Football is sport not war. The 10 commandments of football


By Don McMahon

One thing is evident. All bloggers and posters, whether dyed-in-the-wool AAA, AKB believers or those falling along the spectrum of these two extremes desperately need a basic ten commandments when posting on UA or any other website dedicated to Football. So here is my basic code of civility and proper conduct, which imho should always be respected when posting on the net:

1) Every supporter of any team, club or country is a fellow traveller and human being who deserves respect and tolerance regardless of their point of view. Denigrating, demeaning or disgusting name-calling or insults have no place in a supporter’s repertoire, even when they started it first.

2) Every professional player, no matter how nasty a character, vicious a competitor or despicable in their adversaries’ or opposition or home supporters’ eyes should ever be wished an injury or similar fate such as an illness, family tragedy or personal disaster. Football is, after-all a sport, not war.

3) Criticism of any player, manager, coach, administrator or owner of any Football enterprise should be supported by proven and verified (verifiable) information readily available to any other supporter or reader. Stating as fact, that which has been proven to be false or spreading a rumour not based in firm fact is a cowardly act of character assassination and beneath a true supporter’s dignity.

4) Expressing one’s opinion is an inalienable right inherent in the democratic process, but it must be made clear that one is stating a personal opinion and it must not be based on religious, racial, ethnic, geographic or gender/sexual prejudices or intolerances.

5) No matter what the imagined or real justification, there is NEVER any reason to boo or mock, ridicule, demean or catcall one’s  players based on one or two game performances or a ¨perceived¨ lack of effort or worth to the team. We all have a bad day or two at the office and need support, tolerance, empathy and compassion more than at any other time. True supporters support in the best and worst of times.

6) Unless one has equivalent or superior experience and expertise to the professional administration, manager, physio or coach there is no inherent entitlement negatively to criticize their decisions and efforts solely based on one’s conviction that they know better than the professionals. Being entitled to your own opinion is one thing, feeling entitled to tell full-time professionals how to do things is another.

7) Referees deserve the benefit of the doubt regarding their character, their motives, their decisions and their intrinsic honesty and ethics. However, when ample evidence exists that there are ¨issues¨ involving an official, any accusations of unlawful or criminal behaviour MUST be supported by incontrovertible evidence of such misbehaviour, otherwise it is pure speculation.

8) It is entirely acceptable to hold senior authority figures and the powers that be in disdain or contempt when that attitude is supported and consistently reaffirmed by their collective or individual actions. This right to hold them in contempt comes with an obligation to denounce such behaviour to the highest level and to insist that the integrity of the Beautiful Game be protected at all costs.

9) It is pointless and illogical, irrational and inconsistent with true membership as stakeholders in a Club to persistently bemoan or rant on about purchasing a specific player while pretending that he will be the ¨solution¨ to imagined or real lacunae in the team, especially when that team already possess enough youth or mature talent to address the aforementioned lacunae. The transfer process is so complex and strictly regulated that the vast majority of supporters have no idea how it works and when it is actually working so venturing spurious solutions that are vacuous and reactionary is totally counter-productive as well as being bad for one’s emotional and cardiovascular health.

10) It is uncivil and impolite in the extreme to hijack or distract a serious discussion or thread on any blog with ancillary, disingenuous or unrelated posts, whose only purpose is to gain attention or to promote one’s own personal agenda. That also includes monologues and dialogues between two posters who ignore the initial subject and hijack the discussion, while ignoring others opinions and posts.

I am sure there are many more commandments we can suggest as being fit and proper for internet etiquette so please feel free to, while respecting the above guidelines, suggest alternate viewpoints.

Enjoy the WC as well everyone.

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39 Replies to “Football is sport not war. The 10 commandments of football”

  1. Number 7 – Did you see Antony Taylor, first game of the season for us against Villa? Cheating, no other word for it.

  2. “1) Every supporter of any team, club or country is a fellow traveller and human being who deserves respect and tolerance regardless of their point of view. Denigrating, demeaning or disgusting name-calling or insults have no place in a supporter’s repertoire, even when they started it first”

    Unless the name calling or insults are dished out by a poster who’s opinions align with the majority of regular UA , in which case it is considered a “refreshing honesty” , “well put” and “calling it like it is” 🙂

  3. I agree with all of this, particularly points 7 & 10, but posters will still stray off the original thread by saying something like “I know this is off topic, but….”. It’s actually a form of trolling and very annoying.
    There are (probably) three bully boys on this blog who regularly blunder over the comments to take extracts out of context for their own twisted gratification.

  4. Perhaps there could be a completely separate section for posters who want to comment off topic or leave a whole load of crap jokes.

  5. It’s all very well to say that football is a sport not a war.
    The trouble today is that in the absence of a world conflict, too many followers of clubs (I won’t dignify them by calling them supporters) regard the opposition
    as substitute enemies of our nation.
    You only have to read the pages of Untold, when an item arises about (say) Spurs, in order to see the outpouring of totally illogical bile and hatred ON BOTH SIDES.
    Next century (if the professional game lasts that long, with spiralling wages, referee bias and incompetence and FIFA corruption),
    students of the sport will no doubt analyse and explain how and why this tribal attitude was spawned.
    We who lived to experience the phenomenon won’t be about though, to hear their conclusions.

  6. The heading banner says it all ..

    Untold Arsenal: Arsenal News; Supporting the club, the players and the manager

    “I believe the target of anything in life should be to do it so well that it becomes an art.”
    A Wenger.

    Some posters think that they are sprouting the gospel of ‘facts ‘ when in actuality they talking unmitigated shite of the highest order .One will start and another will ‘support’ him and divert the topic by ‘engaging’ those who call them out .
    We know whose site this is and we respect the opinions of the writers . But certain posters ( often Johnny -come – latelys) and often in pairs do ‘hijack’ it and attempt to ‘teach’ us and ‘guide’ us towards their warped ‘righteous’ path .
    Well my middle finger twitches uncontrollably when this type of vermin post .I do my best to ignore them , but often hit back/out by posting something humourous .To some it may seem totally ‘off topic’ ,but then probably you just don’t get it . Your loss !
    Most of us come on here because we tend to learn new things , opinions and insights .How we use or interpret this of course dependent on may factors (eg. level of education , bias ,upbringing etc).
    I enjoy coming here and to mix with like minded people who love Arsenal and Arsene Wenger . I don’t preach .It would be great if you don’t too.

  7. My basic principles (not commandments as I consider the term presumptuous) of commenting are:

    1. Be reasonable – Don’t go to a blatantly pro-Wenger website and write insulting comments about Arsene Wenger or his players. I’ll call you a dick while some will call you a troll.

    2. Don’t be disingenuous – This one is especially for you Tom!

    3. Finally, lease, please and please don’t invoke “free speech” against those who disagree with you on the Internet. It is insulting to those who lost their freedom and (or) lives due to the opinions that they expressed. Just as you have the right to say whatever you want, others have the right to call you out on the opinions that you express. And they don’t have to be nice or civil about their disagreement.

  8. Now, off topic. It’s great that Santi is returning home soon. I’m looking forward to having Jack and Alex back soon too as well. .

  9. My BINGO ! comment was before I had refreshed before posting .
    @ Bootoomee – DITTO !

  10. …remember to try not to mention the obvious trolls that have clearly tried to attack all Arsenal blogs that do not Groan. ArsenalVision, etc. even the Arseblogger has had to call out the bile merchants for the rubbish they try to shovel. That is not an opinion it is the record.

    Not hard to spot the disingenuous ones, is it? Hoisted by their own petard. Yet again.

  11. @Brickfields G,
    I have been trying to persuade Tony to abandon this alleged statement by Arsene
    (which you quote).
    Without defining the meaning of “anything”
    it is a silly saying and not one of which the usually erudite Arsene would be proud.

  12. I disagree, I think it is a great quote.

    And Arsene is not the only football fan who has had this consideration.

    Blackburn Rovers motto:
    “Arte et Labore”

  13. Agree in principle but have to admit, with no proof whatsoever, that I still think Septic Bladder, his henchmen and Maureen Jo are a collection of vertical smiles.

  14. @Finsbury,
    So instead of “anything” you would be quite happy to see “diving” or “fouling”?

  15. I don’t know Nicky.
    AW sometimes uses the odd phrase or word when attempting to describe something, there are many examples, and given that English is not his first language that’s fair enough. I forgive him.

    To be fair there was a great foul from a Chile player yesterday, taking a yellow for the team without having to make an ungainly hack that might of injured his opponent who was breaking through the back line. A top top quality foul. Arteta is quite good at those types of fouls, and at winning fouls too. It’s one reason why we call him ‘The Prince’.

  16. @Finsbury,
    Point taken about Arsene’s first language not being English.
    But I can quite imagine someone like Rooney turning diving into an art.

  17. Great sentiments, and obviously more could be added.

    Unfortunately, if they were strictly implemented the site would close down!!!!!

  18. I have to admit that number 5 is a grey area for me. I would say that ridiculing or mocking a player is too much but I do expect effort from a player and I will shout at him to work harder. It takes a long time for me to reach the conclusion that a player is dogging it but you can see when someone is not tracking back when he should. And I am not talking about maintaining the shape of the team…sometimes it is obvious that someone is not putting in the shift where he should. If he is hurt…he should be subbed off.

  19. @Don

    Good sentiments which I largely support. However, it would be interesting to see how you would recommend UAs respond to the AAAs, some of whom are snide, sarcastic, subtle etc, rather than obviously confrontational – and remain within your guidelines.

    Football is sport – agreed. But, propaganda can be a tool of warfare!

    @Brickfields @ 9.42 am and Bootoomee @ 9.44 am


    @oldgroover @ 9. 16 am

    Disagreed – I like the jokes! 🙂

  20. @ Nicky – While do agree that the ‘anything ‘ may seen quite ambiguous to some , I take it to definitely mean to do something worthwhile and that its your duty or calling to do it as well as you possible can .

    @ bjtgooner – What is a life without fun and humour ?
    Probably life as an AAAA ! Or a troll , or …..

    And off topic (apologies , Don !)…..
    A married man should forget his mistakes. There’s no use in two people remembering the same thing!

  21. My last one for tonight !

    The whole nation is asking this same question!!

    In the Parliament recently, a ruling MP during his speech told a story……..

    “There was a father who gave $100/- each to his 3 sons and asked them to buy things and fill up a room completely.

    First son bought hay for $100/- but couldn’t fill the room entirely.

    Second son bought cotton for $100/- but couldn’t fill the room entirely.

    Third son bought a candle for $1/- and lit it up and the room was filled with light completely.
    “The proud MP declared: “Our Prime Minister is like the third son.From the day he has taken charge of his office, our country is filled with the bright light of prosperity”

    A voice from the backbench asked “Where is the remaining $99/-??
    Now the whole nation is asking this same question!!!

    Goodnight , guys !

  22. Nicky @ 1:29 pm

    The 49th game! 🙂
    That wasn’t a very good dive, but it was good enough for Riley.

  23. Concerning the Wenger quote that has been on the mast head for quite a long time now, I have always seen it as a comment about art made in an artistic way. All art is to a large degree about emotion – it is the major way in which people attempt to analyse and consider the emotions. And it is made within an emotional statement – which I think is rather good.

    I’m not saying it has to be that quote, but I like having a Wenger quote on the site – if you have a better one to suggest please do email me at

    Not here- as this is not the prime point of this discussion.


  24. @Brickfields G,
    Re your 4.10, yeah the key is to do something “worthwhile”. Otherwise you could finish up with that creep Scholes making tackling an art. 😉

  25. Tom……….these guidelines have NO exceptions despite your claim that Ua tolerates such rubbish if the insulter happens to agree with everyone else. I find insults, regardless of the imagined ¨justification¨ as simple ignorance and bad manners so I, for one, will not abide such savagery.

  26. @ Nicky – Agreed ! While we wait hopefully for the likes of Alan Shearer and co to fully develop their brains so that we may be enthralled by their wisdom . And what a day it would be !

    “One of the hardest lessons in life is letting go. Whether it’s guilt, anger, love, loss or betrayal. Change is never easy. We fight to hold on and we fight to let go.”

    @ Tony – Personally , I think that is a great quote by the man and reflects his vision.

  27. AH, MEN !


    Men Are Just Happier People – What do you expect from such simple creatures?

    Your last name stays put.

    The garage is all yours.

    Wedding plans take care of themselves.

    Chocolate is just another snack…

    You can never be pregnant.

    You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park.

    You can wear NO shirt to a water park.

    Car mechanics tell you the truth.

    The world is your urinal.

    You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

    You don’t have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.

    Same work, more pay.

    Wrinkles add character.

    Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.

    People never stare at your chest when you’re talking to them.

    New shoes don’t cut, blister, or mangle your feet.

    One mood all the time.

    Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.

    You know stuff about tanks.

    A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.

    You can open all your own jars.

    If someone forgets to invite you, He or she can still be your friend.

    Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.

    Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

    Everything on your face stays its original color.

    The same hairstyle lasts for years, even decades.

    You only have to shave your face and neck.

    You can play with toys all your life.

    One wallet and one pair of shoes — one color for all seasons.

    You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look.

    You can ‘do’ your nails with a pocket knife.

    You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.

    You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives On December 24 in 25 minutes.

  28. @BG,
    Although true, it’s comforting to have all these advantages confirmed from time to time.
    What a way to start the day.
    (and Jack and the Ox are coming home!).

  29. nicky

    Not before they get played in a meaningless match and get injured and ruled out for 6 Months.

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