sanchez
- Oct 18: It’s lonely not knowing any fans from your new club
- Oct 22: The Silly Season features on Five Live twice in a day and all hell breaks loose. Norwich fans work out who I am and lable me the “Ugly Girl” on messageboards on account of my long-ish hair. Lots more messages decrying me are sent to the radio station. Two people agree with what I’m doing, however.
- Oct 27: A builder comes round to fix The Silly Season’s bathroom floor. He’s an Arsenal fan, and, after hearing about The Silly Season, invites me to his local to watch the Liverpool match so I can be crucified by the whole pub. The Rose And Crown becomes to new Arsenal watching pub.
- Nov 3: The Silly Season helps out a Norwich mate in his hour of need for the East Anglian derby and breaks the rules by watching a Norwich match. I celebrate Norwich’s equaliser far more than Arsenal’s equaliser the day before. We’re mates again.
- Nov 5: I discover I’ve been slagged off in Norfolk’s premier sports paper the Pink ‘Un, labelling me a ‘tozzer’.
- Nov 7: The Silly Season is introduced to The Family - a group of seven die-hard, season-ticket holding Arsenal fans who have offered to help give me the full Gooner experience. They let me tag along in the pub on match days, buy me tickets for games I wouldn’t normally be able to get hold of and generally show me the sights.
- Nov 9: Legendary independant music DJ Steve Lamacq joins The Silly Season debate after I corner him in a pub.
- Nov 12: I write back to the Pink ‘Un explaining that The Silly Season’s a protest and that I haven’t just walked away from Norwich, and they say they’re better off without me anyway.
- Nov 12: The Silly Season wins two ‘correct score’ bets on Arsenal in a row from Ladbrokes and collects about £70 from a £2 bet. The European Cup Final Fund is started, to raise money for any major trophy final by sports betting. I haven’t won since.
- Nov 15: The Silly Season Confession Booth is created for fans who are also feeling disillusioned by either the team theysuport of the state of British football. A Crystal Palace fan who has been watching Arsenal with his business contacts admits he is struggling not to be full-time Arsenal.
- Nov 16: I’m invited on BBC Radio Norfolk’s excellent Norwich City show The Scrimmage to explain my actions. It goes well… A listener texts the show to say I should be “shot".
- Nov 24: I buy my first piece of Arsenal paraphernalia - a 1971 double-winning shirt fromthe club’s superstore. It feels wrong. The club’s stewards trying to stop The Silly Season from filming on a small digital camara during the Wigan match due to “breach of copyright".
- Nov 29: The Silly Season gets its first taste of just how much Arsenal and Spurs hate each other.
- Nov 30: The Arsenal fans talk to me about how much they “hate being one of The Big Four", and other things as I get to know The Family.
- Dec 3: I start to really struggle with the emotional switch to Arsenal, as my feelings for Norwich refuse to fade.
- Dec 5: My Norwich-watching mate refuses to speak to me again, after reading about me buying an Arsenal shirt on The Silly Season.
- Dec 12: A season high (and low): The Silly Season witnesses it’s first ever Champions League match at The Emirates. It’s very very cold, and Arsenal could barely be arsed to lift a finger.
- Dec 19: The north London derby atmosphere hots up, and The Silly Season is implicated - Spurs fans send threatening messages, warning me to get out of north London, and “f**k off back to Tractor Land".
- Dec 24: The Silly Season witnesses one of its best matches for years. It has a big effect on my emotional attachment to Arsenal.
- Jan 2: The Silly Season is invited on to BBC radio Five Live to discuss the experiment live in the studio, but is ripped apart by pundits for turning on Norwich City. Half way through and it’s all turning a bit personal. See ‘Media’ to listen to the the audio…
- Jan 11: Arsenal’s first-leg victory over Spurs in the Carling cup, and I’m really beginning to feel like an Arsenal fan, and how exciting football can be for Big Four supporters.
- Jan 17 and Jan 20: The experiment turns nasty after Norfolk sports paper The Pink ‘Un starts a hate campaign. It asks for people to send in pictures of me so I can be identified and banned from Carrow Road forever.
- Jan 23: The Silly Season causes outrage among football fans after Arsenal’s exit from the Carling Cup by demanding to see silverwhere.
- Feb 2: The Silly Season meets John McCririck, who is mortally offened when I mistake him for an Arsenal fan. He says the experiment sounds like a “terrible idea".
- Feb 17: Arsenal lose 4-0 to Man Utd at Old Trafford. Arsenal are out of two cups. Two more to go… The pressure is building from the The Silly Season’s haters…
- Feb 25: Arsenal striker Eduardo is very badly injured by Martin Taylor - who has spent moat of the season on loan at Norwich. It’s a sign, some say…
- Feb 28: Legendary indie rock band Supergrass throw their support behind The Silly Season.
- Mar 16: The Silly Season goes on holiday to New York to get away from the fact that the experiment, along with Arsenal, is falling apart. By chance I walk into NY’s Norwich City Bar. Another sign…
- Mar 28: The Premier and Football Leagues contact The Silly Season and instruct me to remove all photographs breaking laws of copyright. the whole thing is falling apart around me…
- Apr 9: Arsenal’s season looks to be ending trophyless after the dramatic second-leg loss against Liverpool in The Champions League. What now for person who turned his back on Norwich?