Love or Hate: The Reasons People Have Such Strong Feelings for Arsenal



Arsenal sparks powerful emotions among its spectators—and the team’s polarising nature seems ingrained in the club’s DNA. The Gunners have been around for generations, beginning their long legacy in 1888, years before the English Football League even existed.

As one of the biggest names in English football today, Arsenal has the sixth-largest stadium by capacity and is ranked 10th on the 2023 list of the world’s most valuable soccer teams. Despite their divisiveness, or perhaps because of it, Arsenal remains a popular choice for betting on sportsbooks online through platforms like

In this article, we reveal why people have such strong feelings about the team—whether these are feelings of fervent love or intense dislike.

Historical Success and Legendary Players

There’s no doubt that Arsenal is a top club in the football world. With 13 League Championships, they trail only Manchester United and Liverpool in the ranks. They also happen to hold the most FA Cup trophies in history, one of the best top-flight records ever and the longest run of unbeaten League matches. Shall we go on?

The club is also home to several incredibly famous—and equally infamous—players. You might remember Thierry Henry for his lighting pace and legendary goal-scoring or Mr. Arsenal, one-club-man himself, Tony Adams. However, some might remember Tony Adams for his rough battle with alcoholism and Thierry Henry for his news-making handball incident.

Regardless of the team they play on at the minute, players evoke deep-seated positive or negative feelings from fans whose emotions extend to the broader club. Negative news stories and controversies surrounding players both on and off the pitch shape the perception of the club as a whole—and spark fiery debates across social media, football forums and any other outlet where fans of Arsenal and its rivals can blow off steam.

Controversial Moments

The football world wouldn’t be the football world without some good old controversy. And it’s unlikely that you’re an Arsenal fan or an Arsenal hater if the thought of Arsène Wenger’s long tenure doesn’t stir up some (unresolved) emotions. Although it’s obvious he wasn’t exactly given a warm welcome when appointed manager, we saw some serious success as well as the miserable trophy drought during his 22 years.

Take the Invincibles season, for example. It was undoubtedly a rare, influential feat and a testament to Arsenal’s dominance. Of course, people have been debating the merit of that achievement ever since and whether the team just got lucky or was done over by the ref. Of course, this is just one of many controversies plaguing the team.

Most recently, we saw Arsenal’s controversial 1-0 first Premier League loss of the season against Newcastle United. It caused a lengthy delay and considerable frustration among the fans and Mikel Arteta. VAR decided the goal wasn’t offside, and that was that.

Those who sided with Arteta probably appreciated his candidness in post-match interviews and press conferences. Others may have viewed his actions as shameful and that he inadequately explained why the controversial goal should have been disallowed.

Fan Behaviour

At the heart of the club are its supporters, who contribute to the unbelievable atmosphere at Emirates Stadium and opponent stadiums across the country. So, let’s turn our attention to the fans, who are a true force to be reckoned with.

Arsenal’s fans have proven to be a strongly united and dynamic group that stands by the team through thick and thin. You could argue that any of the Premier League big six clubs boast similar over-the-top fan bases. Still, any Arsenal fan will tell you that there’s something special about the Gunners’ faithful.

However, issues can arise when fans go too far, especially in the emotionally charged stadium environment. Most fans will stick to chanting and taunting, but there’s still a level of restraint and sportsmanship present. Unfortunately, certain groups choose to go the other way and verbally abuse other fans, players, and officials. They can even get violent or rowdy and end up tarnishing the Arsenal name.

Recent controversies include the racist and homophobic abuse directed at left-back Ashley Cole, the shining of a laser by a fan into a Chelsea winger’s eyes and other incidents involving toxic behaviours that spoil the reputation of Arsenal fans. The silver lining is that most fans are more interested in simply sporting red and white and cheering the team on.


It’s easy to be proud of Arsenal, and that’s why so many of us have a deep affection for them. Rival fans might not have experienced that same success and recognition, which breeds jealousy. However, they may also see Arsenal as overrated and undeservingly praised for their performance.

All in all, the bigger a team is and the more exposure it has, the more criticism it will encounter. This is undoubtedly true for Arsenal, which remains one of the most-watched teams in football history.

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