62 Comments

Enjoy the Journey by Tempering Expectations.

Friday the 13th  felt different, and I hadn’t expected it to quite so much. I should have known better as I’d been aware that in the hunt for transfer news I was starting to refresh Twitter far too often over the past couple of weeks. But I wasn’t prepared to feel quite so jittery nervous all day, especially as it’s been a long long time since I’d battled match-day nerves of my own. I always felt it would be a tricky opener: newly promoted side buzzing, small stadium, the Arsenal worryingly lukewarm during pre-season. As one of my old coaches used to say when disaster loomed: ‘it’s got all the makings’. And so it proved with a disappointingly anodyne performance leading to a feeble 2 nil defeat. It wasn’t quite reach for the service revolver time, but I certainly made too much use of the whisky that night, and woke the next day saddened and wretched and not at all sure I wanted to carry on putting myself through all of this. What after all is the point of supporting a club that are not exactly down the road from me and which seem guaranteed these days to cause me pain?

Due to a long-standing promise to take my son to watch Reading’s first home game of the season I didn’t have long to stew in my juice, and it was fun to set off for a 3pm Saturday Kick off. I enjoyed walking down to the station, catching the train and then the bus to the stadium: it pleased me in some kind of atavistic way to see more and more home shirts mass at each stage of the journey, and all the more so for it being the first match anybody had been to for well over a year. There was real excitement in the air, and as we gathered outside the ground in front of the big screen showing Man U demolish Leeds, the time-honoured triplet of banter, beer and burgers seemed to announce that all was well in the world again. I wondered how many there had Reading as their first side, and for how many Reading were just their little bit on the side. And I wondered whether there would be any Preston North End fans, and if there were, how much it would have cost them to make their way to what used to be the Madejski but is now the Select Cars Stadium. And on that theme of cost I liked the fact that for me and my boy the travel and the tickets cost under £50. Would it be better after all to follow a local side again, as I used to back in the 70s, or does the proliferation of TV coverage and media interest now force the Premiership on us all?

It wasn’t a bad game at all, Reading scraping home 2-1 after missing a couple of easy chances that should have seen them home and hosed just after the interval. And yes, there must have been two or three hundred down from Lancashire, who supported magnificently throughout the game and who took, or seemed to take, the defeat with philosophical good humour. And that in turn made me think of what the coming season holds for all fans, and especially those who go to such lengths to follow their team. In a game of winners and losers what’s in it for the losers, and what defines loss? After all, and unless Olympic High Jump is your thing, only one side is going to win the Premier League, only one side going to win the cup. There are smaller prizes of course: Champions League places, Europa League, Promotion etc, but that still leaves an awful lot of sides and an awful lot of fans out in the cold and far from the podium. In August most fans are asked to consider what would make a successful season for our club: I wonder how many end up with their hopes rewarded? Precious few I think.

Certainly judging by the increasingly toxic social media storms that follow any defeat most supporters seem to be in a state of perpetual anger. I can only speak with any authority about the Arsenal (which is magnificently toxic at the moment) but I guess it is the same for most clubs, and especially so for those who have offered their allegiance to teams where the expectation is to win, and to win with style. If, Faustus like, you sell your soul to the devil then of course it’s hard to accept mediocrity and disappointment, and I wonder how many of the Arsenal fans who moan the loudest only began supporting the club when Thierry and Denis were in their pomp? What will Chelsea supporters feel like if they don’t go on to win the title this year, or Man Utd, or City, all of whom have bought shiny new toys. And what of Liverpool, with VVD no doubt ‘just like a new signing’? They are not all going to win, and writing that list and thinking of Spurs and Leicester too makes me realise that 5th or 6th place is probably the maximum that any fan could possibly hope for from Arsenal this year, and that even that is going to take quite some doing.

So what am I signing up for right now? Disappointment, despair and disillusion? Well probably yes, and obviously a classic case of the triumph of hope over experience, but there might be some good moments, some unexpected glories that are made all the better for their rarity. And, like those Preston fans I shall resolve to enjoy the journey, and take some refuge in being on board a bus full of fellow travellers who if they’ve any sense will secretly enjoy lapsing back into the old-fashioned supporter’s mindset of knowing deep down that their side is no better than they deserve – but that it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.

Now, about those new signings….

Tim​Head @foreverheady
35 Comments

Is Arteta Having A Nightmare, Or Is He The Mare?

Hello everyone and happy new season to you all.

On this podcast we discuss the poor opening game and muse on the reasons and any possible fixes. Wealso run a rule over new signings and their impact.

It’s certainly not the start I was hoping for but what can you do?

Pedantic George.

94 Comments

New Season and Hope Springs Eternal.

After a season, the disappointment of which has been understated in my view, Arsenal get a chance here for everything to start over again. Finishing with some promising form last season, but still only in 8th, & not only dropping out of the Europa League, but out of European football altogether. Here Arsenal get a chance to turn things around. A new page of the rebuild chapter, or Same Old Arsenal?
 Some fresh faces in Ben White from Brighton, Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht, & Nuno Tavares from Benfica – representing some honestly positive signings. The two from Belgium & Portugal very shrewdly made, and the newly England international an overpayment for an apparently very well specified need. All three could feature but we will likely see White & Lokonga both playing 90 each.
 Mikel Arteta splitting opinions, as all high-engagement topics do, is seemingly set on his 4231. Don’t be surprised to see him marshalling a double #6 midfield base, and a Kieran Tierney higher than anyone over the space of the pitch in our build-up phase. The aim – as it was before – will be to keep the ball, and keep it on the deck during the build-up, except with the added element of raked long balls being readily made across the pitch to “create superiorities” from new additions Ben White & Sambi Lokonga.
 The obstacle – a Brentford side fresh off a playoff promotion with Leeds ex-captain Janssen, & hot prospect danger-man the highly coveted Ivan Toney, still only given a less than 50% chance of taking any points at all by Scott Willis’ (@oh_that_crab) game simulation model – a 51.1% chance of a win for Arsenal’s redmen, & a small but significant 23.3% chance of a complete upset. But most importantly of all…

 Welcome back to the Barclays, ladies & gentlemen.

@LehmannsTerms_

17 Comments

Arteta gets Top 4 or the Boot?

Today we discuss what is a reasonable expectation for Arteta and “his” team

51 Comments

How To Become A Huge Arsenal Twitter Account In 11 Easy Steps

So if you have clicked on this site because you want to be a “big twitter account” and influencer, I’m convinced I can give you the equation.

The problem is that if you understand the game, have strong opinions that are not popular opinions, are a logical and critical thinker or want to tweet about social/political/religious subjects, becoming a big account is likely beyond you. However, if you are none of these things, I’ll try to give you a lift.

Step one is very simple and almost fool proof. Follow thousands of other Arsenal twitter accounts. And I mean thousands, 20,000 or so as quickly as possible, usually 50% of these accounts will follow you back. Now don’t worry about the ridiculous amount of tweets on your time line, you don’t have to read them and you can gradually unfollow them as the months go by and thin them right down so latter on it looks like you have a great ratio of follows to followers. This is an important status symbol latter on.

Step 2. Is to either keep a list or have a separate account that follows all the other big accounts , the ITK and all the sports journalists that tweet about Arsenal. You will need these accounts so you can repeat what they are saying to give the impression that you are across everything. Don’t forget to rewrite the tweets slightly so you can deny tweet theft. Make sure you go in hard with any transfer speculation, no matter how unlikely, or even if you’ve just made it up, a good tip is to put these in quotation marks, then you can say it was someone else that said it. Also post pictures of world class players with “bring him to the carpet” or something similar, maybe along the lines of “Messi, Yes or no?”

Step 3. There will always be someone doing a twitter poll on just about everything, keep an eye on these and never ever ever tweet against popular opinion. If opinion is split, stay away from the subject until it’s clear which way the tide is flowing.

Step 4. Always be positive about “the club”. You can tear into unpopular players and the owners, in fact this will help, but be positive about “the club”. Don’t worry that you haven’t a clue what “the club” consists of because neither do the idiots that will follow you.

Step 5. Never be critical of any of the fans. Probably the only exception to this rule is if any fans have racially abused a player, but be careful even then as you are straying into dangerous waters that could lose you more followers than you gain.

Step 6. Always post a tweet celebrating the birthdays and the anniversary of the day that Henry, Bergkamp , Vieira and Pires signed with a comment about them being the greatest whatever position they played in or being the greatest PL player ever. Don’t forget Tony Adams and call him “Mr. Arsenal”, that always goes down well. Never forget to include pictures.

Step 7. Do not be critical of an Arsenal legend, no matter how stupid they have been about the club or current players.

Step 8. Taunt other clubs mercilessly. Obviously Spurs should be your main target, their trophy cabinet is a banker and if you can squeeze our Gold PL trophy all the better.

Step 9. Ignore any people that know what you are up to. Under no circumstances get into a debate/argument with these people, they will be a lot smarter than you and expose you as a fraud. There is no need anyway because loads of your idiot followers will jump to your defence.

Step 10. Your avatar. Keep it simple, the club badge or a photo of a club legend.

Step 11. Do not comment on any social, political or religious goings on. Make every single tweet about Arsenal.

So that’s about it. Follow these rules and in a year or two you will have 50k+ followers and can feel very good about yourself without actually thinking or having a worthwhile opinion about anything. If you don’t believe me, skip through the time line of a big account.

Good luck.

Pedantic George,

64 Comments

The Changing Face Of Arsenal Support

Podcast: Personal stories and family recollections by Stephen Mills, a 3-generation Gooner, provide history lessons from  94 years of Arsenal Football Club. According to Mills there were difficult and glorious years but to quote him “It was fantastic to be an Arsenal fan.”

This is the audio version of the Uncensored Arsenal YouTube livestream of July 24th. For a full broadcast link the channel at YouTube_Uncensored Arsenal

35 Comments

Saka, The Victim Of Racism Or Hype?

In this podcast we try to make some sense out of senseless behaviour.

60 Comments

Is Xhaka being sold Madness?

Good day one and all.

In this podcast we consider how much of a loss Xhaka will be, his strengths, weaknesses and the stupidity of our fanbase.

If you want to watch on youtube , it can be found here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs2tcS42ZPw&ab_channel=UncensoredArsenal

91 Comments

Another Wenger man hits the road.

In this podcast we chat about Bould going, White coming and the end of Arsenal values.

176 Comments

Arsenal are 3rd best in PL! Don’t Laugh.

Morning all.

Today @shotta_gooner and I look briefly at the Brighton game before discussing where were stand, who and why we are standing 8th. What can be done, what might be done, who is best placed to do it? Despite the dire season Arteta looks safe, why?

Pedantic George.