Back at the very start of May, we dusted off Paddy’s magical crystal ball and predicted this could end up being the worst season in history to be an Arsenal fan.
In the ensuing weeks, the Gunners’ end of season collapse saw them narrowly miss out on a much-needed top-four finish and put them on the receiving end of a Baku battering by Chelsea in the Europa League final. So far, so hellish.
But, it could get a whole lot worse come Saturday night as arch-enemies Tottenham take on Liverpool in the Champions League final in Madrid.
Naturally, the sight of Mauricio Pochettino’s team lifting ol’ big ears just 72 hours after the Gunners embarrassed themselves in a European showpiece is a sickening, unthinkable prospect for Arsenal fans.
But as Spurs’ remarkable run to the final proves, it’s entirely possible the outsiders could end up winning the whole bloody thing – especially given the fact they’ve cleverly hacked the VAR computers to always go in their favour.
Which begs the following question: What the hell should Arsenal fans do if their worst nightmare is realised?
Fortunately for them, our bulletproof guide should steer them through this existential crisis…
1. Destroy all methods of communication
Immediate action must be taken the very second the full-time whistle blows. As such, Gooners should instantly remove their phone’s SIM card and snap it half like all bad guys do on TV. Once that’s binned, it’s time to take a suitably large hammer to your mobile phone.
That will see off any chance of you receiving unbearable gloating messages from that irritating Spurs fan from school who you haven’t spoken to in 10 years – and whose number you don’t even have saved.
Of course, the internet and meme-filled social media will also be a strict no-go zone for at least a year. So, you can cancel your broadband connection too and start using your laptop as an expensive coffee coaster for the foreseeable future.
2. Watch Fever Pitch on loop
Naturally, any news and sports coverage must be avoided at all costs – which means TV channel hopping cannot be risked.
After all, Spurs being European champions is such an inherently laughable concept, even Comedy Central would interrupt their relentless Friends schedule to cut to live footage of them lifting the trophy.
Which means for Gunners fans it’s time to dust off your DVD player and stick Fever Pitch on never-ending repeat. With the outside world shut out, you can wallow in football-induced misery just like Colin Firth, cheer up with Mickey Thomas’ last-minute winner, and simply delude yourselves into thinking everything is OK.
3. Stop supporting football completely
This may sound as extreme as it is obvious, but once the Fever Pitch DVD is burned out, Arsenal fans would be sensible to just pack the sport in altogether. They even have a perfect cover story to make out like it’s not just a rash reaction to the result: blame VAR.
Everyone knows that the technology’s introduction midway through this season’s Champions League is the only reason Spurs find themselves in Madrid this weekend, with video refs coming to their rescue in the dying seconds of their quarter-final victory over Man City.
“VAR is just the start!” Arsenal fans can claim. “Next it’ll be remote-controlled players and hologram supporters. Technology is ripping the soul out of the game and we’re done with it! It’s definitely, absolutely, 100% nothing to do with Spurs being champions of Europe…”.
With football packed in, former fans will have to find another hobby to fill their time. May we suggest following one of Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke’s American sporting franchises?
That’ll plug the void of relentlessly disappointing sporting performance and misery perfectly.
4. Build an ark and start all over again
Despite all these efforts, it will still be impossible to completely avoid all the smug Spurs fans coming out of the woodwork (usually people at work who have never previously indicated that they like football). With Arsenal fans’ footballing apocalypse striking, the ultimate solution is required.
Gooners, it’s finally time to put that C grade you got in GCSE Design & Technology to good use and build yourself a glorious ark. Once done, simply round up your fellow sufferers, hit the open seas, and find an uninhabited island to start a fresh new civilisation.
There’ll be no phones, no WiFi, no contact with the outside world, no Tottenham fans and absolutely no mention of the Champions League to bring back scarring memories.
Well, that is until UEFA somehow find out about your new inaccessible land and ingeniously decide to hold next year’s final there. B**tards!