2019/20 – A season of mental abuse towards Arsenal players analysed

“Whenever I go into the England dressing room there does always feel a lot more pressure. I don’t know what it is, but you do notice guys find it much more difficult to relax.

“We talk about physical fitness. We never really talk about mental fitness. We all need to stay mentally fit, none more so than professional athletes who have got to have their heads razor sharp as well as their feet and legs.’

That’s a quote from none other than Prince William who this week continues his excellent work of trying to grow awareness about mental health.

With this week’s Cup Final renamed The Heads Up Cup Final I thought it would be a fitting time to share my worries about the behaviour of a section of our fan base. It’s why I have written numerous times that there are Gooners out there who don’t deserve to see Arsenal win a trophy. Really, I should clarify that.

Some verbally abused the greatest manager in our history and yet still can’t see that we have gone backwards since he’s left, like in every way they have been proven wrong that life wasn’t so magical without Arsene Wenger.

He warned us that he would never forget ‘the disrespect’ he had been subjected to by certain fans and that we as a fan base were in danger of losing the values, we used to care about.

This is not to be provocative but, like a bully can’t cope with being pushed back, maybe some will benefit from seeing how far abuse goes and how it might affect the recipient more than you realise?

I knew that the Duke of Cambridge would be using sport platforms this week to encourage discussions about how we treat people and how we feel. So if at this point all you’re going to do is be negative in the comments stop reading now, this article isn’t for you.

So, my plan was to break down the season and highlight how worried I am that shouting and swearing at your own players has become the norm. Of course, unwanted behaviour exists at all grounds.

That a generation of fans are growing up thinking it’s okay to call someone the C word if they misplace a pass. This of course is heavily influenced by social media where you can say what you want and share it around the world within seconds.

The internet has created two things that are ruining this world. Instant gratification and everyone thinking they are an expert.

When I grew up sport was about winning or losing. Yes, you could be sad if you failed but not angry. You were not owed an answer or explanation. There wasn’t the need to blame. You didn’t have a sense of entitlement no matter how far you travelled or how expensive your ticket. You have chosen to support your team who can only give the best version of themselves. Sometimes in sport you lose, you know that when making that emotional investment.

Yes, you debate with your mates who was good or not good enough, but I never remember adults using language that I probably can’t put here. I love the Gunners as much as anyone, but my education tells me that it would be offensive to write certain words, so what’s the difference if you’re on YouTube or Twitter?

Now if I’m going to do a review of the year, it’s only natural that AFTV are going to be referenced, as they are the largest fan channel in the world who claim to be ‘the voice of our fans’ and want to be treated equally to the media. I have zero agenda, but have to treat them like I was watching Sky Sports. If a pundit said something, I disagreed with I would highlight it.

So, if you’re just going to say Justarsenal are jealous, etc, stop reading now. That’s called deflecting, where you know who you’re defending has been wrong, so you try to create another argument to take focus off the original point. If I lie then challenge me, but if it’s you simply not liking the truth, that’s not my problem.

July 19- Unai Emery makes it clear Arsenal’s preference would be to sell Mustafi. It seems the defender is one of many players on such a high wage no one will buy him. In an attempt to force him out of the club, some fans boo the German in pre-season friendlies. This is at the same time we are questioning his centre back partner Koscielny for not showing gooners more loyalty. See the irony?

August 19- In what is becoming a yearly tradition we are heavily beaten at Anfield. In another sense of irony, the same man who this month asked to stop being criticised less than a week after a racial slur, calls our manager a ‘clown’ He manages to swear 10 times in an interview which lasts 4.40 seconds

September 19- Because of what he will do a month later, many forget the September that Xhaka had. I of course have the benefit of hindsight, but there was evidence that his relationship with our fans was at boiling point.

He seems to get the majority of the criticism for Arsenal throwing away a 2-0 lead at Watford, even though it was a back pass from Sokratis which gifts the Hornets a goal and Luiz who concedes a late penalty. Those two seem to escape any abuse, with the scapegoats being the usual Xhaka and Ozil (despite Ozil claiming a part in the second goal and the team being 2-1 up when he’s subbed).

Our then captain shows he’s aware of the tension by celebrating goals the following Thursday with a ssshing gesture, which gets him further abuse online. He is then booed when subbed at home to Aston Villa to the point Unai Emery tells supporters ……

‘My opinion is we need our supporters and we need our supporters helping each player,”

But for me he is a very important player for us.

“He knows sometimes we are criticised. We need to be mature and continue working. I am going to support him. He’s a good player.”

October 19

A defeat at Bramall Lane makes Unai Emery one of the favourites to be the next manager sacked. He is now being mocked for his accent and inability to master the English language. Weird to think now, but one of his crimes is his refusal to start Ozil who is vocally backed by away fans at Anfield in the League Cup (he created two goals).

At the end of the month, some in the Emirates cheer and verbally abuse Xhaka as he’s subbed at home to Palace. Our skipper responds by cupping his ear, swearing back and throwing down the armband. The same people who think it’s okay to swear at him seem very offended that he dares swear back.

To sum up the contradiction, a fan on AFTV says, ‘Hey Xhaka, go F yourself’…… Then has the audacity in the next breath to say, ‘How can he behave like that……kids are watching.’ The irony?

Outside the stadium, Xhaka is subjected to having coins thrown at his car, and a video emerges of another player getting verbally abused as he’s driving home……a certain Aubameyang ….you know the same striker we are expecting to be loyal to us.

November 19

Having clearly refused the club’s advice to apologize straight away, Xhaka waits nearly a week to write a statement. He doesn’t say sorry, but does give an explanation of why he reacted in that manner.

We learn the true scale of the online abuse he has been dealing with daily, and that he’s been offered therapy.

“My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months have hurt me deeply. People have said things like ‘we will break your legs’, ‘kill your wife’ and ‘wish that your daughter gets cancer’. That has stirred me up, and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.

Emery doesn’t manage a single win in that month and is sacked .Things have become so toxic towards the coach, that The University Campus Of Football Business feel it’s not safe for him to attend an agreed lecture due to the horrible comments the guest speaker was getting online from students.

December 19

Arsenal managed one win under the temporary charge of Freddie Ljungberg, the lowest point coming when Brighton deservedly won for the first time at the Emirates. With no Xhaka to blame, fans again turn on …….Aubameyang.

‘Willock has gone for a through ball & Aubameyang didn’t read it. He didn’t deserve the blocking Aubameyang gave him. If Ozil or Lacazette done that Aubameyang wouldn’t have said shit. Jus easy to shout at a young lad, U would never c Adams Vieira cesc Rvp go at the young lads—ThelostbrazilianMoshe (@DaLostBrazilian)

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should never have been appointed captain in the first place, by the way. — AS (@ArsenalScot)

Aubameyang is not a captain. Incredibly frustrating that Emery’s final act was to give him the armband. — Steve Hills (@Merse10)

Outside Goodison Park where Arteta is in attendance to check out his new team, the host of AFTV is confronted by fans chanting ‘ AFTV get out of our club’. Police have to step in when things get shamefully physical. ‘ AFTV out’ is also graffitied on a wall outside the Emirates

January 2020

Having not started in the Prem all season under Emery, one of the first things Arteta does (and briefly Freddie) is to bring back Mustafi. The defender though rightly feels the need to give an insight into how certain verbal abuse has affected him mentally. He confirms after years of trolling he got to the point of shutting down all forms of social media as it had got to the point where he was being blamed for defeats even when he hadn’t played .One Tweet Includes, when sending his condolences to the family of the Leicester City owner, he was private messaged ‘ I wish you were in the helicopter with him’

Meanwhile Arteta confirms he is trying to change Xhaka’s mind about leaving in the transfer window, saying the player doesn’t feel loved by the fans.

February 2020

The Gunners have started the year unbeaten under Arteta and put together their best winning sequence of the season (with Ozil starting every game by the way).

A debate online commences though when Arsene Wenger accepts the honour of having a stature put outside our stadium. Yes, that’s correct, some gooners were angry that we should pay respect to the greatest manager in our history. Some even wrote to me arguing that he wasn’t.

The claim was for some it was ‘too soon’ or ‘too raw’ to celebrate the legacy of a man they hold responsible for the ‘mess’ he left.

To translate, we have gone backwards since he left , the grass hasn’t been proven greener and as I said at the time, ‘Be careful what you ask for because you might get it’ but some fans find it hard to admit they’ve been proven wrong.

If I’m honest, this was the moment I felt let down by some fans and started to say some of them deserved what was happening as I couldn’t believe that, even when gone, some couldn’t give Mr Wenger any credit.

March – May 2020

Even with zero football, fans still had a way to snipe about Ozil when the club leaked that he was one of three players to refuse a salary reduction. He rightly wanted to see, before sacrificing his own wealth, what our Billionaire owner planned to do with the money he was about to save, to which we have had zero answer.

Telling someone what to do with his own money seemed to concern them more than 4 players breaking social distancing rules

June 2020

Despite trailing to both Man City, then Brighton, Ozil doesn’t come off the bench in either and hasn’t made any squad since. Him sitting in the stands with an umbrella at Southampton became a meme.

He’s now getting the lowest scores on any season ratings I have watched, based on being greedy for being paid so much while not playing, yet refusing to leave the club.

Yet it’s not his fault he’s not playing. If a manager has been ordered to not play him what’s the player meant to do? Oh, and by the way you know the other 20 odd peeps who finished 8th….they get paid thousands of pounds a week as well.

Quite frankly, because it’s Ozil very few have asked how did he go from starting every game pre lockdown to not even getting in squads post lockdown?

The game before we had a 3-month break, we beat West Ham, thanks to an …. Ozil assist.

So why would he suddenly not be in Arteta’s plans? Common sense would say something must have happened during the break?

Oh wait…. he refused a pay cut because he feels it’s not his job to save a billionaire more money. Simple.

Anyways Ozil is being treated the worst that any player has been treated by Arsenal fans. In one rating he got a 0……Reiss Nelson a 5?

July 2020

Arsenal Football Club feel obliged to release a statement following a racial slur made on AFTV. Let me repeat that for those who accuse JustArsenal of having a conspiracy…. .Arsenal Football Club feel obliged to release a statement following a racial slur made on AFTV. This also makes national press

The club statement read: “We are aware of a video on social media in which an Arsenal supporter uses a racist slur towards Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min during Sunday’s match.

“We operate a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination and we unreservedly condemn this unacceptable racist behaviour. The platform in question has no official association with Arsenal.”

The Comment was made on a Sunday, on Tuesday the guilty party with defiance refused to apologize, only doing so the next morning once the channel had lost sponsors and he had been essentially sacked.

That very evening he was back on YouTube and with his new hosts realising they were getting more views than ever before; he went back to blaming others for ‘getting him off the channel’, and taking zero responsibility for his words. Just 3 days after making a racial comment he asked for people to stop judging him.’

Also, on AFTV one of the contributors who I’m a fan of (but I just couldn’t ignore the irony) claims anyone who criticizes Arteta is doing it for attention and views.

That person literally has his subs and advertising money, etc from verbally abusing our greatest ever manager.

Let me stress, these are not ‘all Arsenal fans’. The majority of gooners are great but I have seen a change in what is being tolerated. Yet I felt it was important that readers know what has been going on so we can all challenge these people, make the Emirates less toxic, and a place where players know they can come and be backed like the family club we used to be.

I fell in love with Arsenal when we lost that FA Cup semi Final against Man United. It broke my heart, but it was a game that had everything.

As a child I was able to be disappointed but never entitled. I stuck by those players and we went again. To me that’s what football is, the journey, the chase, the fine line between success and failure.

If that semi-final happened in 2020 this is what would happen….

On YouTube Bergkamp would be called the C word for not scoring that penalty.

Our back 4 would be told to ‘F off out of my club’ because they were too mentally weak not to foul Giggs.

People would ring radio stations saying Vieira is over-rated because he just passed the ball to Giggs.

We would justify Petit getting online abuse because he’s earning a lot of money.

Maybe verbally abuse Parlour as he stops to take a picture, swear at him with his wife in the car.

It never used to be like this.

The Majority don’t do this, but we accept it.

It’s easy to say it’s the minority but clearly enough for Arsene Wenegr to say he was hurt, for 2 players to talk about how they been hurt mentally.

Just think about that, two of our players have said how low they have been thanks to THEIR OWN FANS. These are someone’s sons, brothers, husbands, dads. They are being mentally hurt because it’s perceived they are not good enough at their jobs. Yes, have an opinion of course. Yet we know that people go beyond talking about one’s ability. I hope I made you guys aware and I hope you help me stand up for those values Mr Wenger spoke about.

To most gooners, wear your yellow ribbons and enjoy Saturday.

But to everyone …….. we have to be better at being kind to one another

Dan Smith


  1. A very simple advice to those players who feel abused or singled out is that, just put in a decent amount of work on match days and win us matches. That is the job you are paid for, do it with uttermost diligence and not negligence. If you can do this much, we the fan world will be happy with you all. As an Arsenal fan for decades, we never had this attitude to the players before as the then players never had this negligent and complacent attitude towards the game/ results. We did lose the UCL finals, did anyone slate Lehman?Not to my knowledge. We did lose the Carling cup final due to a Kos error, did anyone slate him?He was loved till the end. Would he walk in the invincibles defense?No, but the man gave his best each time he was on the pitch. Players create the toxic atmosphere by not getting the fans on their side. You need two hands to clap! Nevertheless some comments are in bad taste like that for Son.

    1. Well they don’t feel abused they are / were abused
      So if your bad at your job it’s okay to.be called C word , wished you died in a helicopter?
      Wished your child gets cancer ?
      Your answer is ……play better ?

      1. If i was no good at my work either I would be sacked or I would quit on moral grounds, no way I would be able to sit idle, grin and collect my salary. And nobody on JA wished that what you have written above. If so, the cyber crime can access and take corrective action. They chap needed to inform the authorities and not abuse the general public who have come to watch a football match and were voicing their sentiments for the performance on the pitch.
        Hope better sense prevails.

        1. Wow lets back up
          you would just leave and take a pay cut to what help a company who doesnt care about you
          Be honest ? Take the emotion out of it
          Lets say your a telesales rep and you get not great sales but the highest in the company
          You decided to leave , they beg you to stay , 12 pound an hour? you say no , 15 pound an hour ? you say no 20 pound an hour ? you say no
          50 pound an hour , you say yeah okay
          Your billionaire owner then says he wants to slash his wage bill so says ‘ do you mind going to another company for half that amount?’
          I don’t think you say yes
          So anyway you go into work and your boss says , ‘ i have to legally keep paying you but im sending you home to rot ‘
          Meanwhile the guy who replaces you is getting worse results
          If a company sent me home when i was doing my job better and leaving meant I wasnt earning as much I wouldn’t leave
          I dare say no one would

          1. But Da,n this is what fans expect Ozil to do – tear up acontract that was offered to him by the club, in order to secure his services for the next four years.

            Both parties agreed and the rest is history:

            MO has not been the player he was before signing the contract and The Arsenal have gradually slipped form a regular top four team, winning trophies and CL participation, to 8th and, depending on Saturday’s rsults,maybe out of europe…still we can all be comforted by the fact that MO was offered the new contract because AW was too lazy to train someone else for that position – you couldn’t make it up…oh yes you could LC!!!!

            Neither side have fulfilled the others wishes.

      2. Dan I take almost all of your long and well thought out post as fine and fair comment. I fully agree that vile abuse and racial abuse too has become disgracefully rife since the advent of wild west type social media from FB, Twitter, and fans site or wherever else. It is a scandal that no government will crack down on the harm it does to so many victims.

        I also agree with most of Loose Cannons post above your reply. Criticism and abuse are two separate and entirely different matters. In any professional team sport where your earnings depend on the love, support and passion of countless millions of ordinary folk, you should expect criticism if you fail to give your all.

        And to me Dan, though you will disagree, Ozil has failed to give his all for the last four seasons. In fact his workrate is disgraceful and has earned him the fraud name that he has deserved. He has cheated the club , the fans and himself. If you are earning huge money on the back of mostly hard pressed fans, and you will not give your all, what other name, apart from “fraud,” would you choose? Lazy? Idle? Not trying? They are mere half truths and do not give the real and full picture IMO. I distrust wishy washy andhald accurate language and prefer the whoil enreal truth. We all need to be truthful with ourselves and with others . To fail in this is to give a false picture and not properly identify the real problems.

        Strong and to the point language is not , by itself, abuse. So many younger folk fail to see the crucial difference between strong but accurate language and confuse it with abuse.

        A fraud is someone who cheats others out of money by not providing what was promised and that is exactly what Ozil has been doing for several seasons already.

        There is a new way though, somewhere between so called “freedom ” to write hurtful nonsense and on the other hand a cavalier disregard by very rich players, only a few of them of course but they do exist, of the passions and needs of the ordinary man or woman who loves the club and who rightly expects for their own money, ALL players to bust a gut every time they are fortunate enough to wear the shirt.

        It is never a simple matter and there are many nuances. Certainly the balance is wrong and needs bringing back in control, as was the case pre social media. But you cannot hope to put the genie back in the bottle and social media is here to stay. I regret that and fondly remember the more calm and pleasant days before the Intenet was born.
        B ut my MAIN message remains that IF you are scared of the truth that others see, then you are almost certainly scared of the truth that you yourself see but will never admit, through lack of strength of character.

        And top professional sports people DAN , if they lack character and honesty, are doomed to fail . You see it everywhere in all sports and in life generally. Honesty and hard work is PARAMOUNT!

        1. Jon, can you just confirm that “loathsome, dross, mentally frail” is classed as obscene and not just general criticism?

          Also, questioning where someone comes from is not obscene but just general criticism, as you did the other day?

          By the way, this article was about Arsenal players in general, not just Ozil…remember some of those other ones you have called dross, lazy etc etc?

          1. Oh blimey, now a new excuse from the fan club, Arsenal have gone down so Ozil’s commitment has gone down!By the way has his salary gone down drastically as the club’s EPL standing? Im dumbfounded with the rubbish excuses trying to defend the defenceless.Its turning out to be joke reading these excuses.

          2. KEN You and I will never agree on the definitionof abuse. I use strong and deliberately to the point language, to properly and unambiguously make my REAL point. I will not play games with half baked and ambiguous language for one simple reason. That reason is because I PRIZE REAL TRUTH in life. In fooball too of course.
            I admit to being opinionated and that is because I CARE. I THINK YOU ARE ALSO OPINIONATED AND FOR THE SAME REASON.

            To me those are good qualities, not bad ones. I dislike and mistrust half hearted posts that actually say nothing of any substance and many on here seem to post for the sake of posting , as they have nothing to actually say. Social media breeds those types and nearly all of them are young or very young, as in often still legally children.

            I wish to engage with those who know how the world works and how human nature is, which by and large means with fellow oldies. Trying to have a deep meaningful converstaion about real and deep seated subjects is often almost impossible with youngsters, as they have not the life experience of we older ones. For example most young folk and also some older fans are obsessed with kit changes , away colours etc and to me they are unimportant, as I know they are merely cannon fodder to the marketing companies that make the clubs and themselves huge money. Money that is by and large then used to give still more wages to already very rich millionaires at the expence of hard pressed ordinary fans. Such fans have the choice to buy or not BUT the advertising and marketing companies are exceedingly switched on and use peoples club obsessions to make money. I have no objection to making a decent profit and fully believe in it.
            But I object when the money they make is out of all kilter with common fairness to all. As a socialist yourself, even though I am not one, I would hope you can agree with that principle.
            My life and footballphilosophy its above all to challenge and combar unfairenes and laziness I have alway sloathed lazy people an dthink they are betraying themselves They are founs in all walks of life and of cours eon th football pitch too. lalso think those who will not speak out against lazines are in a way condoning it. All Prem player are hugely paid and it is a moral and a legal contract that all those players give their absolute all, all the time, for the privilege of wearing the shirt. I wil always challenge such as idle Ozil, exactly as I did too with lazy Walcott. I am right to do so, IMO.
            PERHAPS WE CAN SPEAK BY PHONE ON SUNDAY WELL AFTER THE GAME AND CATCH UP ON THINGS. I am happy to ring you, if you indicate when you may be available. FINGERS CROSSED FOR TOMORROW.

          3. Loose Cannon, spinning wildly as ever my friend – who said anything about excusing Ozil’s perfformance to be linked with The Arsenal performance?

            I see I’ve got to spell it out in simple language for you to understand:
            Both sides signed a binding agreement that was based on the performances of both club and player at that time…January 2018:
            At that time, The Arsenal had just won the fa cup and had finished 6th in the league.
            Mesut Ozil had just been awarded a reported £350,000 a week contract.

            Since then, The Arsenal had not improved their league position, got knocked out in the 3rd round of the fa cup and
            Mesut Ozil’s performance has dipped to the point that he cannot make MA’s squad on match days.
            So neither player or club have improved from the day of the signing….simple as that….hope you’ve got it now.
            Let’s hope we can win the fa cup tomorrow, because we sure as hell haven’t improved in the league have we, after dropping Ozil?

            Meanwhile, with regards to the lengths people go to BLAME Ozil – any more news on an increase in the one fan found that compared MO to DB…any further proof that AW only let Ozil sign said contract because he didn’t want to train anyone else…the facts as to what Ozil said to UE and FL?
            Just to let you know LC, no-one has stepped forward to back yor claims or describe what you said betwen UE and FL.

            It’s just amazing how people cannot read and digest a simple statement, that shows how both parties have declined, especially from someone who is becoming very adept at making up silly statements that can’t stand simple scrutiny.

          4. Jon, some of the dictionary definition of abuse/abusive language
            1. to speak insultingly or cruelly – 2. improper, incorrect or excessive use – 3.insulting or coarse speech/
            1. characterized by insulting or coarse language.

            The dictionary definition of criticism:
            1. the act or an instance of making an unfavourable judgement/comment.
            I’m not sure how the two can be misunderstood, as Dan’s article points out what has been going on by a section of our fans.

            With regards to a catch up, of course, but Sunday is out for me, but Tuesday would be fine, can you make the afternoon…it will also give us both time to digest fully our fourteenth (hopefully) fa cup win and comments from the game?
            Seems as if Ozil is in Turkey, so that particular subject shouldn’t crop up, win or lose!!!

          5. Ken in plain and simple English the players have to perform to win things and for that they are paid in anticipation, hence there is a contract in good faith..This includes Ozil and the other 24 and the coaching staff.Its not for Stan and Josh to take to the ground and win us matches, they have to set goals and targets
            for the club, invest or quit.How have Arsenal gone down? Because Ozil from “19 assists a season” has gone down to “two assists a season” Hope this is easy to understand.On the other hand Auba is banging 20 goals a season,Pepe has some 8 in his first year.Gaby has some 10 correct me if i am wrong.So there are performers and non performers.The non performers have dragged the club down Ozil included.When he was “19 assists a season” I too sang his praises and will do so only if he does it again. Thank you. End of debate.

    2. A players best effort is going to fluctuate throughout a season, month and game. Just like at work I’m sure your effort differs from day to day. Does that give your peers the right to wish death or you or your family? Do you really believe that a player at this level isn’t giving their best? Özil is criticized for being lazy, but covered the most distance in the same game. There is far too much toxic attitude being thrown around. I completely agree that one cause of this is social media and oils advise every player to stay off of those platforms.

  2. Pat, when I was growing up the moto of my primary school was “play the game” and my high school was “manners maketh man”.
    Winning and losing weren’t the only things (as you stated), but how you competed and played the game. If you played, gave your best and lost to a better opponent, it was incentive to go out, work hard, practice and try to be better. If you won you tried to be a gracious winner, as well as a good loser.
    Unfortunately, much of the worst behaviour in spectators and so called supporters, is from people who have either never played completive sport or gave up too soon, basically because they didn’t meet their unrealistic expectations for success.

    1. Great reply ozziegunner, especially the last two sentences.

      The word “gracious” seems to have been lost, replaced with loathsome, dross, thief, mentally frail etc etc

  3. Brilliant article…i just shake my head whenever i read some stuffs being said about the club and the players we claim to support.

  4. I hope Mikel Arteta had called Wenger to be at Wembley box.Just like sir Alex is watching man utd games.But Wenger swore never to return to arsenal again and you all know why!Dirsepect by fans.Plastic fans forgot we used to go for toe with United until we started building a stadium and selling and could spend like our EPL rivals.Buildin a worldclass stadium was a good decision like everyone want a fantastic stadium like ours now.Wait and see how spurs will be approaching the market with their stadium debt in the midst of a pandemic, it will end in tears.

  5. Using foul and abusive language, in particular referring to physical features and family members is disgraceful and disgusting. Criticism of a performance is acceptable if properly argued preferably without resorting to expletives. Heat of the moment spoken remarks are one thing, but to spend time writing it is another. I wasn’t particularly nice about Luiz after the ManC game but It ended there. I wasn’t particularly nice to Sue but apologised the next day. I’m disappointed that Ozil isn’t prepared to move on for the sake of his career if he isn’t going to get game time. It sends out the wrong messages. Sokratis possibly and others before him. I hope I haven’t been personal about Ozilbut it is difficult to be charming all the time about everyone. Opinions are there to be voiced and criticism not abuse is part of the deal you make playing at elite level

    Being a professional footballer/manager has its incredible highs but it will also have its lows. They are for part of their careers playing for or managing your club. They represent your hopes within the Kinship of your club. It is difficult not to get over zealous sometimes but Dan is right to point out that social media gives those people the ability to be cruel. Lots of them probably suffer from low self esteem themselves and are happy to be faceless giving it large to certain players in the team who are far more talented than they will ever be

    1. Couldn’t have said it any better SueP, spot on.
      And just to be very clear Dan, football is a very emotional game. Yes it’s disgusting when fans pass personal abuses and threats on players and coaches but constructive criticisms for the way they play is very much permitted and sometimes in the heat of frustration or depression we tend to say words we regret. It’s a basic human nature.

      Suppose Dan, you spent your well earned money to go watch Arsenal play against Chelsea in the FA Cup final and Arsene was coach and he somehow decides to play fringe players and we get battered 7-0 by Chelsea, after the match sky sports tries to interview you. Are you saying you wouldn’t criticise the greatest ever manager for playing fringe players or if it were the senior team, won’t you criticise them for a woeful performance? Would you just go on sky sports and say “oh well, it’s normal, the boys played well. We look forward to the next game”. That would only show you do not care or have passion for the club.
      If you are a passionate supporter of a club and they disappoint you time and time again with poor performances, you might go off at a point because you can’t take it anymore. It’s depressing for many fans and while they should not attack players personally, they can criticise them for their performances. The way ozil and the likes are being critised.
      It just shows the fans have had enough of mediocrity. That was what Forced Arsene out of the club not the criticisms of the fans.
      You think the atmosphere would be toxic if Arsene won us the epl once every 2 or 3 years, or win us the UCL or even europa league, you think it will be toxic if we bought the right players we needed rather than spend money on players we didn’t need and give average players ridiculous wages. You think the fans would criticise ozil if he delivered consistently on the pitch even if he earns 500k per week.? There’s no smoke without fire Dan and if the fans are reacting this way, it’s been a long time coming since the last 10 years of wenger. In my country, they mock arsenal fans and say we are the most patient people on earth. They say if u date an arsenal fan, he wouldn’t cheat because of his loyalty. They actually feel sorry for us. And is it too much to ask/demand for change from the club/players/managers without being blamed. Afterall we’ve suffered in silence all these years.
      2004 was the last time we were the best team in the epl. In 4 years, that will be 20 years. Have we not been faithful, loyal and supportive enough? Don’t we deserve better?

      1. No that’s an excuse
        I think we all wouldnt be on this site if we were not passionate
        I write every day and see myself as a loyal fan
        Yet when we lose a game it never entered my head to say the C word because it’s sport
        I love it but compared to what else is going in world it’s nothing
        Understand it’s okay to critique a player ability, it’s not okay to swear at someone
        Luiz could score 3 own goals I be disappointed and I say he’s not good enough as a footballer but using C word , abusive online , throwing coins at his car ….wouldn’t enter my head

  6. Great article Dan and written from the heart. I have supported this club for coming on to 63 years and I have never experienced such toxicity from fans against their own managers and (selected) players. The irony is they are subconsciously doing the job of the opposition effectively committing self harm.

    The abuse that our greatest manager, Arsene Wenger, endured before he was virtually forced out was shameful and embarrassing after what he achieved for our club. In hindsight he should have walked away after the last FA Cup win but he didn’t and it cannot be undone but I will always remember the wonderful teams he produced and the pride and worldwide recognition he brought to our club. And he did it with style. Mickel Arteta and Aubameyang beware you will be next, ask Unai and Mesut!!!!

    1. Great article Dan and brilliant response Andrew.

      When I read how some on here justify their actions, not only foul and abusive language, but in also denegrating fellow Gooners for their differing opinions, it makes me squirm with embarrassment.

      I spend my hard earnt money going to watch the likes of The Eagles, The Rolling Stones etc etc does that give me the right to call them anything I want too?
      If I don’t like what I see, I just don’t buy any more tickets to watch them..simple as that.

      They can put all the excuses and theories they want, abuse of our players is now common place and not confined to any one player, as some would want you to believe.

      What the hell has happened to the motto of our famous club?
      Victory through Harmony – the most laughable motto ever, with some of the fans we have in our ranks today.

      1. Ken
        Your analogy of watching the Eagles is absolutely nothing like supporting your boyhood football club
        I have seen my best band 16 times but would I compare Pink Floyd to supporting the Arsenal- not in a million years. Both are totally different
        And each game and each concert are totally different

        1. SueP, if you went to a Pink Floyd concert and they didn’t perform to the level you expected, would you shout foul and abusive abuse at them, or would you be disappointed, but still listen to them and wait for the next time you could show your support?

          If they concert was a let down, how would you react?
          Would you call David Gilmour a mentally frail and dross guitar player?
          Would you call Roger Waters a thief for taking your money and not performing to the standards you expect?
          Would you castigate Syd Barrett for not managing the group to perform to the highest standard every time and use the C word to describe them?

          Of course you wouldn’t (at least I hope not, otherwise I’ve misjudged you), so you then make a decision to either carry on watching them or make a stand and stay away…while still loving the group and it’s style of music.

          It’s a choice we make following The Arsenal – either one supports them through thick and thin or one doesn’t, but still follows the club as a fan…there are a few fans on JA and also many supporters.
          That is my view anyway, just because we pay our money, doesn’t give us the right to abuse and use foul language, but then, I might just be old fashioned.

          1. Ken
            On the occasional visits I now make to the Emirates I feel free to shout and holler if a pass goes astray or a player gives a ball away cheaply. I do this in front of the tv too.

            I wouldn’t abuse the man on Twitter or other social media. For the life of me I cannot understand why a human being could be so wilfully cruel to another

            I do feel I have the right on an Arsenal forum to moan or remark on a performance either individually or as a team. Good or bad. There are enough articles posted about player ratings post match which invite comments. There are also articles that in themselves will provide ammunition for respondents. The questions of Ozil and Wenger bring out clear division. In the end it is about perception of what each has brought or taken away from our beloved club. The club, we believe is ours and we want to protect it. Some may feel that AW was at fault towards the end and as you know I am critical of Ozil over what I consider to be him undermining the club by saying I’m ready on social media. You support Arteta as manager over Ozil. It wasn’t for Ozil to put out that tweet, rather for our manager to decide if he was ready or not. You may say he is damned if he does or damned if he doesn’t. Early on in Arteta’s reign I really rated an Ozil performance and said so. Most agree that he has declined or doesn’t fit the new system. When I wrote of my disappointment it was what appears to be a man prepared to sit out his contract rather than earn less but still play elsewhere. The club is financially strapped and the perception is that our highest earner is happy to collect his rightful salary. This is what divides opinion. His £18m for a year on the bench or the possibility of bringing in new players. It irks people and then it inevitably ends up in a slanging match on JA.
            We all have moments when we let ourselves down. It’s being human.

  7. Fantastic Article… I enjoyed reading the truth for a change. Fans have ruined football, best point made was the FA Cup Semi Final v Giggs Goal and the abuse our players would’ve got because of Social Media.

    Problem started with Rich Owners buying the titles & the emergence of Social Media for everyone to say how they feel behind a screen with no consequences or respect. Honour and Dignity went right out the window when every fan thinks they could do a better job when they did the ultimate treble on Football Manager with Grimbsy ffs.

    Back in the day you sucked it up like a man, talked about the game and where it went wrong & moved on but now adays its total abuse at the club & players you say you support. It’s a game not life and death. A Form of good entertainment and unpredictability.

    1. I like what you’re saying but for me it was the PL and CL that altered everything. Back in the day I’d be cheering on Forest and Liverpool in the European Cup. Now we all ‘hate’ any team that is in the top 4 and can take our place in the CL. (In the past now) Such is the financial importance of CL qualification that supporters become maniacal if there is a poor result. The financial rewards for players make many completely removed from the lives of their fan base. It shocks me that players are able to earn more in a week than the average person can earn in 10 years. Expectations become distorted and this can manifest itself in ‘justifiable rage’ if a player doesn’t perform. It’s all on live TV to be mega analysed rather than 19 mins of highlights on MOTD.

      Somebody else mentioned manners which have more or less gone out of the window

    2. Sean, fans haven’t ruined football, the money and corrupt administration at the top have.
      Was football ruined when football matches were marked by fights and sometimes destructive riots in and around grounds? At least it is a lot safer to attend grounds now; verbal abuse is one thing, physical violence is another level.

  8. Well written Pat! I became an arsenal fan on April 9th 2004. My ship pulled into Plymouth England after a joint operation with one of her majesty’s fine ships. I visited London earlier in the week and met some arsenal fans at a pub. They were talking about the big upcoming game against Liverpool. Great and friendly people made me feel at home in the country I was visiting. Growing up in the United States, we didn’t get much European football on television. Once in a while we got a Bayern Munich game where I grew up but that was about it. I decided to go out to a pub and watch the game in Plymouth. There were a few arsenal fans there as well as a couple Tottenham fans. I was amazed at the performance that Thierry Henry put on and was instantly hooked. I cheered his amazing goals and was heckled and cussed by the Tottenham fans (though a neutral at the time). The arsenal fans there got between us and settled everything down, then bought me a drink. I am no stranger to intense rivalries having grown up watching college football in the US. However, the actions of the Tottenham fans were simply ridiculous. I’ve been a fan ever since. The way some of our fans have behaved in the last few years under Wenger and through today is a complete disgrace to the team. How can you even think to be justified in saying you wish a player’s daughter gets cancer, or dies in a crash because of a silly mistake? I dislike the mistakes and dropped points as well but there is simply no room for this abuse. We should be lifting up the players in hard times, not kicking them while they are down.

  9. Politicians get abused all the time, I don’t see anyone ever defending them. If you have a big job with a big salary, there will always be pressure to produce big results.

    1. You don’t see politicians being defended?
      Just look at Boris and Donald being defended for the lies they tell.
      You must live in a different world QD.

      As for performance, just go back and look at how many top people have walked away from disastrous results, with fat pay outs and pensions large enough to to pay Ozils reported weekly wage.
      The ex boss of Royal Bank of Scotland is a prime example. 3

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