Being a supporter of the Arsenal this season was like being a character from Charles Schulz's seminal Peanuts. There's Schroeder, die hard about his passion: he brooks no criticism of his beloved Wolfgang Amadeus. Snoopy who is sanguine and philosophical while those around him rail against the unfairness of their position in the world. Linus, whose experience does not go back as far as those around him resulting in his naïveté and need for a literal security blanket. But above all there is Charlie Brown, optimistic about the possibility of Lucy not pulling away that pig skin, trusting that a positive outcome must surely arrive in regards to the little red headed girl and believing each year in the arrival of The Great Pumpkin.
Inevitably Lucy Van Pelt represents Arsenal Football Club. Her temptation of Charlie Brown is offset by her spurious reassurances from her Psychiatric booth. Lucy is the nearest there is to an adult in Schulz’s universe and her manipulations of gullibility and trust mark out her cynical nature: as long as she’s okay who cares?
Every transfer window there is Lucy holding that Pigskin, every new season there is Lucy in her booth dishing out psychological claptrap.
How many times does Charlie Brown put his trust in events that are out of his control finally turning out right? An infinite number of times: that’s his nature. In this he personifies the current situation (I was going to say plight but when all is considered that’s far too dramatic) of the Arsenal fan. Changing times were reflected in Peanuts with the introduction of new characters such as Woodstock, Franklin and Jose (and there are turbulent times ahead next season with a managerial merry go round) yet Charlie brown remains true, despite the influence of new minds,to his faith in things turning out alright.
We have faith because faith, misplaced or otherwise, is all you can ever have when you are a supporter, faith that Lucy will deliver advice that turns out right, faith that the Little Red haired girl will notice us, faith that The Great Pumpkin will turn out to be more than a myth: an empty promise and faith that eventually Lucy will not pull the ball away and we'll kick that ball and it will sail gloriously through the air.
Charlie in his 91/93 Arsenal Away Kit
Images copyright United Features Syndicate