NATURE experts have flocked to the Emirates stadium to observe the extraordinary spectacle of Arsenal FC shedding its backbone.
The phenomenon, common also to stingrays in the animal kingdom, occurs without fail every year around February.
Professor Henry Brubaker of the Institute for Studies said: “Like mating seasons or the Icelandic geysers, Arsenal’s transition to invertebrates occurs with astounding regularity.
“First, there is the build-up, which occurs from roughly September onwards. We see the Arsenal species clamber up the premier league to claim their place as leader of the pack.
“Then, however, quite suddenly, at the turn of the new year, their spines visibly drop out of their shorts and they spend the remainder of the season slithering about in fourth place.”
It is not known what causes the spine shedding phenomenon. Some have said it is to do with the onset of cold weather, and the unique effect it has on this most delicate variety of footballing animals.
Others have suggested some obscure connection between facing up to teams whose names begin with S, such as Southampton or Stoke, as if the letter triggers off the word ‘spineless’ in their DNA.
Brubaker said: “One of the most poignant sights in the natural world is the large worried eyes of a Mesut Ozil as he realises it’s happening yet again.”