Why Arsène’s Arsenal are hated (even by its own fans): a long perspective
By Brian Baker
I was prompted to write this following the extraordinary convulsions in the Arsenal blogosphere after the defeat to Manchester United.
Chicken Licken bloggers, one of whom claimed they could manage Arsenal better than Arsene, renewed their calls for Denilson’s head, Arsene’s head, anyone’s head. (Unwise bloggers might be encouraged to read this.) It seemed so out of kilter with reality that I thought that there had to be some kind of diagnosis of a collective mentality, shared by the football media in England and the ‘doom and gloom’ Arsenal bloggers, that made them react in such a way. These are my diagnoses.
The Foreign Agenda. Arsene’s French nationality is a constant point of reference, the implication being that Arsenal is now a ‘French club’. (One blog stated that Smalling had chosen United over Arsenal ‘because he wanted to speak English in the dressing room.’) From the old references to ‘discipline’, or rather lack of it (all those red cards, symptoms of a suspect temperament) to the current accusation that Arsenal lack an ‘English spine’, fighting spirit, or physicality, Arsène’s Arsenal fall foul of a particular kind of xenophobia, in both the football media and among our own fan-base.
What is unspoken is that Arsenal’s global scouting network is a necessary and far-sighted (and now much-imitated) policy that enables the club to compete, by attracting young footballing talent from a global pool: nationality is secondary to technique, temperament, ability, and athleticism. Arsenal are a post-national club, a difficult thing in a post-Imperial country.
The Logic of ‘Success’. We often read that Arsenal haven’t won anything for 5 years (and counting). The Chicken Licken mantra: ‘We must buy. The kids aren’t good enough. The club isn’t successful. The ‘youth experiment’ has failed.’
As Untold Arsenal has been exploring, finances in English football mean that we have to re-think what we understand by footballing ‘success’. What is success, and how do we measure it? In wins, in trophies, in superstars bought for multi-millions? Or, in building a stable, properly-financed, sensibly run club, which produces and develops its own players, that plays an entertaining and winning style of football, and that will continue as an institution not for 5 or 10 years but for 100?
The Blame Game. ‘Something is wrong with the club.’ ‘Wenger’s lost the plot.’ ‘He’s too stubborn.’ This line of thinking sees defeat not as a necessary component of sporting competition (think of what it would be like to ‘support’ the Harlem Globetrotters), but as a manifestation of some kind of lack on the part of the manager, or some kind of terminal decline in his thinking.
When Arsenal are beaten, the assumption is not that the other team played better football on the day, but that Arsenal would beat all others handsomely if it were not for the selection, motivational and tactical deficiencies of Arsene Wenger himself. The Arse-blogosphere looks for someone to blame for disappointment, and lays it all at the door of ’Big Daddy’ (see below). The blame game is clearly linked to raised expectations created by the 1998, 2002 and especially 2004 teams, but is also tainted by ‘declinism’, a belief that the past was a better place, which is very much an English cultural malaise.
The Instant. The Arse-blogosphere is reactive, and places instantaneous reaction above reflection and thought. It also places instant digestion above slow rumination. The Chicken Licken blogs are symptoms of our ‘live’, ‘24/7’, instant access and instant comment digital culture. The culture of instantaneousness means that Arsenal are not allowed to lose, because there is no longer view of things, and a defeat means the end of the world.
As the food critic Anton Ego says in Ratatouille, ‘After reading a lot of overheated puffery … you know what I’m craving? A little perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?’
A Sense of Entitlement. ‘We deserve better.’ Chicken Licken Arsenal bloggers and fans believe that somehow they are entitled to watch not only high-quality entertaining football, but all-conquering football. This has been reinforced by the success of Arsène’s Arsenal itself. No-one who watched Terry Neill’s Arsenal, or George Graham’s, can honestly inhabit that sense of entitlement. This sense, not that we are privileged to watch the kind of foot ball seen at the Emirates, but that we ‘deserve’ to do so, is also connected with consumerism.
The Dominance of Consumerism. It’s no great news that the contract between fan and club has changed since the advent of the Premier League, and the post-Hillsborough construction of a middle-class fan-base for top-level football. In treating the fan as a customer, however, our club has helped produce a consumption-oriented fan mentality that now manifests itself on the Arse-blogosphere. A recurrent complaint is: ‘I pay £XXXX for my season ticket, so I expect to see XXXX.’
Chicken Licken bloggers now relate to the experience of watching football as they would to a movie: they want a guaranteed level of entertainment or success, and if they don’t get it, they complain loudly. Of course, the experience of watching a live football match is not the repeatable, guaranteed experience of watching a movie: sometimes a team plays badly, sometimes they lose. Arsenal don’t lose very much, but when defeat comes…
A Culture of Complaint. In 1993, the art critic Robert Hughes published a book called The Culture of Complaint. In it, Hughes argued that ‘we create an infantilized culture of complaint, in which Big Daddy is always to blame and the expansion of rights goes on without the other half of citizenship – attachment to duties and obligations…
The emphasis is on the subjective: how we feel about things, rather than what we think’. Rather than a democratic expression of fan voices, the Arse-blogosphere is largely characterised by this mode of complaint, the football-consumer rejecting the long-term ‘duties and obligations’ of supporting their club in favour of short-term gratification, and instant expressions of blame.
The Importance of Ideology. This underpins everything. The foundational motive for the bias against Arsène Wenger’s Arsenal is economics. Arsène Wenger has been pursuing an economic policy which runs diametrically against the prevailing ideological orthodoxy of ‘Football 2.0’: that financial irresponsibility (spending on transfer fees and wages at a level that cannot be sustained by the club’s business model) is the only path to success (see above).
This model is of course the same one that Brownian economic policy has pursued since 1997, the inflation of a financial bubble founded on unsustainable levels of debt, that is now also falling to pieces. Wenger’s foresight is actually astounding, if only the football media and the Chicken Licken Arse-blogosphere could understand it, or perhaps stand to look at it.
Wenger’s Arsenal offer a different model of financial responsibility and footballing excellence that rejects ‘borrow and spend’ irresponsibility. When the sky does indeed fall (as Untold Arsenal has demonstrated that it shall – the first drops of a hard rain are falling even now) then Arsenal will be one of the best-prepared clubs to succeed – by whatever measure – in England, and in Europe.
The story of how Chelsea committed the biggest con trick in the history of football on the Making the Arsenal blog
The story of Arsenal’s fall from grace and return to the highlife, in the Making the Arsenal book
- Football is facing its biggest crisis ever, Part 4: taking emotion to a new level
- Football’s biggest crisis ever part 3: How to maintain the excitement
- Football’s biggest ever crisis Part 2: the big are just getting bigger
- Football is blindly walking into its biggest ever crisis. Part 1
- Why this season is not a one-off for Arsenal, but probably a sign of things to come
78 Replies to “Why Arsène’s Arsenal are hated (even by its own fans)”
Brian, the sky has been falling for years! In the 1920s, the fowl pests were hating us…what’s changed? Nothing.
In the 30s, the Northern hordes were hating us (bloody Soothern softies)…what’s changed? Nothing. And this in the days of a strong English spine (Please excuse my cynicism)
And now, we’ve even managed to capture the xenophobes. Long may it continue. We are THE Arsenal.
Ok i agree most blogs and sites have gone over the top about last sundays result,But can you blame the fans for asking whats going on at the club at the moment.And its true that i pay £1300 to watch arsenal and pay for bills and try to live with all these high prices that we now live in.Is it so bad that people question players passion’s for the club.
I for one feel like im treated like a customer and not a devoted fan!!
well n1gooner here is news for you. 99% of the players in PL play for the money. They could not care less who they play for. They could not care less about the fans. Why? Cos to them you are workinclass dirt while they are stars. Look at the lower division teams?
I do firmly belive the most dedicated players in the league belongs to arsenal and United why? Cos they have very good managers. And i think atleast in arsenal alot of the players stay and play because they got AW as a manager. Why should any premier league club treat any of their fans as devoted fans? Its customers you are, blindly following your team., buying merchandise subscribing to sky filling the players pockets with money.
But this is is english PL. That is how it is. Live with it or go support bundesliga. rumours say they are more fan oriented less customer oriented. Maybe that is why Germany always hammer England in all international competitions?
Well Written Walter, as usual… Your blogs are a welcome change to the diatribe that I am normally inundated with via this medium… Firstly, let me state that I agree wholeheartedly with what you have said, and my views tends to converge with yours.. For n1 gooner, as I have mentioned on many blogs masquerading as Arsenal blog sites. you have the right to question players commitment, players heart, because I too saw players not displaying the appetite to dig in when the going got tough, and i complained.. I have to believe it was an off day, and even Arsene was a little baffled by the performance.. I expect him to deal with it, and we see a different team at the bridge.. Now , having said that, once they emerge with the attitude I want to see to track, TACKLE, and hustle, then if we lose playing the game properly, so be it… we were beaten by the better team ON THE DAY.. Lat year , Man United lost almost all the points to their main rivals and still won the trophy, so there are a number of dynamics that make up a football season.. Arsene has gotten it right more times than he has goten it wrong, he has done things I have not agreed with, and he has proved me wrong time and time again.. For this, he has earned my respect, and I know that he will get it wrong sometimes, he is human after all, but the fact that he stands for what he believes in, he loves the club passionately, and he believes in the beautiful game , means I am an Arsenal fan , now, tomorrow, and when the cows come home, because having watched Chelsea play Barcelona last year away from home, had they won, in my opinion, it would have been a travesty, as their dour style of just wanting a point away from home,made me sick to the stomach… I pay to see football being played, being entertained,as the game was originally designed..
Vive La Arsenal..Joga Bonita.
If Arsene’s Arsenal is hated, then I’m willing to say let’s drop the whole thing.
We can go back to being at roughly the same level of Tottenscum. We’ll go all out for the FA Cup and League Cup, and might stumble on a league-winning team once every 2 decades.
We’ll have tall English lumps all over the pitch.
Then all will be well.
Brilliant article Brian, but I’m still not satisfied, therefore you must be sacked! Have a nice day!
I think it is wrong to tie George Graham’s Arsenal with Terry Neil’s.George may have lost it towards the end and became very defensive.However his 1991 side was an exilerating and passionate team,who only lost one game.George also pulled Arsenal from the abyss and won the first title for 18 years.He was generally magnificent for Arsenal.
What is disappointing for me is a lack of determination and passion in the current team.The way they look lost when they let in a goal in a big game is very poor.Maybe this is a result of the wages the players now earn.I certainly think the cost of going and the pay deals are a significant reason there is such uproar when we lose.
When supporters paid 250 pounds for a season ticket they were more accepting of a bad performance.
That was good to read. I am always surprised when there is this talk about the foreign element in the game, as when John Terry was going on about the moral superiority of the English vs. the foreign cheats. One day later, news broke on bloodgate (rugby player Tom Williams feigned a blood injury with a blood capsule). I don’t think any other country would have enabled the successful cultural hybrid that is Arsenal. Jack Reynolds meets Ajax meets French economist football manager meets north London fiscal prudence meets English enthusiasm for a fast game and (total)football has come home (lthough it’s not really clicking at the moment).
“A nation is a group of people united by a mistaken view about the past and a hatred of their neighbours.”
He was initially hated for flirting with traditions & trying to have a ‘say’ in the way the English game operated. He did revolutionize things like none other & over the years convinced doubters of his credentials. On-field success always helped.
Now that Arsenal have gone almost 5 seasons without any silver-lining, skeptics have grown louder than ever & are gunning for our Professor. It’s a shame really that after all these years, he still has to convince a bunch of morons, of his worth & his unrelenting passion towards Arsenal.
I feel, we are missing the bigger picture here. Despite plight of silverware, we continue to be one of the most widely supported teams across the globe & it is not trophies by which teams are remembered (ofcourse if you win all 6, you are!), ‘cos every trophy is won by someone or the other each season, it is the brand of football one plays which really counts. I’m sure 20 years ahead, I won’t trouble my grey cells to recount who won the FA Cup or even League in ’09, instead I’d glorify Arsenal’s expansive & floral play. I’ll surely reminf everyone who won the league in 2010 though: the mighty Arsenal, who else!?
Read on to find the 6 things Arsenal must keep in mind ahead of the Chelsea game:
Amazing article indeed. I read all articles on this site and barely comment, but anyway, this was a like a breath of fresh air amidst the D&G brigade…
Being a non-English Arsenal fan, I never used to understand the anti-Arsenal notions until recently. Then one day it hit me of course. Wenger is FRENCH. And he’s awesome at his trade in an ENGLISH “market” , so to speak. A recipe for disaster given the animosity between the two countries. Xenophobia indeed with a touch of hypocrisy (Wayne-I-don’t-dive-Rooney anyone?) And then of course you get the other not-too-obvious points that Baker here highlighted, resulting in all the anti-Arsenal brigade that has swollen too greatly of late.
How would I wish that Liverpool or Manchester IOU get bankrupt now…
Goonerholic read a refreshing piece today too.
This is why I love Arsenal and will never talk shit and talk down about it.
Arsenal will be here with me for life…
Mr Baker that was a quite brilliantly thought through and intellectual analysis of the present situation. Really first class – if only some of the plancton could understand the sentences you have written and grasp the larger picture the Arsenal blogosphere would be a less toxic world.
As Dorothy Parker once said (whilst making a play on the word horticulture),
‘You can lead a whore to culture but you can’t make her think’.
wow, totally baffled my mind, great article and right on the spot! Am really impressed in the manner in which you explained it all, cause it aint an easy subject.
Keep em coming 😀
Great Article, this is, Brian, full of insights.
*The Foreign Agenda: It is not just Arsene or some of his players that are seen as French or foreign, the Arsenal Fanbase itself is essentially seen as foreign. That’s one of the reasons that prompted that plonker, Adebaywhore, to allude that American, Jamaican, etc, Arsenal fans dictate the hatred against him. I especially like your conclusion that nationality has little to do with one’s abilities, as I myself believe that the colour of a man’s passport has no bearings on his capabilities of lack thereof.
*The Logic of ‘Success’: Many of the critics are simply incapable of measuring success appropriately. They often use other people’s yardsticks rather than the reality of their own world.
*The Blame Game: Scape-goating is far easier to accomplish isn’t it? Afteral it the basis of Human Defence Mechanism.
*The Instant: Instant gratification is the single most essential hallmark of Spoiled-Brats.
*A Sense of Entitlement: It never occurs to the critics that the other teams too are entitled to win some of the time. The finer things in life are not the exclusive preserve of one group alone.
*The Dominance of Consumerism: Whatever amount they pay, I am sure that they get more value for money watching Arsenal play ‘Wengerball’ than many other clubs in the EPL.
*A Culture of Complaint: The sum total of a balanced psychological perspective is one that encompasses the Cognitive, Psychomoto and Affective influences. If one were to base perspective solely on feelings without a thought process, one would achieve a lop-sided perspective.
*The Importance of Ideology: Part of the (albeit faulty) prevailing ideological orthodoxy is the insistent on ‘an English Spine’, ‘Strenght in depth’, ‘Height’, ‘Route 1 football’, ‘Kick them off the park’, ‘In their faces’, etc. One wonders how many World-Cups and European Competitions our dear country has won, or at least performed consistently well in, based on these ideologies.
Anyway, our boys just need to import disciplined hunger and self believe; these will be their greatest motivator.
Brigi – just to clarify the article was not written by Walter, but by Brian, who joins us today as a write for the first time.
I received the article this morning, and was so knocked out by it I threw out Billy the Dog’s 18 page diatribe on growing turnips on Hackney Marshes, which was due for publication this lunchtime, and put this up instead.
I agree with commentators above – it is a superb analysis, and I would like to think it is something you are unlikely to find on any other site. My sincere thanks to Brian.
Billy has since given me one or two small pointers vis a vis future publishing policy and I shall consider them fully when my black eyes allow me to see again.
UTTER RUBBISH-LET’S ANALYSE ALL WHAT YOU’VE SAID AND SEE IF THERE ISNT ANY TRACE OF TRUTH IN WHAT OTHER ‘ chicken licken bloggers” HAVE BEEN WRITING.
Manuel Almunia-spanish speaking
Cesc Fabregas – spanish speaking
Abou Diaby- french speaking
Philippe Senderos- french speaking swiss
Tomas Rosicky- czech
William Gallas- french speaking
Robin van Persie- dutch
Carlos Vela- mexican
Theo Walcott- english
Aaron Ramsey- brit
Alex Song= french speaking
Johan Djourou-french speaking swiss
Lukasz Fabianski- polish
Gael Clichy-french speaking
Vito Mannone- italian
Emmanuel Eboue- french speaking
Armand Traore-french speaking
Samir Nasri-french speaking
Mikael Silvestre-french speaking
Kieran Gibbs- english
Thomas Vermaelen- belgian
EXCEPT YOU CAN PROVE TO ME,THAT THE FRENCH ARE THE ONLY DECENT FOOTBALLERS ON EARTH, THEN WHY DO THEY DOMINATE OUR TEAM.
The Logic of ‘Success- YOU HAVE SUCKCESSFULLY CREATED AN IMPRESSION THAT IF WE ARE TO SUCCEED THEN WE HAVE TO SACRIFICE OUR FINANCIAL STATUS, LIKE IF WE INVEST ON PLAYERS WE WOULD GO BANKRUPT AND PROBABLY END UP LIKE LEEDS, WELL, SORRY IF DONT AGREE WITH YOU. NOBODY IS TELLING WENGER, TO PAY 80 MILLION FOR RONALDO, OR PAY 40 MILLION FOR VERON-
JUST STRENGTHING THE SQUAD WITH WHAT IT NEEDS.
AND WHY DO WE KEEP KIDDING OUR SELVES WITH OUR ENTERTAINING FOOTBALL BULLSHIT- I WATCH MANY LEAGUE GAMES AS WELL, AND OUR FOOTBALL ISNT SUCH A SPECTACLE AS COMPARED TO OTHERS. YOU NEED STEEL TO COMPLIMENT FLAIR.
The Blame Game- OKAY SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH ARSENAL ON THE PITCH, IT IS NOT ARSENE FAULT BUT MY GRAND MOTHERS, OR NO, ITS US FANS THAT ARE TO BLAME, WENGER HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH IT, SINCE HE NEVER MAKES ANY MISTAKES, YET DESPITES NEVER MAKING, HIS INFALLIBILITY HAS NOT WON ANYTHING IN YEARS.
The Instant- WE WANT THE OLD ARSENAL BACK- SIMPLE-
VERY HARD TO CONCEED GOALS , AND A JOY GOING FORWARD.
A Sense of Entitlement- THE NEXT PERSON WHO CRITICIZES GEORGE GRAHAM’S ARSENAL IS JUST A PRICK- MY GREATEST ARSENAL MOMENT WOULD ALWAYS BE FINAL GAME 88/89 SEASON- AND YES WE DESERVE BETTER THAN JUST WATCHING ENTERTAINMENT FOOTBALL, IF WE WANTED ENTERTAINMENT, THEN WE WOULD BE WATCHING BOCA JUNIORS, OR INDEPENDIENTE.
The Dominance of Consumerism- WHO MAKES THE CLUB? THE BOARD? THE COACH? OR THE FANS?
A Culture of Complaint- UNITED FANS WIN YEAR IN YEAR OUT, BUT THEY CANT STOP COMPLAINING ON THERE BLOGS, THEY WANT CONSTANT IMPROVEMENT, BUT OFFCOURSE ARSENAL FANS AREN’T ALLOWED TO COMPLAIN.
The Importance of Ideology- COACHES COME AND GO- IDEOLOGIES REMAIN- BARCELONA UNDER RICKARD PLAYED VERY ENTERTAINING FOOTBALL, AND WON TITLES, BARCELONA UNDER PEP PLAY ENTERTAINING FOOTBALL AND HAVE WON EVERY THING….
FINALLY – IF THERE IS ANY BODY WHO CAN TURN THE FORTUNES AROUND FOR ARSENAL, ITS WENGER, BUT IF HE IS NOT WILLING TO SWALLOW HIS PRIDE AND DO WHAT IS NECESSARY, THEN HE SHOULD BE SHOWN THE DOOR..
GOONER FOR LIFE
There was a new sketch comedy TV last night dedicated to satirising comedians like Boozy above, and their angst ridden attempts to define themselves:
Very, very funny.
* TV show
Boozy, your name says it all.
Wake up and realise we DO need a new goal keeper! Having a Seaman like replacement would stop us conceding unnecessary goals like Sundays first one! Almunia MUST go!
The first goal wasnt even almunias fault. It was superb play from nani and the ball was going in the net one way or another. He looked shakey during the match, but in fact didnt cost us any goals.
Cech and VDS have been very shakey over the past few years. Almunia isnt costing us the title or anything.
I really agree with the bulk of the article. Most people do just follow this blame mentality and the xenophobia thing definitely affects our fans as well as others in the english game, but one counter point I do agree with is that if Arsenal are going to charge such high prices for tickets, then its fair the fans should expect the best football. I agree with arsenal’s policy of not buying super-expensive players, but they should be aiming to challenge for the title each year, and thus need to make sure we at least have the numbers available to do that. At the moment we are constantly relying on proven injury-prone players, and it means we have to keep playing arshavin up front on his own whilst carrying an injury – its far from ideal and given our financial status, doesnt seem necessary.
Anyway, regardless of the result against chelsea on sunday, I think this side Will challenge for the title as a number of the young players are beginning to meet their potential when imo some of them werent quite there last season.
“Arsenal are a post-national club, a difficult thing in a post-Imperial country.”
Brian — Excellent, well-reasoned, and highly-intelligent comments. Who would’ve thought Robert Hughes, Rudyard Kipling, and Ratatouille would all be referenced in a football blog??!?!?! (But then again, Tony did try to give us a lesson in Latin the other day…this blog surprises me every day.)
BOOZY — STOP WRITING IN ALL CAPS!!!! IT’S JARRING, DISTRACTING, AND ANNOYING!!! SEE!!!!!!
I am getting praise and I deserve nothing, well for this one. It is not me! But I must say that I feel honoured that people who didn’t pay attention to the name on top thought it was me.
What a great article and as I have not much time I have to come back later and read it again because … hohoho… this really is a great article
Almunia is currently being blamed for EVERY Arsenal goal. It’s the good old Arsenal mob at work as usual.
1. Compared to Chelsea, Man. Utd., Liverpool and (now) Man. City, Arsenal are NOT hated.
I think, even compared to less successful clubs like West Ham, Bolton, Blackburn and Spurs, Arsenal are preferred by the majority of the press and public.
Columnists like Patrick Collins go out of their way to praise them.
2. Winning ‘IS’ important, and it’s a dangerous path Arsenal fans are on if they claim it isn’t.
You can’t lord it over Palace, QPR, Charlton, Luton, West Ham, Oxford, Ipswich, Norwich etc. for years on end and then, when Arsenal go through a losing sequence of five years, suddenly claim that ‘winning nothing doesn’t matter’!
You can’t have it both ways.
I wonder was Boozy complaining when PV, TH, Pires etc.. played for Arsenal ?
And I really think and know that all those foreign people speak English. Maybe not as fluent as English born people but maybe you could ask yourself the question how many languages most English can speak? And I don’t mean this as critical because I think if I would be born in England or the USA I would have no need to learn any other languages. But most foreigners really do learn English at school.
Boozy and what if a club does not want to sell ? Than we should buy a rubbish player. Hey why not try Melo, the worst transfer in Italy last summer. According to many fans whe had to buy this You tube wonder midfielder. He doesn’t even make the team most of the time this season.
I read on another blog someone saying that the last season Arsenal with our famous back four conceeded +40 goals in a season !!!
Just a few answers Boozy but have to stop now as my eyes are hurting me from all the shouting.
Pos Team P W D L F A +/- Pts
1 Chav$ki 24 17 4 3 58 20 38 55
2 Man IOU 24 17 2 5 56 20 36 53
3 Arsenal 24 15 4 5 60 28 32 49
One penalty all season for a team that plays a passing game where players like to dribble in the opponents penalty area & has scored more goals then any other team = Paranoia?
If you say so.
I guess that old expression is not true, the ‘Table’ does lie.
Sorry, the table looked fine when I clicked on ‘submit’.
Sean, are you crazy mate?
Players like gerrard and rooney were diving all last season, but the time the english media FINALLY decides to get tough on diving is when an arsenal player does it.
When wenger didnt call out his own player in public, on one particular radio station, he was called an “enemy of football” – a term ive heard used to describe him at least once since.
When henry handled the ball against ireland, they were again getting on wenger’s back, saying it was because arsene didnt guide him properly in his younger days, even though there are very few examples (if any) of henry doing anything remotely close to cheating while he was here.
Also, can you imagine if arsenal’s players had come out after the old trafford game and said they were “losing faith” in refs because the ref failed to book fletcher, failed to give a penalty, and didnt hesitate in giving one to rooney for which he clearly was going down before any contact (its a separate argument as to whether it was still a pen, but the intent to cheat is there). They would have said we were moaners, and wouldnt have heard the end of it, believe me.
Well united have still had far more go in favour of their side this year despite a couple of dubiuous, although not outrageous decisions going against them, but several of their players and staff did say exactly that -and the media simply reported their words, but didnt question them! AND, these statements came after a game where their CB had clearly assaulted didier drogba (flying kick to the ribs?) for which he should have been banned for a number of games, given the precedent set by adebayor.
These are just a few of the things that have happened this season.
The most glaring penalty I’ve seen that wasn’t given this season was the Steven Gerrard one v. Arsenal at Anfield in December.
If converted, would have made the score 2-0 if I remember rightly.
It was so glaring, Gerrard just laughed.
The media in this country also helped dismantle our title challenge in 07/08.
They protected taylor when he broke eduardo’s leg and jumped all over gallas for getting emotional.
There were similar incidents involving the Utd captain, but you didnt hear much about that, and evra’s little argument with the chelsea staff was just allowed to procede in the background wihtout investigation. On the other hand, anything that could be used to “rock” arsenal was used that season. That coupled with the insane injury list is what finally told, but of course we werent allowed that excuse. We just didnt have the mentality and over the season everything evens itself out, so man utd were the best team that year (what a joke).
Finsbury, in past seasons Id agree with you, but to be fair I cant think of too many occasions when we’ve been denied a pen that should have been given. On the other hand we’ve had at least one blatant dive against given as a pen (carlton cole) and rooneys one was pretty questionable.
I can prove Gerrard dives, and therefore the ref can be excused for doubting him.
Why were Arsenal accused of being cheats at the beginning of the season, when an Arsenal player didn’t even dive?
You are digging yourself into a hole here, but carry on if you like.
Walter, when we had Pires and Henry etc we also had Seaman, Cole, Campbell, Keown, Parlour. Who can forget Keown’s monster impression at old Trafford when Van Nistleroy missed that pen? That was passion! I think Boozy makes some good points, not so sure they had to be made in block capitals though.
Wenger did not want to sign Arshavin as he wanted to show he could do it all with his kids. But the board and Gazzidis especially made him and that’s why we have CL footy this season, without him we would not have made the top four. The evidence to support this is AW’s failure to play Arshavin against Chels in last years FA cup semi, he wanted to show his boys could do it, but they didn’t.
I am still an AW fan and love our style of football and not too bothered about winning stuff cos I am 47 and have already won my fair share as an Arsenal fan. It’s just everyone seems to fall in one of two camps AW is perfect or AW has gone mad and has to go. Neither are true although I wonder sometimes when you think that most of Almunia’s CV consists of the Spanish second division!
Come on my Arse!
“Wenger did not want to sign Arshavin”?
Where do people get this misinformation from?
Do they just make it up?
Posted the Gerrard comment before I read Davi.
You do know that all the big clubs are looked upon with amazement by fans of the smaller ones?
I mean, do you think that with his boycott of the BBC and his criticism of SKY for reporting the recent Ferdinand incident that Alex Ferguson, and therefore the entire Man. U. support base, doesn’t think that EVERYONE in the media and the F.A. is all TOTALLY biased against their club?
And do you think that Chelsea fans, who are constantly reminded about Russian money, think that Ashley Cole and John Terry and CFC are shown sufficient respect by the media?
The BBC, ITV, SKY etc. all ‘purr’ over Arsenal.
If you can’t see that you’re either far too close to it to be able to see it or you are paranoid…….just like those Man. U., Chelsea, Liverpool fans!
Ask any League 1 or League 2 or Non-League fan about whether Arsenal are badly treated by the media!!!!!!!!!
Just answer Finsbury.
Gerrard certainly does dive (rubbish generation, rubbish era etc. etc…..of course he dives!) but that was a penalty, and the most glaring one I’ve seen this season.
For the record, Finsbury, easily the most blatant dive on a football field I’ve ever seen was the Pires one v. Pompey about five years ago.
How have I dug a hole for myself exactly?
C.H.I.L.L. O.U.T. and enjoy sport for what it should be about.
I’m you’re friend so trust me when I say, they’re not all against you!
Here we go again:
No crooks at work with lower league clubs eh?
I love popping down to watch Orient & I agree: the fact that children & teenagers have been priced out of watching football matches, and that the atmosphere inmost stadia are beginning to resemble Lords Cricket Ground is solely the fault of AW & AFC.
How dare they attempt to conduct themselves with self-respect & dignity towards others!
Keep on digging.
Davi, some examples:
against MU at OT: Fletcher tackles Arshavin with 2 foot and as Arshavin playes the ball away from him he puts his arm out and stops the ball. 2 blatant fouls in less than 1 second and not given.
In the same game Van Persie is tripped by a defender and again no penalty given by Dean. And Dean is the ref who gives most penalty’s in the PL if I remember correct and some of them are very soft. Yet 3 fouls in one game and the justified 2 penaltys not given.
Against Bolton : 2 clear penalty’s on Cesc in the first half not given one with afterwards the knee in neck and hair pull remember…
I’m not going on game by game but as a ref I sometimes can’t believe my eyes
You had to reference Pires and an incident many years ago that has no relevance to what we’re talking about to try to make your point.
How is that relevant to Eduardo being accused of diving, when he didn’t, or various examples of Gerrard diving?
Why should the actions of a player four/five years ago influence the actions of a referee in 2009?
Sean – “I mean, do you think that with his boycott of the BBC and his criticism of SKY for reporting the recent Ferdinand incident that Alex Ferguson, and therefore the entire Man. U. support base, doesn’t think that EVERYONE in the media and the F.A. is all TOTALLY biased against their club?” – does that make them even remotely right?
Ok, they have a point that ferdinand got pickd out when others (Like EVANS!!) might not, but still they didnt name anything from the PL this season. They seem to come out on the offensive, but the media rarely attacks them. Only for really blatant offences like ferdinand’s elbow, and even then there’s no questioning of ferguson, like there is of wenger when one of his players is out of line.
I dont understand your points about the lower league teams. Teams below us in the league are practically cheered on by the commentary, and teams in the lower leagues? They live in a different world. I havent really noticed any sort of agenda against them.
(Sorry if it came across as harsh asking if you were crazy btw)
Bravo Brian, the best article I have ever read about Arsenal bar none.
I suspect that Sir Anthony Atwood’s first reaction when reading this was a mirror image of my own.
“Damn….I wish that I had written this”
Superb article artfully written.
wow, what amazing peace you made Brian. Keep doing it that way.
I am really getting a bit pissed by all things I have to read now and then about “why there is so many french, japanese, or god knows who other”.
Lets all agree about one thing, we are human beings, all delivered with almost same physical predispositions do things. Actually the only who in recent history believed different were Nazis but (thanks god) we all know how they ended (I hope Boozy you agree with me about this).
There is only one thing which annoys me more than Arsenal “I would love if heard earlier for Chel$ea” supporters are those xenophobic supporters.
Brian, it is a great article, unfortunately we have to go thru some of the unpleasant comments to get to the comment window. Very intelligent analysis, really. Consumer vs fan is I believe one of the subject that needs to be explored in the future. Football is not really blessed with professional businessmen running the business side of things. Sometimes when I listen to some managers talking about products and consumers it just makes me chuckle. It’s not that businessmen are not reckless as we all are picking up the pieces of destruction they left behind. If we are really customers, we would be supporting different teams every season based on who is buying the best players and what they have won.
Boozy’s emotional expression (upper case bomb) up there is the very thing Brian was analyzing. Unfortunately, when you have so much emotions, you don’t see other’s perspectives.
Sean, Cesc had three clear penalties turned down when we played against Bolton back to back. You may want to re-visit the game for evidence. The issue as I see it is that bloggers, journalists, and politicians alike make a claim first and try to prove it. That means they will only bring up the evidence that proves their original claim. I believe the legal term is called lying by omission.
The whole “Wenger didn’t want Arshavin” and “Wenger hates Arshavin” nonsense was started by, surprise surprise, Myles Palmer.
As he’d been advocating the signing of Arshavin all summer, when it finally happened he immediately claimed that the signing was the sole work of Gazidis and not Wenger. Now, seeing as the muppet also claims that Wenger has too much power and total control over the wage and transfer budgets, how Gazidis signed Arshavin without Wenger’s input or in fact, approval, is beyond me.
The Law, Yeah, the irony of the contradictions there.
A very well written article. i wish the arsenal fans will stop allowing themselves to be depressed by the media.
In 07/08 even when we were 5 point clear they still doubted we could win… a win which as far as am concerned was not helped by the loss if Eduardo and rosicky long term.
now in 09/10, when Chelsea is only 2 points clear on top, we hear they are unbeatable and blah blah blah…
Well i expect the team to ignore the media and write their own scripts as they have done all season. Come May, we will know the true champions!
The goals against Man Utd were the product of bad defending. Doom and Gloomers don’t blame Wenger for losing against Man Utd – they blame him for not coaching this side well enough in defence to cope against the big sides.
The thing is that you don’t need huge resources or crazy economics to drill a sound defence. We did it in the CL Cup run, when Keown was in charge of training the defence.The line-up of Flamini, Senderos, Toure, Sagna was weak on paper, but it was solid because it was well-drilled. Same with the Utd defence that was up against us; they only conceded 1 goal because they were well-drilled. D&Gs are angry because defence has been passed over, and it’s killing us.
We don’t want a “guaranteed” level of success – we want ambition for success that matches our resources. That doesn’t mean going into each season aiming for 4th place, making a tidy profit and playing pretty passing football. It means using the tidy profit and the pretty passing football to try and WIN something. A football club that’s the 3rd biggest in England, with resources like an unmilked cow, with a manager as talented as Wenger, should be fighting it out with the likes of Man Utd and Chelsea for the premiership. That’s all we’re looking for – the will to win.
In order for that to happen, though, there has to be a touch of pragmatism to Wenger idealism. A good start would be to appoint someone to drill the defence. Another step would be to sign a good ‘keeper, because Almunia clearly isn’t up to it, and Fabianski and co. aren’t ready. If he did that, and if the team fought like rabid dogs for every ball in every game, then we’ll cheer them on to 1-3 losses against Man Utd all season.
As for the Ratatouille reference:
“As the food critic Anton Ego says in Ratatouille, ‘After reading a lot of overheated puffery … you know what I’m craving? A little perspective. That’s it. I’d like some fresh, clear, well seasoned perspective. Can you suggest a good wine to go with that?’”
End of the movie, Anton Ego was blown away by the mouse’s cookery, humbled himself and stood by the mouse despite his losing his professional credibility. I hope that when you get your “ratatouille” moment, Brian, you’ll have the decency to do the same.
Yup, it sure is a good thing that AW has no idea how to drill a defence.
I am glad that there are some people out there who can spot such things!
Er, Arsenal, under AW are not the only team to have won the league unbeaten, are they?
Or will Keown, who’s publicly said he thinks the standard of coaching on England is rubbish, is clearly an admirer of Wengerball, be given all the credit for that too, even though he wasn’t a coach at the time?
I would love to see Keown back at AFC, but not for the spurious reasons given above.
well-endowed gooner – it was eboue, not sagna in that “keown” defence
We have always had fans (and probably so have most clubs) who just want to vent their negative emotions on the club.
Remember in Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby’s vivid description of his first ever game in the late 1960s. He couldn’t believe how much people hated being at the game.
I’m always amazed when I watch fans who just always look unhappy. Even during the unbeaten season there were tons of fans who would say nothing as we tore teams apart and then groaned or shouted out in anger at the first mis-placed pass. I never really understood why people were like this. If you can’t enjoy a season like that then what is the point
Anyway on to the big big game at the Bridge. Come on Gunners. We really mustn’t lose this game. If we do get any result there, both United and Chelsea have very difficult away games in midweek at Villa and Everton. You never know…
i don’t understand why arsenal are still keeping this arsene guy at our club cause am tired of crying season to season cause of entartainig football and yet we get nothing at the end of the season and i don’t know why sagna and alumia are being our starters on the line up when we have eboue and manone on the bench.please arsene werger try to revise on your line.
whoever runs this amusing blog you provide me a great deal of comic entertainment. You thoroughly deserve the Arsene Wenger Ballet, his choreography, his ballet rehearsals and his ballerinas. I’m going make sure to browse back over to your blog and look at that goofy picture of your face at the top of the page next time when I’m having a big belly laugh watching Arsene remonstrate on the sideline and hold his head in his hands when his choreography gets nullified and his ballerinas fail.
hey untold arsenal blogger could you please come over to gunnerblog and defend Wenger? I’m a lurker over there and it would just tickle me pink as an AKB to watch you get taken apart over there piece by piece. I don’t think you’re up for it though so I don’t expect to see you over there.
this article is rubbish,he doesn’t say we are doom to relegation to the championship with the frog at helm or doesn’t say sack wenger now we doom we have not won anything since i m supporting arsenal. actually sack Brian, and tony bring on Pyle Palmer and danish gooner on i say 😉
great read again from a great blog 😀
That was a bit of a gaffe, wasn’t it? Yes Eboue, I’m not sure why I wrote Sagna. And Finnsbury, I’m at a loss as to why Wenger’s not drilling the defence as much as you are, but he ain’t drilling it. Man Utd vs Arsenal, I don’t care how well we dominated for the first 30 mins, because over the whole 90 mins we were compellingly destroyed.
Your talking crap.
Hes now talking like i nearly bought this player on the last day but I wont say his name. Bloody hell hes turning Arsenal into a joke. Your all waiting for the new Adams, bErgkamp,pires or Henry.
It is not going to happen.
Its his way or the highway. It seems to me your just as vocal in your views but because Fans are tiring of his mantra. “I know what ill do ill pput a 5ft 7 player as my striker I dont need a new striker.
Mate smell the roses its not going to happen
Hey he reminds me of someone Margaret Thatcher She wasnt for turning look what happened there
I thought it was an excellent article Brian. An amazing article really, considering that this is a football blog and not a featured editor in the newspaper.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about infantilization.
We live in an infantilized culture, where everyone else is to blame, and personal responsibility doesn’t exist. I only have to walk up my country lane and see all the rubbish thrown out of car windows to see what an irresponsible nation of people we have become.
People expect instant gratification, at almost every level of their lives.
Perhaps we should take a leaf out of Newcastle’s book: they have 60,000 supporters through thin and thin……..
If at the end of the Chelsea match the opinions and comments are anything like they were after the United debacle it certainly won`t help Arsenal for the rest of the season. Somehow I have the feeling that win lose or draw we`ll come out of it with our heads held high.
Walter like you , all us true AW & Arsenal fan will always recognise and appreciate what AW has done for this club. Long may he continue doing what he does best and managing our club as it should be. He may not always get it right but his philosophy will enable Arsenal football to thrive and win trophies long after he has gone. I pay a lot of Money for my season ticket and as far as I’m concerned it’s money well spent. We’ve won shit loads of trophies, never finished outside the top 4 and have been in the CL every season since AW has been at the club. No other team apart from manure who are now almost bankrupt, can boast that kind of consistency and success without spending outside their means or having to rely on a rich sugar daddy . If success is meaured by how many trophies we win every season then sack AW now and sell the club to some fat Arab or Russian chancer And then what??…..
IN ARSENE I WILL ALWAYS TRUST.
Regardless of what people think, I’m quite sure that by Wednesday we’ll cut down the gap from the top.
And Wenger did not want to buy Arshavin, he was forced into buying a world class players because some fans pressure him to. That’s why he spent 30 mil on him —– oh wait, I just realize I just made the last whole sentence up…..
Excellent, excellent article. You perfectlly illustrate the fundamental issue behind supporting Arsenal… that the overreaction to any loss is disproportionate and not based on reality.
However, this overreaction tends to result in the segregation of the Arsenal fanbase into the AK and ADK (Arsene Doesnt know) groups thereby masking the actualy inefficiencies of the squad. I don’t think it is wrong to criticise your team if they are playing poorly or if you feel the manager is making a mistake. It is part of human nature.
Somewhere in this all there needs to be a semblance of balance whereby we are able to tweak the team to advance it’s progress but by the same token not demanding such radical change that goes against everything Arsene is striving to implement. Herein lies the crux of the matter… there is no doubt that Arsene’s policy of living within our means is well founded and something we can be proud of. The fact that we have a team that is able to produce such stylish and effective football makes it even more remarkable. Lets not destroy that with our overreactions. However, balance needs to be maitnained wherein if we see a player is not putting the effort in (Denilson) then we should be able voice our derision.
Where is the balance!
I love Arsenal since 1976. The beste team ever was with Henry, Vieira, Bergkamp and Pires.
I dont se any of them todays Arsenal.
I am finished with Arsenal now because i dont think they will win anything. Today i delete my Arsenal memebership for first time.
I think the math against manu proof that.
If Wenger buy som older and wise players maybe i buy a new memebership.
The Arsenal fan club in norway have lost over 300 members on 1 month.
I think Wenger must go. Hes vision has failed.
x arsenal fan
If you being a fan depends on winning anything than I really feel sorry for you.
As a fan for more than 30 years (my God time goes fast….) I have had many many years withou winning anything. I still am a fan and will be a fan.
And I will be there when we win our first trophy in the not so distance future and I will know that I was there for my team and players whole the way.
Gooner in good and bad days and I really can not consider these days as bad. Bad is where Hull, Wigan and Blackburn and Portsmouth are. And I admire the loyal fans they have for sticking to their team. Maybe you could think about that for a change.
And our fan club in the Benelux is gaining new members every month.
Your action proves you’re not an Arsenal fan.
You’re trophies’ fan, and frankly I’m glad we are rid of you.
My Boro supporting friend still loses sleep weekly over his team while wishing all the best for them to come up.
Unlike d&gs (they are still fans somewhat cause they still care…abit) someone like you, Per, doesn’t deserve Arsenal anyway.
Arsenal’s trophies cabinet is not the best in the world, we all know that from the start…ask most of us and you will get surprise answers of when did we started support this club (most started during dry spell)….but we KNOW Arsenal is the best club there is to be a fan of.
To . (name please),
Gunnerblog (Gilbertosilver is a nice blogger who is not a d&g but let they terrorize his blog) is full of morons who all they do is bitch and moan about all things Arsenal. It is by far the most boring blog to read people’s thoughts about Arsenal because the community is currently being run like a mafia gang, there are 20-30 bloggers who will call people names, spit racial comments, while thinking they are the true masters of world football………………………..because a few of them think they knew about some Russian goalkeeper lad before Wenger and his team thus making Wenger stupid by default….if you are a fan of this kind of crap then Gunerblog’s comments board is your place.
And anyone who likes Wenger is a moron….they will make absolutely sure everyone’s aware of that.
I read those things for pleasure now not unlike the rare occasions I visited myles palmer’s so called blog of writings…..
Sometimes I reach the point of wishing that people had to pass a ‘fit and proper’ fans test.
To be an Arsenal fan you would have to study the history of the club (and its long term strategies) before you sign up to being an adherant to its principles. They have never been a big spending club (on transfer fees at least)- certainly not in the way that many other clubs have been and are now. The emphasis has always been on home grown players and on finding players from outside England and giving them a chance to succeed. The first side that I ever saw, in the early sixties, had a minority of Englishmen in it and only three players that had cost any real transfer fee. The 1971 Double side was put together for relative peanuts (again only three cost real money) and that went for the Terry Neills side of the late seventies and for most of George Grahams era. Home grown players plus a few cheap ‘discoveries’ with a sprinkling of expensive, ready made, stars. And even they occasionally had to have their positions on the pitch changed by insightful coaches in order to maximise their contribution.
It’s a strategy that has been in place for decades, has brought well above average success in terms of winning things and has ultimately led to us being, perhaps, the most financially stable club in the world. As UEFA tighten their grip on clubs financial matters and penalise those with unsustainable debt (i.e. eliminate financial doping) Arsenals position will become stronger and stronger.
The young fan tends to be very impatient and seems to be far more gullible when it comes to believing what they read in the press (who have declining circulations to protect) or in blogs that may not even be written by true Arsenal fans.
Arsene Wenger may not get everything right and he may not know all there is to know. But he still knows best – and there is barely a club in the world that wouldn’t swap what they’ve got for him.
Thank goodness there are blogs like this one that understand such things and state their case so eloquently.
ps Bought the book today Tony – will start to read it tomorrow.
Is supporting a team a matter of blind faith? Does seem that AW is right when he says supporters have to have belief that the team can succeed-that they want the team to succeed. Some of the slagging off of players does not help-I am losing patience with fans who seem unable to recognise that some players who are not performing well are playing with injuries. I am referring to Denilson and Clichy and Sagna.
On the other hand, when we look around for the reasons for having to play a diminutive midfielder at centre forward, whose responsibility is it -or do we just accept that the club are completely powerless to replace injured players? Is it anyone’s one’s fault? Just fate maybe? When the player himself says we cant beat the top teams with him playing at centre-forward- we can always reassure ourselves that our balance sheet looks good.
Just thought I’d dig one more hole for Finsbury…..he likes them.
Not going to rub in the 2-0 defeat v. Chelsea, it’s just Bore Four v. Bore Four for me, but I make that the 37th (that’s 37th!) predictable result at Stamford Bridge and The Emirates out of 37 (that’s 37 out of 37…..100%) this season.
Finsbury……you’ve been mugged off my son.
you’re a Chelski supporter? Barnet too little for ya? I knew you’re fake.
Look at what I wrote…………….
The Bore Four…………..
I can’t stand Chelsea and what they represent.
Anything to say about the jaw-dropping predictability of the Premiership?
That’s what my comment was about and, look…..it mentions Chelsea.
You like Rugby or do you just follow a horrible side like Portsmouth who hire managers that get you relegated eventually? Or just wish you were a gunner fan?
Is this speed dating?
Are you asking me out Hartwick?
OK, here we go.
I support Barnet.
Saw them yesterday, won 3-0.
I go to local Non-League clubs on Tuesdays.
I go to Rugby Union on the occasional Saturday.
I love Rugby League.
I despite how Professional Football has gone in this country.
Do I pass?
Now you answer me a question?
With the ’37 game’ stat mentioned above why can’t you see that the Premiership is jaw-droppingly predictable and, if you can, do you think that this is a good thing?
Do you dispute the evidence?
Could care less about EPL other than the Arsenal…Let me ask you nother question now? Do You support England 2010? How about JTerry?
That’s fake Sean for you, Hartwick.
He claims to be a Barnet fan, but nothing he has written so far shows any enthusiasm for his club. It’s an excuse to have a go at Arsenal.
He hates the big four, but watches every match between those clubs.
Really miserable guy.
I guess if the ‘consumers’ are not to be guaranteed success, then it is a bit incongruous that the players are guaranteed their gargantuan salaries. How about a bit of Performance-related Pay??
I repeat my mantra: you don’t pay Roller prices for a BMW. And right now, Arsenal season ticket prices are Roller prices. I’ll let others decide whether the team represents a BMW right now……
You aren’t guaranteed success. But you should be guaranteed a team which does the basics right under pressure.
1. A goalkeeper doesn’t kick the ball straight to an opponent just outside the area.
2. A defender closes down an attacker when he is last man and six defenders don’t let an attacker run straight through them without following his run closely.
3. A defender doesn’t wander from his post at a corner.
4. A squad is balanced in terms of the components of a team. You need one engine and four wheels for a car to go. If you possess no engine but six wheels, you’re in deep doodoo. And I tell you this, I was none too impressed when my first car came with a dead battery after my family were customers for 15 years plus…..and was more than disgusted when another outlet of that global OEM claimed the car needed £750 of repairs to get through the MOT 3 years later, but when I took it to an independent, they passed it without need to replace anything….
5. Your youth squad is paid like a youth squad and the season ticket prices are set according to whether the First XI is a youth team, an aspirational team or a team capable of winning the EPL and Champions League. That’s not consumerism, it’s treating fans with proper respect. If you won’t buy a squad that can win the league, lower ticket prices and balance that with a USA tour pre-season. It won’t affect finishing position, because all you did was transplant training to the USA and a few friendlies likewise. And I do consider it possible that the USA possesses a few facilities of professional standard…….
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