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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. When the miserable bastards come back,they can swivel

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  2. Sorry Andrew but I have just seen this from Fungunner last night
    ” The strategy of the club has been short-term pain for long-term gain – they chose to pay off a lot of the debt quickly, make infrastructure improvements, create a commercial department etc etc and build up capital reserves rather than spend more money on transfers and salaries, but AW is totally on board with that strategy for long-term success.”

    That is exactly how I see it .Well put FG

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  3. I agree, well said Fungunner.

    Andrew, Good post, and Johnny’s too yesterday.

    The Club & Manager have done amazing things in the last 10 years:

    *We have done things the Arsenal Way, and stayed true to what we are.

    *We’ve built a state of the art Stadium in the middle of London, mostly on turnover cash and a big loan. We got diddled a bit on the sponsorships at the time compared to other club deals and far less money to put into the team.

    *We have sensibly managed that loan, paid off a sizable chunk – and this through a massive property crash and one of the worst recessions in decades. There is still plenty to pay off, but as Yourself and Fungunner say, its more manageable now.

    *We have competed on the field with the obscene financial inputs City, Manure & Chavski have put into the English league. We have created team after team who genuinely competed for Trophies, a couple of bits of bad luck on the way, and a lot of f@cking cheating against us too.

    *We have become a major European football club, anybody who saw the first set of Champions League group stages in Wembley will remember how naïve we used to be. Nowadays it usually takes the eventual winner to knock us out.

    *A bunch of lesser men Wenger invested a lot of his time into jumped ship for apparently cushier benches to watch football on. We’ll we’ve found better men with the right Arsenal spirit. We can and will win the League soon with the squad we’ve got.

    *Arsene Wenger has stuck with us through all this, and have to listen to some plain outright bullshit attacks from people who should know better.

    I have unbelievable belief in our future under Arsene Wenger. Sign da ting, Arsene!
    The future is yours for the taking.

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  4. George

    you should see le grove these days, they have bugger all to moan about.
    except for Wenger’s new contract of course!
    That’s sickening ’em.
    Oh, and wee Arshaven is already playing football again for Zenith.

    http://gossip.ladyarse.com/arsenal/2013/07/01/arshavin-impresses-with-first-zenit-start/

    .

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  5. Great piece Andrew, thanks.
    I’m here because of all the sentiments expressed above. I can discuss where I think Arsene went wrong but it is just speculation. So, I never did it or do it now……I believe in Arsene, he has been remarkably consistent over the years in his interviews. He must have phenomenal mental strength to stand up to all the deliberate disinformation and outright lies designed to cause ‘harm’ to the club. He is a visionary. Long may he manage our team.

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  6. Georgaki – yes, agree with all your remarks re: AW.

    But it’s also worth considering the context within which the great man works – by which I mean the vision, trust and support afforded him over almost two decades by a board often regarded as a bunch of out-of-touch fuddy-duddys by some but yet who, through their actions, have effectively enabled an unknown from abroad to come in and achieve his footballing miracle.

    Whilst he has never really had the kind of funds that enable the Maurinhos of the world to make a quick – and usually brief – splash, neither has he appeared to have had to tolerate much (if any) interference with the team, the tactics or the personnel. For better or worse – and AW is the first to admit he’s not perfect – it’s hard to think of too many other clubs that have displayed the trusting hands-off approach that Arsenal’s board have consistently and unwaveringly shown over a remarkably long period of time.

    I honestly believe Arsene and the Arsenal Board are two sides of the same coin. Whilst AW has his supporters and his detractors, few seem so willing to recognise the contribution of those working behind the scenes. I’m not suggesting they are perfect either, by the way, simply that their contribution has been huge.

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  7. They are wealth men Andrew.A lot of people dislike the board for that reason alone

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  8. Ok Andrew,
    I see you point about the Board supporting Wenger.

    In fairness, David Dein has been gone since 2007. Six Seasons ago ! so Arsene has been operating without his old friend for a long time. I’m not sentimental and I don’t want him back. He sold his shares, and brought in the two big new shareholders – for better or worse.

    I believe Ivan & the Board had been talking up the money available to Arsene for the last few years, when in reality there wasn’t much in the way of new money around. It’s perfectly understandable, we didn’t want to look like City and Chelsea were hurting us.
    To be precise about what i’m writing – I don’t think we need to spend big at all.

    It does annoy me when doomers use this as an argument that Arsene Wenger has had loads of cash to spend for the last few years, we know that’s’ not been really true. You are right to say that the Board have to see the bigger picture and are the long term custodians of the club.

    In truth, I was originally doubtful of Ivan’s ability to step up as a Chief Executive of a club as big as Arsenal, but I now think he is filling into the role quite nicely. Ken Friar still is and Danny Fiszman has been legendary servants to the Club. Unlike other Clubs in the UK I think we all can take solace from knowing there is absolute loyalty and understanding within the board & directors as to the long term interests of our Club.

    I mightn’t like Stan, but he is infinitely better than Usimov, or any other OPEC playboy.
    At least Stan lets the Boards run the Club in a proper manner.

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  9. George 11:24
    There is noting older school than Eton. A lot of people dislike us for being the old establishment.

    There is only one ‘chippy’ and that is Liam!

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  10. “At least Stan lets the Boards run the Club in a proper manner.”
    Which is why he was chosen,and he has met his side of the bargain.He too deserves better than the abuse and derision he gets

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  11. ” the values that we defend are highly defendable”

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  12. Andrew,your a class act,like I’ve said on hear before-if all the gooners (am i allowed to use that word?!)had their cannons facing outwards,we’d be unstoppable,so for a change I’m not gonna slag off the spoilt bastards,the piggybacking media whores or the eternally miserable bastards,all I will say is – think back to that night against Barcelona when George’s mate scored or that afternoon when Theo & Tr7 ripped the spuds apart for 5-2-just 2 examples of what we can do when we stick together.

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  13. You have written about the important points very well AA. Yes, the board deserve credit too. All of this has been possible because everyone has been pulling in the same direction.

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  14. Andrew

    Thanks for mentioning the board. I agree that they deserve credit and are one side of the same coin.

    Are you going to the Emirates Cup? Would love to meet up again if you are.

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  15. Well said Mel & Sens.
    When I see someone in an Arsenal shirt, I don’t ask them if the are AKB or EOB, I see them as fellow gooners who have had at least made one decision in their life’s right. Or even better, their family brainwashed them early on.

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  16. Superb Andrew. Spot on.

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  17. Yeah great stuff Andrew.

    What Mel said as well.

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  18. Cheers fellas, very kind, as ever.

    Not decided on the EC Georgaki – are tickets on sale yet? Certainly be up for a pre-match beer, for sure.

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  19. “When the miserable bastards come back,they can swivel”

    I’m with George. When we finally win the war I’m not celebrating with the deserters.

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  20. ‘If you weren’t there for my struggle, don’t expect to be there for my success’

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  21. George, they could go and set up AFC Woolwich, since they want their ‘old arsenal’ back. Or even Dial Square FC.
    At the end of a civil war it’s only fitting the victors hold out an olive branch……
    and beat the gobshites over the head with it until sense is knocked in.
    Repeatedly.

    I look at the spanners who set up the likes of FC United and despair. They don’t like the Glazers but were happy to turn a blind eye to all the other nastyness at that club.

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  22. Whats up folks! Its been a while. I had a tough couple of weeks for me. My aunt passed away from cancer early Friday morning. Yeh, life is not easy at times but God is still good.

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  23. wonderful words of wisdom, Andrew and the comments are tops again.

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  24. Hi Paul – so sorry to hear of your loss; tough times.

    Keep in touch buddy.

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  25. Andrew

    EC tickets have been on sale for a few weeks now and they going fast!

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  26. Hi Andrew – not much more to add, as Leo, DC, Georgaki, Mel et al have said it all. Just that since the strong end to our season, I notice a lot of those with WOB tendencies have started backtracking slightly. Personally I wish they would all bugger off and support the spuds. Or manure. Glory hunting wankers. Anyway, thanks for a great – and candid – article. I am so happy I found George and all of you guys. UTA!

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  27. Another Kid gone, Hamburg released photos of Djourou signing contract and holding a no 5 shirt.
    Good look Johann. You never let the Arsenal down, ever. Hamburg are a sleeping giant of German football. Jope he does well.

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  28. I think he has gone on loan DC

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  29. Cheers Janey – one gets the impression the AOBs are pinning all their hopes on there being no signings of any kind of stature this summer. All looking a little desperate for them really, bunker mentality kicking in …

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  30. They’ve buried themselves into a hole they can’t get out of. Any who try will be pushed back in.

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  31. I feel a big gloat is imminent

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  32. Afternoon/Evening, all. Great stuff, Andrew, and Johnny yesterday as well. I am one of the ones who came during the trophy drought. In fact, when I came along it wasn’t just a drought, heavens no. We were in eminent danger of collapse, if some folks were to be believed. Seriously though, I remember being so confused when I first ventured online. What I was reading did not jive at all with what I was seeing when I watched us play. I thought I must surely be stupid, if I couldn’t see it. Then I found you guys, first by reading ACLF (where I was scared shitless to comment), and then later following you all here. Still read ACLF, but I do avoid the comments section. I wish more new fans would find this blog early, before they get corrupted other places. Maybe this season we can raise our profile a little.

    Paul, please accept my condolences on the loss of your aunt. Cancer sucks…

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  33. Yes Paul,chin up mate.

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  34. Correct George, a loan it is.
    Johann has years of high level football still left in the tank. 10m for Williams seems utter bullshit in comparison.

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  35. Thanks, Alabama and George!

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  36. Andrew,

    I have felt that there has also been for some a transference of the disfranchisement any and all feel with the corporatisation of modern sports (in this case football – but it is not alone) upon to the shoulders of the Arsenal manager.

    Which is poor form.

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  37. Zim Paul

    I’ve been so tempted to post the vids I’ve collected on that potential signing. The rumours are Podolskiesque in their repetition.
    But I’ve got to keep my powder dry. It’ll be as big a signing as signing the WC winning Gilberto or the Euro goal clinching Wiltord for the Arsenal. The transfer fee will, relatively, be up there with Willy* but considering the success the player in question has had since he was a teenager I’d say it’ll be a bigger signing then those.

    * Oh Wenger, you scrooge! Going out and spending £25 Big Ones in todays money on some dude just coz he scored a goal in a final for your beloved France: you what! Gibberish? Yes please, with extra horse raddish if you don’t mind. He’d never spend that amount on someone who wasn’t French. It’s true (Gonzalo was born in France). Heh.

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  38. Fins – the disenfranchisement I understand. Problem is, in the next breath many are demanding a display of ‘ambition’ and for the club to ‘spend some money’. Which is it going to be.

    And to those who hate the directors as symbols of wealth – well yes, I get the distaste. But only those with genuine wealth could afford to give the club – and AW in particular – the time and space to work his development miracle. Any other investment vehicle would almost certainly have demanded and required reparation before now …

    So again, which is it to be – short-term glory or long term planning in the name of a permanent seat at the table of the top clubs?

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  39. Paul-N
    Sorry indeed for your loss.

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  40. Thoughtful words AA

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  41. Andrew,
    The shite we have had to put up with (and Arsene has been victImised relentlessly) about this BS ‘lack of ambition’ is particularly galling.
    There are a lot of hats going to be on the menu, very soon.

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  42. Ah doomers where do we start. Psycs would have a field day presenting the plethora of traumas that have so effected these souls as to make them so paranoid and pessimistic.
    It cannot be the trophy drought because we have been through worse as a club and I once thought it was because these people were not clever enough to deflect ridicule from colleagues but I’ve met some quite clever and witty doomers. Basically ARSENAL has gone through change,big change and while the massive waves of changes has hit our vessel many have just simply been to scared to trust our admiral to steer us through the storm and let the warm rays of the successful sun bathe us once again. To all those who held on husarr

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  43. “I’ve met some quite clever and witty doomers”
    I dont believe you..

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  44. Well said Andrew.

    I’ve learnt a bit about the board from comments by Frank and others. But I don’t know anything about them. There were some downsides for and to losing industry in the borough but that has been an unfortunate trend over the whole country. The move to the grove for me was the right move on more or less every level for Arsenal. Keeping the club close to Highbury, in London, gives the ground something that very few modern stadium have in my opinion. A clear connection to the history of the club.* For better or for worse Fizman and the rest are a part of that history and people come to just walk around and look at both grounds, not to pay homage to the people that built the new one. Wembley? A wilderness next to the North Circular Road? Wouldn’t be the same.
    The bare shell of a stadium has been given some paint and drapes over time since that move and there was always going to be a time when the club had a little more cash then of late to spend on the pitch. Is that time now? Not sure i care!

    I’d like there to be some greenery though, at least one tree somewhere in the Grove (wedged between two railway lines on a former industrial site) please. They can do statues, why not a tree?
    I enjoyed 7am’s comparison of the Alliance Arena and Arsenal’s new home after the Bayern game. It confirmed for me my comparisons of the two projects (similar time, simlarish cost & size): Arsenal’s is better. Because they are, by far, the greatest team the world has ever seen.

    *Thoughts on the Tinies new stadium (still to start: but the giant Sainsbury’s is looking, er, good!) to possibly follow.

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  45. Indeed Fins, where is that spurs stadium?
    Looks like they they’ll never have the money to build a stadium and a team and play football with the European big boys. It will cost them at least 10 Bales.
    Of course, the doomers think that’s a piece of piss and any manager could do it. Shame (haha) no spud manager can.
    I was over at the Shalke stadium, ok enough on the inside, but utterly flat pack on the outside and in the middle of nowhere, about an hours trip out of Gelsenkirken, which ain’t exactly Paris to begin with.
    I agree about the trees, there should be a ‘grove’. Probably was banned by the council or the police on dubious health and safety nonsense. (It’s the leaves in winter).

    Quite right George! A clever and witty doomer is an oxymoron.
    Fuck it, they’re just morons and don’t have enough oxygen intake to use their brains properly.

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  46. Beautiful piece of writeup ANDREW. Well worth the wait mate.

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  47. Very wise words, AA.But I had no idea you had flirted with doomerism. What with Johnny yesterday and this today, PA is turning into a confessional.

    Anyhooo, yay, Yaya! I am so pleased, as I have been really envious of the Chavs for having Lukaku and YS sounds like a similar type.

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  48. Right,tomorrows gloat wont write itself

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  49. @ Calamity Jane July 1, 2013 at 4:51 pm
    ” Just that since the strong end to our season, I notice a lot of those with WOB tendencies have started backtracking slightly.”

    haven’t they just! It’s quite amusing.

    In my experience, wit and cleverness are banned from Doomsville.

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