Lost among the eventual jubilation on Saturday were news reports of a death in the Arsenal family. Well, in a sad, lonely, bitter, dessicated, angry branch of the Arsenal family, anyway. In a crumbling corner of a decrepit, abandoned..."hospital" is too good a word for it - some called it a "condemned shithole", others thought it was where PBFC played, but either way it's the British equivalent of a Superfund site - whatever you want to call it, a patient died there at about 7PM London time.
The patient was born in probably about 2009 or 2010, but had been reportedly sighted as far back as 2006. Nobody's sure of the exact date, because nobody knows where it came from; it just showed up one rainy day, fully formed but mangy, haggard, and toothless on the front steps of the Emirates, not so much begging for food as barging in, dropping its pants, jumping up on the table, sitting down on the Sunday roast and demanding that attention be paid, even though nobody knew where it came from or how to get rid of it.
Not only did it not leave, but over the next few years, like mold in a wet climate, it took hold and grew. Every once in a while, it would get a visit from a British talk show host working in America who would come over, stroke its ego a while, and then leave, but otherwise, everyone in the Arsenal family tried to ignore it, despite the stench that rose off its pustulent carcass and got worse every year.
Last year, it hit what passes for puberty among its kind; it tried to get a full time job, it set up house on its own, but still, nobody would claim origin of it. It tried to be more respectable; it got a few talking-head gigs on TV shows that live in the high triple digit channel bands, it frothed its particular band of bilge all over the radio, and it eventually ruined quite a few internet comment threads - quite the feat, if you've ever read one.
This year, it showed signs of evolution early in the year, as Arsenal played well and spent a bunch of the early months of the season in first place. It was still around, but it carried a less toxic, more hopeful vibe; it was almost - almost - a pleasure to be around. It smelled less, its skin was clearing up, and it no longer spat at you when you asked it nicely to leave.
Then came February. It backslid rather badly then, as Arsenal started to regress; the smell came back, the skin started to grow...things on it again, and at a certain point in March it was thought that the entire block on which it lived would have to be razed. It became less and less possible to be around, and heading into April, it was as virulent as it had ever been, and it actively started poisoning every well it saw, just for fun.
On April 12, though, it got sick and entered the hospital. There, it was put on life support and told it only had just over a month to live; it was told to get its affairs in order, and to make its peace with its maker. For the next month, it did just that, summoning broadcasters and journalists to its bedside and imploring them to not forget it, no matter what.
Saturday the 17th dawned bright in London, with everyone in a festive mood thanks to the onset of spring and the impending Cup final that day. At about 5.10, it leapt up from its bed, thought "THOSE DOCTORS WERE WRONG! I'M GONNA LIVE!", and felt better than it had in months. Like a fish out of water, though, that was its last energetic flop, and it slunk back to bed, spent, hoping for another miraculous burst of energy - a burst that never came.
At about 6.45 PM, it felt a sharp, stabbing pain in what passed for its soul, and moments later, the last breath of its sad, pathetic life wheezed out of its decaying lungs. It lay there, dead, having written a message to the world in whatever bodily fluid it could squeeze out - on the wall, very faintly, there was a fragment of a thought, words that seemed to spell "IT'S ONLY THE FA C" before trailing off into a well-deserved nothingness.
Rest in absolutely no peace, Trophy Drought Narrative. You were a dick.