“Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man(child) of ill-health and haste.” (with apologies to Mick Jagger)
That’s how I’m choosing to mar the Stones’ lyrics for the purpose of this largely unfocused musing anyway; the tangential connections of which will hopefully become clearer over the course of my writing. Maybe.
But big Shkodran, eh?! What’s he like?
A bit sh*t in fairness for someone that costs as much as an old Soviet nuclear submarine - I’m not kidding by the way. That’s one of the only genuine pieces of researched and corroborated information that this article contains. The rest is undistllled froth from the mind of a boy writing about football in repurposed 07/08 training gear. Now ill-fitting, uncomplimentary pyjamas.
Seriously though, I know money doesn't go as far in the market as it did in Yeltsin’s Russia and we’d have to sit much deeper defensively (LIKE A SUB) but I’d much rather have the literal embodiment of armageddon at centre-half than Shkodran Mustafi. Decommissioned or not.
“Go on. How bad do you want to win that second-ball Virgil? Cause our big man’s f*ckin’ volatile.”
Now that’s a bomb-scare! Finally, Vieira-level fear factor back at The Arsenal. Think about it. Even in spite of burning, blissful molecular-disintegration, the briefly celebrated ‘Nuclear Arsenal’ Twittersphere / official Adidas club merchandise would make it all worthwhile.
Back to reality though; kind of; this above example illustrates a huge part of the problem with our German self-saboteur and frankly, our larger society expressing itself as a whole. Opinions on everything and anything are reduced to dense soundbites and whilst this is most prominent on social media, its brazen toxicity has seeped into the stands in pure; tribal; lizard-brain (not the telepathic David Icke kind) mob mentality.
This isn't a point I particularly want to labour either because even it too has been recognised with endless coarse comments on platforms that simply help to fuel what is ultimately, an insular problem. We all know that the internet is filled with void-screaming lunatics lacking direction. Some of them even liken professional footballers to potential, man-engineered environmental catastrophes. Unfortunately though for our Shkodran, he's usually more privy to comparisons with cruder, four-lettered items.
With any modicum of self-clarity, how helpful is it actually to essentially cyber-bully and jeer our own player in constant, shallow attacks of victimisation? The issues and failures at the club are far more systemic and nuanced than Mustafi’s inability to hold a high-line but unfortunately, in part to sections of our own fanbase, I do think we’ve passed a threshold of ‘indulgence’ with him. His confidence is clearly that of Woody Allen doing an impression of Woody Allen and I don’t know how effective it is to have Jimmy Bond doing a job at centre-half for another season when we’re trying to get back into Champions League football.
What I’m trying to say via the scenic route in service of my own is that basically; the male ego is a fragile soul. It can require a degree of wrestling to ground or it will consume others whilst internally consuming itself. So, to finish, I’m now going to now explain how I deal with my own; in Lehmann’s terms; using ripened fruit:
As a boy, my father would make me eat mushy banana sandwiches if the remainder from the bunch had started to turn in order to avoid ‘wasting’ it. He was an uncompromising child-rearer. These ‘bruised bananas’ later revealed themselves to me in fevered epiphany representing our collective phallic energy as tortured-male supporters of The Arse.
Is this getting too literal? Too mental?
As a brief sobering aside, that new retro rip-off away kit is Warhol-levels of delicious mass-manufactured tat.
Anyway, I did not like the bread filling but I learned that for the benefit of myself and the household, I had to tolerate and swallow it. We and Mustafi share this symbiotic ethos. So, if you’re reading this and it speaks to your hollow actions - at the very least - for the sake of our goal difference, go easy on him.
In saying that, if you happen to be Edu or Raul Sanllehi, just cut our losses and trade him for some Nectar points or something. I don’t care if it makes this piece obsolete.
“Pleased to meet you,
hope you guess my name…”