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We want our Arsenal back

By Walter Broeckx

In a recently published article Tony spoke about how the aaa remembered the past with rose tinted glasses. They tell us that we always have out rose tinted glasses on. Well to be honest I rather prefer to look at the present and the future with rose tinted glasses. Because that way you will enjoy live more. Enjoy today is more my everyday feeling.

Now thanks to the fact that Wenger has been our manager for more than 20 years we can look back at the past. And that past that was so much better than the present proclaim the aaa.

So let us take a look at that past. And try to see if it really was so much better. And to do this I found this interesting table on the internet.

It has three different era’s covered. The final league positions in each of the Wenger years. The last 20 years. And then they have done the same for the 20 seasons before Wenger. A period some want to come back. As they say we want our Arsenal back. We will see if that period was oh so much better as they claim.

And then we also have another 20 seasons before those 40 seasons. Again we will see if that period was so much better so that people are right in their claim that they “want their Arsenal back”.

The table has to be read from left to right in final league positions. And then the red boxes show the final league finish with the year in it.  So here we go.


And the first thing that we see is that in the Wenger era…. All the league finishes have been in the region between 1-4. Something we know of course over here at Untold but that is deemed not good enough by the aaa.

No, they want their Arsenal back. Maybe the Arsenal in the 20 seasons before Wenger? Ah we won two league titles. And we finished third once. I will not even mention the 4th place trophy as this is seen as below what we deserve by the aaa. And even finishing third is written off by them with disdain.

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So in the 20 seasons before Wenger… we only had two league finishes that would please the aaa. As winning the league is the only place Arsenal and their supporters deserve. So 18 finishes out of the 20 would have been greeted with utter disgust from the aaa. So it can’t be that period they are longing for when they shout: “We want our Arsenal back!”

But maybe… they are older… and they remember even better times. So we could look at the 20 seasons before those 20 seasons before Wenger.

And what do you see? 1 league title in those 20 seasons. Since finishing second is seen as utter failure since last season we can only come to the conclusion that out of those 20 seasons only 1 can be seen as great. The other 19 seasons can only be seen as utter failure by the aaa. We even see league finishes as low as 17th place. That was in 1976. And the year before that we finished in 16th place. Is that what the aaa is referring to when they shout: “We want our Arsenal back!” ?

So which Arsenal do they want back?

Now we read a lot from the aaa fans that they have been supporting the Arsenal for xx years. Mostly something around 30-40 years.  Of course we at Untold have the luck to have a supporter who has lived in the 1930ties. So if he would shout: “I want my Arsenal back!” he could refer to the first golden era in our history.  But not many of the aaa were alive in those days so it can’t be that Arsenal they long for.  I never heard our senior resident shout that he wants his Arsenal back from the thirties. Maybe he does. He would be entitled to do this. One of the very few to want his Arsenal back.

So this table very much confirms what Tony wrote in his article. People just remember that one or two golden moments and forget the rest. A rest that was mostly bleak judged by the current aaa standards from today.

I think the truth is that thanks to or because of (depending on how you look at it) Wenger, we have been so spoilt with high league finishes that we take them for granted. I can imagine that in the seventies and sixties finishing second would have been looked upon as a great season. Now people are angry because we finished second and call it failure. And brush away league finishes in third or fourth place and call it miserable.

I think we have been spoilt by Wenger. In a way never seen before at Arsenal. And if you add to that the fact we built ourselves a brand new stadium that will be our home for the next century in those last 20 years…. That makes it even more amazing.

No money for the biggest part of those 20 years and still all the time in the top four. No other club has done this. Not even mighty Manchester United could do this. Or the oil and gas teams could with all their money.

And yet…still people moan about Wenger. And wait for the first point that will be dropped to call for his head again. While shouting: We want our Arsenal back!  Before calling Wenger’s head they first should say to us which Arsenal they want back.

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35 comments to We want our Arsenal back

  • Usama Zaka

    Good write-up Walter. Just to make somethings clear and give credit to creator of this infographic, here is the source

    The account’s name is @behnisch he is an Arsenal supporter.

    Also he posts a lot of infographics on various stats, such penalties, wages, UK currency, etc… So make sure to check it out.

  • Andy Mack

    I do have some really great memories of games in the 70s, 80s and pre-Wenger 90s. Especially the late 70s/early 80s when I went to a lot of away matches as well as most home games. But the great memories are great because they were quite rare. I saw some truly awful games where we had to celebrate winning a corner like it was a goal. Games where (in hindsight) I’d guess most of the team where suffering hang-overs, or so battered and bruised from the previous game that the idea of a serious run was scary for them. Away on a drizzling cold November (I think) at Ipswich where we lost 3-1 and were herded like cattle by the police (as usual), is a dreadful memory that will haunt me forever.
    Between the odd challenge for the league, we did do rather well in the FA Cup and many of my ‘non-gooner’ friends referred to us as a ‘Cup Team’.
    I’m so so glad we’ve moved above those day 🙂

  • Polo

    Not only AW had Arsenal always at the top end of the Premier League in the past 20 years, he also turned average players into good players, good players into great players, and great players into immortals. These are achievements AW haters seemed to forget.

  • HenryB

    There is not a lot that can be said about the perceptions of other fans — in that, the way other individuals see things and the way they choose to interpret how well or how badly the team, the manager or the club have performed, during the time they have been fans, will vary one from the other dependent on age, when they became supporters [pre or post Wenger] and what it is they base their opinions on.

    Almost anything that can be used as an explanation of why the team/manager have done well/badly can be used to justify the individuals opposing views, and it is called confirmation bias. By the nature of things those conflicting views, however wrong others believe them to be, are unshakeable.

    Best to let them be — there are more important things in life to do worry about, such as, where the hell am I going for lunch tomorrow.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Thank you Usama for letting us know who made that infopgraphic. I just seen it on the internet but didn’t know who to credit.
    Glad you could do this.

  • engram

    What is about right is that some bloke overseas who has supported Arsenal since 2008 via sreaming games thinks he can speak for the history of a club and it’s fans. This site is virtual reality and the reportage is unbalanced and poorly written and I bet it would make Wenger squirm if he read any of it. See – praise for Arsene!

  • Goonermikey

    I love the tables and for some less mathematical aaa’s it might be easier to explain them as follows:

    In the Wenger years we spent all of the time (100%) in the top four.

    In the previous 20 years we actually spent the majority of the time (55%) outside the top four.

    In the 20 years before that we only spent a quarter of the time (25%) in the top four whilst spending more time (40%) in the bottom half.

    And given the obsession some people have with our finishing fourth, it’s worth noting that AW has only finished 4th six times i.e. 30% of the time.

    He’s actually finished higher than 4th on 14 occasions i.e. 70% of the time.

    In the previous 40 years put together we only finished in the top 3 on six occasions i.e. 15% of the time. (Wenger has finished in the TOP TWO more often than that!

    It does beggar belief that people can criticise AW for his record……or that the media are so obsessed with the idea that we only finish fourth!!

  • Andy Mack

    engram, once again, Thanks for giving us the views of a simpleton.

  • MickHazel

    If you don’t like it here go elsewhere, I can assure you we will not miss you.

  • Polo

    engram is probably a little kid who gets bullied at school, he’s taking his frustration out on the Internet, so let him be.

    engram, go join a local martial arts school to help build your self-esteem, it could make your life happier.

  • insideright

    My theory is that those who ‘want their Arsenal back’ are those actually asking for some concept of ‘ownership’ (which they might have lost when they sold their shares to Kroenke for vast profit) or a feeling that they have can return to a time when they felt they had a greater ‘connection’ with the Club.
    The reality is that fans know a hundred times more about what’s going on behind the scenes than they ever did in the past and can communicate their feelings to like (or unlike) minded fellow fans infinitely more readily than was previously the case.
    Give a child a sweet and he wants the whole packet. Give him the packet and he wants the whole sweet shop.
    One or two such individuals sit near me and I have to say they are very sad individuals indeed.

  • ClockEndRider

    Great post Walter. I for one don’t want the dark days of the mid 70’s back. Standing in the freezing cold and pouring rain on the clock end, watching the likes of Terry Mancini and John Matthews drag out 0-0 draws against dross with no hope of a trophy. Or the days of the early 80s and losing at home vs Winterslag and then having to go to school in Tottenham country and get the Mick taken out fairly mercilessly Now of course it was much cheaper in those days -when I first started going it was 25p to get into the schoolboys ( and then bunk into the North Bank). But then again perhaps the stats set out display that you only get what you pay for!

  • Rantetta

    Well said Walter.

    … and Goonermikey.

  • WalterBroeckx

    “some guy from overseas” … do I smell some uncomfortable feelings against people who don’t live in England

    “who supported Arsenal since 2008…” sorry to tell you but my first match I saw live at the old Highbury standing in the old Norht Bank was in february 1979. A 0-1 home defeat against Wolverhamtpon Wanderers. But I fell in love with the losing team despite Wolves almost wearing the same colours as my local team from overseas.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Maybe Engram could enlighten us and tell us which Arsenal he wants back?

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Great write up Walter.
    Also a brilliant analysis gooner mikey.
    These aaa live in fools paradise.
    Infact Arsene Wenger should be credited for making Arsensl one of the biggest club on the planet but these idiots fail to understand.
    I believe they will realise the day Wenger leaves the club how much wrong they had been.

  • Nigel

    Great articles Tony and Walter. It sums the AAA up. I have had a look a few times recently at that odious forum that purports to be an Arsenal site and produces a magazine which years ago I stopped buying. Some of their regulars are so screwed up that their reasoning is warped. The hatred for Wenger shows no bounds and the loathing of the Emirates stadium crass. The players are not spared either and are insulted along with those who run the club. I loved Highbury but it became dated and we had to move on. They claim there is no atmosphere now but do they forget Highbury was often known as the library! I have been at both stadiums when the mood has been electric, at other times at both it could be passive, like any other ground.

    These people set themselves up as if they know all but in truth they know little. With the Premier League so competitive to stay near the top all these years has been a fantastic achievement but as you point out nothing short of winning it will do. Even then they would moan because that is all they can do. I remember when I was a boy these half a glass empty fans were about, and probably had more reason to be unhappy then, so it is a mentality that will never change.

    I am not saying that everything is perfect at Arsenal and that Arsene Wenger never makes mistakes. Of course he does, he’s human but to read the posts of these so called supporters you would think he is stupid and hasn’t got a clue. They even skit at Untold as if we are a bunch of fawning imbeciles but I remind them that we are the true supporters of Arsenal F.C. and love our club and accept fair criticism which is rendered in a proper way. I sometimes feel angry when I read what they have to say but then remember, you should feel pity for the inflicted. They have forgotten how to support. There are some on that site who try to keep the more hostile in check but it is a losing battle and suggest they come over to Untold where they will feel much more at home. It is also annoying when they sometimes come on here and insult Walter and Tony but that sums them up. One of their most despicable members nearly always finishes any post he does with ‘you couldn’t make it up.’ His hatred of modern Arsenal is pitiful. I can remember many years ago too but although I love the history of our great club I also enjoy the present and look forward to the future whatever it brings. What that will be I don’t know but one thing for sure is that Arsene Wenger will be revered by future generations like we do Herbert Chapman.

    Keep up the good work on Untold, by far the best Arsenal site there is.

  • Spartan

    Come on Walter let it go.Enough with the AAA , WOB etc.

    Off topic, I’ve just realised that i’ve been visiting untold for 8 yrs!!!From back in the days when it was

  • Jerry

    Great article Walter! This article is a great reference to have against those who want Wenger out.

    Also no point in wasting time with engram. For him, “overseas” is the other side of the street.

  • engram

    So Walter cannot find a local team to support in Belgium where there is plenty of football going on. Imagine a lot of it would be more fun than the slow burning exhibition soccer served up at the Emirates shopping mall that is apparently the creation of some accountant bloke who watched a couple of football videos in a shed in Monaco and was found out and then sacked. But please do not let the likes of me spoil your cultish delusions. You really are a very stressed bunch as is the bloke in the dug out who wrestles with a zip of all things.

  • para

    Who is engram?

    Sadly no one knows and no one will either, as engram also does not know.

  • Usama Zaka

    I wouldn’t say he’s troll, because trolls have leveled up their game a bit. He is a little bit short, with “a little bit of mind niggle”

  • Gord

    Earlier today (it is still Thursday for me), I seen a news headline that the Ladies were ahead 0-1. I actually thought that was the final score. I later learned the final score was 0-5. So, the Ladies hung a whoppin on Doncaster Belle’s. So to speak. 🙂

    Speaking of trolls, the infant one has been babbling about changing the World Cup to a 48 game format. How the heck are teams going to give players a reasonable break, if they expand?

    The Economist has a blog article about the corruption issue. It just looks like a good explanation of what has been said elsewhere. Nothing new seems to be presented.

    Harry Redknap was told by his dog to say that this corruption business is all overblown. I am sure glad that the dog has Harry so well trained. I wonder how the dog’s investments are doing? Harry is probably broke.

  • MickHazel

    I agree with Usama Zaka, engram is not like your normal troll.
    He is more like our very own court jester, he is too silly to be taken seriously and exists solely to bring us amusement.

  • Engram is the founder of scientology.

    I kid you not. I have evidence.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Do you guys remember the old joke about a couple of idiots who were expecting their fifth child ? They were worried and anxious when they heard that every fifth child born in the world was Chinese !
    BAM !
    Soon every fifth club in England will probably be Chinese ….owned !
    Or American , or Middle -East or Asian owned . So which Arsenal would yours be?

  • prick


    i sometimes still write in the url 😀

    I even have an email from Tony thanking me for supporting the site (which i kept as a trophy in my archive)

  • Brickfields Gunners

    And here’s some Asian humour –

    ” It’s a boy “, Mishraji shouted , it’s a BOY !” With tears rolling down his eyes, Mishraji came running out of the room .
    And never returned to Bangkok again !

  • Micko


    Actually it was Winterslag away that we lost, we actually managed to beat them at home!
    (we went out on away goals).
    But I agree with you that we don’t want to go back to watching that shit anymore.

  • Zuruvi

    Great article. And a very “intelligent” graphical presentation of the 20 years of Le Prof.
    Thanks Untold.

    This article needs to be given special prominence on the Untold website because many of us will need to refer back to it when the Wenger-haters speak or write their nonsense.

    Thanks Untold Arsenal.

    Long may Prof stay as our manager. We have been very lucky to have had his leadership of our team for the past 20 years.

  • Dazza

    Engram looks like a Spud

  • Emmanuel

    I think the Arsenal they want is the first ten years of Arsene Wenger and not 20 years before. I like some of Untold’s articles but this one does not cover the whole story.
    I am 23 and I have been an Arsenal Dan since 1999. I want my old Arsenal back. The Arsenal that were always seen as strong title contenders not the recent ones derided by the media. This season however, I have seen glimpses of my old Arsenal.

  • Emmanuel – that’s a fair point, but there are three explanations to be noted as to why the Arsenal you saw in the early days has taken a long time to recreate.

    The first is that the early Arsenal you saw was facing a league with clubs sponsored to degrees never seen before. Clubs that have enough money to buy anyone at any time.

    The second is that a lot of the money we had went to build the new stadium, and pay for the subsequent bank loans – and in countering the decline that virtually every other major club has suffered on going into a new stadium.

    The third is that as far as can be seen there was no consistent attempt to do down Arsenal through type three match fixing.

    So I’d agree with your wishes, but I think I’d say, “I want to go back to the world of 10 years ago”.

  • Andy Mack

    That period was created by Arsene Wenger (with some initial help from George Grahams back 5). You’d have to go all the way back to Herbert Chapman to find a similar level for our club. So you can see how difficult it is to find the right manager to do that. We’ve got the one that gave us the recent ‘strong contenders’ history who’s had to spend the last 3 years rebuilding a squad at a time when there’s more top competition than at any other time in recent history (say 50 years) and probably since the start of the football league.
    Hopefully he’ll stay long enough to get the benefits of his rebuilding but Whoever ends up replacing him will have a better base to work from because of him.
    We’ve seen amore than one major competitor having real problems since their successful manager left. We can’t guarantee our next manager(s) will be any more successful than those clubs.