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Bad Decade At The Office

bad day at office cartoon

On Sunday, Johnny Greenwood (@Johnny_G86) wrote a tremendous article for PA, describing how his views on Arsenal have changed over the last year.   I thought it was quite a brave article as it always takes guts to ‘fess up to this kind of sea-change in one’s outlook.

I went through something similar in the first year or so at the Emirates as we, despite being told by the club that we had funds available, were seemingly unable to replace the likes of Patrick Viera, in particular, and in reality, the bulk of not just one of the best team’s Arsenal had assembled, but, as history may yet judge, one of the best teams ANY club has put together.  Ever.

For my own part, I’d finally got my first season ticket when the Emirates opened, having been in a 7 year long queue prior to that.  What rotten, miserable timing that the squad appeared to start its relative decline at that exact point!  2006-07 was, of course, pre-Twitter, so my main source of information back then was chat amongst other fans and articles in newspapers and other media.

Strangely, the global credit crunch towards the end of the decade helped me to better appreciate the club’s predicament though by this time I was routinely reading A Cultured Left Foot (though not commenting until later).  But ACLF had two great strengths when it came to challenging my own temporary frustrations with the club.  Yogi’s extraordinary, well-informed and brilliantly crafted, daily posts were supplemented by comments from a really knowledgeable ‘crew’ who’s passion for the club was matched by the quality of their written insights.  Many of those ‘greats’ are, happily, still today posting here on PA and ACLF.

The impact on waverers such as myself – and more recently Johnny – are one reason I still read blogs and follow Twitter.  My own use of Twitter is highly selective – I don’t follow many and I’m not followed by many but the quality of those I do interact with makes it a worthwhile ‘exercise’, both entertaining and generally just good fun.  I don’t have a huge amount of spare time to contribute to PA or other blogs – but, deep down, I think there are plenty around who do a better job than I could, in any case.  Actually, not that deep down!

Social Media is often cited as being the platform for much negativity and ignorance towards the club which, of course, it is.  But it doesn’t HAVE to be.  When stalwarts like George fight the good fight on Twitter, set up their own blog sites and provide an alternative perspective – a challenge, even – to people like myself and Jonny then the activities of all us looking to support the club in this way can be seen to be anything but a lost cause.

Time and again I hear of new fans being drawn to the club in the last 8 years despite the absence of silverware.  Quelle surprise! What’s that all about?!  It’s happening because they are being exposed to an alternative to the shameful negative media narrative and ignorance of some fans and coming to their own conclusions.

On Twitter I deliberately follow a couple of out-and-out ‘doomer’ accounts just to read what’s going through the minds of such people.  Of course, not all those critical of the club are foul-mouthed half-wits and whilst I can’t say, definitively, such people are always ‘wrong’ in what they write, it’s interesting how often their views – often, their bile – is finding expression through the regurgitation of half-truths and myths.  When challenged, some are surprisingly fragile and choose to ‘block’ or ‘unfollow’ you.  Others punctuate their exchanges with the use of appalling language and surprising levels of aggression which make one wonder if there is something else affecting them in their lives which is finding expression in their anti-Arsenal commentary.

They are universally claiming to be ‘real’ fans but they sound anything but.

What’s THAT all about?!!  I have no idea for sure, I suspect it could be several things. I wonder if there is a degree of disenfranchisement amongst some who are now priced out of the game and were never able to replicate that sense of belonging to the club which they enjoyed during the Highbury years.  Others, doubtless are simply shallow glory-hunters.  Some, I suspect, are very angry indeed that despite their very best and noisiest predictions, the club has simply failed to collapse and, in fact, appears if anything  alarmingly close to actually thriving, once again.

The ultimate bad decade at the office, for such followers.

I think the majority of these now dwindling bands of critical fans will fade away and ultimately rediscover the faith now the club is finally better able to compete with the biggest clubs on the world stage.  As the evidence reveals itself as to the reasons behind the club’s actions over the last ten years or so, more and more observers  are beginning to recognise the scale of the achievement of the club and this is very much a chapter in our history that is finally drawing to a close.

The reconciliation of the fan base is just one very welcome aspect of the next chapter that awaits us over the coming months and years.

I for one look forward to the day when my footballing ‘arguments’ are once again with fans of other clubs rather than with those occupying the polar opposites of my own.  Sure, they’ll always be debate about football and different blogs will cater for those different ways of following the club.

But the almost ‘existential’ nature of the debate surrounding Arsenal will, eventually, be a thing of the past and, for this observer and lifelong fan, can’t come a day too soon.

About ArsenalAndrew

Annoying, perennial optimist and lifelong supporter of the finest football club the world has ever seen. My support for the club manager and every single player is non-negotiable, yesterday, today and tomorrow. Retain all options on fellow fans.

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62 comments on “Bad Decade At The Office

  1. Confessional or otherwise there was certainly confusion in my mind around that time.

    As we now know there was very little spare cash available to the club yet for operational reasons (I now imagine) they were obliged to maintain the illusion of fiscal fluidity throughout a very difficult time. Even if a Viera replacement had presented himself to AW mid-decade it looks like we would have struggle to pay for him.

    But I don’t think I was alone in being puzzled by the club’s public announcements and the now-evident behind-the-scenes reality.

    I guess the point to all of this is the truth is out there if you can be bothered to look for it. If you can’t be bothered I’d suggest that’s evidence of a very different agenda entirely.

    Tomorrow’s confessional: George reveals where he’s hidden the bodies of those doomers he caught straying too close to Blackburn Borders.

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  2. (Thanks GK!).

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  3. I also (very) briefly flirted with Doomerism (Hangs head in shame). Well it was a very mild form of doomerism really. More a moment of…doubt. Which is only human after all, so I’ve forgiven myself.

    There used to be a bloke (it’s always a bloke) who frequently popped up on ACLF, back in the day, usually after a defeat of course, and his catch-phrase was always the same:

    “In Arsene we rust”.

    He always would sign of one of his brilliant anti-Arsene tirades with those very words. ALWAYS. He must have dreamt up that witty play on words all by himself y’see, and by christ he was gonna use it. All the time. Funny bloke. Not intentionally funny, more kind of sad funny. I wonder if he’s still using it somewhere. Probably shouting it to passers-by at some bus stand as I write.

    We have confirmed the signing of young Yaya Sonogo btw. It’s up on the site. All official like. Somebody has probably already mentioned this, but I just thought I’d say like.

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  4. While were talking of people retreating, lets put things straight when I made the remark about some doomers I meant in their general day to day business not about their gooner attitude or knowledge. This is what confuses me most how some normally coherent people can turn into such dumb fuck pigs when their start talking about football. Hope you all enjoyed the literal moonwalk.

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  5. @ Arsenal Andrew
    ok, I get you now. (chuckle). you too, arse or brain.

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  6. and as for you, Mr Harry Flowers…!

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  7. But I though it was confession box time..

    I was expecting everyone else to come out of the, er, closet (no no not that way Mel. Hang fire) with their tales of personal doomerism. Like an AA meeting or summat.

    Bugger.

    Coat.

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  8. Oh and just reading some of the earlier posts today…

    Paul, My condolences to youl. Having also lost someone very close to me to cancer, not so long ago, I empathise. God bless you and yours.

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  9. PAUL , so sorry about your aunt. Keep strong and God bless.

    MEL
    ” if we had kept our cannons pointing outwards we would surely have been UNSTOPPABLE” . so true mate. I really believe that we could have had it all if not for the splinting, even with all the odds against us.

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  10. Well well well. Welcome aboard YAHYA SONOGO. . We wish you the best of times and success at THE ARSENAL.
    My predictions regarding big JOHANN didn’t come true. One more year on loan . I’m Hoping now that this year is MIGUEL’S breakout year and he is used and developed.

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  11. Condolences Paul.

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  12. I come across a few supporters with the belief that ARSENAL will not now or ever be able to compete consistently for honors and titles.
    Due to the fact that we are being outspend by many times by at least three maybe up to five other clubs on the EPL, year in year out.
    Is that considered a form of DOOMERISM/GLOOMERISM????

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