By Tony Attwood
I was moved to ask that question on seeing these headlines turn up during a three and a half hour period yesterday following the Leicester defeat.
- Emery exposed as Arsenal embarrassed again & five tactical lessons from the Premier League…:
- Arsenal would get embarrassed in the Champions League – Wright: Leicester: that’s top four out for Arsenal’s bottlers:
- Arsenal need complete change – Top to bottom:
- Gary Neville predicts bad news for Arsenal & Man United:
- ‘They’ve been woeful’, ‘Going missing’ … Many Arsenal fans savage ‘average’ duo after Leicester loss:
- Ex-Chelsea ace’s damming comments about Unai Emery as Arsenal suffer Champions League blow:
- So wait, have we actually gotten any better?
- “Less than worthless”, “Another 0/10 performance” – Many fans fume at star who “sums up” Arsenal:
- Arsenal’s away record is embarrassing & success remains a long way off – Keown:
- Arsenal are softer under Unai Emery than Arsene Wenger – Tony Cascarino:
- Leicester 3-0 Arsenal: Emery’s timid approach condemns Arsenal to third successive defeat:
- “The biggest problem”, “Bottler” – Arsenal are being urged to act by loads of unhappy fans:
- ‘Simply wrong’ – Plenty of Arsenal fans fume over this man’s Leicester shocker:
- Goodbye top four’ … Many Arsenal fans in meltdown after flashpoint at Leicester:
And that was just in that one short period. Many of the same had come in before, and they are still being published as I write this. And you might notice in passing that some of these are by the same publication, not just wanting to publish a totally negative story once, but twice – in a three and a half hour period. And what I want to ask is, “What is the effect of all of this raging negativity on the various parties involved?”
But I also found myself pondering what was not said. For example that many of us stayed as the players came over to the away fans at the end of the game. Some applauded the players, some chanted the name of Leno who had an utterly outstanding game. Which then raises the point that few if any publications have actually commented upon this.
Ah, but yes, many of them are written by journalists who log off as the final whistle goes (if not before – I remember watching Alan Smith in the press box finishing writing 10 minutes before the end of one Arsenal game). Some are written by fans who were there, but not that many.
And moving on from that thought I started to ponder the different groups of people who could be affected by negative criticism, such as the players, Arsenal supporters who were at the game, those who were not, the management, supporters of other clubs and so on.
I don’t believe that the players are stupid – they know how a game has gone and they reflect upon it. So for them the negative criticism is rubbing it in, making them feel worse than they already did, and perhaps making them wonder why they are being blamed for some eccentric refereeing.
Those of us at the game would already have had our own feelings from the match – whether it was that the players were awful, that the ref was biased or incompetent, or that playing 60 minutes with ten men, and trying to go for an equaliser at the end was bound to be a risky affair.
But those who were not there – what do they make of this rampant negativity in which at least half a dozen publications published two separate articles tearing into Arsenal within a couple of hours of each other?
And each time I look at this issue I reach the same conclusion. The bloggers and the journalists are only writing for themselves, to cause further negative feelings, which cannot help the club.
Now we know that such an approach cannot help the club, because all of last season we had the same with the endless “Wenger Out” campaign. Yes it achieved the objective of removing Wenger and disrupting the club, and now it is likely to be doing the same again. After all, a player who has the chance of going to Arsenal or another club will surely think twice about Arsenal after seeing the publicity they get day after day from their own blogs and the press.
Tragically, instead of learning the lesson that remourceless, ceaseless negativity about the club merely makes things worse, these people just go on doing it over and over again. And now, having managed to force Mr Wenger out, they are piling the pressure on Mr Emery.
And I would ask, to what end? Getting rid of Mr Wenger hasn’t turned the club around, so why would getting rid of Mr Emery?
What is clearly an issue here is that Arsenal does not have the spending power of most of the clubs above them. And Arsenal is not going to get it under the current owner. Meanwhile there is no doubt that Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool are going to continue spending huge amounts this summer. Chelsea might not because of a) the absence of the owner and b) the transfer window ban (which is under appeal), and Tottenham might not because they have a stadium to pay for.
But three of those clubs will keep spending in a way that Arsenal’s owner could afford to support, but seems to have no inclination to support.
So the squad might change but we are not going to be bringing the sort of players Man C, Man U and Liverpool will be buying. What we will instead have, is abuse, more abuse, and then more abuse.
Ask yourself, if you were a top footballer who could have his pick between clubs, would you go to one in which players have been abused under two different managers across two seasons?
I suppose some people will answer “yes” to that, but I suspect most footballers will answer “no”. Worse, I suspect, from what I have seen, that Mr Emery is a very talented manager, but how much more of the abuse do you think he is going to take, when there are clubs all over Europe that would welcome him with open arms?
One day, sometime, the abuse has to stop. But I suspect we are a long way away from that point. The blogs and the journalists after all, only think of themselves.