By Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw
Right let’s start with what you should not do – if you want Arsenal to do better on the pitch and rise up the table. You should not attack the players, because it never works in terms of making them better. If you feel this does work please do write in with details of all the players you know who have been lambasted by fans and then become a better player. I’d be interested to see it.
At this moment I can’t think of any, but maybe there have been one or two. Although even if that is a fact, the number is probably very small indeed. But certainly far smaller than the number who have simply let it be known they would sooner play somewhere else.
And it is fairly obvious why attacked players want to leave. None of us likes being criticised. Criticising people rarely makes them change. Instead they either give up, go somewhere else, or carry on doing what they were doing before.
As for attacking the players it removes their confidence, so they start playing more hesitatingly, and it makes it less likely that players who are not at Arsenal but might be choosing between clubs, will choose Arsenal. Why go to a club where perfectly good players have been lambasted for nigh on 80 years?
Instead what you can do is support the team without any negativity. Just give total all-out support for the team on the pitch – for every player.
In addition you can support the manager. Complaining about him all the time doesn’t help anyone. It might help get the manager the sack, or get him to walk out, but there is no certainty at all that the next one will be any better.
So does that mean that one should not complain at all? No, I don’t think so. One could, for example, complain about the owner and his entourage.
Now I know that a whole bunch of supporters groups and blogs led by the Arsenal Supporters Trust did this in the summer, but they made the fundamental mistake of not getting their facts right. Just as some years ago the AST claimed that Arsenal were sitting on a pile of cash which the directors were deliberately not using for transfers, just recently they complained that Arsenal only had £40m in transfer funds – when clearly they did not. If you are going to go for the owner, you need to do some research first.
So let’s turn to Kroenke.
The problem with Kroenke is that he has a history of doing what he wants (including moving one of his clubs to another city), and is reputed to be (as the Guardian so delicately put it) “not just a villain by NFL standards, but in the bottom tier of soulless billionaires the world over.”
Now some supporters might not worry about that if in return Kroenke delivered winning sports teams. But as the Guardian piece continued, “Kroenke’s teams are somehow as athletically inept as he is stupendously wealthy.”
What is worse is that Kroenke owns multiple sports “franchises” and rather than having a history of turning modest teams into great successes, he has a reputation of doing the reverse. To continue with the Guardian commentary, “it is fair to say that every sports organization Kroenke has touched – the Rapids possibly aside – has turned into an outright failure, and his fingerprints are all over Arsenal now, too.”
It is reassuring that none of Kroenke’s franchises has been relegated and given that this is the season we celebrate 100 years in the top division. But I am not sure Kroenke understands relegation because they don’t have that in America.
Arsenal supporters who really do want to complain could stop complaining about the players and the manager and instead complain about the person who really could do something for the club – but who chooses not to.
Remember this simple fact. Moaning about players always makes them worse players. Moaning about the manager never helped any club and normally makes this worse. So how you behave really does define whether you want to help Arsenal or make things worse.
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