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Is this the worst Arsenal crowd ever?

By Tony Attwood

It was surprising (to me at least, but perhaps not to anyone else) to hear the chant of “Six percent you’re having a laugh” ring round the Ems in the second half of the Villa game.

It was of course not the first time there have been negative comments and chants at an Arsenal game, and in fact I remember some boos at Highbury during the early Wenger seasons when an individual match went wrong.

But the trouble with this chant was working out who it was aimed against.  I mean, when Martin Hayes used to get booed by Arsenal supporters to the extent that George Graham started to use him mostly in away games, to protect the young lad’s psyche, you knew what was going on.  The crowd – or rather a section of the crowd – didn’t like Martin Hayes.  (I loved the guy, but then I always have been perverse).

But back to Sunday… Was it against Wenger, by those who blame him for the recent poor run, or was it against Kronke, or against the rest of the board, or indeed against the players?

It is a difficult one to puzzle out because the people I spoke to either couldn’t understand my question or gave contradictory answers.

True, the chant was followed by an “Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal” chant – but that could have meant, “we are against this particular manager/team/administration but we love Arsenal, the concept, the tradition…” or it could have meant any of those bits and pieces.

Obviously anyone can write in and say, “I was chanting the six percent chant, and I meant…” but that’s not quite what I am trying to fathom out.  What I am trying to get at is, was there an overall message which most people joining in agreed with?  Was it, “Don’t put prices up until we win the league?” or was it “Don’t put prices up with these players being overpaid” or was it “Don’t put prices up by more than inflation, and don’t try that argument about it being less than inflation since we moved to the Ems” or was it just “Don’t put prices up”?

The same problem came with the boos at the end of the match.  The ref was appallingly biased and/or incompetent from my view – but what do I know sitting in block 99?  I am biased, and I can’t see in close up every action on the pitch.   But I booed the ref, and then stopped, thinking that maybe some people were booing the players, and I didn’t want to do that.

I have booed the players – I have quite a memory of Sepember 1994 when we lost at home 2-3 to Newcastle giving us an opening to the season of two goalless draws and three defeats out of five matches.  My season ticket seemed an utter waste of money.  And that season we got to the Cup Winners’ Cup final, so what do I know?

Of course I can’t remember exactly what I was thinking at that game against Newcastle, and joining in the with the boos was not a thought through matter.  I don’t think I was suddenly anti-Seaman, Winterburn, Dixon, Adams, Campbell, Wright and Smith, but rather I was just angry with everyone and everything, and needed some way to calm down before I started the long journey back to the lady wife who didn’t appreciate me going to football, in the midlands.

Certainly I was angry during the 1960s – that utterly wasted decade of mid-table mediocrity. But then I was at school, and school kids get angry – it is part of growing up.

Much of my mixed up thinking on this has been fuelled by a comment recently that the problem is actually quite different from the issues I normally deal with here – namely the management of expectations by the club, and the management of finance by the club.  The arguments were that the club constantly talks up its chance of success, and has put up prices too, so we the fans are geared up to success which does not come.

Of course if we go back to pre-Wengerian times management of expectations was quite different, since there was less interest in the press, and far less on the internet and email than now.  I can certainly remember as late as the 1980s when I lived in Devon, the sunday and monday papers would often have no coverage of an Arsenal game, and you would be lucky to get the one minute allocated on Radio 2 for a report (unless we were playing Man U).  No real way to manage expectations then.

So yes it is true, players wages have shot up (no more of that maximum wage business we had in the 1930s), the new stadium is paid for by the club (as opposed to Highbury which was paid for by Henry Norris) and ticket prices have risen to cover both costs.  As a result supporters complain – as supporters have always done.  (Remember the Manor Ground was closed by the FA because of a riot by Woolwich Arsenal fans protesting at match fixing by the referee).

But I remain unclear how this is due to management of expectations by the club.   To try and understand this I went back and read some of the programmes from the George Graham era – and wondered why there was such a gap in my collection.  And then remembered – it was because I stopped buying the programme because it was so bland and boring and dull.  Roger and I used to joke that every George Graham article began, “I was extremely pleased with the performance of the team…”  We even got that in 1994.

My answer therefore is, it was ever thus.  Bad ends to the season are always much more dispiriting than a poor season that ends well.  Who remembers the league trauma of 1994/5?  0-0 at home to Wimbledon anyone?  Who remembers the FA cup that year (knocked out at home by Millwall in the third round).   No, we don’t remember that, we remember the Cup winners cup final – and I can’t even start to write about that (Arsenal the official illustrated history, will give you all the details, including the Tottenham chant if you really need to know.)

And yet for the Villa game, overall, I had a great time.  Dogface, Walter (and his son Michael – sorry I don’t know the Flemish spelling) and myself, joined by Laundry Ender and Ian, plus Mandy along for her first ever match at Arsenal: what a grouping.  You don’t normally get that much Untold outside the Auld Triangle.  And meeting Tony (by which I don’t mean myself) inside the ground, just wanting to say hello and thanks for Untold.  Tony, if you are reading this, you are a real gent sir, and I wish we could have talked for longer.

(And in this, spare a thought for Walter and the friends from the Benelux Supporters Club whose journey for each game makes my trip from the Midlands seem like a pop round the corner.  Three matches this season, and not a victory amongst them.  And yet he is still there, still supporting, and I know he’ll be over next season just the same).

Worst crowd ever?  No, not with mates like these.  I’m sorry if my feelings don’t accord with yours, but I can’t wait for it all to start up once again.

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61 comments to Is this the worst Arsenal crowd ever?

  • Nipuna

    According to OPTA, if we lose at Fulham, it will be the worst finish under Arsene in terms of points.

    Hmmm, that surely points to a poor side. Maybe the poor crowd is simply a reflection of what is happening on the pitch.

  • o shane

    it’s not the worse crowd but it is the worse arsenal team.

  • jayj

    why hike the prices when fans aint gonna see a penny spent on the team?

  • stu

    I think the 6% chant was pretty obvious that it was against the 6% rise in tickets next season. It is the board who make this decision so the chant was being sung to the board… The reason we were singing “you’re having a laugh” is because a 6% rise to watch a team that has now gone backwards in the last year. It was looking as if the team had gone forward but a season is 38 games and we have now gone backwards FACT. SOme were singing “Kroenke Out!” which made me laugh. I was absolutely disgusted at our performance yesterday and in fact where I was always going to renew my season ticket for next season, yesterday’s game has me think twice…. If the players can#’t be bothered (and that is the way I took their performance yesterday) why should I be bothered?

  • Dark Prince

    Fans will raise their voices if expectations are not met. Believe me, it can get worse if Wenger doesn’t come back to his original form of his previous years.

    Also, if everybody hasn’t noticed, all our problems has started since we started the buildin of our new stadium.
    Bcoz of the new stadium, we had to forcefully push Wenger into the youth policy, we had to curb his spendings, we started underperformin, our fans are becoming very disappointed, etc etc etc

  • embryo

    i was booing at half time, i joined in the 6% chant, i booed at the final whistle however i also stayed to applaud the lap of respect! basically i’m fed up with the clubs apparent attitude to thinking that we’re competing. i’m appauled by Wenger lack of ideas to make a diference when it’s all going tits up, i’m upset by the lack of effort and desire shown on the pitch by the majority and i’m scared to hear AW suggest he will TRY to add to the team this summer. i’ve been buying tickets for my arsenal for over 40 years and i’ve nver felt this low. i will re-new my season ticket because i love my club. but i feel like a blind Lemming! (sorry, a ton of spelling errors. but too angry to make the effort this morning)

  • Sometimes I get a bit fed up, sometimes I laugh, sometimes I get hysterial. O Shane, your comment made me do all three at once, and various members of staff in my company edged their way over to my desk, while others were tapping out calls to 999….

    I mean, I spent an hour writing a piece this morning about crowd reactions to Arsenal. It’s not brilliant, it’s not special, but it made a few points. Last week I spent a similar amount of time on a piece about the worst Arsenal team in recent times, and nominated the Rioch team for that accolade.

    And you come back with a dozen or so words and two opinions. Where’s the argument? Where’s the debate? Where’s the explanation of your point of view? Where’s the rebuttal of a point or two that I made? Where’s the logical analysis?

    Come to that, where’s anything?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    It was sad to see the players so forlorn and sombre and unable to drum up any enthusiasm when bidding farewell to the fans after the game.
    I was hoping for a home win to at least bring some cheer to all
    but some bad decisions and poor play put paid to that hope.
    It has been in some ways a strange season , with some exceptional performances but some repetition of old faults cost us at crucial periods of the game.Hope they learm from this and come back next season to bring back the smiles and trophies too !

  • vretou

    Look, I am a huge wenger fan i love and appreciate what he has done for the club.i dont think any other manager could have kept us in the top 4 for the last 6 years in the current financial climate with the chels, man c, totts who have spent money every transfer season. We have a net spent of what +£2m??and yea i can understand people are frustrated with him and criticize him and yeah he does have his flaws. but please remember 6 years ago when we moved into a new stadium. we knew we didn’t have funds to spend till the stadium debt was paid off and the only way we could remain competitive is if we bought shrewd and had faith in our youth and that’s what wenger has done. The truth is we have come close to a trophy but not close enough and have always blown it at the very end,for this, i blame wenger,i think he has taken risks which could have been avoided like the jan transfer market we were 2nd in the league in all 4 comp and had a CB injury crisis and TV wasn’t 100% sure to come back and yet he failed to sigh one. If chels can sign luiz why can’t we?? and don’t tell me he wouldn’t have improved the quality of the squad…the truth is he would have. It was the same situation a couple of seasons ago when we were top of the league and he failed to bring one in. The bottom line is wenger has made his share of mistakes. i still don’t understand why dont we play 4-4-2 at home when you know the opposition is gonna come and park the bus there needs to be a plan B at home start with a 4-4-2. Its no surprise that are away form has been better than our home from coz away from home the opposition has to come out and play and can’t park the bus at their place.

    PART 2-For me, wenger now has to right the wrongs he has done in the past. Firstly, get rid of the dross(alumunia, squillachi, denilson) i donno about the others but these three have to go. Second, sign winners not experiense, whats the use of signing squillachi,silvestre(they are hasbeens) squillachi still makes errors that a youngster makes. whats the point??buy someone like lucio, who is a winner who still has a couple of seasons in him and someone who can help us cross the line when the going gets tough. not potiential but WINNERS and if i am being a bit selfish, wingers, not strikes who can play on the wing, not CAM who play there But proper Wingers who can cross the ball. who can run back and defend.Is it any surprise that our defense is in shambles We have strikers and CAM playing there(who don’t know how to defend). Our GK situation is sorted with scezney i don’t mind keeping faith with him. PS- I don’t want wenger out, he has done alot for this club that people will only realize once he has gone. But, i would like him to change his attitude no more we had XYZ out, no more we are young, no more they played rough, take it all in and inspire the players win inspite of all this. be a true winner Wenger( i hope you havn’t forgot how to win).

  • Laundryender

    A bit off subject this but something i noticed yesterday

    The Pat Rice Conundrum

    I watched Pat Rice a bit on Sunday, not my usual habit, but I was drawn to him because he looked different, certainly to what we have seen from him recently. I have read the Internet blogs, and had perhaps been persuaded by them that we needed change in the dugout. Those AKB`s who insist Wenger must go, adding strength to their argument by saying he needs a defence coach, or someone to question his method. Pat Rice the nodding dog sitting next to Wenger was not our Clough and Taylor. Perhaps Pat was the problem?

    So why was I drawn to Pat Rice against Villa, body language, you can see it in a man, we notice it without noticing it, it is intangible, and it is intrinsic, body language! He looked like a man who had won a fight; he was making a territorial statement. Prowling the technical area, standing erect, watching the game with intent, glaring at the players. This was not the hands folded, sitting down, body crunched Pat Rice we have come to expect, this was a man making a statement of intent!

    Lets look at Pat Rice the man, I had the pleasure of watching him play many times, he was right back when we won the double, in a league that was very physical, to win you had to be able to play, and to look after yourself. You had to be able to go to Leeds, Chelsea, Man Utd, and any other club in the 1st division knowing that they all had their hatchet men, as did we. Pat Rice played alongside Frank McClintock, Peter Storey, Peter Simpson, Willie Young, and others who knew how to defend, and how to rough up the opposition. Pat Rice was certainly no angel.

    He played in front of George Armstrong, now I may get nostalgic here, and I may shed a tear as I type, but I remember standing on the North bank singing “don’t go Georgie don’t go” as the prospect of a move was on the horizon. George Armstrong was in my humble opinion simply one of the finest wing players we have ever seen with a gun on his shirt. He worked hard, he defended, he attacked, he got stuck in, he scored goals and crucially, he rarely put in a bad cross. George Armstrong was the engine of the early seventies Arsenal, he was our humble warrior, understated but hugely efficient, and he was Arsenal to his core. The combination of Rice and Armstrong powering down the right was for a few seasons a joy to behold. I say this because Pat Rice knows what it is like playing behind a craftsmen and a team player. He knows the value of not wasting crosses, and getting back to help the team, he played in front of George Armstrong!

    Back to Pat Rice, he was born in Belfast and played for Northern Ireland 49 times, he captained Arsenal in FA cup finals 78-79-80 and CWC final 1980, playing for Arsenal 528 times he left at the age of 31, when he went to Watford and captained them in their promotion to the old 1st division. Graham Taylor and Bertie Mee took him to Watford, specifically for that role for they knew what he would add to their club. Pat Rice played for Watford 137 times before retiring in 1984.

    Pat Rice returned to Arsenal in 1984 as youth coach, becoming Wenger`s assistant upon his arrival and Pat Rice holds the distinction along with Bob Wilson of having played a part in all 3 of Arsenals domestic league and cup doubles.

    What we learn from the above is that Pat Rice is a leader, a fighter, and a man with a huge amount of experience with top-level football. This does not look like the man we have seen sitting in the dug out at the Emirates these past few years, until yesterday that was.

    It is well documented that Pats contract was up at the end of the season, and that he was going to retire, were that the case our debt to him would have been enormous, more than many of our new, younger worldwide support would ever acknowledge. But it is also well documented that Wenger was desperate for him to stay, the thought amongst many here was that it was because Wenger did not want anyone questioning him, and Pat Rice clearly did not do that.

    I think there have been negotiations, I think that Pat Rice has had enough of our defending, and had enough of molly coddling underperforming players. I think Pat Rice has, as a real Arsenal man, one with the club running through his veins, been livid at the way we have dropped points we seemed to have won, and failed to capitalise on opportunities that have come our way. I think Pat Rice has been hurting and hurting big time, and that his body language was not submission to all things Wenger, but frustration because he would do some things differently. And I think that this was his point of negotiation! I think that Pat Rice has won a battle with Wenger, and that he is going to have more say in team affairs, and how we play. I think Pat Rice has said to Wenger “you want me to stay, then this is what I want” and I think he got what he wanted.

    I do not base that just on the fact that his presence in the technical area yesterday was greater, and that Wenger was sitting behind him in the background. I look at the half time substitutions. Not just yesterday against Villa, but also last week at Stoke.

    Against Villa in the first half Squillaci was a poor impression of a centre half. Darren Bents movement was more than he could cope with, and his distribution is what I call cowardly, he was at fault on more than one occasion, and sadly has a presence that raises the opposition, and alarms his own team and supporters. Half time he got the hook! That was not Wenger, he does not do that sort of substitution, he shows faith, and tells the players to prove the crowd wrong.

    Last week at Stoke, Arshavin was at fault for the first goal, yes we defended the cross poorly, but the foul conceded, where it was conceded was so unprofessional it beggared belief. Half time comes he got the hook. The second goal at Stoke, Ramsey, a ball bouncing in front of him, he kicks blindly over his head back towards his own goal, it falls to Pennant and they score! Half time Ramsey gets the hook! Again this is not Wenger, Wenger would not even have mentioned those instances instead focusing positively and on the second half.

    I believe that the substitutions we saw, their timing and the clinical way they were dispatched were signs that Pat Rice has had enough of our lack of professionalism, and that he has won the authority to act. I hope so, the man we have seen slouched next to Wenger with his arms folded these past few years, is not the fist clenched warrior and captain who led our team through many a tough game. I hope so because Pat Rice deserves to be recognised by the Arsenal faithful for what he really is. Leader, mentor, captain, winner and Arsenal through and through. But then again I may just be wrong and it could be that Wenger has the right Hump, and told Pat to kick some ass!

  • Gooner1234

    Don’t get me wrong the arsenal team are terrible at the moment and I am getting really annoyed with stubborn wenger an he must spend money on 3 or 4 big players in the summer but this is a serious issue with the fans. THEY ARE SHOCKING!!!! They sit in silence for most of the game and only seem to get behind the team when we start playing well. Well how about get behind the team from the first minute to the last minute? I went to the emirates cup last year and I remember how great the Celtic fans were and at one point they were singing “what a shit home support” and tbh they were right! I actually watch the Celtic game yesterday and the fans were cheering all the way through the game and all jumping around and my point here is that they just lost the league by 1 point an they were still behind the team what the he’ll is you fan excuse for not getting behind the team like all the other great fans do? Like Celtic, Liverpool, Manchester united and this may hurt you a bit more but the spuds crowd is by far better than ours. Fans need to get together and make a section of the stadium were they all sing for the whole fame and get the rest of the fans to join in. For example Celtic have the green brigade. Arsenal need the red brigade!

  • John L

    @ embryo:

    1) have you really been a season ticket holder for 40 years and this is the lowest youve felt?! knowing a bit of our clubs history i find this very hard to believe!

    2) you say wenger lacks ideas when it all goes ‘tits-up’. yesterday after a shocking start for the team, he took squillaci off and moved to a 4-4-1-1. we played a much better second half and in the end were unlucky not to win, or at least get a point.

    i agree i think wenger could make more changes, sometimes before the start of the game, sometimes in the 55 min rather than 75 min…but i think its a bit unfair to say he lacks ideas. ive seen him make many astute changes, both tactical and with substitions, over the years.

  • Adam

    Personally, I am really looking forward to the break from football. In a few days I will have calmed down and have a more considered opinion, less rash and perhaps reactionary to the one I could post now. The end of the season has been dire and no amount of harking back over previous experiences can alter that singular truth. Power to all who love and care about our club.

  • Laundryender

    the answer to your question Walter is No!!

    far from it

  • livestrong

    We all know since the end of February this Arsenal team have struggled. They have struggled more than my old man making a bacon sarnie without burning it.

    Players have underperformed, Wenger has underperformed, and more most important of all, the UK underperformed on the Eurovision song contest.

    But throughout all that under performing, and the ‘darkness’ surrounding the club like Beth Ditto’s shadow, one man has shone like a beacon…..

    Robin van Persie.

    How I love this man. I love him like a brother or close family member.

    Sometimes I wish that some other members of the squad had half his commitment and desire for Arsenal Football Club.

    You can tell how much pulling that red and white on means to him. He loves the club. The Arsenal, and he loves us too.

    This last couple of months he has tried his heart out for us. He could do no more.

    It is not RvP’s fault that some of the other players don’t match his attitude but I wish they did.

    Early in his career with Arsenal I would never have believed how important he would be to the club and how much influence he would have like he does now.

    How much has he matured this season?

    If Robin had been fit for the whole campaign he would have finished top scorer in the league by at least 5-7 goals. Easily.

    He has gone up so much in my estimation and I hope that next season he remains injury-free. He deserves it.

    If we had more players with his attitude I doubt we would be moping today. We’d be celebrating because we would have just won the league.

    Wenger needs to look at van Persie and get players in who have his desire for winning and showing fight for the Arsenal.

  • khilen

    Posted: Mon May 16, 2011 9:36 am Post subject: Finishing Fourth….

    ——————————————————————————–

    Just noticed that Bayern Munich have finish third and therefore have to go into the Champions League Play Off round. Decided to have a look at which other teams we could potentially get, it doesnt make for good reading…

    The following teams are guaranteed to be in the playoff round next year.

    Bayern Munich / Lyon / Villerreal / Udinese or Lazio

    The below teams have qualified for the UCL but have to play an earlier qualifier against teams from “lesser” leagues before making it to the play off round.

    Benfica / Celtic / CSKA Moscow / Dynamo Kyiv / FC Twente / Fenerbache / Panathinaikos

    Quite a few potential banana skins there….. so glad any potential UEFA Cup games will be covered by season ticket

  • walter

    Laundryender, I also have seen that it was Pat Rice walking in the technical area and maing movements and shouting at the player and not Wenger.
    And just like you I was a bit amazed about the early substitutions last week and this week. Players making mistakes in the first half that cost us being removed was so untypical for Arsenal in the last years.
    I felt Ramsey learned his lesson and played a much better game yesterday and most of all didn’t comit sily mistakes like last week.

  • vretou

    I found myself sitting there not enjoying anything about the game, the football on the pitch, the crowd, even the poxy dinosaur firing shirts annoyed me!! I sat there just feeling a bit let down if im honest!!

    I fully epect Fabregas to leave, cant see him playing again, I think Denilson, Rosicky and Almunia will follow…. and i honestly think we should cash in on players like Walcott and Arshavin, they just offer nothing… I know pwoplw are quick to get at Bendtner and Chamakh but those two offered far more than the previous two i mentioned!!

    We actually need to strengthen now, we can only have a decent go next season if we get the players we need to stop these errors occuring that happen over and over again!! another centre half is needed, maybe Samba? to give us 5 with Vermaelen, Squillaci, Djourou and Koscielny because we always have 2 injured at any one time!!

    Id keep playing Woijciech and have Fabianski as 2

    Van Persie is fine, as is Nasri, and Song, Wilshere and Ramsey

    Bring in another central midfielder…maybe Parker or Noble now they have gone down and will be cheap?!

    The full back have frustrated me massively this season, no end product at all, i dont mind either but if replaced i wouldnt be bothered?!

    and we need a player who can create an attacking spark, someone better than either Walcott or Arshavin!! suggestions??

    There i said it….ive finally cracked haha! until next season when i will BELIEVE yet

  • vretou

    @walter -RE-P.Rice – 1.

    Rice stays as number 2
    2. Pre-season trip to Austria to play a series of no-hopers confirmed
    3. Almunia released, Aliadiere re-signs
    4. Clichy and Nasri sign long extensions with a minimum of 50% uplift on their pay. The fanfare on Arsehole.com reaches fever pitch and we are as good as told to be overjoyed that we’ve secured the number one priority of “keeping all of our players”
    5. Having being linked with over 50 players, it becomes clear that we are signing one of Lorient’s midfielders. We check the website every day for confirmation before an 8 week delay confirms we have signed him for an undisclosed fee
    6. Lots of fighting talk about keeping Fabregas before he leaves to join Barcelona for €10m or so less than any other selling club would get for him. Its too late to sign a proper replacement so we hear all about “being true to our philosophy” and the numerous “internal options” we have
    7. We give Norwich and IFK Whothefuck a couple of 6 goal drubbings in September and “there’s only one Arsene Wenger”

    …..oh, you know the rest of the story from that point. We could turn this into one of those kids books where you get to guess the ending.

  • lordgunner

    yes the performance in the last 3-4 week have been abysmal for a club of our standing,yes like me you should be furious with our team , yes i boo at half time and final time of villa match because the club should feel the full front that the fan are not happy BUT i ve to agree with the article.

    i ve been to many stadium around europe .very few are worst than the ambiance we have in the emirate. i say to my manure friend that we deserve of nickname of library.
    well of course when we welcome manure ,pool,chavsky and tiny toots the stadium come alive but its rare and reserve to few team.
    people arrive late,rush to get a expensive beer/coffee/food at HT,leave 5-10 mn early and worst some dont turn out to the stadium even if they bought a ticket lol (so much for its too expensive).
    i m not a season ticket holder (i m on the waiting list) but i m a red menber and i find it never so easy get a ticket (exept for the big mach of course)

    i ve told to my friend we have a motto at the emirate ” SING ONLY WHEN YOU ARE WINNING !!” sad but true
    COYG

  • Dan

    I’m proud of the crowd yesterday. I think it was amazing when the proverbial penny had dropped and they realised that they were being fleeced financially by the club and emotionally by the inept manager and his shoddy collection of overpaid players. I’m proud that I stood waving a white handkerchief at the players and the loser-in-chief, Wenger.

    It was a beautiful day for the club yesterday, the fans woke up and have decided not to be pushed around and underappreciated by this shell of a club.

    WENGER OUT! KLOPP IN!!!

  • realistic tony

    no man or team is above criticism. It is regrettable that there was booing, but fans pay a high price to watch arsenal and basically they haven’t delivered and the manager has failed to correct his past mistakes with the personnel in defense, and that is negligent, irresponsible and downright pathetic.
    Wenger won’t be able to elevate us now…he is too entrenched in his own vision, to stuck in a rut to be able to think BIG. His comments since we crashed out of the carling final have done absolutely nothing to encourage me that he will tackle the obvious deficiencies in this side. Tinkering around the edges and his over-loyal reliance on many inadequate squad players and the emergence of city and re-emergence of liverpool will, i believe, cost us champions league qualification next season.

  • Shard

    @realistic tony

    If your criticism was that Wenger thinks too BIG then I would agree. Maybe in that strategic vision he has miscalculated the smaller details a little bit. But to say Wenger doesn’t think big is just wrong.

  • vretou

    @shard – why is it wrong? He’s spot on. Wenger will not think big and I am fraid one more season with this blind fool will lead us into a mid table team – he has too many YES mans in the back room and nothing is realistically going to change. Only people like your self can continue to make excuses for the deluded fool we call boss

  • vretou

    What happened yesterday won’t make any difference to Wenger. It hasn’t in the past – why should it now? The key is getting rid of him. Do that and, rather than regressing, the club can attempt to claw back what has been so carelessly thrown away these past six years. Keep Wenger and we simply ensure more wasted years and more seasons without silverware.

  • Shard

    @vretou

    I addressed why I thought it was wrong, and said what criticism of Wenger i would agree with. Learn to read and respond properly if you really care for a debate.

  • Armin

    Thanks Tony for brilliant article, and you helped us identify where our biggest problem is. Obviously each time Belgians are coming we are losing points. Now I see clearly, not just Wenger, but we have to sack Walter too.

  • Notoverthehill

    Nostalgia is all very well, but really Pat Rice playing in front of George Armstrong??? Of course, if Arsenal were defending then Pat Rice would have been in front of George Armstrong, as George being from the North of England did not like losing the ball.

    A good point about Pat Rice, it must hurt looking at the shoddy defending at times of the back four, or six, or ten???

  • vretou

    @Shard, Well, this is the second straight year this has happened: promising title charge by winter’s end, only for it to all fall apart in every single competition by season’s end, with the team playing like a bunch of U-17 Stoke fans high on meth. This time around, however, fan discontent has been much louder and much more vitriolic than last season, and the number of calls for Wenger have certainly increased compared to last season. Basically, one more season of this charade and its bye bye Arsenal as a top club. All of this leads to the conclusion that Wenger will at least attempt at changing the way things are done at the club.

  • Shard

    @vretou

    You contradict yourself. First you say it’ll make no difference to Wenger and he won’t change anything. Now you say he will at least attempt to change things.. I really don’t know what to say to you.

  • realistic tony

    @shard….fair enough, i may have failed to explain what i meant by Wenger not thinking BIG. SO HERE GOES: wenger plays it safe in the transfer window, for him 6-12 million represents a reasonable price and “THE NORM” to pay for a hopeful bargain. My feelings are that even if he had the money (who knows if he has) he wouldnt spend it. He penny-pinched with squill and kos and we got what we paid for…although many will look back and say they were way over-priced. In fact Squill is one of the worst central defenders ever to play for us in my 40 yr memory.
    We are a BIG club, with a fabulous stadium that befits a quality team, not cheap or freebie french league untested players.

  • Dark Prince

    Is it the Worst Arsenal crowd ever? Maybe yes.

    Is this the most frustrating time for an Arsenal fan ever? Definately yes

    Should Wenger stay on as manager? Maybe yes.

    Should Wenger change his tactics and player selection? Definately yes.

  • Shard

    @realistic tony

    Ya he plays it safe in the transfer window. It is because we cannot afford a flop 30 million pound signing. And it’s not as easy as saying pay inflated prices once because it doesn’t restrict itself to that. Every team will demand more then.

    But he does pay good money. Arshavin, Rosicky, Nasri etc weren’t cheap. Neither was Koscielny or Vermaelen, and they both have done well.(I don’t know why you mention him the way you do) Squillaci hasn’t but at the time I was very happy with the signing. An experienced international defender. Something we had all called for.

    In a sense Squillaci highlights how a transfer while meeting all points needed seemingly can go bad. In this case it cost the club 4 million or whatever. But it could happen to a 20 million pound player too. There are no guarantees how a transfer will work out, and yes, Wenger is careful with the club’s money in that regard. I still don’t see how that’s not thinking BIG. It can be considered as thinking too big and worrying too much about the club and it’s financial future, even if you think he’s wrong.

  • Gouresh

    In reply to Laundryender: If what you say is true about Pat Rice being more vocal. He should have done this 2 yrs ago and yes now he should also carry a wip, as thats what is needed. Very nice article, interesting reading!

  • Samuel

    So who will replace Arsene at Arsenal as the crybaby fans don,t have a ready made replacement for him,the same fans who will
    still be crying for Arsene,s quick return when his former club
    can,t finish in the top six let alone top three long after his de
    parture ?

  • well-endowed gooner

    Yes Tony, it’s the crowd’s fault we’re going to finish 4th this year.

  • nicolette

    I think the 6% chant, was to do with the fact that season ticket holders have been hit with a 6% inflation on the current price of the season ticket, so i believe many loyal arsenal supporters who have shelled out just over a grand for many years, found it ridiculous that we would have to pay 6% more for that quality of football, or rather lack of. Six weeks ago we were doing very nicely for ourselves but since then it has all gone down hill, i mean losing to stoke was utterly absurd, we should of and could of won that game.
    The lack of quality, in my opinion, is down to the squad not being motivated, because of our many defeats, if we had won at aston villa as well it would of been our 100th win at emirates, but now it is our 11th defeat, which some may say isnt bad, but we also have drawn a great many games as well, as some dissmal loses away.
    Also i agree with that fact the ref was very biased and maybe we should of got a penalty, but the question is why did none of the arsenal players appeal, not even ramsey?

  • Mandy dodd

    Pat rice you may have a point laundryender. I had heard Jens had been set upon the players but if true and pat has joined in, that can only bode well. If this is happening some may respond positively eg Rambo, others may not, there is an international captain out there, a highly skilled one at that but at the moment is the polar opposite of what a leader should be. He may not like the new regime? If things are being shaken up, things could get worse before we see an improvement. This season cannot end soon enough. We need a bit of strengthening in the summer, especially considering who I strongly fear we are about to lose. A good pre season, a few new faces, new attitudes and hopefully some improvements where possible on the medical side – yes we are yet again missing key players at the business end- and things should look better next season. I have been a critic of rice, maybe wrongly so. As you say, could he be our much needed defence coach?

  • Good article Tony,

    I wasn’t as appauled yesterday as when the crowd got on Eboué’s back and had to be subbed… but it was indeed a funny old lot.

    I have a hater who sits in front of me who was smirking and rubbing his hands together at the loss – he was loving it as in his mind it was the catalyst for change in the club – what change, I don’t know and niether does he – just some change to satisfy his lack of concentration and distract him from the corruption no doubt.

    Behind me I had 2 villa fans who gave us all a running commentry of Arsenal’s failings, declaring every hoof a ‘lovely ball’ and suggesting that Bent and Reo-Coker had truely achieved ‘world class’ status.

    The steward in front of them refused to say anything to them even though I pointed out that Villa fans don’t normally have Arsenal season tickets – until the lady behind me (next to them) complained to a more senior steward and had them removed on the grounds that if villa scored again she would kill them and it wouldn’t be fair on her to go to jail for that.

    Many thanks to the gent who bought me a pint at the Auld Triangle and the others who peered over my shoulder to see if I really did have a “dog face” before running off… I was wearing the shirt you see.

  • Yesterday was a poor poor day.3 wins since the cup defeat.Surely there’s problem deeply rooted as the same happened last season.Really cheap goals.But good to see verminator back.
    There are questions I’d like to ask from fellow gooners:
    http://delhigunner.wordpress.com/2011/05/16/we-were-better-with-chamakh-on-the-pitch/

  • Sharky

    It is admiral of Wenger to try and grow a team from raw talent into a team of talented winners but, and here is the big but….

    You can only sell the dream to these players for so long before they stop believing in Wenger’s vision. Each year they are told they are so close and that they will learn from dissapointment and take those lessons learned into the next season. Trouble is with each seasonal collapse the dream starts looking more unreachable and the belief a little less.

    I think Wenger knows he has nothing left he can say to convince this current group of players that they can be winners. When that happens you can only do one thing and that is to start again with fresh blood and move on the players that have shown they won’t develop a winning mentality when they are up against it.

    I’m convinced that this summer we will see some very unwenger like signings, i.e. spending some serious money on proven talent. He has to if he wants the fans back on his side for the start of next season. If not the pressure and the calls for Wenger to go will increase until it becomes untenable for him to do anything other than resign.

  • Zebidiah

    @Tony I read your arrogant response to O Shane with great amusement…Do you think your big and clever you sad little man? in fact this whole blog cracks me up…I have never seen such pretentious and poorly written drivel. You mock others for ineptitude (i.e The Times for incorrectly naming a unknown youth player) yet the errors that I have noticed in this sorry excuse for an arsenal blog are too numerous to list(i.e flawed logic in your corrupt referees stance, constant incorrect stats and facts…leaving out players and teams in your lists, mis remembering events etc.)

    We are not the worst fans but this IS the worst Arsenal team. They leave so muchin the locker its shocking…at least the Rioch team had a bit of fight. You think that you have the right to call us real fans into question? Your a wenger fan but all us that voiced our discontent are Arsenal fans mate. You may snicker and look down your nose at your readers and posters Tony but there is only one joke here and thats you and your bleary eyed devotion to spin and lies.

  • Dan

    @Samuel

    Jurgen Klopp is top of my list, but Carlo Ancelotti will also be a good appointment… Actually, even if we replaced Arsene Wenger with a wheel on which formations, tactics and substitutions are written and leave it to random luck to guide our future, I’m sure that would be a better system than keeping that… rant coming… INEPT, OLD, DELUDED, TACTICALLY NAIVE, BOTTLE-ABUSING, ADULTERING, DENÍLSON-LOVING, STYLELESS (GREY JACKET AND BLUE TROUSERS), MOANING, BLIND, CHILDISH, ARROGANT, SPINELESS TOAD AS OUR MANAGER!!!

    WHY CAN’T YOU STUPID AKBs SEE IT? DO YOU LIKE BEING TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF? IS IT A FORM OF STOCKHOLM SYNDROME? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY?

    OOOOH WE DIDN’T HAVE A MANAGER BEFORE WENGER, WE DIDN’T HAVE SUCCESS BEFORE WENGER, WHY ARE THE CLUB CELEBRATING 125 YEARS OF HISTORY WHEN ARSENE FC STARTED IN 1996? HEAVEN FORBID WE GET A NEW MANAGER! AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHH!!!

    THOSE FANS WITH THE ‘IN ARSENE WE TRUST’ BANNER, AAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! PATHETIC, NAIVE FOOLS!!!

    GET HIM OUT!!! GET HIM OUT!!! GET HIM OUT!!!

    £7M A YEAR!!! £7M A YEAR!!! DO YOU GET IT? HE’S NOT WORTH EVEN A 100TH OF THAT!

    AWFUL MANAGER! WENGER OUT!!! KLOPP IN!!!

  • Dan

    Ahhh, I’m glad I got that off my chest lol!

  • Stroller

    @Dark Prince
    “Is this the most frustrating time for an Arsenal fan ever? Definately yes”

    It may feel this way, but I can assure that it is not. Recent memories influence most but if you go back beyond the Wenger era there were far, far worse performances and results. The end of George Graham’s reign was pretty dire, follwed by Stewart Houston and Bruce Rioch. But if you go back to the 70’s and 80’s then you know that a 3rd or 4th place finish is relatively absolute heaven.

    The trouble is that expectations have been raised and over the last 3 months have not been met. In February we were in with a shout of all 4 trophies. Winning all 4 was probably never realistic, but winning none is a nightmare.

    We can’t have gone from heros to zeros so quickly just because our manager, coach and players are cr*p. Or simply because Denilson, Diaby and Bendner are at the club. There’s more to it than that, and I don’t think anybody outside really knows why, although there is no lack of opinion. Whatever, the reasons do have to be addressed during the summer.

  • jonjo

    Excuses, excuses, excuses, now its crowds fault, some other day it will be the aliens, then solar storm, then global warming, its just not our great great Emperors fault.

    this is hillarious article, so funny to read it and to think that someone believes in a single word written.

    It seems Tony that you have really really low expectations from our team when all that AW is doing is acceptable and fans are spoiled. Really low expectations.

  • Stroller

    @Dan
    Nobody likes being shouted at, so excuse me if I don’t even read the content of your childish rant for a grain of worthwhile content. There’s a few toys over there on the floor by your pram …

  • realistic tony

    @shard..look you seem like a genuine reasonable guy. I get the message from you that you are making a hell of a lot of excuses on behalf of AW. You even comment on squillacci being an international defender. The plain facts of the matter are that these signings:(from worst to better) squillacci, silvestre, koscienly are not arsenal quality and to ram home the point: would any of the prem league sides take squillacci even for free?
    i dont think so.
    The premier league will soon expose any weakness in a player as it is a hard and fast league, players from the french league either have to step up or step out…and kos is worthy of another season as a squad back-up, and as for squill he has no chance of making it here.
    You mention AW spending a lot!!!….he sold ade for 30 million, and obviously considers that his value, but wouldnt replace him with a quality player for the same value. (he wants 40+ for cesc but i guarantee he wouldnt replace with the same value). Its either double standards or just his natural way of selling high, buying low. AT OUR EXPENSE!!!….and its small thinking because investment can reap rewards…something he has lost from his economics expertise.

  • Stevie E

    @dan, seriously wft? AW has done an unbelivable job, no other manager could have done what he’s done for us and all you can do is throw abuse?!? Even spuds don’t talk like that about AW and do you know why? Because they would kill to have been where we’ve been since AWs been at the helm! I would love to have heard what you were saying about him only a few months ago when we beat Barca & were in the fight for 4 trophys, was he shite then? In fact, don’t even answer me cos I’m not interested in anythin you have to say. Go to the next page to spout your abuse. Just remember you said all this shit when AW guides us to the next round of trophys.

  • Stevie E

    @realistic tony, “at our expense”??? so you honestly think it’s the inome from the fans that generates the income for the club? Thank f**k you’re not in charge if you do!!! This ain’t sunday league my friend. What about tv money, champions league money, premier league money, international money etc etc etc? We were told when we moved into the ems we’d have no money until debt was paid, why is that so hard for you to understand? The profit from selling all these players pays off the debt. When the debt is paid off, we’ll have more money to spend. The fact we’ve been recieving champs league money every season means the debt gets paid quicker. The higher in the league we are, the more money we get, the debt gets paid off quicker. What a bastard AW is for ensuring the future of the club you profess to love. How dare he give us champ league without winning! How dare he challenge for the league without winning! economics expertise? It appears even the basics are lost on you…

  • Armin

    Is it me and my Tarzan English so I don’t see here anyone finding excuse in crowds? Except in comments of those who accusing someone for finding excuse in it…

  • bob

    @nicolette: On the refs. Glad you finally got to that one at the bitter end. What, then, about Chamack’s goal being waved off? And, btw, did you see that he did rush up to protest with that fool, but one of our players blocked him from getting carded by the same blinkered fool. There were other ref-induced travesties. The problem is two-sided: external and internal. External: the onslaught of bad to bent calls and non-calls like the one you allude to and the disallowing of Chamak’s goal, Internal: the chronic spate of our internal defensive breakdowns (especially on set-pieces). All the rabid rants and self-flagellating gloom has to be set aside for cold-eyed analysis of a two-sided problem. Solving one side without solving the other will yield a future of non-top 4 finishes.

  • bob

    @Zebidiah: Something is really rotten in your “pathetic little man” e-turd. The nice part is that you have to live with yourself. Hard hitting analysis, amen. Toxic e-bombs, go to LeGrove. Flush………..

  • Shard

    @realistic tony

    There are no excuses made, and none required in my opinion. Yes the team, and the manager have their faults. But they have their good points too, and on the whole I think Wenger has done a good job. A very good job in fact. Even if you disagree, think if you really do know in what way he has messed up, and the team has messed up. If you KNOW.. And then, if the ONLY, or rather the BEST way to fix that is to sack Wenger or kick out half the team.. I think it would be a foolish step, while freely admitting that certain players do not deserve to wear the shirt again and that some changes have to be made to try and achieve better results. I also say that we have to also acknowledge the role that refs have had this season. It is not the only reason for our ‘failure’. But it is a contributing factor.

  • arsene-al

    Tony you are a modern day socrates I have to say. And this is why I always look to untold for my arsenal fix. People tend to mold their views based on public opinion instead of taking a second to really think about it and form their own view. I think the 6% chants were to do with the price hike, but things have a way of being lost in translation. People probably just went with it based on whatever they were thinking, just to go along with the crowd you know. And I like your point at the end about booing, I also thought they were booing the ref, only til I read a few articles later did I start to think maybe it was the team being booed

  • RedGooner

    The chants of 6% in my opinion were about this

    LWDLLDDWDDLWLL
    That was the headline on another Arsenal site this morning and to be honest I was surprised that it was actualy our form because when you have something promising infront of you and its perhaps happening one game at a time then you get a win against Utd your spirits get lifted again you know we arent quite performing but dont always realise how much our season actualy tailed off.

    I have to say im more dissapointed with those that walked before the lap was walked by the players to turn your back on Thomas Vermallen who is hardly at fault for our season and also those that played their hearts out and werent responsible your offending them more than those that underperformed and two wrongs dont make a right.

  • Anne

    @bob:

    I think that your criticism of the defense in this particular match should be qualified by the fact that Arsenal’s starting back four had so little experience playing together. Vermaelen has been out all season, Gibbs and Squillaci haven’t played that much, and even Sagna hasn’t had much experience playing together w/ Vermaelen, Gibbs, and Squillaci.

    Under those circumstances, you almost have to expect some mix-ups at the back, and the early part of the match is when you’re most at risk for them. I’m sure Wenger was expecting it, but it’s kind of a necessary evil when you have injuries and you’re trying to get someone like Vermaelen back in form. They had a couple of mix-ups against Villa in the first 15 minutes(actually, it appeared to be the same mix-up twice), but went on from there to recover quite nicely, I thought. It took strength of character to not just fall to pieces, and I thought they deserved some credit for their overall performance, under the circumstances.

    It’s funny that w/ all the defensive problems Arsenal has had this season, when you look at each match individually, the problems were often competely different from match-to-match. I’m not sure what to make of that, actually, but it’s the main reason I’m hesitant to say that Arsenal really needs to buy new defenders, rather than just work w/ the ones they have. But I do think you make some valid points.

  • London Jimmy

    i’ve been reading this blog for awhile but haven’t been compelled to post until now. The behavior of arsenal fans was down right embarassing on Sunday. What ever happened to supporting your team through the tough times? So we didn’t win any cups this year, woopty-F-N-doo. Yes we should boo the management and even boo wenger for not bringing in support during the tranfer window, but don’t boo the team that brought us some of the most exciting matches I’ve seen in awhile. Looking back this year, the team progressed and got several scalps this season: Chelsea, Man City, Man U, BARCELONA(!).

  • fatboy slim

    complete waste of money yesterday,the better team won with ease. squlacci is awful get rid of quick please.we also need a decent medical team as whenever our players are injured they are out for weeks not days.

  • moyyen

    boycott the season ticket then they will understand.we fans should have the power.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    It’s very simple: it’s against the culture of ‘the fans will pay up no matter what’.

    The players have been getting massive pay rises the past 5 years and the output, namely performance in the 4 competitions, has been static. That’s right, static.

    Now I realise that business is like that nowadays. CEOs award themselves huge bonuses without improving performances. Shareholders are starting to grumble.

    Ah, you’ll say. Supporters aren’t the shareholders, they’re the customers. Well, customers grumble too. They grumble about shite train services allied to big bonuses to executives.

    The supporters are saying: this is ridiculous: you can’t keep on charging us more without delivering more.

    The players are saying: ‘if you don’t, we’ll go somewhere else’. So, if you believe the papers (I don’t), Clichy’s off somewhere, Nasri’s off somewhere, Fabregas is of course going home.

    Wilshere earned his pay rise. He went from occasional substitute to key 1st team performer. That’s a key difference in performance.

    Did the rest of them?

    Don’t think so.

    That’s what the fans are complaining about.

    And if you think they have no right, you’re just an insider stooge mate.