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Just how long has this hatred of Arsenal been going on?

by Tony Attwood

It is hard to find many people in football who don’t have a bad word to say about Arsène Wenger, and Arsenal FC.

In the current era it seemed to start with the journalists who tried to run the original paedophile story when Arsène Wenger first arrived (and who now conveniently forget they were part of the nauseating show as they condemn the fans for singing the song that arose from their actions outside Highbury).

The abuse and distaste then moved on to accusations of footballing incompetence from the anti-Arsenal Mafia who now seemingly ally themselves to these journalists forever saying that Arsenal are not up to it.  You only have to go back to the Observer report after the Unbeaten Season to see how it looks – despite the most staggering achievement in modern football the paper ran a wholly negative piece about Arsenal, pointing out that it was wrong to call a season in which a club had only won the league an “Unbeaten” season.  Churlish or what?

And constantly in the background we have the fans of Tottenham, still commenting on Arsenal as the club who stole a place in the first division from Tottenham nearly a century ago.  And they do this not in terms of historical debate but to symbolise Arsenal, as they see the club.  “Same old Arsenal, always cheating.”

But why us?   Why do the journalists and broadcasters turn on Arsenal?  Why does Arsenal, uniquely among top football clubs, have such a vociferous body of people who claim to be supporters while endlessly attacking the manager and the entire approach of the club?  Of course other clubs get abuse both from their own supporters and from the media, but nowhere else do the two combine so vociferously and so regularly to put a club down.  Why does it happen, and why does it happen to us?

During the abortive trip to London for the Stoke game (and the return) we got to debating this, (when not talking about the origins of the Italian language, as I mentioned yesterday) and for once actually came up with a few interesting conclusions.  Here’s how we see it.

The earliest anti-Arsenal commentaries came in the Woolwich Arsenal days when Newcastle United directors called a visit to the Arsenal, “our trip to hell”, on account of the journey.   Teams travelled to games by train in those days, and with most clubs in stadia in the city centres near the railway station, it was but a short horse drawn bus ride from the station to the ground in most cases.

But although the clubs could all get to London by train, the final part of the journey to Woolwich involved crossing London by horse drawn bus or tram (or later the Underground) and then taking the long and tedious tram ride to Woolwich, followed by another long horse drawn bus to Plumstead.   (The ferry at Woolwich did not operate in those days – despite the statements to the contrary in the Official History of the club that comes out each year).

That the phrase “trip to hell” stuck is as much an issue of intense northern bias and distrust of southerners as anything else.   But there was more.  Woolwich Arsenal was also disliked because it was in effect a Scottish club playing in the English league.   There were many Scottish players in England but perhaps none more than at Woolwich Arsenal where many players left Scotland to find work at the munitions factory, and then employment in the club, if they could get taken on.

Third, Woolwich Arsenal never won a trophy, and ended their time in Kent bottom of the league and playing in front of crowds of 3000.   Yet their image of being an important club never faded, thanks both to their background and the London press.  This, remember, was an era where the UK ran a global  Empire, and when half the world’s trade went through the ports of London.  The Empire was built on coal, enterprise and military might – and nothing symbolised the latter more than the great munitions factories of Woolwich Arsenal.  Indeed it is hard to conceive of the scale of the factories – over 25000 were employed there at the time of the Boer War, and these people had jobs vital to the Empire.

As such the name “Woolwich Arsenal” was instantly recognised in a way that “Everton” or “Aston Villa” or “Preston North End” was not.  The club had come from Royal Arsenal (perhaps the only club with Royal in the name) and the image grew of a club that was almost an official part of the Empire.  The team that were at the heart of the world.   No wonder that Woolwich Arsenal named one end of the Manor Ground “Spion Kop”.

And although not exactly in London, Woolwich was considered London’s “first professional club” – the club from the south that dared take on the pros of the north.

Through these connections and associations, Woolwich Arsenal found favour in the London press – not least because George Allison was (from 1910) the programme editor for the club and also the reporter who covered home games at the club for six different London papers (each report written in a different style).  He was a director of the club from 1919.

Throughout his time as  supporter, historian, director and ultimately manager of the club Allison was a brilliant publicist – and he built the “Arsenal – the unique innovators” brand remorselessly  (although many of stories were simply made up).  His assertion, for example, that the FA ordered amateur teams not to play Woolwich Arsenal when the club turned pro (another story reported in the Official History) has been shown to be quite untrue by an analysis on the Arsenal History site of the games Arsenal played in the two years between becoming a pro team and joining the Football League.  And yet it gave a feeling of Arsenal standing up against the hidebound administrators of the game – Arsenal always pushing forwards, bringing football to the masses.

Thus Allison made sure Arsenal got publicity beyond the norm for other mid-table teams, and helped build up the mystique of the club – something that intensely annoyed northern teams who won the league and cup – which Arsenal singularly failed to do before the last years of Chapman’s reign.

As time went by this resentment seeped into London, and the battles of 1919 show just how intense the anti-Arsenal feeling had become since then.  You’ll know the story: the league was being expanded after the war, and the issue to be debated was who would be in the first division, and who in the second.   Tottenham had ended up in 1915 bottom of the first, Arsenal finished fifth in the second.   Arsenal went up, and Tottenham down, and they have been screaming “fix” ever since.

That the press still run this version is a further example of anti-Arsenal bias.  Promotions and relegations were often sorted out by club votes – as Tottenham well knew, having secured a place in the League after coming seventh in the Southern League the season before.   Clapton Orient had got elected into the Football League after coming near the bottom of the second division of the Southern League.  Bradford City and Chelsea got elected without having a team and, in Chelsea’s case, without having a ground.

But for 1919 there was more – for Liverpool and Manchester United had been found guilty of match fixing to such a level that the whole league table was a fake.   And this is where the hatred of Arsenal became cemented.   Match fixing was so widespread at the time that everyone was ready to ignore it – except Henry Norris at Arsenal who threatened to split the league, or seek a judicial review, if the matter were not resolved this time.   Tottenham with its first division position at stake allied itself with the north.  Indeed they, and other clubs, still try on the pathetic “Arsenal was the first franchise club” because we moved 15 miles – forgetting that most clubs moved around a lot at that time.   Here’s one example: Millwall moved in the opposite direction across the Thames three years before Arsenal moved.

Thus the position was fixed – Lucky Arsenal, Arsenal always cheating, the cries continued even though many of those involved in carrying the message forward over the years had no idea of the origins.

The arrival of Arsène Wenger re-energised hostilities and the press threw everything at him which the fans of other clubs took up with a vengeance, to be joined by what has become known in some quarters as the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal (AAA) – this huge mob of blogs that snipe and criticise every day.

By why would the press attack Wenger so much rather than someone like the Tottenham manager, currently on bail and facing financial charges, or the Man U manager, for years refusing to speak to much of the media at all.  Why don’t they turn on managers like Hughes or Allerdyce who have perfected the anti-football play of timewasting and rotational fouling?

The most obvious reason is because of the way Wenger turned the pedophile story back on them.  As the club hierarchy told him not to go out to face the press, he walked out and dared them to mention the story (which would have allowed him to sue for slander).  They shied away, and left with tails between legs – and they have been trying to get him ever since.

As for the AAA, in one way they have always been there.  I have mentioned recently that I contributed a piece to the new Arsenal in the Community book, “Arsenal til I die”.   My piece is about my father and my grandfather, and one part tells of how in the 1930s, with Arsenal in their pomp, supporters would shout abuse at players for not trying hard enough.   One defeat and they were rubbish.   I personally can remember sitting next to a “fan” at an away game in which Pat Jennings made a couple of errors, and having this “fan” screaming abuse at Jennings – not least for him being a Tottenham player.

That the volume of the AAA is much higher now is undoubtedly the result of technology.   We can lose a match and the headlines are about Wenger once again shows his failure to (whatever is deemed the failure this week).

So, I guess, the AAA is just the latest in a long tradition of moaners, who see the cup not even as half empty but as drained to the bottom.   And in this regard it is interesting to compare ourselves with Tottenham.   Two league championships in their history, the last 50 years ago, but they don’t have nearly such a vigorous anti-Tottenham group as we have with the AAA.  Instead they focus on re-writing the history of Arsenal’s promotion and their own embarrassing relegation, while ignoring their later sojourns into the second division.   They issue celebratory DVDs of draws with us, while quietly putting aside an embarrassing 4-1 home defeat to our reserve team.   They debate the ins and outs of a move to east London, and still call us Woolwich Arsenal for daring to move the same distance.

The AAA is a uniquely Arsenal experience.  Personally I could do without it, but there is one relief.  Within home and away games they have very little influence.   Both at the Ems and away, the crowd is positive.  Yes we are chastened by a home defeat – but the noise, the pro-Wenger feeling, the positiveness towards the players, is terrific.

And in a sense I wonder if the press, still seeking revenge for being made to look such idiots when Wenger first arrived, because every time the Man U and Aston V crowd chant their disgusting chant it is a reminder that they got it from the press.    And the AAA with their endless negativity, are they not helping the cause inside the stadium where for once we can escape their attitude problems?

I’m not actually going to say thank you to them, for making the stadium such a good experience, but it is the closest I can get to a positive thought with them in mind.

Arsenal history

Making the Arsenal

Untold Arsenal

29 comments to Just how long has this hatred of Arsenal been going on?

  • cameron

    Your too right mate, every single time we lose a match it’s Wenger’s fault. Everybody hates us but this will only make us stronger. Imagine all the shit the team has been through, the mistakes, the ferocious criticism from the press and the fact that we haven’t won anything in 5 years. I believe this is the year we finally prove our worth and put our fucking middle finger to the press

  • partyrider

    Mr Attwood, the more i read about the history of The Arsenal and how everybody hates us and the continued rise of the AAA, the more I realize how lucky & special we are. Sure when we loose to the likes of Newcastle and WBA at home, the heart sinks but then u look at where we are on the table and how many of our first team is out, ur heart fills with pride. I luv The Arsenal and I double love ur website. Long may both contine..

  • super sam super sam

    honestly tony, i didn’t even read the entire article, i’m falling asleep.

    the majority of people are sheep and either don’t want to think for themselves, or want instant joy.

    but really, i think it’s because they never loved football in the first place. does arsenal not represent proper football? in some eyes winning represents everything, in todays day and age i’d say it’s split right about 50/50.

    curious though, i always watch the matches via television or the internet as i live in canada and often the crowd seems fairly listless. you don’t see it that way?

    i’m curious to understand the range of emotions and how the atmosphere really is in the emirates, honestly of course.

    haha, i read it by now.

  • super sam super sam

    oops! only meant i was falling asleep because its 3:30 in the morning here! article was fine haha.

  • statics

    brilliant piece as usual.. thank you!

  • Super Sam – the crowd at the Ems is getting older, because most of us hold onto our season tickets, and the ground is comfortable even as one ages a little. But older people are not always so noisy, so there is that.

    However despite this, I find it a very noisy atmosphere – and I think we have more noise than at Highbury on a game by game basis.

  • super sam super sam

    thanks for the quick reply tony, i actually got swept up in the article as i’m a younger supporter and don’t know all the history.

    of course, i would have never thought about it that way. the noise, i mean. it makes perfect sense though.

    i’m going to head to sleep right now. but like i said i got swept up a bit, and i’d like to know more about how the media started the wenger chant and, of course, how he made them turn like frightened rabbits!

    i did a quick search on the net, but couldn’t find anything close, even if you have an article that you’ve done about it, let me know. i’m always interested in how the media puts some pressure on the world to act a certain way.

  • super sam super sam

    that would go a long way to explain why the away games sometimes seem a quite bit louder. but in fairness support doesn’t always have to be loud, just passionate.

  • realistic tony

    Amother well presented article tony; i learned a lot today. I never did fully understand this Woolwich Arsenal fuss which you have explained in detail.
    Is there anyone still alive that can genuinely feel aggrieved by this move and election to the first division????Must make them 100 at least!!!!.
    Perhaps we should all hate the swedes for invading us in the form of vikings!!!!
    I’m pleased our anti-spud feeling is nowhere to match their feelings about our great club. it shows where the envy really is! On a national level, we do seem to have a very envious and bitter culture…buy yourself a very expensive car and see how long before some twisted idiot “keys” it.

  • Chris

    I believe that anyone that focuses on the long term running of a football club and lays little or no emphasis on short term success would come to the conclusion that Arsenal are one of the few teams left that command the upmost respect.

    As a Spurs fan I will always enjoy the banter between our two rival clubs but the fact of the matter is (and I do not believe I am alone in this observation) that Arsenal are a superb example of how to run a football club.

  • lego

    Eerm I thought it was a bit obvious. The fact that the manager …. It’s not fecking rocket science!!!…..

    The rest of the post was cut. Here’s why.

    The article is not about why people are against Wenger today, but about how the AAA approach, of which you are a prime exponent, is so forceful in Arsenal, where it doesn’t exist in other clubs that don’t do so well.

    What people who are not in the AAA do is try to respond to each article – rather than simply reiterate the same points that they have made in the last few posts. To argue that it is because Wenger is an idiot, ignores the fact that this same AAA type activity has been around from the beginning of our club, and that’s what most of the article was about.

    Sorry you don’t get it Lego, but I am really not going to put up any more of your commentaries until you learn the basics of blog communication – you have to respond to the article, rather than talking about something else.

    Tony.

  • mandy dodd

    Very interesting to read the historical context.
    I think that in addition, a lot of the London based media are Spurs fans, the likes of Hansen has never forgiven us for we all know what, the media for some reason feel the need to keep on the right side of Fergie. The trouble is, year upon year, they seem to scent Wengers blood. they certainly have an agenda.
    But what does get me is the likes of Lee Dixon, Winterburn and even Stewart Robson sometimes pandering to these idiots, they should know better. Still – I suppose that is ex players for you.
    What you call the AAA seem to me to be a sad collection of bitter Spurs fans, a few Mancs thrown in and the psychologically disturbed Gooners – the type that go onto Myles Palmers web site telling him how wonderful he is for “telling it how it is!”
    The first two of those groups will never be taken seriously by true fans, the latter – do we really need them anyway!
    One thing I have noticed, when you go abroad, just about anywhere Arsenal are massively respected.
    Let the media hate us, Wenger will have the last laugh.

  • Chris, may I thank you for your comments, most decently and reasonably put.

    I think most of us (at least those of a certain age) are able to have reasonable friendly chats with friends who are supporters of other clubs. Yes we all join in the tribal what-not at the games, and I admit I do it here. But we are also reasonable people beyond this and can hear each other’s views.

    When I was researching into the pricing of football matches for people over 65 I received helpful information from season ticket holders at Tottenham, Man U, Liverpool and elsewhere – all very civilised and helpful – and I certainly try to be as co-operative myself when I can.

    What really pisses me off is if in a pub or a Christmas event or anything away from the game, someone starts up all the anti-Arsenal nonsense without trying for a second to find what we might have in common as supporters whose clubs were given to us by accidents of birth or other chance encounters. I really do want to know what supporters of other clubs think about what’s going on in the club, and we never do that unless we can step aside sometimes from what we do in the stadia.

    Your contribution was a shining light – thanks for writing in.

  • Dark Prince

    well y is Arsenal always targeted??
    One simple answer-
    Its bcoz we play on principles. That is why most neutrals support arsenal. Media know that we’re the only football team which will stand by its principles no matter what, and hence we are the biggest target for them. Also probably the only team in epl having self respect. And we dont sacrifice these things for any player or a trophy. We’re the team who always do things the right way.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    Atmosphere at the Emirates:

    When the crowd is really up for it it is phenomenal. The Spurs game last year, the Man Utd game 2-2 in 2008, unbelievable.

    Obviously I’ve only been a few times to some away grounds, so comparing like-for-like is hard. But I’d say the only places I went where the atmosphere was as good or better (presumably for the home fans, not an Arsenal fan?) are Anfield, Goodison Park and Old Trafford. I’m not saying there aren’t others, I’m just commenting on my experiences.

    The one thing I would say about an Emirates crowd is that it’s not as good at picking the side up after going down in a game than, say, at Anfield. Again, just an opinion, not a judgement.

    I must say the only place I went where there really does seem to be an issue beyond ‘you’re one of my main rivals’ is Man Utd. I was told by a line manager that ‘he wouldn’t have hired me’ if he’d known I was an Arsenal supporter’. They couldn’t say what was so dreadful about Arsenal as opposed to anyone else, mind you…….as the company’s clients included Government agencies in the NW, Yorkshire, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the East Midlands and the SE, it was hardly an official arm of Man Utd…to be fair to the bloke, the reason I left in the end had nothing to do with him…….it was to do with going to a sports bar I used to go to to watch football in a suitably neutral part of town. For years, folks came in to watch Arsenal games with fans of their opponents. No good. Beat a man up for going to his local sports bar because you’re a Man Utd fan. Really, I ask you…….my displeasure at Sir Alex Ferguson complaining about a bit of earache from Gooners near his lugs were directed at the FA, the Chairman of Manchester Council and other suitably senior officials……..and focussed on ‘auditory discomfort as compared to concussion…..’

    The bar’s owners, who sought to ostracise me whilst letting the thugs off scot free, were appropriately relieved of their license to sell intoxicating liquor and the premises rented to a new franchise……….

    Moral of the story: if you stand up for yourself as an Arsenal fan and hold your detractors to account, it is surprising how far it can get you………

  • TommieGun

    I am sorry Tony but I didn’t like the article, I find it structurally incoherent.

    There are 2 different issues:

    1) why the media hates our guts
    2) the AAA

    I think you have only dealt with issue no. 1.

    There is no real explanation as to why Arsenal have the largest share of “anti-fans” (backed up by Sammy the Snake’s black ops visits to enemy cyber territory) – which, to me, is actually weirder than having the media hate us: the scottish background, bank of england team, always cheating, lucky, having a french (yikes!) manager who plays french (double yikes!!) players, up until recently not playing english (rubbish, cough cough) players and not playing the gritty-rugby style-long ball style that everybody loves to love (argh it’s a man’s game!).

    Anyway, I don’t mind being hated by the media in the UK. Listening to some foreign commentators, Arsenal (along with Barca) are the 2 most liked clubs by neutral supporters – due to the eye catching football. Being hated in the uk shows, in my opinion, that people fear you.

    Which is good (so says Machiavelli).

    On the contrary – Mourinho has successfuly uses siege mentality philosophy to make his teams stronger. We can use that to our benefit. We don’t need to be liked, f**k it.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    ‘well y is Arsenal always targeted??
    One simple answer-
    Its bcoz we play on principles. That is why most neutrals support arsenal. Media know that we’re the only football team which will stand by its principles no matter what, and hence we are the biggest target for them. Also probably the only team in epl having self respect. And we dont sacrifice these things for any player or a trophy. We’re the team who always do things the right way.’

    Fine sentiments, Prince, but there’s a lot of ‘statements of truth’ in there which could be challenged. You’ll note I’m not saying I’m challenging them, rather saying that they could be.

    1. ‘The only team having self-respect’. What exactly does that mean? I would expect supporters of Spurs, Bolton, Sunderland, Blackpool at least to have healthy measures of that right now. Spurs on account of their ECL performances, the other three on their league position. Have they all been cheating to achieve that?
    2. ‘We don’t sacrifice these things for a player or a trophy’ – what things, exactly, are those? Financial prudence no doubt: fine. Style of play? You don’t have to resort to kicking people to modify your style if you end up drawing, when different tactics would be more suitable. Adaptability and resilience are always features of top football teams you know……..
    3. ‘We’re the team who always do things the right way’. Well, that again is up for debate. Do we? What exactly IS the right way?? Does Sir Alex Ferguson rig the league to win so many times or is his way the right way for HIS club? I’m cynical enough to believe that the whole league is rigged if you can show me the evidence, but until that day we will have to continue on the assumption that, broadly, it’s not……..in which case until Arsenal start beating Sir Alex to the title, we need to assume that our way is currently constrained.

    One of things I notice other people getting annoyed about with Arsenal fans is that ‘we do things the right way’ brooks no argument.

    I don’t think many doubt that Arsenal FC has been run in a financially prudent and sound way for the past 25 years, that the facilities now available are on a par with anyone’s and that the quality of football is pleasing to the eye.

    There are, amongst certain subsections, greater reservations about Arsenal man management skills, squad evolution strategies and coaching regimens. There are also worries that some injuries are associated with ‘artificial depletion of squads’ for reasons which can only be imagined. Note the word ‘worry’ as opposed to ‘disgust’ i.e. one would worry were that the case, rather than it actually is………

    It’s most dangerous to fall into a belief of self-righteous superiority you know. It’s a manifestation of misplaced pride.

    And usually, unfortunately, pride comes before a fall…….

  • nicky

    Tony, You and others may well be right in your appraisal of the hatred of Arsenal. For me, however, as a follower of the game and Arsenal for nearly 80 years, the post-war era to date has seen a clear increase in club tribalism of a much more violent and bigoted nature. Watching football in the 30’s and 40’s was an experience of friendly rivalry……you gave your team 100% support and shouted down the opposition but there was never the obscene viciousness seen today. Whether the change occurred after peace was restored in 1945, i.e. hatred for a Club rather than against our nation’s enemies, I don’t know. It would be interesing to hear whether other oldies agree with me.

  • Dark Prince

    Rhys Jaggar-

    1. ‘the only team having self respect’. When i meant self respect, it was for the team as a whole. Do United hav the self respect left after it doubled the salary of the player who bad mouthed about them in a press conferrence?? (Rooney) or what type of self respect does Chelsea have after how it tries to buy its way to success?? I dont kno much about Blackpool or Bolton, but who wud the media rather talk about?? Arsenal or Blackpool??…in such comparisons, Arsenal’s self respect is huge which is like a big target for the media.

    2. ‘we dont sacrifice our self respect and principles for a player or trophy’. The best example is youth system, has Arsenal given up on its Youth policy so that they can win a trophy?? or for a player, like in my previous example of Rooney, does Arsenal ever bend towards the demands of a player?? I dont think so…

    3. ‘We do things the right way’. Ferguson has not rigged the whole league, but he does hav an influence on certain individuals which i think is wrong. And the english media and officials will rather support a scottish manager than a french manager.

    I agree that the above points r debatable. The reasons i’ve stated are some of which has made me love this club. Even if some other clubs hav those qualities (honestly i haven’t seen them yet) i dont think any club has those qualities as much is abundance as Arsenal!! 🙂

  • Byo

    Tony-Thank you. I was wondering how long we have to put up with troglodytes like Lego!

    As a follower, supporter and member(lately) of The Arsenal for over 3 decades(I have only seen the team live once at Highbury), my love is based on so much, even when it cannot be rationalised. I know that only a few things get my heart racing- and one is watching an Arsenal match on tv! I have been through a few great years and a few not-so-great years.

    I read some of the anti-AAA sites to get a feel of what they have to say. It seems to always revolve around same points:the team is not good enough, and AW needs to spend money! I really don’t know how many ways one can say the same thing over and over again!

    Your historical perspective I have always found illuminating, even for one who has researched a lot of the club’s history. Thank you for the education.

  • Waleed

    TommieGun, those two issues are separate but related, I feel.
    A lot of the AAA complaints are the same as that of the media – the french (foreign) players, the shunning of the traditional english game, the lack of spending on transfers (because they don’t understand it they criticize it).
    And the AAA also seem to be influenced by the media and by the tabloids. They run a story and the AAA blogs buy it. They print misquotes and the AAA reprint the same stuff. A lot of the AAA blogs are built for hits, and they copy the media not just in terms of format but their content as well.

  • TommieGun

    Hi Waleed,

    I see your point – but it doesn’t answer the question: why do WE have so many anti-fans? I mean, it could’ve just worked the other way around: the media hatred turned into seige mentality, the-world-hates-us so lets unite, etc.

    That bit is still beyond me.

    Supporters should want their team to improve and should be able to point out weaker elements – but the AAA are just a bunch of self-loathing pathetic people, who in my opinion don’t really support the club.

  • IndianGooner

    TommieGun,

    The reason for the hatred from other fans is because We’ve always been ahead of time.. Arsenal is the first club in England to change with the time and because of this others are jealous.

    Arsenal is the first club with a station named after it. Chapman installed Floodlights at Highbury long before the FA approved the use of it. We were ahead of time when we upgraded our training center and the academy and the move to the new stadium at the start of this millennium anticipating the influence of billionaire owners even before they came. We’ve a majestic new stadium which is as good as if not better the New Wembley.

  • TommieGun

    @ Indian – I think you misunderstood my post. I am saying the reasons for the hatred from the other fans and the media is obvious. What you are referring to should be a cause for pride for our fans, but nevertheless we have the must substantsive anti-fan brigadea around.

  • IndianGooner

    TommieGun,

    I, for one, dont consider the AAA to be Arsenal fans.. For me, they pretend to be Arsenal fans when in fact they follow some other clubs..

  • jacob

    I have to say that the AAA thing completely baffles me. It’s almost like a kind of mass psychosis. On some sites (No names) even pointing out clear errors and ill informed, media concocted rubbish brings one nothing but abuse! You’d think that Arsenal fans would want the truth about their own club, not a bit of it.

    There was a very interesting and well written article by Desi Gooner that channelled JFK and used some of the late President’s quotes to (very intelligently IMHO) highlight Arsenal’s current predicament vis-á-vis the media and other things… the reaction on one particular Arsenal website was most eye opening… it was almost as if Desi Gooner was a traitor for trying to carefully and intelligently enunciate another point of view! The same is true of someone who wrote positively about Denilson… the apoplexy of some of people who apparently consider themselves Arsenal fans was something else…. The antipathy towards Denilson in some quarters beggars belief!

    These AAA folks have their own world view and it has absolutely nothing to do with any kind of reality that I’m aware of… the funniest thing of all is that they actually believe that it’s A-OK to spit all manner of venom at the manager and players … but even gentle mockery of their views brings down the ban hammer. Weird.

    I have to confess that I wish that I could say that the AAA were merely fans of other clubs, the truth, I fear, is that they are genuine Arsenal fans. IMHO some are just xenophobes who hate the French manager and players and find it well nigh on impossible to credit Wenger with anything… even his League titles were down to George Graham if you listen to these folk. Some are not very bright and believe that Wenger, ON HIS OWN, determines everything that happens at Arsenal and that his sacking will open the flood gates to a spending spree…. and some are just, for want of a better word, ill. One guy who runs a site called Arsenal Truth strikes me as a serious depressive (I know that online diagnosis is not to be encouraged but still…). He once wrote a post condemning the manager and players whilst admitting that he didn’t watch the team anymore! Go figure…

    It’s a weird, weird Arsenal blogosphere

  • Waleed

    The AAA are a strange bunch, but if other clubs’ fans had as much of a presence on the web as Arsenal do then then maybe we’d also see the ACCs and the AMUMUs as well.

  • nicky

    Another innovation introduced by Arsenal in the 1930’s was midweek football friendlies. It was usually against Glasgow Rangers and drew crowds in the 60,000’s. How they all got off work, I’ll never know!

  • Val

    People can keep hating, for me it’s not like being in love, it is being in love and love is what I guenuinely feel for this club of ours. If you love this club, how can you devote precious energy ranting and slagging it off, leave that to other club’s fans to do that. May the force of Arsenal destroy the hatred lol