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The absolute proof that Arsenal has turned itself around. Now to avoid the danger.

By Tony Attwood

As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader, Arsenal had an absolutely fantastic last two-thirds of the season. 

Look at a league table of that period and Arsenal were the third-best team  – in fact, second-best if you account for the fact that Man U played one more game than us during that period.

So you might think that should be a source for celebration.  We didn’t win anything of course, but it was an amazing recovery from the first third, and bodes incredibly well for next season.  But what happens?  Most of the media have not mentioned that success at all because their attention was drawn to a tiny, tiny gaggle of publicity seekers holding up “Kroenke Out” cards.

Whether they were the same people who held up Wenger Out cards three years ago I can’t say, but I would like to know why they do it.  The Wenger Out campaign was successful in that it got rid of Mr Wenger, but an absolute flop in terms of improving results.

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 25 21 0 4 64 20 44 63
2 Manchester United 25 13 9 3 45 23 22 48
3 Arsenal 24 14 5 5 43 21 22 47
4 West Ham United 24 13 5 6 41 28 13 44
5 Chelsea 24 12 6 6 29 22 7 42
6 Leicester City 24 11 6 7 42 33 9 39
7 Liverpool 24 11 5 8 32 23 38
8 Tottenham Hots 24 11 4 9 43 31 12 37

Whether they were the same people who held up Wenger Out cards three years ago I can’t say, but I would like to know why they do it.  The Wenger Out campaign was successful in that it got rid of Mr Wenger, but an absolute flop in terms of improving results. And worse, we’ve had two managers in the space of three years, and our 25 years in Europe has come to an end.  Will the Kroenke out cards be equally successful?  I seriously doubt it.

Mr Wenger agreed to leave, knowing he had to go at some time.  But why on earth would the Kroenke’s leave just at the moment that Arsenal have turned themselves around on the pitch?   Indeed the AST “manifesto” (I use the word lightly) doesn’t actually call for them to leave, but rather calls for the AST to get influence in the club – something that given their activities so far could spell the end of Arsenal as a successful team for decades to come.

Mr Arteta and the team must be thrilled with their performance since Christmas, but equally saddened that apart from here, this success is hardly getting attention because of a relatively tiny band of publicity-seeking nutters.  Publicity-seeking, because if you go into the ground with a protest card, you are pretty much bound to be on TV.  And that’s what seems to matter to them.

Of course Sky, who covered the game, knew the irrelevance of AST and undoubtedly somewhere within Sky there were people who knew just how good Arsenal have been this last two-thirds of the season, but they like to keep it quiet.  As indeed do all the media.  Indeed as do most people, I think, for on the few occasions when I have had the chance to ask people if they think that waving a Kroenke out card will actually get them to walk out of the club, they’ve said “no”.  Then I ask why they do it and their reply was, “Well, you’ve got to do something.”

I agree we do have to do something, but for me that something is to support a club that is on the up, show unity and tell the media where to stick its eternal “Arsenal in crisis”; Arsenal need a clear out”, campaign.

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Of course, I don’t know if these card-waving Kroenke-out people are the same ones who have spent 18 months booing Pepe and claiming he was a total waste of money.  Maybe so, but you can be sure that the news of what happened to Pepe at Arsenal has spread across Europe.  Young players touted to join Arsenal are being warned about the sort of reception they will get.  “There is no settling in period at Arsenal,” they are told, “if you don’t start by being brilliant, and then carry on by being brilliant, the crowd and the media will be on your back.”

And does that situation make transfers easier?  No of course not.

Anyway, the TV commentators made the briefest passing reference to Arsenal’s improvement of late, but it was far, far less than the amount of time they spent on the Kroenke out campaign.

And why do I keep on about this improvement?  Because it is a much better guide to where we will be next season than the full season’s table, which includes the period where we were getting used to the new strategies including the avoiding of tackles (in order to overcome referee bias), and where we had to put up with remorseless anti-Pepe, anti-Kroenke propaganda from “fans” and media deadbeats alike.

Which is not to say I like Kroenke and his family, but rather to say I would fear for the future of Arsenal if an organisation like AST with its wild and wacky allegations and campaigns got any foothold in the club.  If they ever do I think, given their previous behaviour, it could be a disaster.  A bit like giving Football.London and the Daily Mirror a say in the running of the club.

So let us instead consider two important elements.

Defence:  Across the whole season we have the third-best defence in the league, and yet the media have been screaming for us to kick them out and bring in a new defence all season.  In the last two thirds of the season we let in just one more goal than Manchester City.

Attack: Despite the ceaseless whinging and whining in the Sky commentary yesterday about our lack of goals, if one measures the games since Christmas, just on two-thirds of a season, we had the third-best attack in the league.  That’s what has driven our improvement.

And not only is this Arsenal team superb, it is young, and next campaign it will have Joe Willock who on 19 May, scored in his sixth consecutive league game, becoming the youngest player in Premier League history to do so at the age of 21 years and 272 days.  He then extended his record by scoring again in the last game of the season.  Seven consecutive games!!!

So my point is simple.  Apart from deporting all card-carrying people in the stadium next season and forcing them to watch West Brom for a year, I think we ought to support the manager and the team and watch with joy the emergence of a new truly great Arsenal.

I know I am fighting powerful forces here: Arsenal Supporters Trust, Black Scarf Movement (each claiming to be the largest Arsenal supporters’ group), the newspapers, the TV stations, and the blogs.  But Untold Arsenal has one thing on its side.

Reality.

The four dangers that could stop Arsenal’s return to greatness

15 comments to The absolute proof that Arsenal has turned itself around. Now to avoid the danger.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I was wondering to myself, when I saw the crowd of protesters, ” Do they know what they are doing ? Is any good coming out of this? Who is the knight in shining amour who is gping to rescue the club and take to to glory ?”

    I do hope they understand that any or some fool who buys the club, is well aware that the same fate may also await him down the line ? Or donthey hope that he just plonks his money to buy the 100 odd players that Arsenal will soon be showing interest ? According to the media , of course.

    Me ? Well I do hope the bulk of the players do remain , and that MA gets the targets he feels are needed.

    Up the Gunners !

  • Sally Pally

    Well I think we dodged a bullet with not getting into the poisoned chalice conference league. Spuds must be kicking themselves 😉
    We have probably the best crop of youngsters. Things look rosy right now for next season. It’s so good that Pepe has started to hit some real form.
    Shame about Auba but people forget he has just been recovering from malaria.
    We have two tanks and a lot of guile in midfield and great striker options. But our young players would make any other team drool with envy. Wenger’s investment in the academy is really paying off. If the reports that Saliba is ready to replace Luiz are tue, that’s another young player. Balogun. Willock to come back. Offload a couple of the expensive ones and go, go go!
    We just have to make a couple of really sensible signings in the next few weeks. A bit more toughness would be great.
    Lastly, I think that Lacazette has been one of the outstanding players this season and I really hope he stays. He is brilliant!

  • Marc Eatl

    Great article, I couldn’t agree more. The team need support, things turned around as soon as Arteta could introduce some creativity. With two or three good signings and a decent pre season we have a very good chance of making the top four next year, especially if we can get Auba firing again.

  • Nitram

    Tony

    Great article.

    “Indeed the AST “manifesto” (I use the word lightly) doesn’t actually call for them to leave, but rather calls for the AST to get influence in the club”

    And why I ask should the AST alone get influence on the board. Who are they to say they represent me?

    And this is the problem I have with the idea of fans having an input into how the club is run. Which fans? What input ?

    There are millions of Arsenal fans across the globe, how can AST claim to represent ‘The Fans’? This is what ANAND VENKATCHALAM asked in an earlier article:

    “As long as AST has a minimum holding of 10% in the club they would have no voice. They may represent fans in UK. But today Arsenal is a global club with fans all over the world”.

    As I said to him, I tend to agree. The key is ‘representation’.

    AST certainly don’t represent me.

    AISA. Do they represent me? I don’t know.

    How about the Black scarf movement ? Certainly not.

    What about Bloggs such as La Grove or Untold who hold polar opposite views?

    As AMAND said, what about foreign territories?

    The list goes on.

    Yes we all want the same thing for our team, and that’s to win things. But as I wrote that, even then I thought, is that actually true?

    Depending on who you support or your point of view to some supporters survival is victory. To some just doing the best you can is enough. To some playing attractive football is enough.

    But then some will accept nothing less than ‘winning’ trophies.

    Some think achieving whatever they want at any cost is okay.

    Some think a clubs principals are paramount.

    Some think taking money from corrupt or unprincipled sources is okay. Some think it is a disgrace.

    Some think being bankrolled to success is the way to go.

    Some think it it makes any success achieved thus worthless.

    And that’s just a few angles, but you can be certain, given the Millions of Arsenal and football fans in general, that you could fill pages with peoples different wants and don’t wants, ways and no ways.

    It’s a minefield.

    The bottom line is getting fans involved in running the club? Sorry. Nightmare !!

  • AB

    blah blah blah redux

    Usual anti-press fetish nonsense.

    Arsenal “superb”. You have low standards…

  • Surely no true Arsenal fan would like the team to fail, Arsenal is one of the most successful teams in England and it is a fact true fans are frustrated by the mediocre performance of the team in recent years.

    Negativity definitely hurts the team as correctly highlighted in this article and true fans should engage in constructive criticism in order to bring the best out of the team,the owners and the management.

    We do not want to join the bandwagon of people who criticise Arsenal with the intention to pull the team down and to demoralise the players,however where the manager or player/s are failing we have to point out but respectfully.

    Arsenal is a big brand and players will want to come to Arsenal but we must appreciate that no player will want to go to a hostile environment. We all want our team to produce a consistent performance throughout the campaign in order to be where we rightfully belong.

  • What always makes me interested in your comments Mr Banks is that you talk of low standards but you seem to have no standards at all, in that you make statements but never back them up. I have said that Arsenal have been superb based on a simple piece of analysis – they were doing rather poorly in the first third of the season, and turned that around, and have become the second or third best team in the league for the last two thirds of the season. That claim is backed up by numbers and analysis.

    Your put down of the article consists of 14 words which include at least three non-sequiturs as you move from one line to the next. If you would like to write a comment in which you explain why the piece is nonsense that would be interesting for all of us to read, especially if you can explain why picking the team up from a low position and improving its results overall somehow leads you to suggest that I personally have low standards. How can you possibly know what my standards are?

  • Nitram

    Diction Hagoi

    You make some decent points but you also highlight just what I’m saying. For example you say:

    “Surely no true Arsenal fan would like the team to fail”

    But what is failure? What You call failure may differ from what I, Tony, AST, Black scarf etc. etc. call failure. For example a lot of people called 10 years of top 4 finishes without a trophy failure. I thought it was a remarkable achievement.

    You go on to say:

    “Arsenal is one of the most successful teams in England and it is a fact true fans are frustrated by the mediocre performance of the team in recent years”.

    You say it’s a ‘fact’. How do you know that ? How many of the millions of Arsenal fans have you surveyed to know it’s a fact? If I’m not frustrated does that mean I’m not a true fan?

    Rather than the club maybe I and others are frustrated with the way the PGMO is organised, how we are refereed and screwed by VAR ? Or how certain clubs are allowed to run roughshod over any regulation they don’t like ?

    You say ” true fans should engage in constructive criticism”. Who says? You ? Again I might not want to criticise the team, the manager or the owners, constructively or otherwise, does that again mean I am not a true fan ?

    You say “…….,however where the manager or player/s are failing we have to point out but respectfully.”

    Again respectfully, and as I pointed out above, what you, AST, Black scarf etc. may call failure, I, Untold, AIST may not.

    My point is, not that you are wrong, not that your point of view isn’t valid, but that that is all it is. Your point of view. But you speak as if you’re speaking for, and this is where I believe you are wrong, every ‘TRUE’ Arsenal fan. You are not. You are speaking for yourself, nobody else.

    I don’t agree with some of what you say. I don’t agree with nearly everything AST, Black scarf, AFTV say. Does that mean I’m not a true fan?

    I think we have a great team, with great potential. Does that mean I’m not a true fan ?

    I think Arteta shows great promise and I certainly don’t want him out. Does that mean I’m not a true fan ?

    I don’t even have an issue with the owners. Does that mean I’m not a true fan ?

    None of this means I think the players, manager or owners are perfect, but one thing I am certain of is that the likes of the AST are not the sort of people I want involved in sorting out the toilet rolls at the club let alone the team.

  • LB-C

    A rare voice of sanity in the Arsenal ‘blogosphere’.

  • Coach Kerr

    Good Article again

    Despite being third in the league since Christmas, I still don’t have faith in Mikel to lead us forwards. Although the defence had improved it’s organisation, I’m yet to see a clear playing identity and I don’t like how the young players have been treated.

    In several matches this season it seemed like Mikel wasn’t allowing players to properly express their talents in attack, as he was constantly shouting instructions, telling players where to move and rotate etc. This type of coaching goes completely against Arsenal’s philosophy and is more akin to Manchester City style of play. I don’t want Arsenal to imitate other clubs in this sense; in my opinion, we had the best brand of football for 22 years under Wenger. Why would we be copying other brands?
    Furthermore, Auba is wrongfully persisted with as the main striker when clearly this stifles our ability to keep possession plus, Lacazette links up better with the likes of Saka and ESR.

    I do 100% agree about supporters need to see reality and stop continually complaining about Arsenal no longer being a big club. As you said, such hostility will deter talented youngsters from joining the club. Moreover, your right about AST and Black Scarf movement; such organisations obtaining any kind of significant influence would further stagnate Arsenal.

    I think us supporters here on untold need to get onto YouTube and bigger platforms on occasion to have debates and be recognised. I feel we as a group feel genuine pride for the club through knowledge of its history, traditions and values.

  • Sammy The Snake

    Good points Tony. I just wish you didn’t mention AW in every discussion. Let’s move on and support this manager.

    I don’t particularly mind the protests, as it might awaken Kronke and keep them on their toes.

    I am really excited for next season. No distracting Thursday night football, full focus on EPL with an exciting group of young talented players. Imagine Saka, Smith-Rowe, Willock, Pepe, Odegard (?), Partey, Thierney, Holding, Gabriel, Saliba all on the pitch at the same time. And Arteta is hopefully more advanced on his learning curve. We could have a breakout season.

  • Sammy, Mr W is not mentioned in every discussion, but those Kroenke Out bits of cardboard looked suspiciously like the Wenger Out cards turned round and with a new message written on the other side.

  • James

    Again nice read, I’m fed up of the idiots who support our clubgiving the same knee jerk reactions to anything.

    Nobody has the right to criticise any professional player or professional manager. It’s not about doing it in the correct way either, its about not doing it at all and supporting the team and the manager regardless of what you think of the owners. 99.9% of the people who criticise have never been a professional player and definitely never been a professional manager. So what gives us the right to openly slate them in the stadiums during a match.

    I’m all for fans discussing the match and it’s positives and negatives between themselves over a pint after the game. I doesn’t need to cascade down our terraces during the match

  • LjB

    I’m uncomfortable with the fact that the AST has met Daniel Ek, our latest suitor, who has promised fan representation, and a golden share, if he succeeds in purchasing the club. Getting their feet under the door, and they now have a clear conflict of interest imo. I’m also not comfortable with the involvement of Henry and Vieira; we know they both have eyes on the managers job. What have they been promised? Sorry but their managerial careers have been less than inspiring.Personally I don’t want them involved with the running of Arsenal but I’m well aware that I am in the minority there.

  • Coach Kerr

    Liv, I totally agree with everything you say towards your concern with Henry and Viera running the club.

    Based on Henry’s sky sports comments, I doubt he even recognizes the true Arsenal values. For one, publicizing a takeover on mainstream tv is completely against the Arsenal way.