The 3 cup final heroes: Wenger knew

By Walter Broeckx

Cup final heroes.

When looking back at the cup final we have the heroes of course. And heroes are mostly the ones that scored the goals. Things are no different then this time around. Let us sing the praise of our goal scorers.

Santi Cazorla. OOOOOOHHHHHHH Santi Cazorlaaaaa He reminds me a bit of Piet Hein. Piet Who? you will probably say. Well Piet Hein was the Dutch admiral that conquered the Spanish Treasure fleet in 1628. Oh those days of sea battles. Remember?

Maybe no.  But up to today in Holland they still have this song to remember this and as singing is rather difficult in a blog I will translate the main idea of the song. It is saying that his name is short (Hein) but that his deeds are big. So the name Cazorla is not that short but well he himself is not the tallest guy around. But his deeds…what a big free kick that was!

So Santi Cazorla was the first Arsenal hero of this Final for me. And may I say what a great player he has been for Arsenal in the last two seasons. And he signed a new deal a few weeks ago. So we will be able to enjoy his fancy footwork for a while after this season.

Him being two footed is amazing in fact. The free kick this time was taken with his right foot but he can take dead balls with his left foot just as well. Or score goals like he did in the FA cup match against Tottenham when he finished with a great left foot shot.

What a time to step up for the little Spaniard. I do remember some saying when we bought him: “We have bought a midget”. [Typical Wenger always buying midgets – Tony.  Oh sorry, that was this morning’s article]  He will never make it in the PL. Of course that was just a tiny brainless minority of Arsenal supporters.

The second goal scoring hero was Laurent Koscielny. We remember the shit he had to endure from the “I know better than Wenger” part of our fans. Koscielny, when we bought him, had only one season at the top level under his belt in France. The critics forgot that he made the team of the season in that one season and that looking at his stats he had been the best defender in France.

But he was unknown. Didn’t cost bags of money. So he had to be useless. And we all remember the painful mix up between him and Szczesny in the league cup final. A moment when the fickle part of our supporters wanted him out of Arsenal. He should have been shot at Wembley after the match and his body send back to France. He should never ever be allowed to player again for Arsenal. In short another example of the short-sighted fans we do have at times.

Since then Koscielny has scores three vital CL winning goals for us on the day we got our CL place booked. At WBA, Newcastle and this year again he scored on the day we got ourselves in 4th place again. And even more importantly he once again scored in the last match of the season. And that this match was the cup final made it all the better.

I hope that all the Koscielny haters and abusers hang their head in shame. And never ever pretend to know better than Wenger when it comes to signing a player.

And this leaves us to the scorer of the winning goal: Aaron Rasmey.

I admit that in a way this might get boring. Ever since I have seen Ramsey play for Arsenal he has been a great player. In his early days I remember him and Jack destroying lower league teams in the league cup. They ran the show in midfield with players like Bendtner and Vela scoring the goals.

Just as he was about to cement a place in the team the terrible legbreak happened. Before that he already had scored a few goals in his first appearances. Coming back from that broken leg was very difficult. Loans to Nottingham Forrest and Cardiff followed.

When back at Arsenal he gradually came back to his best and pre leg break form.

Wenger used him all over the pitch at times. On the wing, in the middle, even on right back in a match when a red card was given against another Arsenal player.

The people that are always quick to write a player off (and have a go at the manager) were loud in their disapproval. I wrote articles defending the Welsh maestro getting a fair share of abuse from the people who thought that Ramsey would never come good. Wenger had wasted £5m pounds on him they said. And the traitor said that he wasn’t good enough and was on his back Amazing to see that since the traitor left the career of Ramsey has got a new push and he could reach new heights….

Those of us who have kept the faith in Wenger his judgement and wanted to give Ramsey time to come back have been rewarded immensely. At the still young age of 23 years old we have finally seen the real Aaron Ramsey step up. The Ramsey that Wenger knew would come. The Ramsey that we hoped would resurrect from the ashes of his broken leg.

Ramsey scoring the winning goal was justice. It was poetry. It was Hollywood material to make a great sports film. Promising football player almost lost from the game, struggles to return at first and then making the winning goal in the cup final. Do they still write such fairy tales? No need for it. We have just witnessed it.

Has there ever been a player that deserved it more than Ramsey? I really cannot remember it. You could see how tired he was but Wenger kept him on because he knew he could and would be the man to win it for us. When Ramsey scored I must admit that I didn’t think of all that. I just felt the enormous joy of us scoring the winning goal (I really had no doubt about that after we scored as we were so much on top). And knowing that it was Ramsey was even better.

But now writing this down when the dust has settled I really wonder how he must feel. I noticed how he was the first one to say: “This was for Wenger.” He had chosen Wenger above Ferguson when joining us. A brave decision. And nobody knows what Wenger has done for him than Ramsey. I think he really knows that it was thanks to Wenger who kept believing in him that he could have the chance to come back to this level. A level that has made him one of the best midfielders in the PL.

I must admit that because of some similarities (broken legs on a football field in February – the cold makes it even worse…) in my life around the same age that I do have a big soft spot for Ramsey. You know about my soft spot for Wenger. And now this goal that won us our first trophy after you know how many years is such a big statement for me.

It is saying: just believe in the boss. It is with great pleasure that I can write: thank you Aaron for paying back and for making a lot of people eat humble pie.

And never forget, once again: Arsène Knows Best!

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64 Replies to “The 3 cup final heroes: Wenger knew”

  1. they were the stand out performers. for me only 4 more had good performances, the 3 subs really made a difference when they came on. but also the manager, his substitutions, his team talks and tactics, had to be spot on and boy did he finally step to the plan b, c stage. the relief on his face at the end will be the picture I most remember from the final.
    Now please, lets push on, we won the cup with overall a relatively poor performance, not just in the final, but also in the semi-final. we should be far from happy with that, relieved yes, but we have a lot of work to do, especially in adding to what I would call a 19 man squad.

  2. and before you ask, my 19, does not include players born 1993 or after.

    Tomas Rosicky
    Mikel Arteta
    Mathieu Flamini
    Per Mertesacker
    Santiago Cazorla
    Lukas Podolski
    Laurent Koscielny
    Thomas Vermaelen
    Nacho Monreal
    Abou Diaby
    Olivier Giroud
    Mesut Ozil

    Theo Walcott
    Kieran Gibbs
    Wojciech Szczesny
    Aaron Ramsey
    Jack Wilshere
    Carl Jenkinson
    Joel Campbell

  3. “But he was unknown. Didn’t cost bags of money.”

    Those are the issues aren’t they? If they are not household names and cost an arm and a leg, how can they be good enough to WIN US TROPHIES!!!

    I am weird in the way that I view players signed by Arsenal. I love a bargain so I love it when we get players on the cheap. But I also love surprises so I love having unknown players at the club surprise me with their skills and talents. This is one of the reasons why I so love Arsene Wenger: he is always signing unknown players, who by consequence are usually cheap. I would list them here but I don’t want to bore anyone. Just look at every Arsene Wenger team and marvel at the exploits of that diamond miner!

  4. Goals are what we remember but there was a save that made all the difference. Gibbs on the line with a header that prevented a 3 – 0 scoreline. That moment is as important as any of the goals.

    If we had a player on each post like we used to, the first might not have been scored.

  5. bc wrote:

    “Now please, lets push on, we won the cup with overall a relatively poor performance, not just in the final, but also in the semi-final. we should be far from happy with that, relieved yes, but we have a lot of work to do, especially in adding to what I would call a 19 man squad.”

    You do know that Arsene Wenger doesn’t take tips on how to run the team from Untold right?

  6. Just seen on SSN that PSG are in advances talks with Chelsea to sing David Luiz for £50 Million.

    £50 Million FFS

    If that’s the starting point for transfers GOD HELP US

  7. @jambug
    Well the FFP penalties have certainly not had much of a calming effect on their profligacy have they, if SSN story is true of course.

  8. @Bootoomee at 2.07pm
    You are not so weird my friend, that is exactly how I feel as well. Rightly or wrongly I always think that buying the ‘finished article’ for tens of millions of pounds is kind of cheating and any success gained as a result is not quite as sweet as doing it the way you advocated.

  9. Mick

    I know it’s only SSN but IF Luiz does go for £50 Million that is just crazy money.

    What the hell are good players going to go for ??

  10. jambug
    Arsene’s supposed ‘warchest’ of 100 mil isn’t going to go very far is it based on those figures!

  11. Mick,

    I am happy to know that I am not alone the belief that players shouldn’t cost ridiculous amounts. It is sad that this is now way that some fans judge how well their club is being run. It is a crazy race to the bottom in profligacy.

  12. £50 million for Luiz.

    Does that make either of these realistic?

    £30 million Benzema.

    £29 million Angel di Maria.

  13. Bootoomee.

    Assuming we have this £100million I understand that wages have to come out of that as well.

    Is that right?

  14. jambug,

    Even if Arsenal have £100 million, how they spend it is not any fan’s business. I am a huge fan of Samsung Electronics but I don’t lecture the company on its operating strategies.

    Frankly, how much Arsenal has in the bank and how they plan to spend it is none of my business. I think those who obsess about things like this need to get a life and stop making a nuisance of themselves. I am not talking about people like Tony who just want to know in order to disseminate the information without slant; I am talking about the annoying know-it-alls who harass the club with silly suggestions that are usually followed by threats and abuse when the club does what private organisations always do i.e. do what they think is best based on professional evaluations.

  15. Bootoomee

    I agree. You know me, I have 100% faith that Wenger will do the best he possibly can with ‘whatever’ he has.

    I was simply alluding to the fact that it all starts to look pretty superfluous anyway when you hear £50 million banded about for the services an average Centre half like Luiz.

    I know it’s only a SSN rumour and probably is crap. Lets hope so because as a barometer of things to come in this transfer window it would be a pretty worrying one.

  16. jambug,

    It’s that textual communication problem again 🙂 Or, maybe it’s just me that suck at it. I’m with you on this as on most issues concerning Arsenal.

    You can be sure of one thing though: when I disagree with you, I’d make it pretty clear 🙂

  17. You’re right, Walter, our three goal scorers prove the point – Arsene knows.

    Let’s not start worrying about who we can or can’t afford. Last season we got young Sanogo on the cheap and he is already shaping up to be the goods. And we got Ozil, our most expensive signing ever – and of course he is class and will undoubtedly show it even more next season.

    Arsene will have his eye on players nobody has even thought of. And maybe we’ll get another marquee signing as well. We must be even more attractive than last year with our best showing for years in the league, a trophy, and Arsene signing a contract extension – has he actually done it yet?

    A look at signings of other clubs over the years shows the most expensive are not always the best.

  18. Yes, wenger knew, and knows. As for the idiots abusing these players there is a club in Middlesex N17 that would welcome their support…assuming of course they don’t have it already in some cases.
    If Luiz is worth fifty million, what would Kos be worth? Glad we have him, very glad.

  19. There are no “unknown”players in Arsenals squad,well maybe Jenkinson but that is it.They are only unknown if you are ignorant of other Leagues.Now if you really want an unknown who has made it look no further than Coleman who cost 68,000,and who must be worth 30 mill at least.And he was signed by that “useless” David Moyes.

  20. Sanogo has the look of a surprise in the making. Boots, your point is well taken. The entire squad is made up of players nobody saw coming.

  21. mike in atlanta :


    Sanago completely changed the game. That was a great substitution by Wenger and that is a very rare formation from him in recent years.

    Given how well it worked, it is 100% certain that they practised it behind the doors. Wenger was waiting for the moment to use it.

    In fact this FA club seem to brought out the best from him. He rallied the guys and had all the right tactical changes. Perfect answer to those who question his ability directing the game.

  22. 3 heroes well crowned Walter and a few more have a winners medal to celebrate, they shouldn’t be complaining 🙂

    Now let wenger give the secrets to finishing to Sanogo .. you know the one he gave to ramsey last summer. Then we will have a monster of a ST in the making, he already bullies PL defenders two at a time, if he adds a bit more composure in front of goal we will be hailing him as the next big AW find in a few yrs time. Dare I say we may have our own Drogba in the making.

  23. They were all heroes – the whole lot of them.
    Up the Gunners !

  24. @Brickfields

    “They were all heroes – the whole lot of them.”

    I fully agree with that point of view – they all played their part in the victory, despite being under immense pressure that had been build, unfairly, by the media. Pressure of such intensity that it was bound to impact on the performance of any team – but they overcame that.

    Further, they had to cope with one of the worst ref performances ever, the consequences of which denied us penalties, had our attacks stopped by unjustified free kicks and over penalized our players when they tackled Hull. Some players could very easily have lost their heads in such circumstances – but they all coped well and got on with the job.

    Our three goals however, were excellent, each in a different way, the sublime free kick from Cazorla, the determination of Kos and a wonderful move and final strike by Ramsey. These were highlights, but the whole team played their part.

    Good to see your post Brickfields!

  25. Good point, bjtgooner, the team did cope well with the dreadful refereeing. They kept calm and persisted. This again is a good sign for next season.

    But I still hope – maybe vainly – that after such a poor refereeing performance in such a high profile game somebody somewhere may be forced to do something about premier league refereeing.

  26. I have a continued feeling in my water that the signing of Sanogo will go down as one of Arsene’s inspired moments…of which there are more than a few.
    The guy is raw, gangly and clumsy, yet he has that something about him which, when tamed, smoothed and polished, could make his future at our Club, very bright indeed 😉

  27. “But I still hope – maybe vainly – that after such a poor refereeing performance in such a high profile game somebody somewhere may be forced to do something about premier league refereeing.”

    Oh Pat, my dear friend, how naive of you!

    The first thing that our friends in the media did was justify the referee’s performance! Halsey wrote one of the worst screed I have ever read in the Sun on Sunday excusing all the 4 penalties and praising his incompetent ex-colleague as great. How are we going to get any change when the only people complaining about the blatantly biased officiating are Arsenal fans?

    I don’t like to make accusation of corruption against the officials but the bias against Arsenal in this country is pretty obvious for all to see. You would think that such a terrible performance by Probert would cause national outrage but you’d be wrong. If Probert did such a terrible job and got no push back from the media why wouldn’t he or any of his colleagues do the same in future?

    The referees may be incompetent or biased but they really have very little reason to change their ways when there are no repercussions for their actions.

  28. You could be right Nicky, Sanogo caused a lot of problems against what had been a fairly well organised defence in the final. He lacks skills to do with first touch and finishing, but reads the game well, brings urgency, brings others into it, is strong and is quick……a man given a second shot at greatness who probably feels he owes wenger…..Wenger and his team can coach out some of the rawness, think they might do it fairly quickly with this player.
    Maybe next season, he could be developed, used in quite a few games, with a false nine rather than an out and out striker bought in to help out OG?

  29. Pat, the world saw that refereeing performance and would have drawn their own conclusions. It embarrassed the English game, and those who run it. But unfortunately, the world sees it all the time with the EPL refs.
    As many on here have pointed out, if we strengthen and go into next year as winners, things may get worse on the ref front. Liverpool are the peoples….medias….and refs favourites, then there will be Scudamores flagship team with their new Dutch superstar manager. Can some of the people running Chelsea really be trusted? Then there is City, a huge force with their charming manager..and players who certainly got the rub of the green last season.
    The only chink of light in all this….again, as has been pointed out on here, Taylor was not again the main ref for us after his villa debacle, though he did his best against us in the role of assistant. Does this mean the club have finally had a word? I really hope so, because they certainly should.

  30. That Sanogo is a nuisance and real pain the neck to the opposition’s defence isn’t he? I love the way he run them ragged and just generally make them uncomfortable. He might not have scored but his direct actions have led to a few goals for the team already. I also think that he has come very close on many occasions and with a little luck, he might have registered his first by now.

    I won’t say that he will become a prolific scorer for us but I feel very confident he will be a good attacking player because he is already showing the signs.

  31. @bootoomee
    Your comparison between Arsenal football club and Samsung is complete nonsense.
    However much the money men try and make football a business, it is not. It never will be. The sport was not founded on TV deals, advertising, and agents. Fans do not act like customers. It sounds to me like you are a customer of Arsenal and enjoy the product, but not a fan.
    If Samsung decided to slash the quality of their products and keep the prices high, how long would you be a ‘fan’ of them? Not long, unless you were a fool. You would go and buy another brand.
    It’s completely different for football fans. A football fan does not swap clubs because he or she is unhappy.
    Don’t confuse customers with fans.

    A fan has every right to voice concerns and try and invoke change at their CLUB.

  32. jayramfootball,

    I may be a “nonsense” spouting “fool” but you are delusional and utterly detached from reality if you think that football is different from any other business. The fact that some men with too much money on their hands are playing real life ‘Football Manager’ with the game doesn’t change that fact.

    You, my deluded friend, are confusing pointless whining with ‘voicing concerns’. It might make you feel good about yourself and make you come across as passionate and intelligent to fellow moaners after ranting about what the clubs should be doing on the Internet but it all mean zilch to the actual owners. They ALWAYS do what is in the best of their PRIVATE organisation. Yes, football fans (or customers) are more attached to their brands, much more than any other product in the world, but whether you like it or not, we are nothing but customers. Do you know anyone who gets admitted to watch live matches at the Emirates for free on the account of how strong a supporter they are? Dude, get over yourself and face reality!

    About changing to other products when or if I become disillusioned with Samsung, you might not have been paying attention to my comments but I have suggested same to many whiners in the past. My love Arsenal is superior to that for Samsung but neither is unconditional. Just like I would change to other electronic product brand, I would withdraw my allegiance to Arsenal the day it becomes a den of racists and fascists or is being run in way that I consider to be immoral.

    You see it is still a matter of choice to support a team and to suggest otherwise is just moronic.

  33. @bootoomee, you can be a customer. I will be a fan.

    Your stance on supporting the club is clearer to me now and explains a lot of your views that have puzzled me in the past. To me Arsenal are not a business and I don’t care if that makes me deluded (I don’t think it does by the way).

    The fact that you suggest others support other clubs if they ‘whine’ confirms to me that you have no idea what it is to be a football fan. I am sure, though, you make a great customer.

  34. jayramfootball

    “I don’t care if that makes me deluded”. You should.

  35. jayramfootball,

    Keep deceiving yourself with semantics. I’ll stick to brutal and ugly reality. I am a huge fan of the Arsenal brand. I love the brand so much I PART with my money for its merchandise and viewing tickets; hell, I even pay annual subscriptions for the 4 members of my family. I am therefore a customer of a brand that I am also a fan of. The two are not mutually exclusive so being one does not exclude you from being the other. Being either or both still gives you zero influence on the decision making of the organisation.

    Whether you are a paying customer or a mere fan, you still don’t get ANY say on how the organisation is run. For PR purposes, the club might ask for your opinion from time to time (just like any other serious company would) but let there be no doubt that what they do with such collated opinions is ultimately up to them.

    Perhaps if you can enlighten me with how you or any other Arsenal fans have been making decisions for the club with your incessant complaints, I’d be more willing to bow to your superior logic.

  36. Mandy, that point about Antony Taylor not refereeing any more matches for us last season was one of the things that gave me some hope.

    We will not hear if representations are being made behind the scenes about the refereeing. But they may still be happening. And they may still have some effect.

    We have to believe that it is still worth while making a fuss or there would be no point in doing it.

    Somebody had a very good letter published in the Daily Telegraph pointing out all the refereeing errors in the Cup Final. Hopefully things like that have appeared in other papers as well.

  37. Pete, unfortunately I did not see the cup final errors reported in any of the mainstream media….no surprise there. That ref performance shamed the pgmol, yes the officials may have been nervous, and there has been a risk averse policy on penalties this season….unless of course it involved Liverpool….but failing to give four pens!!
    But on Taylor, the guy clearly has a problem with us, and Ivan has become a very powerful man….not as powerful as some, but powerful nonetheless..

  38. @bootoome, not many of us can opt out of the club we choose to follow just because we don’t like the way they’re run. What some fans do is protest as Liverpool fans did over their previous American owners. It is possible that their continued attack on the owners influenced them to go. If so football fans can have some impact.

    If Arsenal was run badly or infested with racists, fascists or whatever many of us “supporters” would try to effect change. You can always change brands but some of us have a little more affection and passion for Arsenal which you can regard as misguided, naïve or just plain stupid. I don’t think you’d ever get the sort of emotion we saw at Wembley over some Samsung product, maybe from you, maybe you cheer every new product they bring out, in which case each to their own, I say.

  39. Chapman’s Ghost,

    This is the illusion that many fans have but which falls apart under closer scrutiny and introspection. Ever heard of FC United of Manchester? Would you say those guys are your lesser because they put their money where their mouth is?

    “If Arsenal was run badly or infested with racists, fascists or whatever many of us “supporters” would try to effect change.”

    How are you going to effect a change on a private organisation over which you have zero control? How exactly are you going to do this? You couldn’t get Arsene Wenger to spend the ‘fucking money’ until he saw the need to. You couldn’t even get the ‘ambitionless’ board to sack the ‘stubborn and tight-fisted’ manager who is clear ‘past it’. So what change are you capable of effecting if you have failed so far at all the ones that you have tried?

    You could continue to support the Nazi FC while trying to convince the owners to stop rounding up and killing Jews but I’d rather withdraw my support as a fan and then join those trying to stop them.

    “UNCONDITIONAL support” is an emotional statement that is actually poorly thought out bullshit statement. I support with both eyes open with a clear understanding that the only permanent thing in life is change and that includes my allegiance to my favourite football club.

    But as you rightly said, to each their own.

  40. @Bootoomee
    It’s really not semantics. You are not a fan, which you made clear by saying you would stop supporting the club if it was not run according to your liking. You go on in further posts to demonstrate a complete lack of knowledge on what it is to be a football fan.
    @Chapman’s Ghost is exactly right. If you don’t like something at your club then you try and change it, you don’t support someone else. How utterly ridiculous to suggest that as a course of action.
    You sir, are a fool.

  41. Bootoomee

    “You could continue to support the Nazi FC while trying to convince the owners to stop rounding up and killing Jews but I’d rather withdraw my support as a fan and then join those trying to stop them”

    Or you could dedicate all your spare time discussing Samsung products on social media. Also , you might’ve missed that memo but anyone invoking Hitler , Nazi Germany and killing of Jews into a football related argument , forfeits their right to be seriously taken ever again 🙂

    P.s. I am extremely unhappy with my Samsung washer and dryer. Both are proned to parts failure and service is not readily available . I was thinking about switching to other brands but wasn’t sure , please advise.

  42. @Bootoome, if you accept that maybe 5,000 fans holding protests outside every home game won’t affect the image of the club and the owner is quite prepared to have so many dissatisfied “customers” then you’re right we fans can influence nothing. Let’s just give up and meekly go about our business and to hell with our passions, still maybe a lot of dissatisfied Liverpool fans made their owner think twice so maybe we do have influence.

    You do not know what motivates Wenger but when he says he wants to make the fans happy he might have seen a few disgruntled fans screaming their displeasure at him and thought, “yes I want to make them smile, I’ll spend some money.” Unlikely but who cares, we spent some money and we got a great player.

    As it is I don’t think a sufficient of number of supporters are unhappy with the club. A few hundred angry fans and the odd rather poorly manufactured protests are hardly signs of thousands in uproar. Maybe if things go really badly, which I doubt with Wenger in charge, we’ll see a fan base in turmoil.

    Meanwhile I’ll see what league Samsung FC play in.

  43. Tom,

    I love how you get into a conversation midway and start passing judgement. Mighty honest and fair of you. If anyone claims to always be a fan NO MATTER WHAT, then it is fair game to assume that if their club is Nazi FC, then they would continue to be a fan. If not, then they should stop calling themselves unconditional fans. It is for such reason that I will never go as far as describe my support of Arsenal as unconditional.

    About being taken seriously because of using Nazi analogies, when did Godwin become your lord and saviour who passes down laws for you to abide by? Godwin law is a tongue in cheek admonition of abuse of Nazi analogies (although I don’t think that that is something that you get).

    If you would not carry on supporting Nazi FC, if it were your club, then don’t go about talking yourself up as an unconditional fan. If you would carry on supporting the club while its owners are gassing people, then I surrender to you as a superior fan.

    And by the way, fuck Godwin law, if I need to compare Vladimir Putin (or even you Tom) with Adolf Hitler I’ll do so without giving a damn about what Internet Thought police like you would think about it.

  44. Chapman’s Ghost,

    “@Bootoome, if you accept that maybe 5,000 fans holding protests outside every home game won’t affect the image of the club and the owner is quite prepared to have so many dissatisfied “customers” then you’re right we fans can influence nothing.”

    So when has this worked for you? No hypotheticals please. Please provide instances when your example above has ever worked.

    Oh, I see. You’ve never seen it work. You just suffer the delusion that if you can get 4,999 other childish fans together, probably wearing bin bags, the club owners would just succumb to your whims and then run their investments based on your wish. Because, hey – YOU ARE FANS!!!

    Please just grow up.

  45. jayramfootball,

    Don’t get emotional about this pal. Read up on it.

    A fan is a loyal customer who is passionate about the product, are repeat patrons and are usually attached for a long time, maybe even generations. The term customer is rarely used in the entertainment business (which includes football) because it has a negative connotation to the repeat patrons who prefer the term ‘fans’. We call ourselves fans of musicians while BUYING their songs and tickets to see their live shows. But if anyone, say an annoying commenter on Untold Arsenal calls us their customer, we’d be mad because…..?

    The beginning of the debate has been shifted to what I was never interested in going into. The debate is about whether you as a fan has any control over how Arsenal FC is run. Here is my original comment for the sake of those who dabble into debates midway without finding out how it started first:

    “Even if Arsenal have £100 million, how they spend it is not any fan’s business. I am a huge fan of Samsung Electronics but I don’t lecture the company on its operating strategies.”

    You can show me where or when fans have been making decisions for boards and managements of professional football clubs or we can shut this whole argument down.

  46. Bootoomee
    “I love how you get into a conversation midway and start passing judgement. Mighty honest and fair of you”

    Would you rather I started passing judgement before you had a chance to express your views?

    Some six million Poles lost their lives at the hands of Nazi Germany (including both of my grandfathers and 15 other more distant family members) but you can compare me to Hitler if you wish – it won’t bother me none because unlike some on here , I believe everyone should be allowed to speak their mind and in some cases the more they talk , the more clear it becomes what idiots they are and you my friend , have been talking more than most 🙂

  47. @Bootoomee and @Tom

    I believe bootoomee is right about the crux of his argument in comparing Samsung to Arsenal. That the club has 100 million pounds to spend would allude to the fact that they have done something right to have that money. Moreover, fans have no inputs as to how the club is run considering the current ownership structures that deem football clubs to be businesses (whether private or plcs).
    However, calling a fan a customer is more appropriate for the last 10-20 years. This is even more apparent as the fan base at the club level has evolved from local area support to city level support and now to international support. For the locals, the support is a little more grounded in allegiance to the area and the society at large.
    An apt analogy would be like that in India, where the country you support in the FIFA World Cup depends a lot on which team your favourite superstar plays for. This support base more often than not comprise of casual watchers who will shift base once the star billing changes so that is the case for fans actually being just customers.

  48. Wow. Such rancour over being called customers instead of fans?

    What makes you a fan? The name? The history? The location? None of those are permanent (yes, not even history). Tomorrow the club could go bankrupt and out of BUSINESS, and someone somewhere else will open an Arsenal FC. Will you automatically become fans of it? Even if, say, it were based in Leeds? Or maybe played at White Hart Lane once the Spurs moved out?

    Bootoomee is right that we are all customers, or consumers if you prefer, of the Arsenal brand. Why is that offensive?

    As to his statements of not affecting change, that is not entirely true, although in practice, and especially in context he is correct. It is ultimately not the fans’ decision on what happens. Even in ‘fan owned’ clubs they have no real decision making power.

    The problem with protesting outside the ground is that often people protesting have no idea of what they want exactly. Something needs to change is the oft heard refrain. As such, while you can damage the brand, I doubt you can contribute to it. Getting the owners out, just like getting the manager out, is easy enough (despite it being easier said than done) But what then? Hope for a new owner who is better? How is that affecting any change except in name? You are still ultimately powerless, and still just an extremely loyal customer. No more.

    I chose to be a fan of Arsenal because of what it represents (or at least what it markets itself to represent) There is no shame in saying that. I never judge a fan by his season ticket, by the amount of merchandise he buys etc. When I can afford it and find tickets I go to the game. When I can’t I watch on TV. When I feel like it is worth it, I buy replica kits and other apparel. If it’s too expensive I don’t. I certainly don’t go cribbing about how I could feed an entire family in a poverty stricken part of my country for the money they charge me for 90 mins of entertainment. Why would I? They aren’t cheating me. They state a price for a certain product, and it is up to you whether you choose to pay it or not. Fan or not, no one forces you to spend your money on something. But the fact that you do spend your money, in your mind might make you a fan. In reality, you are consumers. Passionate, loyal consumers, but consumers all the same.

  49. @Shard
    You’re first question is a very big question indeed!

    What makes me a fan? There is a lot that went into it for me, but it started at a very young age. The influence from my family as a very young boy would be the main reason, but of course as we grow older and start to think more for ourselves we can change our minds. For me this did not happen because the influence I had to support Arsenal coincided with some truly memorable moments for the club through the early 70’s. Moments that I gazed in wonder at.
    I would never consider myself a customer of Arsenal – those formative years engrained Arsenal in my psyche. Even if I wanted to, I could not support another club.

    I do not feel the same way about any other ‘product that I consume’.

    I also reject the notion that people can not effect change if they don’t have a direct say in how an organisation is run. History is littered with examples. What is interesting about the Samsung example is that it was used to suggest that we have no business questioning how things are run at Arsenal. It is a poor example because ALL businesses have to please their customers, listen to them and act upon what they want in order to survive. A business that fails to do these things will ultimately fail and their customers will go elsewhere. The very best businesses spend millions on ensuring the voice of the customer reaches the board room. So even if we did see Arsenal as a business, customer opinion STILL matters and is core element that Arsenal should be focused on and acting upon.

    The difference with being a fan is that we simply can’t (or won’t) go elsewhere. To me that means it is even MORE important to voice our opinions and I maintain that any person claiming that they would (or could) switch clubs if the ‘product’ was not to their liking is not actually a fan.

    We have seen a rise in ‘football consumerism’ for sure. It’s rising as the money, exposure and social standing of football grows. But whilst these ‘customers’ are part of the sport now they will ultimately fade away and move onto their next fad. The fans will remain though and they will continue to support their club and spend hours debating the clubs decisions, discussing the merits of players, being critical, heaping praise and generally keeping their clubs as core parts of their lives.

  50. jayram

    It’s not a dichotomy of either fan or customer. Bootoomee said as much. I just don’t get the uproar at being called a customer when that is what we are. Customers aren’t those that will just necessarily up sticks and leave. That is only one characteristic of a customer, and not necessarily the defining characteristic.

    So yes, the club should (and does) listen to the concern of the fans. Ultimately, they still decide what is best for their company. Which is how it should be really. Otherwise you’d have too many cooks.

    However, I do agree that at times, fans (or consumers or whatever) should look to affect some change. My problem with that is, that most often a large mass of people don’t know what they want exactly, nor what the means of achieving that will be. Not unless there’s a single point agenda clearly stated. (Even then other interests tend to get in the way) Bootoomee’s problem seemed to be that it isn’t effective. Either way, the thing that got me weirded out was that an innocuous statement was made an issue for outrage. It might not be exactly like Samsung. But the point Bootoomee made is still valid.

  51. Shard,

    I love the way your mind works and it is not because you agree with me here. It is about your thought process and presentation, on this topic and others that I have read your comments on.

    I can understand why people will feel offended when called customers of something that they consider themselves fans of. I suspect that we would get the same reaction from fans of One Direction, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber. People who consider themselves fans usually have strong emotional attachments which feel wrong (even insulting) to be described using language of common consumerism.

    I get this. The problem is that their feelings on the matter still doesn’t change the fact that they part with their money for the services and products of the pop star or football club that they idolise. By strict logical definition, you are a customer when you pay for a service or product. That generations of your family have been patrons of that service or product doesn’t change that fact.

    To be fair, I wouldn’t be very happy with anyone who calls me a customer of Arsenal FC instead of a supporter but I wouldn’t start a war with them either because, logically, they’d be right.

    Now, whether customers, fans or supporters of any private entertainment business entity, you still have no influence on how that organisation is run. The owner of the organisation would on occasions seek to know how their patrons feel about how they are doing. They would often spend big amounts on what is more popularly known as market research. But what they do with the outcome is still STRICTLY up to them.

  52. Shard

    There is one dynamic between a club and it’s fans You choose to ignore or perhaps you are unaware of, that is unlike any relationship between a company and it’s consumers – the direct influence supporters have on performance of a football club, especially in away games. You need to attend just one Arsenal away game and sit or stand rather amongst a few thousands of the most hard core supporters to see how silly a term ‘customer ‘ to discribe them really is .

    Also , I seriously doubt any true Arsenal supporter would stop supporting the club if for some reason the club’s performance slipped by 30% or so and it became a mid table club for a decade or so but if the same was true of the company like Samsung , I can guarantee you , they would be out of business .Thats why this comparison is so flawed .

    Do you know any Leeds United fans who stopped supporting their club because they got relegated ? If a company like Samsung experienced a similar fall from grace , they would’ve been out of business, taken over or bought out and no one outside of Samsung would shed a tear , no matter how many Samsung products they have in their household.

  53. Tom

    The levels of loyalty are different, the thresholds might be different, and the ways of identifying yourself as supporters will change, especially the monetary outlay. ATtendances did drop in the lean years in the 80s apparently. We have been told that people aren’t renewing season tickets the past few years (though this is likely bolleaux).

    Like I said, it isn’t an exact comparison with another business but it still is a business. Supporters are still consumers, no matter how much they might hold the term in contempt. Simply to say it is ridiculous because it feels ridiculous to you when sitting amongst 3000 screaming travelling away fans is a romantic notion. Romanticism is also a legitimate idea to hold and believe in, but it is limited in its worldview.

    Regardless, I think this debate is done. There’s nothing to be gained by going around it in circles. I am still befuddled why anyone would get offended at being identified as a consumer when that is exactly how the club identifies its fans, including to earn money from the sponsors. But meh..It isn’t really important.

  54. Bootoomee

    Thank you 🙂

    I suppose you are correct about people taking offense but I always get confused when people let their emotions override them to such an extent as to blind them to…I’ll say..A reality (rather than THE reality) I guess what is really the cause is that it is depressing to know the extent of consumer culture in our lives. Football is supposed to be escapism and this gets in the way of that (It is also why some people don’t want to entertain the notion of referees influencing games) But anyway.. On to topics anew 🙂

  55. @Bootoome. and have you any examples to prove that protest hasn’t worked? You have no idea what made the Liverpool owner sell up but maybe an unhappy and voluble fanbase made a difference. There’s a big difference between Samsung and Arsenal. I doubt you’d ever see thousands lining the streets when Samsung produce a new product. If you can’t see the difference then I doubt you’ve felt the passion on this site.

  56. Chapman’s Ghost,

    In any argument about the existence of God, the atheist does not have to prove anything. The theist does. It is your responsibility to provide proof or evidence of people like you coming together to make decisions on how a private business is run for its owners. I don’t have to prove shit. Your failure to provide evidence means I win by default. The burden of proof is on the person making a claim, not on the one denying it.

    “You have no idea what made the Liverpool owner sell up but maybe an unhappy and voluble fanbase made a difference.”

    You come across as either super naive or just plain dishonest. Do I sound like someone who deals in “maybes” to you? Provide solid evidence or shut the fuck up.

    “There’s a big difference between Samsung and Arsenal. I doubt you’d ever see thousands lining the streets when Samsung produce a new product.”

    Are you living in the stone age? You mean you’ve never seen long queues of customers and fans of Apple sleeping out for days for the release of iPhone and later iPad? (Yes I know it’s not Samsung but they produce similar products and Apple is an electronics company like Samsung, so my point stands). Also your fixation on Samsung makes you across as a very petty, low intelligence person. It was only an example, you don’t need to cling unto it like your life depends on it.

    “If you can’t see the difference then I doubt you’ve felt the passion on this site.”

    Considering that you are a johnny-come-lately on this site, who clearly haven’t been around to see my passionate articles and comments, I’ll say you are talking ignorantly again.

    Anyway, I am done here.

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