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Supporting Both Sides Of The Arsenal Coin

coin

Today’s article comes courtesy of The Beck.

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Sometimes, when I blog something, I feel like I’m writing about a viewpoint which some simply don’t want to hear or read.  Sometimes, I include even myself in that.  Such people might prefer sitting isolated, in complete bliss, a state which more easily suits their agendas or rationale.  Fortunately, in general, my experience with Arsenal supporters has only ever been good on the whole.

 

When I meet an Arsenal supporter – on the street, in a pub or online – I mostly find myself laughing.

 

The people I’ve met from Twitter, for instance, have been amazing and I can’t thank them enough for being in my life. Some people that I had only met once, were sat at tables waiting for me with a ready pint or a shot to start the night, whether I found myself in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the United States,  Canada or the U.K.

 

Unfortunately there are also times when I find myself speaking to a very small number of people who wake up every morning, feeling the club owes them something.  They also  appear to live with no small levels of resentment toward Arsenal, despite being supporters.

 

I’ve tried to understand and empathise with these people, but it’s getting more and more difficult for me.

 

There is also an even smaller number of supporters that perhaps, no matter what the club does, will never be happy, possibly because of ‘external’ reasons – maybe they have either a depressing life or a depressing view on life.

 

One has to ask the question: Are some supporters too caught up in feelings of entitlement.  Do they simply enjoy moaning?

 

I’m going to generalize here, and it’s done to make the point.  Sometimes it seems that half of the “Arsenal till I die!” fans, at some point during the transfer window will say something along the lines of:

 

Oh! We haven’t signed anyone yet? Arsene out, Board out, Ivan out!”

 

Whilst we are all customers of Arsenal, we don’t own it.  It may be hard to swallow but it’s effectively the truth. Even if we were part of an ownership scheme, would we have the knowledge or experience to ask for things that are very likely largely beyond our understanding?

 

Take discussing transfer targets. Some hate it and some love it.  But to demand that your club signs a player, especially a specific player, simply highlights the fragility of your connection to your club. I’ve heard of people who can afford to buy season tickets but choose not to because they feel the club is in bad hands, or because they personally dislike Arsene Wenger. They don’t like what the club “has become.

 

This is where we get the hilariously vague demands of “We want our Arsenal back.

 

People might say:

 

“It was never a franchise! I hate Kroenke and his American franchise ways!” 

 

But that’s not true either, we’ve always been a type of franchise, some sort of business.  Supporters pay for tickets, tours, kits, events and online subscriptions.  Like it or not, we ARE a franchise, Arsenal football club IS a business.

 

But Arsenal Football Club is also just that, a football club. A club where emotions and traditions run deep, love flies high and memories are ingrained forever.

 

Some want to disassociate Arsenal P L C from Arsenal F C but it is futile to do so.  They are self-evidently connected.  They are one and the same and these two sides of the same coin have come together to ensure our club has become one of the richest in the world.  That didn’t just ‘happen’ by the way.

 

But to develop a great hatred of Arsenal as a business doesn’t particularly present you in the greatest or most intelligent light when trying to support Arsenal as a football club.  Especially when that hatred inevitably spills over to the football side and you suddenly find yourself in a supporter’s No Man’s Land.  Forgotten, misunderstood, no longer represented and utterly eclipsed.

 

What you might ideally want from your club is for those running it to find a way to balance it all.

 

Unfortunately, in modern life, supporters are often over-exposed to the business side.  Big numbers appear, complicated equations emerge and suddenly it seems that everyone has overnight gained a master’s degree in economics from the University of Cenral London. And nothing you say to them will be enough to convince them of anything that might challenge their point of view.

 

If you were to attempt to hold your club to ransom and threaten to boycott all things Arsenal until they got the place somehow back in order, Arsenal would simply find another supporter who IS willing to pay.  And in any case you are, in effect, alone in this.

Trust me.

 

Even if you get a group of like-minded people to do the same, Arsenal still has a waiting list of people willing to pay for the things some existing supporters currently take for granted and would prefer to ignore.

 

On a larger scale, if you choose to boycott the club during the playing season, it negatively affects players’ morale, the well-being of the staff around the club and the interests of the remaining fans that are supporting the club despite the rights or wrongs of your own personal position.

 

If you magically managed to have everyone not pay for anything associated with Arsenal until a change was instigated, it would have a destructive impact on the club, both financially and in terms of the club’s image.  Chances are there would still not be a change that all that many of us would be happy with.  

 

Everyone has their personal resentments.  Everyone has their personal loves.  Everyone has their own Arsenal.

 

We could theoretically set up groups, like the black bags, the grey scarfs, the turquoise snoods and what not, but again, each group would only ever represent a minority of Arsenal fans whilst supposedly talking for a majority.  Significantly, each of them would probably think that it is vital the whole fan base believes what their minority group believe.  In effect we would become a group of tiny minority cults within a much larger fan base, arguing with each other like it’s high school.

 

I’m very certain that if Arsenal listened to every group out there, we’d probably be bankrupt and our club probably wouldn’t even exist any more. However, AFC are professionals, they hire professionals, they are intelligent and they have intelligent visions.  Many take for granted the things Arsenal do behind the scenes – off the football field.  But just because they don’t represent on-field results does not mean they are automatically the negative or bad parts of the club.

 

I am in effect complimenting a business that isn’t mine because I am in love with the other half of it, the football side.  And I have decided I can’t separate both simply because I might be angry with Arsenal PLC. There isn’t really a point to supporting a club if you’re going to be angry with them every week.

 

Because that’s not support.  It’s just constant criticism.

 

If I did manage to separate them, it would feel like I am not really in love with Arsenal but rather with what they used to be and I am just hanging on until there is glory again. I don’t want to be like that, and I hope I never will be like that.

 

Arsenal have us all by the balls and I don’t mind admitting it.  We love the club. We want it to be successful.  Some of us not at any price and some at any price at all. But if they ARE doing the supporters wrong – and you truly feel that they are – I don’t think you will ever get ‘your’ Arsenal back.

 

It means you are a supporter of something in the past, not of the present, and the likelihood of you getting what you supported in the past is very slim.

 

And when ‘my’ Arsenal is gone, I don’t think I will ever get it back either.  I will either have to adapt to the new one, or constantly fall in love with it all over again, every year.  Pretty much like I am doing already.

 

I want us to be winning, not whining.  But I’m staying pure to the principles of support and my own principles.  Much like Arsenal have stayed pure to theirs in terms of class, respect and sustainability.

 

I think as supporters we should find a way to balance our love for Arsenal and our expectations of both the business side and the football side.

 

We should find an equilibrium that makes supporting fun, loving, easy and great, instead of depressing or filled with misery and constant moaning and unjustified criticism. This includes changing expectations yearly based on both business and football developments – or non-developments – as necessary.

 

I feel it is inexcusable to be angry and demanding with something you’re meant to love and can’t really change. And if our club did ever truly fall into terrible hands, there would need to be an entire strategic plan to ensure that the club stayed intact.  And that plan would be for the football side AND the business side.

 

Not run by a mob, ruling with impatience, fuelled by greed or the feeling of misplaced entitlement but in ways that are soundly moral and commercially sound. 

 

Ways that, as it happens, can be found throughout today’s Arsenal. 

 

Our Arsenal.

 

 

You can find me at HighHorseWankerThinksHesAllThat@hotmail.co.uk or, on Twitter @The_Beck_

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.

23 comments on “Supporting Both Sides Of The Arsenal Coin

  1. Bloody Marvellous.

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  2. Excellent piece Beck – the turquoise snoods sound a rough crew

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  3. Nice read, cannot wait for the season to kick off.

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  4. Top article,

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  5. sign him up

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  6. Turquise Snoods are among the most dangerous crews in the world, I’ll have you know.

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  7. Excellent stuff Becker. What a fine addition to the PA crew you are. Our big boys should be worried. There’s a new kid in town.

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  8. This is absolutly correct,fantastic blog and good for all the Arsenal fans who think that we will not come back to our glory days but they are mistaking.Hope that this blog will open their eyes and give them sense of understanding!!

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  9. Very well written and a lot of sensible points. It’s hard when you follow the club online and get caught up in the business side of things when it was the football side that originally drew us in. Unfortunately the genie is now out of the bottle and there is no putting it back in. This is certainly one time when a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, but I have to accept that as much as I wish things were different, this is the reality of following a top club in the 21st Century. Spouting guff about ‘class and principles’ is clearly only meant to sustain you when you have no money and as soon as you have a pot to piss in, you jump into the cesspool with the rest of the sharks. C’est la vie.

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  10. As good and passionate as any post I have ever read on any blog/site. Well done Sir.

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  11. speechless. have been saying the same since 07-08 just not as coherent or polite….in a few years everyone will understand…yes a business but also an academy /institution of football…with soul..wenger…unbelievable.

    as for doomers, well…their interpretation of democracy is the freedom to be as annoying as possible, and the freedom to critisise anything or anyone regardless of credentials , position, authority, experience…..circus rules. you then return the compliments paying them with the same currency and they scream murder-that you cant critisise them or their statements. they usually go for the man rather than the point made in the arguement since they cant counter logically. they are the poor fellas that got mocked all these years on monday mornings and couldnt respond. they turned against the club. bit soft …..didnt have the balls to stick through thick and thin……but yes dont forget denilson and schezney are the problem…..

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  12. Hunter, I’m not acquainted with you but you’ve just made me laugh so hard, thank you so much.

    “The Doomers, their interpretation of democracy is the freedom to be as annoying as possible”.

    That sir, deserves a standing ovation.

    As for your “counter logically” to the doomers, of course, I clap again *alone in the living room*. I’ve had abuse all morning, including WOB’s etc

    All the comments they sent back to her were about my looks or where I lived (even though I’ve lived all over the world, including London *and this doesn’t even matter*) and how I looked like Zlatan Ibrahimovich and how I’d look stupid in a London pub, even though I’ve had many a drinks at the Tollington and always looked my finest.

    They don’t possess the ability to logically go through a sound argument. They are in effect, like children, reacting to missing toys, they don’t want to hear how the toys are missing or why, they just want them back.

    You’re so right in saying that they don’t have the balls to stick through thick and thin, they falter at the first position of being mocked at work by their other *high IQ* mates or their glory hunting family members and want to find someone to blame so they can tell their mates to back off because its all “his fault”.

    They don’t have the courage to ever sit there and explain it to people, defend the club, defend its vision. Instead they want to find someone to blame for the lack of shiny silverware.

    All I ask/wish is for people to be constructive or make a sound argument, especially if you’re arguing for something that has a potential negative windfall on so many of those around you.

    Misery loves company is a sad tale, but nevertheless sometimes true.

    The entire point of the blog was that we all have different feelings and the feelings of a minority won’t get through the first hurdle, especially if its baseless. So a minority of supposed Gooners attacking me for having a minority view different to theirs is all the more ironic, nevertheless.

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  13. Nanananana! I cant hear you Beck!

    I dont care about the business. If i paid half an attention to what Arsenal have done over the past eight years, I wont have many things to moan about.

    I dont care about the football either, because if I did, Arsenal have provided me with some pretty spectacular football in the past eight years and I would only have disappointment that we missed out on some trophies.

    So for now, I am going to be indignant that the club have not signed suarez yet! What is the hold up Arsene! Also, why havent you bid for Fellaini yet? I know we need Fellaini because I am a scout and manager rolled into one. Oh also a CEO. and a supporter most of all. Fuck you Arsene. I love the club. Fuck the board. Arsenal forever. I hope you fucking break your leg Diaby. My support for the club is unconditional. I am not renewing my season tickets.

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  14. I didn’t know a comment could contain so much brilliant sarcasm 😉

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  15. “They don’t possess the ability to logically go through a sound argument. They are in effect, like children, reacting to missing toys, they don’t want to hear how the toys are missing or why, they just want them back.”

    But why ? Are they the result of breeding between neanderthal and homo sapiens sapiens? Has evolution left some behind ? Should we help them ? Can we ? How so ?

    Something to think about.

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  16. Wow, Alex. First a great blog, then a great comment. You’re making the rest of us look bad!

    I’m sorry you have endured abuse today. The good news is you’ve had something intelligent to say, which is what drags the idiots out in the first place.

    I’m just so weary of all the moaning. I’m confident in the squad we have, I’m confident we’ll get some players in to complement them, and I can’t wait for the season to start. Roll on August.

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  17. Our friend in the north fell on his feet with you Beck,absolutely fantastic write up,I struggle to disagree with a word of it- you clever bugger!

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  18. Eltamatrox – We reach out to try to help them by writing blogs, being there for them when they want to understand more just like others are there for me when I want to understand more and not be angry.
    We could blame the education system, or their parents, but I don’t want to play a blame game. If they wish to be angry, at me, or at the club, or at us, for thinking in a positive, constructive, intelligent way, its fine with me. But I will ignore it, I don’t have the time to be a teacher all the time and I hear the pay is terrible.

    Every time we try to construct a criticism or an argument, you are told that you are on your high horse. And that sort of response is both destructive and disruptive to any search in life for understanding, fairness, equality and whatever truth lies out there in this world.

    Mel and Kelly – Thank you, your support and your kindness is very important to me and you’ve both been angels, I’m sorry to make anyone look bad.

    I’ll try to write a future blog about how Gazidis is actually the reincarnated Kojak ( Telly Savalas ) and has held Suarez, Cesc and Rooney hostage and is playing Russian Roulette with them. I’m sure that will get some of the *other* Gooners on *my side*.

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  19. If I play chess, I like a bit of a challenge against an equal or better opponent – I prefer not to play someone who pushes his pieces into the shape of a pizza because he heard someone once say something about a Sicilian Defence being an option

    If I were able to fence, I would imagine I would enjoy my swordplay more against an opponent of equal or very close ability to myself much more than against an opponent who has his sword up his own arse.

    Debating anything with doomers is pointless. So while they wonder why they have pain in the backside, or while they chew on their rooks, I say leave them to it.

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  20. Top post and great comments all round. Take a bow PA!

    For me, supporting Arsenal FC is made easier because I support Arsenal PLC. Just like with the body and soul; once separated, that is death!………Arsenal will live!

    On a side note, an Arsenal supporting friend of mine has been drifting to the dark side lately. In a recent conversation he said that Arsenal needed to pay the £50m asking price and more if necessary to land Suarez. He reckoned that Arsenal are a big club and are richer than Chelsea or Man City…………..I just went “dude!…….Where the weed at”!

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  21. Nice writeup BECK. my advice?? Stay away with discussions of any form with the hardcore doomers and/0r agents. Not worth your time or the aggravation. The followers (the sheep) is another matter. If you can pull them out the miserable shell with logic and positive feed back then more power to you. Its definitely worth it when you see their faces as the penny drops.

    UP THE GUNNERS OF ARSENAL!!!
    side note….. HELL OF A PRESEASON… enjoyed every second. Can’t wait for the campaign to start…

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  22. ha you are evry kind alexander thank you. any relationship with jeff?

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  23. Thanks for the advice Kam 🙂 and thank you Manu 🙂

    Haha no I don’t know a Jeff, nor am I a part of the Jeff Beck group 🙂

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