Depression is defined as “Severe despondency and dejection, accompanied by feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy. A condition of mental disturbance, typically with lack of energy and difficulty in maintaining concentration or interest in life.” There is, based on this definition, an assumption—a manifestation of a prejudice of which we should all be ashamed—that depression doesn’t affect institutions, only people. Step forward Arsenal: prepare to have the prejudice rebuffed. Arsenal’s symptoms of depression are there for all to see, except because of your prejudices, you’ve probably laughed at them rather than looked to help. Shame on us all. In particular shame on you, I at least tried to do the right thing.

I’m not a medical expert but I have watched two series of House and three episodes of Grey’s Anatomy so I can point to the final proof of Arsenal’s condition. Today they’ve signed Theo Walcott up on a new, three-and-a-half-year deal. A vastly improved new deal. For Theo Walcott. This isn’t in itself a sign of depression, merely an expression of extreme, painful, horrific, poor judgement and perhaps, yes, evidence of a strictly figurative suicidal tendency, given the impact this is likely to have on results. But it’s the celebration of this new deal which has finally moved the club from ‘cause for concern’ to ‘needs help’. The vast majority of people around and involved in Arsenal are “delighted” with the new deal for Walcott and last night Arsene Wenger went as far as admitting that he had been “worried” Theo might leave. No-one asked him if he wept at the prospect of a Walcottless club, but we can assume that the answer is yes, many times.

On the degree of self-loathing required to care one way or another whether Theo ‘he’s scored the fifth goal in a 5-0 home win again,’ Walcott remains in your team dips deep into the unhealthy end of the depressive spectrum. It suggests a club which has lowered its expectations so drastically that it may soon be describing fourth place in the league as the equivalent of a trophy. To be clear: Theo Walcott is not bad at football, but he isn’t exactly good, is he? Can you put your hands in the air like you just don’t care when Van Persie signs a new contract? Yes. Fabregas? Yes. Even Nasri? Yes. But Walcott? No. Celebrating the recapturing of mediocrity like this is giving up and putting a brave face on it.

And The Walcott Contract Signing Incident—or WCSI as it is referred to in medical journals—has been made to look a lot worse because the announcement of the deal came hours after Wenger had laughed off suggestions that Arsenal might sign Edinson Cavani, a legitimately good player. It was an inferiority complex in full flow, a moment when Wenger forgot to hide the pain beneath the surface. Arsenal has begun to believe that it doesn’t deserve good players to such an extent that it cheers when it signs a Walcott and jokes at its own expense when asked about signing A Good Player. It seems no longer to respect itself and when that happens there is not much else left. I was half-sure they played in an unwashed kit in midweek.

The club has become incapable of processing positive thoughts. Jack Wilshere has been excellent since his return from injury, scoring goals, doing passes: all of the things you might expect of a footballer. And yet he couldn’t help but put himself down this week, saying the words “Steven [Gerrard] is a great role model,” and presumably meaning them too. “If I can get anywhere near as good as him…then I will be happy,” he said, unable to stop himself from spraying sharp-edged self-deprecation. Note too that he places “happiness” as something far off, yet he has already become a far better player than Gerrard ever was without achieving happiness. It’s basically a cry for help.

I don’t like watching Arsenal anymore, not like this. The misery is contagious. Every pass Aaron Ramsey has played in the last three years has had in its subtext the question “Why does it even matter?” and Laurent Koscielny has become so bored with life that he’s become aggressive, being sent off last week for a half-hearted assault on Edin Dzeko. One of Mikel Arteta’s shots suggested “I don’t even want this to go in because then I’ll have to celebrate” a couple of weeks ago. People are right to say that Arsenal don’t have a winning mentality, but it isn’t because they’re losers, or aren’t brave, it’s because the club is depressed.

These days, it looks back mournfully at what it used to be like. The former vice-chairman, David Dein, was at it yesterday, reminding fans of “what Arsene has achieved at the club,” but in doing so not actually being able to name the things he’s achieved, so painful that might be. It’s the opposite of Harry Redknapp syndrome, where listing your past achievements in great detail becomes a compulsion.

What’s the solution? Mourning the past, celebrating Theo Walcott’s existence and playing with apathy can’t go on, after all. Well, I think, in some ways, we’ve all known this for a while: it’s time for Arsenal to take a break. They can’t compete with Manchester City’s money and they haven’t the heart to pretend they really care about beating Tottenham to fourth place every year, so they should stop trying to. They should give up mid-season and try something else. Maybe they’d have better luck in Spain? Or as a table tennis team? The possibilities are out there, they just have to look, and stop playing football for a while.

Giving up gets a bad rap—it’s been stigmatized, in fact—but occasionally it really is the right thing to do. Now it’s time to try something new, something where it can find its interest in life again. Whatever this football club does after football, I’ll offer my full support.

Some brief news

Many of you will have heard this already about Tottenham goalkeeper Brad Friedel: apparently it’s a wig.

Comments (31)

  1. Its rather quiet in here….
    Maybe its because you have written the single most pathetic peice of useless dross i have ever read in my life. I bet i get more comments for this post than you will for your nonsensical article.
    You GONAD!!!

    • welll said judge!hes no arsenal fan hes one of those deluded spurs supporters probably…. as always talking shut about us instead.of focussing on his own team. their abive us and still talk about us. says it all really. MUG!!!!!!!

      • lmao what crap!
        the guy above is right. people lets see how many comments we can get that excludes the article hahahahahahaha

      • Don’t mind Spurs fans, Overtaking Arsenal is their goal and for more than 15 years they have failed.

  2. Are you serious with this shit? Walcott is a great player, there’s not too many players in the world that can even come close to matching the pace he plays at.

  3. He calls himself Dean-Richard but he should be called Dross-Discards. Dross in the sense that his article is useless and a product of demented brain. Discards in the sense that the best place for the article is in the waste bin. Any sane human being who went through the article would clearly understand that the man is suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the sense that he discovered that Theo Walcott is staying put at Arsenal to further torment his team. I recommend that you see a Psychiatrist to help you out because you are not far from becoming a candidate for the asylum.

    • is his team Spurs? If so, aren’t they ahead of Arsenal in the table?

      • and if they are ahead of arsenal,so? is this the 1st time they are? its where they at the end of the season that will matter, and we all know where that will be,under our @$$.

      • seem to remember a certain north london club that were ahead of another north london club last season aswell…we all know how that one ended…CHOKE!!!

  4. He doesn’t support spurs, you wallies! Criticism doesn’t have to be motivated by some rivalry.

    • This is not criticism, its utter and baseless crap called an article> what point has he made, that Arsenal is suffering from Depression, yet he contradicted himself also when he said that things don’t feel depressed butt people. I can call a few wingers or strikers that theo is better than in the top clubs, yet the clubs are still holding onto them, even if their contract hasn’t expired,typical example is a 50mil striker. so what is his point in saying people shouldn’t be happy because we resigned Theo? as i said, utter rubbish, called an article

  5. I’ve yet to see what people see in Nasri. Fabregas and RVP were, and are still world class players. Nasri has yet to show that kind of form other than in a 6 month period. I doubt he’ll match that kind of form again.

    • You think Walcott is better than Nasri?

      • they’ve accomplished about the same in their football career. One won with a loaded city, the other is still at Arsenal. Nasri is not a leader and not a player on which a team can’t count on a regular basis.

        Remains to see if Walcott can achieve some consistency. I don’t rate nasri. not in the french national team, with arsenal and city, he’s been inconsistent in my opinion.

    • The Nasri thing I agree with. He’s been worse than crap since leaving Arsenal. Fabregas and RVP on the other hand., have excelled at both their clubs after leaving, and both remain as world class players imo, though obviously Nasri is not.

  6. I’m an Arsenal fan and I enjoyed this. Uncle Vanya for the twitter generation.

  7. Worst piece I ever read. Arsenal FC is depressed? What a load of garbage written. Does anyone give your writing credibility? Had Walcott not signed, you would have wrote another article bashing Arsenal for letting another big player go, right? What a load of shit this article is, no matter what Arsenal do, you will bash them.

    • Exactly! If he had not signed i’m sure he would be one of the 1st to write another crap article that we keep selling our good players.

  8. *logs on to conduct his trolling as usual*

    *…looks at the massive amount of hate comments*

    *backs away slowly from the computer…*

  9. haha, Dean-Richards, does it ever get disheartening realising that 90% of your readership or at least commentship just don’t get what you’re trying to do when you do words?

    Warm Regards,

    A Gooner

    • It is :( There’s nothing which is even that controversial in here: which parts of it are genuinely untrue?

  10. Plus, yeah, guys, come on, it’s mainly a joke. Let’s all relax, like Frankie says.

  11. This is a clever piece. However, after reading the comments I have to upgrade my judgement (still way below genius, obviously). To phenomenally miss the point of an article by such a margin is truly a testament to the writer.

  12. Celebrating Walcott’s signing is like masturbating to MILFs. Come on guys! We can do better than that!

  13. hahahah love it hey i masturbate to milfs mate and on the odd occassion gilfs ( grandmas id like to…) please dont judge me too harshly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *