I have a confession to make that may surprise some of my more esteemed colleagues who, shot through with Platonic notions about sport and physicality, might take umbrage at this statement: I enjoy English football, and I follow an English football team.
Do not look down upon me, please! For I am a fifth-generation follower of this club. They are as much a part of my birthright as my membership in the INSENSÉ, my massive fortune, and the preternatural ability to contact alternate dimensions (though truth be told, everyone has the ability to contact alternate dimensions; most people just don't). Like all good things inherited from my family, it has not come without a fair share of grievances and hardships, especially this season.
It began in 1898 when my great-great-great uncle Johann Fäule von Wahnsinniger traveled to London to evaluate the status of a device he had designed for the British military. It would have allowed for supersonic air travel decades before the X-1, but unfortunately it depended on fuel from made from dragon's blood, and we as all know, the last free dragons in Western Europe died in the mid-12th century, and the population in captivity could not have sustained my forebear's invention.
One of Johann's first destinations in Greater Londres was the Royal Arsenal in Woolwhich, where his device was being fashioned. He toured the facilities, saw a prototype of his device, and then noticed something going on outside in one of the yards.
"Oh, don't mind them, sire," his guide said, "it's just a few of the roughs from the factory getting ready for a match."
"What is that game they're playing?" he asked (though it sounded much more like "Vat iss zat geym zayre playink?")
"Football, sire." the guide said.
According to Johann's diaries, football realised an obsession that he had carefully concealed since his childhood, an obsession with kicking things and running around in circles. Until then, Johann had always been forced to keep his kicking-and-running private; indeed, he was the masked perpetrator of the savage kicking spree of 1893 that held Wolfsburg, Austria and its environs in mortal terror. With football, he realised, he need not hide any longer. It was his salvation.
He took in a match wherein the Woolwich Arsenal defeated their opponents (who they were he fails to mention) and afterward was admitted into the clubhouse to discuss sport with owners, players and match officials. He returned to Schloß Sankt Franz equipped with redcurrant and black kits, several dozen footballs, and designs to make a playing field on Von Wahnsinniger property for the workers. Having the typical Von Wahnsinniger disposition however, all his workers were in fact automatons, and while they made excellent butlers, they were poor footballers.
This setback did not stop my relative, oh no! Instead, he saw this as an opportunity for both conquest and testing some of his latest inventions. He helped concoct some sort of American excursion against the Spanish, and in the midst of it, captured over hundred Cubans and created his own football league in Carinthia. It got somewhat difficult to follow the league, however, with every team wearing redcurrant and black strips, and all of them called some form of the word "Arsenal".
As often as he could, he would fly out to London, taking various members of my family with him, to see Woolwich Arsenal play. This is also how he died, unfortunately, in 1916 while passing over the Western front. Ironically, it was German planes that shot him down. Seeing the Arsenal crests on his transport, they opened fire assuming that he was an English weapons supplier. Or something like that.
So for over a hundred years my family has supported the Arsenal, and Lord willing, we shall see them once more reign in glory over their puny foes in the Premiere League. This is also yet another point of connection between Mr. Williams and I. So I say, here's to Arsenal F.C. - by far the greatest team the world has ever seen!