1. Take individual moments from games and use them as proof for your point. But avoid seeing these in context. So if a player makes a bad pass just before the opposition score, focus on that, blame him for the goal, and ignore anything else he did in the game. Keep the whole argument incredibly simple, as in, “I don’t know why he perseveres with Denilson, he can’t pass, he can’t tackle, he can’t do anything. Better to play Diaby – at least he’s tall and can get in the way.”
2. Blame individual players – for example, Almunia or Denilson. Make it clear that they are utterly hopeless, and that everyone who has properly watched the game will clearly see that this is the case. It thus becomes an article of faith that anyone who doesn’t see this fact, was not watching the game, and therefore does not have a valid opinion. The awful players (in your eyes) are not fit to wear the shirt, and should never be allowed to play for Arsenal again.
3. Do not allow everyone to have own opinion. Rather than ever admit that there might be multiple opinions about a particular player, event or whole game, insist in all your writing that your opinion is the only possible conclusion that can be reached. Anyone who can’t see it is an idiot. A one line put down for someone speaking up for a player you are slagging off is the best way to deal with alternative perspectives. Your view is that it is possible to see the world through a singular pair of eyes. In which case anyone who disagrees is clearly not seeing the world as it should be. (Which is why it is also important to develop an incredibly pompous style).
4. Take as a starting point the vision that you know more than the manager, even if you have never managed a team, and never won the league title. Likewise take also as a starting point the fact that your views are not being put into effect as proof that the manager has lost it. Since there is only one right vision of the game, and you are expressing it, the manager is, by clear extension, a dope. Clearly you must know more about the players’ abilities than the manager even though you don’t see the players in training, because you are critical of the manager. In effect you have to take the vision that everything can be judged from the game. This has to be self-evident. What you must therefore deny is that a match can be part of the development of a side. So if you were there watching the first games of Bergkamp or Pires or Henry you would say, “they are rubbish, they can’t score, they can’t pass”, because if you watch those first games (in Pires’ case most of the first season) you will not see the players they became. Becoming and developing are not permissible. Everything is to be judged on the game today. If it is not right today, the player must go.
5. If the manager gets it right, argue that he should have done it before (on the grounds that you have been telling him). This again is part of the argument about being against development – if the manager believes that a player can develop and become better and better, you will not allow that. Since no one is right all the time, the manager will make mistakes, but since you are against all development, anyone who plays for the club and is not perfect has to go.
6. Never admit you were wrong. This is easy because you know you are never wrong. In fact, a short-term memory dysfunction is rather good here. Keep it simple. Insult anyone who disagrees with you, since your approach is obviously right. If you were part of the “Song’s not fit to wear the shirt,” brigade after the game against Fulham, just let that memory go, unless you really want to stand up against the crowd and say that Song is still no good. But be careful – go too far and you could look silly!
7. If we win well, say that we were lucky. If the defence shuts out the opposition, say that the opposition attack was weak and that we won’t be ok when we come up against real opposition. In short, when we win always say, “don’t kid yourselves.” Remind everyone of the defeats that have hurt all of us, and focus strongly on them. A good line would be, “You can’t seriously believe that an Arsenal team that can be beaten 3-0 at home is actually going to win anything.” It is important to ignore details.
8. Avoid statistics, especially such things that show in numbers that Denilson touches the ball more than other players, makes more passes than other players, has more successful intercepts than other players. If anyone else quotes stats then say, “you can prove anything with statistics.” Alternatively make some up – for example arguing that our attacking potential is clearly useless, when we are in fact joint top scorers in the league.
9. Always deny that you are part of the doom and gloom mob by saying that you are telling it as it is, and that anyone who suggests otherwise is being silly or stupid, or whatever insult you want. Call any blog that does not agree with you, “an unhealthy love-in”. But do not at any time have anything to do with humour. This is a serious matter and must be discussed seriously at all times.
10. Ignore all economic realities. Ignore the fact that Chelsea are run and owned by a Russian to whom the club is now £700m in debt. Ignore the fact that Manchester United are £750m in debt and have stopped paying interest on their borrowings. Ignore the fact that Liverpool are £350m in debt and the banks want their money back. Ignore the fact that West Ham are living in three month bursts as they wait every quarter for the courts in Iceland to decide how much longer they can live. Ignore the fact that a coup, economic downturn or simple bout of plain old boredom could leave Manchester City as much on the scrap heap as Portsmouth. Ignore all these and other economic truths, and insist that the only way to win anything is by buying some of the top players of the moment at current prices.
Now toddle off and write your blog.
(c) Tony Attwood 2009
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