This team does not get the support it deserves

I only have two things to say, both of them from 2008. First, here’s what I said in just my 10th month as an Arsenal blogger.

We’re all guilty, even me. 99.9% of the time I give this club 100% of my support — I’ll even call out my readers for their lack of support — but even for me, the doe eyed optimist, it is difficult to see Alex Song take the field in the center of defense and get excited. And what am I supposed to do when I see Almunia flapping around, turn off my brain? Mindlessly “get behind the team” and cheer?

“Go Almunia!!!”

No, I think it needs to be a decent balance of optimism and skepticism; 99-1 sounds about right to me. But that’s me, I get to see just one game a year (if the world economy doesn’t collapse!) and I have a blog that only reaches a few insane fans a day. The real people who need to get behind the team are the season ticket holders and match day supporters who’s cheers and groans can lift or push down the club at a critical moment on the pitch.

The problem is, in my experience, Arsenal fans are some of the most demanding, haughty, and sour pussed people I have ever met. The author Nick Hornby blogged about the phenomenon last April when Arsenal crashed out of the Champions League. In his brief illustration the Arsenal fan won’t be happy unless we win every game, for all eternity. Maybe there’s a certain personality that chooses a certain team, I don’t know, but it’s uncanny how demanding Arsenal supporters are.

Imagine for a moment being an Everton fan? They haven’t won anything for a hundred years (Ok, since 1995) and worse, they are a perennial mid-table team. It takes a hardy soul to sit through some of the stuff that Everton field, and it takes a real supporter to sit there and cheer.

I suspect that’s what Arsene Wenger wanted when he said “I feel that this team does not get the support it deserves” at the AGM yesterday. If it’s true (I don’t get to many games) it’s Wenger’s own fault, he’s the one who made Arsenal into a top club in the top league in the world. He’s the one who’s raised our expectations!

For doing that, for raising our expectations, I say we should fire him. Because what Arsenal supporters need is a period of, say, 10 years of Evertonian mediocrity in order to shake our hubris. Either that or we could try to look at what we’ve got and appreciate it, as Wenger says:

Last year we were close to winning the championship, finishing just four points behind Manchester United. Instead of showing resentment, we have to believe in our team more than ever because this team will deliver.

I WANT TO BELIEVE!

And here’s what Nick Hornby said in April of that year, a quote that sticks with me to this very day:

“I’ll tell you where it all went wrong for Arsene Wenger,” said a friend after the first leg of the Champions’ League quarter-final against Liverpool, a game that Arsenal were unlucky not to win.  “That two-all draw against Bolton, when we threw away a two-goal lead.” Like many Arsenal fans, I remember the game well – it was a decisive moment in the race for the Premier League, and those two dropped points meant that Arsenal would not win the title…in 2003. According to my friend, we have been on a sad, slow but steady decline ever since.
“What about 2004? When we won the League without losing a match? You don’t think he temporarily stopped the rot that year?”
That was a disappointing season,” he said. (My italics.) “We should have won the Champions’ League, and he chucked the FA Cup away.”
This is the mindset of a certain kind of football fan. Becoming champions of your country in an unbeaten season is no use if there aren’t a couple of cups to go with it; and the championship is not an end in itself, but only a stepping-stone that allows you to climb towards more championships and cups. This is the mindset, in other words, of a fan who will be disappointed every year. If he were a Manchester United fan, he might have allowed himself a brief smile at the end of the treble-winning ’99 season; but other than that, it’s hard to imagine where the joy of following a team might come from.
All Arsenal fans are disappointed this week. A season that had begun to promise so much has ended in calamity and despair. If I were Arsene Wenger, though, I would console myself with the thought that, had Arsenal held on for five minutes at Anfield on Tuesday night, seen off Chelsea in the semi-finals, and trounced Manchester United or Barcelona in the final in Moscow, some fan somewhere would still be complaining about his failure to shore up the defence in the 2003 run-in. In other words – what’s the point of winning anything, ever? Unless, of course, you’re going to win every game, for all eternity.

You can complain all you want, you can moan about players and the manager getting things wrong, and you can cry over the spilled milk of this and every season since 2003. All I ask is that you’re respectful, you use data and not gut instincts, and you bring logic.

For example, are you sure you want to make the “consumerist” argument about the supposed “value” you are getting for the money you don’t pay to see the team play? If you’re not a season ticket holder and you go to one or two games a year but watch the team on illegal streams on your computer, you are getting plenty of “value” for your money.

But ultimately, the consumer argument falls apart unless you really are threatening to take your “money” elsewhere. Are you really going to go and support 5th place Tottenham? 4th place Chelsea? 3rd place Man City?

Maybe some of you will be perfect little consumers and go off and cheer on the better value, as if the club were a box of Corn Flakes and you’re just choosing between two brands. But if you’re going to switch to Frosted Flakes — then do it. Quit sitting around in my kitchen complaining about the Corn Flakes.

I like them. In fact, I’m digging around in the box right now looking for my toy surprise. It’s a little plastic Premier League Trophy and I’ll proudly put it on the shelf next to the one from 2004.

61 thoughts on “This team does not get the support it deserves

    1. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Bob

      @7amkickoff,

      do you think a MANU, LPOOL supporter would have taken this long to start getting upset about winning things especially as the funds have been there to address Wengers players that just arnt up to form?

      NO

      so why should I? be realistic FFS! …

  1. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Mental Strength

    I like this blog!

    Good post, just like so many on this site. Come on fellow supporters, lets at least give them 9 more games and cheer them on. Expressing views on who should stay and who should go should be left until the summer. Until then come on you gunners!

    Great post, long time reader first (or second) time poster. Keep up the good work.

  2. -4 Vote -1 Vote +1talkingbollox

    mate you are talking bollox.
    We were a big club long before Wenger came, althought i am sure most of you didnt know about Arsenal back then as we were primarily English and the Prem was not as big.

    6 years is too fucking long and with cunts like Almunia, Diaby, Denilson etc it will be another 6 years unless Wenger wakes the fuck up

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1DF

      @talkingbollox, Come on! We are not THAT BIG a club before Wenger comes along; just winning a cup or the league once in a while.
      Don’t twist the facts!
      We are behind Liverpool in the 70-80s; Manutd in the 90-00s.

      1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Limestonegunner

        @DF, We were the third most successful club and the most important one in the capital city of London, a great capital of Europe. We didn’t do anything in Europe but we were a big club, not the biggest (we still aren’t), but one of the top clubs.

  3. +5 Vote -1 Vote +1Geoff

    I’ve earned the right to comment having been a season ticket holder for 40 years….

    We’re in 2nd place & challenging for the league but when I see denilson & Almunia representing my team I lose all enthusiasm & confidence. To be fair they are not 1st choice but how many more timesdo we need to see them perform miserably before the manager acts?

    I love my club, mu 1st match was in 1971 so I have the right to comment. Sadly this has all the hallmarks of the end of an era. I would love to be proved wrong & will take no pleasure if I’m right.

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @Geoff, Almunia is a 3rd choice keeper, Squillaci is a 4th choice defender, and Denilson is an 8th choice midfielder. Some might say that Wenger has done something.

      1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Geoff

        @Tim, @Tim, love your blog mate…..for a 3rd choice keeper, 4th choice centre half & 8th choice midfielder they’ve played how many games this season? £50k a week to be 8th choice?

        Anyways keep up the great work & thanks for such a great daily read!

      2. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Geoff

        @Tim, Tim, if he’s being paid £1000 per week it’s too much, he is a danger to the team & if us fans sense he’s a liability can you imagine what Wilshere feels when he’s straining every sinew to track back in the 89th minute and sees Denilson ambling back in his own time.

  4. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1pepguardiola

    Well, if what you said is true, why dont you give almunia, denilson, diaby a big fat pay rise? Especially for diaby, since he even broke a leg and almost died for the club playing football?? Dont forget squillaci. No worries about not having money, just hike up the ticket prices by another 20 percent should be great. That way, the players will be very happy, and dont bother if they play like shit.

  5. Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    Tim,
    you are right. We need to support the team because now Chelsea is breathing down our back. They are just 4 points behind us, much less than our 5 points behind Manutd. It is possible to imagine them winning the rest of their games (including their game at OT, hopefully). If the Arsenal drops more points like last season, we may end up third.

  6. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    I did not see this entry until I post my opinion in yesterday’s entry. If you don’t mind, I will paste it again here to catch more eyeballs. If you mind, please delete it.

    DF
    March 20, 2011 at 11:24 am
    A supporter is someone who always finds the positive of a team’s play, unless it is utterly poor. Same as Wenger after the WBA game.

    In a way, I am a supporter of Wenger, despite my criticism of him. His achievement at Arsenal is second to none; and under the present circumstances, I see no chance for him to go, unless the AMG stir up a campaign and make life difficult for him.

    However, on the other hand, I see no chance that Wenger will abandon his philosophy and change his style or transfer policy, or the way he spends his money.

    I have to be stoical to accept that this team will always be ‘partly angel partly devil’–meaning they can produce exquisitely beautiful football at times; but just when you expect them to produce it day in day out, they will disappoint. Either players get injured; or they tire out; or their lose their sharpness.

    I thought Arshavin has played out of his dip in form in the game against Barca at the Emirates; then he disappointed for the following games. However, when you think that is the end of him, he dug us out of a defeat against WBA all by himself.

    Last season I had said Wenger would not change–even after 5 years without a trophy; What had he bought during the summer? Kos/Squil/Chamakh…he did not even expect Wilshere to play so many games. Imagine if Wilshere is not available now, we will have to stick with Denilson, Rosciky…etc in midfield….

    What Wenger wants is to vindicate his youth policy. No one in his right mind will abandon a project after working upon it for 5 years/next season 6 years and admit failure–buying will not guarantee a trophy. What if he splashes out the money and ends up not winning a trophy? Then the clamour for his head will be louder.

    So I will expect Wenger to continue his buying policy this summer. Bring in 2-3 players at cheap price–most likely unknown young players. Some young players may step up to be put in the first team, like Bartley, Coquelin…etc…if Wenger is brave. Otherwise, he will stick with Denilson and Diaby and play them until they recapture their form, like Arshavin…

    Perhaps he will buy ONE big name–but that will be all.
    As Vieira says, among this generation of players, it is hard to find a cheap gem–players like David Luiz who costs €25 million, which is beyond Wenger’s range.
    When Ramsay, Smalling ..etc costs near to 10M it is almost impossible for Wenger to have another gem like Bobby Pires…when the French Ligue stops producing big players like Henry, Vieira, it is more difficult for Wenger and Grimandi to buy ready made good players. When even Koscielny costs around £8million, I have my sympathy upon Wenger.

    So, I believe so long as Wenger is still at Arsenal, he will continue to ‘grow’ this team, adding a player or two every season, pray to the heavens his starting XI won’t get too many injuries, or that the second string players will play out of their dip in form. What else can he do? When you pay that much money for Arshavin, you have to play him, right?

    Ask yourself: if you are Wenger, with Chesny growing and Fabianski a capable substitute, why buy another goalkeeper?
    Nobody can foresee that both will suffer long term injuries, though both of them had suffered long term injuries before.

    Don’t blame Squillaci. Almunia is a good shot stopper when he does not have to think and has his reflexes to rely upon to make saves. But he cannot organize his defence; playing most of his time as second fiddle in Spain, he is not good in defending high balls into the box; he is not mad enough to make his opponents fear him. Anyway, why blame him–he is who he is; and he is on the way out of Arsenal, and wont stand between the post if not for Chesny’s bizarre injury!!!!

    When last season Wenger brought in Sol Campbell and the season before last, brought in Silvestre, I began to sense that Wenger is at his wits’ end. all I can do is to lower my expectation and cheer when the Arsenal perform well, then stoically accept its failure (despite frustrated and angry at times, mostly during a match) I have learnt from the Japanese people at Sendai that one can and must retain one’s dignity even at the worst of times.

    These players who are venomously attacked by AMG fans, like Denilson, are poor by our standards, but not rubbish. Even Muamba, Bentley, Pennant…and other players who dont make it at Arsenal are earning their pay in the EPL. They are not as bad as those AMG portray them to be.

    However, I am not angry with the AMGs. They have their right to be angry, especially those who pay a fortune to watch the Arsenal. Looking from another angle, they may be functional in exerting some pressure on Wenger to find
    another Pires, another Gilberto, or even Vieira….

    At least this season the Arsenal have played some wonderful football, which is more than the Manutd fans can speak of their team. Has Manutd played any memorable games this season? None that can compare with our demolition of Porto, Braga or Barca at the Emirates!

    However, SAF knows that if Manutd wins a trophy, all will be forgotten; he is determined to win,if necessary, to win ugly. And he might–watching ManCity played tonight, Manutd will probably win the FA cup this season, if not the EPL championship.

    Wenger cannot; he does not have the players to do so.

    Support the team; cheer the boys; but don’t hope.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Alex

      Excellent post DF. Pragmatic post ArseChicago. Lets stop the sniping for our club’s sake. The post mortem can wait till the end of the season.

    2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

      @DF,
      “denilson and diaby recapture their form”
      I can remember probably a handful of games where those 2 played very well. neither has ever had a good sustained run of form. every good game comes with 2 or 3 shockers.
      they have to go

  7. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1bc

    Could not agree more, we have 9 matches in as many weeks. 9 wins will bring us the title. Ok i know we dont appear to have the staff to bring us that, but we are stuck with what have so lets look at the positives. We are only 1 win behind the team with the most wins with a game in hand, we are the 2nd leading goalscorers again we still have a game in hand. Add to that all being well all our offensive players will be fit when we play our next match. For all our defensive frailties we have the 3rd best defensive record worse only than Chelsea and Man City. Yes, we lost by the odd goal to the best team in the world, yes we went out of the FA Cup to Edwin Van der Sar and yes Ben Foster, Koscielny and Sczcesney cost us the Carling Cup. But the one we all want is still there for the taking, so be positive, the time for talking about sackings, is at the end of a trophy less season. The summer will bring changes no matter what, I have supported the club for 40+ years and i have never known us not to buy a player or sell a player. Sure there are some players that need to move on again there are players we would all like to sig, but that has nothing to do with the next 9 matches.

  8. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Teampossible

    An excellent review and a reminder of Alex Song’s astonishing development in the last couple of seasons, but I really don’t think things are so simple.

    Doing some amateur psycho analysis after reading this, I came to the conclusion that recently I may curse the team even more often after every disappointing result and pretend I know better what was supposed to be done or when to sub Rosicky or whom to start, but I always tune in for the next match with the same passion and desire for a win, and I always support this team.
    Does that make me a plastic supporter? I really think not.

    Does wanting this team to win every game makes me demanding? Absolutely.
    But I don’t see what is wrong with that. When I play football or try to do my job or whatever it is, I always want to win every game as well or do the best I can do, and after losing, I don’t console myself with the fact that there are people who are worse than me, because that can create a certain lack of ambition on my behalf.
    I just don’t get what is so wrong with being critical. It seems that lately on the web, you are either a AMG or a AKB soldier. I would love if there was a AIP (Arsene Isn’t Perfect) brigade, because this is where I feel I belong, but apparently things are either red or white these days.
    And I really admire Everton fans, as well as Arsenal fans who continue singing even when their team is losing. That is a true supporter. But I really don’t sing ever, I barely even dance. And I don’t want ever to think that finishing second should be the benchmark for these players, because they deserve much more. It is like saying it’s ok 12 Angry Men didn’t won an Oscar, because Big Lebowski wasn’t even nominated. Even though I like the latter much more than the first. I’m beginning to confuse myself.

    Anyways, the thing is, I will always support this team, even though they start to finish on the 7th place regularly. But even then I will always want them to win every single game.

  9. Vote -1 Vote +1ignatz

    Every Arsenal fan should be able to get behind the message of this blog – whether you think Arsene’s God or whether you think he’s taking us for a ride – everyone should be able to support the team WITHOUT CRITICISM for the next nine matches.

    At this stage of the season last year, we were in third, 3 points behind Chelsea at the top of the table. From our last 10 games we went on to get only 17 points. Man Utd and Chelsea got 25.

    I for one don’t want Arsenal supporters on the backs of the players for the run-in this season like they were last season.

  10. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

    Here’s the thing: If United beat us or draw us at the Emirates, then I’m fine with accepting 2nd; fair play to them, they’ll have earned the title. If we beat them, then I think we deserve at least a chance to claim the Premiership title. In that case, we’ll have to make up another 3 pts somewhere. Not impossible. For them to effectively fend us off, they’ll have to have a continuation of their remarkably stellar luck. I mean, never have I seen a club get so lucky year after year after year. You need luck to win a title. If they continue to get luck, they’ll win the title. All we need is for the cosmos to take a little back from them and give a little back to us. If we can get Cesc, Theo and Song back, we’ll be rocking. Yes, our centre back situation and GK situation if f*cked at the moment, but United’s centre back situation isn’t perfect either. As long as we stay close to United going into the match at the Emirates, there’s a very good chance for us.

  11. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ArseChicago

    As for the matter of support, we’re all painfully aware of the things apparently holding this team back from running away with the Premiership trophy. However, after awhile, it’s time for all of us to shut up and live with it, dance with the girl you bring to the prom, love the one you’re with, etc. Wait til the summer to start playing football manager again. In the interim, feel the pain that has come after matches like the Carling Cup final, the Barca tie, yesterday, United FA, whatever match. Feel your pain, try to usher it away, and go on living life. Wenger is trying hard; he loves the club. The players he’s putting out there are trying hard and they want what we want. Folks, that’s gonna have to be good enough between now and season’s end.

  12. Vote -1 Vote +1voxgtr

    This was a fantastic post and it reflects my sentiments exactly. So well said I don’t have much else to add other than, Thank you.

  13. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1Darrell Taylor

    I can forgive so much for so long, listen to excuse after excuse and think “maybe” but after collasping out of 4 trophies in as many weeks with a pathethic whimper is enough for this long-in-the-tooth supporter.
    Arsenal failed to excite me many months ago. Tip tap footbell, 20 or more pedestrian passes with no end product, thats not exciting. Wake up and accept Tottenham are more exciting than us, as are Norwich City incidently, quick, incisive, high-tempo movement where you get to feel SOMETHING may happen.
    Arsenal have been sussed by everyone.
    I Can’t bear to watch this team even when we are leading, even a four-goal lead isn’t enough!
    The highest ticket prices in Europe, a £50million profit last year and we are conned into thinking we can win the league by shopping at Lidl’s! They are taking the piss out of you all.
    Wenger was great for a time but he won’t accept his way hasn’t worked. Cut-priced kids, old retiring pro’s and budget transfers will not work any longer.
    As for the football… it doesn’t even excite me any longer. Walking away from that travesty of a Carling Cup capitulation told me brothers that I am far from a lone voice.
    Wake up all of you…..

    1. +4 Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      @Darrell Taylor, Tottenham were a real joy to watch in their 0-0 draw at home to relegation threatened West Ham.

      As for the idea that buying expensive players is the only way forward, I’d like to point you in the direction of Manchester City.

    2. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1Josip

      @Darrell Taylor, Yes, I love watching Sp*rs use the tried and tested tactic of diagonal long-balls onto Crouch’s head for knock downs. Route 1 for the win! [/sarcasm]

  14. +3 Vote -1 Vote +1Zohaib Ijaz

    14 years ago i found out about Arsenal and have been a Gooner ever since….i love Wenger n i agree he raised the bar to a new level for all our rivals and made Arsenal into a greater club….but Tim my friend i Know my history and Arsenal was a great club prior to that….we are third behind Manure and Liverpool in English League titles and if im not mistaken we also are in the top three for the FA Cups….we were a great side since long but i agree Wenger has made us even better and even though we have gone through a dry spell it doesnt matter cause we gained elsewhere…we moved to a bigger stadium and are finally amongst the richest and have a fantastic youth policy….the benefits of the 6 years will be reaped soon by Wenger and the generations to come….and dont forget everyone has dry spells like Manure (before SAF), Liverpool (current), Barca (6 or 7 years)….so everyone keep your chin up and trust in this team….In Arsene We Trust

  15. Vote -1 Vote +1London Calling & Overseas

    Tim: Good quality Blog today. Not much to say in response as you covered all the bases. I don’t really want to rehash the same old words , it gets boring after a time, but what I have been doing in my leisure time is writing or adapting songs for the team. And herewith are my inputs.

  16. Vote -1 Vote +1London Calling & Overseas

    Adapted by London Calling with a big help from Blondie

    A SONG FOR JD

    Djourou, Djourou; I’ve got a crush on you
    Djourou, Djourou; I’m so in love with you
    Cause when you play; it always seems so right
    And when we win; it feels like paradise
    Djourou, Djourou; I’m so in love with you
    Djourou, Djourou; I’m so in love with you

    Chorus: Oh Djourou Do de do
    I’m in love with you Djourou Do be do
    I’m in love with you

  17. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1London Calling & Overseas

    A song for Andrei Arshavin

    Let’s talk about Andrei, who had Guus and now has Dick
    But talk about Andrei, we are proud to say his name
    But talk about Andrei, Arsenal number 23
    The Chavs has Yuri, the Lilywhites Roman
    We have Andrei
    We have Andrei Arshavin
    We have Andrei
    We have Andrei Arshavin
    Arsenal number 23

  18. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1London Calling & Overseas

    A SONG FOR CHAMAKH

    Chorus: Baby! Baby! Where did your love go?
    Baby! Baby! Where did your love go?
    Now that we surrender, so helplessly
    You stole our hearts babe so selflessly
    And now that we surrender, relinquishly

    Chorus: Baby! Baby! Where did your love go?
    Chamakh Baby, where did your love go?
    Chamakh Baby, where did your love go?
    Chamakh Baby, where did your love go?

  19. -1 Vote -1 Vote +1London Calling & Overseas

    A SONG FOR KOSSER with a little help from th Supremes

    Chorus:

    Someday we will be together,
    Oh yes we will, yes we will
    Someday we will be together,
    Yes we will, yes we will
    Just from the start
    You possessed and owned our hearts
    And we want to say to that
    This French geezer, Our defender
    Someday we will be together,
    Yes we will, yes we will

  20. -7 Vote -1 Vote +1Tony Collins

    Rubbish!! The fans do not get the commitment, effort and thanks that they deserve, particularly the away support. Players like Denilson and Bendtner strolling around the pitch, seemingly without a care in the world and certainly giving nowhere near 100% effort. Wenger has bred a complacent and mollycoddled world at Arsenal where the players all believe they are special and untouchable and it stinks. Wenger is a cancer, slowly killing our club and the sooner he goes the better. No, I’m not a “johnny come lately” supporter. My first game at Highbury was in 1971 and I’ve been a season ticket holder since 1980. It just doesn’t seem like Arsenal football club anymore – and it’s all down to Wenger.

  21. Vote -1 Vote +1Kazimk

    I don’t need expensive players. I just want AW to show that he cares by disposing of those who don’t make the cut.

      1. -3 Vote -1 Vote +1geraldinho

        @ctpa,

        do you really think it would be difficult for arsenal to find a better midfielder than denilson? if that is the case then we have no hope of competing any time soon

        tim-you should take note of all the long time supporters and season ticket holders that are coming on the blog and voicing their disappointment in the direction of the club. who are you to tell people how they should react to disappointment? i assure there are no arsenal players coming on blogs to read about what fans think about their performances and then letting that affect them. as for fans voicing their displeasure at matches, again they paid for the seats. the only way an unhappy fan can have any say in the dealings of the club are to make their feelings known at the ground. players like denilson, diaby, almunia are so poor that they no longer have earned any support from the club, and as long as wenger plays them and they continue to make ridiculous mistakes i find it hard to blame fans at the stadium for expressing what they think of them

      2. Vote -1 Vote +1Josip

        @geraldinho, note the season ticket holders? anyone on the interwebs can CLAIM to be a season ticket holder, usually since 1935, having watched the GREAT Cliff Bastin.

      3. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

        @geraldinho, besides the goal against Tottenham I’ve not been overly impressed.

        Plus, he’s NOT a DM. Which is the role that Denilson is thrust into. Arsenal need a DM, I’ve said it all year.

  22. Vote -1 Vote +1London Calling & Overseas

    TIM: I AM NOT TAKING OVER YOUR BLOG… FLATTER ME PLEASE

    Hello Everyone: Since the Barcelona game and now infamous “ no strike on goal exist” from the Champions league I have being researching a little about the Arsenal since the year I became a Gooner- I was a child. I am hoping that the following will help and assist the Arsenal Supporters whom I refer to as “ Internet children like instant coffee, they want it now” understand a little more about our club’s history and the events that unfolded from 1972 to 1996 before Arsene “ Who” Wenger turned up at Highbury with his large spectacles and modern ideas.

    Our club history tells a story that is so similar to what’s happening now: If their are errors please forgive me, but its hard work this, so herewith….

    The 1970s were a mediocre time for Arsenal and it was only with George Graham took over as manager from Don Howe in 1986 that success and glory returned.

    After the glory days of the 1970-71 season (we won the league); 1972 can only be described as a huge disappointment. In 1972 Arsenal reach their 5th Cup Final in 5 years, only to have their hopes dashed when Leeds beat them. Over the next four years Arsenal reached their lowest ebb since the dog days of Billy Wright ten years before. With a lowly position of 17th place at the end of season 1975-76. In the mid season between 1975-6 and 1976-7 season Bert Mee resigned.

    1976 Terry Neill was brought in to replace Berty Mee and Neill turned the team around, and in his first season Arsenal finished eight (8)th

    1978 Ipswich Town spoil Arsenal’s revival and Neill’s second season saw Arsenal climb to fifth position in the league and ended with another visit to Wembley. Arsenal were instilled as firm favourites for the game but does that sound familiar, Arsenal did not win A solitary goal by Roger Osborne (never heard of before or since) was the lowest point of a forgettable game. There were many excuses following that game, including wailing cries for Neill removal.

    1979 Arsenal beat Manchester United in the F.A. Cup Final, but the 1978-79 seasons will remain in EVERY Arsenal supporter’s memory for one game, the unforgettable; the date 23rd December 1978, the venue White Hart Lane, the opposition was “The Mighty Tottenham Hotspur” and the result was Tottenham 0 (zero, nothing, nought, nada!) ARSENAL 5; with Alan Sunderland scoring a hat-trick.

    1979-80 started for Arsenal with an omen, a 1-3 defeat by Liverpool in the Charity shield. Little did we know at the time, that Arsenal would progress by the season end to a record third successive F.A. Cup Final, a European Cup Winners Cup Final, the quarter finals of the Football League Cup and a U.E.F.A. Cup place for the following season if they won their last game. Arsenal finished up with nothing when the potential was there for their best ever season. THIS IS VERY FAMILIAR PEOPLE… ARE YOU READING THIS YOU NAYSAYERS

    1981 The Arsenal exodus begins! But Arsenal did manage to end the season in 3rd place, but attendances dropped off and all seemed bleak.

    1982 Denis Hill-Wood passed away and in 1984 Terry Neill is sacked, but they finish sixth.Don Howe was appointed as his replacement.

    On the 22nd March 1986, after Arsenal had beaten Coventry City 3-0 and despite it being a fourth consecutive League win, Don Howe asked to be released from his contract.

    1986 George “stroller” Graham took over and a new era began. Graham did not spend any money straight away. He settled on building from the back. During that period they won 17 and drew 5 games scoring 47 goals and conceding only 11.

    1986 brings Arsenal a First League Cup triumph under George Graham, “one-nil down, two-one up, that’s how Arsenal won the Cup, la la la la la la la la la!”

    1987 Alas Luton Town gatecrash the party and that year can only thing to be remembered for the Littlewoods Cup Final which was a 2-3 defeat by Luton Town. Michael Thomas established himself in the first team, and Lee Dixon and Nigel Winterburn were to become the backbone of a defence that would dominate the next decade. Steve Bould also arrived at the end of the season as an additional defence linchpin.

    1989 Tragedy striked at Hillsborough

    1989 The drama from that year every supporter knows: There were still four games to go in a season that showed the World the highs and tragic lows of English football in what has been called “the most exciting title race ever!” Brian Moore continued to commentate, “Just a few seconds more for Kenny Dalglish unless Arsenal can mount something absolutely spectacular in the few seconds that remain.” Then, with 91 minutes and 22 seconds of the game played, Michael Thomas wrote his name into the history books as the player who scored the winner in the 1988-89 Championship race. Dixon passed the ball up field to Alan Smith; Smith flicked it on into Thomas’ path. The ball bobbled as he ran into the area and calmly, oh so calmly chipped the ball over a diving Grobbelaar as Liverpool lost by two goals at home for the first time since 1986. The Arsenal players, bench and supporters went wild as the the jubilation set in. Arsenal had won their first Championship since 1970-71 and their 9th in all. North London erupted as street parties began and the news media was filled with glorious images of red and white

    1990 Winning the Championship was one story, keeping it unfortunately is another. We came 4th

    The 1990/91 Season was one where Arsenal showed their true character and triumphed over adversity. They had two points deducted by the F.A. For a “brawl” at Old Trafford, and had Captain Tony Adams imprisoned for drink-driving for four months the week before Christmas. Arsenal’s reply was to score 74 goals, concede only 18 and finish the season with only one defeat. All this culminated with Arsenal being crowned First Division Champions for the 10th time in their history

    1992 The future looks Wright Wright WRIGHT!! Probably the most memorable event of the season was the signing of Ian Wright from Crystal Palace for £2.5 million. Whilst Arsenal failed to retain the League Championship , they played some wonderful football including a number of memorable wins. We finished 4th in the league Championship race (Leeds United won the trophy)

    1993 Arsenal create history by becoming the first team to win both domestic cup competitions! For the first time in history one team won both the F.A. Cup and the Football League (Rumbelows) Cup in the same year.

    The team also won the European Cup Winners Cup in 1993-4. Unfortunately, Arsenal failed to retain the trophy the following season losing it to Real Zaragoza in 1995.

    Dates and data from: Steve Gleiber.

    History, funny is’nt.

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1JV Mauer

      @London Calling & Overseas, Add to that the following… We are the only team to have remained in the top flight of English football for the entirety of the post-Great War period, from 1919 through today. Every other opponent has gone down to the lower leagues at some point or another in that time except the Arsenal. By my count (with a little help from a chart on arseweb.com site), we have been below 10th in the table only 18 times in that period, and finished 5th or better 46 times.

  23. +2 Vote -1 Vote +1Chief Gooner

    i think some of the players do not deserve the support they get from the fans. especially the away fans.
    The fact remains that its not just fair-weather fans that are losing patience. And its not about trophies. Its about the club being happy with just getting close, its about persisting with certain sub-standard players. Long term fans of 30 and 40 years and season-ticket holders have had enough of guys like almunia and denilson.
    No matter whether we win the league, squad issues need to finally be addressed by wenger this summer.

  24. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

    I will never say it has been X number of years since Arsenal won a trophy. That is for the critics to taunt us with. It is a useless lament. Play well and we will get our reward sometime, some way, some day. I support the NY Rangers. We went 54 years without winning the Stanley Cup until 1994. I remember that deciding game like it was yesterday. So don’t come to here whine about some single digit number of trophy less seasons.

  25. +6 Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

    I understand that some people are pessimists, some optimists. Some view the glass as half empty, some half full. I can see why some fans use defensive pessimism as a cognitive defense mechanism to ease their disappointment. Some can only rage at the comical defending which saw us go down 2-nil to WBA, others can see spirit, grit, and determination in the fight back to 2-2. What I will never understand or condone is the vitriolic, spiteful and even hateful criticism that is aimed at Wenger, the players and even fellow fans over what is ultimately something as trivial as sport. Whatever happened to the idea that two intelligent people can come to differing conclusions over the exact same set of facts or empirical observations? Whether Wenger is the greatest manager on the planet, the stupidest manager in history, or something in between, you might as well support the team. Nine games to go, five points to make up–C’mon you Gunners!

    Something else which really bothers me is that when those fans who believe that Wenger has passed his sell by date say he must go, they often point out that “project youth” has failed because we haven’t won a trophy in six years and that it’s time to abandon the youth project. That seems rather short sighted. Project youth, buying young players and developing them from a young age, was never about short or medium term success. It was part of a two pronged plan to ensure the competitive future of Arsenal FC for the next decades. In point of fact, we are just BEGINNING to see the fruits of project youth. Cesc, Djourou, and Clichy are part of the first wave of young players and they are just now starting the prime years of their careers. But Jack Wilshere is the reason why project youth was undertaken. English born, joined the Arsenal Academy at nine, trained in a systematic fashion to have the requisite technical skills required of a world class footballer and now felt to be one of the most promising young players in the world. The Academy has started to roll out potential first team players in numbers and it was always going to take some time. Currently we have 18 to 20 year olds like Kieran Gibbs, Kyle Bartley, Francis Coquelin, Henri Lansbury, Emmanuel Frimpong, Chuks Aneke, JET, Benik Afobe, who are all potential first teamers. I have no doubts that some won’t make it but if you can even get two first team players a year from the Academy, you will be able to form the core of your team in house, so to speak.

    Add to that the building of the Emirates, and Wenger will leave the club in much better position than when he was hired. When he joined, Arsenal were the third most successful club in England but without much of a European pedigree. Arsene had a grander vision for the club, he wanted a club that would challenge not only domestically but on football’s biggest stage, the Champions League. To do that, you need money. And to increase matchday revenue, the Emirates was built. That Wenger was able to remain competitive while being handcuffed in the transfer market by the stadium debt and simultaneously changing the transfer policy to one of acquiring stars to that of making stars is something for which he will never get the credit he deserves.

    Regardless of whether Arsene wins another trophy or not, I wish fans would recognize and appreciate his accomplishments. He will leave the club as it’s most trophy laden manager and he’s laid the foundation for a bright future for Arsenal FC both economically and in terms of competing for silverware. I imagine a few “big” clubs might look at our lack of debt, self-sustaining finances, revenue generating stadium, and star making youth academy with a touch of envy. Even if you believe that Arsene is a quixotic dreamer destined to never lift a trophy again, before you call him a frog, an idiot or c*nt ask yourself how many modern day managers have left their clubs in a better financial or competitive position than when they started?

    1. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1gsco

      @Tee Song, Hear, hear! Great comment. Definitely the last line rings very true. Look at the devastation many “top managers” leave clubs in on their departure.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Jack King

      @Tee Song, And not forgetting the re-developement of our London Colney training ground, which is so state of the art that visiting international squads hire it.

  26. +1 Vote -1 Vote +1unbelievable

    Some of your comments are unbelievable……this squad is not shit!! Key injuries have robbed us. Remember Chelsea a few weeks ago? It’s inevitable to have players injured, if Cesc was fit do y’all think we’d see Denilson play? Even Wenger would not be that mad. I can’t wait for the stupid interlull to be over, a returning Cesc, Walcott and Song for the run in, we’ve got every reason to be hopeful.

  27. Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    firstly, don’t expect too much when Cesc, Song, or Walcott come back a few weeks from now. Injured players will take a few times to recapture their strides and mojo back. We have seen that quite often.
    I just hope by then things are not too late….

    If 5 years ago, when Wenger starts youth policy, we have one Jack Wilshere every one or two seasons, I will be most satisfied. But we don’t. It takes 3 years for Song to come good. 2 years for Nasri to come good. We are not sure of Walcott yet. He is not consistent, nor injury-free enough to say he has arrived.

    What the fans want is for Wenger to buy players like Sagna, who comes good in his first and second season and REMAINS so. Clichy has his ups and downs; but he always plays with passion and heart (panic?) so even when he has an off day, nobody blames him. Even Eboue manages to win some support. Koscielny, though not a great signing like TV5, is immune to criticism.

    We always have a lot of good kids, this season, 60 of them on payroll. However, not even 5% of them make it. What about Merida? Carlos Vela? We have invested 4 years in him, including the one season he plays in Spain, but what have we got? Not even an Anderson, who sometimes has a good game for Utd, not even Hernandez…

    Bendtner earned his pay last season. This season, he regressed. Is it because of personal love life? Is it because he is not one of the starting XI?

    What hurts most is players like Arshavin. Full of talent, even genius, captain of the Russian XI, but no leadership on the pitch. A good game, or maybe just half a good game, in every 3 or 4.

    Berbatov, a failure in Manutd for two seasons, at least comes good this season.

    What happens?

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1Tee Song

      @DF, Not everyone from the youth teams is going to make it. In fact most won’t. PERIOD. Identifying which talented 15 year old will be a starter of Arsenal quality at age 25 is difficult. Players will not make the grade for any number of reasons, mostly having to do with their mental makeup. Basically you’ll need to buy a few players to ensure you get one high quality player in a few years. But, the player that you’ve gotten will have been trained in a way that’s consistent with your style of play and, hopefully, even has an emotional investment in his teammates and the Arsenal. Because you’re basically buying in volume, I’ve expressed my opinion that buying youthful players is quite as cheap as people believe. It probably is cheaper, just not the bargain basement that people believe. However, I believe that there are other benefits to having a productive youth academy. Expecting every youthful player to be able to step into the first team is unrealistic. Expecting a Jack Wilshere or Cesc Fabregas to come out of our academy every year is expecting a miracle. These players come along once a generation. If that’s what you’re expecting, you’ll never be happy with the academy.

  28. Vote -1 Vote +1DF

    Yes, if we look at the goals conceded column, you may say we have a good defence. But beware: those games are when we had Kos + JD. They cannot be compared to Rio+Vidic,or Terry+ Carvalho, or even Kompany+ Torre yet; but they would do for us.

    Besides, in those clean sheet games, we have a good midfield. We limit our opponents to very few attempts at goal. That is why our defence LOOKS GOOD. It is our style–one we copy from Barca. They don’t have a GOOD defence either; but they have the top midfielders in the world, the energy and press-in-packs; so their defence can stand tall, and have the best record of all.

    The Arsenal is similar. If we have a functioning midfield–Song, Cesc, Wilshere–we don’t have to worry about defence.
    However, once Song cannot play, or not in form. We can be in trouble; especially our goalkeeping problem.

    Wenger may ship out Almunia this summer, but I doubt it, as his pay may be too high for another club to take him. He will stick with Chesny and Fab; hopefully these two Poles will carry the team next season…

  29. Vote -1 Vote +1tony gooner

    THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GEORGE GRAHAMS ARSENAL AND WENGERS IS THAT WENGER HAS HAILED CONSISTENCY OVER THE UNPREDICTABLE BUT SEMI SUCCESSFUL GEORGE GRAHAM ERA.
    WE ARE CONSTANTLY IN THE CHAMPS LEAGUE AND ALWAYS GOING FOR 4 TROPHIES.BUT THAT CONSISTENCY IS IN TERMS OF BEING ALWAYS CLOSE TO WINNING A TROPHY AND CONSISTENTLY FAILING TO BEAT MAN UTD.
    PUT IT SIMPLY BY USING AN EXAMPLE:GEORGE GRAHAMS SIDE BEAT LIVERPOOL AT ANFIELD 2-0 WHEN LIVERPOOL WERE A GREAT TEAM. FOR WENGERS TEAM TO COMPARE THAT WOULD BE LIKE GOING TO OLD TRAFFORD AND WINNING 3-0 (DIFFERENCE BEING QUALITY…YOU COULD ARGUE 4-0)….CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT????
    GRAHAM WAS DIFFERENT CLASS AS A TACTICIAN AND A MOTIVATOR.YOU CAN SAY WENGER WAS..WAS…REPEAT WAS MORE SUCCESSFUL THAN GEORGE, BUT I PERSONALLY PREFERRED THE SPIRIT OF THAT OLD ARSENAL SIDE…AND IT WASNT ALL 1-0 TO THE ARSENAL….WE HAD FLAIR PLAYERS….LIMPAR WRIGHTY MERSE ETC….

    1. Vote -1 Vote +1ctpa

      @tony gooner, We cannot live in the past or pine for the good old days. Memory is a jaded thing that conceals warts. Arsenal are in the process of making new memories tomorrow.

    2. Vote -1 Vote +1Tim Post author

      George Graham, he broke the law, took bribes to sign players, and then fucked off to manager Tottenham before being drummed out of the game in shame never to manage again.

      But here’s the bottom line: George Graham was manager for 9 years and won 49% of his games, Wenger has won 57% of his games. Graham has a 22% loss rate, Arsene 18%. Graham’s big claims to fame: domestic cup double and 1-0 to the Arsenal. Arsene Wenger, two doubles, an invincible season, Champions League final, all the while transitioning the club from a 38,000 seat arena to a 60,000 seat gold mine.

      Maybe we should get Graham back in, he is available.

  30. Vote -1 Vote +11NilToTheArsenal

    @ctpa, I’m with you. (I WAS happy to see Messier win it with you guys). Gooners all over the world can point to many examples from other teams and sports they follow. Here in the biggest city in hockey-mad Canada, the Toronto Maple Leafs not won the league since 1967. 1967! And they are long-shot to make the playoffs this year. So I fail to grasp the sense of entitlement that some Gooners seemingly display.

    I will say this however: I am absolutely appalled at the manner in which we drop points. The Tottenham and Newcastle matches are not the stuff of champions, and I think it’s the roller coaster inconsistency of our play that so many find maddening. In the larger context however, something is working, people. Despite matches thrown away, the constant injury blight, the rise of Spurs and others, we are still in 2nd place and still capable of winning the title. No Maple Leafs fan can make that claim for the 44th straight year.

    Now COME ON you Gunners!

    1NTTA

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