'That’s why we need British sport to come back as soon as possible. We need to be saved from our own memories.'2020 The Arsenal Football Club plc / www.arsenal.com

Sports teams’ social media accounts have been demonstrating the wonders of selective memory since live sport was cut short two months ago.

From their Facebook content you’d think Arsenal vanished three years ago, their last competitive game that FA cup win against Chelsea in 2017. Videos of Henry, Pires, Bergkamp, Fabregas, and Cazorla are posted again and again. Arsenal’s Twitter account even changed its name to ‘Arsena’ – a reference to their invincible season (no Ls).

That’s why we need British sport to come back as soon as possible. We need to be saved from our own memories.

That was in 2003-4 – the club seems to have got lost in a rabbit hole to the past. And who can blame them? It’s a lot nicer down there. It’s more fun watching Henry dribble past the Real Madrid defence than it is enduring the current team scrapping to a point at Crystal Palace.

Maitland-Niles, Mustafi, and Xhaka have been erased from memory, replaced by Lee Dixon, Tony Adams and Vieira. When Lacazette and Aubameyang do feature, it’s more often modelling the yellow away tops than doing anything on the pitch.

This is going on everywhere. Every team, national and domestic, are churning out highlight reel after highlight reel. Fulham are beating Juventus about twice a day at the moment, Stokes is winning it ‘by the barest of margins’ on repeat, and it’s Istanbul every night for Liverpool. I can’t get up without watching Stokes hammer Cummins for four at Headingley, reciting the commentary like a prayer - ‘what an innings, what a player.’

If this goes on too much longer there’s a real danger fans will come to believe it. We’ll become addicted to the good times, the derby wins, the wondergoals, and the impossible comebacks.


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That’s why we need British sport to come back as soon as possible. We need to be saved from our own memories. Soon it might be too late. We won’t want to see new games; we’ll just want to relive past success. Spurs may prefer to stage a re-enactment of their semi-final against Ajax than go back to losing to Wolves.

The impact of coronavirus on the nation’s well-being and mental health has already been dramatic. Worse could be yet to come. Imagine United fans, by now used to comforting videos of Vidic, checking the team sheet only to see Luke Shaw’s name; Chelsea fans turning on the telly expecting to see Drogba only to be greeted by Batshuayi; the Toon army dreaming of Shearer and Les Ferdinand but waking up to Yoshinori Muto.

...the club seems to have got lost in a rabbit hole to the past. And who can blame them? It’s a lot nicer down there.

That’s not something you’d wish on anyone.

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