A lifelong Arsenal season-ticket holder’s journey to disillusionment

My Arsenal life – The Good, the Bad and the Vainglorious by Geoff Wood

The following is a potted history of my Arsenal supporting journey to date, and an honest summary of our current manager and what we are spoon fed.

I first began supporting Arsenal when I was 6, why? Simply because I liked the colours, not to mention it was also the nearest team to my birthplace, Bethnal Green in E2.

I first went to Highbury to watch Arsenal when Bertie Mee was the manager, my early years were spent in the schoolboy enclosure, which most would remember as East Lower.

When I started work I was lucky enough to have a friend who was given 2 tickets to every home game in the Directors box, by the then Chairman, Dennis Hill-Wood.

After that I rarely went to Highbury as I was living in Essex. So it was mostly the big games when I could get tickets.

During George Graham’s era I was lucky enough to be offered a share in a box, which at the time was positioned over the away fans. We later got moved to the other side, between the corner flag and the goal.

For the first 11 years, the lease on the box was £110,000 in total. During that time Arsene Wenger became our new manager.

When the lease came to an end, we were offered a 3 year extension as they had planned on building a new stadium. David Miles asked me for my opinion as to where we should build it, we had 3 options, Kings Cross, the Dome or Ashburton Grove. I suggested Kings Cross as it would have had a 100,000 seat capacity, every fan would get to go and it would have been easier for most people to get in and out.

At this point I had no idea Arsene Wenger was personally building it. As he has so often taken the credit for.

The 3 year extension was to cost £55k, a little steep as the previous deal was £110k for 11 years, nevertheless we took it.

When the three years finished, the new stadium still hadn’t been built, so we were offered another three year extension, only this time they wanted £84k, so we said no.

Shortly after Tony Adams elected to play his testimonial against Celtic, we assumed that as we had paid for that season we could have the box for that game, we were told hard luck. The early signs of Arsenal’s incredible greed.

I asked for and was given 5 season tickets, which of course I paid for, even though there was a waiting list. I also joined the waiting list for the then Executive Club.

5 tickets in West Upper, I let my cousins have 3 and I had two, shortly after I went into the Executive Club.

At this point I had bought tickets for the new stadium, 2 in Club level and 3 in the North bank.

So no one could ever say I hadn’t put my money into Arsenal football Club. I also became a shareholder, and to this day, still am.

The boxes at Highbury were where the players lounge and entertaining areas were, the whole block was a tribute to Arsenal teams throughout their history. Very balanced and fun to look at.

The new stadium however is a shrine to all things Arsene Wenger, even the player statues are people that played in his teams.

When I was a Club Level member, I called the Platinum hotline and the recorded message was his voice. My goodness, how very big brother.

After paying £5,400 for my 2 tickets and watching us achieve nothing, I finally had enough of paying towards Arsene Wenger’s pension fund, so I gave them up, vowing only to return when he had gone.

At that time I received a call from Club Level offering me additional tickets, I said how many? They said as many as you want, I said but I thought there was a waiting list, not for you they said. It was that day I stopped believing anything that Arsenal Football Club said.

The initial deals the club did to secure funds to build the stadium were dreadful, I wrote about it at the time. An 8 year old could have done better.

Arsene Wenger takes great delight in telling the world how clever he is, we had no money yet he got us Champions League football every year.

He omits to tell us that although we had no money, he still made sure he got paid handsomely, in fact we still don’t know if he received bonus payments for the club routinely making a profit. Which if true is a massive conflict of interest.

In his early days we were hugely successful, he is quick to take the credit, but he did inherit Seaman, Bould, Adams, Dixon, Winterburn, Keown, Platt, Wright, Bergkamp and Merson.

He often tells us that he converted Henry from a winger to a forward, but he fails to tell us he originally converted him from a centre forward to a winger in his Monaco days, so he was always a centre forward. Again, as I understand.

He puts huge emphasis on youth, yet how many players have emerged from the academy in his tenure? 2, Wilshere and Iwobi. Appalling eh? 20 years and 2 players.

Before you think Cesc, Bellerin, Gibbs etc, they were all bought. He has bought so many young prospects over the years and we all get excited and wait for them to grow up, but so few of them make it.

It’s said that Arsenal fans demand much, that is true, but we demand so much because we pay more to watch out team than any other club in world football.

All Arsenal fans really want is that he actually spends his budget, we aren’t asking the club to go into debt, just spend what we have been allocated. Like Leicester, Tottenham and West Ham did. Look at the lift the fans and players alike get.

He has no problem paying himself so much does he?

I often hear what he has done for our club, but what has this club has done for him? Who was he before he came to Arsenal?

When he arrived and we were so successful, he was doing that in conjunction with David Dein, since Dein was fired, we have won very little, coincidence?
My theory is this, when Dein was axed, Arsene was taken to one side and asked to stay, he was offered the crown with no interference, he was offered the same as Dein had and he accepted. That’s what I believe. I have asked Arsenal that question on numerous occasions, but they have never had the courtesy to answer.

Shameful really as had he had any loyalty, he would have stepped down in protest, that speaks volumes for his character, in my opinion. It’s only ever about him.

He brags about his record to enter a tournament that we regularly get humiliated in. Last season we were beaten by the best team in the world, this year we were also beaten by the best team in the world, so why aren’t we the best team in the world? He’s had 20 years at the helm to achieve that.

The mantra for the last few years has been we can’t compete with Chelsea, ManU or Man City as they have unlimited funds. Then we got, we need a new stadium to compete. Now we have and the debt has almost gone, Leicester come along and he changes his tune as to what creates success. And how he was right all along.

Some 5 years ago he said judge him in May. We flopped, but no one judged him. This season he said judge him at the end of the season, well that’s almost here and no one will again. Ever. No doubt he will soon agree an extended contract.

He is above criticism, he is not accountable and he earns £8.5million a year, that’s obscene!

We said for years he needs to buy a keeper, he refused, this season he buys Cech and says every successful team has a world class keeper, so why has he signed 16 of them in his 20 years, most of which have been rubbish? Lehmann was probably the only decent one, out of 16!

How is it, apart from the obvious Sol Campbell, has he only signed one decent centre back, why has he never had one that came through the academy? Graham had Keown, O’Leary and Adams.

We had one world class left back and he tried to sell him to Palace. (but failed)

What about the shocking players that never get mentioned, like Park (3 years and played 18 minutes) Gervinho, Stepanovs and many more. There’s never accountability.

Look at players we persevered with, taking up valuable space in our team that no one else wants now.

Chamakh, Eboue, Senderos, Djourou, Song, Ryo, Bendtner and Squillaci to name but a few. And the only reason we had trouble shifting them was because of the crazy salaries he paid. Don’t even get me on Kallstrom with a broken back.

Aside from managers that he loans players to on a regular basis, how many have a good word to say about him? He falls out with them all.

Now he has started giving his weird views on Brexit, all of which are just plain wrong.

To quote King Henry, ‘when will someone rid us of this meddlesome manager?’

He has OCD, only making substitutions between 67 and 73 minutes and not when we need them. He continually ignores our faults, he buys an Elneny when we are crying out for a Carvalho, he buys a Giroud, when the world can see we need a Suarez or a Higuain.

He claims he tried to buy Cahill, but he offered half of what they wanted, he thought that was funny, Cahill went to Chelsea, you know the rest.

He claims he tried to buy Suarez, well anyone that seriously wants to buy a player doesn’t make the point of adding a pound to a silly figure that was already rejected.
And if you say he thought there was a buyout clause, well he has 12 in-house solicitors to give him that information.

Every time a player does well in the world, he claims either he looked at him or he tried to buy him. He is shameless.

When the fan unfurled a banner saying time to go Arsene, David Beckham said it was disrespectful. This is coming from someone, that has in all probability never in his entire life paid to watch a game and had all three of his sons playing for Arsenal.

That to me is disrespectful, allowing 3 of his kids who were not good enough to be on Arsenal’s books taking the place of 3 kids that may have made it, for what, a bit of celebrity back scratching.

Wenger told us all that when we built our own stadium, we would compete with the big boys. No-one else would be able to afford their own stadium and feast at the top table because of the huge building costs.

So what about West Ham? Was he not aware that we had the Olympics coming in 2012? What about Spurs, 16 years on from when we agreed to build the stadium, they are building one for less money with a bigger capacity and probably better.

Then we decide to pay it off in record time, why?

When there’s a World Cup or a Euros he says the cost to buy goes up, when there’s a Copa America he says his players are tired, every 2 years there’s an African Cup of nations where we lose players for 2 months, yet he just bought an Egyptian, he always has an excuse as to why he screws up and it’s never his fault.

Yet he makes the same mistakes over and over again. I think Einstein called that the definition of insanity.

He is a fraud. He has no shame and he will never leave until he decides to, that is the sad state of affairs at our club.

I don’t believe any of the management team have ever run their own successful business. Anyone can operate one where money knocks on their door. Sadly I believe we are so bad but because we reward mediocrity with huge bonuses, we have a group of yes men that will never question the manager, who is not stubborn, he is obstinate.

He peddles the myth that he understands money because he got a degree in Economics, how ridiculous, I have many friends that took a degree in Theology, but none of them are Clergymen. It was just a qualification. Get over yourself Arsene.

I believe we will have to suffer this for a few more years yet, then when he finally goes, his legacy will be gone. The silly vainglorious man.


Tags Emirates Highbury Wenger


  1. Jake the Snake says:

    Whilst I completely understand why you all want people to boycott games, I just don’t think you’re thinking it through. For a season ticket holder, one ticket costs about £60. If you decided you were going to boycott the game, you therefore lose out on £60, which seems like they are just wasting their money, and if you wanted to boycott two games, you are set to lose well over £100 which is a lot. It’s not like a normal ticket where you can chose whether or not you want it

    1. SoOpa AeoN says:

      Sir Jake u won’t understand……… So please concentrate on WWE (WrestLing)

      1. Jake the Snake says:

        Definitely American mate 😉 Fair enough I may have been wrong

    2. ArseOverTit says:

      Think it’s called sacrifice..

      Those who can afford it should do. If not and you love Arsenal at least protest or show your disapproval of the board and Wenger and his failure..at the game.

      Otherwise what is the alternative, do nothing and swallow it all?

  2. muffdiver says:

    excellent post.
    really insightful.
    you should write more on here geoff.

    1. Krish says:

      sorry muff but that was a shitty article.. i understand the critics but this one article criticized just about everything in the legacy of wenger and gave him not even merit for anything in his 20 year career of wenger.. some critics there is right but he over-exaggerates extremely..

  3. ger burke says:

    what an amazing article !. i totally agree with every word that the author has written here . this a passionate and believable plea to us all . who cares if you are AOB or AWB , we are all arsenal fans here , and this is what this site should be , in my humble opinion, helping to promote .football is only a game , and make no mistake , that is all it is . so when you see one side on here tearing into followers of another side then it is beyond sport.i think because of our lack of team spirit and winning for the past few seasons we have forgotten about football and our team .and i , as much as anybody else , is guilty of that .we are all frustrated for one reason or another , mainly because of how our team are underperforming for the past ten years or so . i know we won a couple of FA cups recently , and fair enough , a great achivement in itself . but not good enough for the arsenal , we should be winning premier league after premier league and the occasional champions league . but , for whatever reason that you think we are not winning . as to whose fault it is should not be the important issue here . it should be, how , do we , the fans , fix this problem . it is time we all came together on this page for the good of our club . there are one or two horrible people on here who never stop insulting fellow gunners . i plead with you now to stop this nonsense and get on with saving our club in some wAy or another . you guys know who you are too , you all think you are smart asses with your answers and name calling . i would also like to invite mr.admin to enforce the law on this page , and not just reserve it for one section . let it be everybody is punished for insulting others or let there be a free for all .my love of football has abandoned me , i cannot believe i am admitting this . to watch the arsenal now makes me go to sleep . where are our glory days , they are not that too far gone surely .enough is enough , we are all suffering , regardless if you are a wenger fan , or , not .bring back football to this page please .

  4. ArseOverTit says:

    Thanks Geoff,

    Into a candid, sad and honest glimpse into the decline of AFC!

    1. ArsenalStar says:

      Fantastic post Geoff. Eye opening and exquisitely written. You should write a book mate!

  5. sevenitti says:

    For the first time in a very long time, I read every single word of the article, and may I say: WOW! Amazing piece to read, really enjoyed it! Halfway through I hoped it was coming to an end, so I could write this comment about how good the article was, but the quality of it kept wanting me to read more 🙂

    Much of this I knew already about Wenger, but there were aspects that I’ve never given a thought – but after reading this article – I agree completely.

    Forever a fan of Arsenal, but never more a supporter of the tyranny of Wenger and Kroenke. Unfortunately, people with season tickets will probably not give up their seats as a protest against Wenger/Kroenke, because there will just be another guy from the waiting list grabbing it and nothing happens.

    As for the stadium – I can’t believe the club went for a 60k stadium instead of 90k+, when season ticket waiting lists are at 40k+ alone… Filling a 90k stadium is not a problem for Arsenal FC… Perhaps Wenger saw the advantage over the fans by having insane waiting lists for season tickets?

  6. gooner tetra says:

    Wengers success came due to graham and dein.
    After 2006 he wanted all of arsenal s success to be owed to him.
    Thats the reason why clowns like gazidis and bould were appointed.
    He wants to create a new formula of success that suffices his egoistical hunger.
    He wants to create a youth group like the man utd class of 94.
    Or lookalike academy of the la masia.
    He desires to play the tiki taka style of barca or bayern .

    This is clearly not working for him.
    I think I know his policy.
    The policy is not to bring success at any cost but to bring it in style.
    Like to create an efficient youth system and play lovely football.
    He might think he knows everything in football.
    But he needs help in achieving it.

    He might be wishing to be able to find a muller or a messi from the youth but that shouldnt be his priority

  7. goonerboy says:

    So now, Wenger will really extend his contract????

    Even if he is offered a new contract,is he supposed to even look at it??

    I don’t even think he will win anything even if he buys ‘world class’ players..

    With all the sanchez and ozils, we are STRUGGLING to make top4…

    Anyone that finds a way to cover for Wenger or back him should have his head examined…
    PS: Interesting write-up

  8. Twig says:

    Shaqiri – heartbreaker

    Stoke 1 Spurs 0

    1. muffdiver says:

      kane belter after 9 mins

      lol ur predicton didnt last 10 minuts twiglet

    2. gmv8 says:

      Spuds gone ahead unfortunately. First time in my life supporting the Orcs.

      Spud fans are the only audible ones, why can’t they come up with songs of their own, instead of ripping off Southampton and Manure songs, and why do they keep saying Harry Kane is one of their own, when he was an Arsenal reject?

  9. Fatboy Gooney says:

    Great Article Geoff ???
    Are you related to Dennis Hill-Wood?
    You must have some kind of link to the club,
    apart from being a fan who has spent an absolute fortune on Arsenal fc, David Miles asking you for your opinion on where we should build the stadium… Is a clue in itself ?

    Please Sir, can we have some Moreeee! ?

  10. vinie2000 says:

    It is killing me to watch SPUDS ALREADY 1-0 UP SHOWING GUTS, DESIRE ( WHOLE TEAM ) , AMBITION something we always lack when going to STOKE..very cautious..passing..slow side ways and back..and always losing there….they are disciplined..dynamic..all running for the same cause..IT HURST TO SEE THEM GOING TOP AND SPECIALLY RUBBING IT ON OUR FACES. IT WAS COMING..CHANGES NEEDED NO MATTER HOW MANY WENGER SUPPORTERS COMES OUT EVERY DAY to defend everything he has done for us but that’s it…..CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE. NO MORE PAIN, NO MORE DISILLUSION NO MORE ANGRY FANS NO MORE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS NO MORE HUMILIATION FROM SPUDS FANS. WE ARE ARSENAL GIVE OUR TEAM BACK WHERE IT BELONGS.

    1. gmv8 says:

      The Orcs are really quiet. It’s normally a cauldron of hate up there. Kroenke is the one to shift. Once he’s gone, and we have people who understand Arsenal and football in general on the board, Wenger will have to get results to stay in his position.

  11. kamn288 says:

    So what you are saying is that Wenger played the victim and the power holder and it looks like the new stadium is practically Wenger Arena which points to many things
    1. If Dien was axed with your story accurate then Wenger may use it as leverage to sue or created a threat to the management.
    2. What really bothers me is how much dirt hidden in Wenger’s head and the players he has.

    1. gmv8 says:

      The story goes that Dein introduced Kroenke to the Arsenal board, Dein and Kroenke fell out over the location of the new Arsenal stadium, and Dein turned against Kroenke, and was forced off the board by Kroenke. Dein has always said Wenger wanted to leave with him, but was persuaded to stay on by Dein.

  12. NY_Gunner says:

    Very well written So0pa…

  13. Adienl says:

    Look at Harry Kane. I really miss Van Persie. I know everyone hates him but he is one of the reasons I started supporting arsenal. In fact I haven’t even seen arsenal win anything except for the recent fa cups. In my opinion, Arsenal’s quality of play is deteriorating and has been ever since I started supporting ( since 2008ish).
    I used to believe we are better than Barcelona at keeping possession, but now apparently we have been found out and most of the matches are really boring.
    No offence to current players but I think when we had players like fabregas, nasi, wilshere (not injured), arshavin, etc, the current system of play was actually exciting to watch. These days you hardly get glimpses of beautiful football. Wenger bought the wrong players for his philosophy, methinks.
    I think he must leave.

  14. luvdaguns says:

    the moment you figured out spurs is in a decent position to win the league now that vary will miss, the moment you figured out spurs feature striker is 10X better then the one we have been forced to watch for 4 years who flaps his arms every time in the box, the moment you figured out you may not finish in 4th place, this is as bad as it gets for us… if this year does not provoke serious change, then nothing will

  15. El Blaze says:

    This article by Geoff is by far the best I have ever read over the past few years I signed up here. It’s inspiring, insightful, saddening and infuriating all at the same time. And Since someone like Geoff who has given his all to Arsenal almost all his life can hold this kind of opinion about Arsenal, Kronke and Wenger then I guess we don’t need some kind of medium to tell us that we need to rise up and do something to rescue our club from a few who have high jacked it and if we ever want to see that great Arsenal we all dream about that can win the EPL every other season and win the UCL at least every four years and parade the best players the world of football has to offer.

  16. Gd4gideon@yahoo.com says:

    Excellent one there i honestly agree with every word there.nice article let’s call a spade a spade i for one i am fade up with wenger shiiitttt let him just go that man is a fraud big one for that matter.

  17. mehmoud says:


  18. KickAssFan____Legendary says:

    Testing… one, two… Am I still on moderation?

  19. KickAssFan____Legendary says:

    So I decided not to comment anymore here cuz I felt I had been blacklisted for no just reason (perhaps mainly becuz I don’t fail to say just how much of a setback Arsene has been to us as a club), but an article as this one has forced me. to reconsider. Nice one.

    1. RedLondon says:

      I’ve been trying to comment but none of my comments have gone through, it keeps saying they will be moderated until the admin approves, 1 month and admin still hasn’t approved any of them. Does freedom of speech exist on this website ?

      1. Admin Out! says:

        It does, unless you go over the top. Which you did. I have unbanned most people now in the hope they have understood it is better to be polite. Let’s see if you can manage that shall we?

  20. arsenalfan1 says:

    Terrific article from Geoff. says it all.

    Will the author of ‘Arsenal fans should be careful what they wish for..’ please read Geoff’s article and get on message regarding what is best for Arsenal FC.

    Again, congratulations, to writer Geoff.

  21. Highbury says:

    Always wondered why the emirate was just 60,000 seater, especially since arsenal was by far and unquestionably the biggest club in london as at construction.

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