Optimism to succeed. A further and last reflection from AKH



Optimism over Arsenal’s future.


I have mentioned in a previous article I have penned for Untold Arsenal, that I have been watching and following Arsenal for over 65 years! I have been following the team through thick and thin throughout this time under the stewardship of the following managers including the likes of  Swindin; Wright; Mee; Neil; Howe; Graham; Rioch; Wenger; Emery, and currently Arteta (plus one or two interim managers). Of these managers I would suggest that only the stewardship of Mr Graham and Mr Wenger ( and to a lesser extent Mr Mee) and now Mr Arteta, have really inspired me to continue with my prolonged optimism as to the further success of the club.

Prior to Mr Mee becoming manager, I followed Arsenal continuously home and away, despite not having much money for train/coach/bus fares, although entrance fees to football grounds were then cheap enough for my family to support me financially). My optimism for Arsenal’s success during this time never wavered. The success of the Thirties and late forties/early fifties would return…So I believed…

Bertie Mee appeared to be the change agent that would reignite Arsenal success. For five years under his stewardship, Arsenal became ‘great’ again, in a similar way to how Tottenham Hotspur became great under the stewardship of Bill Nicholson in the late fifties and early sixties or like Liverpool under the stewardship of Bill Shankly in the sixties and seventies.

However, five years of success under Mr Mee came to an abrupt end although thankfully without relegation. From then on I continued to follow and attend home matches but very few away matches because work, life, and love became greater priorities for me.

My optimism never wavered as I have reported, but I have to admit that during my early support of Arsenal, pre-Mr Mee, I was somewhat vocal when watching the team. Ecstatic when Arsenal won, praising the team and individual players. Horrible to all and sundry on the terraces when Arsenal lost! I remember bad-mouthing certain players together with the management alike after a loss.

I knew what Arsenal had to do to win! I knew what players Arsenal needed to sell because I knew they were useless! Some of my friends and fellow supporters agreed with me too, so I knew that my opinions had to be right.  They would lead to success if only they were taken on board by the Arsenal team and management. I am somewhat saddened by my behaviour at this time.

Newspapers, comics, books, schooling, radio and TV; a few close friends and family became the medium that helped me make sense of the world within which I was experiencing in these early days of supporting Arsenal. There was no internet. Computers were virtually unheard of. Telephones, yes but mobile phones (smart), no! Wide world communication? No. Technology was somewhat of a limited design compared to now.

Then, both during and post the Mr Mee era, I became less critical of the team, individual players and managers alike, win or lose.

But why had I been so critical before this period when the team lost?

I did not know how to manage or coach a football team at a professional level. I did not know about the ins and outs of a football club and its associated relationships both inside and outside the real world that I was experiencing. I certainly had never known or had never been introduced to the actual owners of Arsenal Football Club! I had no idea who they were and that they even existed. I did not know that Arsenal was owned and controlled by the merchant banking HIll-Wood family dynasty.

I can only reflect that at that time much of my opinion on life, including support for Arsenal, was based on social and cultural prejudice and bias without any use or ability to analyse reasons and consequences of actions and possible solutions to problems.

Post-Mee, different priorities then continued to influence my belief systems and I have been very fortunate to have experienced much change in my life. This has included me becoming less intransigent in the way that I have followed the failures and successes of Arsenal.

So, what have these rantings of an old man here to do with penning an article for Untold Arsenal?

I keep repeating that my optimism for the success of Arsenal has never wavered. Yet I am so angry and saddened by the number of journalists and so-called National Football Pundits who appear continually to berate the club and show negativity towards many of the players and associated workers within the club.

Information Communication and Technology now allows for the immediate transfer of viewpoints and beliefs, whether truthful or fake, to a wider audience. Opinions and beliefs that are not supported by evidence can be very dangerous and very hurtful.

History has shown that journalists and pundits have a preponderance of such negative behaviors throughout the existence of the club. Perhaps the need for immediate gratification amongst fans goes some way to explain such behaviour, but as I have acknowledged here, I behaved abominably without the use of social media platforms which were not in existence then.

And so it goes on and on…Yet, there is evidence in abundance of corruption within football worldwide,  be it in the UK through the make up and behaviour of the Football Association and its officials; the Premier League and its officials; the PGMOL and its officials; football club owners and their officials; through  FIFA and its officials; through social and national media organisations and their officials and representatives.

Perhaps some pundits and Arsenal supporters could vent some of their anger towards these organisations, rather than towards Arsenal employees, be it team players or other workers within the club.

Expecting Arsenal to succeed by using negative opinions and viewpoints may facilitate the notion of free speech but if, as I believe, Arsenal operates with and within corrupt systems, it is tantamount to failure which will only facilitate further prejudicial and biased anger. Hence my emphasis for positive optimism for success.

Arsenal may not win the English Premier League this season. Whilst I will be somewhat disappointed if the club does not, I can still feel elated from watching the team succeed for much of the season. I have offered a viewpoint on Untold Arsenal in the past about Arsenal, which has not always agreed with other club supporters’ views. But as I point out above, I am not and have never been a professional football manager. The apparent hate that seems to be in abundance now against the Arsenal club is somewhat astonishing.

Untold Arsenal allows for serious debate concerning football matters and world issues underpinning football matters. This allows old codgers like me a forum to share a viewpoint, idea or a belief before having to meet the grim reaper once my footballing journey is over.

Those journalists, pundits and Arsenal supporters now maligning the club after recent results need to look at the evidence associated with the club in this season.: the points tally; the record away wins for the club; the scoring achievements of the players etc; the long term finances of the club compared to other Premier League clubs over the same time frame; the change in team tactics………..such evidence tells its own story other than to simply accuse the club and team as a group of ‘bottlers’.

England seems to have moved or be moving to become a country of soundbites, whether it be in politics, sport, entertainment or whatever……..!  Little or no analyses; little or no use of evidence to accumulate and to evaluate information; just opinions from people who are now acting in a similar way to my actions in my early teens, or are getting paid a salary or large fee to attract soundbite readers, listeners, viewers to National or social media outlets.

Whoops….here comes the Grim Reaper…..


3 Replies to “Optimism to succeed. A further and last reflection from AKH”

  1. You mentioned corruption in football and failed to connect that to the team from U.A E (3 pages of f*****g fire hydrants, 2 pages of motorcycles, 2 of stairs just to … and now verification has expired and I have to go through this s**t again)

  2. billy bunter, my dog can speak better English than you and he died 10 years ago.

  3. Nice article , and in many ways does mirror my views mostly. I have seen most of the things happen as you did , but came into the club in season 1971-72 .
    Have shown loyalty to only one club , with all the attendant grumblings !
    Over the years , as I got older , I have come to realise that nothing comes easy , or is given free or without some catch. I have thus learned to be more understanding with the situation of the players , management and the club in general.

    For this reason , I truly enjoyed this season , and our attempts to upset the league table. I only ever read one blog (this !) , and chose to ignore the opinions of most fans.
    I put my faith in those who run the club , and will continue to support this club. Long may we prosper !
    Up the Gunners !

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