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October 2016
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Why so much hate and angst about Arsenal? We’ve found the answer.

By Tony Attwood

It was just over a month ago that Untold published the first article in what became (somewhat to my surprise) a long running series.  The headline was “Why so much hate?” and it reflected upon the language used in football.  In a later article we picked up on the phrase “toxic rhetoric” to describe what was being said.

From that point on we began to be interested in why there seemed to be so much negativity in football supporting, whether Arsenal received more negative coverage than other clubs, and from there this took me onto the issue of tales that are told which appear to become true, just because they are discussed so often.  Tales such as what turns out to be the false belief that spending money generally helps a club.  Or that Arsenal get the most injuries, that changing managers improves a club’s fortune etc.  I’m working on putting an index together of the articles so you can find them, should you wish to but here’s a quick list of topics for now.

  • Transfers take a club up the league.
  • A top goalscorer in the team is essential for winning the league.
  • Arsenal don’t score enough.
  • Changing managers is good.
  • Reducing complex issues to single items is helpful.
  • Arsenal need to spend more.
  • Arsenal get more injuries.
  • Arsenal’s problem is that they don’t shoot enough

I wanted to know why these stories keep going round and around even though they are palpably not true – and indeed why the stories seemed to be amplified more and more as every week passes.

Slowly the answer emerged, and I thought it might be interesting (for me at least if not for anyone else) to summarise what is going on, as I now understand it.

First, humans tend to look for simple explanations for complex affairs and simple resolutions to complex problems.  Before science came along people believed in witches as the source of evil, and religious or magical chants as a way of making life better.  Science displaced some of this, but that deep rooted wish for simple, single issue explanations is a fundamental within many people.

It’s one of the issues psychiatrists talk about: the problem with people who openly say, “if only I could… then all would be fine.”  The … could be “have a child”, “find a partner”, “get some money”, “move away”, “lose weight”… but the notion is always false.  Life is more complex, but we seek to make it simpler.

Then we had the excellent analysis by Dr Drew Gray, head of history at the University of Northampton, which showed how newspapers have developed into products that have moved further and further into the propagation of myths in the desperate search for readership, and how this has continued into radio, TV, and of course the internet.

In short, making up stories that give instant answers and which instantly appeal to readers is cheaper than researching the truth, and gets more readership than the truth, because we all appear to have a desire for the sensational, the easy to understand, and stuff that knocks the powerful.

Put those first two points together, and the last thing the media is going to do is say, “actually this is rather complex”.  Try that as a commentator, and you don’t get interviewed.  Say, “Arsenal get the most injuries and it is all Wenger’s fault” and you’ll get coverage in the paper every time, and the myths will be continued.

Thus the media build on what seems to be natural inclinations inside most of us to look for simplistic explanations and simplistic solutions, and we have an ability to believe in them even when they are wrong, and repeatedly shown to be wrong.

But this situation has become more and more exacerbated by Twitter which builds specifically on these false desires within all of us: the desire to have simple answers which can be expressed very quickly.

Stefan Stieglitz, professor of professional communication in electronic media at the University of Duisburg-Essen hit on the point when he was quoted in the Guardian saying, “If people get new information that is in contrast to what they believe then they tend to neglect this new information for as long as possible.”

The media laps it up – it is cheap and a way to survive, and telling people that, “it’s much more complex than that,” is rarely a way to win friends.   But there is something worse than that going on.

For what struck me as I started to write this series of articles, I found that many readers genuinely didn’t understand what I meant by things like “research”, “evidence” and “logical deduction” and I was taken aback by this.

The first time someone said, in response my call for evidence that he was using “the evidence of my own eyes” I thought he was taking the piss.  Quickly I came to realise that he actually meant it, and that a lot of people really did not see that there was a whole raft of evidence supporting the notion that there were reasons for not buying a striker.  By the time one correspondent said, “Tony, you’re losing the argument,” in response to a lot of people simply saying I was wrong, I knew that my assumption that universal education led to an awareness of what “evidence” meant, was completely misplaced.

Worse, many people saw the issue as black and white – that in raising this point, I was saying “we do not need a striker at all” rather than something more complex than that.  For my argument was that yes, a striker could help, if we can find exactly the right striker, who isn’t going to fail us in the first season, as so many expensive new strikers do (for all the reasons and evidence I have given in previous articles with which I won’t bore you with it again).

What we have is the psychology of common sense which suggests that everything can be seen and understood by looking at it (the same vision which suggests gravity doesn’t exist because we can’t see it, that the sun goes round the earth because that’s what appears to happen each day in the sky, and that the earth is flat.)

So the desire for simple common sense answers is one that seems to be central to the human psyche -although those of us who are interested in research and science can stand aside from it.  But there is a deliberate proliferation of chatter in order to reduce our access to hard real information.   Rational thought is being pushed aside to make way for the new superstitions.

And the reason for this is simple: it is in the media’s interests to do it.

But why then does Arsenal suffer the most?  We’ve been looking at this for years – here’s an article from three years ago, asking the self same question.  I’ve also set out my view, tracing the problem back to 1 October 1996.

The fact is we are being drawn more and more away from proper understandings of what is going on in football, because the media have a clear interest in feeding gossip and untruths rather than insight and research – a clear interest because a) such articles feed into our base level psychology which likes simplistic single-line answers and b) because it is the cheapest way to run the media.

But this little series of articles hasn’t been all negative, for it shows us a most likely explanation of why most managers in football fail.

Around 40 managers are sacked each year in the 92 Premier League and Football League.  In the course of a year around 15 or so managers working the league for the first time will be sacked.  The average tenure of a manager who is sacked is little over a year.  Most first time managers in the league who are sacked never get another job as a manager.

The whole situation is utterly insane – because it is built on a business that has come to adopt a series of insane beliefs in common sense, wild rumours and unsubstantiated claims which the media pump out day after day, which the club owners hear and start to believe, and which then as a result sack the manager – an action which most of the time has no positive benefit at all.  Most of the time clubs would be better keeping the manager and waiting until they can find one of the few who actually knows what he is doing.

A few clubs keep managers.  Ferguson was appointed manager of Man Utd on 6 November 1986.  In 1989/90 his team won two games in 17 league matches, and he was on the edge of being sacked.  Fortunately for the club, unfortunately for Arsenal,  someone there was wise enough to keep him.

To see how crazy the current beliefs are, try this league table.   It is the normal table you will be familiar with – last season’s league positions, but with two more columns added to show expenditure on players in £m.  The top spending club last season came fourth, the second top spending club got relegated.  The last column shows where the club would have been if the amount of money spent had been the way the league position was calculated.  Leicester, for example would have been 7th.  Arsenal 14th.

The table does not say, “don’t buy anyone” but rather than there is no direct link between how much one spends and how well the club does.

POS CLUB P W D L GF GA GD PTS Net £m  £ pos
1 Leicester City 38 23 12 3 68 36 32 81  28.9  7
2 Arsenal 38 20 11 7 65 36 29 71  15.6 14
3 Tiny Totts 38 19 13 6 69 35 34 70  -6.7 20
4 Manchester Airport 38 19 9 10 71 41 30 66 124.4  1
5 Manchester U 38 19 9 10 49 35 14 66  33.6 5
6 Southampton 38 18 9 11 59 41 18 63  4.8 19
7 State Aid Utd 38 16 14 8 65 51 14 62 26.5 9
8 Liverpool!!! 38 16 12 10 63 50 13 60 15.4 15
9 Stoke City 38 14 9 15 41 55 -14 51  21.3 12
10 Chelsea Oooops 38 12 14 12 59 53 6 50  7.8 17
11 Everton 38 11 14 13 59 55 4 47  20.9 13
12 Swansea City 38 12 11 15 42 52 -10 47  5 18
13 Watford 38 12 9 17 40 50 -10 45 42.5 3
14 West Bromwich 38 10 13 15 34 48 -14 43  27.5 8
15 Crystal Palace 38 11 9 18 39 51 -12 42  21.5 11
16 Bournemouth 38 11 9 18 45 67 -22 42 38.7 4
17 Sunderland 38 9 12 17 48 62 -14 39  37.2 6
18 Newcastle 38 9 10 19 44 65 -21 37  80 2
19 Norwich City 38 9 7 22 39 67 -28 34 27.1 10
20 Aston Villa 38 3 8 27 27 76 -49 17 9.3 16
 But perhaps what fascinates me most of all is the fact that I wrote this in a recent article, and I have quoted it again here…
Stefan Stieglitz, professor of professional communication in electronic media at the University of Duisburg-Essen said, “If people get new information that is in contrast to what they believe then they tend to neglect this new information for as long as possible.”
In response to reading that very large numbers of people wrote in ignoring the entire essence of the piece which argued that buying a centre forward was not necessarily the best way forward for Arsenal, and instead starting writing about the need for Arsenal to buy a centre forward.
As they say in legal circles, “I rest my case, your honour.”

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


52 comments to Why so much hate and angst about Arsenal? We’ve found the answer.

  • RK

    Hi Tony – I have to tip my hat to you for your persistence in attempting to get this point across. While I agree with the sum of everything you have said, I have another contributing factor to propose for the negative news stores. Arsenal has been very successful in establishing a digital media presence (far more than any other club I believe). For all the media who are now reliant on digital for revenue, could this simply be a way for them to attract more eyeballs knowing that saying something about Arsenal (good or bad) is bound to attract its legions of supporters? Allowing these media organizations to then monetize the chatter & clicks. And what better than a bad story, which then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? Always easier to knock someone / some organization down rather than say that they are doing a good job or make a genuinely useful suggestion.

  • Xi_gunner

    If transfers take a club up then QPR should be in the CL.

  • Josif


    “Transfers take a club up the league.”

    Except you keep ignoring the facts such as:

    -Chelsea hadn’t won the league for 50 years before the Russian oligarch spent hundreds of millions to get them; since his spending-fest they have won four league titles, a Champions League and a Europa League;

    -Manchester City had been going through thick and thin since their last league title in the sixties before the oil money started pouring into the club; since that started, they have won the league twice;

    -Manchester United won their last league title thanks to one particular purchase of the best striker in the league.

  • BarryL

    A couple of points:
    1. There is an increasing instance of “group-think” (was that first mentioned in Orwell’s 1984?), whereby some groups cannot stand (or understand) other people’s point of view. In a lot of universities students insist on having “safe spaces”, i.e. where they don’t experience someone else’s views that they don’t agree with; and I thought that being at university was actually about testing and challenging different theories and ideas. Oh silly me!!
    2. The extension of this closed mind spproach is exacerbated by the pervasive nature of the internet and social media, which allows individuals and groups to bully and harangue people who dare to have different views through aggressive, rude and even threatening language without the danger of being identified.

    In the 3 years or so I’ve been following UA, I’ve noticed a significant increase in the number of negative posts which fall into the “Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up” category.

    Keep up the good work

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Talking of signing a striker or center forward, I think the Boss himself has settled the argument once and for all as he has acknowledged the fact that Arsenal need a 2nd senior second striker as another option to Olivier Giroud who is the only recognized senior Arsenal specialist striker.

    However, the Boss has reiterated the point he has been trying to drive home for us the Arsenal fans to understand as he has said in his last press conference at Stavanger that, he won’t buy for the sake of buying because other clubs are buying. But he’ll only buy if he needed to buy. But even then any player he will buy must pass certain 4 tests of, be very talented in the art of the game, be in the right age, have ability to perform consistently at the top level of the game and the player must possess the capacity to improve on the already existing performance level of his 1st XI team. And if I may add a 5th, the new import should also be of good character behaviour.

  • dave

    Good article, sound advice. The big problem is there can only be one winner. That causes huge disappointment and a rash of stupid reasoning that the alleged losers toil over with an unbearable sense of failure. This might be reflected in a divisive society that causes their anxst. Football is only a microcosm of the big place we all like to escape from on a Saturdaya t 3.00 (pre greedy Australian men that marry women 25 years younger than themselves – who could that be?)

  • Mick

    You won’t win many friends spouting this sort of thing mate…

  • Gord

    This statement

    First, humans tend to look for simple explanations for complex affairs and simple resolutions to complex problems. Before science came along people believed in witches as the source of evil, and religious or magical chants as a way of making life better. Science displaced some of this, but that deep rooted wish for simple, single issue explanations is a fundamental within many people.

    is partially at odds with Occam’s Razor.

    Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.

    which might be part of the problem. It can’t be all of the solution, as I don’t think Occam’s Razor is that widely known. Or properly remembered, or something.

  • Boss, football allows us to study the socio-economics of any given situation, this is the beauty, physics, socio-economics and so much more!

    Yes the humans of the world have responded to the impoverished state of lobal affiars by sticking its head in the sand! Thank you Arsene for being more economics than Football, and you are so football!

    Santi purring after that penalty miss, Chuba 3 in 3 for third striker position! Iwobi and Chambo are on one, Messi copied Rambos’ (Godboy) haircut to state his changed intent, avoiding 2 yeatr for talent pfft! Hustice, CR7 is better, 11 CR7’s vs 11 messi10’s no contest! Waiting on Mustarfi, Gabby 25 Must 24 Mr I’ll get us into the CL two years running last day, the will to win! Hector I’ve been waiting for you since you were 15. Nacho grew at CB Gibbs of course you stay, equaliser at Spurs from the bench saw to 2nd! Granite in the Midfield, Real are getting the better player not for 100m to boost share value!

    Leicester I don’t believe it 5000/1 has a lot to do with that!

    We can rotate after Mert retires and Nacho and Santi are not to peak!

    Striker yes, we need that extra weapon, transition player, because we need more pace and someone to scare the opposition and ensure Sanchez gets more space !

    Insha Allah as Mo Elneny would say with his two kids and month long visa delay!

  • Marcus

    Gord…The statement is actually not at odds with Occam’s Razor because of the key criteria that it only applies when two hypotheses are competing. In the context of philosophy competing in this case means equally likely to be true.

    So if one hypothesis is that simple, single issue explanations are the best way to explain phenomena within football and as such make decisions regarding transfers, club set up, match line ups, wages and rotation.

    and tony’s hypothesis…

    These issues are much more complex and it is more effective to attempt to understand them through looking at many factors and the interdependency between them.

    Occam’s Razor would only favour the former if we can truly say looking at the balance of evidence that the two hypotheses are just as likely to be true.

  • bob

    we still need a complementary player of high quality to make up for your beloved Giroud’s inevitable cold streaks and howlers. That’s what a top of the B list striker gets us.

  • Florian


    It’s true that bulk transfers take a club up eventually. The problem is, as already highlighted, not as simple though. Transfers need a coherent policy in order to bring results, and that’s only the start. The media ignore this kind of insights completely. Look at Liverpool???, what did their regular spending spree bring them? Even Manure can’t seem to get themselves out of the mess left by SAF. Cheatsky and City were able to win by massively outspending everyone else, and this has also been demonstrated, but also because they had a better plan – not pretty, as with Moronho et al, but one that worked for them. And I could continue elaborating, but I’m really better at writing travel reports. What I really mean is that cherry picking does not invalidate Tony’s study.

  • Tom

    “If people get new information that is in contrast to what they believe then they tend to neglect this new information for as long as possible.”
    How very true.

    In addition to Josif’s post, I might add this:
    Only one club has had a worse injury record than that of Arsenal’s over the last five years according to “”.

    It was New Castle United with 284 points( 1 point for every week missed by a player).
    Arsenal came in second with 240 points, and these are just generic stats that don’t specify how key an injured player might’ve been to the club’s set up. Like Cazorla or Coquelin last season for example.

    Worth noting that New Castle U changed managers three times within that period of time, got relegated and are universally regarded as a poorly run organization.
    Arsenal are none of those things.
    So unless you are looking at some other injury statistics that contradict “injury”, then I can’t imagine how you can believe Arsenal don’t have an injury problem.

    As for Arsenal not needing to score more(supposedly another undocumented tail), all one needs to do is to look at league tables
    from 12010-11 season on, to find out that the numbers don’t support this theory.

    Usually when a counselor finishes his closing arguments with ” I rest my case, your honor”, his case is more solid than yours, Tony.

  • Florian


    The difference between transfers and injuries is that, while transfers are to a large extent under the control of the club, at least as far as initiating them goes, injuries are at the opposite end. There is little way to predict and avoid them, in the environment Arsenal plays in. All the club can do is manage their effect, and cover for the absence of the injured players. Yes, we have an injury problem. Do we have a transfer problem? Based on the way the club is being run, no. But, as always, you choose to see the narrative – and contradict yourself in the process, in the sense that you manage to see a lot of the reasons that kept us from winning the league, but still look at them in isolation and from a negative perspective.

  • nicky

    I think the British have an in-built distaste or suspicion for success and as soon as some body, club or similar institution (not a human being)achieves it there is an automatic dislike.
    Man Utd for example inspired actual hatred not only for its success but because of the corrupt way this was attained. Not least by its manipulative manager.

  • Tom

    I don’t think you can level that at me, not when I’ve mentioned countless times on here Arsenal are being held back by , refs, injuries, loyalty to underperforming players, conservative approach to transfers, not enough emphasis on winning by owner…..

    How is this looking at things in isolation?

  • Robert

    “there is no direct link between how much one spends and how well the club does.”

    Actually, there is. But it’s not spend in a season that makes the difference – it’s continuous investment in players over a long period of time.

    Between them, the two Manchester clubs and Chelsea have won all but five PL titles since inception. Those three clubs also take the first three positions in the player investment league for the period from PL inception to now.

    That fact has been pointed out to you many times by many people yet you still ignore the evidence.

    Allow me to remind you that, “If people get new information that is in contrast to what they believe then they tend to neglect this new information for as long as possible.”

  • Nicko

    Tony i once remember you with your stats comparing giroud with henry.That was a load of boll1x as well.

  • Robert

    “Around 40 managers are sacked each year in the 92 Premier League and Football League … Most of the time clubs would be better keeping the manager and waiting until they can find one of the few who actually knows what he is doing.”

    Frankly, what happens to non-elite PL clubs and EFL clubs is irrelevant. What happens to the richest clubs in the world (and we are in that group) when they change managers is far more interesting and relevant to Arsenal.

    A quote from the Independent: “The evidence of recent Premier League football is that the quick boost of a new manager can help to propel teams to the title. Of the seven champion teams this decade, three were won by coaches in their first season with that team: Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City, Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City and Carlo Ancelotti’s Chelsea. Jose Mourinho won the 2014-15 title in his second year back at Chelsea, Roberto Mancini in his second full season at City, and the only two exceptions were Ferguson’s final two titles at Manchester United.”

    What that suggests to me is that when Wenger chooses to leave the Club stands a good chance of immediately building on his legacy. Of course that assumes the board has the competence to recruit a suitable replacement, unlike Man U. On second thoughts, maybe they should ask Dein.

  • Gord


    Don’t trust the medja. YOU do the research to verify the claim. The medja will write just about anything, if it will sell advertising/news/papers.

  • Chris

    Just looking at the Pool!! injury situation I was daydreaming how the press would have reacted if it had happenned to Arsenal…

    Anybody doubting Klopp ot Pool!! management ? Nope
    Anyone screaming murder ? Nope

    Just shows and proves how the press is having a different attitude when it comes to AFC and Mr Wenger.

    And if we loose it will be the end of the world. If Pool!! looses, they’ll have excuses aplenty and AFc will havec won an easy game etc etc.

    Yet in the end, I know I’ll turn off the telly more often in a happay mood then in a bad mood during this coming season.
    So all these people wanting to spoil my satisfaction can go to hell.
    And I’ll keep my sanity reading Untold

  • Andrew crawshaw

    Off topic but I’ve just found out that our U19s beat the South Africa U19 squad to retain the Durban Cup we won last year. Mavididi with a brace to add to an own goal. Well done lads!

    Makes a great trio of wins so far this weekend

  • Florian

    Because what you’ve been trying to do with your comment was to undermine the credibility of the article. Yes, we’ve been hit by injuries, but how many times does the press report that Newcastle has a worse injury record than us? Or Newcastle are not a club worth mentioning, in your humble opinion, especially now that they went down? That’s what I mean by “looking at things in isolation”. It’s the same kind of distortion that the press is using. Ok, you come and comment regularly on Untold – kudos for that, most of the newswriters don’t seem to, so I’m not putting the sing of equal between you and them – but still you seem to let that negativity affect you.

  • Menace

    Josif – buying victory is not success. It is an alternative to sporting victory. The Chelsea & City success is bought & cannot be classified a sporting success. Trophies have lost their true value with the advent of financial bending of sport. There is very little difference between the drug cheats & the financial cheats. They are both outside the ‘natural’ growth of sporting success.

    Even the Olympics are being tarnished with the ‘migration for financial gain’ by some athletes. The Zola Bud case was an example.

    My personal view is that financial caps need to be in place & foreign ownership in sport should be subject to higher taxation (80%) for removal or repatriation of funds. It would immediately reduce the loss of national pride. There are far too many areas where corrupt practice is ignored.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Fascinating., and in many ways, quite frightening.
    I wish the WOBbles would start quoting Prof Stefan, as opposed to constantly misquoting Einstein.

  • Gord

    Thanks Andrew.

    Congrats to the U19!

  • Xi_gunner

    Why are so many ‘comments’ almost as long an article?

  • para

    “First, humans tend to look for simple explanations for complex affairs and simple resolutions to complex problems. Before science came along people believed in witches as the source of evil, and religious or magical chants as a way of making life better. Science displaced some of this, but that deep rooted wish for simple, single issue explanations is a fundamental within many people ”

    It’s amazing how opinions can become distorted if the facts are not right. The statement above is relating to a European History at the cusp of their gaining of the higher knowledges.

    It was these same “witches” that were actually using higher sciences that had become a threat to the “leaders” of the society.

    These “higher sciences” are now common today, e.g. mathematics, algebra, phythagorem etc etc.

  • Chris

    Guys, here is another one that is a blatant example of the BS the ‘so-called’ press is givind us :

    here is the link :

    Among the text, these paragraphs :

    “With only a week to go before things get underway, both Arsenal and Liverpool have a considerable number of players missing out owing to injuries or due to their participation in the Euros. However it’s Arsenal who are the most hard-hit at the moment.

    Jack Wilshere is yet again sidelined due to injury and is expected to return to training only next week. potentially ruling him out of the Liverpool game. The Gunners will also be without Per Mertesacker and Danny Welbeck with the German nursing a knee injury while the English forward is recovering from a Meniscus tear. Alexis Sanchez suffered a knock to his ankle during Chile’s successful Copa America campaign and was expected to miss the opening few weeks of the Premier League. However, it appears an early return is on the cards.

    Liverpool, on the other hand, have considerably lesser number of casualties as with viable replacements for all the absentees. Sturridge joins an injury list at Melwood that includes Lucas Leiva, Joe Gomez, Loris Karius and Mamadou Sakho. There are worries regarding James Milner’s fitness as well after the 30-year-old was hauled off in the 42nd minute in Liverpool’s 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona. However, with Alberto Moreno returning to action, the Reds do have resources to cover up for Milner’s absence.”

    I read it a few times, just to make sure. We’ve got 4 guys injured. They have 6 guys injured. Yet they state “Pool!! have a considerably lesser number of casualties”.

    Thinking about it and about how the press always presents them, maybe that is right. They regularly finish with less points as Arsenal, yet they are presented as a better team.

    We may all have to go back to school and relearn couting ?

  • Nicko

    If we once again fail to buy a striker and centre back ,especially with the vast amount of funds available at our disposal i fear the atmosphere with the fans could become toxic once again.This more so if the results don’t go our way in the early part of the season.And this time Arsene Wenger will have to shoulder the blame for his refusal to strengthen the team in the positions even untolds staunchest supporters can see.He will have nowhere to hide and none of his past excuses will appease the supporters.I just hope he has a plan in the final 2 weeks of he transfer window and can pull 2 rabbits out of his hat.We shall see!!!!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    “First, humans tend to look for simple explanations for complex affairs and simple resolutions to complex problems.” Here , I would change that to simple minded humans( and I am being very, very kind here !), as it makes more sense to me !

    And old gem – posted verbatim . Am sure you must have received it before . Still applicable !

    ‘ An Obituary printed in the London Times…..Absolutely Dead Brilliant!!

    Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, *Common Sense*, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:

    – Knowing when to come in out of the rain;
    – Why the early bird gets the worm;
    – Life isn’t always fair;
    – And maybe it was my fault.

    Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

    His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate; teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch; and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.

    Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.

    It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

    Common Sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

    Common Sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault.

    Common Sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

    Common Sense was preceded in death,
    -by his parents, Truth and Trust,
    -by his wife, Discretion,
    -by his daughter, Responsibility,
    -and by his son, Reason.

    He is survived by his 5 stepbrothers;
    – I Know My Rights
    – I Want It Now
    – Someone Else Is To Blame
    – I’m A Victim
    – Pay me for Doing Nothing

    Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.

    If you still remember him, pass this on. If not, join the majority and do nothing.’

  • Robert

    Chris, you must have missed the paragraph at the end where they point out we will also be missing Kos, Giroud and Özil. They missed the fact that Jenkinson is injured and Ramsey and Sanchez will be short of match fitness.

    In any case, why are you even bothering taking offence at a random blog supported by a betting site?

  • Robert

    “And this time Arsene Wenger will have to shoulder the blame for his refusal to strengthen the team in the positions even untolds staunchest supporters can see.”

    Nicko, Wenger has said often enough of late that he wants to strengthen in defence and attack. That’s generally interpreted to mean a striker to cover for Welbeck and a centre back for Per. For all anyone knows it may mean something else and it may mean more than two positions.

    However, should the club fail to make any signings, don’t direct your ire at Wenger. He’s unswervingly loyal to club and players, so he isn’t about to turn round and say, “The Board wouldn’t pay and asked me to make-do,” or “Dick Law couldn’t close the deals.” He will say, “The players weren’t available at the right price,” or some such.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And among the reasons why children and the youth of today are totally out of sync with reality is due to parents . Here read this , as it was written. You make up your own minds .


    Years back, poor illiterate parents produced
    🔹 Scientists,
    🔹 Accountants,
    🔹 Lawyers,
    🔹 Architects,
    🔹 Professors.., whom I will refer to as Group ‘A’.

    These Group ‘A’ Children struggled on their own after Primary 6 or Grade 12, to become notable personalities. Most of them trekked to school barefooted ; worked on farms ; fetched water and firewood ; cared for domesticated animals ; did some work including trading after school to survive.

    Now Group ‘A’ ,who have now become parents themselves are producing Group ‘B’ Children.
    These group B children are pampered , were helped in their homework or home assignments from nursery school through secondary schools to higher institutions.
    🔹Chauffeur driven to very expensive schools or are sent abroad to study.
    🔹They can watch movies from morning till dawn after school.
    🔹They are treated like baby kings and queens.
    🔹They don’t do any household chores.
    🔹Food is put on the table for them, their plates are removed and washed by parents or house maids.
    🔹They are given expensive cars and clothes,
    🔹not forgetting*big pocket monies to be wasted !!!.
    🔹Their parents help them in doing all their assignments.
    🤔 In spite of all these, only few can speak or write ( or think ) correctly. 😏

    🤔Group ‘A’ Parents cared for their own parents and children.
    Group ‘B’,their Children , are still struggling to find their feet at age 30+ ‼

    🤔They find it difficult to do things on their own because they are used to being helped to think and doing things by Group ‘A’. So they can’t help themselves, their parents or the society.

    😴Where do you belong ?❓
    🏮Reduce the pampering and the unnecessary help you offer your children.
    🏮 Let your children grow in wisdom, intelligence and strength.
    🏮Let them face the truth and the realities of life.
    Teach them to grow to become *independent adults.
    Teach them to fear God, respect others and develop confidence in themselves.

    🤔Parents, discipline your children to become disciplined adults, useful and not useless.

  • Shard


    Not arguing against the gist of your article, but I would like to counter your point about a top striker.

    Yes, I know the point about the league’s top scorer not usually winning the league title. But I think this can be explained through a basketball comparison. In the NBA, it is rare for the highest scorer to win the league. Usually, a top class player will need to drop his shooting and scoring stats and share the ball around between one or more other shooters and that gets the team to the top.

    But having the player who CAN score massively is a huge part of it.

    So just because the top scorer doesn’t come from the champions doesn’t mean a player with that ability isn’t a factor. The best players make the team better, even at cost of their personal glory.

  • Rich

    My contender for most ‘special’ comment of weekend (not from this site):

    ‘Wenger mucked up chambers, i suggest they both [Holding and Bielek!] find suitable teams and managers who will bring them on and teach them, they are the future. But so was/ is chambers and he is not progressing in the presen4 environment.’

    Where the hell do you start?! The illogic of it. An Arsenal fan saying that Bielek and Holding- two players recently recruited by us, one being shaped into a defender by us- are the future, but should leave the club.

    Holding has only been with the club a couple of weeks, so in that time this fan has decided he is a very good player (the future), but that no credit is due for the manager/club in getting him and instead it is a(nother) cause for woe and moaning.

    Bilek, meanwhile, if you like the look of him at cb (the future), should be even more cause for giving credit to the club and, especially, manager, who decided to move him to cb and are working hard to develop him.

    That comment for me seemed a great illustration of how the extreme miserabilists work. Good is converted into bad instantly. In fact it never exists for a moment as good. Holding, Bielek- there appears to have been no period of enjoying their talents .The appetite to find bad is voracious.

    Can you imagine watching our games or following the club with that attitude? Thanks to the internet, I unfortunately now know there are thousands and thousands of similarly miserable and ridiculous supporters

  • alexanderhenry

    What a strange article.

    In your list there are only two relevant points. Allow me to address them.

    1) Transfers take a club up the league

    Yes, they do if they mean acquiring better players. I’m not sure why you see this as unreasonable.

    2) Arsenal need to spend more

    Again, yes they do, and with nearly a quarter of a billion in the bank, why don’t they?

    You’re correct to point out that ‘arsenal suffer more than most’ when it comes to sustained media criticism, but they deserve it I’m afraid.

    To put it in perspective, arsenal are one of the richest clubs in the world and charge the highest ticket prices in world football. Despite this, last summer the club spent £9 million on a goalkeeper. Apart from two seasons of significant spending and hopefully this window, the club has been one of the lowest nett spenders in the PL for years. At one stage we were regularly posting profits in the transfer window and selling off our best players.

    That is a scandal.

    There is is only one man to blame for this and it’s not arsene wenger.

  • Alexander Henry I think you are not quite getting what is going on here because you haven’t read all the articles in this series and have jumped to a conclusion.

    I am hoping to publish shortly an index to the whole series so you can go back and see how the issues have evolved.

  • Average Joe

    Arsenal follows potential players for at least a year before they make a decision on whether to sign them. Are you telling me Jamie Vardy was someone they had in mind for that long? No bloody way! What this tells me is that the scouts and the club had no long term targets in mind, they’re making it up as they go along

  • Boyd

    Tony, your sensibilities continue to astound the doubters and the yo-yo Gunners. Your views are spot on and well researched. I would like to add one dimension to support your views against the Buy-Buy brigade;

    Because I looove the Arsenal, I would get a higher orgasmic satisfaction to see Iwobi, Akpon and Aldeleid lead Arsenal to a league title the good old Vardy.I would be over-delighted to see Beliek, Holding or Chambers rise to be towering defenders than buying another defender.

    My point is this BUY-BUY SYNDROME tends to work against development of new talent but encourages re-cycling old players at exorbitant prices. There is too much exciting talent at Arsenal right now so much that given a choice between Alvarez and Iwobi, I would stick to the latter.

    The Arsenal is already GREAT!

  • Boyd you also run the risk of getting walloped 8-2 by teams like Man Utd but nice sentiment

  • westwing


    most important and when Tottenham and Liverpool beat such top teams in last week this Viking thing is forgotten now. Liverpool are ruthless and Spuds too but Arsenal look too much like young boys on big outing. Worried for them like missus is for Tony’s health. Nephew say my writing better than Walter now.

  • Jerry


    That was 5 years ago, way to keep up with the times!

    Vardy scored 5 goals in 34 appearances before last season when he was 28 years old.

    It is illogical to think that none of the Arsenal strikers or forwards who are younger than Vardy can improve their goal tallies this season- Sanchez (27), Walcott (27), Campbell (24), Iwobi (20), Akpom (20), etc.

    In fact, just a return to normal health and usual career average contributions by Sanchez and Walcott would have added 6-9 goals last season and lead the league.

  • Nicko

    Tony how do you know that alexander hasn’t read all the articles ? Why is it that the rest of the world, the press, journalists, media ,former Arsenal players ,Arsenal websites(Goonersweb,goonersworld,arseblog,le-grove to name a few) and fans from every other club and even most arsenal supporters can see what is really happening at Arsenal and a small handful of UA Wenger supporters cannot. You will probably say they are all wrong and you are right about the club and the way its run.
    You have never once criticised the owner of the club even when he started to filter money into his own pocket. Strange.

  • Nicko, you asked

    Tony how do you know that alexander hasn’t read all the articles ?

    That is an interesting and important point. The articles gave a wide range of evidence to show that (for example) having a top scorer only sometimes improves a club, and that making a big money signing only sometimes has an impact in the first year.

    Had Alexander read the articles then I am sure that out of politeness he would have pointed out to me where the evidence was false, and where mistakes were made in the figures. If he were unhappy with the evidence of the psychologists (which was given without figures) I am sure he would have put forward alternative positions from equally eminent researchers. But he did none of this He just gave his own opinion.

    Now you say,

    “You have never once criticised the owner of the club even when he started to filter money into his own pocket. Strange.”

    This is of course libel, and I am taking a risk that I do not normally take in publishing it. But I do because obviously I have your details and if the owner of the club were to write via his solicitor to say that this is libel where is the proof I would pass him on to you. I do not engage in libel, but instead gather evidence and report on that evidence, using statistics, logical deduction and the scientific method of analysis which is accepted throughout the western world – except it seems by some Arsenal supporters such as yourself.

  • Jerry

    @ westwing,

    Another post based on historical biases rather than current reality. It’s interesting you mention Liverpool and Tottenham. The media says how great those two teams are every year, yet practically every year they finish below us in the table (Tottenham definitely, Liverpool may once in a blue moon finish higher)!

    Liverpool last won the league title- 26 years ago! (Arsenal has won 4 in that time)

    Tottenham last won the league title 55 years ago!

    It’s kind of sad those “ruthless” Liverpool and Spurs almost always end up below those “young boys” of Arsenal. They (Liverpool and Spurs) should really look into that if that’s the case!

    Arsenal needs supporters not fickle fans! Instead of worrying about Arsenal, think you would be better served worrying about why the missus worries more about the health of another person than your own!

  • blacksheep


    I think the Greeks might have something to say about your suggestion that the early modern period saw the emergence of such new ideas as mathematics. More properly the Renaissance saw these ideas ‘rediscovered’. There were no ‘witches’ of course, just those that the Catholic church decided to burn and torture on the ‘evidence’ of their jealous neighbours and the prejudices of their communities.

  • Frankantz

    ‘Signing a top scorers only sometimes improves a club’ while ‘making a big money signing only sometimes makes a big impact’?
    Well, wouldn’t you say those were decent odds worth taking? If we were applying probability theory to all of this some of the less risk-adverse amongst us might well be quoting Pascale’s Wager theorem which says you might as well get the striker you want and wager that the outcome will be better, assuming you have nothing to actually lose.

    But the truth is football is a very simple game. Envariably the better the players you have, the better your chances of winning.

  • Nicko

    Tony i dont know which made me chuckle the most I do not engage in lible but instead gather evidence and report on that evidence, using statistics, logical deduction and the scientific” or the threat of stan kronke suing me for liable.If you are going to report me to Stan can you also tell him hes going to have to sue the Guardian .I know theres only you allowed to copy and paste but here is the article

  • Mick

    What is the point of westwing.
    There is a village somewhere missing it’s idiot.

  • charlie

    Tony Attwood
    August 7, 2016 at 10:49 am
    Alexander Henry I think you are not quite getting what is going on here because you haven’t read all the articles in this series and have jumped to a conclusion.

    I am hoping to publish shortly an index to the whole series so you can go back and see how the issues have evolved.

    Normally I would say that what you are writing on here is self serving inverted analysis nonsense which has nothing to do with the Love of the game and the Fooball Match day experience – which from what I have seen most of you do not subscribe to first hand ?

    However in keeping with the culture of this site – I will be incorporating all of Tony series of Articles into a piece of Modern Dance critique which will be committed to VHS video and distributed to all the regular members of the site – please let me know if you reside in some sort of long term institution and what specialist vetting procedures govern you receiving post form the outside world

    Dr Charlie