8 reasons to be really cheerful and positive as an Arsenal supporter

By Tony Attwood

Reasons to be cheerful?   At a time when…

Some Arsenal supporters have recently behaved appallingly in my opinion, booing the captain, and writing articles which seem to have the premise that the manager is a dodo who is as good as gone and the only debate to be had is Mourinho or not Mourinho.

The media of course fed into this with their utterly false claims that Mourinho had met Arsenal directors.   How odd that the media should make that up.

Meanwhile we slipped out of the top four, Liverpool’s first team are striding away at the top, the authorities look incapable of dealing with Manchester City’s financial situation, the newspapers and blogs have become so negative that they are in real life more extreme than Sir Hardly Anyone portrayed them in the stories of the Toppled Bollard pub, and match fixing is (according to Uefa but unmentioned by the English press) now utterly out of control.

And yet amidst all of this, yes there are, quite extraordinarily, some positives.  Here’s a little list of eight positives that just came to me…

1: Martinelli

We started raving about Martinelli on this site a little ahead of the curve, and now the curve has gone right round in a circle (sorry that metaphor got out of control before it even got going) and everyone is raving about him.  Even the Arsenal hating media admit he’s got something (although they seem to have an undercurrent that suggests it is just a matter of time before we cash in on the player and sell him to Real Mad).

But whatever happens, for the moment, and as long as it doesn’t result in the young man getting carried away with it all, he’ll be fine and Arsenal will benefit.   Just as we are already benefiting from seven goals in seven games.

2: Joe Willock

Joe Willock has been surging forward in terms of his performances and the game against Liverpool saw him reach another peak.  Another extraordinary talent.  Stay with us Joe.   The noisy turnips who worked to get Wenger out and have now turned on Emery, are not all there is to Arsenal support.  Some of us are a little less wild.  Some of us are actually quite nice guys.

3: Nicolas Pépé

The criticism of Pépé earlier in the season was ludicrous; he was a player moving from god-like status to a new stadium, a new style of football, and perhaps most importantly a new style of refereeing (!) and a new style of antagonistic crowd, so it was bound to be a while before he fully found out how to play in this alien system called the Premier League.

4: Arsenal Women…

…are a sensation under Joe Montemurro, and Joe is a fantastic guy.   I did a little piece on his appearance at the AGM of Arsenal Independent Supporters Association and there he was phenomenally impressive, as is his team.

And just recently they went and got into the quarter finals of the Champions League with the score Arsenal 8-0 Slavia Prague (13-2 on aggregate).   Sadly under 1000 were present to see the affair, but still, 8-0 is 8-0.

OK they don’t win every match, but they are doing good.

5: A glimmer of realism

At last one or two blogs are recognising just how awful some Arsenal fans are.

“We have the worst fan base in England” – these Arsenal fans hit out at fellow supporters’ criticism of five star men said Read Arsenal in a piece that included this comment from one of the bloggers.

  • Ceballos: Getting used to English football, slated.
  • Pepe: Getting used to English football, slated.
  • Lacazette: Back in the team immediately after a 2 month injury, slated.
  • Holding: Back in team after a year w/ injury, slated.
  • Martinez: Keeps 3/5 clean sheets, slated.

That just about sums it all up.

6: Excellent piece on Xhaka and fans booing their own club’s players

I criticise the Guardian at lot, not because it is the worst newspaper (quite the reverse in fact) but because despite all their liberal honesty when dealing with social and political matters they cannot and will not acknowledge that their choice of stories and their silly side-swipes at Arsenal represent a form of bias all the more insidious for being hidden.

But fair’s fair.  When they do get it right, as they absolutely did with Granit Xhaka they are very good.

7: Even Charlie Nicholas changed his tune

Charlie Nicholas is quoted as saying something positive about Arsenal, which is, well, not that common.

‘I am a massive fan of playing Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe, with Dani Ceballos just behind.”

That was in the Metro!   And that’s not a misprint.

8: Thierry Henry

Our own Terry ‘Enry has just had a terrible time as a manager, but even as he licks his wounds he is able to be open and honest about how difficult a time he had when he first came to Arsenal.  Football.London have published a very garbled version of his comments; I’ve extracted the key moments and cleaned the piece up a bit.

“People don’t remember but [when I first came to Arsenal in 1999] I never used to come on.   The game that changed everything for me was Middlesbrough at home in November, [in] my first season. We won 5-1 with three goals from Overmars and two from Bergkamp. Kanu was playing and Suker came on. I stayed on the bench….

“After that game, I went back home and I actually took the tube. I walked amongst the fans and nobody saw me.

“I left with bag and tracksuit, I was alone really and nobody cared. I was on the tube and I remember that I went to my room and said ‘this has to stop now.’ I was listening to the voices in my head. ‘You should do this and that.’ [I thought] I have to be myself and make people understand my game.

“By doing that you have to be good, you can’t be sitting here saying this and that. You play and don’t score…   [So I thought] before people are accepting of what you are, you have to give them something to allow you to be yourself’.”

Thierry is thus talking about the side of football fans and journalists love to ignore: the fact that players are human, not machines.  They have emotions and feelings.  They make mistakes, their play is below par.  They can be lonely in a foreign land not having mastered the foreign language.

Before 28 November 1999 he started just seven games out of 24.   There were four consecutive starts on his arrival, and after that he was dropped, hardly getting a look in.

Then he scored both goals against Derby in a 2-1 win on 28 November, and after that he was pretty much a fixture.   In the end he made 26 starts in league games and was our top scorer in the league with 17 goals.    Thankfully, for all our sakes, he listened to his own advice and pulled himself together, blanking out the criticism from the crowd and journalists.  (And remember these were the days when journalists were still writing xenophobic rubbish about how these wretched foreigners were stopping good decent English players getting games).

We’re all grateful Thierry stayed.  We’re all grateful Martinelli is here.  Now let us spare a moment’s thought for those going through the sort of difficult times that could have led Thierry to give up and go back to France.   And just once in a while, let’s remember, these players are humans who have emotions and feelings just like the rest of us.

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19 Replies to “8 reasons to be really cheerful and positive as an Arsenal supporter”

  1. thanks, tony; this had to be said/written – we have a wonderful squad, actually, one of the very best in … europe
    i like your n°2, i’m a big fan of joe’s, i sure hope he “stays with us”- with his powerful runs, his scoring ability he reminds me a lot of aaron
    as for martinelli: if the lad had been picked by any other top club, he would make the headlines on a daily basis …

  2. We’re taking some flak in the media, but still not as much as Spurs & Man U who are having a deservedly horrendous time of it. Arsenal are not being unfairly targeted and earn the press they are getting.
    The rumours of Emery being sacked is typical for an underachieving top five side, but there are changes already being made, so depending on your point of view there may still be some ‘reasons to be cheerful’ yet to come.

  3. What a great article! Yes, there so many positives. Some people forget the positives all too easily with all the written and spoken rubbish. Typical Untold to remind us that it’s not all gloom and doom.

    First and foremost we have an incredible team, who should rightly be at least 4 points and very probably 6 above where we are…. if not for the blatantly biased refereeing and VAR, which have thankfully been criticised by all sorts of people, mostly neutrals, including Gary Lineker, Mark Clattenburg and Dermot O’Leary.

    I agree that the most important things players can do is to ignore ALL the negativity and just do their best. Some of the fans are totally unforgiving and impatient. The part about Thierry is a real eye-opener. Never knew that!. Great!
    His approach really works. Even when others doubt a player, if they remain true to themselves, don’t let it get to them and keep improving and trying every day.

    We may yet get a change in refereeing, although we’ve waited a good number of years for it. You would hope that clubs don’t have to pay for honest refereeing but somewhere along the line, it is STILL plain biased and as with all these things, money is likely to be involved, as usual.

    We have lots to look forward to, especially the growth and development of some of our great young talent and top notch additions to the team.

    Personally, I believe that Emery (biased refereeing taken into account) has done a decent job. With a real negative feeling around fans and the media, he may yet be forced to be the fall guy. Does he have the charisma and communication skills to turn everything around? I do think the team has suffered with poor communication of tactics but Emery is trying to learn and he has brought in others to help him. Maybe his tactics are a little complex for the players to understand, especially with the language barrier, so maybe that should be worked on. Maybe if results don’t improve and another does come in, charisma and communication skills will be taken into account. I’m glad that Freddie is there to help and that is really helping the young guns.

    Good luck and keep the faith everybody!

  4. Great piece mate. I’ve been an overseas arsenal supporter for almost 20 years, and reading the stuff people are writing these days is testing. But I’ve come to realise in the two decades of following our club, Arsenal are always highly scrutinised.

    Am I happy with the current results…no, do I think we have the right manager…I’m not sure yet. I do remember this was the guy we were all behind during the 22 unbeaten streak last season.

    End of the day, we do have a quality squad, but this negativity is only going to breed more negativity. It cant be easy being a player when you’re bombarded with all the comments floating around these days. Hopefully we’ll come right, we’ve still got a fair chunk of the season to go. And if any of the quality from the Europa league games can filter to the premier league, who knows what could happen.

    Just an outsiders two cents.

  5. We also have a gem in Eddie Nketiah who seems to be out of mind on loan to Leeds United. He is an awesome goal scorer & will be part of the mix with Martinelli. I can see the two of them running riot in every league & match they play in.

    As regards communication, there is always a level of ‘wanting’ that helps. If one doesn’t want to hear it is easy, just as PGMOL have selective vision, selective hearing can also be implemented. In my earlier days in London I remember kids looking at me deaf but suddenly being able to hear this foreigner talking English (innit 😉 ). The initial phase of deafness was because of expectation. Emery tries hard to speak English but has a strong accent that will eventually soften. The accent might cause hearing difficulties but for anyone wanting to listen there will be none.

    Our arrogant expectation needs to be toned down and the quality will shine through.

  6. @ Masterstroke

    Yes Man U and the Spuds are getting a bit of a torrid time but they are 10th and 11th respectively and playing absolutely dreadfully. We were getting slated all ends up even when we were third a few weeks ago. We got slated when we finished second a couple of seasons back even though we finished above the rest of the “top six”. We got accused of not winning anything even when we won three FA Cups in four years. We were branded serial failures for playing twenty successive seasons in the Champions League and subsequently slated because we failed to qualify for the Champions League. We will no doubt be slated again if we get into the Champions League for not achieving something else. We have a better defensive record than Chelsea but we are slated for our defence even though we haven’t our first choice back four (or anywhere near it) for many months. Any assertion that we are not unfairly targeted by the media is, in my opinion, quite bizarre.

  7. @Menace
    Yes that Eddie/Martinelli partnership is going to be very interesting. Perhaps as soon as next season.

  8. Q1. Do blatant fabrications, negative stories and even media underestimation hurt Arsenal and encourage other teams? and do these reports influence the perception of some Arsenal fans about their team? (I am assuming the lads also read media reports about Arsenal).
    ANS…. Wenger lamented this problem saying the media were undermining his team, he also had some stern remarks about social media. It seems like the media invents the story or leads with an opinion or a theory and use creative words to magnify the “problem” leaving the enraged fans on social media to take over and this culminates in a caustic atmosphere on Home match-days (An approximation of the flow)

    …There has been much talk about Arsenals spine; spine this, spine that, no leaders, no mental strength etc. Eventually “smaller” teams would not stay down like the beaten team but always hoped for the…. “comeback”

    …At the beginning of the season the “experts” would quickly predict the “red” and “blue” teams as top two, The media “pet” third and the team coached by their mate in fourth. What about Arsenal? The Ex-Bayern Ex-ManU “Expert” quickly points out that we just don’t have the quality. They dismiss Arsenal as a team in decline way way way way behind “Red” and “blue”. Now I’m not saying this is an exact science but Self-fulfilling prophesies work the same way. —–You somehow find a way to live up to it——

    Q2. Has “favourable” reporting or at least “higher expectations” from the media helped us in the past?
    ANS…..Arsenal were once “hailed” as the pass masters (Barca lite… in jest) but that was enough to send a chill through the rest of the table and in reality we did look like pass masters for quite a while (Youtube has proof).
    Secondly in past seasons at least one or two pundits would tip Arsenal for the title. Surprisingly we never fell below fourth.

    I am certainly not saying the media can hand you the title or top four whether you have the credentials or not, of course you do have to perform on the pitch to earn anything, even a point. I just feel Arsenal handlers should be more aware of how much media distortions can alter perceptions by playing into the minds of the fans and players and even cost us valuable points.

    This problem will not go away, there must be a strategy to tackle it.

    Finally lets go back a few weeks when we were in third position…

    The reports quickly questioned our right to be there, in fact they made it look downright ridiculous for us to be in third…..And we believed them. We have not won a premier league game since then. What about when some other team went up to third… The reports asked whether this team could be even better than their previous tile winning team.

    Like I said …. its not an exact science.

  9. I hope that this further observation on refereeing standards is sufficiently “on” this topic. It concerns the behaviour of Atkinson in the Everton v Spurs match, (in which I could be -almost-non-partisan).

    Here is clear evidence of bias in favour of one team; first in the selection of VAR references and in the decisions which eventually emerged – notably the failure to check the foul on an Everton player in the penalty area, followed by the long-delayed and ludicrous decision not to award a penalty for obvious hand-ball. This, plus the pattern of awarding, or not awarding free-kicks, which was clearly unbalanced.

    Also, Son should have had a first yellow card for his blatant dive in the penalty area. Predictably, much of the aftermath of the serious injury has been characterised by comments about how Son is such a lovely man and how upset he was. (made me think of the injuries to Diaby, Eduardo and Ramsey all over again). I am sure that he did not intend to break the opponents ankle and was truly upset, but that does not alter the fact that, like many of his team-mates, he is a serial diver and cheat and that he committed a deliberate foul.

    Finally, my impression was that Atkinson did not allow the full minimum additional 12 minutes. I suspect that this was to prevent Everton scoring a late winner, to add to his disappointment at their equaliser.

  10. John L
    Atkinson played twelve and a half minutes additional time, I recall seeing the time on screen. Of course it should have been at the very least a couple of minutes more than the initial twelve as he did not add on a single second to account for Spurs blatant time wasting at goal kicks and throw ins after they took the lead.
    Re the Son red card, it has been overturned on appeal by the panel so he will be available for Spurs next game.
    I think Son is very fortunate. I appreciate Gomes’s ankle was not broken by direct contact by Son but the fact is an angry Son went after Gomes and deliberately brought him down from behind because he was annoyed at not getting a free kick a few seconds earlier.
    I wonder if an Arsenal player would have received such sympathetic treatment.

  11. MickHazel
    WOW WOW, unbelievable, however does not surprise me for a minute. An alleged independent panel (FA) overturning a red card against a Spurs player after decision from an on field referee and VAR team that would have reviewed the incident and backed decision made by the referee. If anyone wanted proof as to how some teams are favoured (Tottenham) this is that proof.
    A serious foul tackle that resulted in an Everton player (Andre Gomes) suffering a fracture dislocation to his right ankle. Statement from the Premier League released after the game said RED CARD was shown to Son for “endangering the safety of a player”, so how is it possible for red card to be overturned for “wrongful dismissal”.

  12. @Em this is the PIGMOB we are talking about – reality and fairness are an alien concept to them.

    I must agree how can you overturn a red card when it is given for “endangering the safety of a player” surely that covers it completely. Must be a new rule I haven’t heard of…

  13. The Red Card was mistakenly given to Son as his tackle from the back which broke the ankle of Gomes was not a Tottenham violation. The foul endangered the safety of a player whose leg broke because of poor training methods used by Everton. The handball that Delli Ally comitted in the penalty area was imagination.

    As a result of an excellent piece of officiating Atkinson is going to be knighted for his contribution to cause of Riley the Honest.

    The cock and bull fairy tale continues.

  14. Some time ago Xhaka was shown a straight Red Card by Moss for a tackle from behind, that was softer than Son’s full force kick to Gomes’s ankle, that was not rescinded. The FA is clearly corrupt in its treatment of chickens from the Fowl Run compared to Gunners from the Arsenal.

    The kick caused the injury and no matter how the FA & TV try to disguise it, Son was guilty tearfully so. There is no way for Son’s Red Card to be rescinded other than pure corrupt conclusion by biased evidence.

    The FA should revisit Xhaka’s red card and issue an apology accompanied by punitive damages for hurt and impact to his career.

  15. While our season has not gone according to our hoped plans, yet we have a good and impressive squad of players . Now that we have fallen out of the top 4 , maybe them crooks will allow us some leeway.

    I still believe that UE can improve this team , and that they as a whole can do better. Fistly by ignoring all the negativity in the media and blogs. Secondly by totally ignoring all the comments of the pundits and ‘expert’ commentators – each of whom, to a man , were failures as managers themselves . Some of them were impressively spectacular failures! Like that former Valencia manager .

    I do hope that in our home games the true fans sing their hearts out to urge our players to further exertions in their overal play. Drown out those idiots who waste their money (or from the dole) to only go there to boo and be negative.

    While things are not perfect , yet I personally have great faith and hopes for the manager , the team and for the Arsenal.

    Up the Gunners !

  16. Am forwarding the article below which someone had sent me –

    Religion vs Spirituality by Froylan Chardi

    Dr. Froylan Alvarado Guemez Pierre Teilhard de Chardi, of the Jesuit order.
    Born in Orcines, on May 1, 1881 and died in New York on April 10, 1995. It was the French theologian, philosopher and paleontologist who built an integrated vision of science and mysticism with his thought; of the evolution of spirit and thought.

    -Religion is not just one, there are hundreds.
    -Spirituality is one.

    -Religion is for those who sleep.
    -Spirituality is for those who are awake.

    -Religion is for those who need someone to tell them what to do and want to be guided.
    -Spirituality is for those who pay attention to their inner voice.

    -Religion has a set of dogmatic rules.
    -Spirituality invites us to reason about everything, to question everything.

    -Religion threatens and frightens.
    -Spirituality gives inner peace.

    -Religion speaks of sin and guilt.
    -Spirituality says, “learn from error”.

    – Religion represses everything and in some cases it is false.
    -Spirituality transcends everything, it brings you closer to your truth!

    -Religion speaks of a god; It is not God.
    -Spirituality is everything and, therefore, it is in God.

    -Religion invents.
    -Spirituality finds.

    -Religion does not tolerate any question.
    -Spirituality questions everything.

    -Religion is human, it is an organization with men’s rules.
    -Spirituality is Divine, without human rules.

    -Religion is the cause of divisions.
    -Spirituality unites.

    -Religion is looking for you to believe.
    -Spirituality you have to look for it to believe.

    -Religion follows the precepts of a sacred book.
    -Spirituality seeks the sacred in all books.

    -Religion feeds on fear.
    -Spirituality feeds on trust and faith.

    -Religion lives in thought.
    -Spirituality lives in Consciousness.

    -Religion deals with doing.
    -Spirituality has to do with the Self.

    -Religion feeds the ego.
    -Spirituality drives to transcend.

    -Religion makes us renounce the world to follow a God.
    -Spirituality makes us live in God, without renouncing us.

    -Religion is a cult.
    -Spirituality is meditation.

    -Religion fills us with dreams of glory in paradise.
    – Spirituality makes us live the glory and paradise here and now.

    -Religion lives in the past and in the future.
    -Spirituality lives in the present.

    -Religion creates cloisters in our memory.
    -Spirituality liberates our Consciousness.

    -Religion makes us believe in eternal life.
    – Spirituality makes us aware of Eternal Life.

    -Religion promises life after death.
    Spirituality is to find God in our interior during life and death.

    -We are not human beings who go through a spiritual experience.
    -We are spiritual beings that we go through a human experience.

  17. The red card was the correct decision. It was in his best interest to exit the theatre in the aftermath of the incident.

    Overturning it may be counter productive unless the “super ultra hypnotic” counselling they promised him has completely erased the memory and the guilt from his mind. Infact serving the punishment might have helped him exorcise some of the guilt.

    I have no doubt he is a “nice” guy…. just as friends of other on field and off-field offenders will testify that they are all nice guys. They never meant to racially mock you (online). They didn’t really mean to bite you and certainly absolutely had no intention of shattering your ankle when attempting that crude tackle from behind.

    They call Arsenal players soft and spineless… but when AMN does a routine clean takedown of an advancing opponent he gets a red card and gets burned by the media. Nobody says the poor, soft, nice spineless guy didn’t mean it.

  18. Let’s stop whining and throwing a tantrum like babies because Son’s redcard was overturned. Tottenham felt the decision was wrong, appealed it before an independent panel And got judgment. We have been beneficiaries in the past too Eg when Gabriel’s red card against Chelsea was overturned. Also when Eduardo’s dive against Celtic wasn’t punished. If anything spurs should feel justice delayed is justice denied in this case as they played a man down and conceded the equaliser. If arsenal feels wrongly done by ref decisions, the club should be confident enough to appeal. The same untold that shouts about referees being incompetent daily, suddenly is backing the ref when an independent body rules that the ref got it wrong. Sounds like sour grapes

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