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Unfortunately, Arsenal Are Becoming a 'Big Club'

Supporters of the idea that Arsenal are a big club have credible attributes to their theory. League Titles. The ‘Invincibles.’ World-Class players. A 60,000 seater stadium. Massive wage bill. Global audience. Typical attributes of a big club.

Opponents will point to the departures of Flamini and Hleb, the lack of trophies since 2004, a team policy built on youth, and no European cups, and say Arsenal are not a big club.

While the above connundrum would be interesting to delve into, there is another attribute that is not discussed above that to me is a big criterion for a big club, yet one I do not wish Arsenal to become acquainted with, and that is of a picky, demanding, plastic fanbase.

Arsene Wenger most definitely has not addressed certain issues he said he would correct: a replacement for Flamini, and a world-class defender. Our players at times have looked half arsed and disinterested, and we as fans have certainly suffered through our share of disappointments and lackadaisical performances. Our season, in all its infancy, has suffered a plethora of highs and lows.

Perhaps the most disturbing trend in our Club this year is the development of a faction of despicably fickle fans who jeer and taunt at every mis-kick. Indeed, with ticket prices high and wage bills comparatively higher, many fans have reason to be disgusted. As worrying as tepid team performances are, the development of this picky collection of fans is more worrying.

In my early footballing education, I noticed how quickly the Madridistas in the Bernabeu would turn on their players. I noted the calamitous circus-like manager merry-go-round at Barcelona, Liverpool, and Chelsea. I then harkened back to my favoured Arsenal, and epiphanized over the class, tradition, and stability on the part of both fans and faculty. I had pride in my club, and knew the fans believed in the team, and the team respected the fans.

Fast-forwarding to the present day, I think only of the fans who jump to criticize 30-goal Adebayor, a developing Denilson, and our most loyal servant, Toure, who seemingly has lost it. Even our great manager has ‘lost the plot.’ In times of political and/or economical stress, fans look for more tangible, relevant, and sometimes, geographically more accessible objects on which to take out frustration. That part of human nature can be understood.

However, in the tactical knowledge that Wenger was wrong in putting Eboue, who at best is a mid-table right midfielder, on at left-mid, a certain drop in performance can also be understood. Even more so when the fact that he has been out for 6 weeks is entered into the equation. As prodigiously paid as our players are, they nevertheless require emotional and psychological support from teammates and fans. While there is nothing wrong with voicing distaste for misplaced passing, there is something inheritently wrong with widespread, unabashed, uncensored booing with the sole aim of retribution. It is understandable and acceptable to boo an opposition player, such is today’s game. Nevertheless, booing a human who desires to perform best for his team is sickening and unacceptable.

I for one would like to follow these so-called ‘fans’ to their respective jobs on Monday morning, looking for one misdotted I or uncrossed T, and boo them roundly and provokingly. These kinds of fans have no understanding of the connection that should be made between fans and players. Instead, they seemingly rationalise that the booing of our own player will benefit the team in some unforeseen, nightmarishly-formulated way. Just how deep into the depths of ‘rationalisation’ these fans must delve is mysterious and, frankly, disturbing.

Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board, love them or hate them, have committed to a certain policy of running the Club. This policy was drafted with the ideas of class and tradition and fan support in mind. To unsettle our own team as on Saturday is to dare to upset the balance of the entire team. Make no mistake, the effects the players will feel from seeing one of their own booed with reckless abandon will sit on their collective psyches about as comfortably as drinking acid would sit on a stomach. To remove trust in the crowd and trust in fan support is to remove the relative shelter our players seek in our home games. The fans who have the temerity to blacken the eye of our club’s tradition and committment to class are the scum of the footballing world.

I fear Arsenal, with its spoiled fans, are indeed becoming a big club. This large faction of fickle and plastic fans is becoming more apparent and heard with each passing game. My deepest fear is that our fans will not have the ability to stop, and will turn our club into a laughing stock. Manchester United, Liverpool, and, god forbid, Chelsea, do not and have not and most likely will not boo their players with the blatant disregard of our fans on Saturday. I fear before too long our wonderful stadium will turn into a wasteland of pompous plastics who jeer and taunt at every opportunity, and turn our Club into a laughing stock. I call on all gooners, true gooners who know what real support is, to point these fans out during games and ridicule them to no end. I fear this is the only solution.

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ewan
ewan
11 years ago

Whilst I do not agree with the booing, I am afraid Wenger’s reaction will encourage more of such behaviour in future. The fans are frustrated with Wenger’s constant excuses and lies. This seem to be the only way to get his attention.

stormid
stormid
11 years ago

I call on all gooners, true gooners who know what real support is, to point these fans out during games and ridicule them to no end. I fear this is the only solution. Well said! I watched Madrid play this weekend. Their support is fickle, but atleast its there. They cheer just as loudly as they boo. You could hear the drums and the crowd roaring throughout even though they lost. But at Arsenal, its only negativity with no support in the first place. That is not a big club mentality! That is just morons without any class! You got… Read more »

Norseman
Norseman
11 years ago

one of the best articles i’ve read concerning arsenal!

Jimi
Jimi
11 years ago

I personally am not a fan of Eboue in midfield, for me he is a right back. However, I do not applaud the booing of Eboue, because I genuinely believe he does care about the club. Wilshire should have been given his chance, or even Vela as they are more accustomed to midfield and a lot more fitter. My other point is Bendtner, I’m really unsure as to whether he really has the potential to be a star player. I’m glad that Eduardo will be back as he really is the fox in the box. Against Burnley, Bendtner looked really… Read more »

anonymous
anonymous
11 years ago

I agree with everything up until the last paragraph. Sadly its not only our fans that our fickle, it was only last week that liverpool climbed to the top of the table and the whole of anfield was booing in unison. Its the mindset of the fans everywhere now.

Tom
Tom
11 years ago

Arsenal fan’s have always been like this, it’s just they havn’t had much to boo about for a while.
They have always picked on players, just ask Paul Vassen, peter marinello, Lee Chapman etc

Norseman
Norseman
11 years ago

people should realize that it is a world class winger we need. and a monster of a centre back!

peter
peter
11 years ago

“As worrying as tepid team performances are, the development of this picky collection of fans is more worrying” got your priorities wrong. also arsenal are in the top 10 most supported clubs in europe and are already a big club

chrissie greeno
chrissie greeno
11 years ago

Our support in the stadium has changed. original Londoners have moved out to the suburbs and beyond and been replaced by the middle classes and noveau riche. Some of these newcomers have jumped on the Arsenal bandwagon through a decade of success and have grown to demand this to continue. I’m sorry but there are plenty of other clubs that are vying for the same successes and not everyone can win. Arsenal are and have always been a great club however it has been (and will continue to be)a roller coaster ride of highs and lows. I suggest that you… Read more »

aqqe
aqqe
11 years ago

I agree with what you’re saying about the fans, although I do feel that putting Eboue on for Nasri was the right decision. Everyone just assumes that Wilshere, Ramsey and Vela are more comfortable on the left than Eboue is. True, Vela played left wing while on loan at Osasuna but their style of play is way different. If anyone else than Eboue had come on for Nasri that would’ve been a complete mistake, a dangerous mistake even; what would’ve happened to Wilshere, or someone of his stature, if they had been on the receiving end of a tackle similar… Read more »

stormid
stormid
11 years ago

@Tom
Makes more sense. The new breed of fans is not the problem. This cancer has been with the club even before Wenger took over.

I for one wish we get more of the new breed of cosmopolitan modern Arsenal fans and less of the vindictive petty crowd who take more pleasure in booing s*@% like Ashley Cole then Arsenal scoring a beautiful goal!

But that wont happen as long as these bastards who LOVE to whinge keep buying and blocking season tickets.

Ramgun
Ramgun
11 years ago

I despise the people who boo. It is only destructive.
The decision to use a reserve right-back on the left-wing against opponents who were outclassed by, among others, Vela and Wilshere was absolute bloody madness.
I saw virtually every game Peter Marinello ever played for us and he was always very popular and was never once booed. He might have taken some stick playing for Fulham later on in his career.

Rock of Gilberto
Rock of Gilberto
11 years ago

Stormid, I think you may be a bit confused. It seems to me that this “new breed of cosmopolitan modern Arsenal fans” are exactly the people who are doing the booing… a bunch of plastics. The cost of a ticket to an Arsenal match, let alone a season ticket, has priced out many of the old Highbury crowd, to be replaced by these entitled johnny-come-lately fans, by whom disappointment will not be tolerated. So I feel a share of the blame goes to the club itself. I am definitely no fan of Eboue’s, I think he’s a disgrace and spends… Read more »

Rock of Gilberto
Rock of Gilberto
11 years ago

Also, John Samuels was booed unmercifully by the crowds, and eventually handed in a transfer request because of it.

Billygallas
Billygallas
11 years ago

great article. I knew with the move to the emirates the fake fans would start to appear(Glory supporters who know nothing about our history) factor would disrupt support. Eboue is a vital player and nobody seems to remember when he was part of the back four that got us to the champions league final. I was at the Final in Paris and at that time Ronaldinho was the Messi of today ‘UNPLAYABLE’ yet Eboue cleaned him. He did nothing for Barca that night. He is a class player and i hope when he scores next at Emirates those so called… Read more »

Gooner77
Gooner77
11 years ago

I don’t think you can lay the blame of the boo boys solely at the feet of the ‘nouveau, middle class Arsenal supporters’. Sure these supporters don’t create a lot of atmosphere but to label with the blame is simply a convenient way of turning the hate onto them. Working class, middle class, black, white or asian (and we have all of that at Arsenal which is to our credit), al are capable of behaving like morons and there has always been that aspect. Anyone remember Gus Caeser? Anyway it’s down to a lot of reasons, but I hate mob… Read more »

chris
chris
11 years ago

people keep saying..how anyone thinks that booing our own players will benefit the team..but its clear the idiots that were booing were clearly not thinking at all, especially not about consequences

stormid
stormid
11 years ago

The best thing about this crisis is it has shook the sane fans out of their reverie.

If the level headed fans stay silent, the morons will run riot like what happened at the weekend.

Gooner77
Gooner77
11 years ago

Chris, you’re right, they don’t think. Really all it shows is that they feel that Eboue(or any other player that gets this treatment) is of not worthy of any respect as a human being whatsoever and because they have paid (a lot of )money feel they have the right to treat him like a piece of dirt. Sad but that’s the reality.:(

Cade Robets
Cade Robets
11 years ago

Comment 7. Peter

Obviously, on-field performances are the most important. However, the latter stages of my article at least tried to make the connection between a negative atmosphere and bad performances. If we remove the sense of safety and confidence from our home ground, our performances will drop. I tried to make that distinction. Whether the confusion was my fault or yours is neither clear nor important afaic.

eie
eie
11 years ago

Fuck the booing, how have we gone from being the invicibles to this shower of shite in the space of 4 years. Wenger is the one who signed these players and the it is patently obvious that quite a few of them are not up to scratch. The jeering/booing is more like the frustrations of the regular supporters at the inept performances of players who look like they can’t be arsed unless they are playing a glamour team.

to hell with you
to hell with you
11 years ago

@21: maybe it’s ‘regular supporters’ like you who are the reason the players can’t be arsed. Playing Chelsea means something to them beyond the fans’ reactions. I certainly wouldn’t bother playing well if it was to please people like you. And considering that seems to be what’s in the stands, the only fans of the millions worldwide that the players can see…

Well, I can’t blame them if they move on. It’s not just going to be Eboue. I can’t imagine Cesc resisting his boyhood hero with the Emirates fans in his mind.

spaz
spaz
11 years ago

sorry, cant agree. every club has its demanding fans, man u, chelsea, liverpool. they all do. i am annoyed and frustrated that we have gathered booers since istanbul. every clubs has them in hard times. arsenals prowess in the champions league last year makes them a big club. something that aston villa, if they do end up pipping you to fourth, cant take away, because they havent impacted on the champions league for a very, very long time. people say that hleb and flamini leaving made arsenal not a big club. imo, they left because of either bad airs in… Read more »

BriceCoffer
BriceCoffer
11 years ago

Brilliant article Cade, but next time try to get your priorities straight, okay? Lol 😉

Flex
Flex
11 years ago

Very well written piece. I agree whole heartedly.

jay
jay
11 years ago

the lack of trophies since 2004

We won The FA cup in 2005. It’s been awhile either way, though…

HighburyJD
HighburyJD
11 years ago

if we’d actually had songs about flamini or hleb they might have stayed…

The Law
The Law
11 years ago

It is no secret that our players prefer to play away from home where they get more vocal support, than at home where 59,000 home fans act like the Roman mob come to watch gladiators at the Colisseum. I’ve never been to the Emirates because I live a few thousand miles away (but give me time) and I’m confined to watching our games on TV, but by God, if our own fans are going to start booing our players for having bad games, then we may as well rename all home games “neutral” and have done with it. Yes, the… Read more »

Loz
Loz
11 years ago

P.S. Hence Wenger’s pathetic lies RE player injuries when there’s clearly nothing wrong with them, he just wants to blood some more 12 year olds who have no future, i.e. Mark Randall. What he does at London Colney has no relevance to the quality and manner of his play on the pitch at the Emirates, or on away grounds like Turf Moor. The man’s just far too naive for this league, he’s cruising for a bruising. Spurs will give us a jolly good seeing to at White Hart Lane when we play them later in the season and then, hopefully,… Read more »

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