I often remind gooners what Arsene Wenger said in his final year at Arsenal Football Club,something like: ‘There was disrespect from some of our fans I will never forget’. It was a warning that Arsenal, on and off the pitch, with a reputation for doing things the ‘right way’, are in danger of losing our proud values.
This week we are debating our captain Granit Xhaka being verbally abused by his own supporters and deciding to swear back at them. Just think about that, the kind of embarrassment we used to look down on Chelsea for.
I’m sure our PR department will put out some statement to tick a box, maybe even the player himself will be forced to apologise. Yet let’s grow up about it and act likes adults. If you swore to someone in the street, in the shop, etc, on the law of averages they are going to answer back.
It’s never dawned on me to swear at one of our own. Number one it contradicts the idea of being a supporter. 2 , it’s counterproductive, he’s less likely to get better if confidence is low, which in effect harms the team’s chances of winning, something I have invested money into hoping to see and 3, I have never been one to get angry about sport , disappointed yes, but to get to the level where I resort to name calling?
Listening to the radio, looking on social media, it’s amazing that those who seem so offended are the ones who do the offence every week. In the case of Arsenal Fan TV, they have built views on who can be the most disrespectful to whoever happens to be the scapegoat, boy do we love a scapegoat.
It’s only Xhaka because Mustafi was bullied out of the squad, he was booed by his own fans in pre-season and spoke about how online trolls have hurt him mentally. I guess that’s allowed because he didn’t confront us?
Some have tried to rewrite history about how we always supported Ramsey. The reality being I have been at games where he was targeted.
Then of course there was Arsene Wenger, the greatest manager in our history, who was rewarded with banners, chants and even video footage of being laughed at when he fell at a train station.
So, it’s okay for these make-believe gangsters to get views and subscribers by looking into a screen shouting, knowing no one can answer. Yet wow, look how they have reacted when someone shouts back. It’s a great human experiment.
The conclusion?……..Like most bullies they don’t like when the bullied push back.
Don’t get me wrong in an ideal world the Switzerland international doesn’t throw down the armband or cup his ear but he’s not a robot, he’s a person with feelings.
This wasn’t a one off. He and his family have been targeted on the internet. His wife was verbally abused outside the Emirates.
Guess what, if you were not good at your job, that wouldn’t give individuals the right to say whatever they want. I heard how captains like Henry or Viera wouldn’t have responded like this. It’s hard to say, as it very rarely happened due to social media not being an issue in their era.
I know we supported the likes of Tony Adams during his personal problems, that wouldn’t happen today.
I would struggle to think of any ex-player though who would agree that Xhaka deserves abuse. It doesn’t help a Joe Willock or Saka in midweek knowing that’s the fans they represent. It could be the difference between playing it safe or trying something creative at Anfield.
I have a canvas on my wall. It’s a picture of Henry sliding in front of Spurs fans after scoring. When asked did he not think that was provocative, he said they had sworn at him all game, it was only right he gave it back.
So what’s the difference?