Bullying versus the right to demonstrate a free opinion (Xhaka) by Jon Fox
Many, probably most, Arsenal fans believe that our team is not functioning as well right now as the sum of its talents ought to function, given the undoubted number of special talents we have in the squad. Many articles and posts have been aired with numerous reasons for this state we are in. There are a multitude of reasons in my opinion, and the prime one is that our owner has little ambition for our club, other than to see it maintain its financial status as his asset. Thus funds have been limited on badly needed top level players, most especially in defence. There can surely not be a single Gooner who regards our defence as any better than mediocre; most Gooners would use a far more pejorative word than “mediocre” were they able to express their freely held personal opinion. Some would use “rubbish” and I would be firmly among those number.
There are a number of other suggested reasons also though. First among them is that Emery is not up to the job; that he picks the wrong start elevens, seems not to be a motivator like Klopp and Guardiola or even Lampard, and simply put, has failed. I agree with this view and have several other criticisms of him too. His pitiful attempts to improve, even by a jot, the poor defence Wenger left behind have failed miserably. His insistence on a dangerous ‘playing out from the back’, given the donkeys he picks at CB is, IMO, idiotic and doomed to fail. The final chief reason is the players themselves, many of whom seem to have never met before, so shapeless and slow paced is the general play. If you think “slow paced” one name leaps out like salmon from a pond; that of Xhaka! Pace is to him as a deodorant is too a tramp; non-existent. Yet Emery made this pedestrian and rash player our club captain! Can anyone please explain why?
My question is then is this: Is it or is in not an unalienable fan right to verbally express, even during the game itself, this forceful opinion directly at such and such a player? Either it is or is not the fans right. There is no third way. If it is decided that such a right should not be allowed in this age of easily hurt feelings,”possibly leading to life trauma, clinical depression and even possible suicidal feelings of the incumbent” then in my opinion live football with crowd’s present is dying before our eyes. That phrase in quote marks is not mine; it is a copied from a thesis on humanity and its direction of travel from which I read, with mounting amazement, quite recently. I utterly reject its harmful conclusion. It is in effect saying that all free opinion and personal criticism of any person is bad, harmful and wrong. In fact, were we to follow that route, we might as well all lose the power of spoken and written speech, so fallacious is that argument?
To conclude, I offer this thought. Vicious bullying to deliberately hurt someone is wrong and always wrong. But fairly expressed free opinion is our unalienable right and we give it up at the peril of all progress in mankind. What happened to Xhaka on Sunday was free expression, borne out of total frustration by the crowd of his constant poor performances, and of his being picked at all by our manager So, his feelings were hurt, and he showed it in full public view. Poor chap!
Perhaps, had he the intellect any club captain should have, he would now reflect on how he behaved, on why the crowd acted as they did and on what he can start to do now to repair his self-respect which has been hurt. Personally, I have long thought that for the club’s sake he should be sold as soon as possible. But my message is if you can’t stand the heat, then stay out of the kitchen. All winners CAN stand that heat. Until all our players can do likewise, we will never again win titles.