21 May 2014

Abject apologies, Arsenal.

Looks like I stepped in it this time. If comments are anything to go by, that is. Earlier in the day (Wednesday), I ran a post under the title "Transfer-shocker: Winning Welshman wants away from Wenger" with the goal of mocking the silly season. Earlier in the week, there had been numerous stories suggesting that Aaron Ramsey would be linked with as many as ten clubs, with quotes from former Gunner John Hartson suggesting the same. I chose to exploit that in the title, hoping to draw readers in in order to then satirize the absurdities of the summer transfer-window, but I crossed a line, and I apologize. There is no hint of defensiveness or sarcasm intended. I'm sorry.

I started blogging in February 2013 after the winter transfer-window closed with the signing of Nacho Monreal, accelerated after Kieran Gibbs fell to injury. I made it a goal to post once a day while striving for quality of insight, writing, and feeling. I can't claim to have always met those goals, but I've always tried. I see my wife and kids off to bed and get to work in the wee hours. I invest more into it than is probably healthy or wise. I tried to stick to the high road. After all, part of my affection and adulation for this club is inspired by its commitment to the right way of doing things, whether it's player-development, play on the pitch, or financial prudence. It's ironic then, to put it mildly, to find that I've succumbed to the same kind of cheap-and-easy route that I've so often lambasted our rivals for adopting.

I'll admit to a fair amount of envy. Each night, I pour a fair amount of sweat and, at times, tears, into what I write: the research. The memories. The passion. I'll admit that I check the hits to see how many bother to visit the site. In my wildest, most far-fetched dreams, I become a full-time writer. However, flirting with the hopes and dreams of other Gooners is a risky proposition even in the hands of the most-experienced of writers. I flew too high and have paid a price. Sure, the "Winning Welshman" post may have attracted more than my usual share of views, but the cost might be more than I can pay. For as hard as I may work on other posts, such as the "Vindication of Koscielny" or "Should Arsene get a new contract?", I have to admit to feeling disappointed when those posts don't attract the attention I hope for. I then translate that disappointment into hunger and, from there, blunder into a trap.

I look on as other sites freely and wantonly splash lurid headlines about who we'll sign and who we'll lose, and a small but insistent part of me craves the traffic. I want to build an audience. Ironically, one post that has drawn more viewers than any other might undermine that goal as regular readers and new-comers turn away in distaste. The process of rebuilding my reputation and of regaining those readers will be part of the price I pay for my poor judgement. I offer in my own defense my own misdirected ambition in hopes that I can restore whatever promising reputation I might have had.

Jon Shay