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When did the demand for constant success start?

By Walter Broeckx

After one of our earlier articles a new person commented for the first time and asked a question that got me wondering. For the sake of making it clear I will reprint his comment in full:

“When did this mass anti Arsenal start? I understand the Tiny Tots but the rest? I followed our wonderful team for over 70 years but have only really noticed it over the past 10 or so years. Please can somebody give me an answer. The only answer I can find is we have been so successful. It used to be so much fun as a child Young man and now a G/Grandfather; oh well that’s life for you.”

And by coincidence on the facebook page of my supporters club (well not mine but as being chairman I can use that expression I think?) I read a comment from a rather young man who found it “unacceptable that we hadn’t won the league in the last 10 years” Of course I don’t agree with that comment but it is somehow typical for a certain part of the fans.

And I think the question to our Old timer can be partly found in the remark from that young timer. Not the whole answer of course but still a big part. Not just because both mentioned the 10 year time span. Though it does play a big part.

With winning the league 10 years ago going unbeaten for the whole season Arsenal set out a marker. The first team to go the whole season unbeaten in over more than 100 years (and in those days the league was not as big as it was when Arsenal did it). Doing that in what was considered the best league in the world set a standard.  I think anyone with a bit of common sense knew that to repeat this was going to be almost impossible. We just had witnessed history in front of our eyes. Be it in the stadium (those lucky b*st*rds) or in front of our TV we just had seen an amazing achievement.

Of course such a thing attracts people to Arsenal. That is just the way it goes. People want to mirror themselves in the success of their favourite team. So lots of people having not really a particular team to support at the time became Arsenal supporters. In itself there is nothing wrong with this. I became a supporter after having seen Arsenal lose their first ever match I went to see in London. But others will have joined a team that looked to be on top of the world at the time. And I still think that without the incredible events in match 50 we would have gone much longer and might have won another title the season after. Riley broke us at the time. But that is another thing and not of importance for the question.

Even though I still hope to relive it again I know it will be almost impossible to achieve another unbeaten season.  But I had the luck to be part of it (from afar I admit) and I can imagine people who didn’t support us at the time want to feel the same. So they expect us to go another season unbeaten in the hope that they will be able to feel it as a supporter.

And then when such achievement becomes impossible (after losing a match) the negativity comes out. And those people who see their dream shattered suddenly want to vent their frustration. Why are they not allowed to be a supporter when we go a season unbeaten? Many others have lived the experience so they feel they have the right to also feel it. We could call this some form of jealousy.

On the why the negativity I think the Old timer, meant the negativity by the media.  As Tony has pointed out on many occasions this has a lot to do with the start of Wenger’s Arsenal career and the way he showed the media that he would not let them mess with him.

I think lots of the reporters from those days still are around and would love to see him fall on the ground. So each time they can find something to have a go at him, they will take it. So each time we drop points, or lose a match they will do all they can to make it even worse than it is.

And when the two come together (fans who think they have to right to support a team that can go undefeated and media with an agenda) we get some form of hysteria we have noticed the last years whenever things don’t go our way.

So when did it start? When Wenger came to Arsenal it was the start of the media campaigning against him. But the sad thing is that ever since he gave us that amazing unbeaten season a part of the fans doesn’t accept any form of failure.

I often say that for them no matter what we win it never will be good enough any more. I usually look for the long picture when it comes to Arsenal and the club as a whole. And when it comes to match results I do the complete opposite. I always want us to win the next match. Did we win our last match, fine that was great. But the important thing is to win the next. That is the easy part.

But if we lose I feel sad and bad for a few moments but then I think: who do we play next? Ah, lets win that match and then I focus on that match more than on the last one. Because I can’t change history any more so why keep feeling bad about it.

So maybe for supporters it would be better to look backwards to find perspective but look forward to search for optimism.  Saying we will never win anything again has been proven wrong last season. So no need to go down that way again. Just look forward to the next match and try to enjoy it when we win it.

The books

Some other sites from the Untold team (there is a full list on the home page)

49 comments to When did the demand for constant success start?

  • Tom

    I always find this site a refreshing read in the face of all the negativity that seems to surround the new wave of social media criticism towards arsenal. I have been an arsenal supporter for a little over 20 years, and I can understand some fans frustrations at times, but my support for the team will never waiver despite league position and lack of silver ware. And as always I will remain optimistic, I believe that wenger has nothing but the greatest love for arsenal and challenge those that doubt his ability to manage this great team to stop playing football manager on their computers and go out and gain their coaching badges and try and do a better job.

  • esxste

    I think its fair to say there should always be a demand for constant success from fans. But that demand should never morph into expectation. And that’s the real issue; fans expect us to win everything, and are outraged when we don’t. That expectation isn’t fair on the players or manager.

  • bob mac

    Winning is the most important thing to too many supporters.

    I fully appreciate that football is a results based business, but would the majority of fans be happy winning trophies and playing in the well known style of Stoke City.

    Maybe, but I certainly would not be amongst them.

    I am delighted that Arsenal have yet again achieved the position of being able to compete with the best teams Europe can offer.

    And that their style of play is so utterly thrilling,interesting and encapuslates the imagination even when they do not play so well or lose.

    Surely, for most reasonably sane fans that is enough, and anything extra is a bonus.

  • Gord

    I think part of this attitude comes from the business world. There is a pervasive idea that companies can grow forever. Never ending, increase in profit. For the most part, the case of sustainable development is being carried by the one person trades people: the plumber, the mechanic, etc.

  • It has been said that Arsene Wenger is a victim of his own success and this cannot be more true but it only applies to our fans. While I agree that the successes of the earlier Arsene stewardship are mostly responsible for the rabid anger of the younger/newer fans, I wonder about the older set who also throw childish tantrums every time results don’t go our way.

    This is even more difficult to buy when one consider the fact that there was never a time in our history that we were as dominant and successful as Liverpool (hope I don’t get crucified for this). Liverpool fans have been described as deluded by some but I have nothing but respect for them. They always believed in their team and each time they fall, they pick themselves back up. They are not intimidated into self pity and self hatred by the jeers of rival fans as Arsenal fans do. Can anyone imagine Arsenal losing a sure thing like Liverpool lost the league last season? can you imagine the shit-storm that would have followed from the giant babies who claim to support Arsenal?

    I don’t agree that it is because we were so successful that this much negativity has been perpetuated by some of our fans. I think that it is the modern day consumerism. There was a time when you don’t change/replace devices unless they are defective. Back in the days, one would even consider repairs before heading to the shops for a replacement. Things are different now. We change electronics now every few years as soon as a new model with minute differences (which aren’t always positive) is released. Of course, we naturally put the costs on credit cards!

    This mentality is what is driving the attitude of many to their football clubs. We always want new shiny players even if they are about the same level as those we already and in some cases, a downgrade. And of course, we care very little of little trinkets will bankrupt our clubs with debt. Just like watching a flashy electronics advert on TV, many see 30 second clips of players on Youtube and start haranguing their clubs to buy them. I absolutely loath the transfer windows because of the brain-dead cow dung that is shipped out on daily basis. Despite being aware that it is 99.9% pure and unadulterated horse-shit, still these people can’t have enough. They always want more and like a child whose parents wouldn’t buy that popular toy, they lash out when the adults in charge of running the clubs do their jobs the way they ought to.

    While there was no popular Ferguson out brigade during the Scot’s long tenure as Man United boss, I recall vividly reading some of their fans calling for him to go about 6 years before he finally did and that was despite never going 2 years without a major trophy! It is safe to say that Ferguson’s only saving grace (why he never faced what Arsene’s currently facing) was because of the trophies he kept winning. But there were those calling for him to go nonetheless, especially during those early period of most seasons when the have slow starts. This is why it isn’t too surprising to see the call for Wenger to go despite STILL being the most successful manager in the league and one of the best in the world. His trophy win ratio has gone down in the last decade and while there are good reasons for this (cough..cough…Emirates stadium), nobody cares. He’s got to go!

    True, we might not get anybody that’s up to his level but fuck it, we want a new shiny manager and we want him now. What part of this can’t the Wenger apologists (a.k.a. the AKBs) understand? It is modern day consumerism baby and Arsenal fans are getting left out of the new manager per season fad. See what great it has done the other teams doing it. Look at Tottenham for goodness sake; who doesn’t want what they’ve got? The lucky bastards!

  • NT

    One thing I can attest to is that many people became Arsenal supporters after the “Invincibles” season of 2003-04, but I have been since the 80s. However, I find the backwardness of many views expressed on this site quite amazing! I bet if you guys were Barca supporters you would want the team to go trophyless for the next 40 years while you reflect on the past success of winning CL three times in a short space of time and dominating La Liga in the same period. But does the fact that we achieved the “Invincibles” mean we should be stuck in the quagmire of underachievement and mediocrity for all these years? What is the point in qualifying for CL if we can’t win it? Must we allow ourselves to be kicked about by Man City, Chelsea, Man U and Liverpool? Must our manager be a punching bag for Jose Mourinho? Ok, last term Mourinho described Wenger as “Specialist in failure”. A week later Wenger took his team to Stamford Bridge, and instead of proving the contrary, he got hammered 6-0! What a poor fielding, poor calculation, poor decision making and lack of foresight!

  • blacksheep63

    Bootoomee, I can agree with much of what you’ve written (makes a change eh?) and might add that I think social media (including blogs such as Untold) have created a vehicle for fans’ frustrations/anger/etc. It is simply a lot easier to moan these days and you don’t have to wait until match day to do it.

    Where I disagree with you is in suggesting that Liverpool fans don’t do exactly the same. You might listen to the BBC phone in anytime it is on and you will find plenty of plastic scousers calling for Rodgers’ head, despite the fact that he has them in the CL this season and fighting for the league last.

  • blacksheep63

    NT. oh dear – “What is the point in qualifying for CL if we can’t win it?” On that basis most teams should not bother, nor should lower league sides enter the FA cup, or Burnley et al dare to compete in the Premiership. We can win the CL, PL and domestic cups, but we have no gods given right to do so. Last season we competed in the league better than we have so far this, and I’d accept that the PL is beyond us. So what do we do? Give up, play the reserves, get relegated?

  • apo Armani

    Off topic, apologies for this but just read this “Leeds United owner Massimo Cellino has been disqualified by the Football League and asked to resign from the Championship club.
    The League took its decision after obtaining documents from an Italian court, which had found Cellino, 58, guilty of tax evasion.”

    And questioned, How many of the PL club owners – especially sides in the top of the table – owe to their respective countries of origin???

    Wouldn’t be surprised if there are pending cases against some prominent names, that no one dares to question!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    “When you are discontent, you always want more, more, more. Your desire can never be satisfied. But when you practice contentment, you can say to yourself, ‘Oh yes — I already have everything that I really need.”

    – Dalai Lama

  • apo Armani

    And on a Positive note:

    “The second certainty is that I would love to see Arsenal win the Champions League. Whether that is from near or far does not depend on me, but it is sure I’d like to help. This is my club and, as a player, I was not able to give them the Champions League.”

    Thierry Henry

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Down memory lane …

    Two eighty year-old pensioners are taking a trip down memory lane by going back to the place where they first met.

    Sitting at a cafe, the little old man says, “Remember the first time I met you over 60 years ago? We left this cafe, went round the corner behind the gas works, and I gave you the thrill of your life.”

    “Why, yes, I remember it well, dear,” replies the little old lady with a grin.

    “Well, for old time’s sake, let’s go there again, and I’ll do it again.”

    The two pensioners pay their bill and leave the cafe. A young man sitting next to them had overheard the conversation and smiles to himself, thinking it would be quite amusing to see two old timers at it. He gets up and follows them. Sure enough, he sees the two pensioners near the gas works. The little old lady pulls off her knickers and lifts up her dress.

    The old man pulls down his pants and grabs the lady’s hips, and the little old lady reaches for the fence. Well, what follows is 10 minutes of the most athletic love making the man has ever seen. Limbs are flying everywhere, the movement is a blur, and they do not stop for a single second. Finally, they collapse and don’t move for an entire hour.

    The young man is stunned. Never in his life has he ever seen anything that equates to this – not in the movies, not from his friends, not from his own experiences.

    Reflecting on what he has just seen, he says to himself, “I have to know his secret. If only I could make love like that now, let alone in 50 years’ time!”

    The two old pensioners have by this time recovered and dressed themselves.
    Plucking up courage, the man approaches the pensioner.

    He says, “Sir, in all my life I have never seen anybody make love like that, particularly at your age! What’s your secret? Could you make love like that 60 years ago??”

    The pensioner replies, “I don’t think so, son. 60 years ago, that fence wasn’t electrified!”

  • proudkev

    I think it comes down to age and intelligence.

    As a 50 year old bloke who still plays football and therefore mixes with supporters of all teams, I know what teh real truth is about how people feel about Arsene Wenger.

    Irrepsective of which team the fans I mix with support (and whether or not they like Arsene) they all agree that he is a great manager who they would love at their club. They all speak about the attacking football, the players he has found and all have sympathy over the stadium project and the incoming Russian and Arab. All of them. They know, as we do, that success now relates to the money you spend. As some of them run businesses, they understand how income versus expenditure works. In other words, they arent stupid or naive.

    We had a relative of one of teh players turn up to watch one of the Vets games, he was in his twenties. After the game in the pub, this lad (around 20ish) started a rant about Wenger being a hopeless tactician and his poor training methods causing injuries to our players. I was pleased to see him being put straight by quite a few of my team mates, as they are mainly West Ham and Spurs supporters. The notion of him injuring players was laughed at. Now this young lad is clearly follwing the narrative of the Wenger Out crussaders. His rebuttal was that George Graham was a far better manager because he could win in Europe.

    This is where the problem exists. Younger fans are being brainwashed to beleive things that are simply not true. These are things they never witnessed, like standing on freezing cold terraces, mid table finishes, muddy pitches and black boots!

    These young impressionable fans have only memories of Arsene Wenger. Arsene joined us 18 odd years ago. So a 30 year old fan will have to go back to age 11/12, for any pre-Wenger knowledge. To them, 10 years is a lifetime, especially in todays world where they have been accustomed to demanding and getting what they want. They speak about George Graham but have no real idea of what he was like. Yes he bought us success but he also delivered some really boring football and our lowest ever goals total. The back four that often get used as a weapon to beat Wenger with, were finishing as low as 8th and 12th under Graham. Yet they are accredited for Wengers early success, ignorant of the change in style and the players Wenger bought in.

    This anti-Wenger sentiment has been encouraged and spread by the mis-information dished out by the media and sites like LG. The latter has anti-Wenger rhetoric on a daily basis, the same with Talksports ‘Daily Arsenal’. They do not tell the truth, they make things up and recycle the BS on a perpetual loop. Social media is a pain in the backside, not least because it has created a new breed of journalist. But impressionable fans who know no difference are following like lemmings, just becaus ethey don’t know what they are talking about.

    Whether or not fans support Wenger or not is a fair debate and they are entitled to their opinion. What I do not agree with is the lies and utter garbage that gets presented as fact to gullible fans who do not have the intelligence to look beneath the surface. Nor do they ask themseleves the million dollar question:

    Why would a journalist, marketing man, builder or student know more about tactics and fitness routines than a man with a cv like Arsene Wenger?

  • goonersince72

    Walter (and Tony), as an American fan I always appreciate your ‘analysis with perspective’. Rare these days. I’ve been an Arsenal fan since ’72 when I saw a late April match against West Ham at Upton Park. Thought it was the greatest sporting event I had ever attended (incl. World Series, Super Bowl)and I still do. There’s NOTHING like the English game. I recall the animosity towards Wenger when he was appointed and a lot of it was because he wasn’t English and his style of play was ‘Continental’, heaven forbid! There’s still a lot of that in the British media and from the fans today. Would any fan today enjoy ‘boring, boring Arsenal’ or ‘1-nil to the Arsenal’? I remember it well. We support the CLUB – management, staff, & fans. Being a Yank perhaps I appreciate that definition of club which is so different from sport over here. I’m hoping the majority of fans still appreciate what we have in Arsenal regardless of current frustration.

  • Rich

    NT. Would b interested to know when in the 80s you became a fan. In the first eight seasons of that decade we finished no higher than 3rd-once- and below anything in wenger’s time on a number of occasions. It was pretty grim in fact league wise for about 15 or 16 years. Part of the point of saying this is to emphasise that the standard wenger set in the first half of his tenure- before the massively increased difficulties we faced solely on account of money- was well above our historical record, since the 30s, including George graham, who I believe was the second most successful manager we’ve ever had in his time. So, the arsenal I suspect you might want to return to is, properly speaking, arsene’ s level.. The message being: go, arsene,; we want your arsenal back.
    You may be adamant that another man with the same resources arsene’ s had until now would have done better, and will do better if given the chance, but really there is scant evidence of that, and an abundance of evidence that wenger never finishes below what his budget predicts, and often manages the difficult task of finishing a little higher than it. Which, with an increased budget as of the last couple of years- thanks, largely to his good work and loyalty- gives us a shot and , being a wenger team, a shot at doing it in style, with class, under a man who, as usmanov reminded, possesses those pesky things called principles. I wouldn’t give up on that till the fat lady has sung herself hoarse personally

  • Menace

    With Wenger it is not just an undefeated season but a predicted undefeated season. It pissed of those who gleefully saw us not going undefeated in the initial season but do it in the subsequent season!! It was just incredible. Eat your hearts out media – you need another club doing better & are trying everything to make Chelsea that club.

    Good luck! Nothing will ever compete with Wengers music on grass. Bach, Mozart & others enjoy the symphonies Wenger creates on grass.

  • apo Armani

    “Success”

    1. The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted: attributed their success in business to hard work.
    2.
    a. The gaining of fame or prosperity: an artist spoiled by success.
    b. The extent of such gain.
    3. One that is successful: The plan was a success.
    4. the favourable outcome of something attempted
    5. the attainment of wealth, fame, etc
    6. an action, performance, etc, that is characterized by success
    7. a person or thing that is successful
    8. any outcome

    Given the definition of the word and the time I personally have been a supporter/fan (early 70’s), it can be safely said that I have never demanded, nor expected for my wishes ALL to be fulfilled about the club…but certainly I can say we have more then achieved SUCCESS over this period – especially when we put into the equation the difficulties we faced!!

  • Nick Lee

    The fans do’nt expect arsenal to go unbeaten in a season so most of what the origional poster put was rubbish.What fans do expect is for Wenger to give himself the best chance possible going into the season to win trophys.That includes signing the best players available in the positions we need strengthening.Even though ozil and sanchez are great players can anyone of the WKB brigade say we needed more attacking midfielders and that was the position we needed strengthening the most???Jose on the other hand at chelsea identified exactly what he needed for the season ahead and got them in early instead of bargain hunting,like we did at 11pm on deadline day.When we were pushing for the title in january last year can any of you honestly say you were happy with kim kallstrom??
    Also for a so called top manager ,Wenger time and time again gets outdone with tactics against the top teams we are so called challenging with.Defensively we are so nieve that you dont need to be a top coach to see that he neglects that side of the job.That is why all the pundits are having a go at him not because they hate arsenal.That was shown with going into the season with only 6 defenders in his squad .That is suicidal.And now with the inevitable injury crisis that is upon us we are at bare bones in defence.And to blame most defeats on bad luck and bad refereeing decisions you are getting desperate.

  • NuttnTiddy

    I don’t like to play the age card but I have been supporting Arsenal since,I think it was 1948,so have seen a few ups and downs over the years.I can remember being at Highbury when we had a crowd of just over five thousand, I believe it was for Bolton and prior to the move to the Emirates I think the average gate was probably under thirty thousand.
    Now we get over sixty thousand every game but where did the all the new supporters come from and why. Because we then had a successful team and since “supporting”they have only known and expect instant success.
    Also football has become overhyped by the media so that winning one nil(as on Saturday) is considered not good enough. I can also remember the time when teams like Blackpool(with Stanley Matthews) came to town and the gate would go up to forty/fifty thousand because football supporters used to come from all over London to see a good game. I would think that nowadays the “supporters” would jeer every time Matthews lost the ball and cheer if he was chopped down. Just read the twitter garbage from Man U fans cheering the injury to Wilshire.I have seen no disaproval from the Media or ManU. Anyway I doubt that Arsenal supporters would be much different if it had been Rooney who was carried off…Van Persie!!!!
    Football is always about winning and losing, not just winning, although that is certainly preferable.

  • proudkev

    NT
    “However, I find the backwardness of many views expressed on this site quite amazing! I bet if you guys were Barca supporters you would want the team to go trophyless for the next 40 years”

    What on earth is that ridiculous comment meant to mean?

    You have been supporting since 1980, well were you protesting about our Managers then because they did a lot worse!

    League Positions History, in case you didn’t know:-

    Pre Wenger
    1980 to 1990: 4, 4, 10, 6, 7, 7, 4, 6, 1 (Average 6.22. League Titles = 1)

    1990 to 1996: 4, 1, 4, 10, 4, 12, 5 (average 5.7. League Titles = 1

    Wenger years:

    1997 to 2014: 3, 1, 2, 2, 2, 1, 2, 1, 2, 4, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4, 4 = (Average = 2.7. League Titles 3 (Includes 2 x Doubles & 1 x Invincibles)

    So based on you being a fan from 1980, looks like Wenger has spoiled you. I didnt bother adding that he gave us all a nice new ground to sit in.

  • Fishpie

    “So maybe for supporters it would be better to look backwards to find perspective but look forward to search for optimism.” Walter. I love that line.

  • François

    I’m not sure I believe the ‘jealousy driven theory’ explaining the Wenger haters. I think it’s more about the behavior of Wenger itself. We all know he is very good at pretty much everything he does, but I think he is lacking communication skills with the press. He would get upset and, true enough, show some patronizing attitude and contempt. It is a hard task to talk to d*mb journalists who know nothing about football and who ask stupid questions unrelated of what happened. He can hardly start to make a course about football, but all the same I feel he is a bit to passionate about the game to let it go.
    Maybe down the years, it had been damaging for Arsenal to have Wenger going around saying how this referee screwed up (as much we know he screwed up) or answering harshly to totally invalid questions.
    I think Arsenal understood it as Wenger doesn’t complain much about the referees anymore (he says things like: ‘It was a bad decision’, not: ‘the ref had a very bad game’). He still get cough up by his emotions but working on it (After the game of Saturday he managed to contained the question of the banner by saying he will not comment, still being upset, but getting better).
    It’s quite clear Arsenal have a bad press and get bad decision all together, and it’s not all unrelated. I feel they are working on it and let’s hope we can turn around this negative force because however we tried to turn it around, it was not working. Let’s hope the new approached will have better result.
    Hopefully with the downfall of Riley it will!

  • bjtgooner

    Ref for our Stoke game reportedly Anthony Taylor. Not a good sign!

  • Since when Arsenal season ticket became the most expensive season ticket for football in Europe. And since Arsene has become complacent with his job. Since we have a very good squad of players Arsene can not get the best out of. Can You imagine Roberto Martinez haveing the squad of players we have at ASrsenal?

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Thanks Walter; this article brought up some interesting posts and fresh responses.Good to see/read.
    COYG etc

  • TommieGun

    This is actually a tricky question.

    What do fan / supporters expect from a club – and how does that relate to what does the club expect from itself.

    This, in my opinion, is the accurate way of defining the question.

    Let’s talk about a club like Real Madrid, and Chelsea (after Abramovich bought in).

    Real Madrid has always been a club obssesed with success. Not just the fans – the club’s “personality” is about “winning”; about “being the best”; about “being the biggest”.

    A few years ago I represented a company owned by F. Perez. I didn’t get to meet him, but all of the employees there are die hard Madrid fans. When me and my team travelled to Madrid, it was a CL week. Real was playing Milan away, and Atletico was playing Chelsea in the Vicente Calderon. So I politely asked our hosts to get us tickets to the Atletico match (if possible).

    The answer was – “do you really want to watch the paupers?”

    This is the attitude: Atletico are “the paupers”. This is the biggest degradation the Real Madrid fans can come up with.

    And we know that Real change managers very quickly; even after getting very good results (like winning La Liga) – ask F. Cappelo who delivered La Liga TWICE, and was sacked TWICE – for not playing “beautiful” football. You can ask Maureen too, he he he …

    And to some extent, it’s the same with Chelsea. You need to win, and you need to win beautifully.

    Do I think it’s objectively justified? Of course not. But this is the “personality” of the club.

    With Real – we know that it had trickled down to fans. They expect success, they expect it on a yearly basis, and they expect a certain brand of football.

    With the KGB – I actually think that THEIR fans are less demanding than Real’s, and the problem really lies with their capricious owner. My point is, I don’t recall KGB fans calling for any of their managers’ head (well except Avram but he is not really a manager, is he). I think they were all upset when Ancelotti was sacked.

    I do believe that there is a disonance between Arsenal Football Club, its fans, its history and its current owners.

    I support Arsenal since 1995. I started following Arsenal because I bloody hated Man United and Arsenal were the team doing their best to challenge them. Throughout the years and until Kroenke’s arrival I have to say that regardless of the squad we had, the money we had, the strength of other teams in the EPL or Europe, Arsenal was a club that expected nothing less than winning. When it didn’t happen, it was not the end of the world, like in Real Madrid. But it was always one of the greatest clubs, which held itself – and was held by others – to great esteem. Now I know there are other clubs who never won and will probably never win shit, and some other clubs that used to be good and now play for the 3rd division. Those clubs have fans and supporters too. I do not envy them, as winning nothing isn’t fun; and I don’t think they should envy me; since the constant feeling and pressure that we should be up there at the top is not something that bothers them.

    Sunderland fans care about staying up and winning the darby against Newcastle. That’s it. For Spuds is getting a good result against us, and that’s it. They support something else, in my opinion.

    I think that when Kroenke took over, something has changed with the club’s “character” or “personality”. It was clear, 3 years ago, when our marketing director Tom Fox said that “winning is not the most important thing” for AFC. He tried to go back on his words, but it is clear that this is the tone set by our main shareholder.

    Does that feeling affect our players? Our manager? I have no idea. I think that we win more matches than not, we play great football, we have a great squad and a great manager. So on the face of it – no. Can we do better? Should we do better? I think we can.

    So my humble opinion is that yes, a lot of the disgusting vitriol spilled at our manager and players is totally unjustified and down to the “now-now-now” generation; of immediate gratification. However, this does not mean that being satisfied with whatever result we manage to get is the correct way to support the club.

  • Nicky

    @bob mac,
    I liked your 2.25.
    From the 1930’s when we were England’s top team, we have achieved so much, in reputation, attractive play, honesty and world-wide support. That is why we have a waiting list of thousands for season tickets.
    Those who attend the Emirates (from where I believe the majority of criticism seems to originate) should remember that by far the greatest support for Club, team and Manager stems from supporters who will never see their heroes play. A sobering thought.
    What we do not possess, however, is a divine right to succeed.
    England is not a virtual two-club country like Spain.
    Arsenal, throughout its history, will always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and vice versa.
    Make the most horrendous mistakes on the field.
    And perform amazing miracles.
    To support Arsenal is not for the fainthearted and those who cannot stand the strain should look elsewhere for a quiet life.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Some really great points Walter. There is certainly a residual dislike for Wenger. Can tell you for a fact that Mr Scudamore used to really resent Mr Arsenal, sorry Mr Dein as well. That dislike has thawed, but Mr Scudamore is a powerful man with vast influence, and not one to upset. Who knows how this affected the club. As a footnote, the EPL puppets at the PGMOL don’t seem too keen on the club or manager either. Coincidence?
    Think one of the main things against the club is the crass short termism gifted by the class lacking petro dollar boys. Our club and manager decided not to go their way, some would say rightly, others would disagree, but it has bred an impatient fickle element in the fan base desperate to emulate these clubs. The parts of the media with an agenda against the manager and or club can then feed of these permanently dissatisfied fans for their own ends, aiming to create a self fuelling vortex of negativity to bring the club and manager down. The hostile takeover brigade will use and indeed are using similar tactics.

  • zedsaunt

    Perspective – visit Bradford on May 11 there is a rememberance service for the 56 fans who died in the Bradford fire of May 11, 1985. Wreaths are laid. People remember. There are mothers, fathers, siblings.

    People lost someone they loved. The football team have never won anything of note. On May 11 people behave with dignity. There is no dignity in the entitlement some fans in the Premiership appear to believe is their right.

    It’s a very good question that has been asked – when did it start? Some people appear to have lost their ability to reason – when two teams play, only one can win. From that, their next step – I support the team that has to win. From that – I support that team. From that – this is a battle between the team and me.

    When the team battles me there is only one winner – me. Safe in the locked ward of their own ego Wenger is put to the sword.

  • porter

    There is a degree of simplicity about the answer to your question :- When did the demand for constant success start?

    The day that we left Highbury and went to the promised land . The day that the board PHW I believe said the move was to enable us to compete with the best teams in Europe. Despite the logic that it would take time to get there no time period was put on it and the expectation was winning not just competing . Back in the 50’s and 60’s we had no such expectations football was just a weekend pursuit generally attended with your mates . Away travel pretty much didn’t exist , for my group it was Highbury one week the best game in London the next it was affordable for young men in average jobs now it costs a small fortune. Society has changed people expect value for money , they pay a lot and expect a lot . There’s your answer.

  • zedsaunt

    It costs money anywhere, whatever the league. A large mass of people, supporters of fifty, sixty clubs, seems capable of shelling out money on a regular basis, and continue to shell out that money even when their club fails to win.

    Sonme others appear to believe that because they shell out larger amounts of money they should get back a value equal to what they have paid. What this group cannot recognise – reason has deserted them – is that in a game between teams if the game has a winner then it has to have a loser.

    The game does not change because of the cost of the ticket. You might argue that what has been lost is the recognition of competition. You might even say that society has changed, and people in greater numbers are now prepared to believe that if they lay out a large wad of money they will somehow be insulated from the rules of the game.

  • Th14thesecond

    ”Saying we will never win anything again has been proven wrong last season. So no need to go down that way again. Just look forward to the next match and try to enjoy it when we win it.”

    Amen Walt. This site is honestly one of the last places for us (who enjoy and love Arsenal & Arsene Wenger) to go on the internet! Keep saying it but thanks, and keep up the great work.

  • Dtactician: I am trying to eject commentaries that are just stories with no evidence before publication but I have let yours through simply as an example of what I am talking about with this policy.

    You make a load of allegations, the first of which has been shown to be utterly false (our cheapest seats are among the very lowest in the Premier League, our League Cup tickets are the cheapest I believe and are a fraction of the price charged by clubs like Chelsea. The rest is your opinion, and you offer it with no evidence at all.

    If you want to comment here at least do us the courtesy of looking back at where we have covered the topics and point out, if you can, where we are wrong, and back up personal opinion with evidence.

    Farewell.

  • Will

    I have been asking myself this very same question for years. Why do the English sports press hate us so much.

  • Gooner S

    The other aspect to the behaviour is financing and building the ground. This is a complex exercise that would have been years in the planning as it is in its execution. We are still paying for the ground. The layman (including me) can only imagine the complexities of this and how this impacts the playing side. For me the negativity started when we missed out on the league with the infamous Gallas sitdown if not a little before.

  • Menace

    The thing that is most stupid about criticism is its basis. Wenger is criticized based on his success. His success is taken by the critic as their own and from it they begin and want their opinion to count. There is nothing easier than success to criticize because failure is the bigger probability.

    However, Wenger has proved beyond doubt that his success is beyond the Game. He has taken the club to an unequalled infrastructure and team to an incredible value increasing the share price to over 1000%. This has not been accomplished by any other club in the world. His qualities on & off the football pitch are beyond that of any other Manager. Wenger is greater than Sir Alex because of his holistic success. Diet, Morals, technique, self respect, environment and charity to name a few areas of Wengers pioneering success with earned income from the Game.

    So you that doubt Wenger need to assess your own standing and your own success before trying to knock the greatest Manager that ever graced the game. If you really think you can do better, put some of your money forward (you will probably require to put it all) so you understand the risks involved with easily spouted stupidity. Buy this player and that player and play this way & that way. Write to Mr Wenger with your suggestion explaining how much money you are willing to spend in order for him to consider your ideas.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    There was this AAAA who was increasingly getting pissed off at his wife for not taking care of him , herself and their home after many years of marriage.
    When he would come home , the house was dirty and unkempt ,no hot dinner on the table and she was usually in her old housecoat and slippers with curlers in her hair , a fag in her hand and sitting in front of the tv .
    It got so bad that he contemplated getting rid of her by killing her, but without incriminating himself .But how?
    Finally a workmate told that he heard that a woman can be literally ‘screwed’ to death ! Too much sex can really kill a woman ,within 2 weeks , his friend said. .So the plan was hatched – he would not only kill her , but also get away with it !
    He took 2 weeks leave from work ,went home had sex with his wife 3-4 times a day , everyday. After ten days of not hearing from the AAAA , the friend went over to his house to find out for himself if the plan was working.
    He had a pleasant surprise when the AAAA ‘s wife opened the door . There she was , all radiant and beautiful ,very well dressed , and the house was spick and span.
    She seemed to be glowing and appeared very happy and content and chirpy. She let him in and then he got the shock of his life when he spotted his friend . He was pale ,his eyes had sunken in their sockets , his hair had thinned and fallen off; he was shrunken and in a wheelchair .
    He beckoned his friend with a thin veiny finger as the wife went off , singing happily to herself , to get their visitor a drink. His face was a death mask ,as he smiled through rotted and fallen teeth and crackled ,
    ” Look at the bitch , she doesn’t know that she has less than 4 days to live !”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Q: Did you hear about the guy who finally figured out women?
    A: He died laughing before he could tell anybody.

    Q: What’s the difference between a knife and an AAAA arguing?
    A: The knife has a point.

    Q: What do you call a letter from a feminist?
    A: Hate male.

    “I Love My Wife” bumper stickers are strictly for men who were caught cheating.

    Achievement seems to be connected with action. Successful men and women keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.
    ( The only exception to this rule are the AAAA , they make mistakes , never know when to quit , never achieve anything nor ever take any constructive action!)

  • proudkev

    Porter and Gooner S. Very good points and well made.

    I still beleive that for younger fans it is harder for them to have perseptive. As I said, Wenger has been here 18 odd years so most fans will not apreciate how football has changed along with expectation levels. 20 year olds will known nothing else except the growth of clubs like City and Chelsea, they will beleive that is how football has always been. 30 year olds would not have been teenagers when Wenger joined.

    As Porter says, the stadium was going to be the catalyst for us competing.The financial geniuses that work in Marketing, construction and journalism really do come out with soem garbage.

  • jambug

    Great article Walter and some fantastic comments from the usual suspects such as Bootoomee, proudkev, Nicky, Mandy, menace, and others, but out of it all I found this from Rich very pertinant. He said this:

    “You may be adamant that another man with the same resources Arsene’s had until now would have done better, and will do better if given the chance, but really there is scant evidence of that, and an abundance of evidence that Wenger never finishes below what his budget predicts, and often manages the difficult task of finishing a little higher than it.”

    Exactly.

    In fact, Wenger constantly finishes above many Clubs that have consistently had a higher, often much higher, net spend on players.

    But the fact is it is no coincidence that the only 3 teams to achieve more than Arsenal over the last 10 years are the Oil rich Chelsea and Man City,(net spend of around £50 MILLION per SEASON over those 10 years) and the financial juggernaut that is Man Utd, who just recently fielded the most expensively assembled side in football history.

    Every player, every manager, can be criticised at different times. I know I am not, and don’t believe there are many UT regulars that are, trying to say Wenger is faultless.

    What I believe we are saying is you cannot judge Wengers achievements without looking at the ‘bigger picture’ and if you do, in my opinion, you can come to no other conclusion than that Wenger has done a brilliant job. Not without fault. But a brilliant job none the less.

  • proudkev

    Jambug, great comment.

    Those who try to discredit Wenger at every opportunity do so based on an assumption that what they are saying is right. They know that unlike Wenger, they cannot be judged.

  • khitb77

    @ Tony Atwood

    re your December 2, 2014 at 7:05 am comment.

    “Dtactician: I am trying to eject commentaries that are just stories with no evidence before publication but I have let yours through simply as an example of what I am talking about with this policy.”

    You mean eject commentaries that don’t share your own views. There are plenty of comments above that are just stories with no evidence. You’ll end up with hardly any comments left if you adhere to your own policy.

    “You make a load of allegations, the first of which has been shown to be utterly false (our cheapest seats are among the very lowest in the Premier League, our League Cup tickets are the cheapest I believe and are a fraction of the price charged by clubs like Chelsea. The rest is your opinion, and you offer it with no evidence at all.”

    Actually, Dtactician was referring to SEASON TICKET prices. You have purposely avoided responding to his original point and instead given a response that strengthens your own agenda.

    If you need reminding here’s what he actually said:

    “Since when Arsenal season ticket became the most expensive season ticket for football in Europe”

    Now Dtactician is incorrect on one thing, we do not have the most expensive season ticket in Europe, that dubious honour belongs to AC Milan, but at £2,013 (our most expensive price) we are well ahead of Spurs, who were next on the list. Incidentally our cheapest ticket is also top of the “cheapest season ticket” list.

    You might want to review this before commenting further?

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/money-saving-tips/11031461/League-table-of-Premier-League-season-ticket-costs.html

  • Menace

    Dtactician – you are truly blessed. You see a friends plate and enjoy all the flavours & work out who the best chef is. You look at your own & see it is empty, yet you imagine the chefs that can prepare your friends plate. Your logic on a plate. Now eat it and shut up.

  • Khitb – we have dealt with ticket and season ticket prices over and over again, and I really dont see the point in going through this, save to say the figures from the Telegraph, like the BBC survey earlier this year, are not accurate because they don’t reflect the situation in terms of the number of games, comparing comparable seats and so forth.

    But I like your point that “You’ll end up with hardly any comments left if you adhere to your own policy.” That is a most interesting comment. We started in January 2008 and are still here nearly seven years later, having for much of the time been in the top three of the independent football blogs, and this year having the biggest number of comments ever. Still I imagine this demise, which you and so many other predict on a regular basis, will make you very happy, so nothing to worry about for you.

    Incidentally I said “I am trying to eject commentaries that are just stories” I didn’t say that I was succeeding – as I have regularly admitted, moderating conversations is a problem for us. I am surprised that a person such as yourself who is so exact in picking up the meanings of messages should not have spotted this.

    But enough – debating us is really rather tedious. Football is more to the point.

  • khitb77

    Tony – you still dismissed a perfectly valid point by Dtactician and effectively threatened to delete his comment for no good reason. The FACT is that Arsenal’s season tickets are the most expensive in the country, this is not open for debate. I’m aware that Arsenal give extra cup games when compared to say Spurs but look at how many empty seats we have for some of those cup games.

    One of the things that irks about this site most is the number of excuses that are made for our clubs shortcomings, it’s always that we’re victims of some conspiracy by refs, thug rival players or the media. No responsibility is placed on Wenger. The way you tried to avoid answering the season ticket comment is an example of this.

    Also, why is it that no pundit ever knows what they’re talking about if they criticise Wenger? Who are we to criticise the pundits? Some pundits are idiots but others make valid points which cannot be dismissed.

    The club is still asking supporters to fork out the most money in the country for a season ticket, more games included means more travel costs, more refreshment costs etc, I expect an actuary was employed to calculate exactly how much the club would make per additional game given in a season ticket *tongue in cheek comment*. The fact that other clubs might not include any cup games doesn’t excuse the cost of our tickets, lets focus on our club charging such a huge sum, rather than criticise other clubs!

    While you won’t believe me (or care in truth) I do hope that your site continues because it’s important to have opposing views, which allow people to make their own minds up.

  • Samaale Omer

    Hi , I have been following your articles since 2008-9 and must admit I love this website.
    2 questions.
    Are you Wenger in or out? (Would love to hear your opinion)
    I remember your article about the influence of tax laws in football ( correct me if im wrong) ,did you go ahead and file an official report to the EU Commission?

  • Samaale

    The editors and main writers of Untold each have their own opinion, but when I speak with them the consensus is that he should stay until he wants to go, and that the handover is going to be quite tricky.

    And yes, we have submitted our thoughts to the UK Parliamentary enquiry on football, and it got a mention (Phil Gregory wrote it), but I couldn’t work out how one could submit to the EU directly – only via ones MEP. I tried that but just got a note back from the MEPs office thanking me and saying the communication had been forwarded to the MEP.

  • Samaale Omer

    Tony

    Why do you think the handover will be tricky? Fantastic stadium , excellent core group of players , big fan base etc.The new manager will only need to add 2-3 world class players and the squad would be complete.

    Also,what do you think of Boro Primorac eventually taking over?