One Of Us Speaks – Why Are You So Proud Of Our Dirty Linen?

I don’t want to jinx anything, but I think Robin van Persie will sign a new contract at the end of the season. Especially after reading his latest comments. If you’ve seen that photo of him in his bedroom in the ’96 kit you’ll know his affection for Arsenal stretches back to long before he joined us. And since he’s been at the club he’s had nothing but love from the fans.

But it got me wondering – the two recent players who sing their love for Arsenal from their Hampstead rooftops now were stars from the beginning. There’s something unsettling about that. What if they hadn’t been great from the start?

Thierry Henry had a rubbish debut but was up to speed in a matter of weeks. And when we saw a young Robin van Persie dropping Premier League defenders, humiliating Robbie Savage (admittedly not hard to do) and curling the ball in from the byline in 2005 we knew what he might become.

And even in the seasons that followed, his absence from the team didn’t exactly harm his reputation. We were all thinking how we might have won the title in 2008 and again in 2010, if only van Persie could have stayed fit. Yeah, he’s just one player, but so what?

Right now there’s an affinity between player and support. He’ll tell us he draws confidence from the crowd, and at the risk of extolling something that we can’t really quantify, what if all Arsenal players were treated with the same unequivocal affection? What if we’d taken a couple of players from the team that suddenly came good in 07-08 to our hearts a little sooner? Might they have stayed?

I know it’s not that simple though. According to the papers, on Sunday Walcott was one bad touch away from getting clapped in the stocks and pelted with premium hot dogs and pies. The truth was slightly different of course. There were a couple of morons shouting stuff but really, each time Walcott lost the ball there was just a loud groan. And the thing about that noise is that it’s involuntary, and made by people frustrated at seeing a move break down, but not trying to direct a negative message at anyone.

Sitting in the crowd you barely realise you’ve done anything to express the deflating feeling until you hear the collective grumble echo around the ground and understand that you contributed to it. And even with that knowledge it’s impossible to stop it next time the team loses possession.

You don’t have any hostile intentions, so it’s tough to find out that your reaction led to the manager claiming that the crowd was getting on the player’s back, and gave hacks an invitation to go to town on the Emirates support yet again.

But maybe that’s the point; you might not mean any harm against the club but you contribute to the noise. In the tense, emotional arena of a North London Derby it might be difficult to suppress a frustrated groan, but the rest of the time perhaps maybe it’s easier to defend the club’s image.

Firstly, to what end do concerned Arsenal fans go on TV or radio or pillory the team on blogs? I know you care about the club, but why do you do it? I understand there’s a human desire to be heard, but you don’t need me to remind you that you’re just one person. And as an individual your view will differ from that of the next person by subtle degrees. He or she is worried as well, and wants to make the club aware of a catalogue of troubles.

The various grades of discontent and spectrum of demands result in the distracting noise that Ivan Gazidis spoke about recently. It’s like the static of a detuned radio, with thousands of different, indiscernible voices undermining the club – in the end it’s impossible to know what the collective wants, beyond seeing the team improve somehow.

All the press hears is the background hiss of disapproval, and couldn’t be happier, interviewing these suckers or plucking stories from the ether without having to leave their desks. In pre-match press conferences the manager has to handle accusations from all kinds of unqualified sources. It’s a hindrance we don’t need at the moment.

OK, Arsenal fans are worried about the wage bill. The idea is that there are too many overpaid players and the club rewarded potential that three years later remains unproven. Then I ask you, what is the sense in telling the national media that these players aren’t worth their wages? How does that help solve the problem?

Say you’re worried about the club’s financial situation. Why not think of every player at Arsenal as an asset, whether you like him or not. You’re going to want to make sure he’ll have some sell-on value. Because off the pitch, I can’t think of many better ways to devalue a player than for the people who watch him play every week to tell the world they think he’s paid too much. And that’s before we talk about the impact on the player’s confidence or sense of belonging.

“Counterproductive” doesn’t even cover it.

Maybe you feel you can see where the club’s going wrong? You fancy you know a bit about tactics, or have a head for finance. But anyone who’s ever had to deal a family squabble will know that sometimes being right doesn’t count for anything. In the end it’s often about being loyal to the people who really matter, and that means knowing when to hold your tongue.

A blog like this is going to invite the usual stuff about doublethink, Pravda and blind loyalty. But here’s the thing – and I hope I’m not patronising you again here – Arsenal doesn’t govern people; it’s just a football club and business. It’s grateful to you for buying a ticket, and needs you to support the team, but has no obligation to you beyond making sure your seat is in good shape, the stewards are well trained and that the bogs are clean. Away from the ground, maybe it’s all as simple as the strapline at the top of this page.

Thanks Al. Over at Arsenal On This Day, the club’s first League Cup final.

Posted on March 2, 2012, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Soccer and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 232 Comments.

  1. Fan. tastic.

  2. Nonsense! Our squad has had it far too easy, for far too long. Fans have made disappointed groans ever since matches have been watched. Stop justifying the malaise at the club, and maybe come up with a way we CAN voice our disapproval that’s to your liking.

  3. You out do yourself BIG AL. sometimes when in a family squabble its best to be diplomatic, hear and not say, and no matter what never take side against the family with its detractors no matter how much you think you are right. COMMON EFFIN SENCE.
    BY THE WAY, I know what could inject some massive confidence and strength into this club ,crew, manager. And the fans. Could push us towards our goals for this season….
    Don’t wait till the end of season or the summer. SIGN, SIGN NOW.
    ROBIN, THEO. ALEX.
    DO IT. DO IT BEFORE THE WKND GAME .

  4. Liverpool, who’s you daddy?????

  5. Nice write up,bring on the scousers

  6. When the blog appeared about Arsenal’s wasted millions on wages, I responded, but naturally enough, it was not printed?
    I repeated the word used in a reply ‘Hindsight’, and challenged the blogger to name three of £1000pw under18’s he would let go now, as and when their professional contracts come up? I said it is easy to come back in three years time and wonder why we are paying ‘X’ this amount.
    Hindsight. I also said that none of the players listed(basically, as a waste of space) were not without potential at the time their contracts were given. Making a judgement on footballer’s potential is a gamble at the best of times, but the balance has to be made against the successful ones?
    My final point was ‘What if something happened to AOC or Coquelin that restricted their potential’ … Very easy to come on and vilify their high wages down the line, not so easy now?
    The point I want to make is that so many comments were taken in by this stuff?? You ask Why? Good question, but I doubt many go beyond the here and now, let alone have a bit of ‘self introspection’?

  7. I don’t think it’s quite that simple Big Al. It’s all very well having clean toilets and stewards who know where the gate is, but I need a pint at half time as well.

  8. That blog on wages was a total waste of cyber space. He refused to compare it with other teams. Somebody needs to remind him that your competitors make you great. They made a lot of mistakes including excluding the entire ladies team. I think their objective is ‘anything that is against AW and this team is good’.

  9. “Arsenal doesn’t govern people.” An absolutely true and critical statement. I see a lot of these analogies that liken the manager and the board to dictators and tyrants and despots.

    But here’s the thing, we don’t really have any god given rights. We, as supporters, are not entitled to anything. If you fall in love with a girl, you don’t berate her for loving you back. Respect, gratitude, sure. But when supporters start demanding “success” they’re going a little too far.

    And there’s a key difference between a despot and a football manager. The manager, unlike the authoritarian ruler, has the same goals as the people. His interests lie in the interests of the people. What’ll make us happy will make him happy, and anything done to hurt us will invariably hurt him.

    So, our relationship with the club shouldn’t be what the people have with their rulers. No, the manager, the board, the players, the ball boys, they are all part of one family. Everyone is united under one goal. We all want to win. Victory through harmony.

  10. That really has me thinking. Great work OofUs.

  11. Thanks BA. Nice post today, I call it clean and gentle.

    Reference to Pravda and double-think and what-not: “loyalty” is not blind, but exceptionally well informed at Arsenal. I challenge anyone to find a parallel to the number and scope of Arsenal blogs, their diversity and amount of information exchanged, even if we only talk about the 10% of factual or analytical stuff. I had a go at Luke for his poverty of premise, but in the bigger scheme, he was debating a profound issue with attempt at detail/substance. It was all about the balance between wages/costs, profit and actual players.

    And that leads to my other point, a simple one.

    There is no method, nor will there ever be, of guaranteeting a player’s ability, potential success and integration into the a team. Arshavin is an excellent example, but there are many, many more at other clubs; hidden from view. Take a look at Liverpool or Chelsea’s (ie top clubs) 10-12 players not in the regular first team frame and tell me how many you know much about.

    The permutations in a player “coming good” within a team structure are mind-boggling. Teams are evolving, and as they change shape there are fitness, physical, form, age, position, development, technical, attitude, language, background, history, potential, other committments, loyalty, relationship with other players, “sharpness”, competition for places, match schedules, as well as wage, costs, medical, returns, time to sell, not sell, offers, and a dozen financial factors – ALL to continuously take into consideration, as well as the team (collective).

    When someone says, in this context, Denilson, Bendtner, Eboue etc etc and all the other apparent “failures” are all “rubbish” or “do not earn their keep”, and “wouldn’t make the Bolton Reserves”, and so on, as the basis of an opinion, well you gotta know they are blind beyond relief.

    And when the “loyalist” so to speak points out facts: Bendtner did a job, and at times a good job, as did Denilson, Eboue (and others) and all had a valuable part within team structure, they are called all sorts of names and insults, as is Wenger and the players, and the team.

    I laugh only because if you don’t you’ll cry at such degree of disrespecting ones own team, and its attributes.

  12. i often wonder, when players are interviewed and pay credit to their fans for being an extra man on the pitch, what our players must think. They have to live with the burden of dragging the crowd along behind them, getting the odd experience of what true support is like must more often wondering which of them will be the target of abuse and denigration, from their own fans. Its like having mates who hide in the toilet while you’re getting a kicking in the car park then creep out and take the piss out of your wonky nose. It’s hard to like them, isn’t it?

    I don’t know why it is that we have so many fans who seem to think its cool to undermine the team, and I would probably exempt our travelling support from most of the criticism, but, although I can’t be sure, I have a sneaky feeling that small genitals have something to do with it. I’ll be writing to Ivan to suggest that tickets in future are only granted to fans with appropriately sized cojones. I’m sure that would do the trick. Then, perhaps, our guys would have the sort of support they deserve, that lifts them up when they’re down, lets them know they’re special and brings out the best in them. That might sound strange but it’s what it used to be like.

  13. ArsenalAndrew

    Good post (missing half punts aside).

    One of the saddest things you can hear on the radio phone-ins are the occasional non-supporting Arsenal fans being set up to let themselves down in public.

    You just know that:

    a) 99.9% of the listeners are laughing at them

    and

    b) their families must be so proud.

  14. ArsenalAndrew

    * missing half pints aside

  15. Nice analogous pontification Mr Big Al. Family indeed. No one in the world you love more and no one in the world can hurt or disappoint you more.

  16. Every player at Arsenal is not an asset! I just wish to correct that assertion you made.

    Imagine keeping a ‘dead wood’ in your home- taking valuable space and good for nothing; what do you do? Call it an asset or get shot of it?

    These are the same players(some of them anyway) when given an opportunity in the media slag off the club, manager and fans alike.Need I name names?

    Besides your assertions that the fans complaining to the media is disrupting/hindering the club is absolute rubbish as there is no way of going direct to the board or even the manager to make our feelings known. At least they get to hear these murmurings and their reactions to them tells you they are working at least!

    There are those who swear by Mr Wenger via the media of radio or TV and as such there will also be distractors or should I say constructive critics who do not like the direction he is taking us. Hence the beauty of democracy!! No one must be muzzled so long as what they are saying is done so with some decorium and a sense of respect!

    Your article reminds me of Prada or one of these communist media mouthpiece.

  17. Anybody using the term ‘deadwood’ here has revealed themselves. It is a doomer codeword which alerts the world wide doomerweb to attack. Treat with extreme caution folks. Tin hats on.

  18. Half pints? Men of Kent would seem to be a misnomer in 2012..

    Hello Maria, where have you been? We missed you at the Blackburn game. I finally met your fancy man, Muppet.

  19. “When people want you to be bad, they tell you that you are bad,” he told Arsenal Player.

    “Sometimes you have to accept that you are questioned but sometimes the questioning is not always based on facts.”

    Excellent as per usual One of Us

  20. Not all ‘fans’ are assets either it seems!

  21. Ameen Mujtabaa

    @OnDGooner Every player has a price tag, which would makes them an asset. You interpreted asset as in a benefit to the team. He’s referring to financial benefit. And don’t worry about the wages, the transfer fee will cover that.

  22. I have to say that there is a lot of dead wood in my house. We sit on it, eat off it, cook on it. very useful stuff indeed. Imagine having to lop, prune and pollard your furniture every autumn? Monstrous idea. No, I’m for dead wood.

  23. ‘…sort out that door would you, darling, simply can’t shut the fucking thing. Sorry to swear but its covered in catkins’

  24. ..bout time we coppiced the floorboards, my sweet, we haven’t been able to see the telly for a fortnight now…’

  25. ‘…and another thing, I had in mind a loft extension, not a fucking tree house. I’m leaving!!!’

  26. Just imagine running down your wife or your husband to your next door neighbour because you are not happy with them one moment. Another time you are happy and want everyone to know how you love them. This is a miss message and this is what we do when we run down our players no matter what. I support my family no matter what and this is what we all need to do if we are one family through the fatherhood of being an Arsenal supporter.

  27. Excellent Post OOU,

    However I think most fans on ACLF already respect themselves and the image of the club. If there was just a way we could make all Arsenal fans read this post, we could achieve a drastic change in the atmosphere at the Emirates.

    There is simply no use berating and criticizing your club in public, it only contributes to the negative atmosphere around the club.

    We need to understand that when a player is playing badly, you don’t insult him, try to encourage him. Some players in Arsenal that play based on confidence, when they are off form, encourage them to raise their confidence. That what being a fan is about, our motto couldn’t say it better. Victory through harmony

  28. Its such a shame when I see so called Arsenal fans in agreement with other team fans when our players or manager are being insulted or criticized

  29. Why? I think maybe you need step back a little. Football, your club, is a safe outlet for the frustrations in people’s lives – moan at your boss and colleagues and you get sacked and create a poisonous working environment where everyone hates each other. Rip into your partner and family about the pile of unwashed dishes or the Lego pieces you found in your bed and you risk divorce, inner in the dog moments and more.

    But you can, quite legitimately, pillory your own team, hate the Spuds with total abandon, scream yourself hoarse at the player having an off day and there are no consequences. Really, football isn’t important, not in a life or death way. Or a D.I.V.O.R.C.E way. It’s important to us because really it isn’t that important.

    Of course we think it’s important, that’s why it works, but for a lot of people it’s a blow-off valve, an area where they can let off all the steam and frustration from everyday life. You can’t change your mad boss’s behaviour without consequences, but you can rail about the way the club is run and nothing will happen to you.

    It’s a ring-fenced emotional playground where anything goes. We think it’s more, because otherwise it wouldn’t work. The essence of escapism is that you have to believe it’s important, even when it isn’t. Not really important. And football’s a business built on that human need.

    Anyway… maybe that’s overthinking it, but then again, maybe there’s something to it as well.

  30. Morning all.

    Marvellous stuff Big Al. Love the last para.

    Maria – where have you been? What’s been happening?

  31. I love my wife and that does not change whether she makes me a lovely four course dinner or gives me beans on toast.
    I have never seen any situation in life ,where someone undermining a loved one brought them closer together.I have seen many times how it leads to a gradual deterioration of a relationship and the eventual break down.
    Support for the club(team,management and board) if constantly positive and vocal ,can only result in a happier relationship between all parties.

  32. On my list of words I never thought I’d see on an Arsenal blog, second from the top is “pollard”.

    “Coppiced” is top.

    If we were to pollard the Doomers would they be replaced by proper fans who actually support the club rather than the current rotten undergrowth that seems to have started to take a bit of a hold recently?

  33. Anyone who seeks ‘dead wood’ is a fire starter… and a twisted one at that. Good article.

  34. I second that GEORGE. BY THE WAY, the little Russian genius did us all proud on international duty ,don’t you think. so much for dead wood. Also prod of HENRY, THE OX, JOEL and Ryo. Future looking very bright.
    Now if you excuse. Me ,I need to trim my piano.

    JON, if you need to let off some steam mate do what I do. Go to a gun range and unload a few magazines. No need to make an ass of your self in the stadium and on TV. don’t you see how DESTRUCTIVE THAT IS.
    Help them, don’t undermine them. just saying.

  35. Good stuff, Big Al. And nicely put, Waleed.
    Jon, of course what you say has an aura of truth about it, except when you compare reputations of fans from other clubs. The reputation our fans have is wingeing, booing and generally negative. Doing exactly what you describe….i.e. using the team as an escape valve,/ outlet for otherwise pent-up stress. Compare that to the reputation of Liverpool’s fans. Their reputation is they’re all in it together. Not saying they don’t rant at their team, or groan when a move breaks down, but despite me disliking them more than any other club, they do at least foster this “one-big-family” image which we as fans would do well to emulate. The downside is I guess, that the D.I.V.O.R.C.E rate in Liverpool is huge!!! (no facts to back that up) Anyway, despite their “12th man” they’re still shit.

  36. My word Diaby is fit

  37. Terriffic piece – sane and well argued throughout.
    It may be worth reminding people that the closest correlation in football is between your wage bill and your league position. Arsenal are only bested in the EPL by teams who have a higher wage bill that they do – and they often end up ahead of some of those!
    It’s also true to say that if you have a policy of developing your own players you tend to take on more of them (in order to increase the chances of getting it right) and, perhaps, to pay them more in order to keep them out of the clutches of career ruiners like Chelsea and Spurs.
    As other teams have to cut their costs Arsenal may well be able to pay less but, whatever happens, their relative position (as predicated on the wage bill) will improve.

  38. Liverpool might try to sell the image that their fans are sooo special and sooo loyal. It isn’t true. They hounded Benitez who was good manager in his own way and they never even gave ROY a full year to make the team his. He came on much fanfare, and left in a few month on the back of boos.
    ” you will never walk alone”
    INDEED.

  39. True. That’s because in their isolationist head, all they really wanted was King f****** Kenny. Roy or Rafa were never really one of the family. (despite Benitez growing a ‘tache and speaking with a scouse accent!)

  40. Just Another Luke

    van Persie and Vermaelen are doubts for tomorrow

  41. Not sure the fans hounded Rafa out.
    He and the press and miserable purchases made his position unsustainable by their board.Plus he kept picking fights with the owners.

  42. Everybody has an opinion about the club they support.talking about your club positively or otherwise is as old as club football.its nothing new.but make no mistake about it,opinions are largely driven by on field results.and bad on field results are the faults of underperforming players.fans don’t really bother with boardroom stuff.bring on the game.we just want to our team play.and win.these are the basic instincts of true fans.

  43. Holy fuck galboy_ledge, how can you read an article like that and respond with this:

    “Stop justifying the malaise at the club, and maybe come up with a way we CAN voice our disapproval.”

    In case you missed the point, YOU are the problem.

  44. And we need our wives and girls to occasionally remind us its just a game

  45. Isn’t RVP out for tomorrow anyway because he picked up his 5th yellow against Sp*rs?

  46. Except in my case, my wife qualifies as a doomer when it comes to Sri Lankan cricket!!!

  47. Do you think that only blokes and straight ones at that support, Arsenal?

  48. Aaaargh! That would be criticising my family in public!

  49. Maybe you feel you can see where the club’s going wrong? You fancy you know a bit about tactics, or have a head for finance. But anyone who’s ever had to deal a family squabble will know that sometimes being right doesn’t count for anything. In the end it’s often about being loyal to the people who really matter, and that means knowing when to hold your tongue.

    A blog like this is going to invite the usual stuff about doublethink, Pravda and blind loyalty. But here’s the thing – and I hope I’m not patronising you again here – Arsenal doesn’t govern people; it’s just a football club and business. It’s grateful to you for buying a ticket, and needs you to support the team, but has no obligation to you beyond making sure your seat is in good shape, the stewards are well trained and that the bogs are clean. Away from the ground, maybe it’s all as simple as the strapline at the top of this page.

    i admire !

    especially these two sentences
    -and that means knowing when to hold your tongue.
    -but has no obligation to you beyond making sure your seat is in good shape, ……

    ========

    hey george ..i read yours yeday but it aint about “takes” cause takes are like guesses.

    its about being astonished that people want to doubt this manager or the financial prudence of the club.
    i mean people keep asking about money its so ridiculous .. its a surprise for me that people are surprised on arsenal spending next to nothing during their stadium transition or about ending the financial years with a profit. it is shocking that they consider a title and minus 150m as better than no trophy for a few years plus 50 million per year ….its business ffs ..what cant they get …lol..it really does my head in that simple financial prniciples are discarded….if the principle of “paying back what i owe” is too difficult for them to grasp then how do they expect to understand the complex financial planning of arsenal fc ? let alone critisise it … 🙂

  50. @Evil | March 2, 2012 at 10:41 am , the five yellow card suspension is only up until 31st December. Once that date was passed without five cards being accrued then you get until some time in April where a suspension will kick in for ten yellows.

    The full details are in the FA Handbook (http://www.thefa.com/TheFA/RulesandRegulations.aspx, click the link “The FA Handbook 2011-12” and go to page 370)

  51. Markus | March 2, 2012 at 10:35 am

    brilliant !

  52. @Block4
    Awesome! I was so convinced that he would be out of the L’Pool tie but that is proper good news.

  53. If RVP is out I predict a Chamack attack hat-trick. The boy will come good again, trust me. When have I ever lied to you?

  54. This is right up there with the Football4U post. Absolutely brilliant blog, OOU. Again.

    I particularly like the last paragraph. Being sceptical, suspicious, cynical and critical of the club all over the internet does not make anyone a better fan. As you rightly say, a football club is just that. Unlike the state or a religion, or even the media, the club has no power over you. It cannot restrict your freedom or dictate your life choices. Everything about being affiliated to a club is voluntary. And what is the worst thing a club can do to you against your will? Ban you from attending matches. And even then you could still watch on TV. So lighten up, people. Save the cynicism etc for politicians and journalists.
    ****
    The groaning is indeed involuntary (although booing obviously isn’t) but I think it’s important to clap afterwards to acknowledge the player’s idea, even if the execution was poor.

  55. @ ZimPaul | March 2, 2012 at 7:34 am
    Excellent comments.

    @ Frank
    ha ha! to your first few posts
    and
    @Frank | March 2, 2012 at 10:46 am
    Do you think that only blokes and straight ones at that support, Arsenal?
    Thanks for this one.

    @ Jon | March 2, 2012 at 9:16 am
    Vent in front of the telly, in the pub, but not at the stadium and not on the internet or on radio phone-ins.

  56. “The groaning is indeed involuntary (although booing obviously isn’t) but I think it’s important to clap afterwards to acknowledge the player’s idea, even if the execution was poor.”

    If only FunGunner ,if only.
    We would be benefiting from the skills of a little Russian fellow.Instead of marveling at his international exploits on Youtube

  57. TV and RvP injury doubts. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. Rosicky is a doubt but likely to play.

  58. @ PG
    It’s not the whole reason why he’s gone (might be that he would have struggled to get into the team anyway) but it stands to reason that negativity leaches confidence from a player.

    from arsenal.com:
    “While Wenger was prepared to allow the 30-year-old to leave on loan, he insists that it is only a temporary measure.

    “First of all, things have not ended because he is still our player, he is only out on loan,” the manager said.

    “I just felt he needed to play. When you are 30 and you do not play regularly, you drop your form and when you come on every time you have to produce something special.

    “At that age it is very difficult. I felt he just needed a bit of confidence to play again.”

    *****
    The Belgian FA forced TV to travel and to play 90 mins even though they had a CB on the bench who did not play. Disgusting.

    I am listening to the press conf – AW said diaby is available again!

  59. Limestonegunner

    As far as on the blogs, supporters just like to talk football with other supporters which is part of the whole experience. The conversations that used to happen exclusively in pubs and do forth, are now more “public” and even easily “overheard”. Slagging off players is unseemly and may affect the reputations but unless it is widely reported in the mainstream media it is hardly likely to affect a player’s value unless it appears the club can’t really keep the player, because it is so toxic–really extreme. Statistics and football performance and potential is far more crucial, I would think, with football chairmen, managers and scouts. They seem to think we are pretty fickle, foolish and ignorant as fans, and how many would disagree that by and large fans often are?

    In the stadium we should remember that our home record is far better this year than our away record which has been inconsistent and weaker than in years past, despite our terrific away support and the supposed failings of our home support. However, there has been some terrible episodes that are serious indictments-/ the booing of the Ox substitution and chants against AW–disgusting stuff.

    Hopefully we will band together and act more maturely. I am lucky enough to be going to the Aston Villa match and if the atmosphere is positive with singing and chanting together it will certainly make the experience happier. So the best reasons for avoiding abuse but rather supporting in the stadium are that it might help the team and makes the matchday more fun, to my mind. If you have a need to express your frustration, direct it where it might be most useful– intimidate the referee. That’s the biggest factor in home advantage.
    Nice piece OoU, stimulating, but I offer these for discussion as some additional perspectives.

  60. Limestonegunner

    Speaking of Diaby, I remember Diaby saying a year of so ago that he thought the Emirates crowd was too easy on players and didn’t expect enough or put pressure on the team to win. Something to that effect. I thought it didn’t make much sense and wonder if the meaning was somehow garbled in the interview.

    However if he ends up being available for Villa, I’ll be do happy that he is back on the pitch that I will be cheering him and failing to put him under any pressure!

  61. I hope RvP makes it on Saturday.

  62. Yippee ki-yay, motherfuckers!

    Sorry but FunGunners fault.

  63. If RVP needs a rest so be it. We have great players who, with a little more self belief (helped by a little more support) can step up.

  64. Limestonegunner

    Curse that van Marwijk. There was no reason to play RvP at all. Totally willfully gratuitously mean-spirited.

  65. Limestonegunner

    Chamakh will play well, though, I believe.

  66. Well said Limestone. Or of course Theo down the middle ably supported by Benny, The Ox, and TR7. Maybe even Park, who knows. The shame of it is that I was hoping to see more of Theo and Robin together in the middle like against the Spuds. It worked rather well that day…

  67. Playing Vermaelen for 90 minutes is even harder to take when you realise Belgium aren’t even going to the Euro finals. Absolutely pointless.

  68. They will play.Stop fretting.
    We don’t want ACLF letting out any involuntary collective sighs.Now do we?

  69. Going back some time now I always remember Paul Davis getting tons of stick from the fans, and his name was always met with groans when called out, this went on for years – then an away game at Chelsea where he ripped Micky Hazard apart in midfield it all changed and suddenly he was a great player, and he was.

    Sadly this happened towards the end of his career when he was picking up lots of injuries. I just wonder what a player he could have been if we had stuck by him from the beginning of his career.

  70. Just want to say that all I hope is that rvp stays fit for the majority of the season, we sort out his contractual situation sooner rather than appears to be the recent arsenal way of things later.
    Should we complete the signing of podolski tie theo down too we will be in good shape to really challenge next season. Not using the term hated by loggers here but Nike B and denilson in my mind probably no longer have a future with us which is a shame as they showed a lot of promise as youngsters they just never blossomed into the players we thought they would be for various reasons. I just want Diary to have an injury free pre season then he could show all his undoubted talent. Djorou is another that might benefit from going on loan to a team where he could play week in week out to get his concentration issues undercontrol perhaps a 6 month loan, I just feel he is type of player that benefits from regular football as he has all the right physical attributes. Then we come to the enigma that is Vela having a great season in Spain but is he more suited to Spanish football I feel he could be a prolific striker as for a someone so young composure comes so naturaly to him perhaps the physical nature of the epl is all it is he can’t overcome.

  71. Nike, Diary, Djorou? We really do have strength in depth. More than ever I suspected.

  72. OnDGooner | March 2, 2012 at 7:46 am

    lol…are you for real mate ?

    “Besides your assertions that the fans complaining to the media is disrupting/hindering the club is absolute rubbish as there is no way of going direct to the board or even the manager to make our feelings known.”

    ehmmm i wont be nice …fuck your feelings …this is a business ..and as such it will governed.

    i also feel like shit when we lose , but never has it crossed my mind to go and demand expalnations as if im the owner and its my money going down the drain …the 1000 you pay for your ticket ( if you pay it) ..give me an account and ill pay you triple and go fuck yourself.

    it seems you didnt understand that youre entitled to nothing..say thank you that arsenal isnt in the second division and say thank you that wenger built you a new house so that you can go like a spastic and moan……

    wenger is making arsenal;s future safe for at least another 20 years and he is having a bunch of clueless apes complaining all the time…lol..

    you dumb@ss arsene ..wtf are you doing in england man? let them fuckin rot …see how they complain then the unappreciative bastards …you embarass the club with your moaning …fuck off…

  73. my apologies yogi …. 🙂

    too many f words i know… but we are all adults … and we should come down hard on the unappreciative lot ..

  74. Thanks for the comments. Really good to read different views. When I’ve got time I want to get back to a couple, a little later. Kudos ZP, Jon, FG and LG. Sorry if I’ve missed anyone.

    In the meantime – this is from when Diaby was flying imo. Threat going forward and good at breaking it up as well: http://vimeo.com/10338393

  75. Are you blaming your potty mouth on me, pg?

    ***

    @ Limestonegunner
    I’m not OOU, but hey.

    All that really needs to be said is said by AW – that negativity affects a player, whoever he is, and it affects young players most.

    Regarding chatter on blogs, there are two points being made – one is about the negative effect on the player’s confidence, the other is about the effect on others’ perception of the player. I think the first point is incontrovertible but I would concede the second, to an extent, in the case of possible purchasers. However, since many other clubs sign players at least in part to gain popularity with supporters, so negativity about a player does have come into their calculation, albeit in a limited way.

    The role of the media is key. If we were venting in pubs, it wouldn’t matter so much what we said and how we said it. it would be so much hot air. But opinions on the internet are written down, which always makes a criticism or an insult look worse. And given that news sources in print and online need to shift units or get clicks, they stress the negative because it sells and their presentation of a player shapes the perceptions of people who might not ever go onto Arsenal blogs. People who blog or comment are hugely unrepresentative of Arsenal fans as a whole. So the opinions of a few hundred people get undue prominence.

    In the stadium, (apart from the incidents you mention) the fans have on the whole responded to the bad start by pulling for the team. When we play away, perhaps other factors become more important. The failings of the home support in many of the previous years are not “supposed”, trust me, they have been real!

    If you have a need to express your frustration, direct it where it might be most useful– intimidate the referee.
    No argument from me!

    My point (again, not speaking for OOU) is that many fans seem to feel that by adopting critical, sceptical, suspicious or cynical attitudes, they are serving a vital and constructive function. Vital to them, perhaps, but not for the club or the team. It’s actually the opposite, I think.

  76. @ hunter13 | March 2, 2012 at 12:45 pm
    i totally agree with the sentiment but tone down the swearing, young man!

  77. yes fungunner i apologise ..i did it immediately 🙂

  78. but man they are so effing annoying ….where does this entitlement come from? what makes them think they can moan? i mean there are like 100 positives for arsenal yet all these cretins and doomers want to focus on a few negatives which were always and still are out of wenger;s or arsenal;s control. they are shit fans …and their excuse that they do it because they love the club is horseshit.

  79. however i must admit ..i find it a bit shocking that you mind the language i use to humiliate the way of thinking of the doomers, especially when what they are saying about arsenal is far more insulting and offensive than any swearword. not trying to be smart or anything but im a firm believer of the moto ” where words dont apply the stick does” and since these shitheads dont understand arguments and cant see the financial logic and reality arsenal lives in, then fuck them, they should be stopped from airing their cretinous complaints. call me a fascist i dont care, i aint …i just hate to see them ungrateful scum talking like that about wenger , the club , our players …where does it end? will they continue moaning till wenger leaves ? shouldnt we smack them a bit ? let them know their childish moaning wont be accepted ?

    family correct ?

    well whats worse ..calling your dad an arsehole in a heated arguement or totally disrespecting everything hes ever done for the family by calling him a loser whose lost it ?…you just cant do that …what father arsene has done for the arsenal family is unfuckinbeleivable, deserves nothing but praise ..sure he will fuck it up a few times, who doesnt..but his overall dedication to this club and his work should never ever be forgotten or treated lightly.

    lynch me all you want i know my morals…

  80. Thats why fans will never be football managers they dont have a clue …too emotional.We keep being spouted the same mantra about buying experienced proven players and spend the money.Thats ridiculous.You only have to look at Shevchenko, Torres,Morientes, Veron, Carol to name a few. football is all about taking risks and those risks are not always going to pay off. And Arsene may mistakes but he has proven that he can also get it spectacularly right and has givent good players the opportunity to turn into world class players. Thank god Arsene is not willing to piss all the money away. It is also about creating a balance. Man Utd to a man are not super quality players but having a few quality players and a well drilled supporting cast make the difference. The consistency, mental strength and winning at all costs belief is what needs work at Arsenal. We als have to accept that not all players will share his belief and that is not Wengers fault.

  81. If Ramsey is out for a few weeks maybe Diaby’s timing couldn’t be better. I’d play him in the advanced role if Rosicky needs a rest.

  82. Gooner4Life | March 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    very nice stuff

  83. Nice post

  84. dimitri you legend

  85. Diaby back is a great thing and would love to see him come on and get 15-20 mins and give us one of those surging runs of his where he links up along the way.

    Players read blogs and contrary to what people and players mite say they read the stories and are affected by the positive and the negative. Take a look at a player like Theo, when things are going wrong and the doomers come out of their crevis and start moaning in the Emirates you can see his confidence start to dwindle and him thinking about his next touch or next move i.e. Spuds game, he intercepts the pace heads it down and because he was being heckled instead of taking the clear path to goal that he had he immediately tries to find RVP(who had King and Kompany trying holding him ) attack breaks down. When you cheer and support you players like was done in the Emirates in the 2nd half for Theo’s work rate you could see his confidence oozing from every tackle to every touch to every run he made; he made them with the confidence that he was being truly supported and you could see his enjoying the support one the 1st goal.

    Yes you can groan when an attack breaks down or our defending isn’t up to par but instead of letting it out stay at your house or hit the pub or even better just dont do it and realize that this happens and we will attack and defend again but confidence is what many of these players thrive on and they look to the fans for that support and confidence hence why they ask us to come out.

  86. Billy's Boots

    Great article, OOU. You nailed the inadvertant groaning phenomenon. I noticed that myself earlier in the season. I’m still working on channeling my own into something else (good suggestion, FG, on the clapping). The best I’ve come up with so far is a shake of the head and a wry smile!

    Please forgive me, but I have to acknowledge the steady stream of amusing typos and malaprops. Many a doom-laden comment has been made far more enjoyable through the interesting application (or lack thereof) of spelling, punctuation, etc.

    Recently, we had Jabba pontificating about how much better Guardiola is because he is able to keep “cereal winners” motivated. Apparently, his secret is that he puts a prize in every box!

    Today we had OnDGooner providing some immediate, fashion-themed feedback: “Your article reminds me of Prada…” and SilverGunner making some stealthy additions to the team: Nike B (I thought we would be worthy of Nike ‘A’?), Diary (great blogger, apparently) and Djorou (Johann’s gentile alter-ego). Keep ’em coming, please!

    I echo arsenalandrew’s kudos to Frank, at the other end of the spectrum, for “coppiced” (more of a Liverpool word, surely?) and “pollard”.

  87. @Markus | March 2, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    If Rosicky needs a rest i would be more inclined to play Arteta in the advanced role and let Diaby play the box-to-box midfield role which allows him and Song to be ever interchangable without sacrificing part of what makes Diaby Diaby, breaking up play

  88. I am glad Diaby is back. I hope he stays fit for the remainder of the season as he could be a big plus for us. Wilshere aside, I think a fit Diaby is our best bet in the attacking midfield role. If he does not make an impact and gets further injuries I would not be surprised to see him leave the club in the summer.

  89. Billy's Boots

    @ dupsffokcuf | March 2, 2012 at 10:05 am

    My word Diaby is fit

    Let the confidence-boosting begin! 😉

  90. Effing delighted to see Diaby back. That’s all.

  91. Billy's Boots

    I thought it was a comment of admiration! 🙂

  92. OOU:

    Well written post again. Enjoy your writing style and always look forward to Friday’s post. The good fan, bad fan debate certainly resonates well on this blog. It would be really nice if all sports fans of every team were cooperative and completely unquestioning. Historically they have always reacted negatively when their team performs below expectations. Perhaps the problem is our level of expectations. However, I still think we had the talent on this team to win the PL at least a couple of times in the last few years and I suspect our management felt the same. Expecting our fans to react differently then sports fans have reacted for as long as there have been professional sports is probably not realistic, but I guess it can’t hurt to ask.

  93. I wholly subscribe to the fans being the twelfth man for The Arsenal, especially at the game, what upsets me is that the twelfth man for the opposition is usually the referee.

  94. ArsenalAndrew

    Yes I particularly enjoyed the Prada reference although one wonders where the scathing criticism of Big Al (excellent post by the way) will end.

    Withering comparisons with Burberry and Zara can’t be far behind, now the surface has been scratched. Expect to be told anyday now that Big Al is more TopShop than a top man…

  95. @ dupsffokcuf | March 2, 2012 at 10:05 am

    My word Diaby is fit

    The alternative seemed so unlikely, I automatically just assumed Dups was getting his ‘Diaby man-crush’ on.

    Colour me delighted that he meant fit as in ‘well and in good health’ and not ‘hot and sexy’.

    Think that’s a win-win, I think.

  96. Perhaps the problem is our level of expectations. …….. 🙂 perhaps ?

    Historically they have always reacted negatively when their team performs below expectations.

    hmmm so where the arsenal fans booing the whole of highbuiry during the dross of mid nineties? ..or when we went nearly 40 years with only a double to show for it ?

    Expecting our fans to react differently then sports fans have reacted for as long as there have been professional sports is probably not realistic

    it is a real pitty that the education class and sophistication of wenger has not transmitted to the fans, our fans have been educated by wenger all these years therefore they should not react like the uncivilised animals found elsewhere.

  97. Limestonegunner

    FG, good points which I don’t think are incompatible with my observations or thoughts. I’m in agreement but I do think the last point deserves some further examination and possibly refinement. Cynical hostility certainly doesn’t help. I agree. But critical distance, skepticism about the running of the club, pricing/seating/ticketing policies, atmosphere and similar matters (not the team/players–that’s a different matter) can be helpful if it connects the club to its fans in a transparent way and creates a culture of accountability toward the Arsenal support community. It isn’t a legal right or entitlement for supporters but it does speak to a moral bond between all these members of a club family. I certainly expect more from and give more to others in a family setting, where blind adoration or unremitting criticism can each be terribly damaging. Otherwise, we will have more of the mentality of being mere customers rather than supporters. That has already infected matters greatly. Does one really wants to frame matters principally as a consumer choice in the free market of sports entertainment with no other enduring moral rights and responsibilities beyond the commercial exchange–like being a subscriber to a theatre/dance/opera season? Football clubs historically have grown up in a different way as social institutions of some sort and while they may employ standards of business operation, they aren’t only businesses in the same way. If they are, there is absolutely no reason to expect any loyalty from customers. There is a tension involved and things are changing certainly but we might want to be careful about dismissing such a mutually binding moral relationship entirely. It is an interesting and complex subject because all of this is changing so much with the big money in the game and globalization of club support and marketing and so on. I cherish what is different about a football club and being a supporter of Arsenal, as someone who has grown up with “franchises” in basketball, baseball etc… in North America where they really are manufacturing a sense of identity that doesn’t have genuine social roots in the community in the same way and it is all about sports entertainment business. Supporter culture for football is something different, vital, and attractive to me; there is an implicit sense at least that the club is responsible to its supporters in a more meaningful way than a franchise that administers customer satisfaction surveys to hold its market share. It is part of why I am obsessed with Arsenal and it holds a stronger place in my loyalties even though I can only come to a game or two at best each season. I love Arsenal, its history, the community of support in a way that seems impossible for “franchises” I follow and “root” for.

    Maybe I have gone off on a tangent here, but it does relate to OoU’s post as well I think. I certainly would be interested to know others thoughts on that matter of the relationship between club and support and the changes that have been taking place and how others would balance that relationship.

  98. Limestonegunner

    I’m less willing to excuse the groaning phenomenon. As involuntary as it may be–if we were busy singing, chanting, or heaping abuse on the referees more we wouldn’t react that way nearly as much

  99. The groaning’s bad. But it’s the tutting I really can’t stand! How anyone can declare their love in one moment and then tut, the next, is beyond me! In the words of Marvin, makes me want to holler.

  100. …..but then Theo will think I’m hollering at him. It’s a vicious circle! We should all just keep oh so quiet.

  101. it’s. oh. so quiet
    it’a oh. so still
    you’re all alone
    and so peaceful until…

    you fall in love
    zing boom
    the sky up above
    zing boom
    is caving in
    wow bam
    you’ve never been so nuts about a guy
    you wanna laugh you wanna cry
    you cross your heart and hope to die

    ’til it’s over and then
    it’s nice and quiet
    but soon again
    starts another big riot

    you blow a fuse
    zing boom
    the devil cuts loose
    zing boom
    so what’s the use
    wow bam
    of falling in love

  102. Good stuff LG – a thought-provoking, cogent contribution.

  103. Limestone @ 2:42:

    Could you possibly “dumb that one down” just a bit. I read it quickly but I guess your concern is that sports in general has become more of a business for everyone involved and it affects the way the fans react. If so then I don’t think there is any doubt in anyones mind about that. Its inevitable and it affects the fans relationship with the team the players relationship with management etc etc. All clubs charge increasingly high prices for tickets, food, parking and everything is grossly overpriced, and clubs cater to the high dollar consumers and the whole so the cause of the problem is a 2 way street. As the amounts of money have increased the “businessification” of all sports is unavoidable I think.

    Hunter @ 2:37:

    I did not follow the club in the 90’s or in the years before that so I can’t answer your question. I thought Arsenal fans always had the reputation of being stoic. Negative reactions have been happening forever and I would be surprised if the recent episodes were the first that have occured in the history of Arsenal but I have to defer to others who have been around longer. With regard to the last paragraph you have an unusually strong Arsene loyalty and expect everyone else to think exactly as you do. I think the majority of sports fans would not care at all who manages the team as long as the team performs up to their expectations. A lot of people on this blog care more about the style of football then the end result, while others care more about wins and losses and table position. To each their own.

  104. DIABY is available!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    “12 games left, emptying all closets, things are too tight to be civilized!”

  105. I think we have brilliant fans for the most part. But idiots do tend to shout awful loud, especially self-entitled ones.

  106. Andy,
    “Wilshere aside, I think a fit Diaby is our best bet in the attacking midfield role.”

    Because you have seen Jack do so well in that role ?
    That would be when?

  107. arse or brain

    bill , i dont think people on this site are more interested in style over results pursay, however most are realistic and realise football is cyclical and so there are ups as well as downs.On your point about the history of our fans I have never known such a negative attitude and ive been following since early seventies. There have been very bad times but fans boo and shout out about players before the games even started, this is incredable

  108. A very nice post and plenty of positive comments today. Sets me up nicely for tomorrow’s game.

    Diaby is baaaaaack!!!!yay!!!

  109. arse or brain
    What is you twitter account I have forgotten and need to follow

  110. arse or brain

    george’
    @arse_or_brain

  111. http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/arsenal-train-ahead-of-liverpool-pictures

    I am hoping since Van P and Verm are training they will be fit for tomorrow.

    My word Diaby looks fit (to Johny) if I wasnt already in love with him I’d be drooling, that beard makes him look all masculine and hotter than usual.Is he fit enough to start tomorrow?

  112. Settle down Firstlady . . . settle down

  113. mattgoonerknight

    Great picture Firstlady

    That fact they are both training and smiling certainly bodes well for RVP and TV5 being fit for tomorrow!!

    Maybe a second-half run out for Diaby?

    Great news all round!!

  114. @ hunter13 | March 2, 2012 at 1:11 pm
    Again I can see what you are saying, and it does seem unfair when you put it like that, but it’s really about stopping things escalating. If you swear at or abuse someone, it obscures your intelligent points and gives people an excuse not to listen.

    And that Song hairstyle is better than his current one!

    @ Billy’s Boots | March 2, 2012 at 1:49 pm
    ha ha!

    @ Markus
    spot on – a vocal minority, whether on the internet or in the stadium. But their reactions are hugely over-represented.

  115. arse or brain

    firstlady,
    are they def todays pics I followed your link but theres no actual date on the page and they look far too healthy

  116. @ arse or brains

    According to the caption they are indeed today’s photos.

    “Arsenal’s first-team squad were put through their paces at London Colney on Friday ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to face Liverpool at Anfield.”

  117. Arse or brain:

    “I have never known such a negative attitude and ive been following since early seventies.”

    OK. I will take you word for it. I was not around in the 70’s, 80’s or 90’s and I don’t know how good those teams or their manager were or how those teams finished compared with the general expectations of the fans and management. I think thats the biggest variable that determines fan reactions. Fulham fans are happy with 10th place because thats what they expect. The Portsmouth fans were overjoyed if they didn’t get relegated. The direction of the team is also a big thing. No one expected to have a “rebuilding year” at this point given the quality and age of the players we have had the last few seasons.

    All that said, I thought the fans had done quite well this season. The summer and the bad start probably would have sent fans of most “big clubs” completely over the edge after the results of the end of last season. The couple of episodes of booing recently are inexcusable and noboby is trying to justify that, but the idea that our fans in general are terrible and that they are the cause of some of our problems is an over reaction I think.

  118. arse or brain

    Says at the top of the page

    “Arsenal train ahead of Liverpool – Pictures”

  119. mattgoonerknight

    Not trying to scaremonger but couldn’t see Kozza in those training pics – fingers crossed he’s got his feet up rubbing in a bit of DeepHeat : )

    Presuming all those who are currently doubtful are passed fit, I’m going to guess / predict the following:

    Wojo

    Sagna Kozza TV5 Gibbs

    Art – Song

    TR7

    Walcott ??????

    RVP

    I think Theo will get the nod for one wide forward spot but I feel it’s a real toss up between OXO, Benny and Gervinho for the other – won’t be disappointed with any eventuality, which is great!!!

  120. A tricky away fixture. Both teams on a high, although I did think their’s was a laboured win, but a cup anyway. And both teams a bit tired. Not a vast gulf between as indicated by positions. A lot to play for. Diaby on the bench maybe. So, it’s about hunger, as well as skill.

    I imagine they will find us a handful. Especially if we load up the coach with all our deadwood.

  121. mattgoonerknight

    I tried to type the team in formation, but the the sentences realigned themelves to the left, hence the odd shape to the team – the question marks aren’t meant for Theo either, as I think he’ll start!

  122. I fancy 3Gs for this one; as usual he’ll be here, there and everywhere.

  123. mattgoonerknight

    Arsene is Premier League manager of the month!!!!!

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/wenger-wins-february-manager-of-the-month

    There’s a big fuck you to those mocking the boss when he said that we were on a good league run!

  124. Szczny
    Sagna- Kos – Verm – Gibbs
    ———Song———–
    —–Arteta—Rosicky—
    Walcott—RVP—Gervinho–

    But wouldnt be surprised if Benayoun starts because his tracking back and work rate will be valuable as the Spud Walker and the Pool Johnson play similarly to where they are more employed as wing backs then actual fullbacks. Wouldn’t mind seeing Gervinho on opposite of Walcott to exploit the space left behind Johnson. Would love to have diaby come on as a sub for about 20 mins and show his talents.

  125. mattgoonerknight

    Only the twelve time he’s won the award? When did is start, 4 or 5 years ago? What a fucking joke!!!

  126. mattgoonerknight

    twelfth time

  127. Arsene’s going nowhere!
    Arsene’s going nowhere!
    Arsene’s going nowhere!
    Arsene’s going nowhere!
    Arsene’s going nowhere!
    Arsene’s going nowhere!
    Arsene’s going nowhere!

    “12 games left, emptying all closets, things are too tight to be civilized!”

  128. Great thoughts on today’s post Big Al. I enjoyed reading it.

    Dirty laundry indeed.

  129. arse or brain

    yeah sorry everyone just sometimes difficult to believe good news until its written in blood as it were.
    Bill,
    The problem is many fans who criticise wenger have only known wenger or have only been members or season t holders since wenger, their expectations have been created by the man they are now so easily doubting. The irony is lost on most. The fact you think fans have not been that bad this year is worrying and inditeing in equal measure

  130. @Consolsbob 7:51 am – sorry to miss the Blackburn get-together as I was off the grid.

    What’s the next scheduled get-together?

  131. Big Al. I am not sure how to respond to your blog this morning. Generally, your comment annoys me. Perhaps I don’t understand your intentions and if that is the case I apologise. Surely, Arsenal Football Club is selling a product beyond providing me with a seat, and clean toilets. In that regard they do have a responsibility to entertain! That is why I purchased the ticket! They certainly charge enough for their tickets-the highest in the Premier League, last time I heard. I come into the ground actually with no intention of doing anything other than enjoy the product that is being sold to me. The Wenger product attracted me to Arsenal Football. Should the Football on display fall below my expectations, I am sure you will hear a gasp from me and all other noises that are consistent with having a few pints with my mates.

  132. mattgoonerknight

    We’ve signed a new player!!!! : )

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/17239261

    Apparently the fee is “significant” – must see a lot in him!

  133. @MGK

    Yea he’s at 16 year old prodigy from what iv read

  134. RVP an injury doubt because the Dutch absolutely had to play him in a completely meaningless friendly. At some point the sheer lunacy of these international fixtuers has to stop. It is completely ridiculous that a club’s assets are put at risk for what amounts to nothing but an international dog and pony show.

    So frustrating…

  135. mattgoonerknight

    vice

    I feel your frustrations but I think he’ll be fine for tomorrow, as will TV5 – I hope:

    http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/arsenal-train-ahead-of-liverpool-pictures

    JD

    Sorry, just seen your earlier post about manager of the month, but I suppose it doesn’t hurt to reinforce it : )

  136. I think AOC will start on the left,
    The others,3Gs & Bennyagooner have been halfway around the world this week.

  137. MGK

    AW said in his presser that RVP cannot play sat & tue after playing last sun & wed (Holland).

  138. Dups, he could if we get the game over by half time tomorrow and hook him

  139. Talk to Yogi Darius.

  140. mattgoonerknight

    dups

    Well, as the presser was prior to the training session lets hope the pictures tell the story of how the assessments went.

    Not playing Saturday and Tuesday? Just listened and I’m hearing it as RVP can’t, and no-one else for that matter, can play all of these fixtures – i.e he’ll play Saturday but then will have to be rested against Milan . Arsene doesn’t actually say he can’t play Sat and Tues, he says that no player can play this whole series of matches.

    In light of this, I think we can expect some wholesale changes on Tuesday.

  141. Bradys right foot

    Remember this guy

    One injury free run away from greatness.

  142. mattgoonerknight

    Right, off out.

    Hopefully the morning will bring some good team news!

    COYG

  143. Liverpool:
    Sczny
    Sagna—Kos—-Verm—-Gibbs
    ———Song————
    —-Arteta—Rosicky——
    Walcott—-RVP——Gervinho

    Milan:

    Sczny
    Sagna—Kos—-Verm—Miquel
    ———Song————
    —–Benayoun—-Diaby—
    Ox—–Chamakh—–Gervinho

  144. Billy's Boots

    Thank you, Yogi. Since you increased the moderation level, the comments section has become far more enjoyable (… and it was already very good).

  145. Yes I too agree that like Captain Vantastic Mr Diaby just needs one season injury free.

  146. PG

    I to hope we can get in front early enough (and far enough) to sub RVP.

    I agree with Billy’s Boots & BRF

  147. People scoff at me when I say a fit Diaby is a starter.
    Well when I say people…….Luke and Jibber………. so ………..I am confusing myself now.

  148. * long comment alert *

    First of all, can I say to OOU that I apologise for my expansiveness on the subject of YOUR blog post. It’s just that for a couple of days – sparked off by some lines in a previous post – I
    have been thinking of an article somewhat along these lines. But you beat me to it again, you evil swine!

    *****

    @ Limestonegunner

    In the matter of taking a sceptical stance towards the club’s actions, the scepticism etc shouldn’t automatically be the starting point. It seems to be. Many passionate fans automatically distrust anything that comes out of official channels. Crudely put, the positive is treated with suspicion or cynicism and the negative accepted without question. There is no reason for this. We have an honest board which does not siphon money away from the football club into their own pockets. To outsiders – neutrals, if you like – we are a well-run club. There will be wrong decisions (or even the same wrong decision over and over again), but as long as the decisions are preponderantly correct, the outcomes will tend to be good. So judge them holistically – they cannot be expected to inform or consult with fans about their decisions. They are being paid to lead. Qualified and able people have been appointed. They have negotiated with success the financing of a new stadium, and the effects of the housing crash and spiralling wage inflation – proof if needed that they are able. Why not start from the position of trusting them?

    I take it that you are espousing the stance of fans as “constructively critical friends” of the club as a healthier basis for a relationship between club and fans than either what you call “blind adoration” or unremitting criticism.

    Regarding your observations about the dangers of blind adoration, my response is that no such attitude is evinced. Nobody adores Wenger or the club blindly. I do see faults, although not necessarily the same ones as you. The distinction I need to draw your attention to here is between *having* criticisms and *expressing* criticisms. What I believe OOU is saying, and what I agree with, is that we should be aware of how and where we express them – ie not “in public” and not too often or too venomously.

    For those who need a venting environment, there is the Fans’ Forum on Monday nights. Perhaps we do need an outlet for fans’ ideas and gripes but people with genuine suggestions should email them in. I have made two suggestions in that manner (admittedly to do with the Ladies). Nothing earth-shattering. Both were acknowledged. The first was acted on and the second they are aiming to act on. But there is a time and a place to bemoan the absence of a backup striker, or the price of tickets, and 12 games from the end of the season, on a public blog or phone in is neither. While the season is under way, I think we should put away the persona of the critical friend. What is required at that stage *in public* is the wing man – the friend who always has your back.

    Having said that (about making suggestions), it is important to realise that the CEO and the manager are servants of the *club*, not of the fans. It is not Arsene’s or Ivan’s job to carry out the instructions of the fans. (Even assuming you could get a consensus as to what those instructions should be.) It is their job to try to do what is guaranteed to make all fans happy – win football matches and keep the club in existence. Sometimes that will involve doing things fans do not like. Because we care so much it is very hard to accept how little control we have. Some people like to maintain fiction that their input is essential to the running of the club and improvement of the team. It isn’t.

    With that in mind, to say that buying a ticket does not entitle us to anything apart from a seat is not to reduce the fans to consumers. It is just a way of saying that we are not entitled to trophies and that our most important input is vociferous support. The broad mass of fans could be said to be custodians of the soul of the club, but fans have never run the club on a day to day basis or made important decisions. Fan input has never been the basis of the club-fan relationship. Henry Norris, Herbert Chapman, Arsene Wenger – they didn’t consult fans about the visionary changes they implemented. A club’s support was originally based on family and community ties. Your brother/mum/local butcher was in the team and they represented the pride of your community or area. That element has mostly disappeared in top clubs due to clubs becoming big businesses and buying players from outside their immediate geographical location. It has been superseded nowadays, I believe, by identification with the ethos of the club. Being proudly independent, doing things the right way, a bold footballing philosophy, equal opportunities, giving youth a chance, enhancing and improving the life of the geographical community – these are all ideals which Arsenal aspires to (and achieves sometimes as witness our equality and diversity award) and which are inspirational to people all around the world and that is why they support our club. I like to think of Arsenal as a tree whose roots are in Islington but its branches spread over the globe.

  149. Well done to Arsene.

    Boo hiss to Bert van Marwijk and Bastard Belgian Team Manager.

    Welcome back to Diaby.

  150. yes PG dont confuse them with people more cretins who only come out of their crevis when bad things happen…I ponder a thought that i may ponder, are they Spuds fans?

  151. And just plain welcome to Dawkins. wonder if he was influenced by Jack Wilshere?

  152. @FG
    Excellent post! I fully agree, especially re: tickets are not some form of entitlement to anything and that if people have genuine suggestions and criticism about the club, they should think about mailing it in. If the club gets lots of mail because of an issue, I feel that that’s a stronger way of making your voice heard than organising some embarrassing protest.

    “I like to think of Arsenal as a tree whose roots are in Islington but its branches spread over the globe.”
    Very well said!

  153. FunGunner | March 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Bravo FunGunner – an absolute tour-de-force! If only I was as eloquent as you, that is exactly how I would have expressed it!

  154. Diaby is undoubtedly a starter when fit.

    Arteta-Song-Diaby….

  155. I don’t really know what I can add to that! Do you have a blog, FG?

  156. FunGunner? The Lecture Series? Brilliant.

    No way that could have come from watching Jeremy…ha ha.

    Did I hear Abou Diaby is back?

    I still maintain, a midfield of Alex Song, Li’l Jack Willy and Abou Diaby will scare the living daylights out of opponents.

  157. Limestonegunner

    Thanks, Jonny (though you would like this sort of stuff, being ridiculously silly yourself!)

    Bill, sorry, I probably got carried away in my own internal mental dialogue there judging by your response and the lack of any further engagement with my comment!

    Some stray ruminations that probably didn’t go anywhere productive. You sum up the core problem very succinctly and take a consistent position on it, though, so no “dumbing down” needed, honestly. (Didn’t you learn your lesson yesterday about this humility thing! 🙂 )

  158. Fungunner. comment of the day, beyond question.

  159. Diaby is undoubtedly on the bench when Jackie Boy is fit

    Jack Song Arteta

  160. What a star you are, FG

  161. It’s like a bloody fans’ charter. No joke!

  162. I expect AD2 to get some minutes tomorrow & Tue.
    His return nicely coincides with Rambo’s absence & TR7’s back+extended minutes.
    Le Gods are beginning to smile on the Arse…I hope we’ll finally catch a glimpse of Messrs. Park & Chamakh in action as well.

    Well said FunG,

    “A club’s support was originally based on family and community ties. Your brother/mum/local butcher was in the team and they represented the pride of your community or area. That element has mostly disappeared in top clubs due to clubs becoming big businesses and buying players from outside their immediate geographical location. It has been superseded nowadays, I believe, by identification with the ethos of the club. Being proudly independent, doing things the right way, a bold footballing philosophy, equal opportunities, giving youth a chance, enhancing and improving the life of the geographical community – these are all ideals which Arsenal aspires to (and achieves sometimes as witness our equality and diversity award) and which are inspirational to people all around the world and that is why they support our club. I like to think of Arsenal as a tree whose roots are in Islington but its branches spread over the globe”.

    …presently run by one of the greatest of all time & February’s GAFFER OF THE MONTH, thank you very much.

    Globally-loved, the Arsenal !

  163. Deise,
    Jack-Song-Diaby…..(i am AW)

  164. @Limestone, FunGunner and the rest of you who gave me some advice on how to get out of the dog house yesterday, thank you very much.

    I’m still in the dog house even after offering more than the shakedown required – scrubbing bathrooms, the stove and I don’t know what else – a rescheduled romantic dinner and whatsmyjigmifaces – – hell, I even considered George’s advice of going into the reservation for 2 months.

    At least there’s an embargo of talking about Chelsea and Arsenal for at least 12 games so that makes it bearable while the shakedown is going on.

  165. Oh lord…just tell her to fuck off, Darius. Please.

  166. @DS
    I already wish you only the best (and a lot of luck) for when the inevitable happens: Chelsea finishing outside the top 4 with us sitting comfortably at third. I sure hope that doghouse is a comfortable place.

  167. I’m going to open a speed divorcing bar. Might even supply the weapons.

  168. Diaby ahead of this seasons midfield linchpin! Give me one full fit season from Diaby and then we can talk.

  169. Ching! Too late. Fuck off.

  170. Limestone:

    I re-read it now that I had a little more time and realized I had passed right over some of the stuff that FunGunner addressed in her post @ 7:21.

    That one was a bit more difficult to read in a hurry then most of yours (at least to me) but I have always really enjoyed your posts and I think you are the most thoughtful and balanced of the regular contributors. I can almost never find a comment of yours that I disagree with the major points including that one. Keep the ideas flowing.

    Humility is good. 🙂

  171. Deise,Is that because you know better than some of us?
    Or is it something someone,Arsene perhaps ,has told you?
    Or maybe its just you opinion.Which would mean that there certainly is “doubt” about it.

  172. I agree with FunGunner .

  173. Of course its my opinion. In 1 season of Jack and 1 season of Arteta both have shown themselves to be more capable, cleverer and more commited players than Diaby – in my opinion…….and would therefore start ahead of Diaby

  174. @Evil – the best advice any married man can be given is to invest in a very comfortable sofa if you don’t have an equally comfortable spare room. It promotes world peace.

    Frank – divorce? I think I’ll settle for finishing above Chelsea, that’s revenge enough.

    Speaking of finishing above other teams, I note that Appy Arry isn’t the flavour of the month any more at the FA – and the powers to be are short-listing proper managers including Guardiola, Mourinho and as they often do, Arsene Wenger. i mean, the ungrateful punks – hehehe. The media done chose them a nailed on manager and they want to go through the motions.

    Hopefully, all that will keep the Spuds distratcted and moaning why the English gentleman is being treated how Psycho treated Steven “Play me a Phil Collins track or I’ll knoick your teeth out” Gerrard by not handing him the captaincy.

    And on top of all that, the fucking hacks sing appy birthday to appy arry in a very cringeworthy press conference. Of course he was asked about Bale of Nazareth diving on Sunday, and he flipped the script right in front of them and blamed all those who have fouled Bale since the beginning of last season. And right on cue, Sly Sports news plays clips of all the fouls against Bale of Nazareth.

  175. I always get so fascinated when i see pics from inside Arsenals training ground. Take the pics which shows Wenger with his manager award as an example.
    The shelf behind him? stocked with a mix of shoes and papers?
    i mean in a elite club what kind of papers would you put in a shelf full of trainers? and what kind of trainers would you stock in a shelf full of papers?

    And what kid of office has a mixed shelf section for papers and shoes?

    life is full of unimportant mysteries.. hmmm…

  176. You sell yourself cheap, Darius. Low self-esteem, I reckon. Finishing above Chavski is bare minimum. You’ve tasted freedom, don’t stop now. Maybe ask for an extra night out every other week and have control of the telly buttons for an hour on Friday evenings.Go or it, son.

  177. If all were fit I would probably start Wilshere ahead of Diaby. I like Abou, but think Wilshere is more consistent. Diaby is a quality player though and he puts together a run of form it will be great to have him back.

  178. now there’s a thought Frank. The TV issue is already sorted out – it’s like the toothpaste squeezed everywhere thing – just get a second one. More nights out sound a plot, but I can think of other in-house extra curricular activities I can negotiate more of – and its not as expensive…

  179. “In 1 season of Jack and 1 season of Arteta both have shown themselves to be more capable”

    That is not how I see it

    “cleverer and more commited players than Diaby ”

    It is difficult to be committed from the treatment table

    “– in my opinion…….and would therefore start ahead of Diaby”

    So why say “undoubtedly” ? In my mind there is a huge doubt.

    Diaby starts in my team.And historically ,when fit, in Arsene’s.

  180. Andy ,did you miss this?

    “pedantic george | March 2, 2012 at 3:54 pm
    Andy,
    “Wilshere aside, I think a fit Diaby is our best bet in the attacking midfield role.”

    Because you have seen Jack do so well in that role ?
    That would be when?”

  181. Not for the first time there was a serious concern that Diaby might never play again. He’s probably kicked a ball in anger in training, but that’s been int for a long time. He hasn’t really been fit since Robinson/Essien doubled up their efforts. So what is the point in a precious opinion about how ‘good’ he is?

    I agree with GA about Diaby, I like him, but I don’t know if he’ll ever manage to play more then three games in a row again. We’ll find out. He probably will. I hope so. Then we’ll see.

    Even players who decended from the stratosphere like Fabregas and Van Persie need a handful of games under their belts before the get their danda’s up, find their rhythym, float their boat, etc. Watch the games as they returned from their delayed pre-season last year. The team’s level at that high time dropped a little to carry them for a few games.

  182. I feel that some comments about Diaby complement OOU’s post very well.

  183. I don’t see why folks take the view that its either/or with Diaby and Li’l Jack Willy. Both a very different players and both bring very different things to the team.

    For some of the more physical opponents for example, Song, Diaby and Li’l Jace have an arsenal (the pun, huh?) of complimentary skills in strenth, doggedness, finesse, attitude and a bit of “fuck you” to givve any team hell bent on matching Arsenal on brawn and finesse. All 3 of them can seamlessly play defensively or attack with devastating speed while caressing and seducing the ball as they glide past opponents and deliver slide rule passes that take out defenses in one go.

    The assumption is that they will get enough time to develop a chemistry that will allow their collective potential to shine. This is not to say that other midfielders like Li’l Mozart, Arteta or Rambo don’t have a role or don’t have the skills needed. It’s more horses for courses.

    One of my disappointments is that we really haven’t seen the true potential of Diaby not least because a carpenter called Dan Smith (yes, he’s a carpenter now), decided Diaby was not going to have a decent career. Diaby is perhaps one of the most effective box to box players in the league and in a very physical league like the EPL, such talent doesn’t gorw on trees. The Franch know this and don’t be surprised if Diaby is central to their midfield plans at the Euros.

  184. George – Yeah I did. Just what I think after seeing them both play. I actually think Diaby is better in a deeper position, but in Jacks absence would fit the bill as the advanced player. Don’t need to have evidence really just an opinion.

    AA never played there for Arsenal yet you advocating playing him there 😉 You could apply the same “that would be when?” logic there.

  185. Does anyone actually even remember Diaby from before he used to be injured? I mean how can one say Wilshere and Arteta are more consistent when its so many years since Diaby has had an injury free season?
    You cannot say anything about the concistency of a player until hes played say 20 games in a row. If 15 of them has been on the same level then the guy is concistent.

    Diaby however, has played a couple of games here and a couple of games there for the last what? 4 years? His body has never allowed him a string of games tbh. Not a string longer than 5 games anyway.

    If he does stay fit all next season and proves horribly unconcistent and poor over a longer period of time then yes hes not good enough. But until then nobody really can say as last time the dude was injury free for a long period he was very very good. But he was what? 19 back then?

    People said exactly the same about RvP last year.And now they kiss his feet, why? Cos hes been able to be injury free for a longer period of time. Ones Diaby gets the same privilege he will become the world star we all know he can be.

    But he will never become that player aslong as he is injured every 5th game..Or get a red card which was the case last year…

    I am very excited about his return tbh. And i dont think i will judge him until ive seen him play around 20 games in a season. Which wont happen anyway until next season.
    But going into a season with a fit Diaby, after a full pre season, and not getting injured in the first 5 maches. That will be interesting indeed.

  186. Yeah I like Diaby in the deeper second midfiled position. Still remember that game from two season ago where Diaby score the winner at home against Liverpool. Song & Diaby were magnificent, Liverpool’s midfield non-existant on the day. Though Diaby is not always the most intense defender, so maybe in some games, against certain teams the tennish role would be better. I’m just hoping he can play some games!

  187. Andy ,A world class international captain who has that position as his natural one or.
    An inexperienced youngster who has never played that position for even one minute in senior football.

    Hardly the same thing at all.

  188. < midfield!

  189. Poodle – I think you’ll find that Diaby has played quite a number of games for Arsenal and in significant stretches too (if we use 20 as a baseline). His numbers tally (not exactly but are ball park) with RVP’s consistency. Let’s not unleash half-baked assumptions about him only playing 2 games here and 3 there.

  190. Finsbury @9:11 pm

    I also fancy Diaby in that ‘transition’ role in midfield, linking up defence and attack. His speed and ability to move with the ball and glide past the defensive walls being formed by opposition might just be what we need to break bus parkers.

    His goal against Villa a few years ago – after he and President Eboue destroyed the Villa team with a devastating move from our box is the typical ‘break down bus parkers’ action that we need. Brad friedle didn’t even know where the ball was when Diaby slammed it into the roof of the net.

  191. Limestonegunner

    FG, I didn’t refresh the page, so I hadn’t seen your comment when I wrote to Bill above.

    Thanks for your considered and eloquent response. “I like to think of Arsenal as a tree whose roots are in Islington but its branches spread over the globe.” I think that is a beautiful image! I think your last paragraph captures something very important and accurate about the transformation that has taken place and expresses well what I was alluding to in trying to draw an distinction between US franchise sporting culture and football support culture. It really articulated why and how I do identify so strongly with the club despite living abroad, almost never being able to attend games, and only having a limited geographical connection to AFC having lived in WC1 as a student in London for a couple of years two decades ago. It really is about something else than was traditionally the case, but importantly is still a very meaningful identification with more than just footballing success. The ethos of the club is certainly key. And that is why it isn’t blind adoration, in my understanding, because it is informed by a broad understanding and appreciation for the club, its history and traditions, its philosophy, approach, and the excellence of its culture of support and the clubs genuine commitment to that support.

    I agree with each of your points, as I did with your previous comment. However, it seems like you imagine that my remark endorses hostile public criticism of the club; they don’t. Nor was I saying now is any time for anything other than united and full support, the wing man. I think my comments the last few weeks fully bear this out. At some moments it seems you are arguing with others out there–and quite effectively, no doubt!

    In fact, although I wasn’t speaking specifically in any evaluative sense about our leadership at AFC, but rather about a more abstract question, I happen to think that our club typically does quite an excellent job not only in running the affairs of the club (which is a source of genuine pride) but in trying to be transparent and engaged with supporters. My son just got a card as a registered junior gunner wishing him a happy birthday from the first team, with their signed photos. He loved it! That is pure class. Maybe it is just computer generated marketing, but it is carried out in a way that suggests there is something at stake in this relationship, as do many of the events that are routinely organized for junior gunners. Arsene Wenger talks about it as feeling a responsibility (not just a desire!) to bring happiness to those who love the club (not just those who paid to watch the club!). And I truly believe he feels that. It isn’t about making profits for their own sake because it just isn’t that kind of business, hasn’t been historically anyway and hopefully won’t become so. (there are some questions marks potentially on this for the future, but so far so good).

    I think what my comment mostly was about was trying, perhaps a bit opaquely, to pose the question and solicit some thoughts and discussion on what survives of the reciprocal moral bond in the relationship between supporters and club now that so much has changed in the club, in the culture, and so on. Your response goes some distance toward articulating a compelling and coherent view on that. I really appreciate that. It certainly gives me further food for thought on the question.

  192. Limestonegunner

    AW is pretty upset about the schedule on top of the inconsiderate use of our players with knocks/injuries by national managers. The schedule is pretty insane. 3 in 7 and 4 games in 10 days for many of our players.

    Will we use the squad or try to play the Tottenham destroyers apart from the injured?

  193. Billy’s Boots

    Great debate (and I mean that in the best sense of the word), FunGunner and Limestonegunner.

    Apologies if I missed it, FunGunner, but when will we see your interview with the mysterious former youth player?

    Arteta, Diaby, Ramsey, Rosicky, Song, Wilshere, plus Frimpong and Coquelin – that is an awesome group of midfield players! If we can get them back from injury and keep them fit (a tall order, I know), I think we should be in with a decent shout for the title next year…

    @ poodle

    Nice observation on AW’s odd filing!

  194. Limestonegunner

    I’d hoped, BB, for more of a discussion–which might include your thoughts too!

  195. WOW!! We finally get rid of Darius on Friday’s (it looks like the Mrs might be thinking of doing the same!), with Big Al being the real deal and now I see FunGunner trying to make some inroads with some long winded diatribe. Not to mention the hardest man to find in a bar, LimeStoneGunner take a bow, giving FG a run for her money when it comes to never ending paragraphs. What next? Pedantic George doing a guest post!? MDGunner giving us ‘Recipe Mondays’!!? Or Jonny giving us ‘Wacky-tobacky-Wednesday’!? (I am sure Dexter would enjoy that one!!) YW is really letting the standards slip if you ask me. I mean slowly but surely the Olde Guard is falling by the wayside, James, AIC, Suga3 to mention just a few. It’s a shame is what it is, a real shame!!

  196. @irishgray
    Yeah, it’s just so much tippy-tappy in those posts. They need some directness!

  197. Limestonegunner

    Don’t worry, Irish, those guys will wash back onto the shores of ACLF after our next loss (hopefully not this season) to entertain us with their “insights”; unless, that is, YW has permanently binned them. He has been getting tough on folks recently it seems!

    What about tomorrow? I still don’t have an idea about what the squad will be with RvP and Vermaelen carrying knocks and strains.

  198. Limestonegunner

    Evil, it’s become a possession game–the best defense against attack!!

  199. Fungunner @ 7:21pm………can you elaborate a bit more?

  200. I think Podolski would be a great addition in our squads this summers!! Arsene can bring the best out of him. Just the striker/attacking midfielder we needed.

  201. Diaby is back. Seriously. I can’t believe it.

    I remember his first half performance in the second leg of the CL quarterfinal against Liverpool. He scored and generally was unstoppable in the advanced midfield position.

    Despite all the frustration about his injuries, many fans still have a feeling that there is a good players somewhere deep in him. Just to regularly have him fit and on the bench would give the team a boost.

    So, come on boy. You owe the fans and the club. And the manager who has been sticking so long to you.

  202. Phenomenally thought provoking blog post today by OOU, and lots of equally thoughtful comments.

    My comment of the day has to go to Jon@9.16am. I think his post goes beyond the good fan/bad fan palaver, down to the very root of why most sports fans behave in the way they do. Ultimately, for the vast majority of people, supporting a professional sports team is a form of escapism.

    One must also consider that people rarely change their behaviour, even regarding the more important areas in life, where consequences of not changing ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ behaviour can be immense. It is clear that most people are therefore much, much less likely to change behaviour in the context of fanhood, where as Jon says, there are NO consequences at all.

    In other words,
    the majority of fans will NEVER consider reserving their opinions, if it was in their habit to freely dish it out. Why would they, when there are
    no consequences of letting rip?

    I concede that it would be probably* better for any team to have all its supporters mail in their criticisms instead of expressing them on blogs and in pubs, but I sense it’s a rather pointless wish; a bit like wishing for world peace, except that the latter is actually worth fighting for.

    Not that I’m advocating there is no need for write ups about how good fans should behave
    . I imagine it is after all cathartic, and re-affirms to a large extent the ethos and beliefs of many on this site. It could also encourage the ‘thinking’ fan to re-evaluate his/her contribution to the match atmosphere; I can’t see how that’s a bad thing. Never considered myself the groaning type but OOU’s post today is likely to be on my mind when I finally get to see Arsenal play again. Now I know to clap if in a moment of weakness, a groan escapes my lips!

    *I used the word “probably” as I’m yet to be convinced that 100% positive support would have any real impact on a teams long term performance compared to say 50%.

  203. Billy’s Boots

    @ Limestonegunner at 11:20 pm

    It didn’t seem appropriate to join in! Also, with the length of the posts, I didn’t have the chips to join that hand. 🙂

    @ Irishgray

    Nice Bonnie Tyler video yesterday – very funny!

    Here’s an old favourite – a bit of a slow burn, but it builds up nicely…

    http://www.veoh.com/swf/webplayer/WebPlayer.swf?version=AFrontend.5.7.0.1337&permalinkId=v19300171xgF4NR2J&player=videodetailsembedded&videoAutoPlay=0&id=anonymous

  204. Billy’s Boots

    That didn’t work very well. I guess I’ll stick to linking to YouTube.

    The link is to The Three Stooges – A Plumbing We Will Go.

  205. The most beautiful girl I ever met in my entire life was born and bred in Liverpool. She ran off with an astronomer. Couldn’t give a shit. Why should I? Never bothered me. Never given it a thought since. Not even thinking about her now. Why would I? Don’t know why I mentioned it. Thrash the fuckers tomorrow, without a doubt.

  206. Frank,

    Focus on Podolksi.

  207. Is he playing, Ateeb.? No, of course not. I know…..1989 Early Summer Anfield Pub New Forest. Sorted. Thanks mate.

  208. Different woman btw

  209. 15 goals and 4 assists so far this season, out injured since January I guess. Meant he was on really good form in a really bad team that lies in the 14th position after his injury. One year left on the contract. I think he will suit us, especially because he can play on the left wing (I think we saw the last of Arshavin). Seems like an Arsene buy.

    Gervinhio, Ox, Theo and Podolksi on the wings is a strong squad.

  210. Oh OK. Thanks for shaking me out of that, Ateeb. Lets go with Podolski then. Hurrah.

  211. Only a few more hours to. Kickass time.
    Be afraid pool .be very afraid.
    Coy GUNNERS. UP WITH YOUR GUNS!!!!!

  212. @Irish
    Well I couldn’t do MDGunner’s Recipe Monday every week….been experimenting with Tuna and Sweetcorn Pasties this week, can’t get something quite right. And just wondering whether I can adapt something from the Testicle Festival.
    Hate the scousers

  213. MDGunner – LOL 🙂 “Testie Pasties” has a certain ring to them but I think I will let C’Bob have the first official tasting here on ACLF. I walked by a Deli in NYC recently that had ‘tuna fish’ sandwiches, I couldn’t help but wonder what other kind of tuna I had been missing all these years!

    On another note, remember when we at The Arsenal were saying our players were being targeted but everyone else said that was ludicrous and it would never be allowed to happen in professional sports?

    Check this out: http://aol.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2012-03-02/nfl-investigation-reports-ex-saints-coordinator-ran-bounty-program?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmaing8%7Cdl1%7Csec1_lnk1%26pLid%3D140258

    If anyone honestly does not think the likes of Kevin Davies and the other so-called ‘hardmen’ are not taken to one side and told, in no uncertain terms, that if they see an opportunity to go in and take a player out then do so then they are living in lala land. And no before anyone accuses me of being paranoid, I am not for one second saying we are the only team that has suffered such actions.

  214. After losing Torres and ending up with Andy Carrol as his replacement, King Kenny had finally had enough. Gathering all of Liverpool’s scouts to him, he ordered them to search in every country, on every continent for a worldclass striker who wasn’t racist.

    One of the scouts returns a few weeks later and informs him of a young Iraqi striker who he thinks will turn out to be a true superstar. The Liverpool manager flies to Baghdad to watch him and is suitably impressed and arranges for him to come over to Anfield.

    Two weeks later Liverpool are 4-0 down with only 20 minutes left. King Kenny gives the young Iraqi striker the nod and on the field he goes. The lad is a sensation, scores 5 in 20 minutes and wins the game for Liverpool. The fans are delighted, the players and coaches are delighted and the media love the new star but more importantly King Kenny has been proven right once again.

    When the lad comes off the pitch, he phones his mum to tell her about his first day in English football.

    “Hello mum, guess what?” he says. “I played for 20 minutes today, we were 4-0 down but I scored 5 and we won!Everybody loves me, the fans, the media, they all love me”.

    “Wonderful,” says his mum. “Let me tell you about my day. Your father got shot in the street, your sister and I were ambushed and beaten and your brother has joined a gang of looters while you were having a great time!”

    With this news, the young lad is very upset. “What can I say mum, except I’m so sorry”.

    “Sorry!” exclaims his mum. “It’s your fault we all moved to Liverpool in the first fucking place!”

  215. Lala land is right. Some of these gooners need to get their head out of the sand and see. The butchering inflicted on our guys. No doubt. No doubt. Watch Abu. And see again for the umpteenth. Time how they will try to f him up.
    God willing, it will wake you folks. Right up.

  216. Hahaha,hahaha.
    Fucking awesome. How much did you put on the game this time??

  217. LOL Kam – Nothing going on this one mate, can’t afford to lose any cash as The Girlfriend and I are going on vacation at the end of the month. There will be quite a few lonely barstools and empty tip jars witth me staying in but needs must. Well I might just pop out on St. Paddy’s Day but other than that I promised The Girlfriend I would be on my best behavior 😀

  218. I might also pop into The Blind Pig to have a quick look at the Milan game 🙂 but keep that quiet!!

  219. Just in case anyone needs to know, ESPN2 are showing todays game with coverage starting at 7:30am. I wonder what douchebag of a commentator we will be forced to listen to this time?

  220. Have fun watchin it anyways. I’m gone be bold and play the ponies for the pool game anyways. Just got a good feeling about it. Can’t sleep. Too anxious.

  221. Christ who woke up Irish Gray? 😉

    I’m sick this morning – a mild hangover coupled with a throat made of broken glass and scarlet-hued anguish. It’s a good look but when I speak I sound like old Satchel Mouth having his toes broken with a hammer.

    I’m currently sat at my laptop wearing a furry coat with the hood up yet I feel kind of cold. No good will come of this.

    I awoke this morning from a dream – no word of a lie – in which Gibbs got penalised for headbutting someone right in the plums. Yes it wasn’t as good a dream as MLK’s but it’s all I’ve got.

    They scored from the resulting penalty. Then the coverage went to hot-spot (which they have in cricket NOT football) which proved that the headbutt caught the other player in the midriff.

    Further more, subsequent replays showed it was all accidental he tripped (like Koz did) and poor ol’ Gibbsy was innocent guvnor. Innocent. I was filled with the rage of the wronged innocent.

    Then I started shouting at the inconsiderate people who were stood in front of the telly, there was a game on FFS! Then I woke up and and promptly wished I hadn’t.

    Right back to the Lemsip perchance to sleep, and hopefully free from dreams.

    Hope Diaby plays some part – First Lady is right: he looks much sexier with his beard.

  222. You are going downhill Jonny.

    Get a job!

  223. Thanks Bill you’re all sympathy.

  224. Limestonegunner

    Probably Steve McNanaman and Ian Darke! and Spud. Hope on my feed there is no Robson!

  225. Very funney bindippers story Irish. Keep them coming.

    Bill?

%d bloggers like this: