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What Bellerin said, Toddler Brain Habits and making money from criticising Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

On the most general level, if one sees something that one feels is wrong in any way (be it corruption, deliberate lies, something that harms some people, criminal acts or anything else) one has a choice.  To turn away and do nothing, to do something once and then let it pass in the future, or to campaign.

We all of us make this type of decision every day.  I know there is a footpath near where I live which has highly dangerous barbed wire set in a manner which could cut out a child’s eyes.  Do I do nothing, report it to the local authority and leave it, or report it and report it, and then if nothing is done publicise it on local media, until the authority is shamed into action?  Such questions might not overtly spring to mind but they are there as I form a decision on what to do.

What’s more, mostly these questions come and go in a flash, because most of us settle into modes of behaviour.  The world is too complex not to let most things pass – we can’t individually sort out the world’s (or even our village’s) problems.  In response some focus entirely on one issue and let other matters slip by.  Others just complain.  Others say nothing.

In a sense this where we were when Hector Bellerin was asked about ArsenalFanTV, and he replied, “It’s so wrong for someone who claims to be a fan and their success is fed off a failure. How can that be a fan? There’s just people hustling, trying to make money their way, which everyone is entitled to do.”

So he made his linguistic judgement: it is wrong to claim to be a fan, but to generate personal success from failure.  This is linguistic because such a person can’t be called a fan in the normal sense of the word, because being a fan means supporting and being in favour of.

The general view of those who study such things is that “fan” originates from the Latin, fanaticus, which means “insanely but divinely inspired” from which we got “fanatic”.  Fan entered the language in the 16th century, to mean “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion”.

So yes, in both historic, and normal contemporary uses of the word, a person who constantly criticises a football club is not a fan of that club.  ArsenalFanTV is a misnomer, because in the normal sense of the word they are not fans.

But if Arsenal Fan TV is not run by fans who is it run by?  Hector suggested they were just a commercial organisation, which is possibly true.  I have no idea how much money they make from what they do, and maybe they are successful financially.  What I can say is that Untold Arsenal makes money from the advertising that appears around these pages but it is only just about enough to cover our expenses in keeping the site running and protected from interference – no writers get paid.  (The problem in case you are interested is ad blockers – so many people use them that the income we get from people clicking on any advert surrounding this page has declined – if you want to help us you could ensure you see the adverts and then if you spot one of interest, click on it – but please never click over and over, only when genuinely interested, and only once).

An alternative would be to argue that ArsenalFanTV is not run for commercial motives, but is in fact run by zealots. A zealot, as you may recall, is generally defined as a person with very strong opinions about something and who tries to make other people have them too.

This word comes from of an ancient Jewish sect which had its own view of what Judaism meant which they wished to expand across the world – it is clearly related to the word “zeal” which comes from an ancient Greek word.

“Zealot” today is not restricted to propagating religious ideology but rather to something closer to the “fanaticism” end of the use of the word fan.  The zealotry thus would be the removal of the manager and perhaps the board and maybe quite a few players and replacement by… well I am not sure.

However the commercial element could also be there with ArsenalFanTV – obviously I don’t know.  Certainly the commercial element is present in the newspapers and blogs which endlessly criticise all things Arsenal.  The writers in the mass media, and those who follow their style and approach on blogs appear not to want reform in the way of zealots, but rather they find that by writing negatively about Arsenal they make money.

But there is one other point.

What we see in ArsenalFanTV and on many blogs is what many psychologists would call the Toddler Brain Habits.  These habits include self-obsession and repeated action and are found in adults increasingly in recent decades as our lives have grown far more complex than our brains have evolved to handle.  Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin is an expert on this if you want to go further, but in essence the argument is that advances in technology create information overload and over stimulation.  This in turn causes ever more frequent retreat to the Toddler brain.  Such people (like toddlers) have no foresight or ability to think through the consequences of what  they are saying or what they are doing.

Of course I don’t know the people who run ArsenalFanTV, any more than I know the journalists and blog writers who I regularly criticise, but this does seem to me the most realistic explanation for their behaviour.  Toddler Brain Habits and a bit of making money on the side.

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20 comments to What Bellerin said, Toddler Brain Habits and making money from criticising Arsenal

  • Tony,
    Bullseye, real zealots them fans who never see anything good in AFC but find that it makes them money and there from get addicted to both. The one feeding off the other.

  • para

    People should watch the reply to Robbie to Hector’s comments:

    AFTV is (to me) a good thing.

    Fans get to expose their real emotions much unlike the “packaged” TV that does only seem to cater for and produce controversy, all the while portraying themselves as a benevolent parent.

    This is pure emotion, Ok, some of it on the border of being a little too raw, both in disappointment when Arsenal lose, and in enjoyment when Arsenal win, but this is life and how it is, why portray it as if everything is rosy, but at the same time using the controversy factor to garner “hits” like the official media.

    Packaged TV has always been a bore to me, it smells so false, that is why i have long got rid of my TV set, not to mention the “hidden” racism propagated by the owners of the networks who do have an agenda, but that is another story well documented by many.

    Arsenal(the team) is solely responsible how the after game reports play out, for it is their performances that are under discussion.

    One thing i have to say though, there will always be conflict between differing opinions, we even have it here in the comments on Untold too and on other blogs when commenters go to the nail on their opinions and thoughts.

    One thing i try to never do, is to attack someone personally because of their opinion, even if (as has happened before) some have gone beyond and attacked me personally. I tend to see these sort of attacks as the futile measure of those who are lost for valid reasonings and can only resort to all out attack as their last resort.

    So i do tend to see these attacks on AFTV, which could also have another source,(that is another story too) as either being fueled by some sort of jealousy or as the case mostly is, being uninformed.

    So for those uninformed, take the time to watch a range of the productions of AFTV, you will of course not like everything you see(but you will be surprised at some of the things and even enjoy them), but at least you can then say with reasonable knowledge what you did not like and why, before condemning something on pure hearsay, which many do.

    There is also the case for “latent racism”, something that is very apparent, just not to the proponents of it, and this has been taught oh so subtly by the aforementioned “official” media since it’s inception(really take over) by those with the racism agenda.

    You just have to look at the two sided reactions to the “Black Panther” movie that is across social media, long before the film had been released and you will see that this world is divided by a sort of colour barrier in thought, but glad to say by only a minute part of the populations, and get this, on both sides of the colour barrier too.

    As someone else stated, if we were all the same colour, there would probably be conflict based on hair colour implemented by those who control our societies, just like they implemented “racism”.

    One only needs to look at small children who are pure and you see no form of racism at all, only from the ones who have started to LEARN it from their various surroundings.

    Racism is taught, just like other bad behaviour policies too.

    Funny how my mind works, synchronicity some call it 🙂

    I have recently sent two articles to Untold:
    1: Why the much dislike for AFTV and other fan media.
    2: Supporter or Fan.

  • Jimbo

    Excellent article,completely agree that these so called fans are suffering from what is clearly some kind of rational thinking disorder.The times I have watched AFTV,there seems to be a complete inability to analyse what has happened in a game,with either a begrudged euphoria if we have won or a complete meltdown if Arsenal have lost.You can tell they are not genuine fans in the traditional sense more as you would say aaa,similar to Durham on talk sport.Their popularity with other fans from rival clubs shows their true colours..

  • para


    completely agree that these so called fans are suffering from what is clearly some kind of rational thinking disorder.

    So called fans/genuine fan – what is your understanding of a fan or indeed a genuine fan?

    Rational thinking disorder – You seem to be diagnosing a thinking disorder, while at the same time being somewhat irrational yourself?

    Their popularity with other fans from rival clubs shows their true colours.

    Wow, this is all i can/will say on that, the non reason of this comment is so beyond measure.

    I cannot by the best of will find anything rational in any of your comments, no points of view to explain your thinking at all.

  • Andy Mack

    AFTV earns adsense money in excess of £50k per year.
    That’s a very conservative estimate and could go as high as £800k per year (per social blade), but I’d guess it’s probably closer to £100k. So a very nice income.
    They’ve hit on a formula where they get more views from non-AFC fans watching for a laugh than from AFC fans and they’re raking the money in.
    By using short 2-5 minute clips they get people watching a few clips consecutively, whereas they could do an uninterrupted 15+ minutes after each game, but the short clips earn them more with the hope that certain comments will go viral via other media bases which increases their income even more.
    Although some would argue that they’re only negative because the results aren’t going our way (compared to say $iteh), I’m pretty sure they’ll still be finding the ‘glass half empty’ guys when we’re top of the league with a 10 point gap…
    They may have been fans originally but I’d suggest they are now just businessmen with a successful model, just as someone that runs a legal brothel in (say) Germany is just a businessman earning from a rather distasteful business.

  • Markyb

    Or a bunch of twats in other words.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Watching the Bayern-Wolfsburg match. The referee has good control of the match. I saw him consult the video assistant and award a yellow card to Ribery for a poke to the eye from a flailing hand. The commentators were nicely neutral. I would call the style of football a bit industrial. Bayern have controlled the ball but have not penetrated the Wolfsburg defence. A lot of straight forward balls played to their forwards who play the ball back to the midfielder who tries to run onto the ball but it isn’t working. What is interesting is the Wolfsburg tactics resemble what Arsenal did against Spurs…a lot of central defending with the hope of a counter. The difference is the commentators here recognize that it is a tactic and have said as such unlike the recent NLD where the commentators took it as a definitive difference in quality.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    As regards the Arsenal Fan TV, I find that they are over the top. I agree with the comment that they are all about emotion. When we win, it is something to hear and see them hopping up and down and celebrating but equally when we lose, they are hopping up and down with negative emotions. In both cases their analysis, as it were, of matches seems to relate to how it made them feel.

    And, I get it to some extent. At the level most of us have played, if things don’t go well, you run harder and tackle harder to get back into the match. We can relate to that and in the stands we move, scream, sing and swing our arms about to try to get our lads to be successful…sort of like pushing your foot through the floor of the car when our spouse SHOULD be breaking.

    But, the weakness of this platform is that this raw emotion right after a match does lack perspective, tactical acumen and, and charity towards our players who might not have achieved a good result. This is where Bellerin takes umbrage. A place like Untold appeals only to Arsenal fans. A place that criticizes Arsenal like TalkSh*te and ArsenalFanTV appeals to upset Arsenal fans and everyone that hates Arsenal…potentially the rest of the league so negative words against a top team really do sell better than good words about a top team. And, the people who get squashed in the process are often the players.

  • Tony ‘The Tiger’ Atwood, more like it, evolving certainly.

    Doffs Cap!

    Worlds away Real pull 1 point behind 3rd and 3 games away from second, as Barca continue to lack that previous swagger.

    And Graeme, not always right, but almost worth considering as the WC match predicting lobster.

    We strengthen they weaken, he states it as fact, certainty. I agree, it’s a mere formality, which should happen earlier than later, triggering the Kerry’s go around, Oblak will only leave if, Tibault returns, I can tell see De Gea not taking the job.

    This is why we involve in then Oblak pursuit, with Liverpool having a similar need, but Karius improving and Chelsea needing a certain replacement.

    “But they don’t, they do not have the money to finance such a deal after they buy their main targets this summer. Perhaps more importantly, Real president Florentino Perez does not view him as a target.”

    Balague has revealed Eden Hazard and either Thibaut Courtois or David de Gea remain Real’s primary transfer targets when the window reopens this summer, with Perez not interested in Pogba, who he turned down the chance to sign when he left United in 2012.

  • VAR controversy

    Neil Swarbrick was probably hoping for a quiet shift when he sat down in the west London office where Video Assistant Refereeing duties are carried out on Saturday evening, but instead it proved another controversial evening for the new technology.

    Intentional saboutage, route them horsies

  • Something the web decided I should see!

    My Dad !

    When I was ………………………………

    4 years old: My daddy can do anything.
    5 years old: My daddy knows a whole lot.
    6 years old: My dad is smarter than your dad.
    8 years old: My dad doesn’t know exactly everything.
    10 years old: In the olden days when my dad grew up,
    things were sure different.
    12 years old: Oh, well, naturally Father doesn’t know anything about that.
    He is too old to remember his childhood.
    14 years old: Don’t pay any attention to my father. He is too old-fashioned!
    21 years old: Him? My Lord, he’s hopelessly out-of-date.
    25 years old: Dad knows a little bit about it, but then he should because
    he has been around so long.
    30 years old: Maybe we should ask Dad what he thinks. After all, he’s had
    a lot of experience.
    35 years old: I’m not doing a single thing until I talk to Dad.
    40 years old: I wonder how Dad would have handled it. He was so wise
    and had a world of experience.
    50 years old: I’d give anything if Dad were here now so I could talk this
    over with him. Too bad I didn’t appreciate how smart he was.
    I could have learned a a lot from him.

    Author unknown

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Four monks decided to meditate silently without speaking for two weeks. By nightfall on the first day, the candle began to flicker and then went out.

    The first monk said, “Oh, no! The candle is out.”

    The second monk said, “Aren’t we not suppose to talk?”

    The third monk said, “Why must you two break the silence?”

    The fourth monk laughed and said, “Ha! I’m the only one who didn’t speak.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Having dwelled for some time as to what the above meant to you , here are some others’ observations .

  • Va Cong

    Sir Tony Attwood, would you do an untold arsenal TV if you get sponsorship from fans?

  • Sifarzone

    I remember last year right after we won the FA cup, the interviewer from Arsenal FANTV interviewed a few people. in one segment, he went around asking fans if they wanted Wenger to stay, one after another they said yes and he kept moving on until he found one that said no. He spent a much longer time talking to that person. I immediately thought, wow, that seems a bit biased and thought nothing else of it. About one week later, when Wenger resigned, one of the tv channels went outside of the Emirates to interview the fans. The interviewer from Arsenal FanTV was interviewed and he started to say how the club missed a trick by not moving on from Wenger. I immediately understood why they seemed biased the previous week. It is because they are biased.

    I will not go so far to say they do it intentionally. It could be that they spent more time with people who agree with them because we all like people who agree with us. But it ends up seeming that most Arsenal fans think like them because they get more screen time. So I see them as entertainment than any real reporting. However if you were trying to get the real feel of Arsenal fans, they may not be the best outlet to base your opinion on. I stress that all this could be unintentional.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Va Cong – 18/02/2018 at 12:45 pm – I was thinking along the same lines , Va Cong. And I think it could work , Tony , seeing that there are millions of AKBs out there wanting to vent their feelings at the injustice of it all.

    Why just putting on an extended version(with foreign referees comments) of the clips of that 50th match alone would draw a huge crowd . It would have their honest and unbiased opinions of the ‘debatable ‘ incidences on that day of infamy.

    I would love to get opinions on that ‘was he or wasn’t he not the last man’ tackle by Ferdinand on Ljunberg . Was it a foul ? Or did the Arsenal player dive ? Why no bookings then ? That ought to be a hoot !

    What clip would the others like to see on Untold Arsenal TV ?

  • goures

    They are passionate fans like anyone else and I really appreciate all the fans who travel up and down the country and to Europe supporting the team no matter what. If they have a channel to voice their opinion then so be it. Every one has a right to their views and this article is very close to calling them names for being raw, or not being polished. That’s the feeling I got when I read it. No one on that channel says that we have to win all the matches, all they say is give your best and not make the same mistakes every single time. What’s wrong in that? You can see the anger in their voices when we lose due to stupid mistakes and if we lose after playing well, that’s also acknowledged. Also the joy of winning is there, players are slated and revered as well….that should allowed…is that not a true fan of the club…who wants the club to compete and succeed. That’s also called democracy.

  • Andy Mack

    Va Cong & brickfields, Although it could work, UA is very facts/stats based and that rarely transfers from written to spoken in an interesting way.

  • Andy Mack

    goures, Depending upon the politics of a news channel, they pick their political guests very carefully to give them the answers they want to hear, although they may add in the odd dissenting voice to make them look bad against all the other guests saying the opposite.
    AFTV has a similar business model where they appear to be more interested and spend more time with the negative support rather than give a balance reflection of the support.
    That’s not democracy.
    Have a look at how negative they are and compare it with the complete failures of the ‘demonstrations’ against the club/manager. That shows that there isn’t the total negativity around that AFTV like to portray.
    I’m not suggesting all is great with everything, but it’s rarely the disaster that AFTV like to pretend it is, and but showing that is what earns them their money…

  • Andy Mack

    shoulb be “and showing that is what earns them their money…”

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