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Arsenal v West Ham. Having fun and reclaiming our club for us.

By Tony Attwood

My perception of noise in the emirates stadium is always a bit biased because I sit in the north bank – the noisiest part of the stadium.  But I sit in the upper tier, which traditionally is less vocal, so that bias is reduced a little.  What’s more I sit above Red Action, and so their sound doesn’t come upwards and I miss out on that.

But to me the stadium seems to have got noisier in the last couple of months.  Almost as if the message that the team is influenced by its supporters in the stadium has been heard and reacted to.

The adoption of the Red Army chant as a long on-going backdrop to much of the game is hypnotic, and of course can be interspersed with all the usual ones (although thankfully, unless I missed it, we didn’t get the “Stand up if you hate Tottenham”, which seems to have faded out a bit).

It is not that the crowd need something to get them going – the noise began early on. And that is a change – for certainly during the era when the AAA and its media allies and he various groupings holding demos and the like, there was a feeling among some that “when Arsenal give me something to shout about, I’ll join in”.

Now it is the reverse, for the notion is, we can play our part by joining in from the start.

Indeed the pause between West Ham taking the lead and Arsenal equalising was one where there was a lot of noise and encouragement going on – exactly as it should be.  Of course WHU supporters helped us by singing “Are you Tottenham in disguise?”, and as they had that thrown back at them in the second half, their passion seemed to drop, and unforgivably for an away support, gaps rapidly appeared in their corner.

It is curious that at a time when among those who stand against Arsenal and the current regime, throughout the media, and through the AAA hanging on to their coat tails, finally there has been an upsurge among those who attend the games.

Of course there are some people who seem to go to Arsenal in order to moan, and I have to say that I do fear somewhat for their mental well being.   I mean, imagine having as your hobby, doing something that just makes you miserable.   So you do it (as in, you come to some games or you watch on TV or you read the reports in the press) and you moan, and moan and moan.  And you feel miserable.

What happens when a match comes along?  Do such people say, “Bugger, I was feeling happy.  Now Arsenal are playing again and I’m going to moan, and moan and moan, and I’ll feel miserable.  Still its my hobby, so that’s what I will do.”

(Actually I guess the gradual publication of the history of the AAA hasn’t helped them much – showing, as it does, that every time they have taken hold of the terraces – from 1896 onwards – their impact has been negative, and Arsenal has slipped back to a lower level.)

Now as it happens one of my degrees is in psychology (although I stress not psychiatry) so I do recall a little of the discussions about human emotions, and I think it was probably in week two of the course that one of the lecturers pointed out the differences between the impact of positive thoughts and feelings and negative thoughts and feelings, and the way that these can have on one’s life.

So why, like fatboy and his father at the semi-final, who I mentioned before, why go to a game to complain and moan all the time?  Does it make you feel good?  No.  Does it make any difference?  Well yes, in a sense it does, because in the past Arsenal fans have let the negativists get control.  1953 was the ultimate, when, having won the league the players let rip against the fans, calling them an utter disgrace, and the worst there are in the league.

This time however I think we are fighting back.  I think in response to the moaning and whining there has been a significant upturn in the positive support there is in the stadium.

For now the regular, conventional, positive pro-Arsenal supporters who go to Arsenal matches have clearly had enough of the media and their AAA lackeys, and we’re there, making some noise and having some fun.

Of course those against us come out with the fact that Arsenal had an easy run in to the cup final, playing all the games in London, playing lesser teams (like Liverpool), and anyway getting into the cup final and equalling record for the number of times that this has been achieved by a club, means nothing.

But those of us in the stadium who are there to support Arsenal and because are having a lovely time singing the “going to Wembley” song, because, quite simply, we enjoy doing this.

It has taken one hell of a long time to get to their stage, and if Untold has done anything to keep the spirits up and reignite the belief that supporting Arsenal positively is a good thing, then great.

I doubt that we have converted many people from believing it is a good thing to go and moan all night long to people who realise what fun can be had by being positive all night long, because psychology doesn’t work like that.  Once the negativity gets into your system, it is bloody hard to stop it, as it can derange a life without the owner knowing it.

But maybe we’ve given just a little encouragement to those who wanted to shout and cheer and applaud and generally have fun, that this is a good thing to do, and once you get going it will happen.

So, us Arsenal fans inside the ground, now make a lot of noise.  We have followed the wonderful example of our away fans, and I think more than anything, reclaimed the club within the grounds, for ourselves.

I thought we were great last night, and long may it continue like this.  Having fun is, after all, what it is all about.

——

The Arsenal anniversaries for the day appear on the home page of Untold and of the Arsenal History Society site, and there’s an index to the files on the AHS home page also.

The Books

24 comments to Arsenal v West Ham. Having fun and reclaiming our club for us.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Good to hear as I watched it on a stream from Sky and didn’t put the sound on in order to not having to listen to the pundits.

  • I think the TV often cuts down the noise level themselves, for their own purposes, Walter, but I agree, watching without the commentary is usually better for one’s well-being.

    Tony
    PS: Whisper it quietly, but I think we’ve got the site back up to speed this morning.

  • Rupert Cook

    You and your AAA obsession. It’s all black and white in your world. You’ve created a monster and you’re going to run with it until every Arsenal fan believes in it. It worked with religion only that had a slightly more credible story 🙂

    Anyway back in the real world we put Wham to the sword and that was probably one of our tougher games. Again we had to be reactive, conceding first. Maybe that’s how we’ll win all our remaining games by going behind. Not a tactic my heart could stand.

    Anyway well done Arsenal getting back to winning ways in the league.

    Hull away will be interesting. Do Hull realize that if they help us get fourth they have an even better chance of being in Europe? I hope the players know this and fold against us and play like demons against Everton.

  • mixke

    I watched from Ireland on a dodgy stream but noticed the fans got behind the team when they conceded. Good game from kallstrom, a tidy player but not the quickest. Rambo looks ready, get ozil back and we could win all our games.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I woke up at 4.30 am to see that Arsenal were leading 3-1 in the 87th minute.
    Was not really able to sleep after that .Did catch a few minutes of the replay of the game and saw the West Ham goal as well as the first 2 goals .
    In that short the commentators that some ticket holders did not attend the match. But very grudgingly they did say that the crowd was in excess of 59,000 !
    Well moaners will moan and we will continue support the teams efforts .
    Up the Gunners !

  • Florian

    When I watched the replay, just out of curiosity I left the sound on. At about 30 minutes, the commenters started bragging about the “lack of support from the crowd”, and how it’s about to turn against the team. Sure enough, two minutes later, the “Arsenal, Arsenal” chants made themselves heard even with the ambient turned down.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I do like to use arsenal player for seeing the match again and then leave the sound on. biased commentary? Sure as it should be 🙂
    Will probably watch the whole match again and try to listen to the crowd

  • Shard

    It definitely seemed that the atmosphere around the ground was better. I don’t know if it was because fans have had enough of the negativity (I know of a few people who have been seriously considering giving up their season tickets because they are tired of having people next to them moan all game), or that the initial shock of going from chasing the title to chasing 4th has worn off and a more balanced view can appear. Being in a cup final helps too.

    However, there was a chance that going behind could have led to uproar and panic. That it didn’t is a good sign, although I think Arsenal’s play also contributed. I felt that before going behind we were showing signs of the rhythm and confidence slowly coming back. Maybe being in a cup final helps the players too.

    Hopefully we get 4th place and the FA Cup and can come back next season even stronger and more united as a club.

  • Rupert Cook

    http://www.thefootballnetwork.net/main/s378/st185716.htm

    This piece sparked an interesting debate. The main piece itself is a little simplistic though I understand the writer’s concerns but the more interesting comments are from EDUARDO and CELINE. Both have good points. Hopefully Shard can direct his surgical eye towards this as I always value his opinions even if we don’t always agree.

    I’m off out to dive into the last remaining record shops in London.

  • colario

    The commentry I was listening to made a big ‘slip of tongue’ they mentioned the long term injuries to key players.
    Fancy making a stupid comment like that.
    A great night for Arsene and the team.

  • jambug

    Media manipulation of our support is ridiculous.

    Any team has a poor first half there is booing. But when it’s us the volume gets turned up and attention drawn to it. Same at the end of a match.

    You hear booing at every other ground under the same circumstances but it’s rarely, if every, highlighted.

    Picking out the raging fan is another favourite.

    After Wigan scored the Camera behind the Wigan goal was turned to face the Arsenal fans. The shot framed possibly a 1000 fans. A lot anyway.

    There was ONE fan. Yep ONE. Rolling his arms in the way you do when indicating to the Ref you are ready to bring on a sub.

    This ONE fan prompted the following from Tyldesley:

    “We’ll that’s what THEY want. THEY want a change and if this goes on, THEY might want a change at the top”

    So there you have it. One fan in a thousand waving his arms around like a demented windmill is indicative of the fact that the Arsenal fans ‘on mass’ want Wenger out.

    We have commentators cheering when the opposition score. We have editors manipulating highlights against us. Pundits constantly criticising us no matter what.

    Now we have commentators somehow turning one mans windmill impersonation into a ‘Wenger out’ uprising !!!

    Shameful, biased, bollocks.

  • bjtgooner

    A very encouraging report Tony. The commentary on Sky was negative towards Arsenal and the post match “analysis” disappointing. The media are still running with their anti Arsenal agenda. The best answer….. is to keep winning!

  • bjtgooner

    I see Giroud’s goal against West Ham was his 20th of the season – well done Giroud!

  • Tasos

    Tony,

    I also sit in the North Bank, upper tier, and can vouch for the noise and general good atmosphere generated by many.

    Supporters, proper fans, getting behind the team and urging them on. Get rid of the negative one’s and fill the stadium with more positivity.

    Finally, well done to Martin Keown for sticking up for his beliefs on the Radio last night.

    Under immense negativity from the host (I thought I’d watched the wrong game and Arsenal had actually lost) Martin maintained his composure and stuck up for both club and manager.

  • Georgaki-Pyrovolitis

    Rupert Cook at 9:29 am

    Thanks for the link to that piece. Another load of testicles. I grew up 3 miles from Highbury and went to most home games from age 9. To describe those Arsenal teams as playing exciting football is testicles. I hope you value my opinion.

  • Gf60

    This is a fun quiz lifted from London 24.

    http://quizzes.london24.com/quiz/71028_206/.html

    Confession…I managed only 14 ticks.

  • nicky

    I seem to notice two changes in things concerning Arsenal, as we approach the end of the season.
    1. There is increasing chat that it wouldn’t be too much of a calamity if we failed to qualify for next term’s CL. It would provide time for a real inward look at tactics, training and medics, we are told.
    2. For the first time (ever?), Arsene is being reported as already planning (and talking about) a substantial buying spree in the Summer Transfer Window. In previous years, he tended to say that we didn’t really need any new blood.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Nicky,
    I believe that not qualifying for the Champions League next year cannot possibly be a good thing for the club. Looking at your second point, I am sure that all Arsenal supporters would like us to recruit at one more “Marquee signing” this summer and whoever that will be won’t want to come to a team not in the CL. Or if they are will want an inflated wage on top of already high wages to compensate.
    Even with a reported £100m to spend, I am not sure that buys us two £40m players, once the impact on wages is taken into account, so that means that if we buy the top quality CF then we are probably looking at mid-fielders in the £15-25m bracket, bearing in mind that we seed some reinforcing in defence as well..
    In terms of forwards, next year should see Sanogo start to make inroads as he gains confidence and gets used to playing with colleagues, Theo should be back and Campbell will hopefully finally pull on our shirt as well, so that’s three pacey forwards, plus Giroud, Podolski and the new Marquee signing. Should be a line-up to start salivating over with Akpom ready in the wings.
    Midfield we need someone to act as backup to Arteta/Flamini, probably needing to be bought in. Our attacking options look good with those already in the club.
    Defence, it all depends on Sagna and TV5, if they stay we probably need a fourth centre back, if not we will need replacements with proven first team experience as I’m not sure that any of the U21s are yet ready.
    As he showed last year with Ozil if he gets a chance to buy a long term target in any position I’m sure that Arsene will take it irrespective of the immediate necessity for a player in that position.
    That is all getting ahead of ourselves though, we have Hull on Sunday with another three points a necessity and we have to rely on our existing squad doing the business again.
    COYG

  • GooneressNo1

    Jambug Tysdale’s comment after the camera showed windmill man sounded rehearsed. Obviously having a spine disqualifies a person for media work.

  • Paul "The Gooner"

    The comment Tasos made was totally true.Last night I watched my son play football,level 4 non league.I never listen to the radio when I watch him, as I get so anxious when we play.I knew at halftime we were 1-1.At the end of his match,I put the radio on BBC5 live sport and I heard first of a bloke saying “after this tonight,he must go” and then they allowed some 12 yrold to comment to say the same.When asked how often he saw Arsenal play, he said he had never!Then 2 minutes later they said the score.I just could not believe it.By all the adverse comments I thought we had Lost.I have complained and with the BBC they do reply.Neil Ashton writing in the mail(free from Waitrose) said in his headline “LOST SOULS CAN BARELY RAISE A CHEER”.This is the tosser who Aw rounded on last year at apress conference before the Munich match.

  • jambug

    Just ban the F**king lot of them.

    I keep saying it, until arsenal FC do something pro active to show we have had enough of this shit then it will continue.

    No Interviews on the radio. No post match interviews. No pre match interviews.

    Just do the obligatory absolute bare minimum. I mean what harm could it do. It can’t get any worse for f**ks sake !!!!

    We have players that still give interviews to Talkshite and they have openly accused our Club of cheating our own fans. They have accused our players of trying to get deliberate yellow cards to avoid being suspended for certain games, again cheating and they have accused us of withdrawing un injured players from International duty to ensure there availability for Arsenal in the next match.

    These people are openly, on National Radio, accusing our Club of ‘cheating’ with no evidence or proof and we not only sit back and let it happen but give f**king interviews to them. What the f**k !!!

    You can take from that I am not happy >:(

    Paul “The goner”

    I take it Ashton hasn’t been banned ?

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Who wants to rely on an anti-Arsenal media outlet to pass judgement on any Arsenal-related issue? Not me, never, even when they pretend to like us: “Beware of Preeks (pricks) even if they come forth carrying presents” (my twist on bewaring of Greeks)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    15 out of 25 for the quiz – very well guessed !

  • Rupert Cook

    @Georgaki-Pyrovolitis, and yet you supported them whatever I expect. And you think our crab football is exciting? I guess our idea of excitement is different.