Moral Low Ground – By The_Beck_

I recently read an article on Positively Arsenal, it written by George. I always get the intense feeling that whenever you write a blog, conveying intelligent ideas or concepts, you will always get those who will struggle to understand, and with that, intense criticism and unwarranted abuse sometimes.

George put forward the idealism of morality in a sport like football. In order to find out where people’s boundaries are, you often have to take them to the extremes in terms of ideas, that is what philosophers, lawyers, doctors, mathematicians do.

Football is a thinking game and sometimes a simple game, it is not determined by simpleton fans, nor by the utmost intelligent, the love for it, is something we all share. I’ve always said “I’m Arsenal till I die” yet after reading a few articles, I think I’ve turned a little corner.

The extreme examples set, are to showcase a vulnerability in the statement that you support a club unconditionally. Even though we are shown by society and by history, that when conditions change, not everyone still clings on to the unconditional factor. People often change, evolve around it or seek to move on from it or get over it.

 I don’t see the reasoning behind mocking extreme examples, especially for the purpose of thought. You see, because for example, using the extreme, ludicrous example that the Nazi’s had won WWII in 1942, took over Arsenal, fired George Allison, put Joseph Goebbels in charge of the team, bought Nazi players, who were made to do Nazi salutes pre match and post match, would you still support Arsenal today?  I somehow doubt it for many of you, although I’m sure there are some EDL Gooners out there that would love to surprise me.  I also think in this crazy scenario, many may love the Arsenal of the past and just keep wishing Goebbels would go away (don’t worry, he does).

The same could be said of today, if a Neo-Nazi billionaire group (or Piers Morgan), somehow managed to take over Arsenal, the whole point of this is to make you think about what kind of person you are and where your allegiances may be if the rationale, class, behaviour, ethics of your club changes.

Everyone is different and many may want their moral philosophies in life to transcend into the football area. I don’t see the problem with that. Often people quote Rocky’s “Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent” it is important we don’t forget that, especially in acknowledging all the good we have stood for before, and all the good things we stand for under Arsene and all the good we may stand for with a new manager in charge.

We all saw Matthew Syed *hitting out* at Roman Abramovich’s reign at Chelsea, although I thought he was being far too kind, the reaction from Murdoch’s Sky was predictable and laughable.

Here’s a link if you didn’t see it: “http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmCtci6cen8

But I think these things matter to me, not because I want to be a better fan than someone else, or set conditions of which I recognize what kind of Arsenal I want to support. But to recognize that the values Arsenal have had over the years, are important to all of us.

A lot of fans would *sell the soul of the club they support* for a better striker or a better midfielder, I don’t see it like that, I don’t work like that. People point to Chelsea’s trophies and say they are a success, but they never will be to me. No matter how many trophies they win under Abramovich, as long as he’s there, the reality is, they have benefitted hugely from prostituting themselves to a billionaire, who scammed and thieved the Russian government, changing the behaviour of the club, from board to players and staff. They might shine bright and yes, history doesn’t care if you are evil or good, but they are empty trophies to me.

I also found a great irony in seeing those who usually berate the club, state unconditional love for it, it’s literally like seeing a man abuse his wife, then tell her he’ll always love her.

Now this may not matter to everyone, many want to separate football from real life, they say “leave morality at home” but is that really a great role model to set children, or your family or anyone really.  I don’t feel that it is for me, I feel that they are inter-connected.

Because I feel that they are inter-connected, I wish UEFA and FIFA would spend more time investigating these owners (Kroenke, Usmanov included), but I do get the sense they’d have to shut down the investigation because of internal corruption anyway.

And recently, we have seen many supporters, who say stuff like “I will not support the club under Wenger”, “I hope we finish 5th so that he gets sacked”, often more ridiculous than that even. Have they stopped supporting Arsenal and fallen out of love? They might have, but the reasoning and logic behind this is not the ethics and the way of the club, more so that the club hasn’t won anything in the last 8 years and they are as impatient as the next Neo-Man City fan might be. Their condition behind support relies solely on trophies.

I don’t want to be that kind of supporter; I don’t see long term progress or the logic in becoming that type of supporter. It falls outside of the romantic relationship I’ve attained with the club since I was young.

We write blogs so that other people can have a little look at how we think and how we process information and convey thought and feelings. This is just my opinion, I doubt it’s very special, I just enjoy sharing my thoughts with people & learning from them.

But the focus of this blog is to shed light on the concept that, as an individual, you have special reserved feelings toward a club, trophies/success may not, and probably will not have been the reason you support the club, you may support the club solely due to ethos. If that is the case, and the ethos of Arsenal changes drastically one day, you may find yourself falling out of love with what you fell in love with and trapped in an empty relationship, an empty relationship that we probably can’t understand now, but maybe some Chelsea supporters do, especially after reading articles like these (http://makinbacon.hubpages.com/hub/billionairerussianromanabramovich).

Therefore, every time I say “Arsenal till I die” It’s now changed to “Unless the Nazi’s, Fascist’s or the Harmfully Corrupt take-over”. But please, let’s hope that never ever happens. The likelihood is that it probably won’t. I love the Arsenal and I hope the relationship can go on until the day I no longer have a pulse.

Have an amazing, beautiful Friday afternoon, I hope it’s a memorable one for all.

40 comments on “Moral Low Ground – By The_Beck_

  1. I think The Beck is my new best mate.


  2. Even though I agree with the major principle in this piece, I think it really undersells the complexity surrounding its own idea. Someone could (and should, and maybe already has) written a book dealing with the complexity of fan emotion and support for a club. What we do have, however, is evidence (from multiple sources) that most fans flit from club to club, and that the very vocal/committed/hardcore fans are in the minority. However, it is these fans which get to define what it means to be a fan, partially since they’re the only ones who care enough to do so. There’s more, of course… it would probably require a very long post of its own to scratch the surface.


  3. Loved reading this, felt like reading my own thoughts.


  4. Another interesting piece on what it is to be a fan, the motivation of support, and he boundaries of ethics ( no, not Essex)

    It is very difficult to know what is going on inside – I think it is something to do with identifying with, participating in in a positive way something meaningful, something that matters, that is bigger than me, more enduring. The club has a life of its own.

    I like the quip about neo Nazi multi billionaire though – you missed out recently convicted paedophile from Silvio’s CV


  5. I think the point that is emerging is that “the club” is a different thing to different people.,yet it can mean as much to them all.


  6. Surely “Arsenal till I die” can mean, that wherever you are in your love/hate relationship with a football club, be it owner, manager or board you would not support another club.


  7. I want to thank George for writing his fantastic post yesterday, which not only sprouted one of the best debates I’ve seen on any blog, but also proved, once again, what a special place PA is amongst all the Arsenal sites. On any other site, a debate about such an emotional topic couldn’t have been conducted without abuse at some point, but on here, even though viewpoints did differ massively, it was kept civil. Brilliant!

    And also thanks to Beck for his great piece today which I feel is giving new context to the debate. In the end, everyone has their own “Arsenal”. To give another extreme example: if Red Bull bought us, changed name and badge (they’ve done it before with clubs.), would people walk away or not? Would the club cease being “Arsenal” if it’s no longer named such?

    What I am trying to get at is which elements exactly are what makes us “Arsenal”? Is it just the name/the badge and everything else does not matter? For me personally, “my Arsenal” is a mix of the club’s history, the values it represents and has done so for the vast majority of it’s existence and the staff behind the club which I find all to be incredibly likeable and coming across as decent individuals.
    I think George’s analogy yesterday was perfect to encapsulate the debate. There are two kinds of love. You stay with family, no matter what. A parents loves their child, even if he/she turns out to be a trouble maker. But your spouse? Just like you can fall in love, you can fall out of it, too. People do change, circumstances change. And even though the person you love will forever be a part of your personal history and a special part of your life, something that can’t be taken away or erased, you can walk away. I know I could walk away from Arsenal. If the club changed so radically, that I wouldn’t be able to support it with a clean conscience any more, I would still retain a passing interest. But I wouldn’t support, I wouldn’t celebrate. I also wouldn’t start “loving” another club, but I would walk away from Arsenal (and probably football as a whole, at least the corporate big bucks version of it).
    Thankfully, I don’t see the club changing in the foreseeable future. Our course is set in stone and I can look forward to many more brilliant decades with Arsenal by my side.


  8. Well written The Beck, beck of the net in fact. Sorry.


  9. Ah Mel, think you meant ‘back of the net’; the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

    Where’s Swiss Harry when you need him?


  10. Quasi Gooner Andy Murray in his semifinal. Hope he goes through and can pull out a victory against the Djoker.

    Swiss Harry is laughing over that delightful Fun Gunner posted video of Paulinho over on the other side.

    Quiet day in the comments. Everyone taking a break and digesting and reflecting on the deep thoughts of the last discussion, I imagine.


  11. yesterday I said “supporting” was a thing seen from different perspectives and so was its meaning. The argument between George and Andy(Yorkshire gooner) reminds me of the new go compare advert, anyway it sparked a brilliant debate not just on here but all over twitter and questions were even asked in the house ( well mine anyway).
    Beck has taken the batten and run the next ten miles with this post. A Chelsea supporter once said to me that Blackburn’s premier league win didn’t count because they bought it, a statement I remind him of constantly, but he was right to an extent.
    if you start the 100 metres 70m in front you should win its not an achievement.
    Every supporter boast about his clubs uniqueness, firsts. Our club has a hundred of them and that’s what makes me so proud.
    So for me its definitely not win at all cost however unfortunately this is not the case which is sort of Georges and becks point.


  12. Swiss Harry

    Swiss …………..Harry

    Oh I think that might just stick

    (Larfy smiley things all in a row)


  13. Intelligent discourse. Debate. Civility. I love it. Thanks for continuing the theme with another great post on the topic. If nothing else, the past few days has people thinking, which is always good.


  14. Oh…Swiss Harry. Just got that. And I started it…


  15. Shhh, Swiss Harry’s not been here all night, we might just get away with it!

    Would be a great Twitter handle for him though …


  16. Why are you doing this to my boy Harry? Swiss Harry, farking hell.

    BTW – Kelly, not being a forensic scientist, it took me a while longer than you to get it.


  17. As for the post, Beck has me thinking, long and hard.


  18. beautiful article, very enlightened and human (yes, i may just have contradicted myself) 🙂

    as for fanbase, maybe a direct switch would be incomprehensible, but if such an edl nazi-arsenal were to happen over a prolonged period of time, say 100 to 200 years, the fanbase would change with it too. ‘what you represent’ then would evolve, and us, standing here in 2013, would look upon it with disgust (i dunno, i’m chinese so that that) but to that arsenal fanbase, it would be the most natural thing.

    the club’s identity and ethos is not free from change or evolution, but i guess what we all take pride in is the club’s strong inherent sense of integrity, dignity and ethic which has steered it in very dignified ways over the course of it’s history. like attracts like and it’s sheer luck, destiny fate or whatever you may believe in that such brilliant minds and hearts as bergkamp, wenger, henry have chosen to grace The Arsenal’s halls for that little slice of history. i’ll celebrate to that and well may it continue 😀


  19. Shotta – have you heard of a smooth, mustachioed character called Swiss Toni? A much-loved comedic creation from 1990’s The Fast Show who’s catchphrase, when mentoring a much younger work colleague was “x, y or z … was a lot like making love to a beautiful woman.”

    That’s Harry, that is.

    Where’s Linkin Fins when you need him?


  20. In fact Harry’s “I’ll get me coat” sign-off, ironically, has comedic origins traceable right back to the same show.

    Surprised I can remember much about the ’90’s at all; I was very, vry drunk.


  21. Top article beck. George’s article and subsequent comments opened a shitstorm on twitter from the same idiots who abuse anyone over any slight thing they say. The same ones who say they won’t support arsenes arsenal were going mental yet they’re saying was in effect the same thing as george but they have different limits in which their supportership may wain. But I think your right with the husband example. But most of the fools can’t even see the hypocrisy of the comments they make so doubt there’s any reasoning with them at all. Everyone will have their limits and everyone’s will be different. Don’t think that should mean someone gets abused on twitter by idiots though.


  22. Ok, first of all I need to write this: BOLLOCKS! I was preparing to write my first piece for PA and low and behold this by The Beck. This is a subject that really gets my goat…..

    Absolutely, great piece, Thanks. Boy, quality of writing here is high!

    Who knows I might still write my offering with a slightly different slant……because it not going to go away…..Mark my words, Arsenal will win things and when we do, NEXT SEASON, the media will be making these comparisons, the hard won versus the bought….


  23. PA and Untold always seem to bring the best Arsenal fans and true minds together.

    The irony here is that those who stopped supporting our club and turned into sadist moaners now dare question the future support of proper fans. Little bit like walking a slippery tight rope. KEEP THE FAITH


  24. brilliant post…worth the read & amazing writing skills!!!
    keep it up…


  25. Please do write it Georgaki


  26. Valid points Beck. Beautifully reasoned.

    I mean if, god forbid, John Terry (worst case scenario I know, but that’s what we are talking about) had played for Arsenal? could I have supported him? cheered his name?

    No. I don’t believe I could. In fact I know I couldn’t.

    If we had, god forbid, turned into another Man City, and had, as a consequence of distant and obscenely wealthy owners, won (bought) the league again, would I be happy?

    No. It would trouble me deeply. I would probably turn away for the very first time. I’ll always have the Arsenal in my heart, whatever happens. There has to be that connection though, otherwise it’s all just “pro-sports” and you might as well watch the wrestling or some such shit. I’m in a dwindling minority though, if you are winning stuff, most fans couldn’t give a toss how that’s actually achieved.

    Hopefully we will never have to face such a dilemma.

    F*cking hell, that’s all a bit depressing for a beautiful sunny day.

    Write it Georgaki!


  27. Yes, agree with George – get to it Georaki!


  28. Really good points made my George and Beck. It is the same for me. Even after Arsene’s time, I think the club will be managed the right way. If however, Arsenal becomes Chelsea number 3, I can no longer support the new club. I would still be in love with the old Arsenal. Always. I will probably be reduced to watching old youtube clippings in the future. On a related topic, anyone know of any online source for downloading THE Arsenal – Barcelona match? I want to preserve that match for my lifetime.


  29. “There has to be that connection though, otherwise it’s all just “pro-sports” and you might as well watch the wrestling or some such shit.”
    Thats what I dont get,that people seem to have a desire for cups at any price and derive no joy from the effort put in.
    As Terry Griffiths once said “there can be beauty in defeat” I can love a loser as much as I love a winner.
    If my son does his best,my love is not effected by the outcome.Why should it be different for my football team?


  30. SA you can access it anytime on Arsenal Player,and its free at the moment —————————-Arshavinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  31. You are all invited to my barbecue tonight at 6.00pm…..


  32. Kebbabs?


  33. “I can love a loser as much as I love a winner.”

    Sometimes more so. The story is usually more profound. Great writers don’t write about “winners” they write about “losers”. They empathise with the latter, not the former.

    HOWEVER, that’s got nowt to do with Arsenal, and that should be not be read that I want Arsenal to lose! heaven forbid. I want us to win, to hoover up every trophy in sight, to be the greatest club in the known universe. And beyond. I would just like to think it can be done whilst retaining some semblance of morality and decency though. Especially In a business where there is precious little of the stuff. And again, that’s not an argument against buying players or spending available funds, Christ no, I would love to see Higuain, for instance, in an Arsenal shirt, he’s our type of player. He would/will be the perfect addition to what we already have.

    I think the sun’s doing funny things to my brain. I should wear a hat.

    All round to Georgaki’s for the barby then. Mmmm, sausages.


  34. Way to embrace your new name, Swiss Harry. You could see the train had left the station on this, huh?

    I’ve said this before, but it amazes me how the trophy-obsessed act like we never win. I mean, didn’t we win 21 league games last season? Don’t I remember watching those wins? And being incredibly fired up about every one if them? (Some more than others, sure, but I was happy about them all.) And the win at Bayern? I know I enjoyed the hell out of that.

    Maybe it’s an American perspective, because we really only have one “trophy” per sport? Super Bowl, World Series, college National Championship, etc. Odds are pretty good your team isn’t going to win it. Every game is a new battle, and you urge your warriors on. And you relish every win. I saw someone say on twitter the other day that they honestly didn’t enjoy much about last season. That made me really sad for them. Because they missed a lot.


  35. Sometimes you just gotta go with the flow Alabama!

    I’m embracing my new nationality. Yodelling as I type.



  36. You’ve been re-branded Harry – Alpine twist – subtle but sharp


  37. PG

    SOUVLAKI….lamb, marinated for a few hours in lemon juice and oregano, skewered, and seasoned with crushed sea salt and black pepper during the roasting….served with fluffy rice and Greek salad. I recommend serving in hot pitta bread, with chopped onion and chopped flat leaf parsley….


  38. I love Harry’s reincarnation. Soul of an angel. What a man!


  39. Having the soul of an angel is a bit like making love to a …

    I’ll get Harry’s skis.


  40. Sorry, have been partying with Chamakh in Las Vegas for the last few days but just wanted to say what a brilliant, thought-provoking article Beck. Thank you. And welcome to the new Swiss Harry. I’m sorry I missed Georgaki’s barbecue. As Andrew will tell you, marinating lamb is like making love to a beautiful woman…


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