By Tony Attwood
The attacks continue. Here’s one recently published on a blog…
“I have been watching Arsenal since I was nine years old and I am 61 now. I have been going since long before England won the World Cup and been a season ticket holder for over 40 years. I have witnessed the end days of Bertie Mee, Terry Neill and George Graham and I can honestly say I have never felt as low as I do watching Arsenal this season. Under Arsene, I feel devoid of hope and he is slowly killing the massive passion I have for my club.”
So reads a blog. One of the many attacks that are published daily. Attacks on Mr Wenger, on the management of the club, and on some of the players. Not always the same players each week, but always on some players.
And I’d like to consider this writer, who I don’t know but who has had a similar journey with Arsenal to that which I have. I don’t know why he feels “so devoid of hope and he is slowly killing the massive passion I have for my club,” but whatever the reason it is nothing to do with Mr Wenger and the players. It is primarily to do with him. Let me explain how I know that.
Unlike the people who write in each day (I don’t publish their comments when I get to the site in time to deal with them, but occasionally some get through) saying that they know what I think, I don’t know what the writer of this article thinks. I just know about the feelings he describes, and I can show you that they are not justified by Arsenal’s performances.
He would have started around 1965 or 1966. What did he see?
In what follows I am leaving out the Wenger years, because this is obviously the worst of the Wenger years. But this writer has seen all the other seasons and this is the worst. So let’s see what he saw in the earlier years. First this season thus far, and then a selection of some of the choice seasons this writer has seen…
He has seen at least 15 seasons which could be argued to be worse than the current season (I’m not including the European competition because we don’t know where that will end). In eight of these seasons we ended up with FEWER WINS from 42 games than we have already achieved with 33 games. And yet this makes him feel the worst?
In four of which we were knocked out in the earliest round of the FA Cup but didn’t have the compensation of getting to the final of the League Cup. And this was the worst in terms of his feelings.
Seasons in which we didn’t end up 6th but ended up 12th, 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th. And let me remind you, in those last two we were serious contenders for relegation for a while. And this in terms of his feelings was worse than those seasons?
In 12 of which we scored fewer goals in 42 games than we have scored already in just 33 games. And yet this is the worst?
And then there are the crowds. The writer adds, “It is not just me that is sick of seeing us drift into mediocrity. We are playing in front of 40k at best for most of the games at the Emirates lately.” I think he underestimates, but even so this is a massive improvement on what we played in front of at Highbury in these times. From crowds under 10,000 to regular crowds way under 30,000. Just look at the crowds recorded in the Arsenal History Society series on Arsenal in the 70s.
This is a bad time compared with the glorious times of the earlier Wenger years, but it is nothing – I will repeat NOTHING – like the horror shows we have had to put up with in the earlier periods of this writers life. And yet he tells us this is the worst he has felt.
So what does this attack do for Arsenal and its players? Especially when you remember this is what the club and its team is getting 30 or 40 times a day from the blogs and the newspapers? We can argue whether it actually affects them, but I suspect it is very hard to put together an argument that says it actually improves the club or its players.
Arsenal like every team has its ups and downs. Having won the FA Cup three times in four years we are having a down season. I know that, as I too am a season ticket holder. I wish we were not as we are at the moment.
But this sort of whinging and whining with its claim that the writer feels more down than at any time, doesn’t do us any good. All it tells us is that for some psychological reason we are not privy to, the writer didn’t get that upset when we were close to relegation, or letting in more goals than we scored, or losing more games than we won. But now he is.
That’s the prime issue – why the writer feels more upset about this than about earlier times and he tells us about it and seems to blame the manager. He might wish to consider why he is depressed, but to justify his upset by implying it is Arsenal’s fault is simply a cop out. That’s not the cause at all, because as the results above show, we are nowhere near the level that we have been at other times in his period of supporting the club.
The problem is in himself, and yet he blames Arsenal. That is the simple fact that tells us quite a lot.