How personal gratification and a desire for profit create the negative feel at Arsenal

By Tony Attwood

According to the banners and the chants when Mr Wenger left and a new manager was found the fans wanted and expected to get “our Arsenal back”.  Quite what that Arsenal was, was never made clear, but the chants of the away support at Fulham suggested that was the Arsenal they wanted back and they felt they had got it.

So how are we doing comparing with last year?   Here’s the league table at the same position in 2017/18

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 12 11 1 0 40 7 33 34
2 Manchester United 12 8 2 2 27 6 21 26
3 Chelsea 12 8 1 3 23 10 13 25
4 Tottenham Hotspur 12 7 2 3 20 9 11 23
5 Liverpool 12 6 4 2 24 17 7 22
6 Arsenal 12 7 1 4 22 16 6 22

Comparing that position last season with now we find

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Manchester City 12 10 2 0 36 5 31 32
2 Liverpool 12 9 3 0 23 5 18 30
3 Chelsea 12 8 4 0 27 8 19 28
4 Tottenham Hotspur 12 9 0 3 20 10 10 27
5 Arsenal 12 7 3 2 26 15 11 24

… we have two more points with two defeats from last season being turned into draws.   Goals are up by four, and goals against are one better.

So that is progress.  One game with “our Arsenal back” and overall a slight improvement on last season.

And what has been the response?   Certainly there is no barracking of the team or the manager in the ground of the type we had last season which suggests those in the ground might give the team a little more time.

But in the bloggettas and newspapers the professional moaners and whingers are heading back to normal.

In the summer every single player in the squad was described at different times by different writers as completely hopeless and the player that should be removed if Arsenal were to get anywhere.

We’re not replicating that at the moment, but a quick read through the commentaries and you’ll find that Arsenal fans (or sometimes “some Arsenal fans”) are demanding that two players are removed from the team now: Ramsey and Xhaka.

And I began to wonder, do such attacks have any impact?  I think we can say that they don’t do much good based on the evidence.  I can’t recall players attacked in this way either being dropped by the manager who takes the fans’ advice or being encouraged to play better.  Mostly players and manager seem to carry on, or the player gets worse.

Now we have had a number of players over the years who the fans picked on and who then clearly declined in their ability on the pitch.  I can’t prove a link but it seems likely there was one since it has happened a number of times.

But if these attacks don’t do any good, and don’t get the players to play better, why do people do it?   

Obviously one reason is for publications that count their readers and hope their readers will click on adverts, it is to get money.  I don’t know if that works, but there must obviously be some hope to that end.

However there is a second reason and that is personal gratification.  Analysis of the personalities of bullies shows that bullies tend to feel better when they have bullied.  But that feeling dissipates quickly so they have to bully again. It is a bit like drug taking – as is the fact that each hit lasts less time, and is less powerful.

So the bully comes back to do it again, and more so.   And to my mind, claiming that Xhaka and Ramsey are useless and the manager is a fool for not seeing it, particularly behind a hidden name on Twitter, is functionally just the same.

I have no doubt that if the sort of reaction we have just seen to Ramsey and Xhaka is continued then the club will continue at this level and not break out to return to the top four and trophies.  I also suspect that players will be quicker to leave, or more reluctant to come in the first place.

This is not a new thing at Arsenal.  It certainly happened to Jack Lambert in the late 1920s and early 1930s, a man who was the most sensational goal scorer as Arsenal rose to their pomp and brilliance.   And if you read the Arsenal history blog you’ll know that players have complained about it over the years, sometimes calling the Arsenal crowd the worst in the league because of this.

But now with the media feeding on this sort of approach there is probably no way out, which also probably means we are going to be set in a pattern of not making much progress.

Of course there is another problem – Arsene Wenger was by far the most successful permanent manager we have had in terms of percentage of matches won – which is itself extraordinary given the number of games he managed. And so any manager who is going to improve on that has to be the best manager the club has ever had since it joined the league in 1893.

That’s quite a challenge.


24 Replies to “How personal gratification and a desire for profit create the negative feel at Arsenal”

  1. My ego isn’t being massaged enough and I have to be associated with glory to make me feel better.

    Even though I have no professional knowledge, coaching qualifications or experience and no idea what happens behind the scenes I will pick on the players that I naively think don’t conform to the standards my ego expects, irrespective of whether that’s realistic or not.

    After all, we didn’t win our last game six nil and I watch the team on TV and sometimes even go to the ground so that gives me the ability and right to tell the manager what’s best in order to win every game.

  2. Considering how often you feel the need to bash the refs &other associations/persons/clubs etc, going by your logic, I guess its about personal gratification for you too.

  3. You can guess all you like Xplora but if you were to look back through our history (and it has been over 10 years) you will find clear explanations.
    We know from our analyses over 3 transfer windows that on average only 3% of transfers that are mentioned in blogs and the press actually come about. But a lot of the knocking is related to then suggesting that the player is leaving because he is no good and here who is going to be bought.
    What Untold has done is found a modest number of topics that other sources have not tackled and tried to bring them to the fore – on occasion with some success.
    These include the notion that Arsenal is the dirtiest team in the league (that was Sky reporting mythical red card numbers)
    The fact that the transfer rumours make any sense or are accurate
    The secrecy behind the PGMO and their way of operating
    The notion that Arsenal players get far more injuries than players of other teams, because of the training methods Mr Wenger used (they didn’t get more injuries)
    That match fixing of the type used in Italy is now only possible in England, because of the PL’s unique way of organising refereeing.
    The financial scandal of PSG and Man City which we started writing about 4 years ago

    And on and on. Spend some time looking around – you never know you might find it worthwhile. You might actually learn something too.

  4. Tony – you keep casting pearls before swine. The snorting will always be there. There is no reason to abuse or boo players because they don’t do what you think they should. What you need to do is show how you can do it better and play the game.

    The officials are damned aweful & I can do a better job without all the fake warm up before reverting to the blind mice Riley has trained. A bunch of corrupt select special cheats that have brought the game into disrepute. These cheats use radio communication that they keep secret (unlike Rugby officials) so that they can mask their corruption.

  5. @Tony, people complain/say things based on the perspective they see it, instead of taking their words as their honest view of things, you label them(AAA), impose agendas on them( like now you say they do it for profit/gratification. You complain too about many things yet you expect to be excused from the same labels? Why? Because we can check your history?(which by the way is full of flip flops for example on the injury story, you and Walter were the champions of the arsenal excessive injury issues, attributing ref non protection to be the cause, and blaming it for our non winning of titles). Have you checked the history of people you label AAA etc?

  6. Xplora, I disagree. I do accept that the things people say are their honest view of things; what concerns me is that their views are not logical nor based on such facts as we can find. I think for example you are confused over the injury story.
    The story I protested about was that Arsenal got the most injuries of any club in the PL because of the training methods of Mr Wenger. So two issues there: did Arsenal get the most injuries, and were such injuries as the club got the fault of the training methods?
    Untold launched what I believe was the first week by week injury league table something like eight years ago which showed that we did not have the most injuries. Later Walter did an analysis of the type of injury we got and related that to the lack of protection Arsenal players got from some refs.
    What I would admit is that sometimes the writing is not as clear as it might be: this is because we are trying to cover a lot of ground, and we get no salaries for doing this, we don’t have teams of reporters, editors or proof readers helping us, and we all have actual jobs and families that demand our time. So yes we make errors. But flip-flop – which implies jumping from one point of view to another without any reason, as the Times does in 1984, no I would disagree.

  7. @Menace, in your 1st paragraph you say there’s no reason to boo/abuse players, just go ahead and show them you can do better. I actually agree with you. I don’t believe in booing/abusing. But in your 2nd paragraph, you then go ahead to boo/abuse d refs. I’d have expected you to just get on with it and show them how to do a good job. Ditto for the FA, FIFA, UEFA and all the other guys you frequently rant about

  8. @Tony, actually that’s not true. You ran a series of articles(@least 7 of them) with stats upon stats telling us that arsenal had disproportionately high number of injuries, which Walter wrote articles attributing them to ref bias. And both of you agreeing that was why we weren’t winning anything (because we weren’t allowed to by pgmo). A few years ago when you started blaming the media for the injury stories, a commenter(whom you later banned, claiming he didn’t have to post on the open , he could have e-mailed you directly), went through the pains to dig up at least 10articles in the past and comments from you and Walter, clearly stating your position that arsenal were unfairly treated by pgmo resulting in an obscenely high number of injuries. Your excuse was that those articles were written based on statistics promised to Walter by one of your unnamed sources, and that Walter waited for those statistics which eventually never arrived. And I began to Wonder how someone can write a series of articles, making conclusions in advance of corroborating statistics.

  9. Xplora I just completely disagree with you. Let me take just one exaple, (I can only do one now because I have to start work)
    “we weren’t winning anything (because we weren’t allowed to by pgmo).”
    That is not the argument that I have wanted to put at all. It is of course possible that somewhere in the articles I have written, I have given that impression, and if so, sorry, but that is not what I believe.
    My feeling about referees is that by running the PGMO in a very particular way that is quite different from the way in which refereeing organisations are run elsewhere, there is a danger that corruption of the type we called “Type III match fixing” could come about and continue without being spotted.
    Further, there was no reason or benefit in running PGMO in the way that it is, with (for example) its limited number of referees and its utter secrecy which raises further suspicions. Plus, the claims for accuracy it makes cannot be sustained, as we showed in the 160 game analysis (still on this site, with its video evidence). Plus the fact that the mainstream media refuse to consider that there might be anything amiss with PGMO, and the fact that PGMO have for many years influenced what can and can’t be shown on TV.
    But if it is important to you to suggest that I have changed my mind, or said something that cannot be sustained, you are quite probably right. Personally I am always suspicious of people who never change their mind; I find them unresponsive to new evidence and counter arguments. If you want to call it Flip Flop fair enough, if that pleases you. I think that implies changing one’s mind day by day, but it’s your phrase.
    What I find the most interesting however is that you feel it is worthwhile to take up the argument at such length. It makes me wonder if I am not having more impact than I thought.

  10. I took the pains to make this argument for 2reasons
    1. I think it’s very wrong to label people all sorts of things because we don’t agree with them. Saying people criticize a players performance because they need personal gratification or they’re paid for it is only acceptable if you’re totally above board in that regarde. You say their opinions don’t tally with facts(isn’t that what you were saying when you were using “facts” in those articles to prove that we had excessive injuries? Wasn’t it facts you showed us that made you write an article some months back claiming Mustafi was the best defender in the league?). Even if their opinions don’t tally with your facts, you must then label them?
    2. I don’t understand how you can blame the media for everything, even for opinions you previously held. As recently as January 2014 you were writing an article saying the FA cup is a dead competition. Suddenly arsenal started winning it again, you began to rate the competition as important once more, fine, but then you go and claim, the media no longer rates the competition because arsenal is winning it, totally silent/denying the fact that even you considered it so when arsenal wasn’t winning it.
    Anyways cheers

  11. Daud – ever got a reply from the PGMOL? They are secretive and made up of selected individuals without any publicly available criteria. They deserve every level of verbal comment as they are non representative of any official sporting organisation. They do not cover the diverse culture, nationality or ethnicity of the population or the footballing players. They have plum puddings and more bergs than sank the Titanic representing the English game, and not a person of colour to brighten up the day.

    The PGMOL do not display any form of responsibility toward the public that pay to watch football. The radio communication between match officials is secret when it should be openly broadcast so that nothing underhand can be hidden in later reports.

    Whereas football players are contracted to a club, the PGMOL are not openly contracted to anyone. The publicly exposed corrupt individuals have been allowed to carry on officiating. There is no reliability in the honesty of their purpose nor of their intent.

    The media have allowed them to treat the game like a cash cow while encouraging foul play against teams of skill by using terms such as ‘in their faces’ and ‘cope with a good kicking’ or the diplomatic ‘robust tackle’. Incidentally the Laws of The Game do not allow ‘Robust Tackles’.

    Where it is deserved it is given.

  12. I find it a real shame that people are using our relative success as a stick to beat Wenger with, as opposed to using it as praise. Of course a huge amount of credit must be given to Unai, but it was the foundation laid by Wenger that allowed Unai’s tactical mind to really get the most out of our players.

  13. @menace, so in other words we should just forget about you saying booing isn’t reasonable. Once you can rationalize it, go ahead and boo anyone and anything to your heart’s content.

  14. Daud…..there are mechanisms in place to evaluate and correct officials’ performances and fitness to officiate. Each match is reviewed by an assessor appointed by the PGMOL, or if it is a FIFA list referee/assistant, then the FIFA assessor does the assessment. The officials meet with the assessor after the match and receive feedback on their individual performances. They are then given a grade (usually from 1-10 with 10 being a top score). These scores are averaged over the season and officials falling below a certain threshold ( which THRESHOLD the PGMOL does not reveal publicly) are removed from the EPL. Booing officials is part of the exercise of free speech but does absolutely nothing to either change or improve the officials’ collection or personal performances. The PGMOL is independent from the EU, the FA, the EPL, FIFA, the Ministry for sports or any league/club, sports entity or organisation for that matter. They cannot nor should not be affiliated in any way with a club in the league(s) they officiate in, but they can support a club as a spectator, like anyone else. They basically answer to no one nor do they concern themselves with the supporters, managers, owners or league’s interests other than to provide a service for the proper tenure of a Football match. This is the way it has always been and must continue to be, however they cannot be immune to criticism nor secure from any questioning of their conduct, abilities, fitness to be an official or involvements with parties unfit to be associated with Football. When there are serious doubts about one or a group of officials, based on continued failings, inexplicable errors and possible incompetence, expressed by those whose knowledge of the Laws and the game of Football are held in high esteem and who have no reason to normally to show concerns, then they must be observed and investigated by an outside body or bodies who are neutral and objective. This is where investigative reporting comes in and where ex-officials, retired managers, competent authorities in FIFA, EUFA and government/ public representatives (MP’s, police, Interpol, etc.) can raise concerns and have them investigated without being accused of prejudice, bias or partiality.

  15. @OMG, I totally agree with you. I don’t believe in booing players or officials, however I believe there are proper channels for fans, clubs to relay grievances concerning performance of players/ officials to their assessors. We’ve had players who I believed were far below arsenal standard (Santos) the manager assessed them and adjudged them good enough. I believe menace and many on untold feel the officials are not good enough, the league management agency probably feel otherwise. Ultimately the pgmo is answerable to the premier league as regards officiating standards. If the clubs are not satisfied, then something will be done eventually.

  16. Daud I am not sure the clubs have that much power over PGMO. PGMO exists as a separate limited company, and it is contracted to provide refs for matches. One or two clubs feeling hard done by won’t be able to do anything. I don’t know what the rule book says but I suspect it would take a 75% majority to pass a vote of no confidence in PGMO.

  17. @Tony, isn’t that the case in any endeavor? 1 or 2 out of 20 shouldn’t be able to make such decisions. Majority have to be dissatisfied. If only 1 or 2 are, then by and large the organization is doing well enough. Its for those dissatisfied to lobby/ convince the others that something is wrong

  18. If I contract a company to provide certain services and pay them for it, then I have power. If I judge them to be delivering below the standard expected, I can always chose to seek other options on expiration of the contract tenure

  19. This is indeed the way it works. But if you look in other areas – for example in most civilised societies – you have special protection for minorities.
    My point throughout has been that PGMO runs refereeing in the Premier League in a way that is different from most major leagues in Europe, but in a way that is very similar to the way it was run in Italy before the carpaccio scandal. It also puts out statistics about its work which seem to be completely out of kilter with our “160 games” analysis. And it is a totally secret society. That is enough to make me suspicious. Clearly the majority of the league go along with PGMO, but because there is no discussion and no openness we don’t know why.

  20. Daud: Providing there are other options which are wholly independent from your first supplier. When there is a monopoly supplier or there are several suppliers all acting in the same way, then you are powerless. When you are a minority buyer and most of the other buyers collect together to put any radical alternatives out of business, you have no power.

  21. You’re totally correct Tony. In that situation I’d suggest the buyer(league) informs the public that it’s aware the services rendered do not meet required standards, but it’s constrained by lack of alternative. That leaves the public to either put pressure on the monopolistic supplier, or support development of alternatives.

  22. Daud……this has all been tried before; former officials complaining to the authorities ( the FA) about the PGMOL, consistent complaints from many managers and players about the poor officiating and the unusual organisation of the PGMOL (they were fined for criticizing the PGMOL, by the FA), supporters groups (not just AFC) demonstrating in front of their stadiums (ignored by everyone, media, PGMOL and the authorities), a petition signed by thousands of Gooners demanding that certain officials NOT be assigned to Arsenal games (ignored by the EPL, the FA and the PGMOL), the former head of the PGMOL, Keith Hackett, publicly criticizing them and saying that things weren’t right in that organisation ( media,PGMOL, the FA and the EPL never blinked an eyelash), the Ministry of Sports MP publicly calling for an investigation of the FA, the PGMOL and the management of Football generally in the UK, (stillborn and now an annual non-event), Interpol actually indicating that the standards for keeping the game free of unwelcome criminal characters and unfit owners are not being properly applied by the British FA…..and I could go on. It is equally tragic, infuriating and comical as even the papers have stated that had Arsenal been treated fairly by officials, they would have finished much higher than they did over the last few years. When supporters, fans, club administrators etc. complain, they are branded as cry-babies and moaners. You can’t win as the game is fixed.

  23. @Omg, I didn’t say fans/managers/players complaining. Why should their complaints carry any weight? For one, pgmo is not contracted to provide services by them. And 2, we all know fans/managers/players will whine and look for anyone and anything to deflect blame onto(sorry but que Arsenal Wenger, Mourning). I was talking about the premier league making this complaint. For the reasons that 1. They pay the pgmo 2. Before there is such a complaint, there would have been a discussion on the ref performances (probably instigated by aggrieved parties) this will prompt objective and wholistic discussion, such that any resolution cannot be seen as the product of a loser looking for scapegoats

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