Ceaselessly abusing Arsenal players while winning 3-1 can’t be good for any of us.

By Tony Attwood

It is of course not just the media that constantly attack Arsenal players and seek to undermine them by suggesting that the current crop of players are no good, will soon be sold and that new players will be brought in.

For there are some people who sit near me in Arsenal stadium who constantly abuse Arsenal players throughout the match.   And they do it even when we are in a match where the players need our support and are by and large in the process of getting a fairly decent result.

And I wonder why they do it.

Clearly, abusing players on the pitch by shouting out the player’s name and then describing the player or his abilities in the sort of language that I don’t care to write or say is unlikely to do anything for the players.  Very, very few people respond well to extreme criticism, of the “Maitland-Niles you are a total ****” variety.

And to be clear it wasn’t just Maitland-Niles who has been getting that sort of abuse of late.  In one recent game it continued all the way through the 94 minutes and at one time or another incorporated every player on the pitch – even those on the pitch who had been doing (in the Europa game at the Arsenal Stadium, for example) rather a lot to help us on our way.

Indeed if someone spoke to me in that way, I don’t think it would encourage me to redouble my efforts.  I might be able to shrug the abuse off, or it might upset me, but it wouldn’t result in my working harder or trying to do better.  Most likely it would distract me, or make me more tense – either or both of which would result in a worst performance on my part, whether I was playing football, writing an article, playing the piano or anything else.

So why do these people do it?

Partly I guess it is habit.  It is just what they do.  A sort of non-thinking, mindless response to having no power to influence events that one would like to influence.

But mostly I think it must be done because it makes the individual feel good.  Disempowered people (as all spectators are at a football match) can feel that they have some power if they can get away with the abuse of others.

Of course to be in this state one has to have a fairly low level of self-satisfaction in life – at least when the abuse starts.  However later it can become just a habit, and habits are notoriously difficult to stop but very easy to start.

Yet even though this habit of throwing abuse at all Arsenal players in every match can at best have no effect on the players and at worse actually make the players’ performances decline, and although though a moment’s thought by even the most moderately intelligent person will make it clear that this is so, the habit continues.

So the question then arises, is it all just a case of hearing others do it, thentrying it oneself, finding it gives a moment’s relief from feeling powerless, and then doing it again and again?   Or is there something else?

I suspect there is sometthing else – there is another factor that is powering the level of abuse that I can hear around me in the ground.  And I suspect that it is the constant negativity found in the media – both the mainstream media (where of course it is generally toned down to what one might call “criticism” rather than “abuse”) and in the bloggettas – the little blogs that run stories which are little more than two lines long, and which are padded out with statements of the obvious.

For example if we take the recent headline,

Watch: Unai Emery enthusiastically applauds terrible Granit Xhaka effort

which appeared on the website Planet Football, the implication is clear – the manager has no idea of what is going on – he is so stupid that he is actively encouraging a player – and you can be amused and have your negative attitude about the club confirmed by watching this and laughing at the manager.

Which takes us just one step on to indulging in copy-cat abuse.

Thus abuse empowers (temporarily) those without power, and those without any sort of balanced judgement or indeed balanced attitude on the world.  It stops becoming an extreme emotion which apperas just in extreme circumstances, but instead becomes everyday.   As a result the individual is gradually dehumanised into a constant negative state (although he or she will always deny this).

Psychologically this is not a good position for any individual to be in, but it is where we find an increasing number of people; people who feel disenfranchised from what happens around them.  We see it in the increasing level of violent crime in the UK – although of course I am not suggesting in any way that football is responsible for this.

It is just the way the country seems to be moving, and I guess it is no surprise that writing about football, and watching football, becomes part of this cultural change.

34 Replies to “Ceaselessly abusing Arsenal players while winning 3-1 can’t be good for any of us.”

  1. Sure. We should all put a lovely reassuring arm around Mustafi and telling him, everything is going to be all right. You are an unique snow flake, you are spechsial.

    Don’t calling things out as they are, that’s so dangerously Liberal.

  2. I look at liverfool and I look at us and I see the gulf in class is miles apart. Million miles. True Klopp has had 4 years to bring his players but we have no direction at the top and the players are just on a planet of their own.

  3. By coincidence I had a heated discussion on Facebook last night (being the anniversary of the start of the invincible run) as most people were just moaning about everything. I made the point that moaning, booing etc., can only be detrimental and perhaps “supporting” might be more helpful.

    I got responses like “Expressing discontent with a club that can obviously do better, is one of the richest ik [sic] the world, the highest ticket prices and bottles it each year is much better than being a serf [sic] proclaiming your meaningless uncondional support.” Whilst the grammar etc may leave a little to be desired, I guess it means that I must be in the wrong for not joining the moaners!! I did suggest that the obvious reference to the media interpretation on ticket prices rather gave away where he got his opinions from!

    This attitude is ludicrous though. I am not happy when we lose, and yes I’d actually love us to win every game but some people think footballers and managers aren’t allowed to make mistakes. I can actually clearly remember a two blokes in the row behind me giving a couple of players real abuse for missing an opportunity……….when we were actually 6-0 up!! That mentality is simply staggering. Their attitude was the same week in and week out. I actually asked them once why they bothered turning up for games if they hated it that much. Their response was to glare at me and ask why the f’in players bothered turning up because they were so f’in useless.

    As I’ve said before if we won the league with 37 wins and a draw, there would still be “fans” hurling abuse at the players for failing to win every game.

  4. Tony

    I think that we have to make a painful confession: whilst we can all agree that Liverpool fans are incredibly annoying with their hypocrisy (they had been supporting Luis Suarez when he did awful things in their shirt but they didn’t acknowledge it until he scored a goal against them last week), they are better fans than Arsenal fans are.

    I’m not talking about the atmosphere at the Emirates and at the Anfield.

    I’m talking about support for the managers.

    Jürgen Klopp is yet to win a thing since joining Liverpool. He has broken transfer record twice (for the most expensive a CB and a GK respectively – the latter record was surpassed when Chelsea signed Kepa) since his arrival in 2015, he has played three finals with Liverpool and lost all three of them (including Europa League 2015-16 against Unai Emery’s Sevilla after leading 1-0), last season he lost 5-0 at Etihad against City…but Liverpool fans have never questioned him.

    Arsenal fans have witnessed how painful big transitions are – and we haven’t just replaced our best manager EVER after 22 years, we have changed pretty much the whole background staff (Gazidis, Mislintat etc) – even if you, unlike Arsenal, have hundreds of millions to waste every season (Manchester United) but that hasn’t stopped them from mocking, belittling and abusing Unai Emery for his work since he has been in charge. Arsenal fans have a privilege to enter the return leg against Valencia with a two-goal lead knowing that only 90 minutes stands between us and the European final. Apparently, that’s not good enough because this club is so used to European success that we haven’t reached a European final since 2006, haven’t won a European trophy since 1994 and our manager is neither good enough despite winning more European trophies in his career than Arsenal have in the entire history.

    Arsenal fans don’t support Emery after beating Valencia 3-1, Liverpool fans had supported Klopp even after losing to Emery’s Sevilla 3-1 and that’s all the difference you need to know about two lots. You don’t even need to listen hypocrisy based on loyalty of Liverpool-based pundits (Fowler, McManaman etc) and compare them to our former players who take every opportunity to kick the club in which they spent their best years.

    Maybe Arsenal really deserve painful years, someone like Big Fat Sam or Tony Pulis in charge for a few years so that we can see ourselves closer to the abyss in which Aston Villa have been going through than to the top levels of Wenger’s years and Emery’s first year we haven’t been happy with.

  5. I think the only danger is in the extremism of saying there is either a) do this or b) do that. Likewise in the language of today players are either top quality or should leave. The notion that players might improve or change is rarely considered. And that is the danger.

  6. I do refrain myself from abusing anyone on any blog on the internet. Not to talk of the Gunners and the club’s 1st team manager whom I’ve never abused neither have I insulted nor names called them other than their names. But I do a times condemn any on the field weak and calamity performance actions that I’ve seen taken by any Gunner or some Gunners in games that cost Arsenal a win or getting a result in matches for the club in all competitions. I also could in advance predict the Arsenal 1st team head coach – Emery’s 18 Gunners team selection that I feel will be the appropriate 18 team selection he should select for a particular Arsenal match.

    On any of the Arsenal incoming and outgoing transfers in any of the 2 summer and winter windows, I do also as an Arsenal fan and supporter offer my layman advice and suggestion to the club advising the club’s hierarchies on who and who Arsenal should sign. For an example, let the club sign Gareth Bale from Real Madrid as suggested by the UA next summer window who could still have something better in him to offer Arsenal next season in terms of upgrading the looking to be weak goals scoring firepower at Arsenal left wing this season in terms of goals scoring tally and assist in the PL that came from that position. But if Bale will be available next summer for signing and he’ll agree to come to Arsenal. And above all, Arsenal can afford his transfer fee and wage cost.

    But not to say the least, haven’t I read on this our Arsenal blog of the Untold Arsenal how abuses and insults were rained on some commentters who have commented otherwise on the UA’s article postings? And names calling and abuses I’ve also seen on the UA been directed at some personalities in the game and to some former and present players at other clubs who have played before and are playing in the PL. These abuses and names calling more often than not do a times come from some of the 5 senior members of the UA.

  7. Josif

    Totally agree.

    I said something similar on the other thread but in hindsight it is more relevant to this article and certainly echoes some of what you said:

    Yes, it was a great performance but as yet Liverpool have won nothing and lest we forget Klopps terrible record in cup finals.

    But in reference to Tony’s article, maybe that is the kind of effort you get from players when they know you stick by them even when they win nothing for 10 years, as opposed to how they play when they are faced with constant abuse despite winning 3 Fa cups in the last 10 years.

    Maybe a lot of our ‘fans’ get exactly what they deserve.

    I have a couple of good mates who support Liverpool. Despite no title for 30 years and nothing for the last 10 they never, I repeat never slag their team off like our ‘fans’ do, let alone fly planes over the stadium or organise demos outside or set up bloggs specifically to slag off the manager and certain players (or is that all the players?).

    It pains me to say I’m jealous. Not of the team or what they have or haven’t won, but of the way their fans and ex players stick by them come hell or high water.

    I’m not saying I’m enjoying the even bigger Love in but I have to say well done, you deserved it.

  8. KM

    “Sure. We should all put a lovely reassuring arm around Mustafi and telling him, everything is going to be all right. You are an unique snow flake, you are spechsial”

    And there we have it beautifully summed up.

    Liverpool and Spurs (as well as almost every other team) have players that have bad days, or bad periods, or are simply bad players, or surely they would of been doing better than Arsenal these last 10 years wouldn’t they?

    But the fact is apart from City, Utd and Chelsea, not one other club has been doing better than us have they, including Liverpool and Spurs.

    But as I say, their fans obviously don’t feel the need to abuse their ‘snowflakes’ do they?

    But as I say they stick by their players, through thick and thin, through good and bad, don’t they.

    Or are you really suggesting Neither Liverpool or spurs players have bad days? Or bad periods? or are simply bad players.

    Because if they don’t have bad players, that have bad periods, or bad days, how come they have won f*** all these last 10 years whilst we’ve won 3 FA Cups with our ‘snowflakes’ ?

    And not only that but our ‘Snowflakes’ might yet win another trophy.

    Dear god what millions of fans would give to of enjoyed just a fraction of the joy our ‘snowflakes’ have given us, even over these last few ‘terrible’ years.

    The sense of entitlement, the lack of perspective and the total disconnection with reality of some people is mind boggling.

  9. The beauty of last nights match was the 4th goal. It magnified the consistent ‘play to the whistle’ mantra with a well timed corner into a box full of high class footballers who were switched off because their team had conceeded two quick goals. The corner was so perfectly enacted, it cannot be praised enough. The whole movement was perfection right up to the forward waking up and taking his chance.

    The extra ball that had been kicked out also played its part in the psychology of the defence. They moved forward leaving the goal open. Alexander Arnold was magnificent with impeccable timing and beautiful delivery. His moment was the play of the decade.

    PGMOL would have asked for a retake because the official wasn’t ready. What a farce the league we pay for. The league that is so out of step with sport and so out of touch with the game itself.

  10. I am gutted that that noisy lot up the road are going through…Got to cheer on the Scousers now.

  11. These last 2 days feel like Satan and all his devilish minions have been unleashed upon the World and turned all I know inside out, upside down and on it’s head.

    The thought of a Liverpool Spurs Champions league final is a vision beyond that which my deepest darkest nightmares could ever summon.

    I am going off to lie in a darkened room, shut my eyes and refuse to stir until someone tells me it was all just a terrible dream.

  12. Nitram, it’s all a terrible dream. A nightmare.

    UEFA is going to have an ell English officiating team for that game:

    Referee: Oliver
    Linespersons: Dean, Atkinson
    4th Official: Taylor
    VAR: Mike Riley

  13. 2 teams leading by 3 goals and thinking it’s job done. Fatal.

    Let that be a warning to us. Nothing is done till it’s done.

  14. I can’t ever imagine life if the perennial losers from down the the other end of the Seven Sisters were to win a European Cup. Nightmare indeed

  15. Must give credit to those chickens, when you thought they finally going to get roasted, somehow they managed to escape. Let hope Liverpool do a proper job and finish off those chickens.

    I am hoping for an Arsenal vs Frankfurt final.

  16. Imagine the commentary should Chelsea and Arsenal make it through, too.

  17. What a fine display by Liverpool and now Spurs.
    Their wins reminded me of my old School motto “Qui veult peult” “He who wills can”.
    The only fly in the ointment is that both sets of fans will now have to travel to North East Spain to watch the Final. I know that venues are selected at the start of the competition, but really this is crazy.
    And should Arsenal and Chelsea reach the Europa Final, that will take place in the Caucasus!
    Some sensible action by Uefa is needed quickly. 😎

  18. Annoying week, but despite mitigating factors, Arsenal, as a club have slipped behind clubs they shouldn’t have given the position we have been in, even allowing for sporting cycles
    Still time for a trophy, but at the risk of sounding disloyal, hope the club really uses events of this week to evaluate things, and show a little more ambition, perhaps starting at the top, down through a new structure.
    Not looking to blame individuals, but Get the impression the club has coasted somewhat in recent years, that can be fatal. Lagging behind Tottenham was not part of the plan when we left Highbury, not was a reported summer budget that is likely to be less than that of clubs like Wolves , Everton and for all I know , Watford.
    Time to put a horrible season right a little, starting tomorrow

  19. Another instance where the referee decided to let the chasing team have extra extra time. The goal was scored past 5 minutes. I understand that the referee decides but it sooooooo open for abuse.

  20. GGG
    That might have had something to do with the time wasting tactics of Ajax during those last few minutes.

  21. How concerned might UEFA be at the possibility of 4 finalists from England?

    Should this give us cause for concern?

  22. For Tiny Totts now read the Terrific Totts. They showed bucket loads of guts and determination something
    Arsenal don’t seem to have up to now. Tonight the pressure is on. Lets see if Ozil & Co can do the
    business and restore some pride. We are due a big, big performance.

  23. @Mandy

    The main problem is, Arsenal have burdened themselves with negativity even when there was no reason for it. Yes, we had ridden our luck this season in a few occasions but instead of accepting it, even some of our most positive fans decided to attack Emery for not picking Ramsey & Özil when they felt he should have done it. Aaron’s hamstrings, sadly, have haunted our season once again (our dip in form coincides with his injury…again) and that’s what Emery had tried to avoid when he picked games to select him. Now we have this weird situation when we are a narrow defeat today and a victory in the final away from a European trophy, first European trophy in 25 years and only the third in our whole history but it is like we have finished tenth, conceded 120 goals and scored 50 while losing all our European games at once.

    Positivity gets rewarded. Sadly, both Liverpool and Spuds establishments (ex-players, pundits, fans) have shown us how to support their club through thick and thin instead of doing the opposite.

    There are actually people who think that Emery shouldn’t stay as our manager for this dip in form even if we win Europa League! I mean, seriously! Positively George – who sounds more like Positively Le Grove these days – has even compared Europa League trophies Emery has won with FA Vase. Strangely, same people who think Emery hasn’t done a good job are OK with Kroenke’s policy.

    If we apply this logic, maybe Arsenal should have sacked Arsene after our first season. I mean, we were beaten in both domestic cups by our rivals (Leeds at Highbury 0-1, Liverpool at Anfield 2-4), we were immediately kicked out of Europe even before he officialy took charge of things and we lost our Champions League place to Newcastle on goal-difference because we lost to them at Highbury in the last home game of the season when even a draw would have worked for us. We won just one out of the last four league games that included a late draw v Blackburn at home, a draw at struggling Coventry and a defeat to Newcastle. If we had won all four games, we’d have won the league on a goal-difference. If we had won just one of those games, we’d have get a Champions League place. We lost 5 out of 6 games v the rest of Top 4 (Man U, Liverpool, Newcastle) including all three at Highbury.

    Fortunately, we were led by smart people back then and they decided to put their trust in Arsene so that he could write us 20 years of unprecedent memories.

  24. Re my 11.24 of yesterday, a correction…..
    For North East Spain please read North East Madrid. Sorry…

  25. Mandy Dodd wrote.
    Annoying week, but despite mitigating factors, Arsenal, as a club have slipped behind clubs they shouldn’t have given the position we have been in, even allowing for sporting cycles
    Still time for a trophy, but at the risk of sounding disloyal, hope the club really uses events of this week to evaluate things, and show a little more ambition, perhaps starting at the top, down through a new structure.
    Not looking to blame individuals, but Get the impression the club has coasted somewhat in recent years, that can be fatal. Lagging behind Tottenham was not part of the plan when we left Highbury, not was a reported summer budget that is likely to be less than that of clubs like Wolves , Everton and for all I know , Watford.
    Time to put a horrible season right a little, starting tomorrow

    What a great post .You have hit the nail on the head and what true Arsenal supporters agree with…

  26. And i also add we were conned by Gazidis ,Kronke and to some extent Wenger into believing that we were leaving Highbury to compete with the very best in Europe .The reality is we were leaving to make the owner even richer the with share prices going up.Also the Ceo and Manager got big pay rises.None of the money unfortunateltly did or will cascade down to the playing side of the club.Very sad..

  27. @GoingGoingGooner I am totally baffled on what constitutes “time wasting” I have seen referees allow teams to take up to 45 seconds to take a goal kick without issuing a warning. However a team in the last few minutes takes 20 seconds – gets a yellow card!

    Is time wasting allowed during the first 80 minutes with it only becoming an issue in the last 10 minutes? Never remember reading about that in the rules – maybe its the “spirit of the law” according to UEFA / PIGMOB

    As for the added time the only thing I wholeheartedly agree with SAF is that timekeeping be taken out of the referees hand -lets have a proper timekeeper with PROPER application of what laws there are.

    If we really want to stop time wasting the only way to do it is to stop the clock when the ball is out of play. With the technology available it would be easy to implement. Please don’t say it would slow a game down – teams are very adept already at wasting time and slowing the play down. Most games the ball is in play for only 60 minutes or less. Some games don’t even make 45 minutes in play

  28. nick

    Never once was we told anything other than we would be run on the Self sustaining model’.

    Never once were we told that there would be any personal investment from the owner/s, let alone the massive investment now needed.

    If you are unhappy with that that’s up to you, but unless you read or heard something I didn’t I fail to see how we were conned.

  29. @ Nitram

    Quite agree. Added to which, where were Chelski and the Manchester Oilers when we decided to leave Highbury………….

  30. Mike


    At the time it was all about competing with Manchester United and their massive wealth generated through the enormous Stadium capacity they had and their incredible World wide marketing.

    Nobody could of predicted quite how dramatically the World of football finances was to change.

    Match day income, whilst still important, has been dwarfed by personal investment and tv money.

  31. @Nitram I would say that it is not Personal Wealth but state funding for some clubs cf. Man City and PSG – It dwarfs the TV money

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