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October 2016
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Are Arsenal fans the only fans who are endlessly miserable? It seems not.

By Tony Attwood

Whatever the scenario there is always someone worse off than you.  (Ok, not always, like, not when you are having your head eaten by a wolf, but most of the time).

Not that I think we are that badly off.  I know there are a lot of people around who are tearing up their season tickets, because they write in and tell us, (actually isn’t it amazing how the season ticket waiting list is holding up with some many hundreds of thousands of season ticket holders throwing their cards in the bin?) but I still feel ok.

Last time I saw him Blacksheep was ok too.  And Andrew.  And Walter.

As for Sir Hardly Anyone and Dr Billy “the dog” McGraw it is harder to know, but what I can be sure about is that we are happier than supporters of Marseille who have started playing the Benny Hill theme song “Yakety Sax” (composed by the wonderfully named James Q. “Spider” Rich and Homer “Boots” Randolph III) before, during and after matches.

And while the banner war goes on between the two or three guys with their Wenger out banner at away games on the one hand, and the “Football should be an art”  banner created and paid for by supporters of Untold Arsenal but unreported in the media (what a surprise),

on the other, the Marseille fans have put up banners of goats.  (In French a player who plays badly is called une chèvre).

Marseille's supporters display placards showing goats and Bengous


Meanwhile Real Mad fans are rather fed up with their league position, and the fact that the headline in the Daily Telegraph, “Millions spent on players and marketing but no discernible style and very few trophies: Just what is the point of Real Madrid?” is rather pale compared with what some Spanish papers have been saying.

Oh and they have been charged with child trafficking too.

But then in Madrid they are taking comfort from the fact that Barcelona have been lambasted by the press following their European Cup exit.

Elsewhere if Chelsea fans do take notice of things at all, they must be aware of the argument between the club and Dr Eva Carneiro is about to get very, very public.  Quite what the point is of Chelsea failing to settle the case I can’t say, but from my personal point of view, I am rather pleased that they have not settled, because the next round of meetings is going to be in open court.

And it is going to drag up everything – including the disgraceful way the FA handled the case of Dr Carneiro.  And indeed Dr Carneiro is demanding a full and complete public apology from that old renegade Jose Mourinho along with the compensation she wants for constructive dismissal.

Oh yes and there is more – there is a separate legal case running in which Dr Carneiro is alleging victimisation and discrimination against Mourninho.  Normally I just look forward to my birthday in June.  This year I think the employment tribunal starting on 6 June is going to give me even more pleasure.

But while we are thinking of miserability, spare a thought for the fans of Leeds Utd.  If you ever took a peek at the mega-series of articles I wrote on the Arsenal History Society site which tells the story of Arsenal in the 70s (there’s a full index to the series on the home page – just scroll down a bit) you’ll remember the importance of Leeds in the sequence of events.

Now they are rather more humbled.  So humbled that Leeds are running a protest march against Massimo Cellino on Saturday – and this won’t be 50 guys standing on a mini-roundabout outside the Emirates shouting stuff that is hard to make out.  This is going to be through the city centre and could be quite big.

The fans have even placed an advertisement in the Yorkshire Evening Post – and Leeds, just like Chelsea – are now in an era of embarrassing themselves in the court.   They’ve just lost a case of unfair dismissal and sexual discrimination against their former academy welfare officer.  The owner is currently appealing against a second Football League disqualification.  This time for tax evasion.  Oh yes, and just for good measure, the owner’s son has been charged by the FA for calling a supporter a “spastic”.

Back to the court cases – court cases have a habit of bringing up stuff that some people don’t want revealed.  As when Lucy Ward revealed that Leeds Utd have no security systems in place.  And the fact that Leeds Utd seem to believe that the Employment Act (and quite possibly the Equality Act) apply to all the UK, except Leeds.

You can read all the gory details in the press if you want but here’s one that struck me.  Cellino – the owner – decided to get rid of many of the cleaners at the club.   Subsequently a number of players and staff got a virus of some description and ultimately the whole training area had to be shut down for deep-cleaning.  

Meanwhile the position of Adam Underwood now looks untenable as chief administrative officer, after he was described in court as “vague” and “evasive”, a man who “lacked command.”   A man described as  “scurrying away in fear” when asked to do something.   Would you fancy going back to work after all that has been said about you in open court?

Now the law lays down all sorts of regulations about employment including things like having a contract of employment (but apparently Leeds Utd consider those to be irrelevant).

And there is one bit in the court case which came out wherein the chairman of the club’s women’s team was in a meeting with Cellino in which Cellino is reported to have said, “Why do women want to play football? Football is not a place for women. It should be in the bedroom or beautician’s.”

Meanwhile, of course the anti-Wengerians focus on the fact that Arsenal get more injuries than anyone else, that players are predicted as coming back, but then don’t, that Arsenal is the most expensive club to support, that if only we had a new centre forward we’d win the league, that we don’t have leaders, that we don’t have a plan B… all the stuff you will have seen if you read Untold on a regular basis.

All the stuff that shows that such wild and whimsical tales are either unfounded or untrue.

And to all that we can be thankful that unlike some clubs I could mention we look more than likely to be in the Champions League again next season, we’ve brought through another brilliant player in recent weeks, and we’re not suspected of any financial misdeeds.

And besides, to some degree being miserable or not is a personal choice. I know which way I choose.

Recent Posts

Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle.  The books are

  • The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
  • Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace.  By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
  • Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football.  By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
  • Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
  • The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.

You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page



11 comments to Are Arsenal fans the only fans who are endlessly miserable? It seems not.

  • serge

    Looks like we’re in good company then.
    Add to this list Liverpool who have a sense of permanent victimisation (some of it justified)

  • GG

    If we got Simeone it would be like when Dennis joined, a real message on intent with exciting times ahead, but it won’t happen, can always wish.

  • colario

    In England a drama series that go on and on are known as ‘soaps’.

    In America they are usually about the pretend rich and powerful. Dallas (sometimes thought of as ‘malice’) and ‘Dynasty’ (dysentery)in the UK they are usually about the life of the masses of ordinary workers.

    The two most well known TV ones in the UK are ‘Coronation street’ and ‘Eastenders’. Both serials (soaps) are followed by millions.

    I have found soaps to be boring so I don’t watch or listen to them.

    There is a real life soap in the UK known as The Royal Family. I bear the members of this family no grudge and have nothing against them personally it is just I am not interested in their activities.

    The ‘football’ soap is just as boring as all the soaps I have referred to.

    However I believe we cannot afford to ignore it for to do so would be to passively agree that the corruption in this great game is acceptable and it is not acceptable.

    It is wrong that 10 000s of thousands football fans should be cheated in the way they are game after game, week after week.

    The result of a game of football should be determined by the ability of the players playing the game not the officials of the game, be they game administrators, referees or others.

  • Gord

    I think Canada knows this une chèvre. Might be from the French influence. 🙂

    But, there is a ice hockey commentator, I think his name is Don Chèvre. Supposedly popular.

    I like Wenger from the interview (

    >> on who will play in goal on Sunday…

    > I have not decided that. When it is decided I will have to inform the people first.

    Expanding on that, with some poetic license.

    Yes. If I decide that Cech will play in goal, I will first have to Cech that he will play in goal. Then I have to tell Ospina that he will not be in goal. And sometime after that, I will call you dogs and tell you this as well; if you sign the form on the way out asking to be informed. Thank you for your silly question (whispers to someone to the side, “How many times this year have I had to answer that question?”).

    Within 10 minutes, there will be articles in the media now announcing that Cech will be in goal, as Wenger personally just told them that this will happen.

  • Fransico

    Wenger is keen on value – not something he’s alone in, by the way – but the changes in the market in recent years have been so vast I think he’s found it hard to readjust. He didn’t sign Morgan Schneiderlin because he felt the price was too high, and maybe he’s right, maybe he’s not a £27m player, but the market dictates the price, not a perceived value you have in your head.

    Adam Lallana cost just a bit under £30m. Perhaps it’s ridiculous, or perhaps that’s just what you have to pay. The £400,000 Mahrez style deal is an outlier, and also the kind of gamble people are probably not prepared to put up with when they want established talent. So, it’s a concern that when we go looking for players this summer the prices are going to be higher than ever, and we’re not always the best at negotiating. We’re also rarely prepared to pay more than we think a player is worth, but to get what we need, we might need to be a little more flexible.

    Anyway, that’s all for the summer, we have it all to look forward to, and what a magical time that’s going to be. Think about the fun the headline writers are going to have then.

  • insideright

    Given the manager and/or stadium related turmoil that several of our nearest rivals are going to endure over the next few years (not to mention potential financial irregularities being investigated) I would have thought that the more stable we can be as a club the better we are likely to do.
    The three players that we know are leaving (Flamini, Arteta and Rosicky) have already been replaced by Coquelin, Elneny and Iwobi – funnily enough for a combined transfer fee much less than those being replaced cost in the first place.
    Others potentially leaving will do so because the Club wants them to go (as much for their own good as for any other reason) and we have more than enough cash to be able to buy replacements for them – that’s if we need to.
    Keeping the same manager, who is still many years younger than SAF was when he retired, seems especially logical to me.
    By the way – is Iwobi the first player born after Wenger took over to be brought into the first team squad? If he is a indicator of what’s to come we are indeed in a very good place.

  • Backagain

    The following text was lifted from Facebook and really sums things up nicely

    “AFCL – Arsenal Football Club London!

    Somebody asked me earlier if I wanted a ticket for the game on Sunday. Without hesitating I responded “No Thanks, fuck sitting with those wankers!” . I didn’t ask, but the ticket would probaby have been free – Truth is I didn’t care. “Those wankers?” well sadly that refers to the vast majority of people who now attend the souless bowl that is The Emirates stadium. I haven’t called them Arsenal supporters because in my opinion they don’t deserve that title. The last time I Iooked it up ‘support’ meant to ‘hold up’, to ‘carry aloft’, to ‘underpin’ or something like that. These people are not ‘supporters’. Anyone who screams abuse at the players or brings banners asking the manager to leave is not a ‘supporter’. They are no better than ‘Glory hunters’ who have spat their dummy because we haven’t won whatever it is they want us to win in a while. Back-to-back FA cup wins isn’t enough! Almost 20yrs of consequetive Champions league qualification isn’t enough! Living with the knowledge that we’ve seen our team do things ‘in recent memory’ that virtually no other fans can imagine & that only a few other clubs will ever do, is not enough! Yes! I want Arsenal to win trophies, yes I do not like when we do not acheive what I would like us to achieve & Yes I think Wenger has reached his zenith & his glory days are over. I’m also not a fan of the current aloof ownership who clearly only see the club as a means of ‘making money’. I understand all of those things, but I also understand that you cannot ‘win’ all the time & if your attachment to a club is solely or mostly about ‘winning’ then what use are you to that club. If you judge a club only by what it can do for ‘You’ or what glories it can provide for ‘You’ to revel in then what value are you to the players & mangement? In essence: Where is your SUPPORT when it is truly required? Any fool can wear a red & white jesters hat at a trophy parade or poke fun at a rival who has won less. Any fool can gob off down the pub when the trophies are rolling in! Any fool can spit & froth at the players or attempt to hound the manager out when no obvious replacement is on the horizon! The Emirates stadium is now rammed full of such fools! . . . . . I sat among the Scousers at Goodison pk the other week. We played well & won 2.0. At the end of the game some people sung about getting Kronke out then they unveiled a WENGER OUT! banner. These people are not Arsenal supporters. I respect their right to do what they want outside the stadium, but I will never abuse an Arsenal manager whilst he’s doing his job or sing shit about the owners at such an innapropriate moment. We are not Leeds, we’re the opposite of a ‘financial mess’. We are not Aston Villa, on route to obscurity! Any team that currently sits above Man Utd, Man City & Chelsea is hardly on the brink of ‘being forgotten! The Scousers asked me ‘what’s all this about laaa?’ & they looked horrified when I explained. “Fookin’ hell” said one “what have yooze got to be moaning about?” I felt like a father trying to justify the fact that his child had deliberatly shat his pants because their were no blue smarties left in the packet! . . . . .

    We used to have a Football club! It won, it lost, it excited us & it sometimes bored us senseless, but it was our club We SUPPORTED it regardless. Nowadays Football has been taken away from people like me/us. Billionaire owners, multi millionaire players & managers with more economics degrees than coaching badges are now standard fayre & as a big club we naturally have all of that! I do not celebrate any of that. I hate it, but I accept that things nowadays are way beyond our influence! Our job is to show ‘support’ & hope that success will come our way. Not to be irritants whos behaviour slowly but surely eats away at the fabric of a club until there is nothing left. Unless you’re a glory hunter – Football is not solely about Winning! Winning is beautiful, but if you don’t win everybody that you think contributed to that ‘non-victory’ is not a cunt! . . . .

    I SUPPORT Arsenal & I accept everything about us is not perfect, but if you abuse any player whilst he’s wearing the shirt, attempt to hound out the manager ‘during a game’ or bring nothing, but negativty & your ‘demands’ for Glory to the stadium then I have no desire to sit anywhere near you! . . . . . Try Supporting the team, irrellevant of the result. Not whinging & booing because they’ve ‘ruined your weekend’ – You might be suprised by what we can achieve & if we win Nothing then at least keep your integrity & leave your toys in the pram – because we are The Arsenal!”

  • Mark

    That post is perfect and should be posted on all Arsenal blog sites. Whoever wrote it deserves huge kudos.

  • Andy Mack

    We’ve too many newer ‘fans’ with a serious sense of entitlement (like ManU and Liverpoo Fans… Maybe add new Chav fans to that list as well). There are a few long term supporters that are very vocal but most of us just sit back bemused that we’re not as ecstatic with 3rd place as we would have been 25 years ago…

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Another former European Cup winner has bitten the dust – Aston Villa have fallen through the trapdoor to join 2 time winners Nottingham Forrest in the lower reaches. Was it just mismanagement ? A lack of faith ? Could more support for the players , more belief in the managers and more trust in the board averted this fall? Anyway all those fans leaving early , the numerous banners , and booing most definitely did NOT help .

  • Menace

    I will be at the game later today & expect to see some tough tackles going unhindered. Commentators give a biased view when tackles are made on players other than Arsenal. Apparently southern skillful players deserve a good kicking (PGMO Laws).

    It was quite surprising listening to commentators waffling about high tackles & red cards. Same ‘selectively blind bastards’ that didn’t see the tackles on Arsenal. I still can’t believe the FA allowing choke holds to go unpunished, while the slightest touch of the hand on a bit of skin is treated like a knock out blow.