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June 2021

Positivity is contagious and in the end always wins through.


The recent internecine conflict between Wenger must go and Wenger should stay supporters prompted me to take a closer look at the psychological impact and roles negativity and positivity play both in life and specifically in the football world.

One could be excused, based on the constant media attacks, negativism of a section of our fan-base, a handful of pessimists and complainers on UA, and the plethora of doomsday scenario Arsenal websites in cyberspace, in believing that our Club is in terminal decline and has again failed miserably in achieving our entitled success.

It is, as always , a matter of opinion about what represents success in a supporters mind. Trophies for some are the sole metric for judging whether the Club achieved anything in any given season.  Finishing in a CL place is good enough for others. Winning everything in sight is barely sufficient for a few.

But that’s not my main concern here; the point of this article is to determine the psychological, physical and social benefits of positivity versus the malign effects a rabidly negative attitude brings.

Recent research done by the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico, USA on ¨positive epidemics¨ found that the impact of beneficial viruses and bacteria that ¨infect¨ people is faster and more effective than negative infections.

They also found that in the non-biological realm, words and ideas have somewhat the same effect, with positive powerful words and ideas having a greater impact than negative ones. The research is available to review here or for the more technically skilled it is here.

So what does this have to do with the Arsenal? Well, those who treat their team in a consistently positive way and who maintain a positive attitude despite the occasional disappointments can expect that others around them will start to do the same.

Conversely, those who constantly berate and denigrate the Gunners can expect to influence those around them in a negative way, but much more slowly. That can explain why so many on UA refuse to join the moaning bandwagon and prefer, despite being disappointed at times.

These people remain upbeat, optimistic and generally positive….because for the most part they are surrounded by positive thinkers. It would seem this transmits to the team since our away form this season has been laudable, due in large part to our fabulous away fans, while our home form has suffered from the accusatory and belittling handful of so-called supporters who choose to prove that they can democratically express their collective disgust with the manager, the owner, the Board and many players and put aside any obligation to support their own team in their own stadium.

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Now I can already hear the outraged, choleric and fanatically negative posters on UA who will come on the site and say this article is the worst thing since nuclear fallout, that positivity is tantamount to wearing rose-coloured glasses and that we are all blind fools supporting a king who has no clothes, etc. etc.

I know that they will NEVER change their tune, since they live by a different creed than positive supporters do. I would remind them that UA supports positive criticism and factual argument with evidence and analysis, whether for or against Wenger, the Board, the owner or the players.

We know Wenger Have their failings, but we simply DON’T base all our judgement and conclusions on our worst game or poorest performance. We see the entire picture and take a balanced view of the Arsenal, based on the entire season and taking into account many factors, including; the changing modern game, financial doping, the PIGMOB, brutal football played by brutes, recurring serious long- injuries, alignment challenges forced on Wenger’s teams because of the injuries, players out of form, the boo boys season long abuse,, pointless internationals etc.

If any critics (and of course they may not choose to read this article in its entirety – which is of course up to them) waiting in the wings would like to counter my arguments by writing an article for UA…..please do so….you know that the option is always there, providing it puts forwards a point we’ve not heard before, and involves some evidence and analysis.


Untold Arsenal has published five books on Arsenal – all are available as paperback and three are now available on Kindle.  The books are

  • The Arsenal Yankee by Danny Karbassiyoon with a foreword by Arsene Wenger.
  • Arsenal: the long sleep 1953 – 1970; a view from the terrace.  By John Sowman with an introduction by Bob Wilson.
  • Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football.  By Tony Attwood, Andy Kelly and Mark Andrews.
  • Making the Arsenal: a novel by Tony Attwood.
  • The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal by Mark Andrews.

You can find details of all five on our new Arsenal Books page

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32 comments to Positivity is contagious and in the end always wins through.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Don Mcmohan
    Excellent article.Taking into account the whole season into perspective is the true way to judge Arsenal performace.We are finishing top 4 for 20 years is a much bigger success than winning a trophy once in 3/4 years and finishing outside top 4 for 2/3 years like United and Chelsea also now finishing outside top4.Liverpool and spurs are finishing below ever since.
    The boo boys may have other priorities but they must be shocked after Everton sacked Martinez today.I have great reapect for him but he cant match Wenger even being a young dynamic person.
    I remember the AaAa and Wobs at Legrove were ridiculing Wenger when Martinez Everton beat Arsenal 2 years back.At that time Lemoan was suggesting to appoint Martinez as Arsenal manager.Look at Martinez who couldnt manage a small club and the clueless mob at Legrove wanted him at Arsenal.piss poor.

  • Chris

    I come here daily because the facts are beign brought forward.
    And I am an Arsenal (and Wenger) fan.

    I just can’t stop shaking my head when I see a headline like the one that just appeared on the Express website :

    Arsenal make late move for German World Cup winner (Liverpool will not be happy)

    I mean…how more manipulating can you be.

    No surprise that many people get on the dark side of supporting when confronted daily with such crap (ok this is an opinion …) which could probably be labelled as propaganda or mass manipulation.

    Please keep up the good work and supply of facts, intelligence and sanity.

  • Al

    Pleasant read, Don. And don’t hold your breath with regards to the critics writing their own article/s, let alone one that’s evidence-based, they cant and they won’t. They’re just here to criticise, and spread negativity.

  • Really enjoyed that, thank you Don.

  • nicky

    You sum up beautifully the real achievements of our great Club, under Arsene Wenger, over the past two decades.
    Constant qualification for the CL has, for many, become commonplace and the never-ending struggle to attain 4th place in the EPL, rather overlooked.
    I am saddened by the fickle nature of many Arsenal supporters who, when results go awry, immediately call for Arsene’s head on a charger.
    The real yardstick is the knowledge that 99% of football clubs, world-wide have nothing but envy and admiration for ArsenalFC and its achievements.
    One other point. Several of our key players from foreign lands signed Arsenal contracts, not just for the money, but because they wanted to further their careers under a manager they admired and respected.

  • Phil

    Yes, and I also remember Monk being touted as the replacement when Swansea did the double over us a couple of seasons ago. Whilst it seems relatively easy to achieve something over a short time, to have qualified for CL during his entire time at Arsenal is amazing

  • bjtgooner

    Good article Don.

    Apart from the merits and strength of positive thought compared to that of negative thought, there is a further factor, the whingers and moaners who try to blacken out manager do so by opinion based comments, not by facts, logic or reasoned debate. In other words the whingers cannot advance any valid argument.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Tks nikcy n evryone.
    Arsenal finishing in top 4 every year has been treated like a joke in different blogtettas and the moaners.They call us and UA ambitionless but can they ask now any of Manu or Liverpool fan the most successful English clubs ever how does it feel missing the Champions League.
    They would spend zillions to qualify for CL for sure.

  • Polo

    Off topic:

    First, my condolences to the boy’s family.

    This is another reason why I’m pro-Wenger. In my opinion, I believe winning trophies would be great, but a Club should be more than about trophies. Well done to Arsenal F.C

  • Polo

    Don, great article and thank you for writing it.

  • Polo

    Top class from the Manchester City fans who raised the money for the kid, it’s good to see the good side of football but unfortunately it had to come from the bad.

  • Hi Berry

    To suggest that home support is responsible for the poor results at home this season is a complete red herring. Let me take you back to August…a new season with everyone looking forward to a new campaign.

    This article seeks to pin Arsenal’s inability to win the most winnable PL in memory on the ‘handful’ of fans who chose to make their feelings known as the season unfolded in line with many predictions. Where was the ‘positive’ support of the 55,000 or so ‘true’ Arsenal fans in the stadium who support Wenger (as I have read in numerous posts)? I haven’t heard a cacophony of sound as per Upton Park a couple of days ago spurring the team onto success at home games – have they been drowned out by the ‘handful’ of negative thinkers?

    The poster above who thinks finishing in the top 4 for twenty years is better than winning the league every three or four years doesn’t see the irony of his comments. Aiming for top 4 year after year is, in its own way, a form of negativity….positivity would be instilling a winning attitude in the team to make a decent fist of challenging for the highest prizes rather than falling short every season.

  • Pat

    I remember last August. We won the Community Shield. I’ve got a great photo of the team celebrating as my screen saver.

    Aiming for top four year after year is a kind of negativity someone says. Well, we don’t aim for top four. We aim to compete in and hopefully win four trophies. But only one team can win each trophy. For the past two years we won one of them.

    And unlike Liverpool or Manchester United or Spurs or Manchester City or Chelsea, for all the last 19 years we have played in the Champions League. This is some achievement!

  • Rich

    Hi Berry

    Don’t know if it was deliberate, but you changed what the poster- Rosicky@arsenal- said, from ‘a trophy’ to ‘the title’.

    I’ve noticed the top-four knockers almost always set it up that way : as though there’s a choice between always qualifying for top four but not winning the league, and winning the league every 3 or 4 years but dropping out of top four some years.

    There is no such choice to be made. It’s at best desperate, at worst dishonest to suggest there is.

    If some new manager came in, and in his first two years finished outside the champions league places, that would not, in probability, leave us in a better position to compete for the title in the next two years, but a worse one.

    That surely is the main point, finishing in the top four is an indication of how strong the team currently is, and improves the chance of doing well the following year.

    Has to be remembered here that this applies more strongly to us than to Utd, City and Chelsea. Should they finish 5th, 6th or 10th they will have a better chance, though no guarantee, of leaping back to the top the following year thanks to gargantuan spending. For us, finishing outside the top four has a bigger impact on the money we have available to spend.

    As it happens, I’d probably choose the title every four years with a poor season or two thrown in if that choice existed, but it really doesn’t work like that. The choice is a false one.

    Thank goodness, because although a title would bring me high joy, bloody hell the down seasons would be a drag.

    Entering every year with hope and the dream of huge success is much better; and no doubt that is actually how the majority of those top four finishes were earned; by a team and manager who were trying to be as good as they could possibly be, throughout changing circumstances which ranged from those where a title would be extremely hard to win to where there was a significantly better chance.

    The players would never have responded to Wenger throughout all those years if he was aiming each time merely for the top four.

  • Polo

    Hi Berry, he didn’t say the home support was ‘responsible’ for ‘the poor results at home’ I think he is saying that part of the home support who make the Emirates toxic contributed to the bad results at home. Well that’s my interpretation of ‘It would seem this transmits to the team since our away form this season has been laudable, due in large part to our fabulous away fans, while our home form has suffered from the accusatory and belittling handful of so-called supporters who choose to prove that they can democratically express their collective disgust with the manager, the owner, the Board and many players and put aside any obligation to support their own team in their own stadium.’

  • Menace

    Hi Berry High 😉

  • Menace

    Top 4 is worth £50 million more, so for me it is superb. It also allows Kronke to invoice for his support, pays Wenger’s salary of £20 million and keeps us on Untold laughing all the way to next season! 😉 😉

  • Top Guns

    @Rosicjy@Arsenal I am saddened by your viewpoint that finishing in the top 4 is a greater success than winning a trophy every 3/4 years. That is a ridiculous argument. football is about winning trophies.

    Do we remember 1981 and 1982 when we finished 3rd or 4th? No, but we all remember 1989 when we won the league?
    This season if we do finish 3rd is a mere footnote in our history. Please show some respect for the club.

  • Nick

    Top guns.That is the reason why we can’t attract the top players especially those with real ambition to win things.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Nice article Don , agree wholeheartedly with your views on being positive . I always hate moaners and avoid them like the plague . Sometimes , I do give in to temptation and take them on and ask them what they would do differently or better .

    Most of the time they would sprout some vague or silly offerings , which are so often either shot down almost immediately , or ends up in me getting into a giggling fit . The topic dies a humourous death !

    I stay away people like this each and every time , often choosing to walk away or even leave . After all who am I to bring sunshine to their rainy parade ! To each his own.
    Preferably far away in another county or state !

    I do hope that people that are at present unhappy with the club , the board , the manager and the team , hit them where it hurts most – in their pockets ! Refrain from giving them your hard earned money , and just stay away . You know you make a difference . I’m sure once they are all in the poor house , they will come looking for you with contrite awe and their begging bowls in hand !

    Dream on ! Or give your money to those poor deluded souls who are printing those silly banners . To pay for their shrink’s bills !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Polo – Nice links . Thanks .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Do your pets do this ?

    “An older, tired-looking dog wandered into my yard; I could tell from his collar and well-fed belly that he had a home and was well taken care of. He calmly came over to me, I gave him a few pats on his head; he then followed me into my house, slowly walked down the hall, curled up in the corner and fell asleep. An hour later, he went to the door, and I let him out.

    “The next day he was back, greeted me in my yard, walked inside and resumed his spot in the hall and again slept for about an hour. This continued off and on for several weeks.

    “Curious I pinned a note to his collar, ‘I would like to find out who the owner of this wonderful sweet dog is and ask if you are aware that almost every afternoon your dog comes to my house for a nap.’

    “The next day he arrived for his nap, with a different note pinned to his collar, ‘He lives with me in a home with a highly irritable person who nags incessantly and he’s just trying to catch up on his sleep. Can I come with him tomorrow?’”

  • Polo

    @ BG, no need for thanks, love reading your posts, always put a smile on my face. Thank you.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    People who think winning the.PL once is better than finishing top 4 for 20 t
    Years may follow Leicester who will be matching there criteria.
    I prefer to remain in top 4 than winning once than finishing 6th or 7th for the next 3/4 years like United Liverpool n spurs et al.
    Everyone has his opinion and choice. Remember the old and wise saying A bird in hand is better than 3 in the bush.

  • Rantetta

    Thanks Don.

    You also wrote a definitive article related to the subject above – about 18? months ago. If I remember I’ll dig it out and repost it.

  • Top Guns

    Rosicky@arsenal I’m afraid that you are not a football supporter with views like that. You do realise that had Wenger just achieved a top 4 finish in his first decade in charge that he wouldn’t still be the manager at Arsenal?

    Also could you please enlighten me as to the benefits of finishing 4th as opposed to 6th or 7th? Liverpool have made a European final this season so it has hardly done them any harm.

  • Brickfields Gunners


    1. Open a new file in your PC .

    2. Name it ” Boss ”

    3. Send it to the RECYCLE BIN

    4. Empty the RECYCLE BIN

    5. Your PC will ask you, “Are you sure you want to delete Boss permanently?”

    6. Answer calmly, “Yes,” and press the mouse button firmly….

    7. Feel better?

    ( You can also use ‘them’ , the FA , PIGMOB , UEFA , FIFA or any other word -it really works ! And much easier than repeatedly clearing your cache and pressing DISLIKE !)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Too much positivity ?

    When the Sunflower Clinic called Daniel on him home number, they got the following message on his answering machine.

    “Hey, this is Daniel and i am having a great day in the outdoors. The positive thought for the day is LOVE EVERYONE! Leave your name & number and you will hear from me.” “Beep”.

    The caller from the Sunflower left a message, “This is a call from the Sunflower clinic. Talking of POSITIVE, your VD test is back. Stop LOVING EVERYONE.”

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Top Gun
    I am a different kind of football fan who support a consistent performance rather than a topsy turvy one.
    If u dont know what is the harm in finishing outside top 4 then maybe you also need to update your football knowledge.

  • hotie

    @ topguns and berry, spot on.

  • Top Guns

    Rosicky@Arsenal I am surprised you support Arsenal if you like consistent performances as the team have been far from consistent this year.

    Arsene Wenger meanwhile has rightly praised Leicester City for their consistency this season. Consistency you see is what wins titles, something sadly lacking at Arsenal.

    I didn’t think you would be able to state the benefits of finishing in the top 4 so don’t worry about that. Of course the money from the new TV deal is just one reason why it is increasingly irrelevant though.

  • omgarsenal

    hotie you little twerp….grow a pair and write something intelligent, unique and insightful rather than rely on your fellow moaners to do it for you!