Wicked hope

There it is again, that wicked hope. Arsenal beat Man U on the day that Liverpool stuttered to a draw and suddenly there it is again, the hope that we might finish in the top four. To finish in the Champions League places would in turn give us hope over the transfer market this summer.

I’ve long thought of a top four finish as a league of its own and finishing below fourth as a sort of relegation. This has been an infernal season for Arsenal and I wonder. If Arsenal finish in the top four and win the FA Cup, both of which are huge asks, would we have had a successful season?



  1. it’d be tough to give arsenal credit for having a successful season. the idea is for arsenal to be a top team in world football. top teams simply don’t lose 10-2 on aggregate in the champions league, regardless of who the opponent is. when was the last time real madrid or fc bayern lost like that? is being out of the title race before christmas considered successful? anyone can win a one-off game so that could be the fa cup. liverpool and man city are awfully inconsistent so there’s no quantifiable success in finishing above them. the cynic in me says no way has this been a successful season.

  2. Finishing in the CL places and the FA cup win over Chelsea would constitute a successful season.
    Let’s face it, top four is Wenger’s ceiling while winning the league is beyond him, as is the CL . Beating City in the semis and Chelsea in the final would make this FA cup win more important than tha Villa win for example.

  3. I thing Top 4 and the FA Cup would be a successful season based on where we stand in the Premier League pecking order.

    I think it’s also possible to be frustrated by our style of play (or lack thereof) for another consecutive year and be disappointed by how early we dropped out of the title race.

  4. I think top 4 and FA Cup will be status quo, where the club maintains its minimum standards. Successful season, I don’t think so, merely keeping up what we have been achieving Rather than progressing. We still need a new manager, a new voice as Lee Dixon said yesterday. I think we need that in order to actually win the title or improve in the Champions League. But let’s get there first. Neither top 4 nor the FA cup are guaranteed. But the hope is definitely back again. I think playing every 3-4 days from here on should help keep the team focused and determined. No time to relax now.

  5. I don’t know about successful but it would go a long way in restoring some confidence and pride. We are coming out of a very, very difficult period for the club but I don’t think a single supporter can yet confidently say that we have turned a corner. Maybe a FA cup and a top-4 finish will have fans believing that we have, at least, found a way to play without Cazorla.

    I don’t want to spoil the win over Utd yesterday but they looked like a side that has given up on the league. I do think the score line was fair because they showed as much ambition as clubs like Middlesborough when they come to play at the Emirates. Xhakha and Ramsey had very little pressure on them and while this game will do good for their confidence, it was a very different test than the ones they will usually face against a quality side.

    I think a top-4 finish will salvage the season while winning the FA cup will restore some pride but it’s impossible for me to think of this season as “successful” given what we have just endured in the last 3 or 4 months.

  6. Beating Chelsea and winning the FA Cup would obviously be a success, and well worth celebrating. I don’t think you could call this a successful season though – our ambition is to be competitive in the league and in the CL, and we have been so far off the pace in both. Quantitatively, squeezing in to 4th 18 points behind is not successful by our standards; and qualitatively our lows have been pretty low this year.

    By the way, I don’t see it. We can overhaul Utd, that’s in our hands, but we would have to be pretty lucky to catch Liverpool and/or City. My guess is we will drop more points, probably at Southampton. Let’s see where we are on the last day.

  7. Perhaps the question would be even better if it only contained just one of those two. This way, given how disastrous has been the season, I believe most people could be influenced by the bad and a double “achievement” like this would be considered a success.
    And that’s why for me it’s a success as well, only I honestly believe neither will happen.

    1. We could creep into the top four just because Liverpool are so flakey. But it would take a huge slice of luck to beat Chelsea in the FA Cup final. Even if we did beat them I don’t see this team under Wenger having the consistency to win the league next year. I’d be very happy to eat my words but I’m not holding my breath.

      1. I would have to ask the question ‘Do I consider the last ten seasons to have been a success’?’ On the whole I would say ‘no’. It has been a period of transition, sure, but also one of underachievement. Change is needed.

  8. I guess anyone saying no would have to validate their expectations, right? Should we have challenged for the title? Id have expected united to have done a little better. Not much, but enough to put them further out of touch leaving us stranded on our own between them and everton. Not a huge difference except its more visual when you look at the table. Amd we’re very visual entities. It would have seemed worse.

    Anyway. Id have liked arsenal to do better, but i dont really know why i should have expected them too.

  9. Successful?
    Based on our preseason goals? Not by a long shot.

    Based on how I felt after Cazorla went down? Again, no. Though I was concerned then, now I can see how much that hamstrung us.

    Based on where we we’ve been for the past couple of months? Out of the title race, completely adrift and the top 4 out of sight? Of course it’s a success to right the ship. You can only win the games you have left. If we did manage to squeak into the top 4 and beat the Premier League champs in the cup it would be a huge success.

    Look at it this way. If we’d fired Arsene after the Crystal Palace massacre, would you consider the new manager a success? Losing the NLD hurts, but wins against City, United and Leicester are encouraging. Win the FA cup and you’d definitely give him a full season.

    Arsene has the weight of the past on him. So he won’t get the full benefit of the recent run of success and maybe that’s fair. But he certainly deserves some credit.

    1. Based also on the fact that our two best players are looking at this season and thinking they might not want to stick around…

      I think Ozil might stay. Sanchez? I think he’s done.

  10. Calling it a successful season might be a stretch. Getting the minimum of the season target more inclined with relieved than successful.

    On another note, I’m surprised that Ramsey got the Man of the Match reward for yesterday games. I read Tim’s By the Number first, than other news and I have to read BTN again when I knew who the MOM was. I get that he get a few good chances but he doesn’t stand out that much. The numbers also back that up.

    I, too also read that Allain Maximin is called up to the French squad for the tournament in South Korea. Will be interested on how good he will be. Tim choice on prospect that one to watch, might have a good tournament.

  11. No.

    We have clearly regressed despite having arguably the deepest squad in the Premier League. We lost footing in the Premier League and went out again in the CL in humiliating fashion no less.

    I’ve lately come to the conclusion that, if we win the FA Cup, Wenger will step down. That’s why he’s being obtuse on answering questions about his future and now pushing off an April announcement. If that happens the season will have been a success for that main reason; we’ll have finally turned the page.

    1. He won’t stand down. He will see an FA Cup win over Chelsea as validation to renew his contract.

  12. Neither will happen, but for the sake of a thought experiment…no, I wouldn’t call it a successful season. It would feel like we got away with murder…but there’s still the fact that there was, you know, a murder. And this year’s crime was losing games consistently for about two months. That’s inexcusable for a team with Arsenal’s expectations and (what I thought were) ambitions.

    It was the same flaw we’ve seen every season (the mid-winter mental breakdown), only this time magnified. I would add that this season is different also because it’s the first time in over 20 years that our bitter rivals finished above us…and not just “above,” miles above. You may not care about this, but a lot of Arsenal fans do.

    1. I’ve always considered myself aspirational. I don’t think of my rivals as a team that has finished below my team for 20 years! I understand that living in London things are different and I’ve met people there with divided loyalty within a single family so I get that Arsenal people hate Tottenham. I also think people can understand that my rivals have been Chelsea and Man U because those are the two teams that I saw Arsenal as competing against for the League title and the two sets of fans that I’ve had to have the most (negative) interactions with.

      That said Tottenham have actually become rivals these last two to four years and especially this year when they will finish above us. Arsenal should make it our goal to beat them and be better than them again. I also think that we as a club need to be looking up, much much further up, than we are. We should consider ourselves rivals for Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Juventus and should be building a team that competes with those clubs. But we are so far below those teams that for me to mention them as my rivals is as comical as a Spurs supporter (from 10 years ago) mentioning Arsenal as a rival.

  13. Here’s a thought experiment for ya… if the principle owner of each of the top 7 teams had all their assets frozen tomorrow, which team would go into a tail-spin, and which would continue on, reasonably unscathed (or, at least, as unscathed as one could reasonably expect)?

  14. Shortest blog ever, take 2. What gives, Tim?

    It seems I’m the only one who’s sick of talking about the meaning of success for this club. Personally I think it’s daft to repeat the things I’ve said 100 times on 100 prior blogs, but that’s not stopping many of you.

    Instead of that kind of existential navel gazing, can we please talk about the actual friggin sport?

    1. And yet it seems you don’t think it’s daft to act like a self-congratulatory prig 100 times on 100 prior blogs.

      1. I love you too, man. We should go out for drinks sometime. I think we’re more alike than you’re going to be willing to admit on a public forum.

      2. On a serious note though, I’d love to hear you actually discussing football sometimes rather than just turning your nose up at everything Arsenal because “ew, it’s Wenger” or “yuck, it’s Kroenke” etc etc (I’m paraphrasing, obv).

      3. Unnecessary Bunburyist. Dr Gooner isn’t a troll. He just disagrees with you. One of the things I love about this blog is the commentariat. You have always stood out as erudite and witty.

        Can’t we all just get along?*

        *For the youth and the non-Americans here’s the reference.

        Watching it again, I’m struck by his decency.

        1. I agree. He isn’t a troll. He is a prig, and I use that word very deliberately.

          Dr. Gooner’s behavior here often resembles that of a petulant schoolgirl at a slumber party who, after listening impatiently to her friends converse, finally blurts, “I’m tired of talking about what you want to talk about…let’s talk about what *I* want to talk about. Do any of you think Greg Yanicky’s thighs are waaaaay too big?” paraphrase obv

          Isn’t that right, ol’ buddy?!

          1. I think you’ve got me nailed on! Couldn’t have described my posts better than that tbh. That’s right, I’m taking the high road, baby. Now you hate me even more. Excellent… I still think we should go out for craft beers.

          2. Wrong! The correct response is: “How is it, Bunburyist, that you are familiar with the customs and vocal register of a schoolgirl’s slumber party?”

    2. I understand your frustration. These last two years as an Arsenal supporter have been very hard but I don’t appreciate you taking out your frustrations with the Arsenal on me and the 100% free content that I provide for you. If I want to write a 2-word blog, I can, will, and have.

      I have been writing about Arsenal non-stop nearly daily for almost 10 years and I spend about 4 hours per day, 365 days a year doing this. For remuneration I receive about $280 a month. So, I earn about $2.33 per hour.

      What article would you prefer that I deliver for you? How much are you willing to pay for this custom content? You wanted something positive perhaps? A piece on how great Ramsey is? Or maybe on Ozil? I will gladly create this content for you for the low low price of $35 per hour. I expect that it will take me 4 hours to research and write that article. So, $140 in advance. Thanks!


      1. The top line was intended specifically for you, the rest was for the entire group; hence the spacing. My frustration isn’t with you at all, or the (100% free) content you provide, it’s generally with the Arsenal following who are more concerned with how they’ve been wronged by the club in various ways than with anything else. I have little patience for that kind of precious self-victimization. (I’m oh so sorry to everyone who’s had to endure watching a good team play mediocre football this season, that must’ve been awful and the club should apologize to you for subjecting yourself to it, because you clearly had no choice in the matter, etc.)

        I do think you’re capable of producing top notch content and someone should probably be paying you for it. As a token of my appreciation for your work, I will donate to you now. However, it’s up to you to find funding for your work and to decide in what capacity to continue your work. If you choose to publish freely and without ads, that’s great, and I’m appreciative of it, but don’t hold that against me or anyone else if I’m cross with something you say.

        1. I don’t understand this comment at all. “Arsenal following who are more concerned with how they’ve been wronged by the club in various ways” . Are you referring to fans who’ve been rightly frustrated with the way things have turned out after paying some of the highest ticket prices in the country? Fans who spend hundreds of dollars on merchandise every season to support the club only? Fans who tune in every week on various sports channels all over the world which gives Sky the advertising revenue to be able to pay millions of pounds to our club? Are those fans that you are referring to by your facetious remark?

          I don’t expect an apology for the club (although in some ways the club already has apologized through the players and the manager) but it’s incredibly insensitive to think fans can easily disassociate themselves from the club because they have a choice to do so. Arsenal has been a huge part of our lives for decades (for some), and fans have every right to feel aggrieved. It’s not like the club is listening to the fans so if a part of the “healing process” entails coming to 7amkickoff.com and letting out the frustration, it’s completely natural.

          1. Missed an entire sentence there. Meant to write “Fans who spend hundreds of dollars on merchandise every season to support the club only to see the club fail at reaching the goal they have set season after season?”

          2. The club is most definitely listening. They just don’t agree with what they are being told. And I, for one, am certain that the fan negativity has affected results too (Yes, I’m ‘blaming’ the fans in that they haven’t helped the team’s cause.)

            As for the ticket prices, merchandise etc. You get what you pay for. A seat to sit in and watch football matches. A shirt/scarf/keychain to own. They promise you nothing else, and you have a choice on whether you still spend your money on it.

          3. NYC: if you’re offended by my comment then I most definitely mean you. Entitlement and whininess are not endearing traits in sports or anywhere for that matter. Disassociation is not the word I used; self-vicitmization was. There is a big difference.

          4. Look, the fact is that we are consumers of a product. The Arsenal is something I buy with my time. If the Arsenal product isn’t up to my liking, I’m going to complain about it. And I’m going to complain loudly because unlike any other product in the world I can’t really just switch. I can’t even really stop consuming it. If Arsenal were a cola it’s Pepsi Clear and I only drink Pepsi. So, right now, I’m stuck drinking Pepsi Clear and I’m not happy about it. I want old Pepsi back.

            People complain in order to effect change. For example, right now you’re complaining about people complaining because you want us all to stop complaining and just drink the Pepsi Clear. You’re totally free to enjoy Pepsi Clear. I’m glad you like it or that you don’t think it’s so bad. I fucking hate it. Stop telling me not to hate it.

        2. Blog writer: What would you consider a success for Arsenal? Discuss!

          Dr. Gooner: I think it’s only daft navel-gazers who want to talk about what is considered success for Arsenal.

          Blog writer: Please don’t take your frustrations out on me.

          Dr. Gooner: I didn’t mean you.

          Bizarre from Dr. Gooner. Sad!

        3. “When you’re talking about Arsenal, you are talking about competing for titles” — Thierry Henry, post-match, on Sunday.

          Perfect distillation of the fans’ feelings, from a club legend. Thierry gets it. Thierry knows that, given thet we witness similar, recurring stumbles and failures every year, we’re not being ungrateful or unreasonable.

  15. I’m genuinely surprised how used to and bored with trophies fans have become after so many years craving any type of silverware at all.

    1. There is a fierce determination about sports fans of all stripes when discussing their chosen team. It’s almost like a big brother to little brother complex, except somehow the fan ends up as the big brother. Big bro calls little bro all sorts of names, talks down to him, points out rightly or wrongly (it hardly matters) everything little bro does wrong. Ironically though, the fan doesn’t hold him/herself to any of the same standards he/she expects of the sports team. Ruthless ambition? Relentless pursuit of greatness? Consistent, high level effort day in, day out, week in, week out? Spending vast amounts of money without guarantee of return? Yeah, none of us do that.

      Why do we expect such things of our sports teams and favorite athletes when we don’t expect them from ourselves? And when the sports team doesn’t deliver, why do we make ourselves the victim of their failure when we had nothing to do with it? Is it the pursuit of the reflected glory that comes from sporting (pun intended) paraphenelia from victorious teams and players? Maybe it’s the “oneupmanship” that comes from being a sports fan in an increasingly globalized community. We don’t want to seem softer or less concerned with victory than rival fans, whose opinions are revealed to us en-mass and in instant speed with the advent of social media. We don’t want to be accused of not having great ambitions because maybe that means that we tacitly admit that our team is not as good as theirs. Maybe we want to be regarded as truly “serious” fans, not just some hokey chaps that go to games purely for enjoyment; such types clearly aren’t truly committed to the cause. We need to be taken seriously. And for that, we need to have serious expectations.

      So you see Jeremy, the FA cup is just not a serious enough trophy for the serious fans of a serious club. We are all so serious about our commitment to winning that winning just isn’t that fun anymore.

      1. As regards your point on talking about the actual sport. I posted a theory yesterday (not my own) that Spurs’ results suffer on larger pitches. I thought that could be an interesting starting point to talk about their style of play (which was praised on the blog a few days ago), and the effects of pitch size (and not just grass length) on the game. But no one seemed interested in that. Only to talk about whether Spurs succeeded/failed, and how Arsenal still failed (paraphrasing)

        Must say I was disappointed, but it’s not like I take it personally or demand it must be so. If people would rather talk about all the stuff surrounding the actual football, that’s up to them. But I know what you mean and (at least occasionally) share your frustration.

        1. Same here. People want to talk about their feelings, not football. They’ll come around again after they’ve been deprived of it for a few months. Part of the problem is over-saturation and frankly, boredom with football in general. That Arsenal v. Man United game was the most stale of said vintage that I’ve ever seen.

          1. Seems like you’ve spent all of today talking about your feelings, Doc. About what you feel like talking about. About how you feel when others talk about Arsenal in a way you don’t like. About how it upsets you so the way certain people (“NOT YOU TIM! [but yes you Tim]”) want to talk about the club. You’re all about the feelings. And over-saturation.

        2. no one here wants to talk about spurs and how they play on a bigger pitch compared to a smaller pitch because no one here cares what spurs are doing. i appreciate your theory but i simply couldn’t be bothered.

        3. Shard, I didn’t see your comment, but I think it’s an interesting theory, and it’s comments like yours that I most enjoy discussing (though I also like the odd navel-gazing moan about the Arsenal, obviously).

          Here’s my theory about Spurs (not in conflict with your own): their style is about 95% dependent upon tactical fouling. If this were punished as it ought to be, they would become dramatically less effective (this is not to say that they would suck, since, obviously, incredible organized intensity goes along with all the tactical fouling, and intensity helps a team win football matches).

          1. I agree with that. For some reason Spurs’ dirty play isn’t punished, nor even acknowledged as such. All the same, there are some things they do well. I haven’t watched too much of them (I tend to watch less of the EPL these days) but based on their passing stats, they seem to do a good job keeping possession while also mixing it up with long passes.

        4. The market has spoken, Shard. Just as the old thumbs-up, thumbs-down votes on 7am did did.It does not become an attractive talking point simply because you want to change the subject. Hint: write something truly interesting and engaging. Heck, it might work.

          Guys on social media or discussion threads who call a discussion unnecessary then exhaustively comment on it always amuse me.

        5. Shard, the small/ large pitch issue isn’t new and it’s been discussed at length when Arsenal used Wembley pitch for their CL games in 1998-2000.

  16. It’s an interesting contrast between young and old. The former as represented by Son-of-1-Nil: always effervescent, always happy to see us turn over a rival, always willing and ready to hope for the best, no matter the time of season or circumstances.

    The latter of course is 1-Nil himself, your truly. A tired, wrecked cynic of a Gooner, bemoaning and lamenting anything and everything that’s red and white yet always there despite the frustration.

    Sometimes it’s the kids that pull us through. the ones you’ve invested your heart and soul and many waking and non-waking hours into being the kind of kid to pull your old man through tough times even if the happen to be insignificant sporting times.

    “C’mon Dad! Our guy beat their guy. Be happy.”

    For all weather-beaten fans such as myself, I’ll have me some of that. Thanks, son.

  17. The FA Cup, the storied old competition. That all the big clubs still take seriously (Only in 2008 were two little clubs in the final – Portsmouth and Aaron Ramsey’s Cardiff) Why is that actual trophy so devalued by Arsenal fans? Anyone can win it apparently. True, and yet not everyone does. And Wenger has won more of them than anybody (a record breaking 7 if he wins it again, and a record breaking 13th for Arsenal)

    I remember in 2005 when we won the FA Cup but lost the league, there was a comment on BBC 606 where a guy seemed angry that Arsenal had failed by winning ONLY the FA Cup, and he was laughed out of the room.

    Fast forward to 2017, and it is not only ok, but virtually essential that we look down upon this trophy, particularly if Arsenal wins it.

    So yeah, an FA Cup win would make it a successful season. A Top 4 finish would make it even better.

    But success doesn’t mean that’s the level of your ambition. You can want, even expect, more and still be happy about what (level of success) you achieved. No?

    1. How is this season ANYTHING like the 2005 season when we still had some of the best players in our history and were at the height of wengerball?

      1. NYC, I googled that for you: 1) we went to an FA cup final 2) we were knocked out of the CL by Bayern 3) The season fishtailed after October, but they ended the season strongly 4) We weren’t secure defensively 5) Chelsea won the league 6) Speculation was rife about our best players leaving 7) Mourinho was still an epic d*ck

        1. Chelsea wining the league both those seasons means f**k all to the conversation. We lost what? 4-2 or 3-2 to Bayern over two legs back then? And I remember our 1 nil victory with Henry scoring (or was it a draw? My memory is fading these days). We were humiliated 10-2 this season. Sorry, not even close. Not being defensively secure has been a running theme for over a decade now, so scratch that one out too. And btw, we weren’t on a 12 year title draught going to 2015.

          Really the only thing similar is that we will make to the final in both seasons but what does that mean really? Didn’t Portsmouth get relegated the same year they won the FA cup? Would you guys consider it a successful season if we did the same? I think you guys a putting too much stock in a cup competition. It should never be used as a measuring stick for success. Winning it is nice, but in actuality it tells you very little about how much progress you have made.

          1. Neither necessarily, is winning the title (Leicester’s progress as a club went away lickety spit)

            Actually, consistency is probably the best barometer of a club’s true progress, rather than winning or challenging for a bit and then falling away, but since winning is the ultimate in sports, that gets ignored.

            But anyway. Why should it matter that we are in a ‘title drought’ (new narrative) and are worse now? If anything shouldn’t that make winning the FA Cup an even better season than back in 2005?

    2. Ah, 606. I joined in 2006, and was a faithful (read obsessive) contributor until I got banned for posting carrot muffin recipes in response to every trolling article. Not on topic, you see. The mods had a point. They were also overworked (because of people like me), which eventually led to the site’s shutdown. There are legends that revolve around that old, abandoned place…helm’s deep, for example.

  18. Dr. Gooner,

    I don’t personally take offense to what you said but you and Shard pretending that football is just some kind of an economic transaction is ridiculous to say the least. You are writing off fans who have dedicated most of their lives supporting the club as people who feel victimized. You are talking as if the fans are coming on here and asking themselves why the club is treating them so poorly. Why can’t fans are voice their opinion and frustration at the club without being painted as having a victim mentality? Whether their opinions are right or wrong can be debated. What isn’t refutable is the performance on the pitch. The way I see it – fans voicing their grievances is not just a right, it’s an absolute necessity. It might be just a only source of accountability that’s left in this club.

    1. I appreciate that, NYC, the first mature response of the day to my comment which was admittedly intended to maybe lightly ruffle a few feathers. And so it has!

      You speak of accountability. That must be a two way street, or it doesn’t exist. You believe the club is accountable to you, the loyal fan, for continuing to provide a product you can enjoy. Strictly speaking though, they don’t owe you anything (in reality, they are investing just enough to make it interesting). You, in turn, are accountable to the club to behave a certain way when you’re on the ground and, I would argue, off it too. Strictly speaking though, you don’t owe them anything either. So there is actually no accountability in either direction because it cannot be enforced in either direction, not really. While you may have all sorts of emotional investment in following the club, it’s the same as if you had emotional investment in shopping at Walmart. They love you for it, but if you start to complain that Walmart isn’t being run the way you think it should be run, well, they don’t have to listen to you do they? They’re going to do what their expert consultants and analysts recommend they do. And if you were in their shoes, you’d do the same. That’s the bare bones reality of the situation.

      Now, you, the loyal Walmart customer, realizing you and your support doesn’t really matter to the Walmart brass, because they are rapidly expanding in bigger markets abroad, try to organize grass roots protests against the big bad wolves who run the show. Except you find that most of your neighbors actually like shopping there because it’s cheap and convenient and they’re used to it. Your protests end up being so small that you look like a sideshow with a screw loose (that’s the Wenger Out crowd right now).

      So you get angry. You blog, you tweet and you find people just like you who agree with what you have to say. Eventually you realize nothing you do will make a damn bit of difference in how a multi billion corporation is run and you start to feel sorry for yourself. You think: How can it be after all my years of loyal support that I matter this little? I feel so neglected when all I want is to be loved by the club I love.

      The truth is, you’ve never mattered to the club as more than the tiniest blip on the quarterly financial reports. It’s big business and you’re either consuming it or you’re not. The rest is make believe. If you have an emotional attachment to Arsenal, it’s up to you to make sure it’s a nice one. Not this club, nor any other, will regard you as a partner for things like accountability. If you let that bother you, then you’re taking capitalism personally.

      What I’m saying to you is: pick your battles. This is not one you’re going to win. If you want to make a difference in the world, start in your local community. Plant some flowers, paint a parking lot. Then go to your local pub, have a pint of Guiness, watch the premier league, wear an Ozil kit, get slightly sloshed, jump around when a goal goes in, and pretend to be British for a day. Then go home and get back to real life. That’s what football is for: a pleasant diversion.

      1. Are you doing an irony?

        Because it’s weird that you don’t like us complaining about Arsenal but you complained about my writing about Arsenal. I mean, it’s weird to me. But then I don’t like Pepsi Clear.

      2. “If you have an emotional attachment to Arsenal, it’s up to you to make sure it’s a nice one.”


        As opposed to the attachment held by Dr. Gooner, which manifests itself in earnest and lengthy sermonizing on the pillar of true fandom, namely to keep football a pleasant diversion, a practice which means you have a bit of fun watching games, after which you get back to real life.

        Strangely, there is plenty of evidence here and elsewhere that Dr. Gooner does the precise opposite, since he spends quite a bit of time after each match sermonizing on the pillar of true fandom, namely, etc.

      3. This whole comparison with Walmart is a very superficial way of looking at the relationship between a club and its fan. For starters, no one’s emotionally invested in Walmart like they are in their football club. But, let’s assume that you really LOVE that blender you bought from there and you are willing to pay for a new blender every week because that’s just how you fu**ing roll. If you, for some reason, you bought a defected blender last week, you can just go return and exchange it for a new one. And believe me, they will make sure you are happy with their blender because you are the only nut case buying a new blender every week. If they don’t, you will just show them the middle finger, google the blender online and just start buying it from amazon.

        This isn’t the case with football. You can’t just exchange or return it. You are emotionally invested in it and stuck with it through thick and thin. It’s almost like – a wife! Literally the only avenue you have is to complain about it when things aren’t going right.

        I agree you have to pick your battles (and guess what? You gotta do that with your wife too!). But I don’t think you should underestimate the voice of the fans. Because it’s that voice that lets the people in charge know that they are not doing their job. Even if they are only interested in making money, they will have to pay attention because at SOME point, people will stop buying what they are selling (DIVORCE!)

    2. nycgunner

      What makes you say the club has no accountability? Just that you disagree with them about who should be held accountable (read fired) for what? Mob rule isn’t known for its exacting standards in judging roles and accountability.

      I’m saying precisely the opposite of it being an economic transaction. You’re the one who brought up ticket prices or merchandise costs. Me? I think what makes you a fan has nothing to do with giving the club your money. Stan Kroenke can point to the hundreds of millions he has spent on Arsenal too.

      Fans are custodians of the club. By maintaining its ethos, its legends and stories, its sense of belonging. That’s what makes it their club. Not the fact that they can demand things from the owner/manager.

      But fans don’t see themselves as in it together anymore. They pit themselves against the club.

      So why I disagree with these fans on this score? I don’t think our ethos or existence is being threatened by the owners (and definitely not by the manager) It’s basically about results. And if that is enough to make you feel disenfranchised, well..I guess I don’t have what it takes to be a real fan. I think..If you are going to create an atmosphere of revolution, which is what all these protests really seem to be about now, you are saying you are ready to burn the whole thing down and start again. (Some of us don’t want Arsenal to burn in the fire of some fans’ frustrations)

      At what point do you think the protests are a)futile and b)counter-productive? Or is it not about being heard, but simply about having your way?

      If you really are so disenfranchised, so many, and so ready to spend money on ‘your’ club, why not be like those Newton Heath fans who actually started their own club, and show Kroenke how it’s done?

      1. Fans buy merchandise from club, not out of necessity, but out of endearment. It’s so that fans feel like they are a part of something bigger, a collective. As a part of being a collective, you want progress, you want glory, you want to be a part of history and pass on your stories of the club legends you saw to your children and so on. There is really one thing that really achieves all of that – and that’s winning. Sometimes you don’t even have to win but just showing the desire and putting it all out on the pitch is enough to build on. I don’t know I can honestly say that the club has shown that it understands the fans and where the frustration is coming from. It almost seems like there is a sense of indignation within the hierarchy that the fans aren’t grateful to have a shiny new stadium with so much revenue coming in. I forgot where I was going with this but you mentioned feeling disenfranchised – I don’t think we are quite there yet but this is how it starts.

        As far as accountability goes – come on. Really? Mob rule? A bit over the top isn’t it?

        I agree fans should support the team during games but it’s fair game if they want to voice their dissent afterwards – as long as they keep it respectable. Let’s be honest and give the fans some credit here – most of us has criticized the club and the manager without being disrespectful but there are bound to be a few bad apples.

        1. nyc

          I’m not saying fans are completely wrong in their feelings. But I asked you what the purpose of those protests was. To be heard, or to dictate?

          If it’s the former, it has already been achieved. If it’s the latter, I don’t agree with it. ‘Mob rule’ (it was purposely hyperbole) ignores certain nuances, and definitely ignores what they don’t know or can’t understand.

          If you are only talking at Arsenal instead of talking to, you are unlikely to get your way, except out of sheer desperation on their part. And why would they be desperate? Only if the protests managed to get excessively disruptive or damaging to the club. Which is not what only a few bad apples are doing, but it seems to me, is the whole point of keeping up the protests. And that, as far as I’m concerned, makes it wrong.

          And no, it isn’t anymore about during the game when after people go online and abuse players (or sometimes even abuse players as they come to acknowledge them – and then get morally outraged when they don’t). It’s a more interconnected world these days and players are more aware of and affected by the noise.

  19. Shard,

    “As for the ticket prices, merchandise etc. You get what you pay for. A seat to sit in and watch football matches. A shirt/scarf/keychain to own. They promise you nothing else, and you have a choice on whether you still spend your money on it”

    Absolutely ridiculous. The seat you sit on is not the product you are buying with your ticket – what you are buying is football. So yes, there is an implicit promise there that you are buying is good. Just like any other product.

  20. dr. gooner, you’ve really become a polarizing figure over the past few months. many arguments you’re making sound almost feminine in nature. while women are certainly welcome, they tend to respect the environment and avoid the tendency to nag. let’s keep the debates more frank and less francine; no nagging about every little thing everyone says. you’re going to make me start staying out late, drinking.

    1. Well, you’re not going to win many over with a comment like that! On the other hand, I think the “oh wow” incredulity is disingenuous. Most members of the far left would happily accept and even endorse that comment if you replaced “feminine” with “masculine,” “women” with “men,” and “nag” with “be an asshole / over-assertive.” Gender essentialism is alive and well.

      Btw, I don’t think women are inherently nags anymore than I think men are inherently assholes, but either you think gender essentialism is wrong, or you admit there are essentials tied to gender. Saying both are true is plain nonsense. Or rather, it reveals a politics where alternative facts can and indeed do flourish.

      1. i think it’s safe to say that assholery is more readily acceptable than nagging. we apologize to each other for being a$$holes all the time. it’s not that big of a deal.

        in fairness, nagging isn’t so bad either as long as it’s not so perpetual. after a long while, it grates. so you either speak up or tolerate. i just reached a threshold. sometimes, people do things and don’t even realize it until someone says something.

        1. Ok. and can you not see that always complaining about the state of the club, and constant protests can also get grating after a while?

      2. Note that I only said what my reaction was. Not that it was something completely unspeakable.

        Also, if a post was disrespectful to men in general (or seemed to me to be)and more the fact that it came out of the blue, I would probably have the same reaction.

        I think we already know I’m not a far left guy. I don’t believe the old left-right classification adequately describes politics.

    2. Jesus dude.

      It would be awesome if we could disagree (and argue) without resorting to gendered insults or rating each others comments on your masculinity scale.

      It’s so unnecessary and at the end of the day we all support the same team. That’s why we’re here.

  21. Yes a top 4 finish would end up being a comparatively successful season, given the shitstorm of early 2017. It would also be a miracle. Someone would have to do a Devon Loch, and we’d have to be perfect. Neither is a cert. Equally, we could also lose the final and end up 6th (though I think we’ll win the cup).

    Doesn’t serve our underlying issues, like our decline in Europe, or lack of resilience for a league campaign that’s characterised Wenger teams for a decade. But if we get both Top 4 and FA Cup, that’d be hard to argue against. Gooners will be a a better mood, and that’s when Wenger will feel emboldened to tell us that he’s here for another decade.

  22. I want to think you folks are reading my comments before replying, but then why would you conclude I’m complaining about people complaining? I’m complaining about people who believe they are a helpless victim of Arsenal football club.

    All right folks, I’m through virtue signaling, slumber partying and sermonizing, please return to your previously scheduled Pepsi clears.

    1. I want to think that you understand how you’re a hypocrite when you tell people to behave a certain way and then behave the opposite way. Thanks for talking about your feelings the whole time, and for exemplifying the type of fan who does not simply leave the sport at the game.

      1. You are right, I don’t practice what I preach on match days. That doesn’t change my belief about it. I’m like the doctor who smokes but still tells his patients to quit smoking. It’s the right thing regardless of my own habits.

        The other stuff though, you’re just being as rude and snide as possible while ignoring my actual points which I still believe have value and were made without targeting any individual (Tim was not the exclusive target of my initial post, as he seemed to think, but he was not excluded from it). Why can’t we talk about fan sentiment and modern fandom? That’s not me talking about my emotions, thats me talking about emotions around football and sport in general. Since it offends you to such an extent that you feel the need to hound me throughout the post in an attempt to discredit and humiliate me, I must have struck a nerve. Maybe you should think about yourself instead of lashing out at me.

        1. Sorry doc but to complete your analogy you’re like the doctor who smokes but still tells his patients to quit smoking , except in this case you malign them when they don’t and call them weak.

          You stepped in it and Bunburyist called you out on it , repeatedly, because you kept on stepping in it, repeatedly.

          “Swing and the miss”, and “grow a thicker skin ” come to mind here. Something that was said to another poster by you, I think.

          1. Sorry Tom, but the backlash was wwaaayy out of proportion to the insult. You’re clearly here trying to make a point about me and the worst you could come up with was I told someone their comment was a swing and a miss? Who exactly did I malign and call weak on this thread? I think if you scan the comments what you’ll find is me being the target of personal abuse. I made generalizations that ruffled a few feathers; I’ll put my hand up and freely admit to doing that on purpose and I don’t mind taking some lumps for that. But the personal attacks were uncalled for.

  23. Guys, the good doctor is just trying to tell you all to moderate on the Pepsi Clear before it sends you to the hospital.

    I think the advice on its own is helpful, even if you think it is coming from a school girl whom you believe is trying to dumb you all down.

  24. I don’t mean this as an insult in any way to anyone but I think it’s crazy that we live in a world where it’s generally more acceptable to change your life partner, your religion or even you’re view on how existence itself functions and manifests than it is to change which football team you support.

    1. Or to change how you support that football club when it’s only leading to your palpable misery.

  25. This is pathetic and embarrassing.

    Reminds me of how Red Sox fans used to whine, complain, blame management, blame their players and eventually turn on each other everytime the Yankees smacked them around.

    Suddenly their whole obsession with ‘the curse’ makes more sense. It provided an external focus that helped limit the internecine fighting. Maybe we need to make up the Curse of Thierry. We cannot win the league after we sold him… unless we make him the manager.

    Personally I am more interested in discussing how we played than Wenger’s future. The irony of course is that despite all the time spent complaining, he is staying. Probably for another two years. Honestly, if I were WOB I’d quit now because it’s going to be a long two years.

    I think I will make a taxonomy of Wenger whinges and then tabulate them each day and present them as an index. We can judge the progress of the club by comparing the spot with the 30 and 90 day moving averages.

  26. “Are you doing an irony?

    Because it’s weird that you don’t like us complaining about Arsenal but you complained about my writing about Arsenal. I mean, it’s weird to me. But then I don’t like Pepsi Clear.”

    Why is it weird that I complain about people who write about Arsenal if I think their views are bogus?

    For better or mostly for the worse, I’ve invested quite a few years writing on other people’s websites about Arsenal. And without fail, people’s attitudes towards the players and the club have bothered me way more than anything those players or the club have done. I’m not the type to sit idly by and let it happen around me. I speak my mind. I think you and I are alike in that, but right now your views and mine on the club couldn’t be more different and sometimes I speak up about that. That doesn’t mean I don’t respect you, your time or your website. It doesn’t mean you can’t convince me about your points, either. So, instead of getting offended, why don’t we have a conversation? That’s what I consider normal. You try to understand me, I try to understand you, and we can find common ground. I laid out plenty of my rationale above. I’m still waiting for that from you or bunburyist.

  27. Tim- I think you kinda lost it when you said that finishing top 4 was a huge ask for us/Arsenal

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