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October 2016
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The protest from the NBL – much ado about nothing

By Blacksheep

I was at the game with Tony but (as he said in the last post) seated downstairs in the North Bank Lower tier. I didn’t count the A4 cards but it wasn’t many and Tony has a better view than me.

There were a few directly behind me but they moan most weeks anyway so I didn’t bother to engage with them. The ‘man-from-Row-nine’ (who seems only to bother to come along when there is a protest) went off half cock, which seems a useful metaphor for the whole protest movement. At the end there were three larger banners in the Red Action section of the North Bank.

As a protest I found it a tad pathetic but probably reflective of the collective inertia of the team and the impotence of modern football supporters.

I want CHANGE; like many who go each week the main change I’d like to see is on the pitch. I’d like us to be playing attractive attacking football again and rolling teams over before half time.

I’d like to see us chasing down Leicester for the title and not fending off United for 4th place. I’d like another day out at Wembley instead of watching United sneak a lucky last minute winner against Palace.

But I have no influence over much of this. I can’t change the manager or the board any more than I can guarantee sunshine for my BBQ next Saturday.

And as Arsenal supporters (or fans, or customers, whatever) we can’t do much any more either. All we can do is cheer on the team and support them and each other.

Stan Kroenke may be the problem; Ivan Gazidis may be the problem; Arsene Wenger may be the problem; even Theo may be the problem – but nothing a handful (or even 1000) A4 cards can do will change any of that.

So the protest was pathetic because it was misplaced. I respect the view that a change of manager might help, I appreciate that nothing lasts forever. But I also believe that most Arsenal supporters want a sensible transition to a new manager and I think Arsene Wenger is the best person to make that happen.

Given all of that I thought the most stupid part of the protest was the 78th minute show of cards: this was much less well observed than the one after 12 minutes perhaps because at that stage we were 1-0 up and hanging on. Norwich won a corner and people were torn between their desire to express their opinion or to follow their instinct and support the team in a moment of tension.

I hate to think what would have happened if the Canaries had scored. All out civil war I imagine.

Before the game I asked one of the stewards I also say hello to if he was expecting trouble. ‘I don’t mind the trouble’ he said, “I just don’t want the paperwork’. Luckily there wasn’t any need for him to get his pencil out.

I would say this: I admire Arsene Wenger and appreciate everything he has done for Arsenal FC. I’ve enjoyed his stewardship and love his football philosophy. For all of that (and the trophies he has brought) he deserves respect. He gets well paid but that’s a red herring: anyone in his position gets well paid, its all relative.

He won’t be Arsenal manager in 10 years and by then we might have had 2 or even 3 more managers – I hope not. I hope when he does move on (upstairs I’d prefer*) we find someone else who cares as deeply about The Arsenal as this rather stiff and reserved Frenchman does.

We’ll be so lucky (Arsenal)

* maybe he could sit with Tony and write the occasional blog.

Recent Posts


The Untold Banner at the Emirates, looking down on proceedings yesterday

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

  • The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.

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

37 comments to The protest from the NBL – much ado about nothing

  • Actually Blacksheep, asking Mr Wenger to write for us after he retires is an interesting idea.

    He did, after all, write the Foreword for the book by Danny Karbassiyoon that we’ve just published.

    And a rather interesting Foreword it is.

  • para

    Sometimes i think that some people like to bury their heads in the sand come what may because they have the impression that they can do nothing to change things.

    All it takes to make people think is a little critisism or protest. Imagine if all Arsenal fans were satisfied to bury their heads in the sand and say, well there is no point me doing anything, i can’t change anything.

    Critisism and protest is the only way in life that tends to get things changed. Those that can change things, will end up listening to critisism and taking heed of protests, if only because they do not want to increase the level of critisism and protest.

    Of course this requires them to be not arrogant, not think they know everything and willing to better themselves.

    Critisism and protest tends to wake up those who have become too comfortable and have stopped trying their hardest to achieve more. It also tends to make them take a good look at what they are doing and wonder if they can make it any better.

    The players will do this, the manager will do this and the owners will do this, if they don’t then the critisism and the protest just increases because then they know they are right.

    So don’t knock critisism and protest, after all alot of that goes on in life and on this page too.

    Let’s all want the critisism and protest to fall on fertile ears and the changes that only they who can change things will implement.

    In the end it can only benefit Arsenal.

  • Zuruvi

    This was the most aggressively publicized protest as the media really wanted the Wenger Out Brigade to create havoc at the Arsenal.
    From what I saw just before the game, there were more journalists and cameramen than there were protesters.
    It just shows that the media is more keen to agitate for change at the Arsenal than the fans.
    Why does the media hate Arsenal? Or should I be more specific, why does the media hate Arsene Wenger? Is it because he is a gentleman (and he doesn’t ban or control them like Fergie used to do)? Is it because he is brilliant manager who more often than not wallops their favourite teams?
    Is it because he is a Frenchman and we cannot allow those French guys to be better than our Harry Redknapp or Sam Allardice?

    All in all it was good to see that it is only a few people that are supporting this nonsensical but well-publicized campaign against our club and manager.

    I too think it’s time for change. The change I want is in the strikers we have. As I wrote in my recent article on Untold entitled “WHAT ARSENAL REALLY NEEDS…” I have analysed all Premiership winning teams and noted that every single one of them had deadly strikers leading the line. For example,
    Blackburn had Shearer when they won the title.
    Man Utd had Andy Cole, Dwight York, van Nistelrooy, van Persie in the many times they won it.
    Chelsea had Drogba, Diego Costa, etc.
    Man City had Agguero, etc.
    And Arsenal had Ian Wright, Anelka, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, etc.

    The change I really want is for Arsenal to get better strikers. Theo, Welbeck and Giroud are good strikers but they’re not the great strikers we need. In fact Theo and Welbeck are better wingers than they are strikers.
    It’s time for a change … A change of strikers.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    With MUs draw with Leicester we just need to beat Villa now for a guaranteed CL spot.
    Am i right?

  • Menace

    No change. Improvement starts with good support. No foundation, weak building!

    We need to support all things Arsenal. Our biggest opponent is the FA & their PGMOL cheats. The FA cannot manage their funds nor can they manage their sport.

    Wenger has set up a master class of management of an honest football club. The only thing that he hasn’t managed is to publicly chastise the cheats with the whistle.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    I’d far ther us beat City next weekend as well as Villa, if we do we could still celebrate St Totteringham’s day!

  • rocky

    The Wenger out protest was just a shame, I pray the negativity from that “handful” of fans don’t affect the team in our next two games! ….Just saw a stat that startled me to say the least; Leicester has had a whooping 10 penalties awarded them these season and arsenal just two with the likes oif Chelsea, man city, Tottenham and man utd averaging 5each……pretty odd if you ask me.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Tks Andrews
    I hope we finish second but just incase we couldnt beat city next week we cud still qualify for CL with a victory sgainst Villa.

  • ARSENAL 13

    Our banner got used as a sign of protest by Metro. I WANT THAT CHANGED.


    quote: “Critisism and protest tends to wake up those who have become too comfortable…”

    Fair enough. One question though. Have you ever protested against biased refereeing??

  • para

    60 mins and Sou 3 – Manc 1
    Leicester draw with Manu

    Hope Sou can keep it to the end.

  • Florian

    C’mon Southampton! 🙂
    4-1, and without that much help from the man in the middle. Surely no way back now.

  • para

    Sou 4 Manc 1

  • Mandy Dodd

    Now City are 4-1 down

  • para

    Bummer Manc scored. Sou 4 – Manc 2

  • para

    ARSENAL 13

    Fighting that “beast” is another game all together.
    They seem to be above critisism i’ve noticed.

  • Florian

    Didn’t help them very much in the end. We are 3 points in front, and only need 1 point next Sunday, plus the 3 everybody takes from Villa, to fail to finish 4th 😉 Just park the bus, Arsene 😀 Joking, I hope these 2 teams will manage to play the right way and make a good case for the attacking football. Oh, and the men in black better stay off this. Wishful thinking, I know.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    All in all a good day for us.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    How bad is it that I’m looking forward to the season ending so that I can ignore more completely the gits that focus all their vitriol at our manager. Curiously Mr. Wenger’s response has always been that the sentiment is not reciprocated as he does not have a relationship with all those Mad Haters (or is it Mad Hatters?)

  • omgarsenal

    They should have provided the protesters with 55 sheets of toilet paper sporting the Spuds chicken, at least they would have served some useful purpose afterwards!

  • Gord

    Nice to see Southampton win. Hoping for the Chelsea win tomorrow.

    I looked at earlier to see what the Leicester score was (hoping for the big ManU loss here), and top of the news:

    > Hanover 96 player killed day after relegation

    Nothing nefarious, the player was a youth who had only signed professional terms a couple of months ago. He was a passenger in the rear seat of a car which left the road and hit a tree.

    My condolences to the family and friends.

  • Al

    Off topic
    Not sure if this was verified but FIF claimed that;

    “After Martin Atkinson pulled out of refereeing Liverpool v Newcastle, the pgMOB make 6 changes of official in 7 Premier League games in order to get the outcomes required”

    That is shocking if true. How can one ref failing to make one match affect 6 other matches? Why do the media ‘fail’ to investigate things like this?

  • Josif


    Actually, we need a point at City for 3rd place and direct CL place. It’s a massive game for us in order to avoid CL Play-Off, to lure big players with CL place earlier in the summer and to relax our August schedule.

    Two victories, Chelsea victory tomorrow and lasagne served to Spuds at St James Park by Rafa Benitez = St Totteringham’s Day. 🙂

  • thierryhenry22

    Double quote:

    ”quote: “Critisism and protest tends to wake up those who have become too comfortable…”

    Fair enough. One question though. Have you ever protested against biased refereeing??”

    No I actually don’t think criticism and protest DURING a game is fair enough at all!

    Do it before or after the game but please protesting DURING a game is incredibly counter-intuitive.

  • Gord

    If FIFA, UEFA, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and so on were not corrupt, they could short circuit this.

    They have lots of money, which is a big part of the problem. But, take some of that money and set it aside as wages for a team (2, 3, 10, …) of officials: referee, linesmen, the goal line people, and 4th official. For 1 year you train those people (these are already FIFA accredited officials). The games they do are things like UEFA U21, early round Champions League. Competitive games, but early stages. Lots of cameras and whatever else is needed. Analyse each game. Then spend days with each official, showing them what they did right, what they missed, what they did wrong, and so on.

    After 1 year of training, they are ready. Say for game day 13 of the EPL, PGMO announced the appointments on Tuesday morning. And we’ll say this is UEFA with the referee team. UEFA then announces that the team of Mike Dean, …. doing such and such a game are to be replaced by this UEFA team. The PGMO officials must attend the game (it is NOT a holiday). And after the game, it is analysed and both the UEFA officials and the PGMO officials spend the next few days going over everything.

    A question I have, does UEFA (or FIFA) have enough jurisdiction to tell the EPL that the team they (or PGMO) assigned for a game, is to be replaced?

  • goonersince72

    I was in washington, DC visiting my daughter and took in the game with the DC Armoury at their local; a loyal, vocal group of Arsenal and Arsene Wenger supporters. Any time an anti-Wenger placard was displayed on the broadcast they booed and roared their disapproval. Of course they want Arsenal to win the title, but they support the team. They’re not fanatics, they are SUPPORTERS. I had a wonderful time with this terrific group and thoroughly enjoyed the win. 3 more points. and City lost today. COYG!

  • ARSENAL 13


    “No I actually don’t think criticism and protest DURING a game is fair enough at all!”

    I second that. My “fair enough” statement was only for this “Critisism and protest tends to wake up those who have become too comfortable…”.

    Referees have become too comfortable cos no one questions them. Its apparent, Ozil just doesnt get a call in his favor. Yet no one questions the referee for letting opponents ,literally, chop Ozil. Instead they say Ozil should be stronger!!!…

  • Walter

    The weather forecast for your BBQ looks fine for the moment 🙂 😉

  • Florian


    My reasoning was that if we lose with Villa (extremely unlikely, but the PiGMOB are capable of anything), and we draw with City, we’ll be level on points (68) with them. Yet, they have a better goal difference.

    But don’t ever let me get too pessimistic:)

  • Rich


    Afraid it would need very radical change to allow something like that.

    One of only occasions I know of when Uefa tried to interfere directly with pgmol/FA was when they suggested three game ban was inadequate for Shawcross or Taylor (can’t remember which). They were ignored. And, actually, it might have been Fifa and Blatter himself who tried to intervene.

    Aside from that there’s only one other example I have of irregular relations between the two. For Euro 2004 the FA/ Pgmol argued for dispensation to send a referee from England who hadn’t qualified by the normal route.

    Poll was the man who should have been sent, according to he system in place (something performance related), but the FA/Pgmol wanted someone else : Mike Riley. Uefa allowed it in the end after our head of referees with them had pleaded the case.

    He’s always had friends in high places. It’s how he earned them that’s shrouded in mystery. In those days maybe you got extra credits for finding lots of penalties to give for certain teams. Or team.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I do believe that we all desperately WANT to see an improvement next season . Let us support OUR club to achieve this goal .

  • Rich

    Odd quirk of the push for change is that this summer seems guaranteed to involve a fair amount of change anyway.

    It looks quite likely all of Arteta, Flamini and Rosicky could leave. Must be quite likely with Gibbs. Debuchy very likely. Walcott a serious possibility. Then I saw a very credible, and very decent and positive, well-connected Arsenal fan mention there might be a contract issue with Campbell and he might well be off.

    So in numbers, wages and personality/character it looks like there’ll be a lot of change this summer.

    The situation is remarkably different to just three years ago in terms of squad depth, and seems very different to me in terms of how thoroughly parts of the team have been tested. In defence and attack the injury situation has been good enough for Wenger to see exactly how things work.

    It’s a big shame Cazorla and especially Wilshere had their injuries, otherwise the same would apply to the midfield.

    Still, two of the most recent signings point to a different approach and a different reality with a strong deep squad : Gabriel and Elneny both seem to have been identified and signed with team functionality (how we want to play) firmly in mind, rather than as good players who are available and who we can afford.

    Just another reason why I was strongly against the protest (in principle I agree with fans doing that, in desperate times, which we aren’t in).

    With Wenger’s contract situation, some senior players leaving, most players and positions in the team having been well tested, and with how the season has gone, it seems all the conditions are there for change naturally.

    Much of the midfield conundrum remains (wilshere, Ozil, Ramsay, Cazorla, Coq, Ox and now Elneny- can we keep them happy, can we find a way to utilise them all successfully?) but if the experienced three do leave that should nevertheless see at least one new addition to the midfield ranks, and there seems a good chance functionality- exactly what we want from our midfield- will be the top consideration.

    So, change time. I wish all that could play out in a calm, supportive respectful environment, but obviously it has been clear for years that the reality is and will be different.

    It means there’s extra tension at all times, but at least I can feel positive we now can finish the season well and then see a few changes which could unlock all the talent we have. A great team might be very close.

  • jamiestunner

    “I want CHANGE; like many who go each week the main change I’d like to see is on the pitch. I’d like us to be playing attractive attacking football again and rolling teams over before half time.I’d like to see us chasing down Leicester for the title and not fending off United for 4thplace. I’d like another day out at Wembley instead of watching United sneak a lucky last minute winner against Palace.But I have no influence over much of this. Ican’t change the manager or the board anymore than I can guarantee sunshine for my BBQ next Saturday.And as Arsenal supporters (or fans, or customers, whatever) we can’t do much any more either. All we can do is cheer on the team and support them and each other.”

    This is the most embarrassing comment I’ve ever read anywhere.

    The notion that as a paying customer, you have no choice but to keep paying for the product is absurd and defeatist. This is the kind of mentality that leaves us with 12 years without a trophy. Refusing to enter bidding wars for players we want, refusing to file a formal complaint against the PGMOL with evidence… that is a terrible mindset and I hope that’s not the kind of wisdom you choose to bless your children with.

    As fans, we’re the soul of the club, and wanting change but choosing to put the interest of Mr. Wenger above all else means you have as much of an agenda as the Liverpool pundits. Kindly keep your propaganda infested ideas to yourself.

  • James, if “This is the most embarrassing comment I’ve ever read anywhere,” then I think you should spend a little more time at the library, and a little more time reading articles on the internet.

    But just as I thought that the oddest thing I’d read today, I found you had written

    “This is the kind of mentality that leaves us with 12 years without a trophy”

    So, somehow, the “mentality” of one supporter is responsible for “12 years without a trophy” (leaving aside a couple of FA Cup wins). Hmmm, I find it hard to get that.

    What is interesting however is that we regularly get people who promote George Graham as a better manager than Arsene Wenger, who quote Mr Graham’s record including his several cup wins, but then exclude them when Mr Wenger is cited. (I know you didnt do that, but I thought I would mention it in passing).

    And then there is “refusing to file a formal complaint against the PGMOL with evidence… ”

    We have always made it clear that we know no one would never win a case against the PGMO unless we had the phone taps which the Italian state possessed when taking action against Juventus et al. And in case you didn’t know, phone tapping by private organisations (such as newspapers and blogs) is a criminal offence in the UK, for which people can be sent to prison. All we can do is point out the extraordinary refereeing that goes on, and the bizarre indeed unique way PGMO is organised.

    And from this, you draw the conclusion of a “terrible mindset”… OK I must admit I lost you at that point. But one thing I think I can say, this really isn’t the site for you. There are hundreds and hundreds of web sites that support the sorts of notions you are pointing out. Why are you tormenting yourself by being here? We are, after all, just a web site run by a few friends.

    Why put yourself through all this? For your own mental well being I think it is time we said farewell.

  • Barry Gething

    There are those who still believe, roundly mocked and chastised for their devotion. Yet faith cannot be blind; we must challenge our values and beliefs and in doing so, garner strength in the collective. They say that the night is darkest before the dawn; but there is no light to guide us and so we wander, aimless and forlorn whilst our enemies rejoice.
    Cherish the memory of Arsenal Football Club, as we offer our final respects. Do not be fooled by denial, for it has thrived too long and deceived too many. Better to acknowledge the power of temptation, besetting our unholy trinity, who failed in their duty and were devoid of mental strength in its true form – offering only prescribed rhetoric, without substance.
    What lessons can we learn? In our despair, no prophet’s soothsay was heeded. Even as the end drew near and wrath unleashed, their pride was not cowed. How then to charge ourselves? A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thoughts to his steps. When the result of blind faith is nought, then the remedy is to think and challenge preconceptions.
    Be humble in expectation. Remember the joy, but accept its passing. Make not comparisons which do not bear the making. In doing so, we can honour Arsenal Football Club, though it flourishes no more. Know that whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin… and forgive… if you can.”

  • WalterBroeckx

    LOL Okay that is settled then Tony. It’s all your fault ! 😉 🙂 Live can be simple sometimes…

  • Gord

    I think someone was talking barbeque above, and we may yet have a St.Totteringham Day this season.

    In the USA, there is a product called Albert Bartlett Rooster Potatoes. They have rooster potato recipes on their web site, but nothing about Tottenham. It would appear rooster potatoes are known in the UK, they are just new to me I guess. Albert Bartlett exists in the UK, and they have a Tottenham recipe: Stuffed Baked Rooster Spuds.

    SBS (down under) has Cockerel in Wine with (Chondra) Potatoes. But is that a spelling mistake? Maybe it is Cockerel in Whinge with (Chondra) Potatoes?

    Delicioza has “Cockerel in its own juice, Potatoe and Carrot”. Hmm, I wonder what that juice is?

    PackingtonFreeRange has Roast Cockerel with Butter – Herbs. Shouldn’t that be Roast Cockerel with Butter – Piers?

    That is just about enough cooking nonsense out of me. I leave you with something from Hungary. Kakashere Pörkölt. You’ll have to look up your own translation, it is not for polite company such as Untold. TasteHungary is the place to look (perhaps there are others?).

  • Menace

    So many here needing care in the community. Tony & Walter it is time to set up untold-mental -a sanatorium for those who lose sight of the obviously visible.