Unity in Adversity: Why I’m Disappointed by Fan Reaction

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.

Nick

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14 Comments on “Unity in Adversity: Why I’m Disappointed by Fan Reaction”

  1. Joppa says:

    I find this post a little bland and all too much of the same. Five years ago, no say three years ago I would have agreed with it. Not now though. Not with the lack of respect the board and manager shows for it’s fans – the life blood of the club. I will simply refer you to………….

    “RVP was sold for footballing reasons”

    “Thank you for taking an interest in our affairs”

    “4th place trophy comment”

    I want change, as do many other Gooners.

    • I don’t follow the board, I follow the football team. I don’t expect anything from the board but I do expect the team to play hard and try to win every game. The board has nothing to do with that. They have a job to do so let them get the fuck on with it. Think you can do better? Give me a break! Any Arsenal fan (and I use that term very loosely) saying they hope Arsenal lose is a pathetic moron. Really? You’d rather see Arsenal mid-table than challenging at the top. If you do, you’re no Arsenal fan.

  2. Tom says:

    Joppa,
    I do accept your point that the board have been disrespectful and perhaps are not worthy of our respect, but I think the point of this article is to stressed the importance of the fanbase to rally and get behind the team. Complain about the board but once in the ground getting behind the team is our job. The suggestions that finishing outside the top four to shake up the club are a good thing is absolute madness.

    • Joppa says:

      Why is it madness Tom? Don’t you see the pattern which is occurring here? I mean why is it we repeatedly let our top players leave year in year out? I think the penny will only drop for a lot of you when Jack Wilshere ups and leave, which he will do under the current set up. I can see it coming even if you guys can’t.

      The current set up isn’t the Arsenal I grew up and supporting and loved. I can’t carry on in blind faith. Things need to change. We are a huge club, we should have huge ambition. Enough is enough.

  3. I understand that people love Wenger and want to support him, what i can’t understand is that this support is even to the detriment of AFC.
    Wenger was a top class manager, as Bergkamp was a top class player, but would you still have Dennis in the team now because he ‘WAS’ really good once. There comes a time when we all need replacing whatever your trade.
    Wenger edge seems to have left him, he has actually said himself that Arsenal should be happy to finish 4th and that “4th is like a trophy”. All 4th place guarantees is entry in to a competition that we are ill equipped to compete in. Some of you may argue that it also gets us more money, but if you are one of these i’m afraid you’ve already lost the argument. We dont need more money, we are already unable or unwilling to spend the money we have.
    The problem for all fans is that what we’d all really love is for AFC to turn the corner and rise up again with Wenger in charge. Personally, as much as i would love this, i dont believe it is possible. I’m not a terrible person or ‘not a real fan’ because I think Wenger should go, its just that i put Arsenal before Arsene and not the other way round as many others seem to.

  4. REDgoon says:

    It appears you’re more of a supporter of Arsene Wenger than our club. Maybe you need reminding that the club was here for more than 100 years before he got here. This article is nothing more than a Wenger love-in. “Look what he’s done for the club”? What is he, Jesus? Are we to worship him for doing his job? At the end of the day, our goal as a football club is to win trophies without bankrupting the club. That’s the point of football. There must be someone out there that can do it. Fergie has done it consistently for 25 years. Football doesn’t begin and end with Wenger.

    • Gooner 101 says:

      I think what he is trying to highlight in the article is that Arsene deserves our respect and that arguable before one of the most important fixtures in our recent history we must get behind the team and back our manager. May you like it or not he is not going to lose his job any time soon. We don’t know how the club is run and that is one of the mistakes the powers that be make.
      Another problem of course is who is out there to replace him?
      There are few top managers out there who succeed at the top with any kind of financial restraint let alone the ones we have at arsenal. David Moyes is one to successfully do this. Can you provide examples of any others?
      I understand we are all worried about the direction. But we need a positive atmosphere this weekend. There is no doubt about that.

    • Did Arsenal choose you or did you choose Arsenal? Ever sung that song “We all follow the Arsenal, over land and sea”? Yep, that one. Over land and sea, through good times and bad, through thick and thin. You can word it any way you like but if you don’t live by that philosophy, you’re no better than the plastic glory-hunters.

      Instead of all bitching about finances and players (who wanted to leave) leaving, we should all get behind OUR team and cheer them on for 90 minutes. Arguing amongst ourselves is just ridiculous.

  5. cookemorris says:

    Interesting comments. The point I was trying to make in the article was that, regardless of your opinion on the current manager or the current board, it’s irrational to suggest that us losing games or coming outside the top four will in any way benefit the Club. I understand the argument that a fresh start and a new approach might be a good thing, but turning on Arsene Wenger and the team, even if you don’t think he’s the right man for the job, shows a lack of respect for a man who has unquestionably done a great job for the Club he loves, even if he isn’t doing a great job right now.
    There are ways of letting your anti-Wenger and anti-Gazidis feelings be known that aren’t at the detriment of this current squad, most of whom are new to this league. Why not get behind them and give them a chance?

  6. ChrisC says:

    Question is guys, is it the board (from the out of touch Hill-Wood to the uninterested in football Kroenke)? Is it the manager who still cannot teach a team to defend and is too stubborn to let Bould do it? Or is it as I suspect, a bit of both!

    Whilst being careful what we wish for, we are in slow decline and cannot rely on FFP as City have already said they will tie it up in courts for years! I am currently more worried about who owns the club, as they have their hand on the tilla and the (van) purse strings! With Usmanov the only alternative, I am not filled with hope!

    I long for English football to be returned to the people with an emotional investment…the fans. German football has proven that this works and just look what AFC Wimbledon have achieved in just 10 years…only one division behind those that stole their identity!

    Unfortunatley like Cloughie, we are witnessing the beginning of the end for Wenger, but our American owners will not know where to turn after that They are not football people and definitely not passionate fans! And that is the scariest thought of all!

    • Uninterested in football? Do you know how much SK has INVESTED at Arsenal? How many times he’s taken a dividend from his shares? How much he has paid out in other business ventures around the world? If the guy was “uninterested”, then why is he laying his cash on the table for Arsenal to use? Oh yeah, he’s doing it to make money for himself. So what? Would you rather have NO money to invest in new players, infrastructure, equipment then? Fuck no you wouldn’t. You fans slag the guy off for making money but conveniently ignore the millions he’s invested in the club to help us.

      As for us being in decline, go ask the same questions to Newcastle or Sunderland fans, to fans of Leeds or Portsmouth. You think because we don’t finish on top of the league but finish 3rd or 4th, that’s a massive failure? Fuck off is it. that’s a fucking HUGE acheivement and the sooner you doom and gloom merchants stop complaining the sooner WE CAN ALL get behind the team and club and get them back on top. Spreading bullshit and negativity will not help either the team or the club, just make it worse. As for FFP, let’s see how much City fancy their chances in a court of law. I don’t see how they can challenge anything that is proposed by UEFA without being kicked out of the EPL.

      As for the fans running clubs, you’re having a laugh aren’t you? The last 2 years have proven how divided the fans are in football, even more so at our club. If Arsenal fans were running the club right now, nothing would be achieved, we’d be bottom of the league and everyone would be arguing and pointing fingers. No, I’ll leave it to the people who’ve been doing it for years thanks.

  7. wenkev02 says:

    We have to let wenger and Bould get on with there job.They will sort it soon!!! Injuries and a few players off form is causing a slight loss of confidence.If we get behind them,we will all get through this blip TOGETHER…..UP THE ARSE…….Cheer Bob..

  8. jon says:

    wenger should always have a respect at the club for what he has done previously, however he has lost his edge recently, perhaps to do with losing David Dein to challenge and assist him but he looks like he has lost the ability to motivate the players in his charge and as such needs to move on from the manager’s role. He cannot just be kept on becasue of his histroy pre 2005 this is the real world and arsenal have to get someone who has an edge right now and isn’t living in the past.

    None the less the team needs quality vocal support throughout whatever happens.


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