By Walter Broeckx
The picture painted by the English media of Arsenal being a club in total disaster and downfall is something that is not really recognisable in Europe. And certainly it isn’t in those parts where they don’t pay any attention to what the English gutter and phone hacking press are saying.
Last Saturday I was in Cologne for our pre-season game and had the chance to listen to what German Cologne fans said about Arsenal. And there was a lot of respect from the local fans.
First of all a lot of respect for the way we play our football. The supporters of Cologne know Arsenal and know that we play a very attacking type of football. Based on skill and technical ability. And they think it is great that we play not the type of football they think is typically English. The hoof it high in the air that some teams still use is not very popular in Germany. The kick and smash the opponents is something they don’t like at all in Germany. They admire us for the way we try to play the game as it meant to be, according to the European standards.
So they praised us before the game for the fact that we really are a great team that plays lovely football. And the attendance of some 41.500 people in the stadium showed this. Just compare this with the fact that almost at the same moment in time Borrusia Mönchengladbach played their season opener against Sunderland. So another Germany – England match could say. But in Mönchengladbach not even 17.000 turned up for the game. And the stadiums of Cologne and Mönchengladbach are very similar and have almost the same capacity. And the supporters of Mönchengladbach are more known for their support than those of Cologne.
This just shows that the name Arsenal can attract a large crowd in Germany. And like I said before the game the German supporters were very positive towards Arsenal and their football. Unfortunately after the game the rain came pouring down and we left Cologne shortly after the game. Because I would have loved to hear what they thought after the game about the match and also about Arsenal. But I think our attacking football will have pleased the German football lovers, but maybe the final result will not have made them happy.
So far away from the poisoning influence of the English media they don’t seem to think Arsenal is a team in problems.
Another thing that shows that people outside England love what Arsenal is doing is something that makes me very happy. As in many countries we have our subscription sports channels. And on these channels they usually give a lot of Arsenal games. I would say at least half of the games but it will be closer to 2 games out of 3 I think. Now why do they chose so many Arsenal games? Well it is obvious that the football Arsenal brings will bring in more viewers that Stoke or Blackburn games. Of course the sporting channels don’t chose the Arsenal games for our beautiful eyes. No they do this for hard money. And for the fact that when they broadcast Arsenal the people will watch it. Because they know they will see a good game of football.
So, it isn’t me saying we play great football most of the time. No it is the people who decide which games to show on our channels that know and say that Arsenal is a very attractive team and brand.
And it even goes further than just the EPL games this season. Because for the first time our sporting channel has decided to broadcast live games of a pre season tournament. And so we will be lucky enough to be able to see all the games of the Emirates cup live. And they surely aren’t picking this tournament because the fact that Boca Juniors are there, or the New York Red Bulls or Paris St. Germain. No, the reason they show this is the fact that Arsenal is organising it. Again the name and the brand Arsenal is the reason for showing the Emirates cup live in my country.
Another example is the fact that my brother is coming over on Saturday to watch the games. Now, this is not really a big surprise as he is a Gooner since 1979 just like me. But what is telling a bit more is the fact that he is bringing a party of some 10 people with him. And most of them aren’t Arsenal fans. No, they are ordinary football fans from his work, who didn’t want to miss the chance to see Arsenal in a game at the Emirates. Last year my brother organised a trip for a few people and most of them became Arsenal supporters. Some come again and new people joining in just to experience a game from Arsenal.
In fact I think if people would stay away from the negativity in the media surrounding Arsenal, the picture suddenly changes. And being away from England is very helpful in doing this. In fact I have noticed that there is a big difference between our supporters over here who try to follow the media in the UK and those who make up their own mind. The ones that are reading each letter on the internet are much more pessimistic than the ones who don’t read the fabricated nonsense in the media.
So I think the undercover work of the anti-Arsenal media is paying off it seems. If only we could have all the Arsenal supporters being smart enough to realise this.
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