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Why do some Arsenal fans love moaning so much?

By Tony Attwood

I was interested to see how much interest my little piece Why the media are desperate to see Liverpool thump Arsenal next weekend attracted and I thought the comments on that piece were really interesting.

And having read the comments another thought struck me.  I am generally quite a positive person, and despite writing about the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal (AAA) a lot I still really don’t understand this desire to moan and whinge all the time.  Indeed the reason I have written so much about Arsenal Supporters’ Trust and their commentary about how awful Arsenal is under the “We Care Do You?” banner, is because I am trying to understand the reason for moaning.

And the fact is these guys in the AST and those who signed up along side them, moan a lot.  As my tiny amount of research revealed, they were moaning about transfer fees and making outrageous allegations about the directors secreting away money for their own uses five years ago.  That was all denied then, as it has been now, by the club, but they went on moaning and moaning.

In psychology the explanation for this type of incessant whining and moaning is powerlessness.  These people feel quite unable to affect change and so they moan.   The issue of the empty seats at the Emirates was a perfect one: they described the stadium as a “soulless place”, and it probably is around where they sit, but I suspect this is themselves feeding their own negativity onto themselves.

Indeed at the pre-season supporters’ meeting held on Club Level at the Arsenal Stadium I felt the place was a bit soulless when I witnessed a leading member of the “We Care Do You” movement push through the queue of fans patiently waiting for a drink, and demand she be served first.   Anyone with a soul would have got into the line with other supporters, not push through to the front.

But these people whine, complain, bitch and moan (and on at least that occasion push to the front) and that creates the dynamic of powerlessness.  And because they surround themselves with other people who also feel powerless to act, except perhaps by pushing to the front of the queue, they project powerlessness.   As such they are not all actually nasty people, they are simply in pain.

Indeed, so powerless are they that they were forced to nick their slogan “We care do you?” (written as all one word) from a group of young carers in Edinburgh.  They could at least have created their own slogan as we did with “Untold Arsenal”.  But no, not their style.

But copied or not, they have an influence, because whinging, whining, bitching and moaning has an impact on those around, and it can draw in many people who are not themselves feeling positive about their own life.

Now of course I can’t say why the writer of Arseblog chose to sign up, to such a rampantly negative and ill-informed piece, but I was a bit surprised by that because Arseblog doesn’t normally come across as a rampantly negative website.  As I was with RedAction who created the noisy standing part of the North Bank in liaison with the club.  But I guess they too are feeling dispossessed.

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However the simple fact is that whining and moaning (etc) does have an impact.  It attracts negativists to its cause, and makes those in the cause whine and moan more and more.  The more they do it, the more people join them, not because the moaners are right, but because they offer an outlet for feelings of powerlessness.  The more people join the more they moan.

The thought becomes, “if we moan and whine enough, maybe Arsenal will take notice of us.”   And I guess they feel that this could be important, because Arsenal don’t seem to take much notice of them now.  Because if Arsenal took notice of us, Arsenal would win the league and the cup each year.  Or at least that is what they seem to think.

Now you might think that at this point I am getting carried away and exaggerating, but you must remember that the Anti-Arsenal Arsenal (the AAA, the whinging whining moaners and negativists) were at it full steam from around 2009 onwards with their “Fourth is not a Trophy” stuff, and were there at the start of Untold Arsenal over 10 years ago, inheriting as they did the mantle of the Boo-Boys as Chapman originally dubbed them.

But even if their talk at the moment is about getting back into the top four this season, but we have to be aware that they will not stop complaining at that point.  When we won the FA Cup three times in four seasons to make us the most successful Cup team in history, they were moaning because we had not won the league.  Even in 2015/16 when we won the Cup and were runners’ up in the league, they were moaning that we were beaten by Leicester.

My guess is that even if we win the League or do the Double they will be moaning because they will argue we haven’t spent enough money for next season.

The simple fact is that there those of us who see things positively and those who don’t.   I don’t suggest that I don’t get annoyed by and worried about the antics of our owner;  I do.  I am also annoyed that Arsenal won’t release the minutes of historic board meetings (presumably because it would show the Hill Wood family in a very bad light, and possibly reveal the source of the lies told about Henry Norris after they took over).  But I balance that by being pleased that the club listened to my idea for the statues around the ground, and indeed that they agreed to put up our “Football should be an art” banner.

So what do we do about moaners, whingers, whiners and the like, if we don’t have any chance to change their minds?   Personally I think we wait for them to make insane statements, like the fact that Arsenal only had £40m to spend and that this was verified by the AST “accountant” and keep reminding people of silly they have been.

Because only when people see how silly their behaviour is, and notice how much happier positive people are, will they turn away from the gibberish and start enjoying football again.

31 comments to Why do some Arsenal fans love moaning so much?

  • Steve Vallins

    Tony for my 2p’s worth there is so many negative articles about the Arsenal people buy into ,even when an article starts out positive there’s always a but , it’s not very often you get a positive article ( this site is the exception )
    So if your told Guinness is good for you enough times , it must be .

  • the problem is some of our so called fans just need a excuse to moan, so off they go slagin any player they fill like.i am often ask why our fans are so negative by my mates who support other sides I can only think it because there half full glass people it can have such affect on the player the fight I nearly got in to when eboue was boo off the pitch i.try to get them to back him I was threatened by so call fans and told to fuck off and not come back as people like me are part of the so called problem . we will all ways have these people so all I can say is let keep pull them up and get behind one of the greatest football side this country ever had

  • Les Martin

    You do have a good point there so well said Paul

  • Nitram

    I watch virtually nothing about football except the matches themselves, and as often as not with the volume down.

    Unfortunately, the guys had SKY Sports on in the mess room yesterday when ‘The Debate’ was on.

    They were discussing Klopp who had apparently been playing down Liverpools chances of the title due to the fact they had spent very little compared to Man City. The SKY pundits were asking why Liverpool hadn’t teken Coutinho back.

    So that’s the back ground. Nothing to do with Arsenal you might think ? Oh contraire.

    Nope we get:

    “This is what I always said about Wenger saying ‘we haven’t got any money’ when they didhave, as an excuse for not winning anything”

    Just a couple of things wrong with that:

    1) Did he not notice the shinny new stadium that, despite being built on time and on budget, still had to be paid for?

    2) Did he not notice that we actually did start spending some money (though not as much as the oilers) once we were out of that difficult 10 years we all face with our mortgages?

    3) Did he not notice the 3 Fa Cups and 3 Community Shields we won as soon as we did loosen the belt? Or do they not count as trophies?

    But this is how it goes in the media. You can just say things like that that have absolutely no basis in reality or fact and it is left to stand absolutely unchallenged.

    And it is this drip drip drip of negativity that feeds these people because they seem to just lap it up hook line and sinker.

    And let me reiterate this.

    Somehow a discussion about Klopp and Liverpool still ends up with a pop at Arsenal, or more specifically Wenger.

    They just cant help themselves.

  • DEW

    Moaning about moaners is moaning square. Writing an article to investigate how people moan is psychopathic act. Every body has a right to have ambition for the club, whatever big or small. But reality is for all to see. You can go and ask the actual progress and achievement the club made in the last decade, everyone including club players tell you it was down wards. We are in a position where club officials including you repeatedly remind us how big the club is. But any king who must say I am a king is no true king. One thing I like about football fans is genuineness. We have to analyse everything from genuine perspective whatever the case. Once we are outside that we are not true football fans. Our world is full of spiders and mosquitoes who can do that Job in more elegant way.

  • gee

    DEW
    23/08/2019 at 12:53 pm

    “You can go and ask the actual progress and achievement the club made in the last decade, everyone including club players tell you it was down wards.”

    If you listen to people that get paid regularly to give opinions and who may not be qualified to comment then yeah that’s the residing thought.

    If you have supported the club long enough you will know that there has been nothing but improvement from the 90’s to now. Infrastructure wise and pitch side.

  • gee

    Also pretty sure in the last 20\21 yrs has been one of the most or if not the most successful period in the clubs history bar Herbert Chapmans achievement’s and I am pretty sure Wenger did slightly better. So the last decade that you compare to was probably one of the best decades the club ever had!

  • Nitram

    DEW is a good example of why my Spurs United and Liverpool mates think our fans are idiots.

  • Nitram

    Oh, and I didn’t say ‘I’ think they are idiots, before the Wenger police turn up giving me pelters.

  • DEW

    Honestly, I didn’t supported the club long enough to compare what was in 70’s or 80’s with what is now. My comments are only in relative terms compared to the global standard the club posses. You can check the interview Aubameyang gave last season unless you are in complete denial. In the past you used to write about such issues. My understanding was you wrote them out of support and love for Wenger. That was reasonable since the good Wenger did to the club outweighs his stubbornness. But I couldn’t understand why you are complaining about fans now. Arsenal fans are the most reasonable fans I know in top premier league teams. The media bias, the referee bias are true, so does the decline of the club in the last decade. We can only go forward.

  • Magneto

    The short answer to the question posed by Tony is…because they can.

    A longer answer would include a mixture of entitlement, the existence & use of social media, and consistently hostile coverage of, and narratives about, Arsenal by the mainstream football media.

  • Nitram

    DEW

    “comments are only in relative terms”

    I see you can incorporate ‘relative terms’ when it suits but how about the ‘relative terms’ of the amount of money Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea have been spending for the last 10 to 20 years? That seems to of past you by completely

    “Arsenal fans are the most reasonable fans I know in top premier league teams”.

    Please tell me that isn’t a serious observation.

    “So does the decline of the club in the last decade”

    Decline from where? You tell me.

  • Dew

    He is not complaining about all fans, but moronic ones who swims in the sea of negativity. These are fans who feels entitled, and enjoy constant moaning. They make unjustifiable criticisms of the club, parroting the agenda of those who are determined to diminish the club. There are justifiable criticisms of the managers and owners of the club, but it has to be tempered by the enormous resources and influence of the competition including the changing landscape. But incessant moaning and idiotic suggestions, oblivious to reality, is just playing in to the hands of the media who enjoy the bashing of the club by these supporters

  • Nitram

    Jojo

    I think you make a fair comment but:

    “There are justifiable criticisms of the managers and owners of the club, but it has to be tempered by the enormous resources and influence of the competition including the changing landscape”.

    Not only does that have to be put into perspective as you say, but also into the context of all the other managers and owners including Fergie and United, Mourinho and Chelsea, Klopp and Liverpool, and so on.

    Not one of them are without critisism.

    Fergie was a great manager but he bought many duds. The thing was though, as with Chelsea over the years, when they buy a dud they just shrugged their shoulders and bought another player.

    How many tries did it take Fergie to sort his goalkeeper out after Schmichael ?

    Some of our fans seem to of expected Wenger and the owners to be perfect.

    Well I’ve got news for them. He wasn’t, they wasn’t, Emery Isn’t, our owners aren’t and none of them ever will be.

  • Gee

    You can check the interview Aubameyang gave last season unless you are in complete denial.

    Denial about us being in decline for the last decade? Depends what you are comparing against. If you are comparing to our most successful decade which was probably 98-08 then yeah we are in decline but it would be unreasonable or foolish to expect that sort of sustained success without acknowledging our competitors, our stadium move, our limited resources and the ref conspiracy.

  • DEW

    Nitram

    Yes it is serious observation. Who abuse Pogba because he missed penalty? who destroyed a goal keeper career because he made couple of mistake at CL final? who is kicking managers like soccer balls? Arsenal fans are more reasonal and humble compared to other fans. This is one of the qualities Wenger help develop at the club. Overall the fan environment at Arsenal is conducive for players both for young and top players, manager, or even for the owner-compared to other top teams. Here remember that the owner doesn’t like to spend much own money.

    As for Wenger his failure to take arsenal to the next level is partly due to better investments in other clubs as you said it and partly due to stubbornness and policy/philosophy failure. Several times he didn’t use the budget the board had allocated. His stubborn policy should have put us with the level of other teams or he should have used the money allocated to him or ask for more budget like Emery. This is not, however, to undermine the wide range of achievement and values he brought to the club.

    As for decline- from competing for PL title to competing for fourth place. It is now the third season without CL football. Plenty can be said here.

  • Nitram

    DEW

    Oh, you are serious.

  • Nitram

    Gee

    “Denial about us being in decline for the last decade?

    Depends what you are comparing against. If you are comparing to our most successful decade which was probably 98-08 then yeah we are in decline but it would be unreasonable or foolish to expect that sort of sustained success without acknowledging our competitors, our stadium move, our limited resources and the ref conspiracy.”

    Another great point.

    But I hope you don’t mind but I’ll leave you to bang your head against the wall.

  • Nitram

    I am in complete agreement with you. When I suggested ‘justifiable criticisms, it’ s simply an acknowledgement that a football size like Arsenal,are bound to make mistakes along the way. It’s just unrealistic to expect and demand perfection, with so many moving parts in a murky and structurally corrupt market. As demonstrated by our friend, Dew, it’s simply beyond the comprehension of some of our supporters the context and challenges the club faces.

  • Gee

    But I hope you don’t mind but I’ll leave you to bang your head against the wall.

    I know, hurts my head to read some of the replies

  • Mark Mywords

    Football fans have always moaned. Arsenal are no different. I remember quite distinctly, back in the 1960s, the bloke sitting behind me going on and on about Alan Skirton, who according to him was the worst player on Earth. Saturday afternoon was probably his only chance to let off steam. What’s the difference nowadays? The internet. Pure and simple. Back then you had to go to the game to make your feelings heard. Now, all you have to do is sit at a keyboard. You don’t even have to be remotely near to North London. People don’t necessarily moan more, it’s just become a lot easier.

  • Nitram

    Jojo

    “….it’s simply beyond the comprehension of some of our supporters the context and challenges the club faces.”

    Exactly.

    Even though I don’t agree we should do it, at least I understand why some fans want personal investment from our owners a la Liverpool, or even more extremely Man City and Chelsea, but it’s highly unlikely to ever happen.

    We were always told we were going down the self sustaining model. I agreed with that back then, and despite the football landscape changing beyond recognition, I still do.

    Having made that decision it presented our past manager and owners with some extreme challenges, especially in the early days of the new stadium.

    In the later stages of Wengers tenure and indeed now into the new managers tenure, there is definitely more money to spend.

    But despite that we still haven’t got the finances of Man City, Man Utd and even Liverpool. Chelsea are in limbo so we don’t really know what monies they would have with a freehand.

    I’m confident Emery has the ability to re establish our top 4 status and have us again challenging for the cups. I am confident our owners will steer us with due diligence and give Emery as much ammunition as they can.

    Will all of this enable us to challenge for, even win the premiership?

    I think that will be very tough but only time will tell.

    As I have also said on many occasions, if Emery delivers 4 years akin to our 4 year run of failure when he delivered 3 FA Cups, 3 CS and a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th placed finish, I will be thrilled.

    If he manages a title then perhaps we are looking at a new ‘best manager we’ve ever had’ ?

    You never know.

    One things for sure I’ll be SUPPORTING Arsenal, Emery and everyone else win lose or draw.

    COYG

  • Nitram

    Again in the Norwich Chelsea game our bunch of muppets singularly failing to use VAR correctly.

    A clear and obvious stamp on a Chelsea player looked at and completely ignored.

    Atkinsons sees and awards a freekick for a pull back (Automatic Yellow card) and fails to deliver requisite yellow.

    At least the BT commentators have had the decency to say “the officials haven’t had a good day” which is something I suppose.

  • Sue

    Wow! An article from Tony the chief moaner about moaning. Off the top of my head let me reel off a few things you moan about Tony. Pgmo -and their refusal to run their association the way you want, referees- probably for not helping us score more goals, win more matches, media -for daring to criticize arsenal, The FA -re pgmo, UEFA -for being there, FIFA -for not electing you as president, AST -for daring to be more popular/recognized than AISA, Qatar/UAE -for daring to bid to host the world cup and agreeing to give money to clubs like man city &PSG, only arsenal should have benefitted from their sovereign wealth, Liverpool owners -for refusing to sell us a player after we had added a full pound to his release clause, Liverpool club -for daring to be more successful in recent times… There are just too many, honorable mentions should go to Barcelona, Leicester, ex players, Stan kroenke(at the end of last season/beginning of the summer), other arsenal blogs etc, brexit and brexiteers, the conservative party, Donald Trump… I guess since you moan so much, you must therefore know a thing or two about the subject, so let me ask, does that mean you feel powerless about so many things in life?

  • I rather enjoy writing this blog – but the joy is greatly enhanced when we get comments like this which presumably are meant to put myself or the blog or one of the other writers down, but in fact achieves the exact opposite by proving the case I have been making.
    The case is simple: there is a lot wrong with football both in England and on the world stage, and the fact that this can continue is because of the support of the system given by the media, and by individual commentators like you.
    So a little comment like yours Sue, really makes it worthwhile. I guess in earlier times you would not have complained about only men having the vote, or about bear baiting, or about the match fixing of the early 20th century or, indeed much smaller matters including… well, 10,000+ wrongs that have over time been exposed put right. But fortunately there were a few people who were willing to stand up and face the mockery. And every one of these emails such as yours helps us along a little bit, simply because you only use unoriginal satire, and never once a piece of evidence. Great stuff. More please. Although I can’t guarantee to publish them all

  • Yang

    Tony, if I can deduce a few things from your reply to Sue.
    1. You moan about a lot of things because there are a lot of wrong things going on in the world that need to be brought into the open and discussed.
    2. By doing this a lot has actually been achieved by way of change.
    If these are the case then I’ve got to ask you;
    1. Why then are you against other people moaning?
    2. Do you think you should have the monopoly on moaning?
    3. If you and a lot of people in times past have achieved much by moaning, why then do you label other moaners as “people who feel powerless to effect change, as such channel their frustration into moaning” and why this applies only to the other moaners and not you?

  • Sue

    Thanks Tony for the compliment (great stuff). I believe writing tongue in cheek when you say there’s not a bit of evidence in my post -for example, it’s ludicrous to ask for evidence that you moan about pgmo not running the organization the way you’d like, or the media criticizing arsenal, it’s all over the blog, you’ve just written another one moaning about the media.
    But my comment wasn’t meant to put you down, you’re not easily put down, even when irrefutable evidence is put forward, the best you do is keep silent about it for a while and then come up with the same stuff later, totally ignoring the counter argument. My comment was simply to put the other information for people who are not so entrenched in their corners. I believe it’s a euphemism when you say you can’t guarantee publication of all my posts(smile). I understand Honey, I’ll take what I get

  • The issue Yang is one of evidence. We have done a huge amount of research over the years on topics that have been of interest to readers, and have published the data. What I perceive as moaning is people simply saying something is wrong and giving no evidence, or the approach which says that some of us doing research with evidence is moaning.
    Sometimes of course we don’t actually need to do research, we can simply point at facts which are not mentioned by mainstream media – but quite often there is research.

  • For me, Sue your problem is the misuse of the word “moan”. The dictionary definition is “to make a complaint” (that’s from the Oxford English Dictionary), although contemporary definitions found online are to “complain or grumble, typically about something trivial.” In the regard of “making a complaint” about things, yes that is what I often write about. But I think that what I and others do is complain with evidence. A subtle difference perhaps but I think still a significant one. Personally, in writing and in speech I would not use the verb to describe the activity of a person who presents some evidence with her or his argument. If I were interested I would present counter evidence to prove the person wrong.

  • Yang

    So based on your response to Sue, considering the definition of moaning which you quoted, we can say you “moan with evidence”. I’m sure we can agree on that.
    On whether you do give evidence while the people you moan about don’t, I’d have to disagree with you. But that’s not the point of my post. As long as we both agree that you also moan aplenty (evidence or not), we’re good.

  • No I don’t really agree, as I think the word “moan” is not generally understood in the way that you are using it. But anyway, let’s move on.

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