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It is not always easy to make life difficult for the owners, but we can at least try.


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By Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw, senior psychologist at the University College Hospital of the North Circular Road.

Tony has reported both on the Untold Goonernews videos and on a post here about our unhappiness with Arsenal over the club’s kowtowing and bowing down to Chinese pressure after Özil’’s comments about the treatment of Uiqhur Muslims in China.

Arsenal, on hearing of China’s disquiet about Özil’s comments, issued a conciliatory statement saying these were just Özil’s views and not the views of the club.  This contrasted strongly with the way American teams have in general responded to such criticism.  Their view is that if you take an American team, you have to be aware that they do not leave their values behind in the departure lounge.

Now we hear that FC Cologne are pulling out of a deal that was about to come into effect to run a football academy in China.  A representative of the club has said that the club should not support “such a totalitarian and brutal dictatorship”.

Cologne’s president, Werner Wolf, told the paper Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger that they had decided not proceed with the project “in the current sporting situation”.

Stefan Müller-Römer, who was a member of the board said to the newspaper, “I understand that Germany can’t completely get by without China and that there is an exchange between the two countries, but we don’t need China in sport and I stand by that.

“In China human rights are being massively disregarded. A complete surveillance state is being built, one worse than even George Orwell could have imagined. I have followed developments in China for more than 20 years and I have been there several times. I know what I am talking about.

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“That is why I am of the opinion that 1 FC Cologne should not be active there. Making money at any cost is not an option for me. Apart from the fact that it is questionable whether it is possible to make money there, there are more important things than money. And as a non-profit organisation, that is socially active, we cannot support such a brutal and totalitarian dictatorship.”

Arsenal however has gone the other way.  Arsenal has developed a number of interests in China, particularly including a chain of restaurants, and justifies this on the basis that the club is apolitical.

And that is a bit of a problem, because I’d rather like the club I support to be in favour of democracy over dictatorship and the rule of law over arbitrary decisions by dictators.  I want the club to be political.

“Regarding the comments made by Mesut Özil on social media, Arsenal must make a clear statement,” it pontificated. “The content published is Özil’s personal opinion. As a football club, Arsenal has always adhered to the principle of not involving itself in politics.”

But by its very existence that is not true.  Arsenal is political because it exists in a country that is ruled by politicians.  It has no choice but to be political.

I am reminded of the line taken by my secondary school’s hierarchy when they dished out a punishment to me for wearing a CND badge on my uniform.  “We’ll have no politics in this school,” I was told and I’m rather pleased to recall that even by the age of 17 I was able to realise what a lie that was.  The school, by its very existence as a grammar school was a political statement built by a political government.  It is politics that creates our world, and we cannot escape it.

Özil’s Instagram message stated, “East Turkistan, the bleeding wound of the Ummah, resisting against the persecutors trying to separate them from their religion. They burn their Qurans. They shut down their mosques. They ban their schools. They kill their holy men. The men are forced into camps and their families are forced to live with Chinese men. The women are forced to marry Chinese men.

“But Muslims are silent. They won’t make a noise. They have abandoned them. Don’t they know that giving consent for persecution is persecution itself?”

Arsenal meanwhile has been described by Sean Ingle in the Guardian as “craven” as in the headline “Craven Arsenal abandon Mesut Özil over his stance on China’s Uighur persecution.”  I’d agree with that.

But let us not forget that we have previously had the case of the MOTV wild animal hunting channel which the Kroenkes wanted to launch in Britain and which led to protests and which was eventually abandoned because of mass protests.  So maybe we do have a voice.

It is not always easy to make life difficult for the obscenely rich, but we can at least try.

And there could be a possible bonus.  If we made life commercially difficult for Arsenal often enough, maybe they’d sell the club to someone a bit nicer.

30 comments to It is not always easy to make life difficult for the owners, but we can at least try.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Or they could sell the club to .. a country owned by a dictator…..

  • Nitram

    I must admit this lot in charge at Arsenal leave a very nasty taste in the mouth but I do have a modicum of sympathy for them. No, sympathy is the wrong word. Understanding.

    The fact of the matter is throughout the World there are many distasteful regimes, rulers and Goverments, ranging from some in predominantly Muslim Counties, to the good old US of A.

    We as a club are indeed sponsored by a wholly distasteful regime, as are many clubs throughout the World.

    Many of our posters will have their own particular issues around the World.

    The question is do the Club allow their players to make derogatory statements about any regime, ruler or Government they have a particularly personal dislike of?

    I personally think our own Government is shameful, and can say that if I so wish, but would it be okay for one of Arsenals players to say that in the name of Arsenal fc ?

    Surely Arsenal as a Club do need to distance themselves from all personal opinions, no matter how justified that view may be, as Ozils most surely is in my opinion?

    Otherwise the risk is the club become a political vehicle for whoever wishes to take a political stance.

    I cant criticise the stance taken by Cologne, as long as they maintain those principles of critisism and none engagement with ALL distasteful regimes, rulers and Governments throughout the World, in which case they could be excluding themselves from one hell of a lot of Countries.

    In summary, overall I support Ozil in his personal stance but I also can understand why Arsenal as a Club chose to remain neutral.

    Others may differ and to be fair it is a very difficult situation and I do see both sides.

  • Gord

    OT: Arsenal youth

    Late congratulations to the U23, for beating Zagreb 3-2.

    Congratulations to the U18 for beating Cheltenham 2-4 in penalties.

    —-

    In terms of voicing displeasure at ownership, if a number (less than 90) summarises a “concern”, having fans stand in that minute and turn their back to the field might do something.

  • Menace

    Good idea Gord perhaps even a refusal to renew season tickets because Walmart’sheiress is being screwed by silence. 😉

  • Polo

    It’s good to see FC Cologne doing the right thing, all strength to them. If only western governments and corporations have the strength and will to do the same. I believe Arsenal shouldn’t have posted a response and should have kept quiet, just like when Hector posted his comments.

  • Ben

    I do find that what Arsenal did is what any company would do would they not? If i say down with China in such a public manner then my employers would also issue a statement publicly to not back me but to say that it is a matter of personal opinion.

  • Mikey

    OT: Arteta

    I note the BBC still keep saying, “City remain angry at how Arsenal have conducted themselves since Sunday.” I have also read this claim elsewhere. It may be that I just haven’t come across a statement yet but it appears to me that the media keep making this claim but offer no evidence to support it.

    Has anybody actually seen anything? A quote? Anything?

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I think Mesut Ozil has the element of the act of hard-line Islamic ideology ingrained in him that could make him turn to become an Islamic terrorist or a sponsorer of the devilish act.

    Is this not how it all began with Osama bin Laden, the late head of Al Qaeda Islamic terrorist organization? But maybe Mike Pompeo the US Secretary of State has in his hurry to back Ozil for his castigation of China, a sovereign independent State as a inhumane to humanity country because of the country’s efforts being made and ongoing to stamp out Islamic act of terrorism from China has forgotten the devastating September 9/11 act of terrorism that Osama carried out against the US which led to former US president George Bush formed the Department of Home Land Security to put Islamic terrorism on US soil incheck. What about Mullah M Umar, the reported could now be dead former Afghan Tallibans leader who made living hard for the Americans to live and the trails he left behind after he might have died is still costing the US Amy in Afghanistan that has spilled over to Iraq and Eastern Pakistan.

    Okay, what of the IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who president Donald Trump has had killed to stop his Islamic State act of terrorism from wasting peoples lives and manning them and destroying properties from continuing? But Ironically it’s pertinent to see when the US made a U-turn to turn against the Kurds who helped the US to takeout Baghdadi out of the way to tragically support Edogan the Turkish president and Ozil’s friend to force out the Kurds in their millions from the part of their homeland bordering Turkey. Hmmm.

    Freedom of speech? What freedom of speech? Ozil’s selfish freedom of speech or what? How much money has Ozil handed to Unicef to held the disadvantaged children worldwide? Or how much money has he given to the Save the Hunger Organization to alleviate the sufferings of people in Hunger? Ozil was discriminate in his food handouts giving to the less privileged in Turkish ravaged war zone torn areas as he only had food supplied to people of his Islamic faith. But did his supply cut across the board to include others of different faiths? And why has Ozil not spoken out against Saudi Arabia’s restrictions of general practice of the Christian region by Christians on Saudi Arabia’s land if he profess general freedom of speech but not specific freedom of speech on a matter of interest and concern to him?

    I think Ozil as a Gunner has overstepped his bounds at Arsenal by his making of the Uighur Muslims and East Turkishtan statements that are considered by the Chinese people derogatory to the China State. And this misendeavour by Ozil deliberately done to shift focus away from the shit football that he now plays for Arsenal, and for his act of bringing the name of the club into serious disrepute which could potentially cause commercial and marketing loses to Arsenal. Ozil should be reprimanded by the authorities at the club banning him from playing for the club in all competitions henceforth with from now till the end of this season. And also imposed a six-month weekly wages fine on him I so submit.

  • Gord

    SAA, you are out of line.

    -10

  • Mikey

    I’m with Gord on that SAA

  • Call him a lazy footballer.
    Call him a hypocrite.
    Bit much to call him a potential terrorist.

  • goonersince72

    Same here

  • Chris

    @SAA,

    I firmly disagree and find your comment way out of line. As for the ‘derogatory to the china state’ statement, how can you not have any sentiment of horror for the scale of what happens and empathy for the people it happens to ?

  • Chris

    @Mikey,

    if you look at the guardian, you’ll find 2 stories about the ‘City$ anger’, they were on the homepage one after the other, and both say the same thing.
    There are however 2 more positive stories that, after what we have seen from Arteta during his years at the club, do seem close to the truth.

    On the subject of anger at City$, well, considering they are used to just throwing their money around as the elephant throws his weight in the porcellan store, I do not see a problem there. Rather I find this amusing, like the gardener getting wet from his own hose. That Arteta just decides to come to Arsenal means to me that they did not rate him well enough to make sure he cannot leave and that he, Arteta, figures the Arsenal project is better then staying at City$ even as the right hand guy to the so-called greatest coach of the galaxy. If he comes to Arsenal, he knows what he is doing. I do not believe it is opportunistic – no way he’ll win the league this season, he knows that. So he must have evaluated the potential of the team and figured he had a chance of doing something with it.

    To me this is full of positives.

    And the press will not like that and would have prefered Arsenal not getting such a quality person.

    However, if the fans and ‘spectators’ are not behind him and the team, they are just stupid.

    If he comes, I sure hope that Freddy and Per stay there and keep up the good work.

  • Gord

    OT: Women’s football

    French side Lyon have apparently bought the USA team Reign FC (Tacoma, WA) which Rapinoe plays on.

    Does this change how Arsenal approach women’s football? Man$ity already have an infinite bank account.

  • Debs

    I’m afraid to say it but though SAA’s grammar can be tedious, I agree with him that his comments bear resemblance to those of religious extremists. He didn’t speak up for Uighurs or oppressed people, he spoke for Uighur Muslims, he criticised other Muslims for not doing something. I do not know Ozil or what truly is happening in Xinjiang, but if I were to bet, I’d say Ozil is getting radicalized and needs to be watched.
    As for arsenal, as nitram says, the club cannot be forced into a political situation by its player. If the club wants to be political then let it do so on its own terms as koln has decided to. Like I also said, what if we bought a Chinese player in January, should he also come online and reply saying something like “Ozil, your Uighur Muslims are terrorists and need to be locked up”. Would any of you consider that appropriate?

  • Gord

    Debs, it would probably depend on whether there was proof. And the quality of the proof.

    Donald Duck in the USA needs apparently no quality to make a claim. A player coming to Arsenal should be better than that.

  • Menace

    SAA – I am so disappointed with your comment. It belies your intelligence.

    Please consider an apology.

  • Nitram

    Menace

    That’s a bit rich coming from someone who suggested that the EU is a remnant or Hitlers Reich.

    Of course nobody has to like the EU but to cast it as a modern day Third Reich is a bit extreme don’t you think?

    I certainly don’t agree with SAA but with you effectively calling EU politicians Nuevo Nazis you’re hardly in a position to request an apology are you ?

  • Chris

    Don’t you just love it ….. just scrolling through the newsfeeds….

    So Auba, Ozil, Laca, Torreira they are all on the way out, Arteta is doomed, the other players have to expect a dictator…. he has got zilch chance, did not ever manage a team anyways, what are they smoking at the Emirates and poor City$, they are getting robed by Arsenal…..

  • Chris

    @ Brickfield,

    good piece. I just find it absolutely staggering that in the timespan of one decade or two, ‘conservatives’ have moved from ‘deficit hawks’ to ‘let’s spend all the money we do not have and our descendants will never be able to pay back, and are now accepted as defending the financially lower classes…..I mean….. give me a break !

    And all that so called press that was fuming when governements were operating a deficit suddendly find this the best way to manage their own country while forcing poor countries towards zero deficit budgets via the World Bank….

    And don’t get us started on the issue of climate change and ecology.

    For anybody interested, in Switzerland they are looking at changing paradigm : http://www.microtax.ch/en/ And guess who is totally against it… ? This is the only way to make sure everyone contributes to global weath the same way. A real democratic way.

  • Gooner S

    @Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    That has to be the most ridiculous comment I’ve seen on this blog.

  • Ben

    @SAA Ozil does do a lot of charity work which you can find posts about it on tiwtter and reddit. His post is more of a why hasn’t the Muslim world said a thing about what China is doing rather than being an expression because of freedom of speech.

  • Masterstroke

    @Menace
    There’s absolutely no requirement to troll SAA over his comments. It’s enough to just disagree or make an intelegent & informed appraisal as Debs has.

  • Menace

    Nitram you need to read up on the history and origins of the EU and its soft EC that brought about the absorption of UKs manufacturing. Where have all our car manufacturers gone? Our banks were in the process of being absorbed. The invisible is always a shock when it appears. Brexit will probably shine a spotlight on some of the truths eventually.

    Also go through the Greek situation and how it has been absorbed by EU and Germany.

    Or better still lets just stick to matters Arsenal our wholly owned American Football Club.

  • Everyone: this is getting unnecessarily fractious and I am not sure it is helping take the debate forward, nor helping any of us.

    Please let us return to the calmness with which Untold readers normally conduct discussion – or perhaps let us move on to discussing something else.

  • Gord

    In the news about Arsenal, is basically nothing. There are hopes from a million journalists that Arsenal have nothing but problems. FourFourTwo had a Top-100 list for 2019 (the best players of that year), and Arsenal have 4 current or former players on that list: Szczesny (69), Gnabry (53), Cazorla (49) and Aubameyang (37).

  • Gord

    Moved games (look out Gooners from far away), thanks to Sky Sprots
    Burnley v Arsenal (was Sat Feb 1, now Sun Feb 2@2pm)
    Arsenal v Newcastle (was Sat Feb 8, now Sun Feb 16@4:30pm)
    Arsenal v Everton (was Sat Feb 22, now Sun Feb 23@4:30pm)
    Man$ity v Arsenal (was Sat Feb 29, now Sun Mar 1@2pm; could still be moved if Man$ity has Carabao Cup conflicts).

  • Nitram

    Menace

    I don’t agree, but you may or may not be right about the benefits of leaving the EU, only time will tell, either way given the appalling atrocities perpetrated by the Third Reich and the Nazis with the mass murder of innocents throughout the World, and it’s Genocidal Final Solution, comparing them to the EU is frankly a disgrace.

    I know people are passionate about Brexit on both sides but really are you serious?