Negativity rules, except at Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

Just for a moment those people who love do the same thing over and over and over again have had to stop – at least in terms of Arsenal.

Even without current results it looks rather dumb to roll out the “what you don’t realise is that this is the year Arsenal will end up mid-table because of Wenger’s stubbornness” line, for the 7th year running, knowing that you have got it wrong every year until now.

But when we look at the situation this morning we find that although Arsenal are not yet hitting their stride, nevertheless there is a certain promise for the future.  We’ve got a fair number of injuries as usual, but we are coping.  Unbeaten in the last 10 league games, second best attack in the league, despite having a new line up, and despite being without Theo and losing our main striker, fourth best defence in the league…  Of course we want to be top, but at this stage, our league record is not bad.

What’s more the newspapers are laying off Arsenal just for the moment – and of course in so doing are pretending it was never them that was attacking us in the first place.  “We just reflect what the fans say,” they cry.  As if.

So today, they still don’t notice the ten unbeaten, but the English press have taken their rampant endless negativity elsewhere running headlines that say.

  • Van Gaal: big errors lead to defeat
  • Pellegrini blasts small team Chelsea
  • Ageing City are ‘running out of time’ in Europe
  • Mauricio Pochettino angered by slack Spurs’ ‘bad day’ at the office
  • Brendan Rodgers says the Champions League is causing Liverpool problems

When they do turn to Arsenal we have

  • Ozil silences critics as Arsenal stun Villa with incredible finishing
  • Wenger: Henry ‘good act to follow’ for Welbeck

That last one, preceding a piece wondering if Welbeck is the new Henry has a nice quote from Mr Wenger.“Give me some time… It is a bit early to say that when you look at the number of goals Thierry Henry scored.

“I think Welbeck has an interesting potential and let’s see how he develops. He has a good mentality, good physical potential, good technical potential, he contributes to our team play because he doesn’t lose the ball up front and those are important qualities. Henry is a good act to follow, you know … I have nothing against it.”

Mr Wenger might also have reflected upon the players we didn’t sign like Balotelli.  I stuck my neck out all the way through the summer saying that, just as there had been no way we were going to sign the vampire, so this year there was no way we were going to sign Balotelli.  Thankfully I got it right each time (a rarity with my prediction record).

I say thankfully because Balotelli posted “Man Utd…LOL” on Twitter yesterday.   Which is maybe what people who think in three word sentences might think, but not a clever thing for any player to say.  The racial abuse followed, and the police are on the case.

(To be clear I am not saying Balotelli should adjust his behaviour because he is black, but rather than all players should be diplomatic on Twitter.)

Of course all this chit chat doesn’t mean the media is now in step with the majority of Arsenal fans.  They aren’t.  But then nor are they in tune with football fans in general.

But now, how football fans across the country feel about Arsenal is shown in a unique survey from the magazine When Saturday Comes.

Since 1997 WSC have been measuring readers’ liking or disliking of 24 clubs ranging from Cowdenbeath to Real Madrid – a list which of course includes Arsenal.   The clubs are taken as a sample of clubs across Europe, and includes one group with what they call an “international” reputation and another group with just a local following.

They posed the same question of the same list of clubs in 1997,1999, 2004 and 2014, merely asking readers to tick in either the like or dislike column or leaving blank if they had no opinion either way.

So the key point is: how many “likes” and how many “dislikes” did each club get, and then, in taking the one from the other, is the club more liked than disliked?

Only two of the big time “international” clubs  get a positive score (ie more likes than dislike).  Arsenal get +7, and Barcelona +6.  And I personally suspect that Barcelona’s recent antics with signing the Vampire, being caught out moving children around the world against all football rules, appealing against their bans on transfers in order to bring in everyone at once and circumvent the bans, and their dalliance with the slave state Qatar, might have knocked them down a bit.

So the point Untold has made so often before is once more bourn out – the AAA and their buddies are rather out of step with the wider audience.

The survey not only shows Arsenal as the most liked team by the voters, it also shows a decline in interest (measured ini votes of any sort) for the smaller clubs, and a rise in interest (positive and negative) in the “international” clubs.

Clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona, followed by the nouveau riche Chelsea. are on the up.  Manchester Utd has hardly changed..

As we might expect, of the smaller clubs Hull are on the up, Wimbledon have faded.  But the dominant factor – and this is my main point – is dislike – at least with the international clubs.  Overall such  clubs are 66% more disliked now than in 1997.  Local clubs are unchanged.

Chelsea are now the most disliked club, followed by Liverpool, Newcastle, and Real Madrid.  And as the magazine says, “By far the best performer here is the post-Wenger Arsenal with an improvement of 30 per cent points to plus seven per cent.”

But even small clubs can be harmed by the management.  Blackburn’s likeability has dramatically declined following Venky’s “How hard can it be?” era of mismanagement.   Hartlepool are on the up, but that is probably due to Sky’s Jeff Stelling.

So with negativity driving football, it looks as if those of us who watch some football on TV do so to watch the clubs we dislike lose.  And yes, for me watching Leicester v Man U yesterday, that is certainly true.

Here are the findings, courtesy of “When Saturday Comes”



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33 Replies to “Negativity rules, except at Arsenal”

  1. Well Untold certainly did their best to help the ‘liking’-factor of Arsenal 😉

    Of course someone will crawl out of somewhere to ask the question of questions : do you get a trophy for that? I guess not but that isn’t needed after having won the two last trophies that could be won.

    What it does show is that since Wenger came to this club he has taken it from a to Tottenham comparable situation (-23 and -24) to a club that is positively looked upon. Our neighbours are still very well negatively looked upon.

    Only one thing or better said person that is constant in this period for Arsenal and so the reason for this change compared to the rest: Arsène Wenger!

  2. An interesting…..and maybe surprising read. After all, we just seem to hear moaning from the noisy minority. Not all criticism is bad of course, but moaning for the sake of it…..or just tailoring it around a non negotiable negative opinion of the manager, board , spending, CMs, CDs…or whatever achieves nothing constructive.
    But the club do get a lot right……certainly not everything by any stretch…..but still, a lot.
    Just read the latest instalment from Swiss Ramble…..yes, we do have a cash reserve, and probably for very good reasons, but these days, we seem to be running just on the profitable side of break even. May surprise a few who believe the club are pure money grabbers and the manager won’t spend. Ok….I know the cash reserve, but looks like that level of frugality may be in the past.
    A lot to like about this club, especially when you look around…

  3. And this despite the media propaganda war waged against Arsenal, and Wenger in particular, that has been waged for nigh on a decade now.

    Every day on Talkshite they run a negative Arsenal story.

    The Suns columnists Reade and Howard detest Wenger with a passion and spew there bile regularly.

    Owen, Robson, Collymore and ‘new kid on the block’ Scholes, to name but 4, air there anti Wenger views in the National media on an almost daily basis.

    And yet! AND YET !!!!!!

    In Wenger we trust.

  4. Very good read again and whilst I may very biased when it comes to liking Arsenal…I am pleasantly surprised to see that world-wide we are SO LIKED!!

    @Mandy Dodd: Agree with you 100%

  5. apo Armani

    From Tonys excellent article:

    “But now, how football fans across the country feel about Arsenal is shown in a unique survey from the magazine When Saturday Comes”.

    I think it is only a survey across the UK and not the World, although I would guess, and it’s only a guess, that world-Wide Wenger/Arsenal would be at least as highly regarded.

    It would be interesting to see.

  6. “Chelsea are now the most disliked club”

    I know that Chelsea fans are annoying here in the UK but if you meet their Nigerian followers, you will hate Chelsea with a passion.

    “By far the best performer here is the post-Wenger Arsenal with an improvement of 30 per cent points to plus seven per cent.”

    Tony, can we inscribe this sentence on the fore-heads of all the AAA?

  7. jambug

    Having lived and worked in Amsterdam and Channel Islands for at least 4 years in both jurisdictions, and born and bred in Malaysia, based on talking to supporters from other clubs, there is nothing but admiration (some grudgingly).

    There is no hatred although there will of course be the usual banter, but no more than we of other clubs. I can’t say for the other EPL teams as I didn’t ask and couldn’t care less.

    Hopefully, more international Gooners can enlighten this forum further.


  8. Jambug,

    I think that is an interesting remark. I do think that in the rest of Europe Wenger (and also Arsenal) are very well regarded. On my travels (mostly to Germany anyway and isn’t that the heart of football for the moment?) I always find a lot of respect towards Arsenal.
    The Germans like the way we work in a league that is ruined by oil money and admire us for this. And admire Wenger for what he has done to keep us near the top all those years.

    Of course there are also a number of mindless people around who don’t understand it but when you try to explain it to thpse who have a brain are usually surprised on the difficulties we had to maintain that status near the top with all the oil money being thrown around. And they look at it differently.

    Doing things the right way as we have and are still doing is the long way and the hard way but in the end it will be rewarded (and is rewarded now) and not just with trophies.

  9. Walter

    That’s exactly what I would of thought.

    You mention how people react when you explain the financial situation and I must admit that is one of the things I find most frustrating.

    I’ve lost count of the times I’ve cited the financial situation in defence of our recent record only to be told ‘You have got the money and just won’t spend it because Arsenal are just greedy and the board and Wenger are just lining there own pockets’.

    What makes it worse is that a majority of the time it’s Arsenal fans throwing this at me. By and large opposition fans are far more generous.

    I wish I had it all in black and white to be honest, because without the written proof it’s hard to make your point.

  10. Tony

    Thanks for this article. I haven#t written here much lately but I always read. (I don’t always read the comments).

    I remain highly appreciative of UA. I curse Walter’s Catering Reports, which make me hunt down uber-calorific fancies. (I love the descriptions of his travelling, and especially the connection with Arsenal fans outside the UK).

    This survey confirms what I’ve always felt: Arsenal is a thing of love.

  11. An excellent article.

    It is interesting that Chelski are rated as the most disliked club, I wonder is this due to their obnoxious owner, or their poisonous manager, the anti football they play – or all the dirty moves they normally get away on the pitch, with the connivance of the refs and approval of the media.

    I can understand the Chelski rating based on any of the above reasons, but for me, I probably have an equal dislike for the lying Dippers, the former PGMO(L) favourites – the Manures, the Manchester Oilers and the the Spuds!

    While the media/press has got stuck into most of these teams based on the weekend results, they have not as yet unleashed the full range of vitriol that they usually reserve for Arsenal.

  12. Man City aren’t there because that’s how you would describe their presence on the international scene in 1997.
    The answer to the point ‘do you get a trophy for it?’ is no, but you do find it a great deal easier to attract high level sponsors who wish to be associated with another ‘liked’ brand – and their money helps you in your efforts to win trophies. AKB

  13. Walter,

    I hate disappointing my friends so, quickly, I ask, crouching a little to access both the screen and keyboards of my computer, but certainly not crawling from or into any crevice: “Do you get a trophy for that?”

    Alas! I am inclined to also try to answer my on question: Of course you don’t.

    However, I have used Arsenal and my love for the club to speak to youths who tend to love the reigning clubs (i.e. these days, in Nigeria, Chelsea and ManCity) about the difference between loving something because it is the winning, most fashionable thing to love at any particular time or the other; and loving something for the overall values and standards it espouses – even if it doesn’t win all the time.

    It does seem as if when the “noise” is filtered out, as the polls have done, majority of the citizenry is able to differentiate and love those reflecting the right values even if and where the accidents of history has prevented them from being fans of a club, such as Arsenal. or how else would one interpret the instinctive positivity towards Arsenal that the poll has reflected?

  14. I just visited an anti-Arsenal website (won’t say the name to publicise it) and the incredible common sense shown by the pessimistic supporters amazes me.

    The talk was of Arsenal doing better than expected but wait, only 5 matches played so far. let’s see what happens in the next few. AV ravaged by sickness, etc.

    I had to rub my eyes again because they said, “let’s see what happens in the next few matches”.

    But when we lose one match…..

  15. @jambug
    September 22, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Yes my bad…I just got carried away I guess, but will go along with your last para (it suits me) 😉

  16. I don’t maybe it’s just me, I have no, and I mean absolutely no interest in other people (who are not Arsenal fans) like or dislike my club. If anything, I would rather be disliked.

    You know who people like? Someone who they don’t feel intimidated by. The guys who can’t get the girl, everybody “likes” them. And of course the Facebook shit of “Like”. Bahh, I fuckin hate this word.

    I remember that a few years ago there was a poll in the UK to establish which is the most HATED entity in the country: Man U topped HM revenue services… XD

  17. That pleases me no end, Chelsea being the most disliked team.

    Hope they fail to get PL this year, although everyone seems to think they will.

    In fact I really hope it is us that snatches it away from them.

    I watched the Manu match, and switched after they were 3 up. Boy was i wrong to do so.
    Well done Leicester.

  18. Not really surprised that Arsenal tops the liked list. And I would imagine we would be up there as well if this was a world wide survey. In my country of origin most people will, even fans of other clubs, say Wenger has done amazing things from discovering talent, managing resources, playing attractive football, etc. Chelsea fans are thoroughly disliked as well, sure that’s to do with the huge number of loudmouth plastic fans who started following football only 10 years ago. City have their fair share of plastics, but because they play good football they are not as disliked as Chelsea is.

  19. Oh, just wanted to say I just had a chat with a utd supporting work colleague, and he said Debuchy’s ankle was nobbled by Milner. Of course he’s not the authority in these matters, but found it interesting that a rival fan acknowledged the real cause of that injury.

  20. Sorry off topic but Wenger has announced that Debuchy has had surgery on his ankle and will be out for around three months. I wish him well in a speedy recovery. A curse on our rotten luck with injuries.

  21. @bob mac…Why was Man City not in the survey?…not enough room in the local team column

  22. Yeah the media wants the downfall of Arsenal and the lés boss in particular,all I can’t advice my fellow fans is to respect our players no matter how bad things seems to be and ignore negative bloggers who pretends to be gooners yet they incites fans against their team. Let stick to our team and resist any prophet of dooms like the puppet in the name of Michael Owen and Jemmy Carragher.

  23. I think it was Confucius who said , ” Man with big tongue thinks he can lick all his problem !”

    Arsenal fans will never learn! Arsene Wenger does not deserve credit for seeing off depleted Aston Villa
    Arsenal beat Aston Villa 3-0 in the Premier League at Villa Park on Saturday
    Minimal expections means Arsenal fans are satisfied too easily
    Arsene Wenger manages the club under no pressure whatsoever
    The Villa squad were hit by a virus which forced Paul Lambert to close their training ground
    Arsenal fans have spent the last decade getting too much praise for beating opponents they should beat

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

  25. apo Armani

    Wanker Durham is a serial Arsenal hater. Gave up listening to his garbage years ago.

    When he started his column in the mail I decided to read it to see if he talked the same shite there. He does.

    The difference is he cant stop the comments like he can on his radio show and as a rule 90% of them disagree with him.

    But the mail don’t give a fuck. HITS HITS HITS ! That’s all they care about.

    The fact the prat writing the article is so out of touch with most right minded people is irrelevant, which just goes to show to what depths journalism (and I use that in the loses possible sense) has sank.

    as I say, it also shows up his Talkshite program for the ‘fixed’ façade it is.

    No reasoned debate. No contrary views to there agenda allowed. Constant ‘mocking’ of callers who dare to stray from the party line.

    Don’t give the mail hits as it just feeds there agenda.

    Don’t listen to his garbage on the radio.

    The only reference I ever make to the prick is when I call him out for the arsehole he is on here.

    It’s actually quite therapeutic.

    Durham is a prick.

    See, I feel better already 🙂

  26. jambug
    I second that, Durham is a massive prick and as such fits well with the c**t Darren Gough who you can usually hear sniggering in the background.

  27. You really have to look at why the very few but very noisy people that hate Arsenal do publish or broadcast such utter vitriol about us. It seems to me that a lot are getting paid for it, either directly or indirectly because, as this article states, we are more popular than any other big team, so it isn’t the popular view.

    If they are being specifically asked to publish anti-Arsenal rubbish then how could they be found out and exposed? This is something I have been trying to work out for myself for a few years. These anti-Arsenal instructions are probably filtering down from places on high that have a specific agenda. This agenda is possibly to do with the fact that debt is encouraged. Arsenal don’t get into huge debt and so aren’t controlled by those that peddle debt. So they don;t like this. Football is simply not as important compared to other situations where this debt-peddling causes real pain and much death and destruction, such as in the third world. However, this is possibly an example of that and perhaps someone should come out and write a book, ‘confessions of a football hit-man’.

    A few years ago I was so disgusted and disheartened by the anti-arsenal sites that I tried to work out why and I came to the definite conclusion that a couple of them were either started by people who were definitely not Arsenal supporters, or were at some point overtaken by them. It didn’t seem feasible to me that people would make a mockery of every positive post (and then every positive post poster) and also try to perversely create problems that simply weren’t there, unless they were either working for another club or for the reasons stated in the previous paragraph. I confronted some and accused them of being not Arsenal supporters. At first, they underestimated my logical process and tried to ridicule it. But when questioned further and logically, they behaved very suspiciously, either disappearing and seemingly reappearing with different aliases (I got the gist of their post writing styles) or would degenerate even further into even more meaningless vitriol. By my questioning I felt that some were working a certain North Western club. It occurred to me then that some people at some clubs were perhaps so low that they would employ such tactics and pay for people to do this. When such huge sums of money are involved as are in the Premiership, then you are bound to get people who try every dirty trick in the book that they think they can get away with, such as masquerading as fans of another club in order to spread dissent. Well this is as despicable as match-fixing in a way but probably harder to penetrate.

    Eventually, dissent can lead to abuse of players by the fans. This clearly happened with Andrei Arshavin, who was one of the very best midfielders in the PL with stats to back it up. He was until the very end. I personally had a slanging match at the Emirates with a supporter who was from the North East. I wondered why he wasn’t supporting his local team. He was actually quite likeable but I got the sense that even if he wasn’t being paid to create a hostile atmosphere against a player then some people were, who I couldn’t argue with rationally. The same has happened with a few players and they are usually the very best players, who are match-winners often almost single-handedly. Expectations are obviously very high with these players, but it seemed to me that this went well beyond Arsenal supporters not accepting anything but the best from top players on top wages. This appeared to me in detective mode as a case of external clubs wanting to damage us on the pitch by hurling abuse at our best players until they either had to leave or just slowly went down hill. Think of Arshavin and Eduardo. Both top, top players. Eduardo had no choice but to leave because he came back from a double leg break and got a red card for diving, that was later rescinded and then got the label of being a diver. It was utterly depressing and many of us loved the guy, who, to his credit, showed the utmost honour and even praised the true fans and the manager after leaving. There was a nasty mixture of the FA, referees and the press all combining to bring Eduardo’s Arsenal career to an end.

    So what’s to be done if this is the case? The obvious solution would be to ask people to prove that they had paymasters from other clubs (or elsewhere) and to offer them more money than they were getting. Some brave group of people could do this. It could be an act of sensational investigative journalism or some such thing. Corruption should be outed wherever it lies. But I gave up, left posting alone to concentrate on my simple life and supporting in the usual way.

    To finish, this is a positive article. If there is a problem then working out what is causing it and exposing it is 90% of the battle. We live in the real world and these things happen and I don’t even hate those that do them. I would just like to see decency prevail as much as possible. People sometimes go down very dark paths accidentally. It would just be good if such things were sorted out. In the vast majority of cases, nothing sinister is going and is perhaps a lot of people jumping on the bandwagon and regurgitating the rubbish but there is something untoward from a very few places which should be dealt with for the benefit of the game. Forgive my rambling – I hope the post is of interest and not off topic. It’s great to know that in fact we are rightly the most popular of the big clubs!

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