Fans Need to Look at Themselves, Too by AI
In charting the journey of a football club, fans are always omitted. Or where they are included in the story, it’s always about the rise and never about the downfall. And yet, in the reality of it, fans are always a part of the story, whether good or bad.
Take a look at how we treat some Arsenal players who we have deemed not good enough. If any one of us were to be subjected to the same public pile-on at our personal workplaces, everyone would cry foul play. Yet, for some reason, we think footballers don’t have the same feelings.
One of Jurgen Klopp’s first requests when he first came to Liverpool Football Club was to implore the fans to get behind the team and what they were trying to do. In the first underwhelming season, it was easy to ask what exactly was there to get behind. Klopp did his best to make the team likeable, too: they worked hard and tried to attack fast according to his philosophy, but there were plenty of bad moments in that first season as well. And do you know what the fans did? They held hands and stood behind their team all the same. The current incredible bond between Liverpool and the fans was not achieved by success alone. It was achieved through pain and sweat, and singing You Will Never Walk Alone with a teary face after losing the Europa League final to Sevilla. It was a bond forged by fire and flames before the flowers came.
That’s what supporting a team is like. That strong sense of identity, of possession. It’s a little bit like family. You didn’t chose it nor did they specifically chose you but you found yourself together and stuck with one another. That’s what supporting a club is like. It’s not all about who’s winning the latest trophies. It’s about family. It’s about identity. It’s about the soul of the game.
Unfortunately, too many Arsenal fans have lost the soul for the game. They have become frantic, abusive and negative. All sense of perspective is gone; loyalty is a strange word. This was seen in the treatment of Arsene Wenger, the man who made the modern Arsenal. He might not have made Arsenal the most successful club in the world but given what he worked with, he did a fantastic job of putting Arsenal on the global map. That was who we abused and scorned for weeks on end, as though another Arsene Wenger was easy to come by if only he would just leave.
Look at how we treated Granit Xhaka. We gave him so much abuse that he shoved some of it right back in our faces. And how did we respond? How Dare He?
We complain a lot about how referees behave like gods of the game and are accountable to no one but what’s the difference? Who are fans accountable to? Or do we suppose that fans do not play a significant role in football? Look at the home records of teams across Europe this last season and see if fans are impactful or not.
Whether we like it or not, our collective behavior affects things. The cesspool that was AFTV negatively affected our players and even the perception of them in the transfer market. We don’t even celebrate our successes well enough. We are on to the next thing, immediately grumbling. Yes, we paid to be entertained but that does not give us any right to go overboard.
This summer, the Arsenal hierarchy are shelling out money to try and get the quality of the team back to where it belongs. The team is lead by one of our own, a likeable and professional man who was thrown in the deep end of the season and has not been given much favour in his coaching career. Mikel Arteta’s first request was the same as Jurgen Klopp: that we the fans rally around our own team, that we give them the strength of our support. This season is the time to support.
Arteta will finally have some material to work with. Our job is to try and help him to succeed. Our job is to sing and clap and provide momentum for this young team led by one of the youngest coaches in Europe. If Arteta is successful, it will be a story to tell. It will be a fairytale featuring boys from the academy, the youngest coach in the league and the return of the Arsenal DNA. If he doesn’t, the future is brighter with a young team.
All of the good players in the team think Arteta is a great coach and that something special might happen with him. But nothing will happen without our support. So, for once, this new season, let’s try to roll back the years and go all the way with the team.
Come on, you gunners. It’s time to be a fan!