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How long can we go without winning the league before it gets worrying?

By Walter Broeckx

You know the Arsenal hasn’t won anything in X years mantra that the media and some desperate fans use every day to paint us as rubbish. And thanks to a remark of a reader on Untold I wondered: if you take a look at the history of a club how long does it take before a spell without trophies becomes worrying?

So I took out my calculator and started calculating. I started with seeing how old a club is. Because in every club you have good times and bad times. But if you want to know if a club is important you don’t just pick the good times or the bad times to make up your mind. No you should take the whole history of a club to measure how things are going for the moment.

And I do feel this to be very important. Because real supporters are there when we win but they are even more there when we don’t win. We enjoy the good times but we also try to survive the bad times. And you just cannot turn your back when things are going not that well and then come back when the tide has changed. No you are in it for every day, month, season, year or you are not. I like to be in it that way.

But as a starting date I had to take 1889 as this was the first year according to Wikipedia at least that there was an English league champion. And then I did the same thing for the Fa cup. But as the FA cup has a longer history than the league based on different numbers. I only took the teams who are currently in the PL and left out the clubs that never won anything like Wigan, Blackpool and some others…

So when you take in account the whole history is there a certain moaning point from when the fans really can moan about the lack of silverware? Is there a certain mantra point from when the media can really talk about ‘having won nothing for X years’ and for which clubs is this the case? It’s all below if you carry on reading.

Club Years League Avg Years Last title Moaning point
Liverpool 121 18 6,72 1990 1997
Man Utd 121 18 6,72 2009 2015
Arsenal 121 13 9,31 2004 2013
Everton 121 9 13,44 1987 2000
Aston Villa 121 7 17,29 1981 1998
Sunderland 121 6 20,17 1936 1956
Chelsea 104 4 26,00 2010 2036
Newcastle 121 4 30,25 1927 1957
Blackburn 121 3 40,33 1995 2035
Wolves 121 3 40,33 1959 1999
Man City 121 2 60,50 1968 2028
Tottenham 121 2 60,50 1961 2021
WBA 121 1 121,00 1920 2041

So if you take the whole history of the PL/First Division we have won a title every 9 or 10 season. So as our last title is from 2004 and the next should be won at last in 2013 to keep up with our overall history record. So if we haven’t won the league again from 2013-2014 fans can become a bit worried. But before that we are just doing things in how we always have been doing things.

In fact there are other teams who are long overdue (I have put them in bold) when it comes to winning titles.

Liverpool is the most clear example as they should have won a title in 1997 to keep up with their own history. But do you hear the media and the pundits telling us that they haven’t won the league in the last 20 years?

Aston Villa should have won a title in 1998 but failed. So it’s been 30 years for them without a title. Everton also is some 11 years overdue to win a title.

Former great clubs like Newcastle and Sunderland should have won a title back in the 1950s  to keep up with their history record. And Wolves also should have won a title at the end of last century to keep up with their own club records.

So in fact the media and our own supporters should leave us alone on the ‘haven’t won anything for X years’. Because if we look at our history and our honours we are still well in our usual way of doing things.

What this also shows is that in football you have periods in which teams can be great and then they fade away. Or clubs who haven’t been doing well in the past become better. Chelsea are an example of this. Won precious little until the Russians came along with their billions. But when the Russian will be gone their will be nothing left to hang on except some memories of winning a few titles thanks to his money.

Live goes in cycles. Football is no exception to this. Just enjoy the good times when they are there and stick to the team when we don’t get what we want.

I will do the same thing for the FA cup in a next article.

Arsenal on Twitter @UntoldArsenal

Untold Arsenal on Facebook here

You might like to know that on the Arsenal history site we are tracing the work of Herbert Chapman in his attempt to win the league – which was not as straightforward as some fans today like to think.  The story begins here… The failures of Herbert Chapman: season one

There’s also the time when Arsenal had won nothing and were never looking likely to.  In fact we went bust and were taken over by Fulham.  The story is in “Making the Arsenal”

36 comments to How long can we go without winning the league before it gets worrying?

  • A reader of this site actually offered his season ticket to anyone who wanted to have it for a season because, I think, he was fed up with the current team. I thought that was fairly awful at the time – and I agree with you Walter; a supporters supports his club through thick and thin. Yes, I would have great difficulty if we had an owner who had made his money out of stealing with wealth of his nation, and then made us play football in the style of B Rioch again, but that’s an extreme case. The rest of the time, we are Arsenal, and we support Arsenal. That’s the deal.

  • TommieGun

    Walter,

    I really don’t think that it’s a relevant question: how many years not winning anything. I think that people that are obsessed with this thing of “not winning anything for X amount of years” simply lack perspective and are as bad as Manure supporters (i.e. “glory hunters”). It is irrelevant to count years as there are many, many teams (as mentioned in your post) who had won jack shit for ages.

    But I think the right question is why aren’t we winning things at a certain point or a certain season. I geniunly think that there were very good reasons we didn’t win in the past few seasons. There was always something very big that hindered us – a lot of long term injuries, the Eduardo horror, not having any money when the payments for the Ems were not set off by selling the apartments @ Highbury, etc.

    But this is not the case this year. It is not the case and our title rivals are not even close to being in the same quality bracket of the last few years and I think that THIS is the important question.

  • Dark Prince

    Walter- First of all, if you’re using this method then you have to count all types of major trophies and not just the league title. The european cups, the carling cups, the fa cups and some of the extinct major trophies should also be included.

    Secondly, you have taken up a very invalid way of determining a ‘Moaning point’. Dividing the number of years by d number of titles?? Its a silly way to determine. What should be considered is the success of the club in last decade. Chelsea fans have hardly won anythin in the first half of last decade, so they’ll be very delightful of their current success. ManU have been consistently winning, so their fans have less to moan. While Arsenal used to win a lot during the early parts of last decade but 7 years without any type of trophy is really a bad period. The fans have every right to raise their concerns.

  • FinnGooner

    I liked the article Walter. What I get annoyed is the saying “Arsenal has not won anything” and that is NOT TRUE! Arsenal has won several trophies just not Arsenal 1st (men’s) team. Arsenal Ladies and and Arsenal Academy have won. Also there are those meaningless preseason cups that we have won.
    I’m proud of all teams and keeping my faith in club. But I am very disappointed with being 3rd in league but isn’t that better than being 3rd last in league?

  • Shard

    I understand the attempt to quantify the ‘moaning period’. I basically asked people the question whether they would be saying the same things if we had won the league is 2008? I’m sure they would then be saying 3 years is too much, look at Chelsea, they invested in quality, and they won the double last year etc etc.

    In my view, supporting a club is not about trophies. If there is a problem with how we perform and play on the field then I think supporters are well within their rights to point it out. But the trophy as the barometer only distorts the argument, and leads to abuse rather than criticism of the team. I have no doubt that the fans’ outburst has affected the team mentally. Even if in the first place their mental strength is suspect, supporters should help rather than harm.

    As far as I’m concerned, we haven’t been good enough to win the title for many years (for a very good reason indeed). We were, and deserved to win in 2008, but refs robbed us of that, whether through accident or design is unimportant. We are good enough to win this year, and the refs have had a big role to play in us not being in a better position. But we have not proved ourselves when we’ve had the chance either. After yesterday, I think we will not win the title, and we don’t deserve to. The ref did not give Spurs any yellow card, Van Persie may have been onside etc. But at no point did I feel like we were robbed. In fact, at the final whistle, all I felt was relief that we didn’t lose. Against Spurs! That says it all. If we can’t be up for it, play through tiredness, and show some concentration in order to win, especially after what happened at the Emirates, then we don’t deserve to win.

    That still is no cause for me to go throwing toys out of the pram. So we won’t win. I’d expect to see some changes in the squad at the end of the season, and if they don’t happen, I’d voice my disapproval. But never through abuse, and I will always back my team in matches and before matches, even if they are really bad, which we are most certainly not.

  • walter

    I have done the same for the FA cup Dark Prince. Don’t worry.

    And well I thought this was just a bit of fun in fact. Don’t take it too seriously.
    Just a bit of an answer to the quotes about not winning a trophy. Did any of the match reporters mention it yesterday? And if he did, I bet this was just about Arsenal not winning the league for X years. And not about Spurs? So if you see the game on sunday and the reporters are at it again you can shout at your tv: and how many years since Bolton have won it?

    And I also found that some teams in their history have been succesfull but not recently.
    And then I asked myself the question: for whom was the PL good? Because since the EPL only Blackburn has managed to win the league as a not big team.
    And in a way this is a shame I think. The league is getting too predictable. But maybe this is stuff for another article…

  • La Shiz

    Walter, I am a huge fan of this website. I comment sporadically, even though I do read every article and most of the comments on it, most of which are very intelligent and thought out. I agree whole heartedly that you don’t support a club only until they keep winning titles and keep the fans happy. That isn’t what being a fan is about, or maybe it is for Chelsea and Manure fans, but I’m not one of them. My support for Arsenal has never faltered and never will even if we never win a trophy again. So, thats that.

    I do want to say that lately this website has been almost exclusively dedicated to tend to the wounds left after a disappointing loss or draw. This is a breath of fresh air from most of the blogsphere thats full of hate and negativity. However, there are times when the reasons we give ourselves to console our hearts are just excuses to get us through the day.

    I’d have to say this is just one of those. Calculating moaning points and such is a very silly way indeed to try to deal with disappointment. We, as fans, need to not be coddled by excuses but understand the things which have gone wrong. Surely there is nothing wrong with the truth as long as we’re strong enough to accept it.

    I wasn’t saddened by last night’s game. I was glad to have watched a good game of football and saw most of our players give it their all to win. That is pretty much all I hope
    from them. I can accept that Szczesny made a mistake. I also know that he made at least 5 great saves during the game. There is nothing wrong with accepting your faults, thats the first step towards fixing them.

  • Mandy Dodd

    This season, I think the problem with some fans has not been so much of trophies, more the fact we seem to get close then self destruct, as both Cesc and RVP have recently mentioned, depending on translation / interpretation etc. This in my mind has to change next season, trophies or no trophies. Maybe this team are trying too hard, the refs certainly have not helped but we must learn to hold hard won leads and not make such stupid mistakes.
    Things have to change. The answer, firstly,a defence coach – we have Steve Bould, improved gk coaching – Jens?, an experienced signing or two and some promotion from within. Sounds easy doesnt it.
    We are still fighting but if we end the season in frustration and do not change a few things, I fear our better players may start to get a bit fed up. Both Wenger and the board will know this.
    Arsene Must Change if we win nothing – not by much just little adjustments. The trophies are not far off.

  • DC

    An interesting piece Walter.

    I notice that much is being made of Redknapp saying that through the draw we have lost the chance of winning the league. Little is being said that because of the same draw the Tiny Totts have likely lost the chance to play in the Champions League next season.

    Who will be more upset come September?

    Not me!

  • gooner80

    Personally I think it has been too long already, but I see the bigger picture and know it isnt a simple fix, as mentioned before I would like to see a bit more variety in formations e.g: champions league, home and away in the league, in the modern era you cant play the same in all competitions, at home something has gone drastically wrong

    the brainiacs at sky have the answer to our problems

    spend at least £40 million get a GK, CB must have english steel, get some leaders.

    it seems they have catch phrases for different teams:

    spurs: a breath of fresh air?????????????????
    chelsea: when is torres going to score, they need to win the champions league
    Man U: the greatest team on earth and it should have been a penalty they are the only ones robbed.

    these catch phrases change from time to time, ours used to be it is a disgrace the number of red cards, they are not a good side until they win back to back titles. It is a propaganda machine and they know if you keep saying it long enough it must be true. take the hernandez incident that was the worst dive I have ever seen, he felt contact and thought to go down then realised it wasnt strong enough and kind of got stuck in two minds.

    Now for some reason the eduardo incident is the first incident people refer to when diving, we didnt get a penalty a long time after that

    Arsenal are the third biggest club historically but liverpool now second how comes they dont get our mantra?? they havent won a league title in decades, they have spent big season after season but they are ok, I dont know why wenger is hated so much even by his own fans

  • Gooner murphy

    Whlie all fans are sometimes freckle they do have the right to air their opions however alot of these so-call supporters have let down the team, with IL’Inform comments which are only adding to an eagerly hositle media that completly resent the change’s that (for the better)that Arsene has given the game I know this blog is somewhat of topic but we all really need to stand up for our football club ,Manager & Players. one more through there Is no doubt Refs have had a unfair Infulence on us,the team has also suffered from bad luck you know sometimes we all need the rub of the green. Its not over till Its over come the Gunners******

  • Gooner murphy

    sorry for the spelling on my last blog hit submit before I checked It

  • Nipuna

    By this reasoning, teams that have never won the title before should never moan ever. 🙂

  • Sharky

    I watched last night’s game and cheered, pumped my fists when we went 3-1 up but the next words out of my mouth were ‘NOW TRY AND F#*K THIS UP’ and low and behold they did. So so predicable its very sad.

  • Bexxy

    I’m not concerned over the amount of years as a trophy, but more concerned that we have failed to win a trophy this season. Has a league title been easier to win than this in recent history? Will the task of beating a team of Birmingham’s quality for a trophy come around again any time soon?

  • Tasos

    I now get the impression the media will always judge any success for this present Arsenal team from a totally irrational viewpoint. When we qualified for the Carling Cup final recently many were already concluding that if Arsenal won the trophy it would not have been enough to justify 6 years without one for Wenger. That’s the kind of lazy crap vindictive journalism we have to put up with. We didn’t even win the damn competition and yet the criticism was there, ready and waiting for us.

    I can see through their agenda and so I disregard any vindictive comments as part and parcel of their propaganda machine, especially were Sky and Talksport are concerned. Arsenal FC and in particular Arsene Wenger have become a focal point for bitter and twisted xenophobes, he has become fair game for one and all, someone to taunt, someone to bully and its escalating at a totally outrageous frenzy for those sad people involved.

    I don’t accept that type of criticism levelled against our club/manager. Its unjust and I believe we must unite to defend our club.

    This Arsenal team are so very close now. I strongly believe Wenger can and will add the right personnel in order strengthen this team for an all out assault next season. He is still the best man for the job and we must try to remain patient. I realise it’s not easy.

    BTW I do not believe the season is over just yet, nothing is done and dusted. Unlikely as it seems I can still see some twists and turns happening.

    Good old Arsenal. I am still proud to say that name.

  • Andrew Chua

    In tne commercial world, a company/corporation is judged by its financial performance; in studies, students are judged by the number of A’s they obtained et el. Federer is judged and referred to as a Tennis great by the number of slams and titles he won.

    So exactly how will a football club be judged as being sucessful and having a history? Whether we like it or not, clubs are judged as being great and successful by the number of titles they won.

  • Mihir Saudagar

    @Bexxy
    Would you not agree that the quality of the premiership has increased overall? There still are 3 contenders to the title race as far as I see. We could have been better but lets not say it was easier to win this year! Or else at the very least, 1 team would have been running away with the title.

    As far as following Arsenal this season has been concerned, it has been gut-wrenching. There is an obvious need of improvement in our mentality and confidence. When was the last time an Arsenal fan could say with confidence that we will keep a clean sheet? It might be the way we play that is the cause for it but then are we scoring enough to negate that bit? I trust Arsene to set it right

    Lastly the fans are not wrong to complain either. I have unfortunately never visited the Emirates but a little bit of mad optimism from our fans would really help our squad. These are the last 5 games.Even if I do not fully believe that Arsenal will win the title I am willing to show that complete confidence that we will! Can’t our fans who regularly throng the emirates do their bit and raise the pitch a little? We need that 12th man desperately! Are we doing our best to provide that support? Lets moan and complain when all is done and dusted.

  • The impression I’m getting is that the wheels have come off Sky. This constant non-stop 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 168 hours each minute filled non-stop football is resulting in journalists, across all the newspapers, only watching each other. Nobody is watching the football.
    A Merson, a Robbie Savage, commands respect. Now the knives are out for Wenger. Every loudmouth has a platform. There is not one voice amongst them who can offer any idea as to what is the future of this game, but each one can point a finger at the one villain of the piece.

  • Northbanksy

    What concerns me is not how long we go without winning a trophy
    (I only count 2 anyway EPL & Ch L), or that we draw or lose the odd game against teams that play better on the day. My concern is the manner in which we’ve dropped points this season. We just can’t hold on to a lead..however big it is, & on too many occasions the goals come as a result of comic book errors.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Thought this was an interesting slant on the medias treatment of Wenger written by John Cross, one who at least to seem quite pro Wenger:

    http://www.mirrorfootball.co.uk/opinion/columnists/john-cross/John-Cross-on-Arsenal-Has-Arsene-Wenger-fallen-out-of-love-with-the-job-of-managing-Arsenal-article725833.html

  • Northbanksy

    Mihir.

    I’ve only witnessed the 12th man’s presence at The Emirates twice this season (Chelsea & Everton). The majority of fans are simply not getting behind the team enough on match days.

  • Sameep

    You know what, I don’t care if we win anything or not, I love to watch Arsenal, like their philosophy and will keep supporting them for that. End of the story.

  • Paul

    Sameep I totally agree with you, I’m too used to Arsenal in order to stop supporting them. Every game I watch makes me happy therefore I don’t miss a single game!

  • Tasos

    @ Mandy Dodd

    I have lost all credibility for John Cross. His constant mundane ramblings about our club drive Me insane and he’s supposed to be an Arsenal fan. For Me he is typical of the type of weak minded lilly livered football fan that follows the club nowadays.

    Football evolves, times change and perfection at any club simply doesn’t exist.

    John Cross will never get it.

  • walter

    It is fun to win a title. No doubt about that.
    But supporting Arsenal is for me being part of a kind of world wide web, the Arsenal web.
    And I think this goes for most of us who follow Arsenal over land and see (from abroad) that the respect for Arsenal world wide is much bigger than it seems to be in England.

    Arsenal is regarded as an example in the football world (for other clubs who don’t have sugardaddies) for how a club should be runned. And I think that many fans see beyond the ‘trophy’ thing. How nice it is to win, the long term future of this club and the fact that my children can support them and I hope that one day I will be able to go with my grandchildren to see them play in the Emirates.
    How terrible it would be that we would win this season the title, then go bust and then I could say to my grandchildren in some 10 years time: Your grandfather once supported a great club in North London and we won the league in 2011. And then we went bust and now we don’t exist anymore.
    That would be a nightmare…

  • bjtgooner

    Another interesting article Walter. However, the mathematical calculation of a moaning point does not always relate to the emotion of expectation. As Arsenal have been consistently in the top 4 of the EPL and because we are capable of scintillating football the expectation is rightly at a high level.

    That this consistency has been achieved since 2004 when rebuilding the team is very creditable. This season the team is not far off being a championship side and would now have been in poll position with more accurate refereeing decisions. Unfortunately the lack of a title is highlighted day in day out by press and media – in turn this helps fuel the anti arsenal noisy minority within the fan base. This minority can be unnecessarily vicious and destructive in their constant attacks on our players and manager.

    All fans want a title. But until one arrives we need to appreciate what a good team we have, support the players and also the manager in his efforts to develop the team further.

  • Gb

    Arsenal FC is paying 110 million euros(or pounds) per year in wages to the players(and the coaching stuff I guess).Normally you would expect these players to win something.This is a lot of money, no ?
    In a season where Man Utd and Chelsea are old and poor,Spurs and Liverpool are not good enough while Manchester City do not have a good coach and need time to gel, you would have thought at least a Carling Cup is possible ? We lost it against mighty Birmingham.

  • GoonerTerry

    I have seriously been worried about the demeanor of Arsene Wenger for the past several weeks – he’s looked close to breaking point. The players must be under tremendous pressures of their own too. No one should underestimate the pressure Wenger and the team have been under. The fans too if I am anything too go by..My feeling is that Wenger really believed that this would have been our year. And many times this season we all could see how wonderfully close we really are. When our stars are aligned this team can play a great game of football – last night was just the latest of several games this season where you just had to sit back and admire their brilliance. But the reality is we are still a little ‘short” (to coin a Wenger phrase)- we are not quite the finished article. We thought that we’d be ready this season but as it turned out we are not! This is not a crime: our game and our team needs more work. This is football and we are all talking about a Football team! Perspective! This is neither life or death. Wenger didn’t con anyone out of their inheritance, and the team did not poison anyone’s grandmother. They simply failed to live up to our very high expectations. But what if they are actually punching above their weight at this time? What if they are actually better than we are giving them credit for? What if Wenger is right and the team is – in fact – ahead of the schedule he has set for them? Remember he is with them day in, day out. He’s been with most of this team since they were boys. What if he knows that they will not be ready until they are 24 or 25? What if Wenger is telling the truth about how he really feels in interviews? Why can’t we all just listen to what he says, watch the team and try to understand what is going on with their development? There is high football science at work and most of us can’t really understand it. Technically our game is intact. Confidence is all we are lacking. But not just confidence but a different narrative…right now our story has become very predictable..more often than not its ending is a nightmare for all concerned. But soon it will change as this team becomes more mature and win their first – and all important – trophy. That is all that’s needed. Simple really. But we should remember that its still just a game of football, and, a football team that we are all talking about..

  • Nice one Walter, indeed we don’t have much to complain about and we’re getting close to win something, but than again 2013 isn’t far away 🙂 and the media keeps on telling that Arsenal havent won anything since 2005 but nobody talks about liverpool anymore, they used to be part of the big four, they play 2 “bad” seasons and r being replaced by man shitty & that scum by the media … lots of fans follow what they read in the newspaper I guess. I also want to see Arsenal have a moment of glory again, the sooner the better but they’ll get there someday and till than I keep supporting them no matter what! When I went to see the home game against the spuds which we lost in a sad way I saw a supporter trow his Arsenal shirt in the bin after the game shouting I had it with this team … couldn’t believe my eyes & ears, it was a sad & mad moment but stick with the team till the bitter end ! Guess Arsenal has its share of glory hunters too …

  • GoonerVance

    While people constantly harp on the lack of trophies, I think the reason behind their frustration is actually the amount of times Arsenal have come so close and then failed to win in the exact same manner every year.

    It is as if Arsenal are winning the marathon, but every year their bodies’ break down at the finish because they simply lacked proper hydration. Instead of just handing the runner a bottle of Gatorade Wenger tells the fans, “We don’t need Gatorade. We must do it without”. And Wenger’s supporters say, “How great will it be, to become the first runner to win the marathon at a disadvantage. We will show the world that you can beat all those other teams that properly hydrate all race long” Imagine how frustrating that is. We endure the cramping, the fatigue, and suffer another excruciating break down and all for what?

  • Walter, a few things you need to consider in your calculations. Although the league has been in existence since 1888-89, some clubs did not join the league straight away. Arsenal joined the league in 1893. Also, 11 seasons were lost due to WW1 and WW2. Arsenal’s figures should be 97 seasons / 13 titles = 7.5 seasons so we should be moaning next season.

    Personally, I think that too many fans have become victim’s of the media’s social conditioning of society which has resulted in the “I want it KNOW” mentality. It’s not just the younger generation but also older fans who have been influenced.

    I know Tony is a bit older than the rest of us. He would have seen us go 16 years without winning a trophy. I saw us win 1 trophy in the first 11 years of supporting the club. What we also saw was the club not only not winning but playing some dire football in front of crowds under 20,000 and the club not being administered properly. Look at 1982-84. We signed Woodcock (£500,000), Chapman (£500,000), Petrovic & Nicholas (£650,000). All big fees in the day. However, throwing money around didn’t buy success or consistency. On top of that the club was running at a loss and there seemed no way out of the doldrums exemplified by Peter Hill-Wood saying that David Dein was mad to spend £292,000 on 16% of the club’s shares.

    At the moment we are not successful on the field but at least we are consistent. Not even the great Herbert Chapman could manage a top four finish every season. In fact, in the whole history of football only two managers have managed more than 10 years of consistent top four places in the league.

    On the flip side of the coin I am concerned about Wenger’s actions of late. He has a nasty habit of being incredibly rude to other managers. The way he rebuffed Redknapp on Wednesday was terrible. He seems to be allowing the performance of his players affect the way he treats other people. There is no need for this. I have started to see similarities between Wenger and Graham during his last two years in charge at Arsenal when he obviously couldn’t motivate the team.

    I wouldn’t want Wenger to go but I wouldn’t want him to fade away and leave when the team has become mediocre.

  • Dgeoel

    Those Arsenal fans who feel deprived of glory can move to Birmingham City, they just won the Curling Cup!!

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Like most things in life, this discussion will be coloured by how much money you spend on supporting Arsenal.

    If you are an Arsenal fan in your heart, but watch games on Sky or at the pub, it’s slightly different to spending £1500 a year on a season ticket. Or £1200 or so on an away season ticket etc etc.

    In the former case, there is an emotional bond which is not matched by a huge financial outlay. In the latter, you’re either a charitable philanthropist or there is, somewhere in your organism, a question as to what you’re prepared to shell money out for.

    Now football is hardly buying stocks and shares. There’s a strong element of irrational, emotional bonding going on. You’re not investing to make a profit. Not financially, at any rate.

    There is, however, a question of whether you continue to respect what you presented with for your money. And at that point, it’s pretty pointless trying to define what is acceptable for everybody else. You can only define what is acceptable for you.

    As I see Arsenal right now, no shareholder can say that Wenger did anything other than an unbelievable job for them. So complaints there are a bit rich. If being a shareholder is all they think about.

    I don’t think the players playing for the club can complain in the main. They’re all multimillionaires in one of the game’s proverbial Gold Rushes. They can retire at 30 and enjoy the rest of their life free of the sorts of financial worries that most on this planet have to cope with.

    I don’t think supporters who enjoyed the decade 1996 – 2006 at Highbury can really complain too much either. They had a golden decade of success to watch live.

    Actually, the folks with most reason to gripe are those who came in at 2006. Many describe them as ‘fickle’, but the reality is that the ticket prices are really high and the success of yesteryear has eluded the club. That’s not saying they should desert en masse, it’s saying that they shelled out a lot of money for less success than the previous lot paid for more success. It’s gripeable about, that’s all that can be said.

    I don’t subscribe to the view that as a supporter you must meekly do whatever the club, the manager or the players tell you. I don’t care if others see it that way, I and many others don’t. I don’t demand success every year, but I have a keen sense of whether those paid millions by supporters’ outgoings are taking their responsibilities seriously and I am educated every bit as highly as almost anyone who comments on football, be they in the profession, the media or fanzines. I’m not saying I know more about football than anyone, merely that I consider myself capable of making my own mind up about things. It’s something that some in football find uncomfortable……

    Everybody also has their own opinion about what Arsenal FC or their own football club actually means to them. For some, when that changes or evolves, there is a question as to whether that is transient or permanent. Arsenal in the past 165 years has prioritised the development of French players to a far greater degree than in the past and that is something which English fans have a right to enquire about. Since some of them wish to see equal value placed on the development of English talent. Or maybe Welsh, Scottish or Irish talent. It’s not saying they are right or wrong, it’s saying that’s maybe what they subscribe to in their own country after all. That’s something that a Belgian who goes to four or five matches a season should be cautious about belittling……

    There are fans who will admire all the overall strategy of the past 10 years but would like some tweaks to the playing staff within sensible budgets. They are financially savvy enough to know that that is possible and get extremely irritated being told that their suggestions are financially profligate. The choices currently made are a choice, a perfectly reasonable one, but they are not the only choice possible. And being told that they are is extremely disparaging, disrespectful and quite frankly immature……..

    Finally, there are fans who get extremely irritated being told that you must hate other teams, not respect opponents’ superior performances etc etc to remain a loyal fan. I watched the midweek game in a pub in Harrogate at the end of a business conference, in the presence of a Spurs fan. We had an enjoyable chat in between temporary highs and lows. For many, that would be disloyal. It’s a matter of choice, emotional maturity and whether you see football as a manifestation of hatred or belonging. English clubs sing ‘Stand up if you hate XXXX’. Schalke fans sing ‘Steht auf, wenn Ihr Schalker seid!’, which translates to ‘Stand up if you are supporters of Schalke’. Which is more akin to ‘Stand up for the Arsenal’……perhaps some Man Utd fans should ask next week if they also sing ‘Steht auf, wenn Ihr Bayern hasst!’?

    As for how often you should win the league, your table implies that what happened in the past must go on. Clearly, not true for Chelsea post 2003. Clearly, not true for Man Utd and Liverpool post 1990. Regime change, that was.

    Stats aren’t the answer to the question.

    The answer to the question comes from: ‘given the resources of the club, should the club have achieved this sooner?’

    And whilst I will not suggest any decision that any supporter, season ticket holder should take, the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing and expect things to change…..

    That’s not saying throw the baby out with the bath water, it’s saying make the smallish changes that large numbers of people are saying are necessary.

    Because they’re not saying it out of hatred, vindictive spite or anything else.

    They’re saying it because they’ve watched football long enough to know that it makes sense……..

  • goonergerry

    I would like Arsenal to win something and soon. But the world will not end for me when we don’t win anything again this season.
    If Arsenal are to continue to remain competitive- and they are just at the moment- (without convincing anyone that they can close out a tough game and hang on to a winning position)- it matters what the players think. Theirs is a very risky short career- and many want to win and don’t rise to play for a club like Arsenal to come third or fourth every year. Each year that goes by without winning anything increases the chances that our best players will move on. If Cesc moves on -we have a problem- because without him we are not the same team.

  • Rhys
    Thanks for taking the time to post that. One of the most thought out posts I’ve read recently and I concur explicitly.