Listening to people outside England gives you a different picture

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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38 Replies to “Listening to people outside England gives you a different picture”

  1. Love your blogs Walter !!! We need more like this … Spot on with “poisinous English media !” ..

  2. I agree with that outside of England it is a different picture. I live in South Africa and i watch every game. What i would not give to be at the Emirates i would shout my lungs out every time. I will always support Arsenal, players change, coaches change, there are good times, bad times and all in all it just makes the next big win or trophy that much sweeter. We need to get behind our current squad for better or worse because it is the team we support not winning or losing.

  3. In Nigeria we say “no shaking”. That means that no matter what the negative media says about Arsenal, I will not be shaken in my support. Even if all the first team layers go and the reserve team take their place, I will still support Arsenal so long as they still play the brand of football in offer right now.
    However, I know that the press is just being hyper-negative about us. Nothing is amiss yet with our preparation for the new season. Needed players will come in and some from the academy will step up. I would personally like to see Bartley in the defense during the new season.

  4. I sometimes think Arsene Wenger should employ a top line professional Press Secretary (a bloke) to do his talking and allowing him to be once removed. The Press Secretary should have a small group of specialised freelance journalists (male and female – the birds make good spies) who I call the “B.B”. (bullshit brigade) to serve up whatever the press and the fans need to keep them happy ,which also can be used to serve as a smoke screen to the `money bags`. I once had the privilege of meeting such a man in the U.S., name of Salanger.

  5. Mr Broeckx,
    I would even go as far saying that apart from some Arsenal supporters, even in England, fans admire and respect Mr Wenger and love the values the Club is standing up for. Yesterday, I read an article by a Tottenham fan who was saying that he doesn’t understand why Wenger is under pressure and how he would love to have him managing at the White Heart Lane.
    I guess you can’t keep everybody happy.

  6. Arsenal is not Man City or Chelsea or Real Madrid, we don´t buy trophies. This should mean something to TRUE football fans.

  7. Walter, all,
    Outside England, another breath of fresh air as the head of Bayern Munchen just called for an all-club “revolt” (his words) against FIFA because of its “corruption” (his words). In a must-read, amazing article in today’s Guardian, its mentioned that the top clubs – which specifically includes Arsenal – who belong to a top-club group called the ECA, which he is currently chief of – are in an uproar against Bladder and his “money machine” (his words). It’s a remarkable development, and here’s the link: I also find that this links up with Arsene’s statement yesterday on AFC website (and widely in the press) in favor of goal-line technology (at minimum) and hope that it would start this weekend at the Emirates Cup (which [the timing] was REJECTED by FIFA).

  8. Nice piece Walter. Always love reading this blog as it reflects what true Arsenal supporters feel about our club and manager. Unlike those AW hating doom merchants out there.

  9. True ,Walter – the further away you are the clearer it becomes.
    Unless you read all the ‘wrong” blogs or newspapers or watch ESPN .The 2 main english language newspapers here have the same source -The Sun -adoi( the Malay equivalent of ‘duh ‘ or’ dooh ‘)!
    As for Espn I watch only the game and do not listen to the pundits nor the so called experts .I ‘m not blind to have them guide me .
    As for the blogs- UA is my oyster !There are pearls to be gleened here .

  10. Shevo,
    Your “Doom merchant” is a great term. It’s not just doomsayer or doom and gloomer, but yes, “Merchant” – to reflect that big money (at least) is being made (and bigger money can yet be made) in bashing Arsene/Arsenal. Cheers!

  11. I too was at the game, and live here in Germany (military officer). The FC Koeln fans at the game were truly awesome, and had HUGE respect for us. They wanted a great game, and were telling me, “hey, it’s ok if we lose, because after all- you are Arsenal”. Damn right! This really sunk in deeply, and the Gunners who were at the game were loud and proud. It is wonderful to be a Gunner through the thick and thin, and the negativity in the media. I can tell you that many Germans like and appreciate Arsenal (many of my German friends’ favorites), and realize that we play great football. Now if we can just get that CB….:)

  12. I’m a Vietnamese gooner and I can tell you from here that we all enjoy everything belongs to Arsenal at the moment because we don’t have to read so many shitty articles about Arsenal in my country.

    Our media only pick some articles then get them translated into our native language, so they tend to choose official news rather than rumors. A few articles try to analysis Arsenal situation every year and luckily they aren’t written by doom and gloomer gooners but by other clubs’ supporters. Surprisingly, they show more respect and deep understanding about out club than many other gooners can. They all say we’re near the gate of heaven, not the hell’s one.

    Therefore, we are quite comfortable to choose what we want to read. I choose what makes me confident about the future ahead, and this blog is the best place for me.

  13. excellent post, so good to hear a positive article for a change.

    out of interest how much were the tickets for the Cologne game? very impressed that 41,000 turned out for a freindly, unlike the Emirates cup which looks like it’s going to be half full, but £25 -£45 a ticket is too steep these days for a freindly in my opinion.

  14. Nice article. But the situation changes from country to country. Our image in Germany will be different from our image in Spain. The media of different countries portray every club in different ways.

  15. Okay Walter, what’s this Biglia character like at Anderlecht like?

    I have never heard of him but a few sites are claiming interest from us for £6M.

  16. Walter, true that. Here in Uganda , wait i will specifically write about UG, When ARSENAL is playing be it a mid night CL game you will not find a smallest of seats in any Bar or Sports Houses showing the Game, But if manu is playing even if their at the Finals . you will find empty seats. Yes THE BRAND ARSENAL speaks Volumes. Ingnore all haters.

  17. Says it all really. Unfortunately, a lot of people in this country are taken in by publications of a news organisation that chose to hack the voicemail of a young girl who had been murdered. And many others. No credibility should be attached to such sources by anyone with any intelligence or an ability to think freely.
    I do not expect much from then, but the likes of Stewart Robson and a couple other ex players, some of whom write for these publications, a very different matter…

  18. I am from Hong Kong. Out of 6 pre-season games including Emirate’s Cup,if am right, we have 5 live broadcast games. The only missing one is Koln, fortunately we could view it from Aresnal Player. Liverpool had exactly the same schedule in China and Malaysia, but our local pay channel chose to live boardcast Arenals games and recorded to play Liverpool afterwards. This is just a piece of info to share.

  19. Im living in Hong Kong, so i dont get all the tabloid articles, and most of my arsenal news comes from blogs like this one, Teamtalk, BBC, Four Four Two, World Soccer etc. Whilst there are some negative articles, they seem fairly balanced and tell it like it is – if arsenal don’t meet expectations, then they have played badly.

    But i find most of the negativity comes from certain fans themselves and their comments which then influence others especially when they spout crap…

    what i think is that these fans are those who have started supporting arsenal after Wenger joined and then as soon as we drop below what was our most succesful period ever in the late 1990s/early 2000s then they bitch. they dont put things into perspective and see how difficult it is to have this prolonged success (relatively – not in trophies recently, but in league positions and finals, semifinals etc) – in fact the only team to have been consistently as good is manchester utd out of how many hundreds of teams in the UK. Chelsea have been good recently after spending billions, and man city may have the same success after spending billions as well… but other than that?

    i started supporting arsenal around 1993 when we won the FA Cup and Coca cola Cup when we were mid table mediocrity, so appreciate what a good thing we have now. Some fans need to put things into perspective. it was the same a few years back with Man U fans when they couldnt beat chelsea and Ferguson was supposed to be sacked.

  20. In Sweden, the tabloids just re-print what the english papers says. I don’t even understand why the call themselves journalists, when all they do is copy the text from Daily Mail or Sun or whatever, and then just google translate them. So lame.

    The good thing in Sweden is that I can see all Arsenal EPL an CL games live on TV. 🙂

  21. Things go in changing cycles. It does not seem so long ago (it actually was!)that a Dennis Law backheel for City helped relegate Utd. And as you correctly mention, Fergie was nearly sacked early on. Chelsea a few years ago were on the verge of administration until RA stepped in. City were going nowhere until the biggest sugar daddy of the lot appeared. Liverpools position appeared hopeless just a year or so ago. Leeds got to a CL semi….and then……
    Unforseen events happen all the time – Black Swan events. Some fans of teams currently successful but being run unsustainably would do well to remember that

  22. Great article again Walter !
    The reason why english media always publish negative articles about Arsenal is to satisfy scums and AAA’s other than true Gooners and making money in that act. I don’t see them highlight the excellent academy we have or any other positives about the club. Apart from that one reason of the press is that how much ever they try, they would never be able to outsmart Wenger 🙂 I feel this is also one of the reason why they bring up all these negative stories.

  23. I think it comes down to ..’What is the most popular sport in your country?’. In India for example – Its cricket. So people will tend to be more unforgiving with respect to cricket than say football. I know this for a fact..about cricket I mean.

    The second point is that Arsenal is probably the second team for most of the fans outside (I may be wrong) and hence its easier for them to be less critical and they’re able to smell the roses much more easily.

    In is probably the number one sport or rather so for a large majority..and Arsenal it their number 1 team in most cases and hence their intolerance.

    Not that I think any of the vitriol spouted is anywhere near what any human being (let alone footballer) deserve. Just saying..why what as it is 😉

  24. People are praising Barca for their success, obviously delete their memories about the time from 1999 to 2004 when they’re nowhere near the La Liga trophy, only 02 times runner-up. And that doesn’t mention the fact that they only have Real Madrid as main rival while here we have 3 other contenders for the championship in this period.

  25. Arsenal can do one thing which will help tremendously to get rid of a lot of the doom and gloom. Replace Stewart Robson. Because the fans are forced to listen to him criticising the team without letup, they eventually begin to believe that Wenger does not have a clue what he is doing. Please please please arsenal we do not need or want to listen to this man running the team down at every match. We can ignore the anti arsenal press, but we cannot avoid Stewart Robson’s ranting (at least not most of the time on the tv channels I can watch Arsenal play).

  26. Great piece Walter, but I also think its down to the type of fan and their character. I’m all the way in canada where I get everything football related from the internet, so I get to read all the bias and bs that comes out of the media (and some arsenal sites). Having said this, I’m still very much a positive arsenal fan and I try to think first before making any decisions. Most of my friends here that are arsenal fans do the same as me, while others are more similar to the doomy gloomy fans. Honestly if you want to keep up to date with everything arsenal all the way here you have to sift through the online dirt that is the internet to find some proper pieces, and I think it depends on how your mind filters out the nonsense pieces to get to the proper ones. I’m not sure how arsenal are portrayed for people living in england, but in a country where football almost doesn’t exist and you yourself have to make decisions based on what you read, it makes all the difference what kind of filter you have in your head

  27. Ive read in an arsenal newspaper in nigeria dat we hav abt 2om gunners fans in d country nd we call arsenal O2,i think d main reason y u support u’re team is because ov d joy u get nd d luv u hav 4 u’re team nt bragging at oda opponents

  28. @embryo

    I paid 29 Euros per ticket for the FC Koeln game, so for about 60 Euros I landed two nice seats.

  29. If only the club could somehow monetise the extreme devotion of our overseas fans? Maybe sending our reserves (which will inevitably contain some “wonderkids”) on tour during the season to play exhibition matches.

  30. Nice post from a true arsenal fan. I was looking forward to read comments from anti- wenger idiots, but they couldnt show their ugly head

  31. Gary, all,
    Will you/someone do a regular report and analysis of what Stewart Robson says about Arsene/Arsenal week after week? Tony endorsed this as part of Untold Media’s watching. If you’d like to see his heels or at least change his behavior, then just tell us what he’s saying and where it’s unfair. Indeed, light is the best disinfectant.

  32. p.s. Stewart Robson,
    Now you know we’re on to your game, even as you stick the foot in ours.

  33. I am from Bangalore,India and i have been an arsenal fan from the last 16 years.I was 14 when i started supporting them and now i am 30 and during the highs and the so called lows, i never had any doubts about the club. They play the best football in the world, they offer hope and despair, they show all of us the real essence of the game. they are the eternal bridesmaid, but still its ok, i am so proud about the team. I am ok if we are always considered the underdogs for in that lies the romance and hope that one day we will succeed. Arsenal is life.

  34. Hi Walter and all,

    Arsenal are not a club in distaster at all as you rightly say, of teams in the Premier League, only Man City and Chelsea can also say the same (however this would change if their benefactors lost interest). In the normal world we are the only team able to stand on our own two feet and support ourselves 100%. This is really positive and will bear a bright future.

    I wanted to point out however that attracting a high attendance at a game in Germany would not confirm for me that we were not in decline / troubles if we did need to prove that.

  35. What a write up! Now this is a master piece and respect to you Tony for giving a respectable insight. I fell in love with the Gunners in the closing stages of the 2002/3 premiership and have never looked back ever since, but i believe you are the top most fan for your endurance and patience, i just want to follow your footpaths come rain or shine, i will die a gunner no matter how many times my phone will be hacked by the hard-nosed English press!
    Travis from Uganda.

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