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While true fans are loyal lovers the media descends into puerile pornography

Woolwich Arsenal, the club that changed football.  Have your name in the book as an official sponsor.  Updated information here

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By Tony Attwood

The longest relationship I have had in my life is with Arsenal.  I found myself emotionally bound to the club from childhood, with both my parents coming from families that supported the club from the moment it moved to north London. I had no choice.  I was an “Attwood”, I was Arsenal.

Now with both my parents having passed away a few years back, and with myself being no longer in contact with any of my chums from primary school, my love affair with Arsenal is by far and away the longest emotional relationship in my life.

Which means that when things go wrong, as they did last night in Milan, I feel the pain.  There’s no logic there, no analysis.  Just pain, sadness, unhappiness.

It is the same when we win: I just have the emotions.  I couldn’t fully share in the 7-1 victory over Blackburn as I was in Australia at the time, but I’ve been there at great moments – the victory over Everton to win the league with Tony Adams scoring, a 6-1 away thrashing of Middlesbrough, the final game of the unbeaten season to secure the impossible dream….

Why did I laugh and scream with delight on these occasions?  And in the case of the final whistle of the victory over Leicester at the end of the unbeaten season, why did I cry and cry so much that the guy next to me, who I didn’t know, felt moved to comfort me and ask if I needed help?   Because of my emotions.  Because of my lifetime love affair with this football club.

The ups, the downs – I never know how to cope with them properly – especially the downs.  My mate Roger, with whom I shared so many journeys and so many matches before his untimely death, used to get into the car after a humiliating defeat, shake his head and say, “never mind”.   And that was that.  What else could be said?

But the media play a different game – especially when it is a European game.   It is an irrelevant game, but at the same time, a game that leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

They start always with the commentators saying that they are hoping for a victory for the English team.  But that is not a hope based on the emotions that we all feel as real Arsenal supporters – it is a fake emotion, an emotion based on nationalism and the voyeurism of the onlooker who can’t be part of the real show.

We are supporting Arsenal in Europe because we love Arsenal, not because Arsenal is a club whose ground is in England.   Goodness knows what Walter and his pals in Belgium would think of it all if he heard this faux commentary.  The commentators don’t actually call the opposition “Johnny Foreigners” any more as Lord Sugar did when he was running chairman and was talking about Arsenal signing Bergkamp, but the implication is there.

Then, when it all goes wrong, they start looking at the detail, like sad pornographers, unable to understand the meaning of our love for the club, and so instead looking for details, close ups etc, all with the vague hope of getting turned on.

Whether they do get a turn on or not I don’t know – but surely they must know they exist in a terrible no-man’s-land devoid of the company of all real passionate supporters.    You know, and I know, that last night all real Arsenal supporters were desperate for us to do well, and desperately sad when we didn’t.  You know, and I know, that all Tottenham, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea supporters were desperate for us to do badly.  The first four because they weren’t invited to the show, and the last one because it takes the pressure of their failures.

I don’t blame those supporters – I am the same in reverse.  I want those teams to fail, and I want my team to win, just as when my children were in competitions during their school days, I wanted them to be first, at the expense of everyone else.

So the media move from a very very poor imitation of a lover at the start of the show, wanting Arsenal to do well, and turn into something more akin to the dirty old man looking in through the window at the couple having a bit of slap and tickle on the sofa.   They analyse the position, they look at the moves, they criticise the technique of the couple in the house, and they do all this AS IF THEIR OPINION MATTERED.

This is where they go so wrong.  Their opinion does not matter.  It doesn’t matter a toss.  I have my grief at last night’s defeat, and I don’t need a bunch of people who don’t know the meaning of being a true supporter to tell me anything about it, any more than a teenager needs a Personal Social and Health Education teacher to tell him how to get over it when the girl he fancies has been seen holding hands with the guy who works in the pie factory.

These emotions are things that you work out yourself, with your own loved ones and your dearest friends.  And it is this that the media has always failed to understand.  It is emotional guys, there is no logic.

True, the football media did once have a raison d’etre, in the days before mass TV coverage of football, for in those days they could tell us what happened – and it was the only way we got to know the story.  Often they were hilarious with it too, writing in a style that is now long since gone.   Later they had a role in telling us who might be moving from club A to club B.

Now those reasons for existence have gone.  The games are on TV, and the rumours of transfers are all false.

Their new approach – trying to be logical about something that for most of us is utterly emotional – leaves them cast out on a desert island that most sane people can’t reach and don’t want to reach.

I am, for some reason, reminded of Plato’s Republic.  Don’t worry if this means nothing to you – its a Greek thing.  But anyway, in the book Plato describes his perfect society, and within that society he bans poets.  He does so, as I recall, because the poets always fail to put across the emotions of life, because they use words which are fixed in real meanings.  When they go beyond colours and shapes, they fail.   Musicians on the other hand, working in the abstract world of pure emotion, can open the gateway to feelings, and they can be in the Republic.  Plato lets in the musicians – just as I open the door to the true supporters wrapped forever in their all-encompassing love for their club.

So it is with football.  It is an emotional world, not a logical world, and the insistence on the media to treat it in a non-emotional fails every time, just as pornography fails to convey anything vaguely approaching the meaning of love and relationships.

I am devastated, I am sad, I am heartbroken, I am lost.  And I don’t need some snivelling journalist on TV or in the paper to tell me that the cause was something to do with the fact that we have lost our three best midfield players this season, or anything else.   I know all that, and I don’t care.

Just leave me to my misery.

 

75 comments to While true fans are loyal lovers the media descends into puerile pornography

  • Pat

    Roger was right, Tony. The only sensible response to last night is ‘Never mind!’
    I’m not so sure about Plato and banning poets, though!
    Maybe ban all sports journalists, instead.

  • richard

    Great to read a balanced and non hysterical review of last night’s debacle. I must admit i have long since given up listening to any of the pre or post match chatter from the various talking heads – either total drivel or makes you want to punch the tv set! I beleive that having watched my beloved gunners for 40 years i almost certainly know more about my team than they do! Lets just hope that Arsene can inspire the required response on saturday

  • Donnyfan1

    The shock of a rout can do strange things to one, Tony. The problem is- teams know how to beat Arsenal. Show courage and put in the effort– and run! With a bit of help from the officials- spineless Arsenal are there for the taking! Loyal lover or not- it has to be faced. Guess what Sunderland will do this weekend? Get the hemlock out old bean!

  • WalterBroeckx

    It’s like stepping in a dog shit. Disgusting but you just have to clean your shoe and get on with what ever you were planning to do.
    We are supporters in the good times when it is easy to be a supporter.
    But we are also supporter in the bad times when it isn’t that easy.
    It can happen and it isn’t nice to see it happen but life goes on. Saturday is another game to play.
    We will just stay loyal as you will Tony.
    The most important game is the next one. The last one is gone and done.

    the game is live on my sports channel. I will be there!

    Never mind….

  • Amr

    We are breaking records all over the shop this season!!!

    -Our worst ever start to a domestic season.
    -Our worst ever defeat in the domestic league
    -Our worst ever defeat in European football

    What worries me most now is if our captain RvP has an ounce of ambition in his bones, he won’t sign a new contract…and that would mean the only World Class player left in the squad will be off.

    But hey “nevermind” we will just continue to pay the highest prices in world football, after all as long as it’s Arsenal mugging me off, that’s okay isn’t it!

  • Gooner Gal

    Good Article Tony. I thought the commentator’s going on about players that left was boringe. When the more obvious reason why we have struggled recently was the number of injuries.

  • Amr, if you are going to contribute to Untold, please make some small effort to at least get one or two facts right.

    Our worst start to a domestic season was 1912/13. Our worst defeat in the domestic league was against Loughborough. I can’t recall the worst defeat in Europe, but I don’t think this was it.

    If you are a supporter, why don’t you read the club programme. The first two facts were covered in the programme this season. I know, because I wrote the articles. The programme is available on line, on subscription and in the ground.

    As for highest prices – this is a made up story, and we have dealt with it so often, I am just getting fed up going through it. Arsenal is not the most expensive club in the EPL, let alone world football.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Amr, where did you get those facts from? complete rubbish…unless you also add that it’s the worst under the greatest manager we’ve had at Arsenal for a long while.

  • Gooner Gal

    All those that worry that RVP will leave now after this poor performance, when the truth is he might of been going anyway, don’t make too much sense. At least his decision would make more sense than that of some of our other players that have left over the years like Anelka, Overmars, Petit, Vieira etc. That’s life, that’s football.

  • Gooner Gal

    And so we have had the ticket prices clap trap, how long before someone frome the cult of David Dein turns up?

  • OK, the entire might of the Arsenal History Society (www.arsenalhistory.info) has been onto the question of the worst defeat in Europe.

    Everything depends on the meaning of worst of course. In terms of goal difference we think we probably was – but we were playing the top team in Italy, financed by the ex-Prime Minister of Italy, and the man who owns and controls most of the TV stations.

    But consider also

    2-5 vs Spartak Moscow (USSR) (h) 1st round 2nd leg UEFA Cup, 29 Sep 1982

    Or how about

    first home match Staevnet 2-3 – that was a shocker.

    The fact is most of the time in the past we simply didn’t qualify for Europe, or when we did, we got knocked out in the opening couple of rounds.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Winterslag anyone…

  • akasuna

    I remember the banner from FA Cup against Aston Villa, “for the brave,nothing is too difficult..” I still believe in this Arsenal Team. Keep the faith!!

  • Talking about the cult of Dein, I think it is not long before the lock down agreement within the shareholders not to sell their shares, comes to an end. So expect a big talking up of the fact that Mr Kronke could, in theory, sell his shares to Mr Usmanov, for a very big profit.

  • Uj31

    @ amr, Dont worry if RVP or any other player leaves, we will still have the crock rosicky, useless denilson, ever injured diaby, (no words can describe how horrible this player is) djourou, ever injured and useless gibbs, inconsistent walcott, calamity trio of almunia fabianski & squillaci and the lazy arshavin to cheer us up.
    And as for AW, even the AA brigade will have the utmost respect for him for whats he has done but he is not bigger than the club. We dont want him to sign a 50m player. we want players who want to play for the club and work hard every week. I dont even remember how long rosicky was injured but he got his contract extended. the same with diaby and gibbs. always out injured. simple logic, if my car brakes down every week, i would sell it & cut my losses. i dont believe AW when he says that there are no players that can replace diaby, arshavin, rosicky, gibbs, squillaci, denilson or the rest of the deadwood in the arsenal squad.

  • Amr

    sorry about that, maybe I should re-write my facts seeing as they were correctly disputed.

    -Our worst ever start to a division 1/premier league season. FACT
    -Our worst ever defeat in the premier league. FACT
    -Our worst ever defeat in European football. FACT
    -£4 for a Chicken Tikka pie at the Ems. FACT ^^

  • Uj31 – pray tell, by your “cut and run with the injured players” logic:

    1. How can we expect players to be loyal to us, if we aren’t to them?
    2. You’re effectively advocating selling RvP about three years ago… doesn’t sound like a bright idea to me.

  • DC

    Tony, welcome back from your jaunt! I too shall be paying a visit to the “land down-under” very soon and cannot wait!
    This is the most wonderful post that I have read for a very long time on UA! Beautifully insightful, honest, genuine and EXACTLY what any true supporter understands; as I have done for 33 years of my beloved AFC.
    The amount of pretence and pseudo-intellectual bullshit in modern life (nevermind in all of football fanaticism) now fills me with utter disgust!
    Why there is always a need to over-analyse, over-criticise and excessively blame after such performances baffles me; and the use of such descriptions as “disaster” is just vile! What happened at Hillsborough, Heysal and recently in Cairo are the disasters!

  • DC

    What happened last night is the same as what happened at OT early in the season.
    The home side played as well as they could and we played as badly as we could. Simple as!!!

  • DC

    The EPL is no longer as all-conquering as it once was so we had ALL better wake up and see the truth!

  • p.s. great article from Tony. I’ve certainly started enjoying football a lot more since I started to chill out about it, and not got so hyped up and angry at our defeats and injustices

  • Sammy The Snake

    Tony, thank you for being so calm after such a terrible game.

    Things aren’t well this season. Things aren’t well at Arsenal. I can see that when Tony looks forward to a chance when Kronke would sell out to Usmanov.

  • Stevie E

    Amr
    -Our worst ever start to a division 1/premier league season. FACT BUT, we’re up to forth so does that not show mental fortitude?
    -Our worst ever defeat in the premier league. FACT BUT, we’re up to fourth and have dished out a hiding or two along the way.
    -Our worst ever defeat in European football. FACT BUT, we’re in the competition, Man U & Man Shitty aren’t, they must be totally rubbish by your logic
    -£4 for a Chicken Tikka pie at the Ems. FACT Go to Greggs before you go to a game and buy a pie of £1

  • WalterBroeckx

    I really don’t see why the price of a chicken pie is something to moan about. Think its too much? then do like Stevie E tells you and buy it somewhere else.

  • Mandy Dodd

    I am always going to stay loyal to this club, I could not do otherwisw if I tried. But that was a shocker. Familiar failings seem to be repeating themselves. From that performance, either the players are not good enough, lack confidence, are not being told what to do or are not doing what they are told. As a loyal fan, I would love to see certain issues addressed, I do not buy the cult of Dein, but I do think someone like Keown could do wonders for us defending as a team for the next few months. And I am not just having a go at defenders, the support they received from the rest of the team was woeful. Then the injuries, like Xmas, they come around same time every year.To move forward, the club need to do more to combat this problem, this costly problem.
    The performance in the last 12 months, for a club like this has not really been acceptable, there is the perception we are moving backwards, not as a measure against those with petrodollars, but as a measure of the standard of this team in recent years. This team will need strengthening this summer, as it did the last few, either by transfers, scouting, coaching and players developing, if for whatever reason we are failing in any of these, something needs doing. If we do lose RVP, we need to be ready and act a lot faster than last summer.
    We have not done well since the club was bought by Stan, coincidence or something more? I am not even pretending to know the answer.
    I am not some sad black bin protesting no life who is more interested in attendance figures than the performance of the team. I love this club as much as the AAA love Arry, MON and Dein combined, but I want this team to do well, and be able to use the resources it has to do so. But above all, I am saddened, at the worst performance y a London club in the CL, since…let me think….the Spuds got a kicking from Real…

  • WalterBroeckx

    And the only thing I want to moan about is the fact that Per Mertesacker was missing and for the first time since a long time our defence didn’t look very solid.
    I read a stat somewhere on twitter a few weeks ago and that said that Per Mertesacker was leading the defenders who had made most last minute interceptions. Nobody notices this as it isn’t very fancy footwork or very skilful to see. But my god it is very much needed in a team. And his experience at the highest levels in the Bundesliga and world cups was badly missing yesterday.
    For the first time since a long time we struggled a bit with the long high ball.

    My special song request and adapted a bit for Per Mertesacker is: Junge, komm bald wieder, bald wieder nach haus… Junge, fall nie wieder, nie wieder hinaus…

    Really wondering who will know this song 😉

  • RedGooner

    Two sides to every story isnt there.

    I have seen worse defeats in europe when Liverpool were a side to be reckoned with going out 1-0 to the polish side I think they were called wisdo lodge 1-0 that team was full of part time players one was a postman.

    BUT none of that matters right now. I for one am not the kind of person who could ever change the club I support its part of who I am and always has been.

    Get over the result and move on support the team in a positive way for the rest of the season and hope that Ivan and Arsen can turn the club back around over the next few seasons.

    The reason most people are frustrated right now is because we have been spoilt I think the invincibles played better and more attractive football than any club side I have ever seen including Barcelona today only the old brazil teams matched them that is before the brazilian players all started playing in europe and loosing the natural skill they had.

  • Ephrem

    I don’t want to go overboard & criticise anyone.As an Arsenal supporter last night was just sad.Players and Managers come & go and they leave their mark on the team.The current situation at the club need to change.We need players with passion,ambition and love for the club.Last night and most of this season performance is clueless,disorganised,dull,impervious and passionless. we don’t need good players,we need passionate players.

  • Tasos

    Nice article Tony, I can’t stand the modern day football pundit.

    My own opinions on last nights game may differ from others. I believe Arsenal/Arsene have taken a gamble and placed their eggs in the one basket. To My mind the team conserved energy last night in order to give themselves a better opportunity in the FA Cup tie on Saturday.

    Three tough away games inside 8 days has placed an enormous strain on the players energy levels, especially when you include the poor state of the two playing surfaces. At some stage fatigue will begin to have an adverse effect on the players performances, just as it did to Sunderland the week previous, fatigue effects the concentration/mind as much as it does body.

    Whilst I accept that My logic is not an exact science, conserving energy levels does not indicate Arsenal will automatically win on Saturday, it only serves to increase the teams probability of winning. I hope the gamble pays off.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    There are many people who love each other but who do not remain together forever, because they are unable to reconcile differences in key parts of their relationship.

    Love can sometimes involve forceful confrontation. It is usually used by those who have tried more gentle means and have found it to be inadequate to resolve the problem. I believe it is called ‘tough love’ by some.

    There is a very great deal of debate about what it means to be a ‘true Arsenal supporter’ a true ‘supporter’ of any club for that matter. You have decided that you are the person to define it. That’s your right, but it’s not a universal truth.

    There are many musicians who are poets and many poets are also musical. For some, the music comes early, the poetry later; for others it is the other way around.

    If your definition of a true Arsenal supporter is ‘I will spend a great deal of money to see players paid very high levels of wages and play a less stellar brand of football’, just because they wear the Arsenal shirt, then you say so. Others might say that a true Arsenal supporter would expect highly paid players to uphold standards commensurate with their wages……….

    The long-term truth of any football club is that, as long as it doesn’t go bankrupt like Accrington Stanley did, Bradford Park Avenue did (although even those two have been resurrected) or be mutated from Wimbledon FC to Milton Keynes Dons FC (and AFC Wimbledon is now back in the football league), then the two things which endure is the club and its fanbase. Managers come and go, players come and go, trophies are won or not.

    I suggest to you in all humility that you have an indulgent view of what fans should expect to receive for the money they pay and a slightly less than healthy attitude to what should be expected from £121m of wages.

    I don’t expect you to agree with me, but I challenge you in the strongest possible terms that you, and only you, define what a true supporter should think or feel.

    Sir.

  • Arvind

    Mertesacker was missed Walter, Yes. I’m not too sure we’d have won but maybe maybe we’d have conceded lesser and still in the tie had he been there.

    @Rhys: That was nicely written. Let me try and give you the perspective of a ‘true fan’; sitting 5000 miles+ away in India.

    What’s the aim of a ‘fan’, Rhys? I won’t attempt to categorize one; because as you rightly say; its different for different people. But if you break everything down to its absolute primitives; I think everyone wants to win.

    A fan can’t win..of course so he supports a team which can. When the team wins, he’s happy and when it doesn’t he’s not. That’s as simple as it is. Now we go to the next step..

    When we win, with style and panache .. its an easy easy decision to support a club, be proud of the brand of football it plays and laud everyone with superlatives not often seen. And sells shirts…

    Then we keep winning…but with not so much style and panache…and its still ok…because the average fan (not in a bad way) does not care about technique, style, goals, how we won etc etc … As long as we win; because everyone wants to be identified with a winner, it is all okay and no one will ever complain. Well, there might be a few…but it’ll be drowned out.

    Then we start losing; 1,2,3,4 in a row… get knocked out of cups. We’re no longer winners.. in the way that the world sees. So the fan suddenly finds out he is associated with a losing team and being associated with losers; is not too cool. He’s ribbed in the bar, at school, at work, in the media..everywhere. That’s not cool. So at some point…this kind of fan ..breaks. And ‘expresses’ frustraion..in varying degrees..in various ways…most of them.. counter productive to his initial goal…wanting the team to WIN.

    It suddenly becomes about the fan himself…it never should have been. That wasn’t the case when he started following football and the club..was it? Why did those basic values change? Who shifted the goalposts? Why?

    There are some though; a large part of them on Untold who are doubtlessly unhappy with the situation; and pissed in varying degrees with the players, manager and board. But they all still (I think) realize, that booing or ‘expressing dis-satisfaction’ with bin bags at home games is totally totally counter productive to the initial..root cause… ‘Helping your team win’… And that is the only reason they back the team(loosely put forgive me) publicly..on Untold and elsewhere.

    Really…with or without fans, wouldn’t you agree that a player knows when he’s played badly or not? Wouldn’t he hurt the most? You didn’t need your boss to tell you that you’d screwed up..right? You knew. Whether you got castigated for it or not..publicly..is a different matter. But you knew. And you WANT to set that right..somehow. You really do.

    And when everyone who knows[THIS IS THE IMPORTANT BIT] you’ve screwed up .. know that you want to fix stuff; what will help more..support or booing? So who knows? How much? Until Rhys, with all due respect, your goals are exactly the same as the Arsenal board’s…what you say is an extremely well thought out assumption, articulated very well. It isn’t fact.

    It’s possible there are players who don’t care. Yes. It just isn’t fact. If you know for example..that Squillaci does not care at all..you could say that; otherwise you can’t. You can only say he underperformed. But I digress..

    I’ll sum up; and thank you for reading this far. I don’t know what a true fan is or how much you’re supposed to pay before you can be called one. I won’t get into that or any other debate of a similar nature. I do know though, that I will do whatever is needed to help me win…in this case help AFC win. And supporting the players and team publicly, with constructive factual criticism when needed without calling players idiots, fools, paedophiles and what not. That frankly, is all I expect of a fan.

    I do like to sign off with quotes so here’s one of my favorite ones – albeit slightly modified..

    “The average FAN does not possess the TRUE FAN’s power of self-confident resistance, and will break much faster; he will give up his mind, in hopeless bewilderment, under the first touch of pressure.”

    The bits in CAPS are modified. Thank You.

  • FinnGooner

    Great article Tony, and it’s one reason why I know I can come here everyday even after losing a match. There is pain and disappointment but still faith, respect and support for the club (instead blame and all that negativity).

    I think one reason we lost and were lost was as speed and wide players are our biggest strenght and because that disgrace of pitch we could not use them (was AC Milan done that on purpose?).

    Wait a pie costs 4£ in Ems that’s what bit over 5€… I’m really now thinking to move to England as it’s CHEAP. I haven’t eaten anything at sport stadiums in Finland but if they sell food they will be minimum of 5€ for sure. I did buy cup (small) of hot chocolate last September during Finland-Holland match and it was about 2.50€…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Arvind, this was worthy of an Untold article itself!

    Walter takes a bow.

  • Shard

    A pie is £3 if you have it after the match 🙂

  • DC

    @Rhys,
    I’m sure that Tony will answer you in person regarding clarification of his definition, but for my 2 cents’ worth, I partly agree with one point you mention. However, rather than align it to wages, which all too often is inappropriately done and is actually irrelevant from club to club; the standards of performance should be “commensurate” to the standards and traditions expected of the club in question. Now that for me as a true supporter is what disappoints and, on occasion, angers most; when the player has not given that level of expected performance! Focusing on the wage of a player, lifestyle, etc does not necessarily encourage performance but it may practically hold him accountable if he is one of the new breed of mercenary footballers. Nevertheless, it still does not make him someone who understands or appreciates the ingrained doctrines and standards of that club, which unfortunately for them, can be very high as ours are at Arsenal.
    Now, who is to blame for not educating or indoctrinating the player in these standards is another question entirely but it does not lie solely with the manager but is also the task of other parties (including the true supporters) and a great deal of it has to come from within the individual themselves! That is where so many of these players are still deficient. Will they ever learn before it’s too late and their morale and confidence is totally destroyed? I doubt it but the likes of Thierry Henry, Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Niall Quinn, Viv Anderson, Alan Smith, Ian Wright, to name but a very small few, certainly should have set them blueprints to follow and try to emulate.

  • Arvind

    Thanks Walter. Glad you liked reading it.

  • DC

    @Arvind,
    That is an excellent post! Well done!
    May I also add, that a true fan does not feel disappointment if he knows that his team has performed admirably and were beaten by the better team!
    That aspect of detail in footballing fanaticism unfortunately raises the arrogance and expectation levels of the so-called bigger clubs’ supporters (usually stratified by their financial wealth) and they lose touch with what true and honest sporting competition is all about!

  • DC

    No team has the God Given rite to win if all things (particularly the officiating, injuries, etc) are fair and just.

  • Amr

    @FinnGooner:

    If you think that’s “CHEAP” then I have to say good for you mate, but it’s not cheap for me and it’s not cheap for a lot of other people…maybe that’s why we are struggling to fill our stadium now? Because the club have forgotten the true fans? The average Londoner who struggles to pinch together the £50 quid+ it costs to go to a match. After all why would they lower the price when they have fans in Finland who think £4 for a pie is cheap, hell next year they might even raise the price again because they know our loyalty as fans to the club is often unquestionable and have been bleeding me dry for the past 6 years with that premise in mind. But I guess it’s okay because we get to watch World Class players week in week out defiantly worth our £120m+ wage bill…oh wait…we got slammed 8-2 by a Man Utd team that themselves would have been slammed 8-2 had they faced the UTD team of 1999/2000. Half our players aren’t worth £5 per week let alone £50,000, but hey the £4 pie is cheap!
    We do still announce and attendance figures of 60,000+ for each home game, it doesn’t really matter that we don’t actually have 60,000 (probably have less than 40,000) in the stadium because the club have already pocketed the cash up front, still I doubt you’d travel from Finland 3 times per week to watch Arsenal, so whether you think it’s cheap or not is pretty irrelevant wouldn’t you say?
    Football in England and especially Arsenal F.C have always been rooted to the working class, it’s tribal and full of passion. Over the last decade this has been changing a lot and I hate the say this but Arsenal F.C. is at the forefront of these changes in world football. Is it a surprise that there is discord between the club and it’s fans (who are now routinely called “customers” by the club)? I could argue the fact that ever since we moved stadium we have lost our way as a club, lost the soul and the passion that made us special…now we are just expected to fork over our hard earned cash, sit in our corporate playground and shut up whether we like what’s going on or not….MAMA DIDN’T RAISE NO FOOL!

  • Arvind

    @DC: Thanks. Glad you like it.

  • dan

    Just another bad performance, honestly does anyone think we can win the CL? I think not, even Wenger knows this season is another rebuilding project and we cant expect anything other than the bare minimum.

    The team yesterday was devoid of ideas and lacked focus from the off, many people even the fans expect the same arsenal style which we’ve grown accustomed to, but this is a different team.

    As poor as we were AC on the other hand were brilliant but I didn’t feel so bad, this games highlights the issue which have effected the team and slowly Wenger will address them, just watch the post match interview.

  • Gord

    Ouch, that hurt. But, the team has today and tomorrow to sort that out, and then they need to put this behind them and get back on the winning track.

    The only mention of Koscielny’s injury I see, is “knee”. News about Per Mertesacker still fixates on this “month” guess that Wenger made before Mertesacker went to see his specialist in Germany. It also fixates on “ligament” damage, and as near as I can tell most of the bruising is from tendon damage, not ligament damage. In any event, get well soon guys.

  • bob

    Hear ye, Hear ye:
    The senior avatar of Team Manchester Guardian, Sir Richard Williams, is back on the Arse-Beatdown and today has weighed in – studs up – with this All-Conclusive Headline (to his article): “Arsène Wenger has allowed Arsenal youngsters too much of a comfort zone” and this subheadline: “Theo Walcott’s and Aaron Ramsey’s poor performances in Milan symbolise the failure of Wenger’s entire development philosophy” Waiting to pounce, lurking with intent, defecating on cue, salivating over our wound, ladies and gentleman, behold that the re-appearance of this cretinous, massively self-important blowhard on the Cat Walk to Fergus XX officially signals Round Two of the “Arsene Out” Campaign, 2011-2012.

    UM/UA/All it is time to dig in, call out, and expose this man and his minions at the Manchester Guardians and his ilk across the Media Kingdumb, as they mean us, AFC, and AW nothing but ill. (IMO, each club/coach in the way of Fergus XX is undergoing or is meant to undergo a crisis. This is ours.) Keep the Faith! Vigilance! Go Gunners!

  • Tony your post has been some sort of catharsis for me. Any time we get beaten like we did last night I personally avoid the after,match reports and the pundits on tv and Internet until much later in the day when all the bile and vitriolic stuff has been spawned by the faithful and unfaithful alike. Going forward, how do we achieve some level of consistency in our team’s performance?

    We should not expect to re-enact the Invicibles at this stage as the team has been in a state of flux for more than 2 seasons now. That we sold some members of the mid-field does not hold water now. AFC has all the stuff to achieve consistency and success on the field of play with our current crop of players. Why are we not? Wenger himself admitted that the team’s average age is 24 now, so what give’s? Management? Transfer policy? Tactics? Substitutions? Defense? Lack of ambition? A healthy bottom-line at all costs? The board? Injuries?

    There are probably some other reasons but we need to identify the most single important one and the others that are affecting our perfomances in recent times to enable us prioritize and deal with them accordingly. We should not allow our sporadic successes to becloud the need for this cleansing in our performances. Enter, Wenger, will he do what he needs to do? Will he continue to carry the can for all and everything that is wrong with us now? How much capacity does he have to continue to do so? When will push come to shove?

    I admit I do not know any of the answers. However, unless AFC was not set up to win trophies then they don’t need us, the fans, they could as well make all the sustainable acts they want and live happily ever after making all the profits they want. That is where we part ways. It is unconscionable to continue to lead us along a path that will end in lack of trophies and yet make us believe that the club is seeking success on the field play without doing the things that will signal those intentions clearly and unambiguously. Is the board clear in it’s mind what the club is all about? Is it in alignment with the expectations of the fans who pay the bills? If they really want us then then it is time they started listening and acting accordingly. May God grant them the quality of discernment to achieve it.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    My God there are far too many bi-polar football supporters out there. Up and down like manic yo-yos! Steady on! This ship always sails forward! And, if it loses the odd rat or two no great loss.

  • bob

    And, for what it’s worth, Chelsea coach AVB – who only recently has called out Howard the Webbmaster for being under the influence of Don Fergus – has given Arsene/AFC a vote of confidence for possibly being able to comeback in the second leg. That’s two things in common with AFC and AVB, to date. The link: http://www.football365.co.za/story/0,22162,8689_7525614,00.html

  • mjgooner

    Really admire your optimism and loyalty, but I am sure you would realise (sooner or later) that every good (or bad) thing have to come to an end some time.

    Arsene Wenger will not be here forever, when he leaves I just hope you will not leave with him…..

  • ALEX

    Arvind

    I like the way you put about the fans thing.

    To me it look like one sided view.
    I mean this ARSENAL the one we love it all and there is that american man who is the lord currently .True that from a proper fan the list expected is to be loyal and to be there stay there during hot and cold times.Yes to the club .
    In here there is real confusion because this club is owned by an individual and is not a fan by million miles but a businessman who is interested only on ripping the club benefit.
    I don’t know what he has done this man to save us.
    Did he brought extra money of his own to let us compete with our likes ? NO
    Where the club at any time was threatened by administration ?

    So unless the club is dominated or controlled by the PROPER FAN (As you describe it)if the faces of the fan are changing is not a hate that pop up suddenly but a silent anger that ferments slowly.

    My point here is Arsenal is not a fan based club but Arsenal is one of the Kronkie empire and the fans that they pay top dollar it is natural expect something better than we are seen know.

  • Shard

    Arsenal lose, Kick out Kroenke.. Do you people have no originality? And if people are so concerned about the quality of the product that they pay for,might I suggest you also blame the EPL, the PGMOL, and even the tabloids you read because they all form part of the same product, and Arsenal’s results haven’t always been independent of these.

    When people talk of kicking Kroenke out, they aren’t arguing for that really. They are arguing to end our self sustaining model. Which is ok if they think it’ll get us more money. But who gets money (if at all) won’t be the Arsenal we know. We won’t have a manager who also considers the future of the club. We won’t have a youth structure and young players being given any chances. We won’t have our brand of football. Of course those are not set things. But these are also possibilities that must be considered when arguing for a change in Arsenal’s overall structure. Especially when you consider that with the new shirt deal looming, we will be earning more anyway. what better than to keep the things that we do well, while also having the freedom to do more. Money, especially when it’s ONLY about money, isn’t everything. And this doesnt even consider that anyone else who takes over is not necessarily working to the club’s benefit. Titles or no titles, a club is more than that. Oh and if you want a owner who is a PROPER FAN, then Usmanov is your man.. Except he’s a fan of another club.
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/article267191.ece

    Lets not kid ourselves that ANY owner is not in football for their own benefit.

  • Adam

    I caught the game on ITV What annoyed me even before a ball was kicked was the fact that they had Roy Keane & Gareth Southgate on as pundits WHY??? What the F*** have Arsenal fans done to deserve having to put up with Roy Keane and his depressing views on AFC. Gareth Southgate I do not mind but he seemed to feed off of Roys pessimism.

  • Arseboy70

    As dissapointed as I am over last night’s performance…, put it this way: We could have been Stoke supporters if things were different! Life’s not so bad after all… 🙂

  • DC

    @Bobome,
    You make some interesting points which I concur with.
    I too am very concerned and disturbed about the board’s genuinity and real motives, and Kroenke’s true intentions.
    Arsene cannot keep taking the blame for the lack of activity in the transfer markets or the clear and recurrent delays in closing significant transfer dealings and progressing their negotiations. Arsene’s loyalty towards the club and its supporters keep making him a scapegoat for the AAA and scum-hacks like Richard Williams, and masks our board’s significant culpability in all that is currently wrong with our club. I cannot wait for the time that Arsene breaks his silence wrt his relationship with the board since David Dein’s departure!

  • iniez

    What happened to the days where we would argue with OTHER fans, and fight and fight and deny and deny just to defend our team? Not preaching blindness to issues, but unless we’re fighting relegation, keep your doubts to yourself and pretend we’re perfect, come on you all know what I mean, its called being a fan. Honestly I’m tired of arguing with arsenal fans and defending my team from arsenal fans, I miss arguing with our rivals, I’ve honestly argued with more gooners in the past 2 years than any other fans..come the f**** on. For the record who else thinks we’re going to tear milan a new one at the ems? History is calling, and fate is on the other line

  • Ugandan Goon

    hello old chums,
    just thought i’d pop in to offer my bona fides to the last of the rearguard gooners on the interweb, some may have succumbed, but at UA the fight continues!
    thank you very indeed.
    There is not a lot one can say after yesterday except the oft misused line that lessons must be learned by all and we move on!
    Up the arse!

  • DC

    Well said iniez!
    Better surface, strong support and 2 or 3 goals in the first half and it’s game on!
    Certainly can’t play as badly as in Milan and with nothing to lose or fear as was shown in the second half against Villa in the FA cup, we can “tear a new one” in anyone! Come on you gunners; get back on the horse at the stadium of light and learn to play consistently in the grand old traditions and style of the great teams of the past!

  • DC

    I’ll certainly be there to cheer the lads on as usual! Come on you Gunners and Gooners!

  • Gooner Gal

    @ iniez, I agree! Other football fans have better banter and appreciation of the club, manager and players.

    The best joke I got sent yesterday was:-

    Q: What do Arsenal and a three plug have in common?
    A: They are both useless in Europe.

    It was from a Scouser, who I had sent following their loss to Man U:

    Q: What is the difference between a battery and a Liverpool fan?
    A: A battery has a positive side.

  • Gooner Gal

    Suprisingly there have been only a few wind up merchants on this thread today and I’ve enjoyed reading quite a few of the comments. The dam’s are holding.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Amr, I too miss the days when we used jumpers for goalposts, I could catch the bus for 20p (it costs a wapping £2.30 now) and you could buy a portion of chips for 40p! Inflation eh? **grumble, grumble**

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Finngooner, I love Arsenal’s global fanbase, one of the best games I went to at the Emirates was when I seated next to two Egyptian hard core Gooners, who had flown in for the game. Standing next to people who whinge and moan from begining to end can ruin the experience. I also love that when I wear Arsenal clothing in different parts of the world, it’s and ice breaker and on two occaisions been a door opener.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Amr, £4.00 for pie and £50.00 for a home game ticket….I remember the days, when that would buy you at least 10,000 1/2penny sweets! **grumble, grumble some more***

  • Gord

    Fresh from the BBC predictions for this weekend. Lawro’s guest (Beasant) has us losing 2-1 to Sunderland, and Lawro has a tie (with an un-needed replay).

    Arsenal is playing offense most of the time, and Sunderland is playing defense most of the time. We only played them a week ago. Both predictors feel that given a week to think about Sunderland, that Arsenal has less chance of finding a way to open them up and produce goals, than they have to find ways to better park the bus.

    Arsene has had a number of games this year, where substitutions have made Arsenal more attacking. Maybe a person starts with that?

    Instead of a 433, maybe a person goes to a 424 to start? Arteta and Song to be midfield. And run with AOD, Van Persie, Gervinho and Walcott up front to start with?

    I don’t know, but seeing pessismism from “the press” all the time is annoying.

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Gord – do you mind! Some of us are still busy using yesterday’s loss to have whinge.***grumble, grumble*** about someone trying to be positive…

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Amr, I agree football players get paid extrodinary amounts of money, however much I like the idea of paying the squad £5, someone else is willing to take our players off us and pay a lot more (Cashley Cole, Adebayor, Nasri ). The minimum wage for under 21 is actually £4.98, £5.00 is generous! I remember the days when you would get about £2.00 a week for delivering newspapers in the morning for a whole week! ***grumble, grumble** kids today don’t know their born!

  • Gooner Gal

    @ Amr, you say the club has lost it’s way, do you remember when we used to be a midtable team and opposition fans used to sing ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ at us? Half from the top half way from the bottom, now the fan’s expect to win every game and every trophy going **grumble, grumble*** Someone is to blame for all this raised expectation..

    And finally, you said something about anouncing seats sold, rather than the number of those that bothered to attend…I am not sure what the problem is, but as ‘mama didn’t raise no fool’, there is probably something important in it…**grumble, grumble** as it’s the last one **grumble, grumble some more**

  • bjtgooner

    Goog article Tony, I think it expresses how we all feel. We certainly looked very jaded last night against a Milan side who were more than up for it.

    The important thing is for the fans to support the team more than ever – and not be distracted by the AAA/BBB or Le Gripe scum, who with certain elements in the press seem to have an illogical motive to use everything possible to blacken the team and manager.

  • elkieno

    I was upset by the game and attitude. I remember screaming at Sagna to chase, jockey Ibrahimovic and not let him run down the sidelines to cross for robinho. Anyway, as the saying goes, ‘shit happens and you cant no nothing about it’, but they can do something, they can show up and hump Sunderland, then go on to hump the Spuds. The great thing about football is that there is always the next game. Don’t look behind unless taking lessons and always look forward to the next game. Your only as good as your last game so lets go and show them AAA pommy whingers. I know not all Poms are whingers but I like to go to Le Groan and give a post saying ‘you english flamin whingers, whinging all the time. Whinge when were winning, they all just whinge when were winning’ something like that.
    Mon the Arsenal, Mon the Wenger – keep Wenger in charge forever, even if it means no trophies, just to make the AAA’s go away. I would go thru relegation if it meant we could lose those so called fans.. Fancy being swayed by the stupid Media? Fancy them telling you that your team is a Joke and believing it? Fancy that hey?
    btw, what does AAA stand for? I know they call us AKB’s arsenal knows best, but dont know what AAA is.

  • Gord

    @Gooner Gal

    You almost had an entire day to grieve. 🙂 Time to get back to being positive.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Thanks Tony for this soothing balm of an article – it helped but still it aches some.Nice to find some measure of solace in this sea of
    passive positivity guys.
    Lets hope we react and respond well it the next few games and go on a good run .
    Keep the faith .

  • WafflingWenger

    @Ugandan Goon

    “Up the arse!”

    Really??? Each to their own I guess.

  • Arvind

    @elkieno: AAA – Anti Arsenal Arsenal, BBB – Black Bin Bags .. You’ll see those terms used all the time here 😉

  • Arvind

    @Alex: The point remains. Why are you a fan? Why do you pay a lot of money? To have fun. Then you stop having fun at some point. So you can choose..Either continue paying money and hope they’ll do better some day or stop paying money and find another way of having fun.

    Coz paying money and THEN booing…really helps no one; not even you who ‘have the right’ to boo. Coz it just demotivates people further and you’re even further away from your goal of having fun.

    So..yes.. if you feel you’re not getting your money’s worth; I suggest (respectfully) that you spend it elsewhere or invest it somewhere more profitable. That’s really the best way to protest; if you want to.

  • It’s times like these when I hope we miss out on the top four! Honestly, if you can’t take a setback as a football fan then there’s something really wrong in your life that you’re compensating for with football.
    I don’t know where things went wrong but I’d suggest that both our fullbacks being recently back from long term injury would be a factor. Ramsey as our primary creative hub is knackered. Jack should have been back to give him a breather. We’ve also had a historical problem dealing with Robinho, I seem to recall the happiest he ever was in a City shirt was against us, mainly because none of our players had it in them to kick lumps out of him.
    Another factor would be the freakish nature of the first goal, Milan had no impetus to iniate attacks from that point onwards, whereas we did.
    The only thing we could perhaps have done differently was defended a 1-0 loss, something we’re actually pretty good at, with the intention of reversing that as a 2-0 home win. I just don’t think it’s in our nature to stop attacking and park the bus unless forced to by a superior attacking force.

  • andy bishop

    £2 per week for a paper round I would have bitten your hand off for that. I got 21/6d for seven days with two bags on a Sunday. The other night was poor… I have seen some poor Arsenal sides but one thing they never lacked was spirit and endeavour and an idea how to defend. I believe the quality of the squad has been in decline since 2005..we all have our reasons as to why this has happened. The edge we and Arsene Wenger enjoyed via fitness and dietry regimes and the willingness of top quality French and Dutch players to join us has gone. We now have a club with a great stadium, excellent physiotherapy, brilliant youth system and regular champions league football with teams that play attractive football. Teams that play the same way..the Wenger way. All other managers on gods earth know this. When our teams get it right they are irrepressible, when their levels fall below what is required to play this way they are easy pickings. The pattern is well and truly set and has almost guaranteed top four, champions league, the occasional cup run but mostly glorious failure. The other night was not glorious failure it was pathetic and highlighted the failings in the Wenger system. The system requires a top class holding midfielder, with a couple of lock pickers in the Fabregas and Bergkamp mold plus one or two direct winger supplying a true goalscorer. It is all based upon a proper sound defence who know what to do when the break is on. Apart from VP the basic elements for trophy success are not there..almost but that is the annual promise for the future. We can all blame the board for lack of proper player investment, the referees, the state of the pitch, the players for having the wrong attitude on and on. What happens on the pitch is down to the players the manager who signs them and the training and tactical regimes. Its been the same old for years now and things are starting to look tired. Where is the Wenger plan B? Unlike the idiots who shout for his resignation everytime we lose a couple of games I would genuinely like to know if he has alternative plans and tactics. An apt quote I think Einstein said springs to mind

    “Sometimes doing the same thing a second time when it hasn’t worked the first is indeed just foolish. But sometimes it’s shrewd. Wisdom consists, in part, in knowing the difference. Flexibility is a virtue. But in most matters, flexibility properly kicks in only after persistence has been given a fair chance”…Food for thought guys

  • Stevie E

    andy bishop
    I doubt if, after 30 years of management experience, building several winning teams wherever he has managed, Arsene Wenger has a Plan B even though we saw evidence of this when 1-0 down to Sunderland only last weekend. Because we lost the next game, he doesn’t have a clue. The man who masterminded 49 games without defeat clearly wouldn’t know the first thing about tactics. I suppose you also think he should have known Jack’s injury would last longer than first thought, or the Per would hurt his ankle and be unavailable for the Milan game, or that Kos (our best defender on the night) would get injured and have to be taken off, or that Verm would slip to allow a free shot at goal. It really doesn’t take a genius to see what has happened and then say, he should have done this, or should have done that. We had a bad game. That’s it really. We came up against a team who hit form, at home on a shit pitch. The first goal was unstoppable, the 2nd looked offside to me, the third was due to a slip and the fourth looked like a weak pen. These things happen, saying that apart from one player the rest are useless is crazy. Who do you think passes the ball to RVP to score his tap-ins? Is RVP in goal saving shots? Is he in mid-field breaking up attacks? People seem all to happy to forget that the teams we play against have some of the best players in the world too. To expect them top not be able to play, score or win is totally unrealistic. If you’re only interested in winning, I suggest yuo go back to your football manager game, set the difficulty to easy, and you can win every game without any fear of lose. And finally, quoting a great mind does not in turn make you a great mind, it just shows you know how to use Google.