The endless bashing of Arsenal: Dial Square FC and farewell Gunnersaurus,

By Tony Attwood

It has been quite clear for some time that the Athletic has something against Arsenal.  But now it is reaching such heights it is getting a bit silly.

For under the headline, “How do you feel about clubs laying off staff then spending big on players?” we find written…

“Consider, for a moment, Gunnersaurus…”

Now you will probably be bored by the repetition because I have been through this so many times before, but redundancy, in UK law, can only be given when the job no longer exists.  So, just as Arsenal decided that their scouting network, set up in the days before the digitalisation of every player’s movement, (see our article on the subject if you missed it) so now Gunnersaurus has gone.

I don’t know the earnings of the man inside Gunnersauraus but as he was employed at most 20 days a year I suspect it wasn’t much above £1500 a year, if that.  Given that Partey, our last singing earns over £200,000 a week, I doubt that the salary of a man who earned 0.00015% of Partey is going to help much.

The Athletic calls him, “Arsenal’s beloved mascot” – which may or may not be true – and he has been made redundant.  His job doesn’t exist any more.  He hasn’t been sacked as they suggest.

And clearly his job doesn’t exist at the moment because his job was focused on match days with crowds.  And also what he did hadn’t changed much of the years.  If you’ve been to the Emirates and stayed in your seat at half time you’ll know that a goal was set up, three children from the crowd were selected, and they each had to take a shot at the goal – in front of which stood Gunnersaurus.  Who would dutifully dive over the ball, dive the wrong way or simply not dive at all, and the ball would go in the net.  The child had scored and would take away a goodie bag.  All done.

It was fine, and undoubtedly fun for the 50 or so children a year selected.  Nothing wrong with that, but after a number of years, to those who attended each game it was getting a bit tired.  Time for a new half time I suspect.   Mind you those interviews with ex-players were getting a bit tedious as well – I think we’ve seen most of the coherent ex-players several times, and quite a few of the non-coherent men as well.  In fact time for a complete new half-time “experience” as I suspect it is now called.

The salary saved is hardly going to be part of a cost cutting arrangement, but it is seized upon and somehow linked to the fact that Arsenal spent a lot of money in the window.  What was not mentioned was that certainly most if not all of the regular match day staff have been retained.  The phoned based ticket booking people have, I know from personal experience, been re-assigned and some spend their day phoning up supporters asking how they are doing.

The Athletic make a big thing about the fact that Jerry Quy has been Gunnersaurus for 30 years.  Well that in itself is probably a reason for change.  Virtually anything else football related which is 30 years old is now considered quaint.

But of course it is not the first time The Athletic has gone in for some serious Arsenal bashing.  For we remember one of their earlier forays which came with the headline…Disgruntled Arsenal fans to launch breakaway phoenix club based in Surrey – Dial Square FC”

It was an unfortunate article to say the least in that it opened with the assertion that Arsenal were called Dial Square until 1893, which if you have ever read any book on Arsenal, or indeed looked at the Arsenal History Society’s daily blog, or our series of articles on 1886 (the year of Arsenal’s foundation) you’ll know this is completely untrue.  Arsenal only played one game (and that in 1886) as Dial Square. Details in “Woolwich Arsenal: the club that changed football”

Dial Square played one match, and it is this level of inaccuracy, this sort of “here’s a story, knock it out quick – they’re only football fans, they won’t know,” that I find frustrating with the Athletic although to be fair, it is not just the Athletic that is like this – most football journalists work in this way, it is just today, I happened to see their article.

Anyway, we mentioned this at the time and it seems that Dial Square did get underway, and is playing.  I’m not sure what league they are in but as one of the teams they have played of late is in the Guildford and Woking Alliance League it could be there – which doesn’t have much to do with Arsenal, or come to that Woolwich.

But my point is that The Athletic were keen to give quite a write up to this newly found club, despite the new club’s owners having rather a substantial lack of information about the history of Arsenal and now they are criticising for making Gunnersaurus redundant.  Criticism without background seems to be their main thing.

What I do find particularly interesting is that the Athletic article continued with, “Fan discontent reached its peak in the summer of 2019, when several supporters groups joined forces to launch the #WeCareDoYou campaign. A spokesperson for the campaign explained: “There’s been a steady disconnect for a lot of fans. It stems from a range of things — from when football went all-ticket and all-seater, to the change of our badge, to moving from Highbury, to higher ticket prices, and to games being constantly moved for TV. For many fans, having a majority shareholder (now owner) who is rarely in the country let alone at games, and who has never really engaged with fans, was the final straw.”

I personally don’t find a disconnect at all.  I am a member of Arsenal Independent Supporters Association, and we have a strong link with Arsenal, our committee members talk with club officials and directors regularly, I’ve had some chances to do that myself and they’ve been good conversations.

As for WeCareDoYou?  That campaign managed to get Mr Wenger out, and then Mr Emery out, and all told we’ve had a couple of years of turmoil.  Getting Mr Wenger and the team out early cost the club £15m.  A similar sum was wasted on getting Mr Emery out.  If they had waited one more year, Mr Wenger’s contract was at an end, Mr Arteta could have been appointed…  As it was around £25m was wasted but finally, as I write, we have had our best start to a season in seven years and a better start than in two of our last three title-winning seasons.

It may well be that this turn around is claimed by the WeCare groups to be all down to them – if so they will presumably also take responsibility for the £25m in redundancy payments.  But this season’s success  might have something to do with Arsenal having spent more than any other club in the last three windows.  If we do go on and build on the success of the FA Cup and Community Shield recently, that will be great, but it will have nothing to do either with either the Disgruntled Arsenal fan or The Athletic, or the disgraceful Wecaredoyou.  I personally don’t like the Kroenke’s because of their past behaviour with their American franchises and the support of Kroenke senior for Donald Trump who I consider to be a danger to intelligent life forms across the galaxy, and I was very dubious about the “spend some fucking money” campaign which some WeCareDoYou supporters also engaged in.  But the fact that we have won a couple of trophies and had a superb start to this season, makes me reconsider the way things are.

Certainly AST became something of a laughing stock when in ran two articles in which its accountant “analysed” two different sets of Arsenal accounts and “discovered” that in the first set of accounts Arsenal had secretly and illegally set aside money for the directors to award to themselves, and in the second set had only set a budget of £40m for transfers.    Arsenal then went on and spent £130m and has since spent far more.

The founders of New Dial Square (if I may call the new club that) claimed that the new club will start in north London but aim to move to Woolwich (although Woolwich Arsenal, played in Plumstead).

But now, far from being even in Woolwich, Dial Square is far away.  Yes, the club has been set up, and that’s great, because every new club is welcome, and every encouragement for people to get exercise is welcome (it is actually one of the key ways to protect oneself against a bad attack of Covid-19.  You might well still get it but if you are fit and not overweight, the chances are now that you’ll get the newly mutated version, which more often than not leads to asymptotic Covid.)

So, good luck Dial Square FC – glad you are there.  Shame you got the history wrong, and that you haven’t moved to Woolwich, but still glad you did it.  As for the Athletic, maybe a spot of fact checking  and a little less Arsenal knocking at every turn, might help.


5 Replies to “The endless bashing of Arsenal: Dial Square FC and farewell Gunnersaurus,”

  1. I am an Arsenal fan since 1979 and had a season ticket for the best part of 20 years although not for the last 7. I personally was not impressed with the announcing of a £45 million pound signing on the day you make the mascot redundant. As you point out technically they have done nothing wrong but the PR department at Arsenal have got this totally wrong IMO. Football clubs were and some still are at the heart of communities and the expectation of the way they behave is expected to be at a higher moral value. On a wider point thee are many pundits and publications that have the favorite clubs and clubs they dislike. All clubs are on the receiving from some of them. The way you like to think it’s only Arsenal is not correct and can’t understand why you do it so often making us out to be some bullied schoolchild.

  2. Hey Dial Square there is a Quy looking for a job as mascot and Ozil will pay his wages in your square clock mascot. It proves that time waits for no man!!

  3. Arsenal is in the business of running a successful football organisation. It is not a charity. In the face of unprecedented drop in revenue, reducing your running cost is essential for survival. But you have to make essential investments to protect your revenue streams. These are basics of business. There is nothing contradictory or immoral about announcing redundancies and spending millions on players. How these two seperate actions have been maliciously woven into a narrative of greed and immorality is simply baffling.

  4. Then I guess there will be hell to pay if that team of dedicated staff who regularly clean the statues outside the stadium are sacked ?

    There is such a dedicated team isn’t there ? Unlike cats , statues don’t just clean themselves . Am sure there are sufficient numbers of anti-Arsenal pigeons in North London who fancy ‘dropping in’ on those statues ?

    Maybe someone who truly cares about these things ought to start a # Statues Matter movement and get suitable concerned persons to step in to clean up those statues? I’ll donate the cleaning liquids !

  5. Tony, There is such a thing as not agreeing with somebody, but just something about Mr. Kroenke and his support for President Trump. Whether you like it or not, Trump is the first USA president that has actually fulfilled his campaign promises AND he has created wealth for ALL the American people, not just the connected and/or rich. The fact that he believes in the impartiality of the Supreme Court and has appointed judges that implements that, rather than the ideas of their ‘supporters’ is the main threat to the Democratic Party in the USA. Please refrain from bashing people for their views when you don’t agree with theirs as everyone should be allowed to state their case without condemnation or vilification.

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