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June 2021

Do you have to be passionate to be a football supporter? A note to the psychologist.

Dear Billy,

How you doing?

Given the number of people who wrote in after my piece this morning and said they won’t be reading Untold again, I suspect we’re now down to just us few regulars.  Just us four then.

Hope you’re doing ok.   It’s a beautiful if windy day here in the East Midlands.  What’s it like on the North Circular?

You probably missed it, but after my last article we got a lot of suggestions that I’m in the employ of Arsenal, and that I’m not a real fan because I don’t feel anger or frustration about yesterday’s match.  All because I wrote a piece that suggested that complaining about Arsenal on radio phone ins doesn’t actually lead to an improvement in performance, but rather is much more likely to lead to further problems on the pitch and with recruitment and retention.

Reflecting on this I wonder about “passion” which as a psycho (sorry, psychologist) you’ll know all about.  Certainly the difference in passion in the ground even between the upper north where I used to sit, and the upper east where we all now sit, is huge.  From what I understand from Blacksheep as we compare notes after the matches, the lower north is far more emotional again.  Front row upper east: very refined.

Yes I leap up, shout, wave the old arms around a bit and jump up and down when we score, sometimes quite a bit showing the old nimbleness of foot is still there, but shouting abuse during the game… that’s never quite been my scene.  At least not since my early 20s.

Now from what I remember of our conversations when we used to meet on the allotments, the general feeling among psychos like you is that emotions are an extremely complex issue, with most of them being on a continuum.  Joy-sadness, anger-fear, trust-distrust, surprise-anticipation, that sort of thing.

I do remember you said that a lot of people who get a long way along the annoyance – anger – rage – spectrum do defend those feelings or emotions as being wholly understandable, and indeed the right response to have.  People who don’t appear to be subject to such emotions tend to be seen by those who do as lacking, not real people, not fully engaged, not manly, not BRITISH!

I also remember you pointed out that most of the aliens in Star Trek had no emotions but were always defeated by an illogical response from Captain Kirk.  Oh those were fun days, when life was much simpler than now…

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Of course people can deal with such emotions in many ways, and as you said, the more we can manage the negative emotions but still experience the positives, the happier life is.  Certainly I’d concur with that.

Trouble is, when Arsenal give us all a real boost, as with the early days of Wenger; those two Doubles, and the Unbeaten Season, and recently the second run of three FA Cups in four years, then we get knocked down again.  It is very frustrating.

Mind you, so is being accused of having a job that I don’t have.  Next thing I know the Revenue and Customs will be sending me summons notices for not having declared an income from Arsenal FC.  I can just see it, demands for the tax on the £50,000 I’ve been earning each year for deflecting attention of supporters away from the club’s poor performances.  Oh to have such power.  Mind you, oh to have the extra £50k as well.

Anyway, Untold’s gone now – or at least Untold’s audience has gone, and it’s just you and me.  And of course Blacksheep (although he’s somewhere in France just now, giving advice on sorting out the criminal fraternity no doubt).  Walter and Andrew are still with us, and Bulldog is still champing at the bit.  And it is nice when Ian, James and the lads travel by train and invite me along – especially as they always bring sandwiches.  Mind you I hear Sir Hardly was arrested again for duelling on the foreshore of Rutland Water.  Hopefully they’ll let him out soon so we can finish off the transfer window gibberish.

Anyway, that’s about it.  Everyone else has gone to a place where anger is expressed and there’s less of this reserved consideration of the outcomes of actions.   I’m going to spend the evening dancing in the Pump Room in Royal Leamington Spa; it feels about right for a man of my refined tastes.

I’m told by my mates at the BBC that they can’t wait for the next Arsenal defeat; audience figures are expected to go through the roof.  I suspect TalkSprout think much the same although I haven’t talked to them since I did that show on Arsenal’s History.

Speaking of which, I do now have the extra evidence about the great match fixing scandal which directly led to Arsenal’s election to the first division.  It’s quite good fun.

If only I really did work for the club I’d be able to ensure that we could have a proper celebration of 100 years in the top league, and I could release the new stuff then.  But they wouldn’t do anything about my notion of a monument to the Chapman – Shaw – Allison – Whittaker years.  So I suspect nothing doing this time either.

Anyway, do keep running the anger management classes.  Hope the allotment is well.  Regards to Dennis.


PS: You can check out William Hill’s Football section and head to fixture’s page here


28 comments to Do you have to be passionate to be a football supporter? A note to the psychologist.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Tony , please note me down as another who did not get angry and grumpy , nor went out of my way to piss off some other fan.
    Was like most rather gobsmacked, flabbergasted and bewildered with our game.
    Have got it out of my system and looking forward to much better performances from the Arsenal.
    Up the Gunners !
    Always and forever !

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Although Le Prof has appeared to be more interested in selling his fringe Gunners at this last stage of this summer window than to sign more top quality players for Arsenal after he has signed Kolasinac and Lacazette early in the transfer window. But with the recent 2 Premier League game defeat setbacks Arsenal have suffered away at Stoke and the very recent Gunners dismal 4-0 lose to Liverpool at Anfield last Sunday, it has become necessary for Le Prof to reconsider his stance not to do more top quality player signings for Arsenal to further reinforced his first team squad this summer before the current summer transfer window closes on Thursday this week.

    To buttresses my opinion in this regard of Le Prof doing more signings this window before it closes, I will suggest if it’s true that buyers are lurking around Arsenal to price away Sanchez, Mustafi and Chamberlain from them for a likely combined sum of £130 – 140m in outgoing transfer fees, my advice to Le Prof and Arsenal then is they should close their eyes and sell them. I believe Arsenal are already aware of the implications of holding on to Sanchez and Chamberlain in particular this summer if they refuse to extend their staying at Arsenal.

    As Gunner goes Gunner comes and Arsenal remain, Le Prof can use some of the transfer money made from the sales of these trio to try by all possible incoming transfer efforts to sign Virgil van Dijk and Thomas Lemar as replacements for Mustafi and Chamberlain if they leave. There won’t be any need for Le Prof to sign another player before the current window closes to replace Sanchez if he leaves since he has already signed Lacazette

    Finally, if Le Prof can pull these two further incoming transfers for Arsenal on or before Thursday this week despite the today’s media reports saying £55.5m bidding fee has been summited by Liverpool to sign the Thomas Lemar Le Prof has pursued all summer, no Gooner will rise up against Le Prof this summer again because the Gooners’ would have seen he has done very well for Arsenal on the transfer front this summer .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Medicine the best laughter.

    *Who says we don’t exercise?*

    *We ‘Jump’ to conclusions*

    *We ‘Throw’ our weight around…*

    *We ‘Twist’ the truth…*

    *We ‘Stretch’ the lies…*

    *We ‘Bend’ the rules…*

    *We ‘Push’ our luck…*

    *We ‘Lift’ our egos…*

    *We ‘Run’ from tough situations…*

    *We are absolutely fit…!!!*

    *But still, we’re fat because…..we eat our words*

  • Oludotun

    I deliberately avoided sites and the media generally after yesterday’s defeat…. I only imagined what the comments would be like.

    Your article this morning simply expressed the truth a hunch of Arsenal fans seem to miss – rants does no help to the team performance. It has not changed things, and will never.
    It actually creates a negative energy around the team.

    I was very very disappointed with the performance yesterday – should I now go on angry about it? No.
    It goes to show how fickle-emotioned a lot of fans are – hurray at the Cup final and Community Shield, but Wenger-out with 3 games into the season.

    I thought adversity brings out the best – not for some fans I guess.

    A lot looks to be unravelling between now and 31st August…. Support the team and see how things progress in the season.

    PS: Media rants have been about Wenger-out but this same guy maintained top-level with kids.

  • para

    As someone said, if you want to live in London you have to pay the higher costs of living there.

    It’s sure starting to look like CL and PL land are a little bit like London and EL and FA land, well the rest of the country.

    Has Arsenal decided to stop spending money it does not have and move from “London” in order to have a better life with the resources it does command?

    Some say Arsenal, has the money to live in London, but is just “cheap” and wants to save it. Once apon a time this was being “thrifty” but i suggest this word is not known anymore, especially by youth, ahd has probably been removed from the dictionary, not by any one person but by natural not-use of the word, it has been forgotten by all except those last few remaining old dinos who still remember when Arsenal used to “big it up” in London, attracting the glamour and lights of “success”.

    Arsenal, caught in that age where things around it just seem to get stranger and more stranger, while the things one knew steadily disappear as if sucked into some invisible vortex, a moment ago here, the next gone.

    Those who “subscribed” to Arsenal, (“subscribed to” is the modern word for being a supporter/fan, those two words also missing from the dictionary), and just the other day i had someone ask me, what is a dictionary?

    I explained what it was.

    The answer was; But that’s stupid writing it all down in a book, when we have the “net” that can tell you the meaning in a few clicks.

    So i had to explain that there was a time when there was no “net”.

    “You’re having me on Grandad” was the cheeky response from my grandson, you’re telling fibs now.

    Then i woke up to realise i was having one of those dreams in the midday sleep that the “dinos” tend to need more and more.

  • Bloggs

    Give it up Tony ( Arsene) you can only spin it for so long you have been found out! Even you have admitted that you would not support Arsenal if a northern oik such as Pullis or Fat Sam were to be appointed as manager you are a self loathing egotistical delusional moron. Anyone with half a brain can see where all the problems are apart from you! Go now Arsene is the likely message. Still waiting for OMG the gun tooting Canadian!!! Where are you ?

  • Dom

    It takes all sorts to support a team.
    When I first came to the UK at the tender age of 7 not speaking a word of English I lived with my Godmother’s family in Leam. Spa and quickly understood that I had to be a Man U supporter.Saw them relegated, promoted, winning more than they lost but I was never very excited by their style of play.More than a decade later doing my military service back home i was quite taken with St Etienne (France)and enjoyed their stylish football.Back in the Uk a few years later I lost all interest with Man U even with the arrival of Cantona from Leeds. Years of success but with a style of football that didn’t really titillate my tastebuds left me with no real enthusiasm for the game until a mate told me that the ‘boring’ Arsenal was getting a new manager from Monaco. I started watching the Gunners and quite quickly realised I was watching a side that could and would infuriate me but that would never be boring. And God was i right !
    Win or lose I’ll sing or rant but never will i regret the choice I made.
    As an ‘outsider’ I see that

  • goonersince72

    Several media outlets are reporting Oxlade-Chamberlain to Chelsea is a done deal. Getting his phys. If he turns up in blue I’ll believe it. However, if true, why did AW play him? And play Bellerin out of position again to accommodate a player who rejected a contract offer and he’s about to sell? And the players he bought started on the bench. After the Liverpool match and this news I’m bewildered, to say the least, and perhaps several more adjectives. Passionate? I’ll let the experts decide.

  • Dom

    As an ‘outsider’ I see that the Press and the pundits are working hard to get rid of AW, not because he’s lost it, but because both he and the Arsenal have achieved certain records that will take a long time to equal ! Jealousy runs deep in the PL.

  • Scuba


    Our transfer strategy almost never makes sense, at least from where I’m sitting. I’m going to reserve judgement until the window shuts on Thursday, but I think we’ve needlessly put ourselves into an awful position by letting so many contracts run down. Hopefully there’s a plan, and a good one, but I doubt it. We’re terrible at this player management thing.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    The reason why I think Le Prof played the Ox against Liverpool yesterday and played Bellerin out of position at left wingback is because he wants to impress the Ox he will be playing and starting him regularly as a right wingback if he agreed to stay at Arsenal beyond this summer. In fairness to Le Prof, he didn’t want the Ox to go but since the Ox is adamant not to extend his contract at Arsenal beyond this summer, the sensible thing for Arsenal to do is to cash in on his leaving them this window to avoid losing him on the free next summer. And they’ve just done the right thing as media reports suggest Chelsea have agreed fee with Arsenal for the transfer of the Ox to Stanford Bridge. My kudos to Arsenal. If the same situation plays out in the case of Sanchez, my hopes are Arsenal will also cash in by allowing him to leave too. No hell will break loose at the Emirates Stadium if Sanchez lesves Arsenal this summer. More so, as Arsenal cannot afford his high wage demands that could make him to extend.

  • Hesbee

    Being a fan is like being married, for better for worse they say. It took a demolition for Chelshit to kick off last season, ironically by Arsenal. I’m grateful for the international break, let’s come back and go full throttle. COYG.

  • MickHazel

    The club have been trying to negotiate new contracts with Sanchez, Ozil etc for over a year now. There was 2 years left on their contracts when negotiations began. If the players refuse the terms offered during those talks and decide to run the contracts down Arsenal can hardly be accused of ‘putting ourselves into an awful position by letting so many contracts run down.’ What is Wenger supposed to do, hold a gun to their heads and force them to sign.

  • Scuba


    The club never should have allowed those contracts to get below two years in the first place. That summer, with two years remaining, is the time to begin reinforcing the squad with potential replacements for those players, instead of beginning the process. If they wouldn’t extend last season, they should have been moved by this point in the summer, and replaced, if the club hadn’t already.

    The amount of players we’ve allowed to run down their contracts is absurd. Well run clubs manage their assets better than this. If they won’t extend, go to plan B. Don’t blindly hope that they’ll have a change of heart, and do nothing just in case they do. We’re now left with four days to move and replace several core members of this squad, or lose them for nothing in 9 months.

  • colario

    Brickfields Gunners
    28/08/2017 at 5:46 pm

    Medicine the best laughter.

    *Who says we don’t exercise?*

    *We ‘Jump’ to conclusions*

    *We ‘Throw’ our weight around…*

    *We ‘Twist’ the truth…*

    *We ‘Stretch’ the lies…*

    *We ‘Bend’ the rules…*

    *We ‘Push’ our luck…*

    *We ‘Lift’ our egos…*

    *We ‘Run’ from tough situations…*

    *We are absolutely fit…!!!*

    *But still, we’re fat because…..we eat our words*

    Dr. Brickfields. One of your best. 🙂

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Liverpool £64.4m bid for Thomas Lemar their 2nd bidding within days has been rejected by the over greedy AS Monaco according to media reports. How much does Monaco want then before they will allow Lemar to go? £70m? Absurd! Isn’t it? But will Liverpool return with a crazy 3rd bid of £68.4m in my imagination for Lemar to see if Monaco will agree to sell? Or will they switch their attention to Arsenal’s Oxlade Chamberlain to hijack the deal that’s still in progress from Chelsea with a higher bid of £40m than the reported £35m Chelsea have agreed with Arsenal but the Ox is reported yet to agree terms with Chelsea? I wish Liverpool bidding to sign Lemar will collapse so that Le Prof and Arsenal will not be embarrassed for failing to actualised Lemar signing this summer. But I will not mind if Liverpool out bid Chelsea for the Ox and the Ox agrees to join them if Liverpool offer him a better deal terms than Chelsea. But if wishes are horses, beggars will ride in Paradise.

  • Al

    You win some, you lose some.. life goes on. We walloped Chelsea at this stage last season 3-0 (only 1 goal less than our margin of loss yesterday) but they went on to win the league..

    As some have already pointed out, many parties would want Wenger gone for different reasons, some of which may be jealousy. I saw an Arsenal “fan” asking people to retweet the Wenger out hashtag. When someone asked why his answer was it’s been 10yrs+ mate. 10 years of what exactly? Which club has won 6 trophies in last 4 years? Arsenal. What has Tottenham and Liverpool (sides being lauded in the media) won in last 10yrs? 1 league cup each, 2008 & 2012 respectively. Yet we get told it’s Arsenal, a club with 6 trophies in the last 4 seasons, who are hopeless. If that’s what it means, 6 in 4, to be hopeless then may our next 4 years be like the last 4. I’ll take it. Yes it’d be nice to win the league but if our next 4 years result in another 3 FA cups and 3 shields then I will take that.

    It’s not very difficult to see this is it.
    Why can’t some people open their eyes, rather than allow themselves to be manipulated by the likes of Murdoch? Anyway the bottom line is people are stupid. A lot of them are. That’s why ignorant people like trump end up being leaders of powerful nations like the US, while some become billionaires through others’ sweat.. . unfortunately not many realise this.

  • tobi

    I’m one for stability and level headedness but anyone who calls another fan stupid is actually the stupid one who can’t make his or her case without using the S word,it shows a lack of intelligence but I guess you are the wisest.

  • Pat

    Arsenal – 6 trophies in the last four years.

    Liverpool and Tottenham – a league cup each.

    Well, Al, thanks for that – to me that says it all about how irrational all this negativity is – both from the media and from some fans – I repeat, SOME fans.

    Roll on the Bornemouth match with the transfer window out of the way. Roll on the rest of the season.

  • Hesbee

    Thought the FA Cup, League Cup and C Shield aint trophies if Arsenal wins them.

  • goonersince72

    If players do not want to be at AFC then AW should accommodate them. Having said that, the manager should be (and probably is) asking himself why they don’t want to stay. The day he signed Ozil was one of the best I’ve enjoyed as a supporter outside of winning titles and Cups (love the FA Cup). The guy setting up Ronaldo for a 50 goal season, playmaker on the World Cup winning Germany side. Sanchez signing also terrific. People are speculating that they’re leaving because they’re frustrated. Probably so. Who wouldn’t be?
    Who wouldn’t be? The other 23 members of the senior squad. How many in the squad are at their level? Cech, maybe still. Period. Lacazette may come good, too early to tell. Ozil & Sanchez were probably convinced AW would be adding that level of talent every season and in every position in the squad, not just attack. Hasn’t happened. The reasons that has not happened are not as important as the fact that it hasn’t happened. And the idea that a player in the last year of his contract is going to fight hard for the shirt or his next contract is rubbish. Bad season? ‘One off, he was just waiting to get out of Arsenal. Understandable’. That’s what the buyers and pundits will say. The current state of the squad was years in the making. There is no quick fix. For those hoping the last few days of the transfer will change things…good luck with that.

  • omgarsenal

    Hey Bloggs…..I see they let you out of your cage for a promenade. Aside from your pathetic syntax and grammar, anyone with half a brain can see that you are the problem and that you’ve confused real supporters and Arsenal people with those who care about your opinions. I suggest you crawl back into LeGrovel’s sewers and wait for the next Arsenal defeat to slither out into the daylight.

  • OlegYch

    around this time last year chelsea lost in a similar fashion to arsenal and then went on to win the league, so i don’t understand what all the fuss is about
    though we are making a habit of loosing disastrously to liverpool, which makes you ponder a bit

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    It looked to me that the boss was very preoccupied about the end of the transfer window. Klopp had read into Wenger’s mind and had the perfect plan to beat us. Very disappointed, but not angry. If anything, I am angry with the fans who, rather than give constructive criticism to the culpable players, have instead resorted to name calling. I was far more angry for what happened against the potty potters because we deserved to win that game.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    When you hear only what YOU want to hear !

    President Donald Trump and his driver were cruising along a country road one night when all of a sudden they hit a pig, killing it instantly.

    Trump told his driver to go up to the farmhouse and explain to the owners what had happened. About one hour later Trump sees his driver staggering back to the car with a bottle of wine in one hand, a cigar in the other and his clothes all ripped and torn.

    “What happened to you?” asked Trump

    “Well, the Farmer gave me the wine, his wife gave me the cigar and his 19-year-old daughter made mad passionate love to me.”

    “My God, what did you tell them?” asks Trump

    The driver replies, “I’m president Donald Trump’s driver, and I just killed the pig.”

  • Brickfields Gunners

    A University professor wrote an expressive message to his students at the doctorate, masters and bachelors levels and placed it at the entrance in a university.
    And this is the message;

    *”Collapsing any nation does not require the use of atomic bombs or the use of long range missiles. It only requires lowering the quality of education and allowing cheating in the examinations by the students.”*

    The patient dies in the hands of such doctors.

    And the buildings collapse in the hands of such engineers.

    And the money is lost in the hands of such accountants.

    And humanity dies in the hands of such religious scholars.

    And justice is lost in the hands of such judges…

    *”The collapse of education is the collapse of the nation.”*

  • Chris

    Trivia question because I don’t have the time to search for the answer myself
    Can someone tell me when we last had an ‘early season breakdown’ and how often this has happened since Mr Wenger is coaching ?

  • Chris


    right on mate. To me it looks like ‘AW out’ is some kind of ‘media-bullying-rallying-point’ that is brought out to get clicks and revenue.
    And the day Le Professeur calls it quits, they’ll be crying because they have lost their ‘raison d’être’ and won’t have anyone to go after.

    As for the game…well there was no team for AFC on the field. Just guys not doing their job as a team. I believe that this transfer window closing after the start of the season is just a way to f…k up players minds and what we saw was the result of that to some extent. How can a team have any coherence when 3 or 4 of the players in it are in their mind hoping, plotting, worrying they may be going or not going somewhere else ?

    And I am absolutely not feeling sorry for guys earning my years wages in a few days of their work.