by Don McMahon

Following Arsenal’s rather late capitulation to Anderlecht and in anticipation of the negative bloggers bound to assault UA with their gloom and doom scenarios I felt it salient to provide some upbeat and encouraging observations about being positive in all things Arsenal. Now some will surely argue that wearing rose-coloured glasses won’t change reality but one has to first know what reality is.
One of my favourite quotes from Nido Qubein, president Emeritus of High Point University in the US is:
Whether you reach success or failure in life has little to do with your circumstances; it has much more to do with your attitude…with your faithful courage…with your choices!

Dr. Quebin came to the US unable to speak fluent English and with $50 dollars in his pocket but became a rector of a large US University and a coveted public speaker, consultant and author among other things.

You see, non-achievers blame their circumstances; winners rise above their circumstances. Some concentrate on the blank wall that boxes them in; winners always look for a way to get under it, over it, around it, or through it.

Here is some more of his wisdom:

The law of inertia holds that a body at rest tends to remain at rest, and
a body in motion tends to remain in motion, at the same speed and in the
same direction, unless acted upon by an outside force.

With one major difference, that law applies very well to the pattern of our lives.

People who are successful tend to remain successful.
People who are happy tend to remain happy.
People who are respected tend to remain respected.
People who reach their goals tend to go on reaching their goals.
So what’s the major difference?

In physics, inertia is controlled by outside forces; but the real changes in the directions of our lives come from inside us. As William James said, “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a person can alter his life by altering his attitude of mind.”

Whether you are an optimist or a pessimist, the choice as to how you will be in the future is yours, and yours alone. You can live every day of your life. You can be alive to the tips of your fingers. You can accomplish virtually any worthwhile goal you set for yourself.

Tonight, Anderlecht sensed that they could come back against Arsenal and they did. Over two games they showed spirit and strength despite only taking 1 point. Arsenal failed to defend effectively and press consistently for the last 20 minutes of the game and paid the price. However they did take 4 points and have two more games in which to qualify so all is definitely NOT lost.
A pessimist would say:

Its all Wenger’s fault…we’ll NEVER win anything under his leadership, or

An optimist would say;

This is a one-off event and won’t be repeated. Arsenal will learn from their mistakes tonight and come out revitalized for their next match.

There will be some who claim that they are being realists when they moan and diss Arsenal and Arsene and boo the club and its players, but in fact, they are being totally disingenuous, unfairly negative and by embracing a rather hapless attitude that is in no way justified by recent events they contribute to the media’s enthusiastic demeaning of AFC.

The VAST majority of our Gooners are positive, loyal and faithful supporters who will let their team know if they failed to deliver or underperformed on the night BUT they will be back supporting the Arsenal regardless of what transpired in the past and because of the success and courage this team has known over the years.

As Dr.Quebin pointed out, the choice to be upbeat and constructive is always ours. If our attitude is one of arrogant and judgemental negativism and pessimism, then there is little place for one to support their team. We are entitled to express our concerns and our disappointments after seeing performances that deserve criticism but we MUST overcome a bad attitude and rebound, like the Club will do and has done in the past following a poor performance. That is what being a winner is all about and Arsenal ARE winners.


Untold Arsenal is here


  1. Some wise words Don. I have joined the critics today, not out of negativity towards the club, more out of a desire for them to fix what seems to me to be a recurring problem over defence and at times, and even possibly complacency. I also can see the points of those who believe there may not be sufficient emphasis on defence in training, coaching and philosophy. But come the next game, I will be right behind them all, especially the next game when I am at the stadium.
    But the reality, this result,will not change our destiny, we will finish second in the group anyway. So long as lessons are learned, and perhaps the squad strengthened, this does not have to have a negative impact on the future.
    Hopefully, we can just consign this to a very bad twenty minutes, not to be repeated, also worth mentioning completely inept officials, but we always seem to get those, and will most likely continue to do so until the club make a bit more of a fuss about such things.

  2. Here we go – whinge, whinge, whinge.
    The ref was against us, the media are against us, the grass was growing the wrong way, boo hoo hoo.
    Let’s just for once call a spade a spade and admit that last night we capitulated pn the field in the last 30 minutes and nobody on the bench took the right decisions to rectify the obvious problem in time. We lost 2 points we should have won. Accept it and move on. Make Swansea pay the backlash on Sunday.
    As for Dr. Quebin, what a load of arrogant tosh. Try telling somebody born with no legs he can be anything he wants to be, try telling somebody with an intellectual disability he just needs to get his mind straight and do anything he wants to. Sometimes Mother Nature, God, Allah (whatever imaginary friend you choose to believe in) deals you a lemons and no lemonade is not the outcome.
    Like Arsenal. we make the best of it and move on.
    It’s crap but it’s how it is! Just don’t tell the individual that it’s his/her fault that they don’t win life’s equivalent of the Champions League.

  3. Good words, thanks.
    This game was no tragedy. We were always destined for 2nd in the table.
    The only problem is that this isn’t a one off. This happens rather regularly.
    I can’t remember a time when Sir Schz saved a PL, or even dived to the correct direction for a PK. It feels like he always dives to his right well in advance of the spot kick.
    However, it still is great to be a Gooner and nothing will change that.

  4. Well said. The media tends to highlight the negatives because that really is its job, in order to sell content/papers/clicks. And of course those who are emotionally unbalanced will be the first to comment and so it appears to be a sea of negativity. But it’s like any radicals, they’re a small percentage of the whole. Let’s face it, not every arsenal fan comments on the guardian etc.

    Just an observation: I think cazorla and ramsey are trying to hard to score and they were both guilty of leaving the midfield wide open charging forward.

    Anyone who thinks Wenger doesn’t notice this and doesn’t take the means to correct it is a fool. Wenger is passionate about minute details and I guarantee he has insight into issues we can’t even notice.

  5. Don your a descent chap that is quite obvious , why you need to print this is not. In the world of sport, teams win lose and draw quite obvious we all go to bed and have more important things to deal with. Sports stars are payed huge sums of money for doing what they enjoy, where as the rest of us do what we don’t enjoy for a lot less. In question is one game that Arsenal drew poor end but still they will get over it and will all be smiling online within a few days. Whatever you feel is personal and private and we should all respect each other’s feelings , why are individuals always looking to blame others in times of adversity ,shit happens man up and move on .

  6. I blame Sanchez for this, he is always encouraging our players to join him going forward! Maybe Per needs to do the same getting them back to defend…..or Arteta needs to stay in the middle and maintain a balance….come to think of it, that is exactly what he does. Arteta is a very important player for us, his continual injuries this season are very worrying, flam is fine with him, but not as good without him, and the only other defensive minded MF, Le Coq has gone out on loan.
    We have been without Kos, OG, Arteta most of this season, all spinal players for us. No disrespect to those who have come in, but those, when Debuchy is added to them are big losses.

  7. Don your right I used to get annoyed by bad defeats etc but now it’s water of a ducks back, yes I occasionally got pissed but now what the hell, each year I pay £5500 for two season tickets even though my lads at Unni and I generally give his seat away and I swear I will not give either up. Going to the games has given me so much enjoyment and I’m sure that will carry on regardless of individual results , I’m there for the long haul it’s fun it’s sport long may it continue

  8. Well said Don, you are 100% right. In both the football and life side of this piece. Let the moaners moan but Arsenal and their positive supporters will move on and look up. It is the only way to be.

  9. Arsenal were poor for allowing 3-0 lead to slip last night, no getting away from it. It shouldn’t happen.

    However if Arsenal had spent almost one billion pounds on players but failed, once again, to get out of the Champions League group stages then maybe the media would love us too.

    Although the referee has sent two Man City players off and also refused them a blatant penalty. It’s as if Man City have upset Uefa or something.

    Ask man city fans if the referees do not influence the outcome of matches .

  10. The failures of English teams in CL is due to PL refs in PL games (in my opinion). players get used to kicking people in PL and unfortunately the same is not tolerated in the same way in CL by refs…ask City$$$

  11. Billion pound failures Taso are what make Arsenal look a true footballing side!

    And I agree with what you write!

  12. Real Madrid 4 9 12
    FC Basel 4 0 6
    Liverpool 4 -4 3
    Ludo Razgd 4 -5 3

    Bayern Mun 4 10 12
    Roma 4 -4 4
    CSKA 4 -4 4
    Man City 4 -2 2

    Chelsea 4 7 8
    Schalke 4 -1 5
    Sporting 4 0 4
    NK Maribor 4 -6 3

    Bor Dortmd 4 12 12
    Arsenal 4 2 7
    Anderlecht 4 -4 2
    Galatasaray 4 -10 1

    SUDDENLY Arsenal is one of the best CL performers…had we have kept it together last night we would have have 10 points…the most out of the PL pets as it is we are 1 less point from the PL ‘favorites’…FA GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!!

  13. @Tasos
    November 5, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    I would write you in Greek mate…but no one would understand 😉

  14. Don,
    Can’t quite agree with your reasoning that Anderlecht became masters of their own destiny.
    What happened, IMO, was Arsenal, an attacking side from the time that Arsene arrived, being 3 up, couldn’t resist surging forward for another goal.
    Someone with sense should have reminded the players that points not goals were all that mattered in the Group stage.
    Instead of playing “keep ball” half the side went gaily on the attack leaving the back division horribly exposed and the rest is history.

  15. Well well well. As annoying as yesterday was for us, we have done as well as any English side in the CL this week.
    City……could they sack the manager if they do not qualify? The sort of thing such owners do. Know where a betting mans money would go.
    Liverpool lost and may not qualify.
    Chelsea will go through, but the team of choice of the aaa had to be rescued at mighty Maribor by the player of choice of the aaa. Wonder if some of the aaa have some blue in their half scarf…
    At least we will go through, for all out failings yesterday. Two high spending English teams would envy such a position

  16. Agree Nicky, it seems that only Arteta has the sense and authority to curve these at times wreck less instincts. If he is out long term, they have to I still tactical and tempo discipline into someone else, or recruit.
    I was only half joking earlier on about Sanchez coaxing too many players forward to join him. Arteta went and so did our discipline, that is a serious problem

  17. Dec, looks like you completely missed the point of the article, whatever hand you are dealt, why compound your misery in negativity? People born with some of the afflictions you mention have done amazing things.

  18. Very true Apo, funny how events and time can subtly alter perspective.
    Doesn’t alter the fact we imploded after a bad decision and losing our skipper, but it does show that others can have their own problems, even others that have all these mythical huge CDs and DMs. City have four or five of the DMs alone.
    Last season our neighbours had at least three big, physical DMs, Sandro, Dembele, Capoue.for starters, and probably more…..didn’t help them did it.
    I believe wenger will bring someone in Jan, but it will be a cerebral, as well as physical dm, not just a big beast. There is one rotting in the reserves at psg at the moment.

  19. dortmund 12
    real 12
    munich 12
    PSG 10
    porto 10
    madrid 9
    bayer 9
    Barcelona 9
    chelsea 8
    shakt 8
    arsenal 7
    Basel 6
    olympiacos 6
    juventus 6
    monaco 5
    schalke 5
    roma 4
    csk 4
    sportin 4
    benfica 4
    malmo 3
    liverpool 3
    Ludo 3
    maribor 3
    anderlecht 2
    manC 2
    ajax 2
    galatasaray 1
    apoel 1
    bilbao 1

  20. AB, not remotely jealous or positive about Chelsea, I think them and entities like them are wrecking the fabric of football as we know it. They are short termists and will go away soon enough, never to have to class, or long term history of Arsenal.
    Anyway, as it stands, we have two more trophies in the cabinet than Chelsea, the aaa/ media tell us that trophies are all that matters?

  21. Nicky, I agree. Mandy, yes Chelsea proved that they too can perform poorly. Maribor /Trebor (or whatever they are called) and Bato Borisov are probably the two worst teams in the CL. Chelsea failing to beat those amateurs will not get the same negative publicity had we drawn against Maribor. Just the way it has been for a while now.

  22. AB. We are Arsenal fans, why on earth would we be jealous of Chelsea? there is no comparison between the clubs, perhaps in 50 years time maybe. I don’t get this modern fandom. I am proud to support Arsenal, a club with a proud history. There is no way I would have the same pride if I followed an awful club like Chelsea.

    You have missed the irony. There is a very good reason Arsenal get so much negativity and why we get trolled by other clubs fans.

  23. Absolutely agree Mandy, people living with difficulties are very often inspirational in their achievements. My point is that the philosophy referred to by Don professes that we just need to ‘want it enough’, ‘try hard enough’, ‘persevere enough’ and we can overcome anything. That in itself dictates that those who don’t reach the heights are themselves responsible for their failure because they didn’t want/try/ persevere enough. Positive thinking to be sure can be beneficial for some people in some situations but it’s a double edged sword and nonsense (and often hurtfull) to generalise and suggest it’s applicable always.

    On a less important note, all the positive thinking in the world wouldn’t have been half as effective as Theo giving the Belgian left back something better to do last night. Worrying about Theo would have saved the hammering we got down Calum’s flank time and again.

  24. How many penalties has hazard won so far this season? Seems to be getting one every other game, hmmm….

  25. Ok now see your point Dec, still don’t think the philosophy of positivity implies blame for those….in fact most who don’t achieve all they want, think he is just saying whatever your situation, you will do better and feel better if you can maintain some sort of positive attitude….and as we all know, difficult as it is in some circumstances.
    But totally agree on theo, but in a way, glad players are not being rushed back as they were in the past, maybe a shad effect?
    Glad to see Gnabry coming back as well, he can help in the theo position. he is interviewed today on the official site, but still, strangely very little on the nature of this mysterious injury. Wish they would just tell us what the injury was to quash some fairly outlandish claims out there.

  26. A nice write up Don and well put.

    I shouldn’t be, but I am always amazed at the vicious joy with which the doom and gloom merchants propagate their twisted attacks on AW, the team, the board and the club etc every time there is a disappointment or an apparent disappointment on the field.

    The fact that some of our so called fan base continually choose to use UA as a vehicle to attack AW and the team, contrary to the ethos of the site, reveals their true disposition – but either intentionally or unintentionally they restrict any chance of a developed debate on any of our perceived shortcomings.

    Further, it seems as soon as one group of AAAA type denizens are removed – or wonder off – another group appears – I don’t think it is a co-incidence.

  27. All those big bangs – thought it was Guy Fawkes. No it was the CL results lots of money going up in smoke!!

    That DM getting a bit upset and a red card giving City the blues. Quality official booking the wrong player. Specsavers happy to be in business with obvious penalties not seen.

    A Hazardous miss for Maureens divers.

    A little Messi but Ronaldo pipped for the record.

    I’m a Liverpool supporter this weekend!!

  28. After 3 nil up common sense tells :

    1- time to shut the shop n rest players to avoid fatigue.

    2- Arsene … r paid 8 mil not to eat your nails like a shy kid but at least stand up n shout like any manager does or tell that big man is seating near you to move his ass.

    Arsene …you didn’t move one bit to shout orders during z game and to come on tv n say err… where not disciplined in defence…
    Arsene… rather to tell the world that we were not defended well “your job is to tell your player while playing n before.

    Arsene as much as I love you n respect you r old n finished.

  29. After results like yesterday’s everybody becomes astute at pointing out the team’s faults. I am not one of those. I am not competent enough about football tactics to start diagnosing what went wrong.

    I am still seething from seeing us concede that 3rd goal. It was the most annoying of all but this is football. On some days things are just going to go wrong. We ought to lose in Belgium but miraculously got 3 points in less than 4 minutes. Then we lost 2 points in about 30 at our own ground. It is football and we all need to just calm down. Some days the shit will just hit the fan but if we were asked at the 85th minute of the first leg if we’ll take 4 points from the 2 games I doubt any of us would have said no.

    Please calm down and support your team. It’s all we can do anyway; apportioning blame and abusing the players and manager does no one no good in the end. While I am unhappy about us losing a 3 goal lead at home, I think that on balance of play from both legs, the Belgians deserve a point. To those getting despondent, remember the FA cup game after our 5-1 mauling by Liverpool last season and how the team responded. I am counting my team to respond at Swansea on Sunday. I trust and support them after our heavy losses last season, I intend to continue to do so.

  30. Thanks Mandy, I’ve got a little guy with ASD. Get a tad sensitive sometimes (sorry Don). He’s a true hero and his achievements on a daily basis are monumental, I see it as my job to ensure they’re recognised as such and not just put down to something anybody could do.
    I’m sure Arsene had good reason for keeping Theo on the bench, it’s a long season, the Anderlect game will soon be forgotten.

  31. Probably the draw against the Belgian could be a blessing in disguise as Swansea away a chance for the players to redeem themselves. Swansea under Monk is a relevation this season and no mistakes can be afforded against them. Chill guys, go Gunners!

  32. overall, really, really terrible performance from the refs
    timewasting before the first goal, offside goal, incorrect penalty, blatant fooling after it (e.g. a fool on Alexis should have been a red)
    and why the hell Monreal gets a yellow while the Anderlecht defender doesn’t? although this is probably due to Monreal not keeping his mouth shut

  33. Maybe know a small fraction of where you are coming from Dec, my partners son has been diagnosed with similar, life certainly seems easier for some than others, and though there are benefits in such a philosophy, guess the feeling a stranger ramming positivity down your throat does not always help matters, don’t think Don was trying to do that, but as I say, see where you are coming from.
    Can only speak from personal experiences, I think being positive does help in a lot of ways, but also remember a song while growing up, “there’s always someone better off than you”….by the stiff little fingers, a bit of an anti capitalist song in some ways…..but applied to a wider context, there have still been many times when those words have resonated as much as any philosophy I have ever come across, even knowing having a positive outlook helps.
    But back to theo, cannot wait to see him back in full flight

  34. otoh this is the kind of game i like to see from Arsenal, really composed and fast, with little to no mistakes and great attitude

  35. Dec…….success by definition is achieving what you set out to do and that is the point of my post. whether you have LMS like Steven Hawkings but are able to become what you were meant to be (in his case the world’s leading astrophysicist) or your son with ASD who gets where he wants to be through sheer courage and perseverance, even if it isn’t what everyone else can do with half the effort, it is success. My thesis is NOT that the person failing to succeed is at fault because they didn’t try hard enough, but that each person sets their realistic goals and objectives and if they fail to reach them because they gave up or didn’t give it everything they had, then they need to keep trying and take a good look at the circumstances preventing them from succeeding.
    Last night the team, as a collective unit failed to win and that was because they failed collectively to set a goal (maintain the lead) and they failed to perform to the standard needed.
    Last night has been repeated for years, BUT we have always won 5 times as many games as we tied or lost over the years, have won numerous awards,titles and trophies and have achieved that which NO other modern team has done in the EPL, an undefeated season yet people insist on seeing ONLY the negative. That is the ultimate issue in my article….a negative attitude always leads to despair and defeat….a positive attitude may not always lead to success BUT it will ensure that we have a fighting chance.

  36. “You don’t need anyone’s affection or approval in order to be good enough. When someone rejects or abandons or judges you, it isn’t actually about you. It’s about them and their own insecurities, limitations, and needs, and you don’t have to internalize that. Your worth isn’t contingent upon other people’s acceptance of you — it’s something inherent. You exist, and therefore, you matter. You’re allowed to voice your thoughts and feelings. You’re allowed to assert your needs and take up space. You’re allowed to hold onto the truth that who you are is exactly enough. And you’re allowed to remove anyone from your life who makes you feel otherwise.”
    ―Daniell Koepke

  37. The law of inertia holds that a body at rest tends to remain at rest, and
    a body in motion tends to remain in motion, at the same speed and in the
    same direction, unless acted upon by an outside force. – I’m sorry but what utter, self masturbatory nonsense is this?

  38. I am not a psychlogist, so maybe I missed something.

    But –

    Trying your best is not equal to being positive.

    Sometimes, positive people can be satisfied with things which are not pefect; they are content with what they have. They will not reach their full potential, but will lead a very happy, positive-feel life.

    Sometimes, negative people can be very driven: driven by spite; by jealousy; even by hatred. They can achieve great things, but they will never be happy.

    So my point is that there is no necessary correlation between doing your best and being positive. Whatever motivetes you has a lot to do with who your are.

    It has nothing to do with us fans. We cannot influence the outcome of matches. Our attitude has no effect.
    It can, however, effect other fans’ feelings. Even when things are not perfect, we can focus on positive rather than negative; even when we have criticsm, it can be constructive.

  39. @Will
    It’s called physics and at a time not so long ago, Science and Philosophy were happily going along together (before Einstein broke that of course).
    And it means that you being vulgar is not gonna help you being less vulgar unless acted upon by an outside force 😉

  40. well the only goal they scored was the third goal and for which i can only say that we put no pressure on the opposition just before the cross was hit. it was an honest mistake atleast that is what i am prepared to believe. every shadow you see should not be taken as the proverbial shadow of death.

  41. One of your best Don you got me thinking, I’ve already be on to the council nice chat ref recycling watched the Xmas John Lewis advert excellent , feel empowered for the day now to tackle the rest of the day

  42. I remember listening to a talk once by Frank Dick, the Athletics Coach, who talked about Mountain people and Valley people. The Mountain people strive to do their best and reach their goals – and are not deterred by setbacks. To do this you need to be positive and determined (I accept Tommie’s point that many “successful” people are very driven – and often for bad reasons).

    To my mind the real mark of a successful person, in sport and other areas, is their ability to respond to set backs. How do they deal with failure? Let’s find out on Sunday!

    And completely agree that it is all relative. One of the most inspirational people I know has been blind since birth – his achievements in life and football are astounding. I also once volunteered at an (athletics) sports day for severe special needs children. I remember having to take a long time to explain how the relay race worked – but they successfully completed it and the smiles on the faces were a wonder to behold. I still remember clearly over a decade later.

  43. “You see, non-achievers blame their circumstances; winners rise above their circumstances. Some concentrate on the blank wall that boxes them in; winners always look for a way to get under it, over it, around it, or through it.”

    This line is perfect. Some Arsenal fans have been taking things too far in the blame Arsene or Flamini direction, others have been looking to blame the refs and FA exclusively. The reality is, not much has been above criticism in Arsenal’s games this season, with the exception of Alexis. The refs have been bad, the defense has been error-prone, the midfield has been out of position, and the finishing has generally been poor.

    Constructive criticism isn’t a bad thing, and can be done without resorting to booing or harming the club. There’s nothing wrong with asking for players and management to do a better job than what they’ve been doing as well as the referees.

  44. Will…..Francois has aptly rebutted your salacious statement but here’s a few thoughts you might try ruminating: The statement about inertia is Newton’s first Law of motion but has been altered to represent the mindset of negative and positive people so that it highlights our power to change our attitude….if this is too complicated for you then my second point is:

    Self-masturbation is an oxymoron (an inherent contradiction), as ONLY one person can masturbate and that is you, in this case. How Newton’s laws of motion can be related to masturbation (other than the motion part) is both intriguing and amusing in its idiocy….but I bow to your obvious experience and expertise in matters of masturbation!

    Tommie Gun, most respectfully I must disagree… doesn’t take a psychologist to know that trying to do one’s best requires being positive. those who start with a negative attitude will subconsciously refrain from giving their all and doing their ultimate. As well psychologists have proven beyond a doubt that we CANNOT have two contradictory attitudes at the same time…we either start positively or negatively and maybe over time can reverse these attitudes BUT we cannot be both positive and negative at the same time. Also,I MUST protest that ,contrary to your claims that fans cannot influence the outcome of matchs, there is ample proof both factually and experimentally that we CAN influence the players’ confidence and energy levels when we support them vocally. Review recent comments from Gunners who heard the away support and their appreciation of this at crucial times in a tough game. The boo boys even forced players to quit the Arsenal because of their dire behaviour.

  45. Changing tunes …..

    A nice, calm and respectable lady went into the pharmacy, walked up
    to the pharmacist, looked straight into his eyes, and said, “I would like to buy some cyanide.”

    The pharmacist asked, “Why in the world do you need cyanide?”

    The lady replied, “I need it to poison my husband.”

    The pharmacist’s eyes got big and he explained, “Lord have mercy! I can’t give you cyanide to kill your husband, that’s against the law. I’ll lose my license! They’ll throw both of us in jail! All kinds of bad things will happen. Absolutely not! You CANNOT have any cyanide!”

    The lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with the pharmacist’s wife.

    The pharmacist looked at the picture and replied,

    “You didn’t tell me you had a prescription.”

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