Arsenal show their class with Saka’s Wall Of Support from fans

In Arsene Wenger’s last two seasons In North London, some on social media got views by verbally abusing the greatest manager in our history. There were even images of ‘Fans’ mocking and taking photos when the then 69-year-old fell over at a train station.

Before the 2017 FA Cup Final, Arsene Wenger said he would ‘never forget the treatment from some supporters’ and warned Gooners they were in danger of ruining the proud principles he had helped promote.

A week earlier the Frenchman had failed to lead the Gunners to the top four for the first time, had yet to extend his contract and was about to face the Champions.

So the fact that even under pressure he felt the need to be critical of a portion of our fanbase indicated how serious the issue was to him.

Like so many who had entered Highbury Mr Wenger had bought into the ‘Arsenal Way’. Even to rival clubs, we had earned a reputation of doing things the right way.

Legend has it that this dates back to the Herbert Chapman era, when he paid out of his own money for the stadium entrance to be painted a marble red.

His thinking was that when visitors arrived the first thing that they noticed was that this was a club who did things with class.

Arsene Wenger’s ethos was such that we became known around the world for how we played on the pitch. If nothing else, Arsenal were famous for playing the game the ‘right way’.

Our former boss was correct to be concerned that we would regress.

We no longer have an identity on the pitch, and off it our own players have gone on record about suffering mentally due to the level of abuse from their own fans.

We have 3 or 4 squad members who are often made the scapegoat.

Therefore, it’s only correct (and crucial) that it’s acknowledged when our fans make the club proud.

Saka returned to training this week for the first time since the Euros.

His employers had a surprise for the 19-year-old – a wall which displayed hundreds of cards, letters and gifts for the teenager from Gooners.

An academy graduate, he had already done Arsenal proud by how fearless he was in the European Championships for England.

The scene of Gareth Southgate consoling a tearful Saka after his penalty was saved in the Final vs Italy was one of the most emotional moments of the tournament.

Yet pride turned to disgust when inside 24 hours the winger, as well as Sancho and Rashford were subjected to Racial abuse on social media (3 of them coming from Portsmouth players who have since been sacked).

On his return ‘home’, Saka was left speechless when shown the ‘wall of support’. It’s a classy move from Arsenal, something they didn’t need to do.

It’s sad in 2021 that a kid needs comforting after being discriminated against for the colour of his skin.

Yet after a summer where many fans disgraced their nation due to their behaviour it’s only right that we point out that the majority of fans are good, decent humans, who care about a youngster who has been at our club since the age of seven.

That’s not to say we shouldn’t keep reporting the minority because one person being racially abused is one too many, but this shows equally how many people are disgusted by how Saka was treated.

It’s not the homecoming he wanted. If his spot kick and gone different, he could have returned to the Emirates as a national treasure.

He will live that kick of the ball for the rest of his life, that fine line between success and failure.

He wanted to start pre pre-season with a winners medal. That didn’t happen but this will still mean the world.

The day the entire club put their arm round Saka’s shoulder and became his comfort blanket and safe place.

I ordered the away shirt today. I don’t normally have a surname on the back, but have picked Saka as my own way of showing my support.

The only colour I have ever seen is the one on the shirt. Sadly, that’s not the case for everyone.

I wish I could write that Saka will be free of any more racial abuse. What I can say is he’s not alone. He has thousands of friends standing by his side.

That’s the right way …. The Arsenal Way.

Dan Smith

Tags Saka The Arsenal Way

31 Comments

  1. gotanidea says:

    Yes, it was a good PR from Arsenal

    About Wenger’s comment on the treatment from some supporters, he also revealed it all in an interview with The Guardian. He wanted to finish his contract, but he couldn’t put up with the hostility of the fans and the board

    He should’ve left sooner, but Arsenal shouldn’t have extended his contract in 2017 after the FA Cup win. About the proud principles he had helped promote, the fans have mob-hounded Emery and him, and they’re doing it again to Arteta

    1. ThirdManJW says:

      Cannot blame the fans! We had been putting up with the same rubbish for over a decade, whilst watching our club go down the pan.

      If anything, the fans should be praised for being TOO patient.

      1. gotanidea says:

        Wenger described the treatment to be very brutal. I guess he expected constructive criticisms, instead of mockery, death threats, unconstructive comments and emotional abuse

        1. ThirdManJW says:

          Of course that’s disgusting, and I do not condone that kind of behavior, but on the flip side, that was the result of pushing the fans to the absolute limit!

          If the fans said and did nothing, Wenger would easily still be here, and then bye bye Saka on a free!

          1. Dan says:

            Without Wenger we finished twice in our worst position in quarter of a century so not sure those fans have been proven correct yet ?

          2. ThirdManJW says:

            Without Wenger we reached our first European final in 13 years, in the very first after he was sacked.

            Also, the club was left in an absolute mess.

            Finally, the fans who wanted Wenger out, were proven correct year after year after year. We knew he would do nothing home and abroad, and Wenger proved us right all the time.

            What do you say to those fans who wanted him out as far back as 2010? Clearly they were right.

          3. Dan says:

            It’s not a debate
            It’s factually correct to say we have gone backwards since Mr Wenger left

          4. ThirdManJW says:

            And it’s factually correct that to say that the main reason we have gone backwards (in some areas) after Wenger is because of the man himself.

            He left the club in a shambles, and it would be completely delusional to expect an immediate turn around from that. E.g. it’s taken 3 years just to get rid of some of his deadwood.

          5. Argooner says:

            We didn’t reach a European final for 13 years with Wenger because we were competing in the champion’s league over that period. Had we not been competing in the latter stages most years perhaps we could have had a run in the Europa league, which most fans considered below us (correctly) at that point in time.
            He did however take us to our only European cup/champion’s league final in or history, as well as one Europa league final in one of the only years went out at the group stage.

          6. ThirdManJW says:

            @Argooner

            Wenger did not have us competing in the latter stages of CL for a long time. Last semi was back in 2009 I think, then some QF, then last 16 God knows how many years in a row.

            Qualifying from groups we should be qualifying from, then getting dumped out the very second we faced a decent side, every single year, is not a good performance.

          7. Dan says:

            No it’s your opinion that’s why we gone backwards
            That’s pure speculation
            We don’t know how Wenger would have done in last three years
            We do know how we got on without him – our worst finish in 25 years

          8. ThirdManJW says:

            Whilst none of us can see into the future as say Dan, what we can do, is base our opinions on what we already know. At the end of the 17/18 what did we know?

            That was the 14th year in a row without winning a league title under Wenger, or even being competitive. A clear and obvious trend.

            We lost a whopping 13 league games, 6 more than 2 seasons previous, and 4 more than the last season. So there is a trend developing there.

            And lets not forget the long downwards trend in Europe.

            So given the huge amount of evidence, and the fact Wenger wasn’t new to the league, the squad or the situation at Arsenal, it’s fair to say that Wenger would not have turned things around. At best, we would have just stagnated.

          9. Argooner says:

            Qualifying from the groups is the latter stages. If we had gone out at the group stages in 3rd place then we would have entered the Europa League and perhaps we would have made other finals. At the time, and even (and perhaps especially) now, I, and most fans, would take reaching the last 32 or 16 over the Europa final any day of the week.

      2. ken1945 says:

        Dan, you see how your absolutely correct analysis is spun to deflect the point?

        Even if we agree that the last decade saw the club going “down the pan”, three years later, over £200,000,000 spent on over 17 new players, completely new backroom staff, two new managers, shows no improvement whatsoever… in fact we have had the worst results ever since Wenger left in over TWO decades… yet the same old excuses for hounding put players and managers continue.

        1. ken1945 says:

          Oh, we reached our first European final the year after AW left and how many of his players were actually playing in that final…. Needless to say, it was conveniently forgotten that the year before, we reached the semi final and were the fa cup holders.

        2. ThirdManJW says:

          Haha, yet more spin and actual lies from Ken.

          No, the worst results have come under Wenger. Did UE or MA conceded 8 in one game? Did they lose 5-1 to the same team 3 times in a row? Did they finish above Utd, City, Spurs, Chel, and Liv and still not win the league, or even challenge for it?

          Shall we have this conversation in 12 years time, to see what Arteta has done in the league?

          1. Argooner says:

            And even with those “worst results in history” where did we end up during that time? Champion’s league for how many seasons and how many FA Cups?

          2. ThirdManJW says:

            @Argooner

            Like I already said in regards to the CL, one final, two semis, is not impressive. Add to that, Wenger never won a European trophy, backs up my claim about his poor record in Europe.

            Yes we won some FA cups, and we also went 9 years straight without a trophy!

      3. Logic says:

        TMJ, so how is the life after Wenger then? Amazing right?? Winning trophies, regularly qualifying in champions League spot, seeing world class players sign for club and what an absolute entertaining attractive football we are playing 😂😂. Grass is always greener on the other side I think most of us fans have found out after Wenger left but some are just to stubborn to admit it. Before you give same argument again that what’s the point of being in competition that we don’t win and we are there to just make up numbers then same goes for EPL so by your logic we should not be EPL either. Our fans are not well behaved fans and they don’t know how to respect their own players. Having a difference of opinion is one thing but the abuse thrown at ppl like Wenger, Ozil, Auba, LK etc list goes on and on has been disgusting then we say we have class if this is calss then we would have been better off with out it.

        1. ken1945 says:

          Absolutely spot on Logic and how those fans you describe are NOW constantly moaning about where we are today…. you couldn’t make it up my friend.

        2. ThirdManJW says:

          It’s funny how you guys keep saying how bad things have got since Wenger left, yet you refuse to accept the reality of who caused the majority of the club’s downfall.

          I’ll try this from a different angle, and see where we get.

          16/17 we finished 5th under Wenger, 9 league defeats
          17/18 we finished 6th under Wenger, 13 league defeats.

          So despite EVERY signing was his, and in most cases, players he had worked with for years, his wealth of experience, and knowledge, and the respect his commanded, and years at the same club, we were terrible, and clearly on a downward trend! Wenger had NO excuses, whereas new managers do because they have to pick up the pieces, and deal with a squad that are not theirs, and in MA case, learn on the job, in the toughest of circumstances for a rookie manager.

          And that wasn’t just two poor seasons under Wenger, they were a result of years of mismanagement.

          So my question is: Given the downward trend under Wenger, where do you think we would have finished in the 18/19 season, or subsequent seasons afterwards, if Wenger was not sacked?

          1. Dan Smith says:

            impossible to answer
            how are we meant to know how he would have done
            No one argues things were not perfect in his last couple of years . They simply challenge the notion that fans have been proven correct that the grass would be greener when its a fact we have regressed
            I personally think Ramsey would have stayed , Ozil would have been dropped only when we had creativity in midfield , style of football and ethos would be better
            I also wonder at which point you can’t keep blaming old regime
            Not his fault Leno makes mistakes, Auba went off the boil , Pepe was brought

          2. ThirdManJW says:

            I completely accept that UE and MA have made mistakes, more so with MA, but one also has to accept the state of the club they walked into.

            To absolve Wenger of ANY responsibility of problems since his departure is ridiculous! I keep saying that the squad is a perfect example of what I am talking. We had deadwood, that has taken 3 years to get rid of. Not because of MA or UE, but because of Wenger and Gazidis.

    2. Alanball08 says:

      GOI
      Agrees Aw Shouldn’t have been given another 2 years and then sacked after 1
      He should have seen out his 2 years and he could have groomed a replacement and then moved upstairs to retain his knowledge and most of all his passion for the club
      Or not hand him a 2 year Contract moved him upstairs and got someone else in
      As for Arsenal and PR
      Do clubs mean what they say about taking this element out of our game and bear in mind this is a social disease or is it all LIP SERVICE to appease the media
      Don’t get me wrong we have come along way from the days where i stood in the North Bank 8n the 70s surrounded by skin heads and was lambasted with torrid abuse (ps not all skin heads were racist) some if my best mates were skin heads)
      Society as a whole needs to do better
      Not just football and At the end of the day I always say we are all the same on the inside.
      Racism and discrimination happens to everyone in one forms or wake of life no matter if you are black white male female old young Muslim Catholic Church of England orthodox jew ect
      Stand up people let’s make a difference and do better for ourselves , our children our world
      Life is two short and we only get approx 80 summers to make the best of our mad world
      Upwards and onwards

      1. gotanidea says:

        Great life principles bro 👍

        I have learned a lot from longtime Gooners like you

  2. Elekima Daniel says:

    You have earned my respect and admiration by writing this. You have spoken everything in my mind. Issues ranging from the amount of abuse so called fans subject their own player to and the Saka incident is really sickening. Unfortunately how many of those bad eggs we see the need to change.
    The attitude of our fans put alot of pressure on our players and make them not to perform with freedom they need. Our players are always afraid of making mistakes.

  3. ken1945 says:

    Dan Smith, I congratulate you on this superb article.

    If only every so-called Arsenal fan would think like you, the club, players and fanbase would be such a different place.

    We even have one fan above, applauding the way a section of the fans reacted over the previous decade, as if it is something to be proud of!!!

    These are the “fans” that crucify players, managers and other fans, but are so easily proved wrong with their over the top rhetoric.

    I have grown tired and disgusted at the abuse given out to our players by, supposedly, fans of the club and there is no doubt in my mind, that we have some sick individuals who find negatives, no matter what!!

    By all means criticise, but in a constructive way – as some of us did last season, when MA had no creativity in the team… now it’s time to support him 100%.

    As for AW, these “fans” have driven away the most successful manager ever at the club, they have to live with that and, it seems, they don’t give a damn.

  4. JEMMAN says:

    AW may have been passionate about Arsenal likewise most of us the fans, we are not deriving any monetary gain from supporting and many times fighting for the club verbally and sometimes physically at all costs and means across the continents with our rivals and that shows Patriotism. Can the same be said for AW and the board? The answer is NO. If they are passionate and patriotic the board would have ended Wenger’s contract around 2010 when diminishing returns have fully set in, but no he, Gazidis and the rest board members retained him to the detriment of the club and hurting the fans with sound minds. You should applaud us that stomached their deception and wickedness for so long. Pep confessed that he stepped out of Barcelona when he discovered that he no longer inspires the players why didn’t Wenger follow suit, why did the board allowed him to stay? Both were playing out their hidden scripts of seeing that the club plummets. For more than a decade we couldn’t win EPL, couldn’t get to the final of Europa, we’re already out of top 4 in his last 2 seasons. He made sure he destroyed what he built. On his way out he recommended Arteta as his replacement, he wrongly swapped Sanchez for spent force Mihktrayan with high wages and we lost £60ml that Pep offered for him. To make sure that Arsenal will not recover quickly after his exit he gave many obviously under performing players contract extensions with high wages something he was not truly doing during his tenure, you can say he’s not the one but he makes inputs. Most of the fans did not welcome the idea of Arteta and Unai Emry was contracted who took us straight to Europa final although he got intimidated by Ozil’s worshippers and he tinkered his squad by including him in the starting line up and paid dearly for it, that costs him the trophy and more pressure from Ozil’s fan sent him packing. Arteta has come in to continue from where his master left, he has already anchored 2 seasons outside the the first 6, eliminated from Europa in semi final like his master by the man he replaced who eventually won the final. The same old story excuse have started trading that Arteta is building a team of the future, the same thing that his master Wenger couldn’t achieve for more than a decade. Mark my words he’s not
    building any positive thing, why can’t we start competing, WHEN SHALL THIS DECEPTION STOP.

    For Saka, he has our back up and support, the PR is a good one and will help boost him up.

    1. ken1945 says:

      JEMMAN, just remind me how many trophies AW won after 2010, how much money went into the coffers by finishing in the top four and CL for another six years and FA cup winning monies.
      Have you ANY idea how much that amounts too?
      Yet you say “diminishing returns”?
      Where is your proof that, from 2010, he didn’t “inspire” the players? Any anactodal evidence of that?
      If Ozil was the root cause of MA’s troubles, shouldn’t you, at least, be praising him for getting rid of the player, along with other so called deadwood that AW left at the club?
      Why didn’t the “Ozil worshippers” stop this, if they were so powerful and MA such a weak, clueless manager?
      If the fans are such an influence on the decisions taken by the club, why is Zhaka still with us?
      I love your Sanchez/Myk example…. what did it cost manure in wages to entice him to Old Trafford and what was Myk’s salary when he joined us?

      Why are we all moaning about not finishing in the top four, no European football in over two decades and the worst two seasons during the same period?
      Step back and take into account kronkie buying the club, appointing gazidis, The Emirate build, Russian roubles and the never ending oil money, the failure of FIFA to police their own fair play policy and then, just maybe, you might understand just what AW achieved for our club.
      I somehow doubt it and, if as you indicate physically fighting as a positive thing, I would love to have seen you stand up to Fergie in a verbal battle – let alone with fisticuffs!!!

  5. jon fox says:

    An excellent article DAN. (I will refrain from commenting on the irrelevant AW debate which seems to have overtaken the article itself, despite not being connected in any way to abuse for SAKA.)

    What your article graphically shows is that for every racist and low life scumbag in the world, there are hundreds, probably thousands, of decent minded people who will always stand up for the folks who are abused and who reject the NEANDERTHAL MENTALITY OF THE DINOSAURS WHO RACIALLY ABUSE.
    Looking at lifes wider picture, that is a blessing and to be applauded, even though that is fairly easy to say, provided one is not being racially abused oneself!

  6. Argooner says:

    The cynic in me says that this was a bit of a PR stunt (which in all honesty it probably was), but it was well/tastefully done, and I’m choosing to believe its genuine because Saka truly deserves it.

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