Are You Calling Me Paranoid?


I have a problem, not a little problem but a huge great rolling stone ball of a problem that even Indiana Jones would struggle to get away from. I love football and I love Arsenal, the highs and lows that this great game can give are some of the most diverse you can have in life. The problem is I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach that I am falling out of love with it. I have been sitting here over the off-season reading twitter, the forums and the media and it is becoming silly.

It seems to me that the game – no the sport – is moving away from the thing I first went to watch, back in the early 1980’s.

It isn’t about meeting your friends on the terraces or in the pubs now to support your team, it isn’t about having fun singing and shouting yourself hoarse. It is not about wondering where the club will finish, hoping for a good cup run, it is now about the way the club is run. It is about the amount of money spent, it is about who you can or cannot buy. It is about the formation, who plays where and when.

The fun has been taken away from the game I love.

I am not looking back with rose-tinted glasses about how great it used to be.  I am looking at the here and now.  Who can honestly say that the way football is now, is what we really want?  We pay thousands of pounds each season in tickets, travel, drink, food etc and for what? For the media to rule when and where we play, for the media to decide who is great and who is not, for the media to push their agenda onto us the fans.

I remember seeing the England football team at our school sports ground back in the ’80’s.   I was excited to see Sansom and Rix, but also the other players – I didn’t care who they played for, they were England. Now it’s not England, it’s JT from Chelsea or Stevie G from Liverpool.  I can’t now watch an England game without the media pushing their club sides at me. I turn on Match of the Day and have to put up with the ramblings of senile old duffers who think that because they played a few years ago they can tell me about the game. The game that although basically the same is totally different.  Would Hanson be able to cope with the pace and law changes in today’s game? We have Match of the Day deciding what the talking point of the day is dependent on the say so of a former ref sitting in the background who only answers to the secretive ref’s organization.

We are in a world now where the media is king in football, they can make or break managers or players, a mis-timed tackle can become the focal point of a whole week’s news on TV and the radio whereas a dive for a penalty can be glossed over or even erased from the highlights. Now you will probably call me paranoid and to be honest sometimes I think I am but this seems to affect Arsenal more.  Or perhaps it’s just I am looking for it more with Arsenal.  But how many clubs have a section of a radio show dedicated to problems they may have?  How often do other managers get criticized and lambasted the way Mr Wenger does in the media. I know that there is an agenda against Arsenal (paranoia alert) and there always has been –  George Graham’s brown paper bags, Paul Davis punch, the brawl at OT, Patrick getting an extra game for failing to leave the pitch quick enough. Shall I continue?

It is driving me to despair at the game and my support of The Arsenal.  If things are told often enough then no matter how big the lie or the accusation then people will start to believe.  And that is the point we are at now. Day after day I read on twitter and the forums about Arsenal’s problems.  Day after day I hear, read and see the media having a jolly laugh at Arsenal not buying this player or doing that but overlooking the fact that 98% of all other clubs are in the same boat.  But not a word about them.  And day after day I see, read and hear Arsenal fans agreeing with them. Fans being sucked into the abyss, groups set up to march around the ground to moan about things we have little insight into, fans calling into radio shows to moan about this and that without looking at what has gone on over the past decade within football and more importantly Arsenal. They listen to Adrian Durham, read the red tops and the like, and take every word as gospel.

I sit at games looking at the fans around me not celebrate Arsenal scoring because it means that Wenger won’t leave, their hatred for our manager so great it obviously hurts them to celebrate. We have fans writing on forums saying that Wenger isn’t all that and in fact has done nothing for Arsenal. When you push them for answers it is a speech right out of the media hand book, almost quote for quote, and we, as supporters, have to put up with it.

And in the end it gets to you.

Well it’s got to me.  You can call me paranoid if you like but Arsenal are an easy target for the media and they feed off it and some of the fans feed the fire and it’s making me: think why bother?  Why bother going if fans are going to moan, why bother when the game ends and the highlights you see show little resemblance to the game you watched. Why bother when the reports you read highlight one incident but overlooks many others depending on the media viewpoint and why bother when the fans don’t think for themselves and just lap up the *** (*Please fill in your expletive) fed to them by the media and those with agendas against The Arsenal.

You can find me  @Swales1968

48 comments on “Are You Calling Me Paranoid?

  1. I was feeling quite chipper this morning.Not now.


  2. Why bother? Because, if you ignore the idiots and watch the match, it is just you and the team. That is a feeling and connection that is worth all the bother.

    Maybe it is easier for me to ignore because I just watch games by myself on the tv. I have never been in the current stadium environment to feel the way you do. It is a sad state of affairs.

    I agree that we are picked on more, because some perceive us as “easy news material”, some hate us for who we are, some “fair” people are actually biased and some more reasons. All things aside, when the game is on, it is 11 vs 11 and I know my team will play fucking beautiful football no matter what or who they are facing.


  3. Swales

    Very relevant piece. Many thanks. You have discussed a very real problem. I’m sure we all feel the same frustrations about the guff spouted by I’ll informed ‘fans’. I’m also frustrated with myself because I ‘hope’ and to some extent ‘expect’ some geeky gooner somewhere who actually has the time and appetite to perform a good scientific analysis of how Arsenal is reported in the media.

    I have the newsnow blog aggregator set on Arsenal almost perpetually even when at work. I was disgusted by how ‘Caught Off Side’ reported the ‘Running Man’ story. They wrote that the running man fell over and was ‘jeered’ and mocked by the Arsenal players watching from the bus. They did report that the players stopped the bus and allowed him on later, but you have to read on from the headline and first couple of paragraphs. My immediate impression was ‘why’ do they choose to report the story in that way? It does make me angry…..fucking vey angry…


  4. @Georgaki-pyrovolitis I would love to sit down and go through the medias reporting of The Arsenal over the past 30 years to show how distorted it is but I think I would be just adding to my paranoia 😉 you only have to look at the way Arsenals attempt at buying in a striker this window is being reported.

    They are being heavily critisized by the media but where are the hour long radio shows and copious written reports on Spurs and Man U lack of transfer activity and not getting the players they want. Why are Arsenal being made out to be the problem over the Higuain deal when the English media (in my opinion) should be looking at what Madrid have been doing with the price of the player. I am sure (I think!!!) that if the same was happening to another club then the media would be fully behind them in their critisisum.


  5. Nice one Stephen,couldn’t agree more.


  6. Yup agree with all that. Thanks.

    Just because your paranoid, doesn’t mean they aren’t after you.

    It does get to you, after a while. I like to think I’m a man with a reasonable amount of patience, open-minded, accepting of other people’s views and opinions yadda yadda yadda. Weary of all the incessant hand-wringing and moaning now. Weary of folks who seem to know exactly what we are doing, with an ability to see the future that would make Mystic Meg green with envy. And I’m not even on twatter.

    Anyway. F*ck it.

    I have a feeling in my water (should get that looked at really..) that our business isn’t done yet. If so, it will be interesting to see some folks perfect their backpedaling and/or ye ancient art of goal post shifting.

    Enjoy the cricket, if like me, that’s your thang.


  7. Don’t let it get to you and don’t fall out of love. And you are not paranoid. Those who don’t see the media / referee’s / fa have their head in the sand and won’t see it still if it smacks them on top of their heads. Ostriches to the bitter end. You can now see the mountain this manager/ club/team have been climbing and the rough road they have triaged. It would be a shame if they were to lose a supporter like you. Toughen up and get behind them even more. Don’t abandon you heroes when they need you most.
    ZIMPAUL what an excellent post from yesterday. You the man.


  8. And don’t forget the power struggle for the ownership and control of the club is alive and kicking in the minds of some people. People with financial power. The feed their agents in the media/blogs/etc. And the sheep follow. Trouble is constantly being stirred. Their hope?? Maybe , just maybe they can get enough sheep around them to force the club into giving them a seat on the board of directors. When they have their foot in the doorway they will play their next card. Change of ownership. That’s the way I see it.


  9. It’s interesting how the intensity and number of doom and gloom posts increases with the ‘silence’ from AFC with regard to transfers. It’s as though they cannot cope. They clearly have no patience. Oh, and it is overcast today too, maybe that makes a contribution….


  10. The arsenal fan base are becoming like little bullied children who have lost their self esteem and are now turning on their own as the cause of their pain. It’s pathetic.

    If they stood up for themselves perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad. But no, they call in to Adrian Durham and agree with the person that doesn’t have their interest at heart. It’s pathetic and weak.

    The fact that its so hard to respect a wonderful man like Arsene. You don’t have to agree with all he does but they would prefer a trouble maker like Mourhinho just so they brag to their friends. Just shows the measure of these people.

    Rant over.


  11. I’m off the opinion that we have more big mouth know-it-all merchants at our club posing as supporters than any other club. Just stop for a minute and think ‘what sort of person picks up a phone and rings Talkshite’?…. Stick that numnut in a suit put him on the telly and he’s Piers Morgan.


  12. I like you gooner wife!


  13. You might be right there Mel.

    We certainly seem to have more supporters with crystal balls than probably any other club.
    It’s why most of ’em walk so funny.

    Boom boom. Groan.

    I try. What else are you gonna do? oh yeah talk about stuff that hasn’t happened yet with a false air of authority, as if you actually know what’s going on. That’s where it’s at.


  14. Mel

    You beat me to it. I love you too Goonerwife….my wife is a spud….


  15. Thought provoking stuff Stephen – for me it’s not paranoia is selectivity

    – having a few years back decided I was going to enjoy football I have become much more selective in what I read or listen to – I wouldn’t say I never listen to Talksport – but maybe Keyes and Gray once a month in the car if I am out – a handful of journalists are worth reading ie 4-5 – and I hold a record for having more than half the people on Twitter on Block – I read two blogs only – at the ground I normally am with my son in the Family Enclosure and the mood is usually very good


  16. I read this post. And then watched ten minutes of WWF. A vision of a Murdochian future, perhaps. What is remarkable is the size of the crowd watching the Spectacle.

    Praise be to the football gawds that Arsenal FC is still a Football Club.


  17. Anicoll

    Jon Jon and joe the gooner have very similar writing styles and write very much the same stuff……am I too suspicious?


  18. One of the WOB on ACLF wrote that his problem with Wenger stems from 2010 onwards. So presumably before that year things were fine? Why then is he a second rate economist who graduated from a second rate French university? Did he become that after 2010?


  19. Stephen – Don’t let the media and the emotional drivel wear you down. Football is no different from most social phenomena. Everything is being commoditized and sold for profit. Sensationalizing news of Arsenal and preying on the emotional insecurities of the fans is the easiest way to sell newspapers, drive listenership on radio talk-shows and get clicks on web-sites. To quote a famous political slogan “Its the money, stupid.”

    It is even easier in the case of AFC when the most identifiable figure in the recent history of the football club is a foreigner who has very unconventional ideas, such as: not buying but making stars or not overpaying for mercenary footballers. Most of all Wenger sees the act of playing football as an art form, a thing of beauty and not a machine-like regimen played according to fixed formations and fixed roles. For example, to this day despite Arteta being the best player in his DM position in the EPL, everyday I see many pundits, bloggers and tweeters demanding we sign a dedicated DM to “shield the back four” simply because it is the convention in most clubs.

    Even when the club succeeds, the emotional drivel is simply swept under the carpet for a time and resurrected at the earliest opportunity. Has the fact that we have qualified 16 years straight for the Champions League quietened the buggers who are convinced at the start of every year that we will fall out of the top-four? I find it amazing that pundits and bloggers heap doubt and scorn on our chances next season, without a big new signing, when this is the first time in years we are starting the season with all our 1st team from last year in place, experienced and improving individually and collectively. They denied that we were in transition and rebuilding last year and, to compound their folly, simply deny that the rebuild is complete and we are much stronger. Poor things.

    Stepen – I have learnt to ignore and no longer support blogs and website that peddle patent, cringeworthy nonsense. Yup, I will read it in my spare time but no longer subscribe. Hence I keep my TL on Twitter fairly clean. I have my convictions about how the game should be played and that is exemplified by Wenger and Arsene and AFC. The rest is the sound of noise and fury.

    A pox on them Stephen.


  20. ” If things are told often enough then no matter how big the lie or the accusation then people will start to believe”

    This is the case in every aspect of our life sports, politics and religion. The right wing media that control the opinion of all but the strong minded. They have the power to make people turn against certain clubs, political parties ,certain religions (or atheists) or individuals.
    It is no coincidence that this one of the only positive ARSENAL blogs out there considering the amount we have. The media was so frightened by a man who came from another country and changed our league and the way we think about the game that they have been waiting for a chance to put the boot in and promote the English Neanderthal like fat sam who ironically took many of ARSENEs dietary and training methods.
    Football and its fans are now different, once the pariahs of society the prodigal son has now been taking under the financial wing and will never be allowed to wander and follow its own path again.
    If you think differently, you’re not paranoid but strong minded so keep it up and never let the establishment control you, so swales1968 great piece


  21. Someone has to be the kicking boy in the media. AW has possibly pissed them all off by qualifying for the CL for ever, hence consistently proving them to be know nothings.
    Georgaki 2.01 have too disagree, similar but different.


  22. Michael

    Is one of them jabba?


  23. JJ is good as gold – a manic depressive perhaps but a great dry wit

    Joe has his funny moments too

    Dukey produces some excellent one liners


  24. Georgaki,I’m pretty sure slow joe is Jabba.


  25. He is Jabba Georgaki,he has appeared on twitter ,trying to convince me he was right all along


  26. anicoll 2.35
    Agree about JJ, but find Joe depressing.


  27. What’s his twitter handle George?


  28. I have forgotten,I obviously dont follow him .But I remember it had “Jabba ” in it


  29. The question that bugs me is “What is the job description for Mark Gonnella, Communications Director?”.

    It would seem to me, to be simply replying to ALL the COMPLAINTS, PLEAS and misunderstandings, that concerns the secondary majority shareholding, in The Arsenal, on a daily basis? WE, are not in the loop.

    I am a great believer in Wenger, the maker of the Swiss Army knife and the maker of my Coral Business Case! Like the knife, not a common, run-of-the-mill tool of the trade.

    Why bother with twitter, listen to the pigeons cooing, before ……on the vacuumed car.

    Why bother with Facebook, look in the mirror and give yourself a fright!

    Never waste time, with the scuttle-butt dwellers. Life is too short.


  30. The manures transfer window has been pathetic, and Moyles going for Cesc is laughable.
    Moe already owns Moyles in the media and is wipingnthebfloor with him.


  31. Any reaction from the media?
    Just to egg them on and keep the comedy show on the road.
    Our club has been seen as a soft touch by the press for years, and a portion of our fans always are there to take the bait. BBC is signing into a cess pit, look at their comment boards.

    City have spent 90m on four decent players, because they had to, and have no concerns as to where the money came from. No one seems to take FFP seriously.

    Some of us (ever myself now and again) get anxious every transfer season as we seem to get messed around by other clubs a lot. We can’t just throw money around as if there is a bottomless source from the club, we are competing against clubs who do have unlimited funds so the old certainties don’t apply any more. we still have to be careful with spending.

    At least no one of the first XI is making a move out, and for once, the Club are showing a very ruthless streak in releasing so many players, the anti everything crowd will crow that is their influence, I hope that’s not true.


  32. Can really relate to this article, having got myself involved in researching the background rules of the sport, it became clear the sport is in a complete mess. I love football but what has happened at the top of the game beggars belief.

    I used this quote the other day but feel it fits this article.

    “One of the biggest problems with the world today is that we have large groups of people who will accept whatever they hear on the grapevine, just because it suits their worldview—not because it is actually true or because they have evidence to support it. The really striking thing is that it would not take much effort to establish validity in most of these cases… but people prefer reassurance to research.”

    Neil deGrasse Tyson


  33. So Santos is now exgunner. Sold to flamingo it is said. I wonder how much effect his shirt begging shenanigans in old Turdford had on him being offloaded.


  34. Gonnerkam,
    My head count of the first team squad who will still be with The Arsenal by 10th August looks to be about 22 players – assuming loans and sell-offs continue for the fringe players (20 players really counting TV5 and AD2’s injuries), the juniors who are on the Far East tour will never get a better chance to get a toe hold into the first team for the start of the season, and they certainly look like they are seizing that opportunity.

    Where is Frimmy? Is he still injured. He deserves a chance.

    fit and available:
    D’s-6(plus Vermalen)
    MF-5(plus Diaby) Ryi-loan again? Frimmy???
    F-4 (plus Gerv) maybe Sanogo.rest are going out, Campbell loan.

    That’s a hell of a slim squad.


  35. Passionate Post Swales but, for what it’s worth, where you say “It isn’t about meeting your friends on the terraces or in the pubs now to support your team, it isn’t about having fun singing and shouting yourself hoarse.” It is still about that for me (obviously not the terraces anymore but you get my drift I hope)

    Only in recent times have I glanced at blogs etc, and had I not done that I would have remained blissfully unaware of some of the confusingly negative opinions from a few clearly misguided Arsenal fans. Folk that think as those who visit this blog ARE still very much in the majority in the real offline world and so shall it ever be.

    By all means get angry and frustrated when you read some of the nonsense there is but always count to ten and ask yourself if you should really allow it to affect you as it clearly does at times.

    The ‘talkshite’ radio thing I am only truly aware of because of things I have seen written on blogs and forum and I have never listened and see no real motivation to do so in the future, based on what I have read – including the comments here today. Sometimes I think, if the virtual world online upsets one so, then miss it for a few days and realise that, in the real world, youa re in the majority and have no need to worry what a few misguided folk think. (and it is a few as the bulk are just following because they think they should and have quite probably never had an original thought in their lives)


  36. DC
    we will know soon enough which players will be loamed out and we know the ones sold. I’m hoping that by seasons start we will be deep enough to tackle at least the three main competitions. Let the youth and the reserves have the league cup to sharpen their skills. Mainly I want FRANCIS back to help cover in the middle. It is going to be a long three weeks. That’s for damn sure.
    As far as Suarez and the higuana man are concerned it would make sense for those clubs to have an exchange with some cash going Liverpool s direction. Could be we are out of both deals already. Lets see what is cooking in AW head. We might be pleasantly surprised. Here’s hoping


  37. @Adam Brogden in what aspect of the rules of the game are you researching?


  38. Thanks for the replies and there was me thinking it was just me lol


  39. Nice article Swales – no. you’re not alone.

    I found Steve’s remarks at 1.44 am very interesting and very much in line with many of my experiences.

    As a season ticket holder I’d say the majority of fans are much more moderate in their views regarding the club. Sure, all of us would like to see the odd trophy now and again but most have a broad appreciation of what the club has achieved and is trying to achieve going forward.

    I’ve also seen many fans fail to renew their season tickets – sometimes for personal reasons (lack of cash) but quite often it’s those that simply can’t cope with the club not winning trophies every season. I think it’s this strata of the fan base making up a significant proportion of the extremist anti-Arsenal contingent.

    I maintain that this segment will fade away the moment our trophy-fortunes change.


  40. While no doubt the drop in season ticket renewals causes Ivan to come out in a sweat it has its upside.

    In days of old when, after another crushing defeat, a fan had the HUMP then he would say ‘Thats it, never again’ not go to another game and then sulk for the rest of the season, or longer.

    Now there are too many trapped, having paid for the privilege, instead of sulking in their shed on a Saturday afternoon they are forced to go, and God help those who are responsible for their ongoing torture


  41. Brilliant article Stephen – thank you Kelly for alerting me to it. And smack wrist me for not looking at PA every day… Just wanted to say it’s not just you Stephen; I have my ups and downs & even if I stay off Twitter, we have the bloody media to contend with. Should we all start chanting “No one likes us and we do care”? No, I think we should do a Goonerwife and rant once in a while; or come on here and talk about it. Thanks again Stephen, good stuff.


  42. Interesting read, though I decided some time ago to filter what I read about Arsenal as the negative bias had become unbearable. I love the rich heritage of the club, the ethos, charitable works, positive influence on society, the character of the employees and above all, I enjoy watching the team play. So when I reflect on these things, the stilted and most of the time incoherent negativity of others pales in significance. Being a Gooner is something that makes me happy, I wear and use my Arsenal embossed stuff with pride. Being an Arsenal fan is a door opener, conversation starter and at times a welcome life distraction.

    When I sing (or shout) ‘COYG’ or I love you Arsenal – it really is heart felt. As the saying goes, I am a Gunner for life.


  43. @Swales1968

    Type my full name into Untold Arsenal’s search engine or Google and all my articles will come up. Mostly about Third party ownership, Fifa Agents, Child trafficking in football, money laundering in football. Mostly I have found its the rules such as, regulations of player status and transfer, Agents regulations that have allowed all of the above. I also follow Andrew Jennings works, Birkbeck universities studies, and so on.


    The above is my latest article and was split up into 3 pieces on Untold, so I sent it to “just Arsenal fans” to get it published in its entirety.


  44. hallooo….i must say…i have laughed my arse off with all the fabregas desperate to return to premier league and how the media want to turn the knife in the arsenal fans heart……then mou with rooney and the whole manu/moyes/rvp love triangle…so funny….now i know first hand how shit the media are..silly season indeed…the stupidity of fans and people associated with football dear god…


  45. and whoeevr wrote todays blog no mate you aitn paranoid..they ( media, establishment and all non arsenal fans) DONT like arsenal ..arsenal is managed by a foreigner and represents everything that english football is not. media will always want to talk us down because arsenal is the foreigners team and this island is very very insular ,,,especially when it comes to its national sport…they wont have wenger and his followers pissing on english football with vieiras and 26.12.00 seasons…oh no they will not…


  46. “fabregas DESPERATE to return to EPL and play under Moyes and re-unite with Van Persie”

    desperate (??) ..ahahaa

    “wenger TOLD: we can afford roo’s wages” ….puuuuahahaaaaaaaa

    so much shit its incredible…no wonder they play and have been playing on the arsenal fans minds….fellow gunners dont bite the bait….its all a game…

    stay strong


  47. Thanks for all the replies its good to know I am not alone 🙂


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