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January 2021

Transfans who say, “If Flamini plays another game for Arsenal, I’m supporting Leicester”.

By Tony Attwood

As people interested in football, we have a choice.  We can

  • Support our club no matter what
  • Support the club but grumble about the way things are currently going
  • Get angry and say I’m not supporting this club if they don’t change their ways
  • Get angry and go and support another club

By and large I’m in the first group.   The last time I remember getting a bit grumpy was during the Rioch season when we won four games league games in 15.   Can you imagine what would happen if we did that today?   Four wins in 15 league games???   And yet this is what we suffered under the manager that Mr Wenger took over from.

Worse, one of those games was a defeat to Tottenham.

Worse still, we had spent a fortune in the transfer market bringing in Bergkamp and Platt.

That was the most recent test of my loyalty.  The one before that was in the Cup Double Season under Graham.   Yes we won the Cup Double and I got to spend lots of extra dosh going to Wembley, but oh the league form.  We had a run in which we won two league games in 15 – including again a defeat to Tottenham.

From memory I think we scored the lowest number of goals in the league, and also let in the lowest number in the league.   And many of those cup games were turgid to say the least.

Pos. Team Pld W D L GF GA Pts
1. Manchester U 42 24 12 6 67 31 84
2. Aston Villa 42 21 11 10 57 40 74
3. Norwich City 42 21 9 12 61 65 72
4. Blackburn Rov 42 20 11 11 68 46 71
5. Queens Park R 42 17 12 13 63 55 63
6. Liverpool 42 16 11 15 62 55 59
7. Sheffield W 42 15 14 13 55 51 59
8. Tottenham H 42 16 11 15 60 66 59
9. Manchester Cit 42 15 12 15 56 51 57
10. Arsenal 42 15 11 16 40 38 56
11. Chelsea 42 14 14 14 51 54 56
12. Wimbledon 42 14 12 16 56 55 54
13. Everton 42 15 8 19 53 55 53
14. Sheffield Utd 42 14 10 18 54 53 52
15. Coventry City 42 13 13 16 52 57 52
16. Ipswich Town 42 12 16 14 50 55 52
17. Leeds United 42 12 15 15 57 62 51
18. Southampton 42 13 11 18 54 61 50
19. Oldham Athl 42 13 10 19 63 74 49
20. Crystal Palace 42 11 16 15 48 61 49
21. Middlesbrough 42 11 11 20 54 75 44
22. Nottingham F 42 10 10 22 41 62 40

But even in those two seasons, I never slipped down before point two on the four point scale above.  I went from “support our club no matter what” to “support the club but grumble”.

However today it seems that we have something quite different.  Not only is the club achieving success undreamed of in much of the Graham era and in the Rioch year, we have “supporters” (I use the word lightly) who slip to level three or four at the drop of a hat.

I know this not just from the wild ravings of members of the aaa who write to Untold, but also because of the Metro newspaper that tells me, “Many Arsenal fans vowed to stop supporting their beloved club unless Mathieu Flamini is sold in the summer transfer window.”

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Can you imagine that?  But yes, they are saying it on Twitter.  Here’s the bits…

If flamini plays another game for Arsenal football club I’m gonna support city bmt, what a disgrace of life  @AhmedFarah_

I will stop supporting and will never have anything to do with@Arsenal the day Flamini or Arteta’s contract is renewed   @tunjiakinola

‎@tom_thacker wrote “If Flamini enters a football pitch in an Arsenal shirt again, I’m supporting Leicester.”

Now that is interesting.  Arsenal are not high enough up the league for me so I am supporting the club at the top.

Na g, I don’t support Arsenal when Arteta or Flamini play.    @Moshnificent

If AW starts Flamini over Elneny on Sunday, I’ll probably give up on Arsenal.   ‎@jkulubya

It is a completely new world for me and I have never actually met any of these supporters who will change clubs so readily.

Of course we have the regular media thing where the newspaper says, “Many Arsenal fans” but in their example they have six such people.  And we don’t know how much of an Arsenal fan they are.  Are they saying “I support Arsenal” if asked but have never been to a match and don’t watch each match on TV?

So I am wondering, maybe we need another word or phrase for these mobile supporters.  Such as transportable fans, shorted to transfans.   Arsenal when winning.  Leicester when winning.  Then what?  Tottenham?

I don’t really know if transfans are real or just something invented by a drink addled brain in the Metro office who created half a dozen Twitter accounts and then made up the nonsense.  That is possible.  Maybe it is even likely.   But anyway: according to the Metro there are six transfans out there.

Maybe we could go out and hunt them down.

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The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with a Foreword by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon.   Details of this and our previous and forthcoming titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.

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19 comments to Transfans who say, “If Flamini plays another game for Arsenal, I’m supporting Leicester”.

  • franny clive

    There is to much of this. Though anything related to that (toilet) paper should be disregarded. bad atmosphere does seep into ground. Really irritating and lack of basic knowledge of the game drives me bonkers. People reusing what they heard on talksport on way to ground to all to common. Really glad to read I am not alone in being really annoyed by this.

  • Usama Zaka

    Transfans is a good one. My word for such supporters is ‘Disposable fans’. They jump the bandwagon when we are winning. When we lose or draw, they dispose of it and hijack a different one.

    I started supporting Arsenal for no apparent reason as far I can remember (2006), just like that I kept watching and watching, and felt the urge to learn more about the club in present and past.

    As Dennis Bergkamp has said ““When you start supporting a football club, you don’t support it because of the trophies, or a player, or history, you support it because you found yourself somewhere there; found a place where you belong.”

  • Andy Mack

    I think they’re already known as ‘Plastic-Fans’, and we’ve always had them whenever we’ve been in the top 3/4. The difference is that under Wenger we’ve always been in the top 4…

    The most embarrassing part is that a newspaper wants us to sell a player in the summer when any simpleton that pretends to be a journalist would have seen that Flaminis contract expires this summer so we can’t ‘sell’ him.
    At least a few of the ‘plastics’ were correctly talking about ‘not renewing’ contracts which puts them above the Metro hack in the intelligence table!

  • Menace

    I would call them Extractor Fans because they fit in well with the Johns! 😉

  • Mwesiga f


  • serge

    “Many Arsenal Fans” & “vowed to stop supporting” shouldn’t be seen together in the same sentence. It’s not quite a contradiction in terms, but near enough.
    And all real fans know he’s leaving anyway.
    Best of luck to you Mathieu. You may get to spend some time on your Levulnic Acid project and come back and sell us some cheap energy.

  • DEW

    I have a very much different opinion here, I for example rarely watch football altogether for about two years since Van Persie was sold to United. The issue at arsenal is things don’t get solution in reasonable time frame before it boils over, that is why the fans are at problem with Adebayor, Denilson, some other ex players, and now Flamini and Arteta etc. It is very different from another clubs. At arsenal there is sentiment and faith in decision making process. I like being sentimental and faithful, but you have to also see the very real issues right in front of you. Flamini has contributed great staffs this year. I respect that. But the reality is we need much better DM. I understand those twits, It shows you the huge frustration among the some fan’s as their football desire is not reflected in the club decision making.

  • Dew I have two problems with your comment.

    First you say

    It is very different from another clubs.

    And I can reply, “No it isn’t.” It doesn’t really take us any further forwards does it?

    And you say,

    “But the reality is we need much better DM.”

    Why? Coquelin before his injury was in the top five DMs in European football on his stats, and is quickly getting back to that position.

  • Gooner S

    Globalisation, social media, playstation. The bombardment of data and information but little in the way of knowledge imparted.

    I do hope this isn’t a further evolution of football supporting where it becomes much more tenuous in terms of relationship between club and supporter. What next? Franchises? The Manchester Red Devils move to London (well Ruislip) and become the London Red Devils because that’s where the money is? As a football mad child attending a school in Hackney London, in the early seventies, I can recall that our playground mix of supporters was predominately Arsenal and Spurs. We had one QPR supporter who also dallied with Leeds (it was the early seventies). By the mid to late seventies there were more Liverpool supporters and even some Manchester United.

    Facebook is an interesting place to read comments, as well as Twitter. Arsenal have many supporters from all around the world now and their attachment, unlike mine, is not “local”, it can’t be. They probably have a multitude of reasons for following Arsenal, with some of those reasons probably being quite arbitrary. They have not experienced the family pressures to, as in my case, support either Arsenal or Tottenham but once you have chosen to be told “whatever you pick you stick with”. They can just change their status on Facebook.

  • proudkev

    Gooner S has nailed it.

    Social media is a great place to hide behind your anonymity and be who you like.

    Where else would you see all the abuse and disgraceful language that gets thrown around like confetti. It is easy to see that most of these people are poorly educated, many will be kids. They have no disrespect for themseleves let alone for other people. The media drive these people, they provide the content that drives these into a frenzy.

    On a well known WOB site, it is clear they are not all what they claim to be. They often slip into mistakes, these chelsea and spurs fans. However, what is interesting is that whatever they say most of the WOB’s just join in and agree.

    Without meaning to offend anyone, most of these have never been to a live game. Most have never stood on freezing cold terraces watching George Graham bore us as we finish 10th. Or 12th. They sit in the nice warm, watching the game in front of their iphone or ipad. They genuinely beleive managimng a football club is easy because of their success with the latest FIFA game.

    They miss some of the game, while mum makes their bed or runs the hoover around. The stream lag may preent poor coverage, so they don’t really get to see the game. Perhaps the Internet is down. It wont matter because they will still be posting in game comments of an abusive nature.

    The thing I find weird is the fact that they go out of their way to suck fun out of supporting their club. I love matchdays, in fcat I love everything about supporting the club. It’s great fun mostly, tinged with the occassional disappointment – much like making love. Just because you perform badly doesnt mean you decide to abstain for the rest of your life.

    The simple fact of the matter is that large groups of fans are not ‘supporters’. All they are interested in is having something to brag about. The fact they take so much pleasure out of moaning and seem able to do that every day really tells you everything you need to know.

  • proudkev

    * They have no ‘respect’ for themseleves let alone for other people.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    @ Mwesiga
    Jeff Reine-Adelaide is an 18 year old forward. Yes he has potential but currently that is all. Playing in his age group competitions sometimes he has a good game, sometimes not. He isn’t yet ready for regular first team football but is frequently involved in training with the first team squad, so is probably not too far off. He isn’t a defensive midfielder and never will be so a comparison with Flamini is pointless.

  • Menace

    The problem with all this Fantasy Football mularchy is that the playing field appears to be flat & the officials are not really involved. You don’t buy or sell them. You don’t appoint them. You manage a team without any involvement of the PGMO!!! What a dream that would be no PGMO. Back to reality & the Fantasy Football manager. He never considers what is going to happen apart from yellow cards & red cards from an unknown entity.

    The officiating is blanked out of their minds. Referees must be good because they are invisible. What a shock when you watch what these officials get up to. They have a subtle way of tilting the pitch or in some cases a blatant way of playing God. They are what I would call a dry rot fungus gradually destroying the foundation of sport. They aggravate the transfans into verbal agitation. They decide the general positioning of the table. They cannot control everything but they can influence the outcomes. The volume of money swishing in the betting markets are more obscene than the agents fees. The media are probably the biggest contributors to the corruption of sport with their backhanders for information & their bent take on most events. They have been caught hacking but most got away from prosecution. Even the evil bastards who faked information on our boys in Iraq are still preaching their hatred of Wenger.

    Until the democratic process gets into all football appointments within the controlling associations we will have to put up with corruption.

  • nicky

    As avowed supporters of the Flat Earth Society, my chums and I have decided not to support any Arsenal team in which Flamini is not selected.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very true Proudkev, a significant number of these people are Sours, Chavs and Mancs…..and as you say, the WOB hang on their every word, preferring to believe Adrian Durham than one of the greatest managers this league has ever seen.
    One blogger, extremely popular with the WOBbles admits to a soft spot for the Spuds, having spent a lot of time watching them when he was a young journalist. This is the guy who advised Arsenal to sack Wenger….for…erm…Owen Coyle, the AAA sites lapped this up, without questioning the motives of the man behind it.
    Fortunately, the club pay no heed to such people. If they did, just imagine who would be managing and playing for Arsenal. We would be in league one, if we were lucky.

  • para

    For me, i can understand (a small little (double to express how small)) the frustration at Flamini, even though he has done more good than harm since being back, that the issue of his “rash” tackling has not been addressed by AW, but hey, other players do sometimes put in rash tackles too.

    But to be that silly in stating they are going to change teams if Flam or Arteta is given a new contract is, well, silly.

    So I agree the name transfans (and all the other names) do fit them.

  • Nigel

    Good article Tony. I can’t understand those sort of fans either. Many join the bandwagon when we are very successful and soon start looking elsewhere when not doing so well. A lot of those so called fans (I don’t call them supporters) are nearly always not bothered in the history of the club before they were first interested. If they did take the trouble to find out more I am sure they might feel a bit more loyalty. Many stay but just remain negative and put down any positives we may have.
    Flamini and Arteta have been good players for us and should be respected as both have always given us the very best of their abilities. Fair criticism is fine but to threaten to change your allegiance of your club over any player is to me beyond belief.

  • I grew up in the seventies and I live in Belfast, my two older brothers are Spurs men but I a mere girl started supporting Arsenal when I was eight years old and I am now 52. I fly over from Belfast to the Ems as I also did to Highbury. I don’t get to all the games but I get to as many as I can as do my two brothers. We have had our spats but always with a wry grin, they love their team and I love mine. When we last won the league they were the first to say congrats and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them.i know it must have stuck in their throats just as God forbid it may one day stick in mine. Not everyone see’s a football match in the same way and that is ok but I don’t like the players suffering abuse or the manager for a mistake they may or may not have made. I support and always will

  • Polo

    Well said Linda. Criticsm is acceptable if the manager or players made mistakes but to give the players and manager personal abuse is stupid, ridiculous, and unwarranted. I wonder if these people would accept such abuse given to them in their workplace or environment?