Unity in Adversity: Why I’m Disappointed by Fan ReactionPosted: November 14, 2012
Arsenal are in a bad place, there’s no two ways about it. There are things we all would have done differently over the last 7 years, but the way in which an Arsenal fan minority (fast becoming a majority), seemingly led by Piers Morgan, have taken it upon themselves to castigate Arsene Wenger, demanding the end of the current regime, has been distressing. The readiness by which people are calling for Wenger’s head on a plinth, and the ruthless, bordering on aggressive reaction to all things Arsenal has, for me, been disappointing. I admit I am using twitter as a measurement of fan opinion, but the way in which Arsenal fans are turning on each other and the Club is not what the Arsenal is all about.
We all think we know what’s going on inside the Club and we all think we know how to turn our fortunes around. It’s funny how, as soon as the team starts under-performing everyone becomes the greatest football manager the world has ever seen. You might argue we’ve been under-performing for years but in actual fact, I’m afraid with the resources we have we’re doing pretty well. It’s not Arsenal we should be frustrated with, it’s the state of modern football in this country and in Europe. Yes poor decisions have been made year after year, and yes ticket prices are too high, manager and chief executive’s salaries are way too high. Nevertheless, how can we expect to keep up with the mega-rich Clubs like City and Chelsea whilst staying sustainable? The transfer policy has been incredibly frustrating and the sale of Van Persie to a rival I still think should have been avoided, but would a serious over-haul of manager and board members really have anything other than a negative impact?
I do think the serious fans, the fans who travel home and away have a respect for Arsene Wenger that will never falter, and that’s the way it should be. The man is the Club’s most successful manager of all time for God sake! I sympathise with those who say that doesn’t mean he has a job for life, I agree with you, but there is absolutely no excuse for forgetting what the man has done for the Club. I was in the Tollington on Saturday after the Fulham game and Arsene stopped at the red light for a while. The majority of the faithful were chanting ‘one Arsene Wenger’ in his direction and I must say I was surprised to see him extend his arm enthusiastically and give us an appreciative wave as he drove off. It was a strangely nice moment and one in which, having read all the drivel on twitter recently, put things in perspective. The man deserves our respect and yes, everyone is allowed their opinion on his managerial skills and his future at the Club, but slagging him off and insulting him is unnecessary and over the top.
It’s got so bad that now, a few days before the biggest game the Club has had in a long long time, Saturday’s North London Derby, so called fans are stupid enough to say they hope we lose so changes are made! I’m not even going to entertain that thought for more than two sentences it’s so ridiculous. Others are saying they hope we come 5th for the same reason, more are saying they’re going to boo the team on Saturday. Who are these people? They shouldn’t be allowed in the ground. The fact we’re playing Spurs makes it all the more incomprehensible.
Here’s a little snippet from earlier on today:
Opinions are great, You don’t have to agree with mine, but getting behind the team is critical and actually has a bigger impact on the team performance than you might imagine. Every home game this season has been tense. Yes, as Arsene said in his programme notes last week, it’s up to the team to get the crowd going, but it’s a mutual thing. I’m as frustrated as the next man when we miss last minute penalties and concede last minute goals, but what good is booing the team going to do? What good is leaving the ground 5 minutes early going to do? What good is posting vial, offensive comments on twitter going to do? I’m genuinely concerned about the result on Saturday but please God, regardless of result, can we all please please not turn on the team or the manager or anyone other than the Tottenham players and fans because regardless of context, this rivalry is too big for saturday to be the time for civil unrest.