On no account suggest another blog.
At the last Blog Census there were found to be fractionally under an infinite number of footballing blogs, the majority of them about Arsenal. Indeed, the problem was so acute that mainstream news aggregators such as NewsNow had all but shut the virtual door to the addition of any new blogs to their much vaunted and hugely popular news feeds.
At around Xmas 2013, George (aka Pedantic George/Blackburn George/Positively George-from-Japan) got in touch to sound me and others out about the possibility of starting a brand new blog.
But this one would be different from all the other blogs, more Arsenal – more pro-Arsenal – and according to George at least, that was something that was sadly lacking.
My less than sage-like advice to George at this time was to give the idea more thought as I felt it was unlikely to be a resounding success. The odds of a successful launch of a blog of this nature at this time seemed to me to be absolutely stacked against us.
George though was adamant that through the miracle of Twitter and NewNow we could spread the word and the word was Positive.
Obviously, I said “No.”
Not only that but I further suggested that NewsNow were most unlikely to ever take us on. Their current stringent admissions process, itself lasting more than six months, seemed drafted to keep the likes of us firmly out.
But I was prepared to promote the site to my army of almost 50 followers on Twitter, if he was prepared to do the same.
The genesis and much of the readership of Positively Arsenal came from A Cultured Left Foot, one of the first footballing blogs of its kind and, for many, largely unrivaled.
George wanted a new home for us.
This followed that Blog’s owner’s decision to express doubts in respect of the direction the club was going in.
The now famous ‘End Of Era’ post opened up ACLF to a more critical slant of the club – one that would have seemed utterly unimaginable even 18 months earlier. Although deep down I didn’t personally actually believe it was the end of an era, another disappointing autumn, which had followed the loss of Van Persie to Man U, meant that it really did feel like there could be some kind of sea-change taking place in the club’s fortunes.
I could understand the sentiment but I just felt it was a tad premature.
I certainly felt it was worth arguing the toss and believed there were still just enough of us pro-Wengerites around to make the case. So this was my response to George’s initial idea – that we should stay with ACLF and fight for what we believed in and yes, argue our case, even if we did take a hammering.
A few days later George was banned from commenting on ACLF and could no longer stay and fight for what we believed. George’s ban followed yet another fracas in the comments section which, by now, Yogi was weary of policing any further. So now with George gone and literally a handful of us left to fight our embattled corner, it was hard to argue against setting up a new site. It simply felt there really wasn’t that much left to lose – many of my personal favourite commentators had all but disappeared and Yogi had clearly lost his patience with some of those still prepared to put their neck above the parapet.
I’d always admired ACLF for the quality of Yogi’s writing, his insight and knowledge of the club and it’s wider environs. He also had the occasional guest posters and the best of these, for me, was the alarmingly youthful and generally just brilliant Birdkamp. I chipped in with a couple of posts of my own and these were kindly received. But the ‘mood’ of the blog became progressively darker and gloomier and morale seemed to track the club’s wavering fortunes. There were very, very few commentators I actively disliked (and that’s remained the case to this day) but I found myself in disagreement with the majority of those whose patience with the club was all but exhausted.
With something of a heavy heart I agreed to take a backseat, low-key role (sweeping the floors and cleaning windows, mostly) with Positively Arsenal and promptly found myself writing the opening post. I think by late January (the blog launched on 28th January), the ‘founders’ of PA were themselves somewhat exhausted by the negativity threatening to envelope the club – not just on ACLF but on Twitter as well as the wider blogosphere, the media and pretty much anywhere where more than one was gathered to comment on our beloved and by this stage somewhat beleagured club.
It was on this basis that George insisted that all commentators to the blog would be effectively by invitation only. I insisted that the first letter of each word in the title of each day’s blog should be capitalized.
With these two fundamentals firmly set in stone and with Steww, Frank and Adi alongside, we set off on Our Great Blogging Adventure. I didn’t expect all that much, to be honest; I thought the writing would be fine but I felt the furrow we were attempting to plough was such an isolated one that we were as likely to be marginalized and ignored as we were anything else.
How would anyone find us? And would they care if they did?
But a very wonderful thing happened.
Many of our old friends and former ‘allies’ from ACLF – some of whom had gone missing in action over many months and even years – pitched up having somehow found us. And, amazingly, from the earliest days, the site’s viewing stats (as provided by WordPress) were always substantial with ‘hits’ being recorded in volume from literally all around the globe.
It was all hugely encouraging.
For sure, many of those readers recorded by WordPress would not have been in agreement with much of the sentiments of what we felt the blog stood for but the sustained interest in the blog over days, weeks and now months – almost 9 months of them – suggests to both me and George that the site is chiming with a good number of our visitors.
It’s funny now to look back and think that our biggest fear was that we wouldn’t be able to replicate the comments section we once frequented on ACLF. Indeed, the biggest problem for most blogs is the absence of comment and there are some first class bloggers out there for whom solving this is still no nearer to happening than when they first started out.
Positively Arsenal is not without its critics of course and chief amongst the criticisms is the idea that we see ourselves as somehow superior to most other fans, that our determination to see the positives in the club we love somehow, in our own eyes at least, elevates us above all others.
Well, for this writer, PA is not about being a ‘better’ fan but it IS about being a different kind of fan. The Arsenal ‘family’ is a big one and it’s a diverse one. There is room for many different ‘styles’ of supporting. There are plenty of blogs out there to cater for all the other different ways of showing support.
This is ours.
And for me personally, it’s a hugely enjoyable way to experience the game, in the company of like-minded souls knowing that good or bad or indifferent, our players’ performances will be supported and encouraged – and above all else, understood, as best we can. I rest easy knowing that my faith in the club and its employees at all levels from Doris the Tea Lady all the way down to the directors and manager will be largely shared by my fellow readers and contributors.
And even when part of my beliefs are not universally shared (ie, I get things wrong), the howler is unlikely to be met with cynical aggression but more likely discussed and reasoned based on the facts available to us rather than a process of random, unsupported speculation.
If that makes us the ‘sunshine bus’ then that’s fine with me though I understand it doesn’t suit everyone.
But it suits me and a good number of those contributing to the site.
On Wednesday, to my surprise, PA was, against all the odds, added to the feeds of NewsNow.
This despite their virtual ban on adding new Arsenal blogs to their roster. It prompted this article to be put together as George and I wondered the best way to mark this welcome development.
This brief retrospective seemed the right thing to do.
It just leaves me to end on an acknowledgement of every single poster and commentator we’ve had the privilege to have ‘join’ us.
PA is very much a collective effort and the diversity of its contributors – main posters and commentators alike – is one of its key strengths. In the course of this blog’s brief life, we have made many new friends both near and far, from India to Alabama and beyond and our lives and perspectives have certainly been enriched by this.
As we finally reach the autumn, Arsenal Football Club appears to have left much of the negativity behind. Whilst there will doubtless be ups and downs still to come, the good times do finally appear to be back with us.
It is a source of undented and undiminishing pride that PA was set up during what may end up being seen as the club’s darkest hour.
That we went through this awful phase together won’t be readily forgotten.
Long may Positively Arsenal – and all of us – continue.
I would never in a million years have felt confident enough to comment there
hehe i guess its cause of all the experts gathered there ….a bunch of cretins undermining the manager and debating whether the clubs target was champions league money or not. …lol…clowns and halfwits with delusions of grandeur and an ego bigger than the well-being of the club setting up interrogations and inquisitions on “what went wrong”..”where are the trophies”…..and so on 🙂 …ok it didnt go as bad as calling wenger a cunt like in other places but still the overall feeling in there was of taking things for granted and becoming way too familiar with manager and thinking they can scrutinise his every decission as if they know better….ah silly me…they only did it for the debate…… no malice…just to kill some time…
clever people dont need everything to be spelt out for them…..but our supporters and bloggers wanted the club to be transparent in its operations and come clean and tell them “trophies? muahahaha ..we just built a 450m stadium yer mugs..whose gonna pay for that then?”
i bet that would have been a marketing masterstroke
Stirring post Andrew. Absolutely great to see why PA was formed and the progress it has made. I think it is inspirational, even outside football.
Really funny comments regarding contracts for Steww, et. al. Keep it up guys!
Well done AA for the post today too, If I hadn’t said it before.
Now that the secret of the existing of this happy place is out in the open, I hope it becomes a refuge for more lost souls (like me) who were fed up with the constant snide derision of the club, team and manager.
For the last few years I just could believe what I was reading from Arsenal fans: this is AW, one of the finest minds in world football; this is the Arsenal; these are our players – many of whom have been hacked down and hospitalised in their careers for the red and white…. and yet the abuse was incessant.
Healthy discussion and critical analysis, absolutely yes; cheap shots and one-liners just to win some kudos from the mob – no thanks.
Hope to see a few more decks added to the sunshine bus.
*could not believe
Hope to see a few more decks added to the sunshine bus.
SPACE SHUTTLE !!!! no bus…we are going for the stars!
the bus is for them poor mugs who didnt believe……..actually no not even a bus..they can walk….or better… crawl back under their rocks…..posa nostra vs le groan
What a post! It is such an emotional read for me as I can clearly remember how the ‘mood’ change happened on ACLF (I was a daily visitor to the site yet never commented).
I’m glad I found PA and I’m grateful to the team; George and co and also the denizens of this great Arsenal blog. I have had valuable lessons on our club and indeed life in general from interacting with y’all!
Keep the positive flag flying real high!
For the last few years I just could not believe what I was reading from Arsenal fans: this is AW, one of the finest minds in world football; this is the Arsenal; these are our players – many of whom have been hacked down and hospitalised in their careers for the red and white…. and yet the abuse was incessant.
Whee. Caught a literal from Steww. May that be your only one for the season…like Arsenal losing the first game. The Admiral of the Fleet looked at his navel and wondered where the fluff came from!
vote of confidence by stan kroenke is a testimony that wenger is handling the club the right way. and the right way will remain the right way even if some disgruntle elements think otherwise. one of the things stan said was that he enjoyed discussing lots of issues with arsene outside football. stuffs like economy! i cant imagine glazar discussing such with fergie of abramovich with moreen. wenger is not limited to football or by football. global warming, politics, finance and other sports, he is never out of place.
he runs the club responsibly not to just win some trophies or make headlines to boost his cv at the expence of the club. if wenger was a president of a country! blessed are its citizens.
It is great to find another positive Arsenal website! Untold Arsenal is the other website that supports the club in a continuously positive manner.
agree all the way! even noble prizes are too small for this manager.
mathieu flamini…barking orders waving arms and yelling…he is serious…
Really good to see Pires training with the team
I’ve been a daily reader reader of this noble blog since it’s inception. I may have posted a comment once or twice but I’ve always read every post and comment.
I was a regular reader of ACLF and that was where I fell in love wit PG and HUNTER. I stopped posting my occassional comments on ACLF when I realised that PG and HUNTER were banned and some few others who truly stand for what I mostly believe in. I was lucky enough to somehow find PG on twitter and I’ve been following him hence I got to knw abt PA.
PA is like a haven for me. I live in Nigeria and most so called ‘fans’ always have 1 bad word or the other for Arsene who they now refer to as my Dad! But I’ve always told them to go get a life n support the club rain or shine.
I can go on and on bt I want to say PG is a hero and hunter is a true warrior. AA, STEW and ADI are all ppl I fell in love with their reasoning and way of life even if I’ve neva met them.
Thanks to u all other posters here cos u most often than not bring smiles to my face and lighten up my mood and life with your comments. Up the guns of ARSENAL.
SA @ 4:14pm
Really , Bobby is back?
Sign him up Arsene!!
only joking, I don’t have the right to tell the boss what to do, I’m only a 35 years long foreign supporter and I don’t even have a season ticket.
Interesting that in the Interview Stan said Arsene Wenger runs the Club.
Anyone got as problem with that? I don’t.
President Wenger?, I like the sound of that.
Obsessing about Arsenal, good. Obsessing about other fans, not.
DC, yeah, you can see him and Ozil chatting in the training pics. He is wearing number 29, so maybe Wenger has signed him up 😀
You said you are a foreign supporter. Out of curiosity, which country are you from?
Here’s a clue: Liam Brady, David O’Leary, Niall Quinn, Pat Rice, Terry Neil, Pat Jennings, Eddie McGoldrick (sorry) ,Frank Stapelton (really, really sorry).
Sens – A squad number? Wowsies.
well, you never know… with Wenger. rabbits have been pulled out of hats before.
Fair point Mickey.
It can sound a bit like an AA meeting here sometimes.
I ain’t giving up the drink anytime soon, myself.
ah cool. Beautiful country. It is on my places to visit list.
If your ever in Dublin
………………and thirsty, I know a few places to solve that.
lankylorde, just keep the faith. it will soon be rewarded.
Its a good thing George decided to start this blog as a source of positivity as the negative blogs were getting louder and louder and as a commenter you would get hammered if you saw the bigger picture and refused to join the WOB.
Though i rarely comment,PA is the blog i frequently visit along with my blog home Untold Arsenal.
Enough of the introspection – here’s today’s navel-free post:
Thanks DC, will keep that in mind.
Canister, sobriety is overrated, indeed. Be wary of all psychoactive substances, people who don’t drink, and drunks, of course.
I gave up ACLF a long time ago (didn’t like his attitude one bit) and hoped friends would do the same. So, I was delighted to receive a text (maybe it was an email?) from Frank telling me about PA.
I read it every day even though the 5 hour time difference makes it difficult for me to participate when I am working.
Congratulations from upstate NY!!!!
Long live UNTOLD ARSENAL……
What an engaging read about this site’s origin. I can’t tell you how happy I am now that I have found this site again ( I lost my bookmarks when I had to reboot my system and I couldn’t remember this blog’s name). I stopped reading ACLF about two and half years ago and so don’t know what the end of an era stuff’s about. Probably for the best really.
is there anywhere in the interview granted by stan kroenke where he said the only condition the club will extend wenger’s contract is if his performance this season is good enough? at least that is what is reported by yogi on aclf today. from all accounts i have seen and read, it was wenger who is stalling on extending his stay at the moment, not the other way round. that is consistent with wenger’s policy of only renewing when his existing one is about to finish.
for me it is just another excuse for the failure of ‘end of era’ prophesy.
They will hang on to that line of thinking for the foreseeable. Much easier for them to look like a fool than to admit they were PREMATURE DEJECTIONISTS.
I say again, end of era my ass.
THIS IS THE BEGINNINGS OF A NEW DAWN.
why did you stop reading aclf almost 2•5 years ago. ? I only saw a different agenda and change of directions about a year ago??
Congrtats for getting on Newsnow, boys. I hope this blog becomes a hub for positive Arsenal supporters from every corner of the planet.
Foreverheady: “And because of that, I have also come to see that unless you can retain that curious mixture of innocence, hope and excitement you really have no place supporting a team that is not able to simply buy and buldoze its way to success.”
Not having any kids of my own, I never thought of the impact these doped, win at all cost clubs have on the little ones. And I don’t even know your son, but I already love him. It takes a sturdy character to stick with the Arsenal when everyone around you is taking the piss.
WOW… AA as per usual standards on here, well written. I don’t write too often but defo had to appreciate the much effort that has been put in to bring PA thus far along on her way.
Glad PA is making good progress along with the Arsenal. It was inevitable really given that it was for a good cause…
Great post, Andrew.
I didn’t know PA were with or without Newsnow, cos I stopped going there years ago – what with myriad links to speculati-crap stories.
Indeed, once I’d stumbled upon this site, and whilst I was utterly amazed by whatever the 1st article I read was, it was some time before I wrote a comment. Sure, the blog title was Positively Arsenal, but that (in my mind) didn’t mean its articles would remain positive.
But with each new post I begun to see that I wasn’t being tricked. PA was for real, baby. Next thing you know – I was actually welcomed. I think one great thing is that you don’t look for hits or whatever by allowing the shit-stirrers on. I feel safe.
Someone above mentioned they’d read an old post. I’ve only now spotted the monthly Archives links. (Ever vigilant, me). I intend to make my way through – over the next 24 months or so. I mean, I was getting ever so slightly frustrated at your seeming ‘quality not quantity’ policy, and lately I started to wonder if you were in a phase of ‘waiting for 10,000 responses before putting up the next post. (There were four hundred and ninety-odd comments for Top Of The World, when I last looked. Note: I capitalised the 1st letter of every word in the title. ****ing Pedant!
And actually, the quality thingy remains vital, and every article I’ve read on here contains quality, and I love the emotion. Isn’t this why one reads – in order to extract/inbibe/whatever – emotion? Nice emotions. Beautiful reflection. Occasional pensivity? (Ooh, Google underlined that one. **** off Google. It’s MY word. I bet you’d suggest “penisvity”, prick!
Anyway I just wanted to say Thanks, really. I’m lovin’ it.