Goodwill to all men (except that is the supporters of other football clubs)

Goodwill to all men (except that is the supporters of other football clubs)

By Blacksheep

Some time ago broadcaster, Millwall fan and jolly good egg (IMHO) Danny Baker remarked that he was uncomfortable with rival football fans saying nice things about each other’s teams. He prefers the ‘norm’ where we all look to see how badly our ‘derby’ club have done almost as much as we are keen to see who well we have done. So United fans hate Liverpool, Sp*rs hate us, Villa and Birmingham are at each other’s throats, as are Sunderland and Newcastle, and Millwall hate everyone (or at least no one likes them…).

This is how it is and how it has ever been since the dawn of time and certainly since St Dennis of Bergkamp invented football in the middle ages.

So I do wonder why we bother getting our collective underwear in a twist when the supporters of other teams seek to belittle our triumphs or gloat at our misfortunes. Sir Cecil (a troll who occasionally peers out of his cesspool to shake his undersized stick on Untold) is one such and there are countless other manifestations of pond life on twitter doing the same as I type.

You can just ignore them folks (much like I have decided to ignore the print media) – after all we did just win a trophy, or did no one notice?

If you do choose to engage with the ‘banter’ then be advised that rival football fans will always view our achievements with scorn.  As would we should the boot be on the other foot so to speak. Is Tony going to run a piece on how fab it is that plucky Oilchester Citeh FC have romped to a second PL trophy in 3 years? Or how marvelous we [would] all feel about our noisy neighbours lifting a shiny cup (if that actually happened…)?

No. He wouldn’t would you Tony?  [Err, no – Tony]

I have more of a problem with all those so-called Arsenal fans and ex-players (or players and ex-fans I’m never sure which) like Stewart rent-a-moan Robson (who was captain at Arsenal so Five Live describe him). The same Robson who has won exactly one less FA Cup than Yaya Sanogo who feels it is necessary to come on the radio the day after Arsenal win a trophy (the first in 9 years – who knew?) and have a pop at the incumbent manager.

Robson was a decent young midfielder who never realized his potential partly because of injuries. This has left him bitter. And resentful. And grumpy. He works for Talkshite.

Yes we need to build on this success, yes we need a few more ‘top top’ (‘top’) players. But the idea that we should kick out the man that has guided us through the stadium move and kept us in the top 4 for 17 years… after he has become the first manager to win the FA Cup in 3 different decades seems, well, at best premature and at worst rather sour and small minded.  [Add in only the third man in history to win the FA Cup 5 times – and one of the other two did it in primeval times before oil was invented – Tony]

And so we come to the other trolls. Not the likes of sad Cecil but instead the likes of young (or old, who knows?) Rupert who also infests this site from time to time. Rupert (or Rupe) (or Rupey, who knows?) is an erudite individual. He knows how to use a pen (or a keyboard at least). His words are carefully chosen to prick that little bubble of happiness that comes with winning a trophy after 9 years (did anyone mention that it had been NINE YEARS?).

And again I would suggest (although clearly I am not following my own advice here…) that we ignore these AAA types. They must be terribly upset that Arsenal WON A TROPHY* when we are SO CRAP. Let them wallow in their misery for a bit and maybe, just maybe, they’ll take up following some other team. I say ‘following’ because its certainly not supporting, which is (as Tony says) unconditional.

So to conclude: let the haters of other clubs hate because, lets face it, them’s the rules. And ignore the trolls – they are under the bridge with all the other sh*t.


* the first in NINE YEARS (who knew?)

PS: There is a review of that trophy of nine years ago – which incidentally took place on this actual day, nine years ago, on the history site.


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79 Replies to “Goodwill to all men (except that is the supporters of other football clubs)”

  1. blacksheep,

    I don’t think that Untolders are bothered by rival fans and their opinion, so I will disagree with the notion that we do. Mike T is always welcome here to fight Untold’s slights in Chelsea’s direction. I seldom agree with the guy but I respect his honesty. He is clearly not a troll. A troll would be posting under the guise of being a Gooner and riling us up with inane comments. Fans of other teams have every right to antagonise as we do to them. I am not even sure that I would love this game as much as I do if it requires all fans singing kumbaya. I love the rivalries and nothing gives me more joy than the tears of the chickens after they’ve been humiliated by ANY team.

    The problem as you have identified yourself, is with those ex-players and fans who enable the diabolical work of the media in undermining our club. I think the larger percentage of Untold’s writings and comments are directed at these cretins. I am going to be upfront with you: I have no intention to stop and I implore all Untolders to keep the fight going.

  2. Well said sir.
    Rupert really reached the limit with me. I mean, he always said his bit without abuse and presented the reality check that often need for balance. (Though, just now, it occurs to me that “balance” and “fan” may be mutually contradictory). Anyhow, the next day of the victory as I read Rupert on UA, holding court, going on and on about this and that, busting every happy ballon he could find, he completely lost me. Either he is not a fan or he hates success or he lacks a sense of the moment. Thanks to TommieGun who told him as much in the most polite manner.

    As for Robson, I believe that he was put to it by his paymasters. They needed somebody with his Arsenal connection to say such rubbish. Pity him and his lack of respect for his history and relationship that he said it.

    We also have Graham the ex-coach who left under some cloudy situation, he couldn’t find a complementary word for what Arsenal and Wenger had achieved in the wake of the achievement but could find many shortcomings about the players and set up to belly-ache about. Somewhere there he must think that he would have done a better job than Wenger if he had been allowed to stay on. As the people in my part would say: Wenger has the laurels; let him keep the noise.

  3. @ blacksheep – Like most of the AKBs on here , I don’t care a shit what the fans of other clubs think of us (to think one has to have a brain – its a prerequisite !) and I mostly avoid engaging them here .
    Just as most of us have gotten over the departures of Cesc , Nasri , Song ,RVP and the rest , its high time we ignore and move past the negative and vindictive comments of past legends/greats like Wright , Robson , Adams , Dixon,
    Merson and their ilk .
    Let us embrace those who still love the club even if they have moved on and those who admire for what we proudly and righteously stand for.

  4. Well said Bootoomee …

    I think it’s more when it is just pointless vitriol it bothers me … (this after all should be saved, untainted by club rivalries, for Mr Riley and his minions of evil) … the banter and especially the funny jibes are what is all about …

    By the way, did you realise that Wenger hasn’t won us a trophy for 4 DAYS !!!! HE MUST GO … NOW !!!!

  5. There is quite a problem for me about these people. One is I’m by nature very liberal and hate censorship.

    But there is a problem with the AAA in that they repeatedly post off-topic and their comments can stop good debate continuing because they are not ignored.

    Also they make the same points repeatedly. For example complaining that all the other blogs are open and don’t have a fixed view, while we have a pro-Wengerian view.

    We’ve debated that a million times, and the fact is that many other sites that profess their independence are actually anti-Wengerian at all times. At least we are honest.

    So that debate has been had, but it comes back over and over.

    I have never found a good balance to the problem.

  6. 9 years without a trophy, i didn’t know that !!!

    Tony, never argue with an idiot !!

  7. Top stuff!

    There’s another type even more insidious than Rupert.

    The fence sitters. The double talkers. Those who proclaimed end of an era, this is as far as old punch drunk Wenger could take Arsenal. Those who use a lot of words but when all their posts and ramblings are looked at with clear eyes, only disingenuous lies remain.

    You know who you are. Yes, we know too.

  8. I’ve nicked this from somewhere:

    Hey haters, shut the FACUP #arsenal

  9. There’ll never be a proper balance, Tony. The warriors of a besieged castle may wonder when the horde at the gates may disappear, but in their hearts they know that they won’t, that they will continue to shout and wave their banners. And we must do the same.

  10. Stewart Robson was once annoying, but after last weekend, irrelevant.

  11. Tony,

    “I have never found a good balance to the problem.”

    And you never will. These people are not here to have honest debate, they are here to sow seeds of discord and depress regulars.

    I recall midway through the season when we worried more about the shit storm that we’d have to endure from OUR own so called fans at Untold (and indeed the entire web) because of a poor result rather than the actual implications of the match results. It got that bad!

    When we win, we come over to celebrate together. When we drop points, I look forward to Walter’s eternally optimistic articles and join other regulars in dealing with the sadness. And you know what? IT WORKS!!!! It’s for not for naught that Untold has become a sanctuary for positive Arsenal fans everywhere when 90% of other Arsenal fans’ sites only spread doom about the club.

    The big question is why those negativistas who come over here aren’t congregating with others of like minds rather than enduring our collective disagreements and occasional insults (which is fairly regular in my case).

  12. Sav from Australia,

    I think I know too 🙂

    When it comes to double talk, verbosity and disingenuity there can only be one…..

  13. You know what? I’m still in seventh heaven today 😉

    Apart from that I don’t mind if supporters from other clubs come over. Even though I disagree with them a lot I think it adds something to a debate. That is if they try to be reasonable and try to argue their point of view. The insulting ones can have their coffer filled with insults as far as a care.

    But like Mike T, MC18, hell even a few spuds fans who came here and tried to be reasonable I don’t mind them. Not that it will change my point of view about their club. But as humans they sure look nice people.

    For the AAA type…that is the only thing that can get me close to leave seventh heaven for now. 😉 I even thought about writing a real insulting article about them in the way they went on about us over the years. But then again… then I felt compassion with their lost souls that will never find peace of mind. So I decided to stay in seventh heaven and let them rot in their hell of discontent.

  14. As a long-time follower of Arsenal and a student of the game of football, I have often wondered how or why the hatred of rival football clubs and supporters has developed so badly since the end of WW2.
    Certainly friendly rivalry existed pre-war but well below the level of bigotry which appears to be the norm today.
    I have come to the possible conclusion that the intense hatred of our WW2 enemies, which was instilled into the hearts and minds of the adults of our country during those momentous times, has been
    passed on, inadvertently, to succeeding generations.
    In other words, rival clubs and supporters have become substitute objects of hatred during advancing years of peace.
    Just a theory and a wish that we could all return to a more friendly atmosphere of sporting rivalry.

  15. An interesting question – to react to a troll or not to react.

    There are a number of issues here. Ultimately it is up to Tony/Walter to apply a sanction if the troll crosses a line and becomes destructive to the ethos of the site.

    But, Blacksheep, I am not sure that your general advice for the rest of us to ignore trolls is the line to universally follow. My view is that when the trolls start using half truths or non truths to attack the players, the manager or the club – that needs to be countered – otherwise a pro-Wenger site becomes the tool of the AAA.

    There is also a lot more going on with some trolls than simple attention seeking. Some apparent trolls are so persistent with their patter that they join the ranks of those who wish to undermine the club and manager in particular i.e. they are part of or act in support of the AAA.

    At a time when the club is under heavy, unfair and unending media attack, do we wish to support that attack further by permitting AAA trolls to have a free hand on UA, especially as UA is one of very few pro AW sites?

    Re Rupert – is he an attention seeker, is he an AAA, is he destructive, does he want Wenger out, is he repetitive, is he illogical, is he snide, is he sarcastic, is he untruthful – probably yes to all and more.

    Are you suggesting Blacksheep that we ignore the Rupert type troll?

    Now Blacksheep, you come across as a gentleman, you like fair play, freedom of speech etc. I agree with and support that viewpoint. But when it comes to AAA trolls posting on site each of us should be able to react as we see fit – within the site rules.

    My view is that we kick their asses into orbit!

  16. nicky,

    “In other words, rival clubs and supporters have become substitute objects of hatred during advancing years of peace.
    Just a theory and a wish that we could all return to a more friendly atmosphere of sporting rivalry.”

    Nah, I won’t go that far.

    I don’t HATE any football fan personally, even those that we fondly call the chickens (because of their ridiculous club symbol). My dislike is limited to the club that they support and my taunts does not go beyond the game. Okay, I know that I have described Tottenham as a smelly shit-hole in the past but I have colleagues who are Tottenham supporters and other than where football is concerned, we get on very well.

    It is the nature of the game and I don’t see anything malicious enough to be compared with the horrors of WW2 or any war for that matter.

    Personally, I don’t “wish that we could all return to a more friendly atmosphere of sporting rivalry.” I like it better this way >:O

  17. A few thoughts that circulated in my mind in the past few days.

    The first one was posted under Don’s article, since he is (as far as I remember), a psychologist: Do you think that AAA’s suffer from self-loathing / self-hatred? I mean – why does a normal, regular, joe-off-the-street Arsenal supporter (i.e. not a Robson type who has a chip on his shoulder) thinks it’s ok to hold such a negative preception of the club? What are the reasons? Why does it go to such extremes?

    This question was preceded by another notion. I have been advocating quite loudly the concept of free speech and letting people who have very different opinions to UA regulars, speak their mind freely.

    I must admit that Rupert’s post after winning the cup felt like a bit of a back stab, because if you are here to express your different opinions, and you pretend to do it politely and not out of spite or other agenda – then why the fuck do it on a day that should not be contaminated with anything but happiness? Why admitting to do it just to “wind us up” ? What the fuck man.

    The next thought was, what’s going on in the other sites. I admit that I find it quite masochistic by some of you guys to go into Le Grove or listen to Talk Sport or whatever. However those media outlets (toilets) are out there expressing their shit. And we see it differently. So now is the question – which also brings me to other things in my life, and that’s how to convince people.

    Say there is a totally polarized and unbalanced opinion being expressed (Wenger is shit, we need to spend, AAA, bla bla bla). Now my job is to convince the neutral. Do I, in order to achieve that end, present my case in a similarly polarized way – i.e., Wenger is a saint, we don’t need to spend a dime, we are never at fault, it’s all the refs/media/luck, our players are the best, etc…) OR do I try to present a REAL balanced view – i.e., saying that a certain result was influenced by a myriad of variables, some of them might be putting some of the blame on the club, manager or players.

    This is a hard question. Tactics wise, I would say that it has a lot to do with who your adversary is but even more who the judge is. I think that our “judges” are the real Arsenal fans who might not take the time or effort to put a lot of thought into what is happening, which is perfectly ok. (I stick to my belief that I cannot tell a fellow fan that I my way of supporting the club is “better”, by definition).

    So that fan is opening chrome because he wants to read something about Arsenal. And he goes into Le Grove and he might think – well some of that makes sense, but [I actually think that Giroud was good, so] the stuff in Le Grove is not 100% convincingAnd then he goes into UA and might think [well I thought that the ref did have a some bad decisions but we played poorly nontheless, and nobody addressed that] saying it’s all the refs fault and not assume any responsibility is also not a serious stance.

    This is like trying to gain political achievements: do you use terrorism / extremeties, because the other side is using those tactics? I think that in some cases, you must. But you have to be very aware and very concious about doing that.

    I hope this rant was coherent enough, I am still not sure myself.

  18. @Bootoomee,
    Let me test the water.
    During WW2, after Highbury was bombed, Arsenal shared White Hart Lane with Spurs as their home ground, for the next 5 years.
    If the Emirates became seriously damaged for any reason and a similar sharing was proposed, I wonder what the attitude would be among our most militant supporters.

  19. nicky,

    Thanks for making my point concerning how magnanimous rival fans can be and how, in times of adversity, football rivalry takes 2nd stage or no stage at all 🙂

    All the rivalries are not as deep as you perceive them to be. Didn’t you hear about rival fans of Shaktar Donetsk and the other Donetsk teams coming together in unity against the Russians?

    Yes, we love to hate our rivals and can at times say hurtful things to each other but I have no doubt whatsoever that, should heaven forbid, the Emirates get bombed, our poor neighbours would welcome us with open arms.

    We are football fans, we are not monsters!

  20. @Bootoomee,
    Your penultimate para states that Spurs would welcome us with open arms. Fair enough.
    But the question I posed earlier was, I wonder what would be the attitude of OUR supporters NOW, to such a move 😉

  21. Can be hard to differentiate between someone who supports the club, but voices what they feel is dissatisfaction in some aspect of the way it is run, and a troll out to wind people up, always put the club in a negative light and dampen any glory. Perhaps one who does not even support arsenal, who indeed may hate Arsenal.
    Rupert is certainly a critic on some issues, I often don’t agree with his views myself….but a troll?? Is that fair? Ok maybe, do not know him so cannot say conclusively! Others can also be critical sometimes, but seem to be genuine Gooners who back up their arguements whether you agree or not…and do not appear to be trolls…eg Tom.
    I agree with the editorial line on here, some are clearly trolls, and seem to have vanished, but others, though, maybe at times voicing unpopular opinions on here, and sometimes in fairly heated exchanges are at least a part of the debate of all things Arsenal. I think banning or ostracsizing all of those whose opinions differ could risk over sanitising the site, that’s where I think Walter tony and co have got things just right.
    There will always be ways in which some perceive the club and people within it can improve things, and yes, I think many including myself will confess to having felt some frustrations over recent years, but I guess on this site I just tend to glory in just being an arsenal supporter rather than go on endlessly about perceived failings, behind the scenes problems, media highlighted problems,negative results, sacking managers, fitness staff and tea ladies….especially after the weekend we have just had!

  22. TommieGun,

    Just like I did with nicky, I am going to disagree with you here and it is because of false equivalency of Le Grove and Untold being two sides of a coin. Nothing can be further from the truth.

    Untold welcomes different opinions and debates are encouraged. While I agree that many of us are a bit over-enthusiastic in our support of Arsene Wenger and blaming of the officials, we usually have evidences (whether you accept them or not) to back up our claims. I have had disagreements with virtually every member of this community on one issue or the other. Hell, my last article contains one against my beloved Walter!

    On the other hand, have you ever disagreed with or read someone disagree with the beliefs of Le Grove? Shit gets nasty very quickly and in the most brutally abusive manner! All you get at Untold is pushbacks and the occasional name calling that I am mostly guilty of (although I am a choirboy compared to the posters at Le Grove).

    It is not a problem to come to Untold with a different opinion every once in a while, that’s what makes it such a vibrant forum. The problem begins when a commenter regularly undermines the club and its employees. I don’t how much anyone’s claim to love Arsenal really is but if you detest everybody associated the club, then what exactly are you claiming to love?

    And that, my friend, is why Untold Arsenal and Le Grove are not 2 Arsenal fans’ forum with equally different positions. The sin that Untold is most guilty of is over-exuberance in support of the club while Le Grove is out to piss on the club’s employees and operating strategies. Considering that our collective missions should be to SUPPORT the club, it is clear that Untold is doing precisely what it should why Le Grove is doing the opposite. We are therefore not equals and should not be compared as equivalents.

  23. Nicky: why the hell wasn’t shite hart lane bombed???
    That’s just wrong man!
    I read UA way more than I comment on it, I also know of Rupert (the bear, lol) but I always thought that if we won something, it would bind us together for a small time at least.
    I went out to our supports club here in Sydney, parramatta for the game and shared the experience with at least 400 gooners and it was amazing man, as close to being there as you can get. The singing of songs that I have belterd out in my living room for so many years, to sing then with everybody, hugging strangers, making friends etc how can a fan not get caught up in it?? How can anyone find negatives in it? I really feel sorry for whoever didn’t jump up and down after Jesus from Wales won it for our club The Arsenal!!
    Anyway it was a late night I got home at 6:30am to watch it all again, so glad I haven’t come across any negative nancies!!!
    COYG can’t wait for next season already!

  24. nicky,

    I think that I have gave the answer. If, heavens forbid, bombs are raining on London, who would care about rivalries? Tottenham would not mind sharing their home with us and we would not any choice than to gratefully accept. I have no doubt that if their home ground was destroyed that we’d let them use our place and they would accept.

    I am as partisan a football fan as they come but I wish no rival any harm. I just want their teams to lose in the most emabarrassing and humiliating manner possible 🙂

    Don’t tell me that you still don’t chuckle when you remember the famous John Terry slip of 2008 that gave the UCL trophy to Man United. I know I do 3:)

  25. @ Bootoome, if my post made the (wrong) impression that UA and LeShit are 2 sides of the same coin, then clearly I was misunderstood.

    What I was saying, was that it is a fact that those 2 sites portray relatively opposite opinions, although both (supposedly) support AFC.

    Now if Mr. X who is an Arsenal supporter wants to read some stuff and analysis about his beloved club, and goes into both UA and LeShit – …

    This is where I am in my dilema. My goal is to have less Arsenal supporters who are AAAs. This is not some Don Quixote type crusade. The moment the media will not have any Arsenal “supporters” going against the club, is the beginning of us getting better treatment. The fact that there is a very strong internal debate is what keeps this flame alive. So I want as many AFC supporters to stop blaming Wenger and call for spending. Will I convince them by saying that ALL of our bad results can be attributed to a conspricary whereby the refs and PGMOL are out there to fuck us over?

    This is my question, in essence.

  26. Sorry but my previous post was incpomlete – I don’t know the answer myself.

    Like I wrote before, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Sometimes when your adversary is a terrorist, you cannot resort to talking and negotiating.

    What I’m saying is, that I’m still thinking about this.

  27. TommieGun,

    As long as we agree that Untold Arsenal is not an equivalent of Le Grove whether in mission or in substance, then we are alright, my learned friend.

  28. @Mandy Dodd
    ‘Rupert is certainly a critic on some issues, I often don’t agree with his views myself….but a troll?? Is that fair?’
    After our FA Cup victory Rupert openly admitted his intention was to ‘wind us up’ and seemed quite proud of the fact. That is clearly trolling is it not? Maybe he is a part time troll if you can be such a thing, if so how are we to know when he is winding us up or offering a genuine point of view. Any credibility he may have had is gone as far as I am concerned by his confession.

  29. @Elkieno havent’t you seen the YouTube manipulations of Downfall? Hitler was a sp*rs fans 🙂

  30. There is so much antagonistic vomit about Arsenal in the media, it makes this debate irrelevant. The sites that have anti Wenger venom (I don’t read them) are probably mild compared to our national press. The idiot with a microphone asking an Arsenal supporter ‘ now that Arsenal have won the FA cup, Wenger has decide to sign a new contract, what do you think of that?’ I would have told the idiot to shove his mic up his arse and get a reality check as Mr Wenger confirmed over a month ago that he was staying. That was before we had secured 4th place and won the FA cup.

    Our ex players that commentate on TV have an agenda to adhere to and quite honestly most don’t have sufficient intelligence to realise that they are being manipulated to show Wenger in a bad light.

    My focus is on the officiating of football and the loss of sport within the game. There are statements made regarding when an official will stop the game (injuries) but these suddenly have a different interpretation as in the final.

    I have watched the final twice and each time I see more annoying decisions by the officials. I lump them together as they are a team. That one game has so much evidence of bias and inconsistency. I look forward to Walters report on the officiating.

  31. I have an issue with freedom of speech. Not peoples right to have it, but what exactly IS freedom of speech?

    There’s no answer.

    What one person regards as freedom of speech can differ enormously to what somebody else regards as freedom of speech.

    I know one thing for sure, freedom of speech is NOT the right to say whatever you like, whenever you like, about whoever you like.

    Should a communist be allowed to attend a Fascist rally and continually heckle, barrack the speaker?

    Should an atheist be allowed into a Papal rally to continually deny the existence of Christ?

    Both antagonist have a right to that view. Both have the right to express that view.

    The question is, have they the right to express it at that time, to those particular groups of people, in that particular way?

    Is that freedom of speech or is that incitement?

    Well I suggest it is incitement, and it would be seen as such in the outside World.

    What’s more the antagonist would most likely be evicted as he would be seen as a likely cause of unrest, crowd disturbance, and possible incitement to riot.

    That is why I defend the right to ‘call out’, and even request the banning of certain individuals.

    They are not here to debate. They do not share the basic philosophy that underpins this site.

    As in the examples above, they are here to agitate. They have no interest in the views of the incumbents. There only wish is to disrupt and upset. To antagonise and argue.

    That is why I challenged there right to come here and say just what they like.

    It has absolutely nothing to do with denying there right to freedom of speech.

  32. @Bootoomee,
    Re your 11.32 I well remember Terry’s slip.
    But I also recall our horrendous defensive mix-up against Birmingham City in the closing minutes of a CC Final.
    What goes around, comes around.

  33. Blacksheep,
    I thought Rupert Crook was the nom de plume of Stewart Robson.
    These guys do not realize that:
    -We beat the Sp*ds in the FA Cup
    -We lost Theo in that game
    -The Sp*ds are media darlings
    -Jack had to remind the fans that they are in our shadow
    -Paul Scholes is a master of the dark arts
    -Paul Scholes is overrated, just ask outside of England

  34. Must admit, did not see that Mick, just going more on what I have read from Rupert over time, though as I say, dont know him, so cannot really be sure on his aims and motives. I have a couple genuine Gooners but sometimes serious critics as close relatives – so guess I am acclimatised to them and their ways!

  35. I think we are all reasonably agreed that we don’t mind reviewing and debating the views from fans from other clubs, provided they make their views in a polite manner, equally we don’t mind debating constructive criticism of the club with other supporters who have concerns – all of us may have concerns from time to time.

    The question is how to respond to destructive criticism, perceived unfair criticism, personal criticism of the manager and/or players, repetitive criticism of the same point despite being previously answered and finally the trolls.

    Each of us will tend to respond differently, but by and large that response will be tailored to the accuracy of and manner in which the initial criticism has been made. I don’t think there is any single answer, it is always sensible to present the response in such a way that a neutral will see the validity in our point of view, as TommieGun outlined above. In most situations this may be possible, but with some of the more persistent trolls logical debate is probably a waste of time and energy.

  36. jambug,

    “Freedom of Speech” in it’s most basic form guarantees that the STATE or GOVERNMENT will not punish us for our expressed opinions.

    End of story!

    Of course from country to country there are variations and reasonable limitations but all democratic nations have this tenet basically set.

    Now, “Freedom of Speech” is a very dumb thing to incite when being called out on Internet forums. It’s offensive to the memories of those who have been killed by governments for expressing their opinions and those incarcerated at the moment for same.

    If the police are not at your door step to arrest you for something that you have said or written, please, please, please don’t invoke “Freedom of Speech”. It’s wrong, offensive, ignorant and most particularly, annoying!

  37. I am getting the dreaded ‘Error establishing a database connection’ message when trying to refresh page, is it just me? The site is very erratic at the moment, are we under attack again.

  38. nicky wrote:

    “I well remember Terry’s slip. But I also recall our horrendous defensive mix-up against Birmingham City in the closing minutes of a CC Final. What goes around, comes around.”

    And there I was thinking that you are an Arsenal fan! I thought football fans take the mickey out of the failings of their rivals and not seek unwarranted equivalencies with ones of their own? I would expect that as a come back from a Tottenham fan but it is disappointing to read it from you.

    Also an error at 1-1 in a League cup final is nothing compared to slipping up on the way to score the winning penalty in a Champions’ league final. So, yes Terry’s slip is still way consequential and hence funnier.

  39. Have also been having trouble getting into the site today and for that matter yesterday Mick, not sure if its an attack or not, but I am sure whoever was behind those attacks wont be giving up easily

  40. Bootoomee.

    Not quite sure if that was directed towards me. I hope not as I did not intend to offend. If I did I apologise. I certainly did not mean to trivialise the enormity of what Freedom of Speech stands for in the ‘Real World’.

    I was just trying to make the point that I don’t agree that people should be allowed to come on here spouting there anti Wenger venom crap under the banner of ‘I’m entitled to my point of view’ (Better 🙂 ) without being called out or even banned.

    Probably in a minority with that but that’s the way I feel about some of these people.

  41. jambug,

    The difficulty of textual communication rears its ugly head again 🙂

    I was actually affirming your point. I am in full agreement with you.

  42. Bootoomee

    I must admit I find my self getting a tad envious of the way some people can express themselves so eloquently in so few words.

    More often than not I find myself erring towards an entire Novel, and still find myself failing to say exactly what I meant to say.

    Many a time I’ve found myself tapping out a couple of hundred words when quite honestly a simple ‘Fuck Off’ would of done nicely !

  43. Nicky

    I thought that you made a valiant effort initially to make a serious point about how the intensity of enmity between opposing teams fans came about. You suggested that this could at first have been a consequence of hatred of the enemy as inculcated in the World War II. However I disagree with this as I can clearly remember that in the early fifties it was common for people in bleak post-war Britain to get their football fix each weekend by going to Highbury and White Hart Lane throughout the season. Further in those days there was no segregation and as a quite young lad remember an away fan being told “that Arsenal were playing great football when he was rattling in his father’s balls” which I thought a brilliant put-down!

    I feel that the demonizing of opponents fans came in the sixties when so many values were undermined and then we saw the emergence of serious and organised football violence followed by a strict segregation of fans to which some responded by avoiding colours and trying to ‘take’ a home stronghold. One such attempt by extremely violent Hammers fans in the North Bank stands out in my memory.

    Sorry if this doesn’t help the sterile and futile vitriolic reaction to AAA but I felt that Nicky had found a far more important and interesting issue.

  44. Vintage Gooner,

    You and nicky can have the sort of football followership where fans hold hands and never look at each other the wrong way. I know that I don’t want to be that kind of fan. What drives football followership around the world is passion and it comes mainly in form of opposition to our rivals. We might call each other names but sane fans are not out to hurt each other. For goodness sake, it is only a game.

    I may not be around during WW2 but I have seen some of the most terrible human conflicts in my time. I consider it ridiculous some of the historical lessons being given here just because some don’t like club rivalries. Football rivalry is VERY limited to the game of football and I know that footy fans are not so dumb that they can’t differentiate between a mere game and genuine human conflicts.

    To continue to draw the parallel is akin to insulting the intelligence and humanity of football fans. As for me, I hope club rivalries get fiercer and more passionate but I have no doubt that should adversity arise, we’ll all come together as one to face it.

  45. @Bootoomee,
    One of the problems in the world today is the bigoted attitude which people like you adopt on a subject and then try to spread it far and wide.
    My original post on the reasons for much of the militant rivalry which exists between fans today was, as I made clear, a theory, nothing more.
    No-one can deny that hatred (to a greater or lesser degree)
    doesn’t exist and you mustn’t assume that what I said was an attack on the more noisome fans like yourself. You are not that special to deserve such personal attention.

  46. Freedom of speech is everyone’s right. However, responsibility must be everyone’s code of ethics if the above senario to work properly. Some here agree with blacksheep and some dont. Some said the balance is important. Well, we cant have a better example than Arsene Wenger himself. Always respects all the clubs and unbias. If we cant learn a thing or two from the very manager we support vigorously, then we dont deserve to be here.

    One thing I do agree with Blacksheep is about trolls here. Their presence and opinions are welcomed but please dont derive from written blogs and use up a lot of comment columns to talk about something off topic. Really irritating. I dont even have an opportunity to support the team that I love and the manager I look up to. No wonder the site crashs sometimes. Even the cyber space threw up processing your stupid comments.

  47. My opinion on banning unpopular or dissenting speech on the blogosphere has evolved. I no longer think it’s a freedom of speech or censorship issue but rather a sign of weakness on part of the banning party. I’m not talking of course about offensive or abusive speech even though I personally don’t mind it but rather opposing views which are original, based in fact preferably or at the very least on an educated guess. Surfer X comes to mind as an example.
    He seemed to be well versed in the clubs history , FFP regulations as well as other issues . As far as me personally , I have been told once or twice to go away by some posters to which I say tough shit!
    I don’t consider myself in the same league as Surfer X although I know a thing or two about football but if Tony or Walter ever decide I had become undesirable , they don’t even have to ban me – just make it known.

  48. Re the freedom of speech: There is a difference between carrying a civilized and rational discussion (or at least demonstrating the willingness to do so), and the unassailed attempts to denigrate and seek to provoke conflict. Freedom of speech allows for discussions in contradictory to progress towards a constructive conclusion – which is what trolling is all but about. Therefore, attempting to invoke “freedom of speech” is only so much more irritating, as on one hand it is obviously a thin smokescreen that fools no one, and on the other hand is taking the names of those who fought for it into derision. And that is an even bigger affront, as it starts questioning the humankind’s progresses towards a democratic society (as opposed to a totalitarian one). Freedom of speech means freedom of having an opinion and voicing it respectfully, not the freedom to swear.

    My only worry after reading this article is that it is sometimes easier to be remembered as a villain than as a supporter.

  49. Tom

    I understand what you are saying, but my point is really aimed at people who are here to just cause disruption and make argument for arguments sake.

    They are not here to express an opinion or to ‘debate’, just to inflame.

    I often disagree vehemently with you and find you contradictory. Maybe that’s just me miss reading you. But I have no doubts regarding your passion for Arsenal.

    On the other hand there ARE a few people that visit this site that I feel fit in the category I mentioned above.

    In the analogy above I asked why would a Communist go to a Fascist rally if not just to cause trouble. They are not there to debate are they?

    In the real World they would be seen as adjutants, trouble makers, whatever you want to call them, and removed. That removal would be nothing to do with there ‘point of view’ but everything to do with where, when, and how they where expressing it.

    So, despite the fact they have every right to that point of view, it’s just a matter of opinion as to whether they have the right to express that point of view at that particular location at that particular time.

    My opinion is, rightly or wrongly, I don’t see why we should have to put up with people who are clearly here just to antagonise.

    I appreciate I seem to be in a minority, but there you go.

  50. They should go to the Arsenal Truth blog. The blogger that hates Wenger even more than LeG*** and who stopped blogging as long as Wenger is at Arsenal around the end of April. I think he couldn’t stand the fact that Wenger winning the FA cup would make him look like the idiot he has been all that while 🙂

    No I will not link you to it. But it does make some funny reading now. Funny in the meaning he must feel like a real fool now.

    He picked a funny name also. Well that is if you understand Dutch. Because if you remove the H from the word ‘truth’ you get a word that has the same meaning as the ‘C*nt’ word. So I guess he called himself a c*nt all that time 🙂

  51. …having made a big mistake and visited the afore mentioned futs(ask your local Austrian what it means) bog site8spelling mistake intended),indeed it does make grim reading.
    But methinks this is going round in circles even engaging in this.Kind of had enough of it really.The real sickness is the attitude, somehow not understanding the game, and being caught up in the Xfactor bs that permeated the world.Wheres the June Brides when you need them? Old now, one bar on and vim under the sink no doubt…
    Oh fool a mi-o.
    COYG!Aha and Amen!

  52. I think the protection of anonymity that is provided by internet forums like blogs & newspaper comments sections encourages confrontational & unpleasant exchanges between fans of opposing teams and even more perversely from their own teams supporters. If nobody knows who you are or where you are, then you can basically say what you want with impunity.

  53. Florian wrote:

    “Freedom of speech means freedom of having an opinion and voicing it respectfully, not the freedom to swear.”

    Not so fast my friend. No one is going to deny my beloved right to swear 🙂 Oh, I love swearing and it ain’t got nothing to do with “Freedom of Speech” there. Also, you have no obligation to be respectful or civil when expressing your opinion. But of course, you can’t complain when people give even more disrespectful responses to you. That is the beauty of freedom of speech: we can all be as obnoxious as we want!

    As long as we are living in a democracy, we all have freedom of speech within the reasonable limits set by our democratic institutions. There is no such thing as freedom of speech in private world, however. All private entities have their own rules that limit what you can say while you are associated with them but to be clear, none of them violate your freedom of speech because they cannot send you to the gulag for your utterances. They would usually sanction you according to their own rule book which you would have agreed to at the inception of your membership or employment.

    People get sacked all the time for saying things that are contrary to their employers’ creeds. Such sacked persons can seek redress in the courts on many technical grounds but freedom of speech is seldom used.

  54. I just remember a very good recent example: A shop assistant was suspended for calling John Terry a pig.

    This is a classic instance where “freedom of speech” can’t be used. But it is not because she abused Terry, it is because she called him names while REPRESENTING a private organisation. The organisation has since punished her according to their own rules. She would be laughed out of court if she sues her employer on the grounds of her freedom of speech been violated.

    If the Metropolitan Police arrest her for calling the ex-England captain a pig on the other hand, she will be rolling in good money pretty soon.

  55. @jambug

    “My opinion is, rightly or wrongly, I don’t see why we should have to put up with people who are clearly here just to antagonise.”


  56. @Kenneth Widmerpool, the June Brides played live a few years ago at a festival called Indietracks. I’m assuming you meant the band.

    You lot are quite weird or perhaps you don’t understand words. My rather innocuous post after we won the final seems to have been somehow seen as a criticism. I stated we should have had at least three penalties, possibly four. I also said that we got a corner which was not a corner, just to point out that the ref got things wrong for both teams which wound you all up which I thought would be a bit of fun. We’d won the cup and you lot still don’t have a sense of humour.

    And what a glorious day it was and you clowns think I was unhappy we won. What is the matter with you people?

    You can take your fourth spot and shove it somewhere dark and smelly. Glory is about winning trophies and I’m fucking elated we did.

  57. Walter,

    Of course, John Terry is a pig and had the young lady taken off her sales uniform, sign off work, follow him outside of her establishment and then say: “oi, John Terry, you are a pig!”, she wouldn’t have been in trouble.

    Hearing people whine about freedom of speech on Internet forums just pisses the hell out of me.

  58. @Mandy Dodd, the voice of reason and, as is so often the case, it’s a female voice.

  59. Rupert I did mean them! I thought you might know them…I know they are still around and Phil just released as single, –I meant really the old horrible shuffle and scrape music and the whole look that was supposed to get on the nerves of the proto xfactor people in the 80s.. really it all looks a bit late now.I think Stump should be sent to the Eurovision…especially singing Buffalo.
    Even though Im actually not against you, many people do agree that Im a clown.

  60. Jambug

    Like I said many times before , we are in agreement more often than not but because of how passionate about Arsenal we are , when we do disagree, neither one pulls any punches and I don’t have a problem with that.
    As Ali G would say – RESTECP! My friend 🙂

  61. Rupert

    “You can take your fourth spot and shove it somewhere dark and smelly. Glory is about winning trophies and I’m fucking elated we did”

    I’d say , some fifty thousand Arsenal fans at Wembley would’ve agreed with you on that , especially this particular season.

    What I find particularly interesting about this ‘ fourth place or FA cup’ debate we had on here some months ago, was the fact that the staunchest
    Arsen Wenger backers on this site had said CL qualification over the FA cup trophy “anytime and every time” , even though there was a strong possibility Wenger would have walked , had he not won it last Saturday
    while missing out on CL next season would’ve been easily explained by all the injuries we had this season and missing out on CL money , which some consider the ‘ Holy Grail’ , wouldn’t have been critical in Arsenal’s current financial situation nor would it have any bearing on Wenger’s future.

    A staggering adherence to one’s principles or fanaticism – can’t quite decide.

  62. Tom

    1)I don’t know where you got this “strong possibility Wenger would of walked” from. Wenger clearly stated staying was not dependant on winning the FA Cup. Just because you choose to believe differently doesn’t make it so.

    2) In that debate 10 to 1 chose CL qualification over FA Cup Glory. A staggering show of principle or fanaticism, call it what you like, it puts you in a very small minority.

    3) Despite our improved financial situation it is still going to be very difficult to acquire our transfer targets. If we had failed to qualify for the CL it would of been impossible and set us back big time. Prospective players are not in the least bit interested that we won the FA Cup LAST SEASON, but they are extremely interested as to whether we are in the CL NEXT SEASON or not.

    You might not like it Tom but it is a fact of life in the modern game.

  63. I have just updated my CV:

    “May 2014 – Arsenal, the football club that I support won the FA Cup”

    I am now looking forward to my desired position being offered to me ahead of other applicants who support Chelsea, Man United and so on whose teams failed to win any trophy.

    It might have been late but I have finally seen the light. Trophies are the most important things in the world. Screw financial stability, growth and long term well-being of the club or vital revenue generators like CL qualification. They are worthless if there are no shiny trinkets to brag about anyway.

    Fans of Portsmouth and Birmingham City and still bragging about theirs till today. Yeah, they are in the red and tumbling down but hey, they won trophies!

  64. Jambug

    re:1) If Wenger’s staying wasn’t dependent on wining a trophy this year , then why didn’t he sign before winning it at any point during the season ?
    The contract has been sitting on the table all this time , hasn’t it?
    It wasn’t the money issue or the length of the contract. We all know Arsen would’ve gotten anything he wanted such was the board’s willingness to retain him.
    Imagine if he had said ” If Arsenal don’t win the FA cup , I will quit” . Do you honestly belief it would’ve been possible to conduct our club’s day to day business without every reporter , pundit and fan talking about it 24/7.

    Saying what he did, was the only right way to handle it , period. Not to mention the extra pressure that would’ve put on our players. Can you even imagine that ?.

    Look what the extra pressure did to Arsenal players before the Chelsea game when Wenger said “it’s the most important game of the season” instead of downplaying it, for which btw I criticized him at the time.

    Now, surely we will never know but in my opinion it was a strong possibility he would’ve quit.

    re:2) Yes it did put me in a minority but that never bothers me seeing as I’m always in a minority around here and usually far worse than 10 to 1 but if you remember my answer , it had contingencies in it.
    I said in a normal situation I would pick CL over the FA cup but not this year and I gave reasons:
    a) the relentless media assault and the “specialist in failure” aspect of the trophy drought.
    b)the negative aspect of losing on players psyche. Players will never lose faith in Wenger , such is their belief in him but they could lose faith in themselves after failing to beat another ‘weaker’ team yet again.

    Failing to make CL after doing so 16 seasons straight couldn’t be qualified as failure , not with the injuries we had.
    Failing to win a trophy in 9 seasons times four trophies available per season – that’s 36 chances and failures to win .

    I’m not good at analogies but let’s try this for size. Let’s say someone gives a choice ; take a sizable but not crippling financial hit or take a chance on losing someone very special to you, someone you love.
    I’ll choose taking the financial hit every time.

    re:3)Acquiring transfer targets is always difficult but it’s conjecture to assume we wouldn’t be able to get them without CL participation without knowing who our targets were. If you look at Arsenal transfer acquisitions in recent years only one Mezut Ozil ‘downgraded’ and every other player has joined Arsenal from a smaller club and was put on a bigger contract
    (Arteta being the only exception – took a pay cut). So if our target is let’s say Benzema then yea , I would agree he most likely won’t come to a non CL club unless you give him a substantial wage hike and he believes Arsenal missing out on CL next year would’ve been a hick up and not a norm but if it’s some young and up and coming French player , then playing for Arsenal is a huge step up , CL or not.

    When we see at the end of the Summer who Wenger will have brought in then we can have this debate again . Until then it’s just speculations.

  65. Tom.

    Point one: Well yes it is debatable, but as Wenger said it I suppose we’ll just have to take his word for it, or not of course in your case. 🙂

    Point two: Yes, the monkey on the back thing was an issue. A lot of people that considered the CL more important did concede that the ‘9 years’ issue did change things a bit, a lot even, but like me, still come down on the side of CL qualification.

    This is the point Tom, we was ALWAYS going to win an FA Cup again. This year, next year, the year after, who could tell, but it WOULD HAPPEN.

    My contention is that because of the monster that the CL has become, with all the financial implications of NOT qualifying, as well as the practical ramifications of loss of status, inability to attract and keep players, (which I think you’ll agree is hard enough already), it is absolutely ESSENTIAL to qualify. You may well disagree, but I’m glad we never had to put it to the test. Was it really worth the risk?

    Of course it is a matter of opinion.

    That being said I enjoyed winning the FA Cup far more than qualifying for the CL.

    I Screamed, I cried, I’m still buzzing. It was without doubt the most enjoyable day for 9 years.

    But none of that changes my view that without doubt, for ARSENAL FC, CL qualification was, is, and always will be, more important than either of the domestic cups and it seems that most people agree with me.

    So, to contemptuously dismiss 9 out of 10 peoples point of view as just,

    “A staggering adherence to one’s principles or fanaticism”

    is arrogance in the extreme.

    You may not agree but that is out of order.

  66. Agree Jambug with what you say. I have never been so happy over the last 9 years as when we won the FA cup. But I do know that players will not come because we won the FA cup. They will come because we are in the CL qualifiers again and thus have a pretty decent chance of going in the CL again.

  67. Jambug
    It wasn’t my intention to offend anyone and I suppose in your case it’s the
    “Staggering adherence to one’s principles” of having the extra £30M per year in the coffers but for me, having played the game proffesionaly ( I know you guys hate when I bring it up, sorry but in this case it really matters) it makes all the diference to finally be able to win .
    Sagna in his interview talks about it as well. You come to a point when you begin to doubt yourself as a professional and your ability to achieve your goals .

    Like I said many times before , under normal circumstances I agree with the UA majority consensus on this subject but these were not your normal circumstances.

    Also , as important as CL money is to a club like Arsenal , it pales in comparison with our club’s gate and PL proceeds(£185M)
    Arsen Wenger said it himself that missing out on CL this year wouldn’t be as crucial financially as it was before.

    As for not being able to attract world class players without CL exposure argument, it might be settled over this Summer. If Man United fail to bring those types of players within Arsenal’s wage limits , then I will happily concede to you and even apologize for wasting your time:)

  68. Tom

    As you often say, we are not a million miles apart, as is the case here, so why insinuate that anyone who concludes that CL football is more important than an FA Cup is just invoked by ‘fanaticism’?.

    That is far from the case.

    It is a balanced, reasoned conclusion, as is yours.

    Personally I would, in normal circumstances, say it was a simple choice, but I agree that choice is significantly complicated by the 9 year monkey, and all the (miss placed in my opinion) negativity, and psychological implications that that entails.

    But as bad as that would of surely been, we would get over it. It certainly wouldn’t be catastrophic.

    On the other hand missing out on 4th, and all the implications that that entails could, and in my opinion would be worse, and indeed does have the potential to be catastrophic for our club.

    It certainly isn’t simply ‘fanaticism’ that has lead me to that conclusion.

  69. Catastrophic, not finishing fourth? You jest. I notice how catastrophic it was for Liverpool. We’ve bought loads of players that none of the other top four clubs were interested in in recent years and that’s served us well so far. With the exception of Ozil whenever we’ve shown an interest in a well thought of player other clubs have swooped for them and we’ve lost out. Wenger will dig out another unknown and he’ll come good, have a little faith, Jambug.

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