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A United Arsenal Fan Base ? If So, Why?

The internet is awash with bloggers pod-casters and tweeters quickly changing tack and realigning themselves behind Arsene.

Gone are the days when someone was brave enough to voice their wholehearted and unequivocal support for the great man. Now you can’t mention his name without someone trying to praise him above and beyond the level of praise you express.

Twitter is full of the few remaining WOBs duking it out with former WOBs.

Most of those that were respectfully asking for Arsene to go have climbed onto the fence and are willing to let him stay (Bloody decent of them, eh?). You can hear them with their “I’m softening towards him” or “I will wait and see if the improvement continues“, some even begrudgingly concede “I might have been harsh on Arsene“.

Those who previously had splinters in their backsides, from sitting on the fence, are shuffling into the “I support the manager” camp and looking for a place to pitch their very portable tents.

Of course there are still some WOBs remaining. These though are looking more and more like Ishmael , clinging to a coffin that is bobbing among the wreckage of their sunken arguments. And why not? What is their alternative? Admitting they were wrong in the most disrespectful and ignorant manner? I think not!

Now this sounds like I am complaining. That it shouldn’t be happening. That I don’t like it or want it. Wrong.  It’s great that more and more fans are appreciating the stellar work of the manager, staff and board are doing. I love it. Climb on board. The more is the merrier.

But let’s be honest here. They are not changing for any other reason than the team is improving and things are being won. They have not been educated to this new level of support. A few bad results will likely see them once again slipping their stilettos into the backs of people who have consistently been transforming the club for years.

People that have seen the light, should be asking themselves why they have been sitting in the dark for so long? There is nothing happening that could not have been foreseen by anyone willing to look.

Players were sold – the reasons were obvious.

Great players were not bought – the reasons were obvious.

We were not winning trophies – the reasons were obvious.

We couldn’t beat the best teams – the reasons were obvious.

The priority was CL qualification – the reasons were………….. you guessed it………….obvious.

Everything the club was working towards was obvious.

They had a plan………………….obvious.

They were smart enough and resolute enough to stick to it………………..obvious.

The plan was way beyond the comprehension of many fans, yes, but that didn’t mean there was no plan.

I always found it ridiculous that the most ambitious club in the country should be labeled by many of its own fans as unambitious.

Even now though we see fans trying to justify their previous stance with claims of “Arsene has changed“.  The alternative is them owning up to being wrong, stupid and uninformed.

Arsene has not changed. All that has changed is his credit limit. His philosophies have not changed one little bit. What has changed is the standard of the players he now has to put them into practice.

People begrudgingly admit the plan is working, while still thinking that they had a plan that would have worked better and quicker.

Unlike the doubters and disbelievers, there were some people, a precious few to be fair, who for years predicted exactly what is happening right now. Not because they are seers and prophets, but because they understood the plan was sensible and it was being implemented by experts, not the least of which is Arsene Wenger.

So, if you are someone who is either overtly or covertly changing you position, please just hold your hand up and accept you seem to have been wrong, rather than trying to justify your previous stance. Because, as they say Ignorance is no defense.

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82 comments on “A United Arsenal Fan Base ? If So, Why?

  1. I’d written out a reply to this article earlier, and I’m now glad I didn’t post it.

    It’s a fascinating piece, PG, and as I don’t do twitter, I don’t know how Arsenal’s fan base is changing. I nodded vigorously to Stew’s opening reply.

    Having returned to this page after several hours, I’m pleased to see that respondents generally appear cautious about our fan base being united, and I love the suggestion of probation for newcomers, as long as it’s retrospective.

    Altogether, a great discussion.

    The other day I commented on the kit launch event.
    Here’s some behind the scenes tittle tattle:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv_VA08qdus

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sooo…the meme going forward is ‘Wenger has changed’…got it.

    Dunno about the commies but the new revolution is the BRICS…..hence the encirclement…pivot…thing.

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  3. Hell. What has George done to get twitter into an almighty tizzy? D_C is not far behind. The idea that Arsene hasn’t changed has flushed out all the bitter enemies of Wenger. What’s the deal? Is the train departing the station, threatening to leave the WOBs behind?

    Like

  4. Sav from Australia @ 7:14 pm – Pity the 5-eyes can’t bomb the hell out of Russia and China, eh? Now Iraq, Libya and Syria; that is a whole other story, ultimately for a different blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The ignorant won’t realise they have no defence because they won’t believe they have anything to defend that’s cos they is ignorant in it?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think some people need to watch the 8-2 again there were some very good goals that day with everything manure hit going in. At 3-1 Le Coq was taken off and it was at that point went for it. We had the standard pen turned down and the usual sending off as well and the result got worse and worse. Those who looked on ceefax and see the score and those in the media slaughtered us but actually games sometimes can just go really badly.
    We certainly played better that day than the 6-1.
    If you set out to win 1-0 in every game and you play badly then no your not going to lose 8-2 but your not going to excite in most of the other 30 odd games either.
    It is easier to defend than attack which is why when managers have a crap team they stick 11 behind the ball.
    The biggest tactical crime ever is to use the same tactics when have highly talented players and keep using it Until everyone is bored crapless. Those are the real managers who can’t change

    Liked by 2 people

  7. it seems some chelsea fans have made death threats to Petr Cech

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  8. How many Gooners made threats against Cole and Fabregas?

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  9. Arsenal now being linked with 18 year old Chelsea midfielder Charly Musonda

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  10. Wenger changed because he was pressured by the WOBs. Why can’t you guys accept that?

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Yes Gains, that was the charge of the Wenger Out Brigade – and about as successful as previous Brigade-based attacks.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. @Tom

    There are huge problems with this ‘change’ narrative being peddled by Arsene’s critics to justify their wrongness.

    Some are peddling a deep change. An absurd, almost spiritual change within the manager akin to a personality transplant. A stubborn miser, terrified of spending and whose only care was his 4th place trophy has undergone a miraculous rebirth into a big-spending, ruthless winner. The only problem with this transformation is that all evidence of it can be clearly linked not with the manager’s behaviour or ambition but with the increased resources at his disposal. Spending big on players? Duh, we have more money available. Keeping our best players? Because we can pay them more and are strengthening the squad so they want to stay. More ruthless with players who haven’t worked out? When you can buy Ozils and Alexises you don’t have to stick with average players or develop talent for prolonged periods. It’s a domino effect made possible by improved resources.

    Others allude to more subtle change, like the ones you’ve mentioned. Tactics and backroom staff. The first problem with the theory that alterations in those departments came from an internal change within the manager is, once again, money. Tactical flexibility in tackling different opponents is much, much easier when you have an experienced, deep, and settled squad. Lack of resources meant for many years we had a young, shallow squad which was constantly unsettled by departures. And when it comes to backroom staff, top coaches and sports professionals are going to be attracted to a club which buys world class players instead of selling them, is building world class medical and training facilities, and is winning things and looks likely to win more.

    The second problem is that, actually, the club and manager continually tried to implement these subtle changes during the trophyless years, but our critical fans never had any desire to discuss them back then as it didn’t fit with their mantra of Arsene as stubborn, stuck in his ways, unwilling to change, to listen, to adapt. We went through various formations, subtle adaptations as players came and went, we hired top conditioning coaches from Rugby League, we invested in GPS systems to track fatigue, invested in sports data tech, invested in physio equipment. People didn’t make a huge fuss of it at the time.

    Then we buy top players and we start winning things. Fans can’t accept they were wrong about Arsene and they want to point to change. Suddenly they are paying very close attention to tactical alterations or backroom staff acquisitions they previously ignored, because now it can support their arguments rather than undermine them.

    The Change narrative is just another in a long line of manipulations of the truth, and especially a manipulation of Arsene’s character, from the detractors.

    Liked by 7 people

  13. When we signed Ozil there was no talk of Arsene changing. The main line of argument from the Wenger Out camp then was that Arsene was either pushed into a panic buy by disgruntled fans, or that Ozil was actually bought by Ivan and/or Stan and foisted upon the manager. They clung to the myth of Arsene the miser, incapable of change, for some time.

    When last summer’s transfer business made that theory untenable a complete 180 was made and The Great Change Of Arsene was born. Why, it was a Christmas miracle greater than Ebenezer Scrooge.

    Liked by 5 people

  14. That moneyball theorem is seriously fucking up the liverfools. The team they are assembling is not champions league quality even if all their young talents realize their full potential. Somebody pass that joint before they call off the party.

    And the search for a young Arsene Wenger is on going among the pretender clubs.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Could be a long search Apropos, they broke the mould after they made Arsene; the ability to be truly innovative whilst remaining ‘consistently consistent’ is all too rare, at least in footballing circles.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Apropos I’m not sure they’ve got the right idea. Can’t really call it moneyball when your spunking 30 big ones (please forgive me I’m only trying to use language that is appropriate for the Window) on Andy Carroll,

    Wongaball is more appropriate?
    Taking the piss bowl < A bowl of piss?

    benitez is not shy with someone else's chequebook but Alonso and mascherano were a cut or more above Allen and Lovren. When you reflect upon it all there's only one word to sum it all up:

    Blimey.

    Like

  17. Arsene is a hero, always changing, always working hard. He is also tough and ruthless, as you presumably have to be to earn and keep the respect of talented professional footballers (some of whom are probably not that bright and not that nice, the ultra-competitive gene being what it is). The attempt to paint him as a doddery old fool living off past glories is one of the more ludicrous yet insidious pieces of character assassination you will ever see. Likewise, it is quite absurd to paint the board as a collection of clueless old-Etonians and idiot Americans who not only don’t understand football but also fail to live in the real world. In my experience successful Etonians and Americans are significantly more ruthless and ambitious than most. I suspect The Arsenal is almost unique in the sporting world by conflating those two groups.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Fantastic article and some fantastic comments.

    I’ve always been a staunch Wenger supporter and it’s ridiculous that there even needed to be a Wenger support movement. People seem to think Arsenal’s rise to being among the top 5 or even top 10 clubs was inevitable. It really wasn’t. Spurs, Everton, Liverpool, Newcastle, were all around the same size in terms of finances, and similar levels of ability when Wenger took over.

    Even as late as 2001, ManU’s commercial revenue alone was higher than our entire turnover. Which is what necessitated the move, and this need was seen by Wenger and the board. They planned it, they executed that plan, the stadium was built on time, on budget. The only reason it had a longer and larger destabilizing effect was because Abramovich came on the scene and changed football’s finances. The growth in league spending and sponsorships came at just the time when we were most restricted in our spend and tied in to our sponsors.

    The only reason we could continue to even talk about trophies is because of Arsene Wenger. If not for his abilities, we’d be looking up at Liverpool and Spurs now and celebrating the odd CL qualification the way they do.

    As for the argument that Wenger has changed to suit their demands all along. It’s ridiculous. Everything was aligned with the finances, and half truths and myths became facts. Wenger doesn’t do tactics. Arsenal’s ‘socialist’ wage budget is completely wrong. Arsenal are only interested in 4th place. The board are robbing us. All nonsense. A lot of it bought by people caught up in the emotions, but a lot of it motivated by an agenda. People like Le Grove, and the AST have made careers out of playing up this nonsense. Of course the media only backed them up, making them the voice of Arsenal fans. I agree with the comment above who brought up the referees and the media along with some takeover battle (and other vested interests)

    Hopefully more and more Wenger’s genius will become apparent to even his harsgest critics, and even more importantly, I hope it is rewarded with him winning the Champions League with us. Arsenal will definitely win the CL in the future because of what Wenger’s done for us. But he deserves it as well.

    Liked by 6 people

  19. Leonardo49 @ 4:06 am – Well put. Notice that the “Arsene has changed” meme is mostly peddled by former WOBs trying to justify the shift in their positions. It is easier to blame Wenger for being stubborn and finally seeing the light than to admit they were wrong in their belief that the club and Wenger were unambitious.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. leonardo49, fh@11:19

    Top, top like.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Oh pedantic one

    there could be a follow up article composed from the comments by A.Andrew, Leonardo and Shard.

    It needs to be said! Preferably in a headline article read by more people. The AAA nearly succeeded in de-railing the project, and all the fence-sitting idiots and the AAA arsenal hole trolls with the support of extremist weirdo hack dwarves who will try and ridicule all who demean their Special Agent friends including irrelevany bloggers and people on Twitter. The spectacularly transparent attempt to stitch up George by a hack for simply pointing out to Arsenal fans that AFC do not appear to do much business with the Special Agent seemed to raise a hilarious and completely incredulous amount of ire. These people were not under commission from the special agent but they had been most certainly duped by those that are. Fooking hilarious.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thank you for the kind replies. I previously posted here as LeoS, by the way. Registering an account with WordPress means I now have a new handle.

    @Shotta
    They can’t admit, possibly even to themselves, that they spent eight long years creating an awful caricature of Arsene which they could take out their frustrations on. The last two years have destroyed this false image they worked so hard to develop and convince others it was authentic.

    Like

  23. AA they broke the mould, grounded it into dust, painted it in gold and sold it to levy.

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  24. You are unfair there fins. Carroll was a gift from chelski after all. A Trojan horse they spanked to wet ham.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. When your logical sense is aligned with the rhetorics of Adrian Durham you got to consider making some changes.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. It’s pretty unfortunate that in modern football history there really is only one Wenger and, pretty much, one Arsenal (Lyon are probably the nearest match)

    In the last decade or so there are few examples of clubs who have gone from perennial title challengers to not winning titles for any length of time. (Inter, AC, Lyon, Dortmund are the only ones that spring to mind)

    And at any of the clubs where that has happened…managers are typically sacked at the end of the very first year of not winning the title.

    If enough money virtually guarantees a great chance of titles each year, while you can have a bad year, you cannot fall too far and it can’t be too long before you win again…so long as the money supply remains the same.

    So first you have the relatively unusual situation- ever, but especially now when the wealthiest and most successful have increased their financial might relative to the rest-of a club who were used to winning trophies and competing for the title slipping back for a concerted period of time; and you have the unheard of situation of the same manager staying in the job right throughout this process.

    So, the club and Wenger are both exceptions to the rules, which makes direct comparisons to other clubs and, especially, managers a near impossibility. Liverpool are the nearest fit at home ,and perhaps abroad too, of a club for whom the very good times ended. As they sought to get back to the top, they fired numerous managers who failed to get them there. But, for the first ten years or so at least, they were not at any huge financial disadvantage to their rivals. One stood alone at the top, but another club, who stuck with the same manager, proved that is not an insurmountable obstacle.

    Instead of using those comparisons to assist you in deciding the question of whether the manager has done a good job and whether the club should have stuck with him, you have to do the harder (but really not very hard at all) job of reviewing just what the conditions were that he worked in during this period.

    Really, there’s not much more to it than the question of money- what the club had and what the rivals you competed with had.

    If you perform any reasonable, honest, competent analysis of the conditions- i.e. the financial situation- the only sound conclusion is that Wenger did well for the club in those years. Furthermore, you are left wondering just how unusual a person he is.

    Top managers (defined here as successful ones who are coveted by huge clubs) simply do not hang around at a club whose financial power has weakened. I’d guess that this is because ruthlessness and a large ego are characteristics found in nearly every top manager. Ruthless, egotistic people search for success in its most obvious and tangible forms, and do what is necessary to give themselves the best possible chance of maintaining that success and protecting their reputations in the eyes of the masses

    The Wenger changed- from a struggling manager to a much better one- narrative is utterly preposterous, and it’s just a shame that the very uniqueness of what he has done is one of the great obstacles to quickly dismissing his biggest critics.

    But no matter, while there is no winning in arguments against those people, it’s still possible to have a good idea of the truth yourself. And that has to do.

    Knowing it at the same time as seeing the club win titles again is admittedly the best way of all,though.

    Liked by 5 people

  27. Leo, Your post will morph into an article within the next few days

    Like

  28. The WOBs that read the comments section must be furious. Considered logic and unconditional support are beyond them.

    Like

  29. Leo’s comment is now the new blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Finsbury @ 7:28pm – You are on a roll here. The AST spokesman has been keeping a low profile since his junket to Brazil last summer. Nobody seems to know how that was financed. Only recently the annual general meeting had as guest speaker some blooming French journalist pretending to be an ITK. Just another performer to keep the circus going. Now he has the temerity to complain he wasn’t invited to the Club’s general meeting with fans. R&W Holdings seems to be running out of usual idiots.

    Like

  31. wondering how Pierce Morgan’s name hasn’t come up, he’s been the sickest of the wobs.

    Like

  32. Top notch post, and, dare I say, even better comments. What’s even more stupid is that GG, whom the WOBs all heroize because they hate Arsene, went to Spurs.

    Like

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