Do Arsenal fans need a reality check?

To Criticize or not to criticize: what is the role of the supporters? Guest post by Viera Lyn

If you believe that voicing one’s opinions is tantamount to treason, it’s time you recognized your role in the lowering of expectations at our once great club. One needs to look no further than at those teams who currently dominate the footballing landscape to understand the obvious correlation between having a learned and outspoken fan-base and experiencing a period of sustained greatness.

Besides their obvious financial contributions, the 3rd estate must keep one eye fixed squarely on the talent and the other on the hired help. Without the necessary checks and balances, those in charge have a tendency to turn inwards. If this goes unchecked for too long it invariably leads to a variety of organizational problems.

The fans, albeit prone to flights of fancy or fury, provide a necessary foil for anyone within the hierarchy attempting to monopolize control over the club. After all, truly great leaders should never fear being held accountable for their actions. They know full well that one of the great downfalls of any autocratic regime is that it can have a stifling effect on creative thought and constructive criticism, especially when those in charge start to surround themselves with a menagerie of like-minded individuals.

Once the boardroom becomes dominated by “yes men” differing views are generally discouraged, for obvious reasons. When this malaise infiltrates the organizational environment, the club in question usually stagnates, as the focus of management tends to shift from advancing the footballing agenda to papering over the cracks. It is at this point that the relationship between the club and it’s paying customers usually disintegrates quite quickly. If the supporters feel that the club is more concerned with protecting their own interests over the interests of the club as a whole, trust erodes to potentially dangerous levels and tempers flare until massive changes occur. If no significant sackings are forthcoming, the fans have the right, in fact the obligation, to utilize whatever peaceful means at their disposal to force the issue.

For those who disagree with my assessment about the current state of our franchise, I welcome, even encourage your dissenting views, but your continued refusal to engage in a healthy debate over our differences certainly hasn’t helped the cause. Instead of adopting a logical point/counterpoint approach, most simply reiterate the same nonsense ad nauseam without care or concern for the changing truth. Of course, there are those within the anti-Wenger camp who have taken to social media in the heat of the moment or after having a few and vented their frustrations without the use of a filter, but surely by this point enough former Wenger supporters have come forward and openly voiced their displeasure with the direction of this club that the debate has moved from the realm of knee-jerk reactionaries to a place where rational thought trumps sheer bravado.

If you truly believe that maintaining the status quo is the path to glory why are you so quick to attack those who hold differing views. Should you not have enough confidence in your convictions to avoid openly engaging with anyone who may think otherwise so that you don’t stir the pot unnecessarily and/or provide an easy target for those just looking for a fight. For me, this usually suggests weakness or uncertainty. Maybe you aren’t trying to convince those with opposing views, but simply searching for other like-minded individuals to help convince yourselves that all is well. It’s obvious the powers that be are squarely in your camp, otherwise the past couple of off-seasons would have seen some major changes at the club.

On the other hand, maybe you’re just incredibly selfish and you just can’t stand when anyone threatens to potentially disrupt your weekly Arsenal fix. Do you really enjoy the sterile environment at the Emirates that often feels like a glorified country club where stuffed shirts meet for cocktails and a little side of football? If so, please keep in mind that many of these individuals care far more about the cache that comes with owning the most expensive seats in town than competing at the highest levels.

Whether for taking current or potential clients, friends, visiting family members or potential mates, simply to impress, seduce or to conduct business deals, their interests in the club are intimately tied to their own personal gain and not the greater good. Obviously every club must have their fair share of suits in the seats for logical financial reasons but when the pendulum swings too far one way you run the risk of offending and/or alienating the real fan-base who have supported the organization over the long haul. Beyond filling the coffers, the true supporters must hold the organization accountable for their actions so that when things go awry necessary changes are made sooner rather than later. Now this isn’t to suggest that the club should be held ransom by the seemingly endless whims of it’s supporters, but when issues arise and a general consensus is formed it’s incredibly negligent on the club’s part to not even attempt to redress their concerns or even offer any honest commentary on the matter.

If after all this you still believe that the fan has no functionally imperative role in the running of a professional team, minus blindly clapping and handing over your hard-earned cash, you’re likely someone who knows no other Arsenal than Wenger’s Arsenal. If this is the case, you’re probably deathly afraid of change, much like the manager himself, so any talk of a post-Wenger Arsenal leaves you in an incredible state of despair. It’s quite likely you don’t even really follow football, besides Wenger, and as such it’s reasonable to assume your understanding of the game and it’s players begins and ends with the man himself. His words are like gospel and you are his unquestioning disciples, unwilling to accept that this game could functionally exist without his presence. If this is the case, it’s highly unlikely that you will gain any valuable insight from this article, instead you will likely respond with your usual bevy of excuses, much like your aging mentor, then slag anyone who doesn’t prescribe to your antiquated vision, then the meaningless cycle you have enabled will simply begin again.

Viera Lyn

Does our guest writer have some valid points? Are the stands over-filled with the wrong type of ‘fans’? Does our club give us unrealistic expectations?

Tags Arsenal fans


  1. AndersS says:

    What a great article.
    As one of those, who firmly believe Wengers reign should be over, i can only concur. A true fan is entitled to question the manager’s and the managements decisions, when the club is moving backwards.

  2. gotanidea says:

    The corrupted people in Arsenal need a harsh reality check. The fifth richest club in the world should be able to give us at least one thirty million plus player and bring Arsenal into the top three position in January.

    If they fail to do so, I believe Arsenal will experience a huge loss in revenues from their fans. They will also see a big decrease in the number of people that will watch in the stadium.

  3. Jeremy says:

    Awesome! Whoever you may be….

    No more ‘Yes’ fans…. Kroenke and gang shall not walk all over us fans.

  4. summerbreez says:

    I am sick and tired of listening to how great Arsenal is Arsenal have to prove on the pitch that they are great ant thing else is just noise annoying noise the reality of the matter we are below the tenth position in the premier league and this political noise dose not make any difference what so ever to our standing in fact it devises our club into small segments the for the against and the in betweeners
    and the essence of a strong club its in its unity and hard work in proving to the masses that this club is a great club because of it unity its work and ethics and remember how we got here and the principles behind it


  6. jon fox says:

    A well constructed and well argued article, possibly the best I have seen on this site. To me the key point was about the need for the club – and all clubs – to listen to fan dissatifaction , esp when long term and loud. Our club at present is run like Kim Jong UN runs North Korea; they want fans to be just cash fodder with no opinions of their own and to blindly follow the “great and never wrong leader”. Well, in the free world humans are not automoton robots, like North Koreans are. We live and wish to live in a capitalist community where the customer has choice. Now, clearly football fans have not the choice that for example food shoppers have and are trapped by their passion and deep love for the club of their heart. But a club that takes that love and blind devotion for granted, as ours does is in real danger of getting an almighty shock when the majority of fans REALLY turn against the regime. We still love the club , the history , historical values and the class it used to regularly show off the pitch as well as on. But with the present owner our club is in mortal peril of it’s long term support which leads to death by blood loss. Take my experience and I am fairly typical of very many. I started attending regularly in 1958 and having been a season ticket holder for 35 years finally stopped going last season , ENTIRELY because I can no longer stomach the lies,deceit, cavalier attitude and bullying of the present owner, board and manager. The arrogance is breath taking and I now refuse to pay this cancerous regime one single penny more of my money. My love , to be honest is fast fading – I no longer leap off the sofa or even clap when watching on TV. MY DISDAIN FOR THE REGIME IS FAST KILLING MY LOVE FOR THE CLUB AND I HAVE BEEN A DYED IN THE WOOL FAN FOR OVER SIXTY YEARS. I suggest there are thousands more like me and warn the whole regime to go now if they want our club to survive long term as a great club. BY THE WAY, I AM STILL FIT AND WELL FINANCIALLY ABLE TO ATTEND BUT DON’T WANT TO ANY MORE. Warning!

    1. Jc walker says:

      Spurs are extending their ground, you would fit in there nicely

      1. Ozziegunner@Newcastle upon Hunter says:

        Jc walker that is a completely unfair comment to someone who claims to have supported Arsenal FC through good and bad times over 60 years. Jon fox is intimating that the current regime in charge at Arsenal has caused him to fall “out of love” with football as well as Arsenal. Why would he then follow Spurs?

  7. leomann says:

    being an arsenal fan is like looking to the sky and wondering with tears in your eyes…. WHEN WILL RAIN FALL…

  8. Nothing changed says:

    Well written article and well-made points. I have never heard any rational arguments form the pro-Wenger and pre-establishment fans. Their points are mostly emotional and sentimental. It seems they either prefer to avert blame to Kroenke as if he decides who to buy and sell and who to put in our starting 11 or they refer to Wenger’s past accomplishments suggesting he has earned to right to stay on because of what he did for us in his prime.

    I have yet to read a well-argued rational post detailing why he is still the man to take us forward (because he won a PL 13 years ago is not a rational argument). I would love to hear how he still is a tactical genius, how he still raises the squad above the sum of its parts and how he still buys the best players for his limited budget and how he still addresses all our needs.

    1. Vlad says:

      How is this for an argument from a Pro-Wenger fan:

      When you don’t do your job, what happens to you?

      A: You lose your job.
      B: You get a raise, and a new contract.

      ‘Nuff said. Sick and tired of people saying that Wenger is the problem. If he was, he’d be long gone. Instead, he’s making 8+ million pounds a year, and is sitting on a new 2-year contract extension. Suck on that.

      1. Nothing changed says:

        Hahahaha! Funny Vlad you typify the description in the article.’s highly unlikely that you will gain any valuable insight from this article, instead, you will likely respond with your usual bevy of excuses, much like your aging mentor, then slag anyone who doesn’t prescribe to your antiquated vision, then the meaningless cycle you have enabled will simply begin again…

  9. kabeer says:

    Arsenal has all the ingredients to succeed. we just need someone ruthless that’s willing to do what it takes to ensure players deliver week in week out.

    I am yet to to be convinced that that man is Wenger.

  10. Gunner4Life says:

    First of all.. This article was a Masterpiece! Showed the present “state” of Arsenal.. Dont know what We need to do so that the good old “GLORY” days return to Arsenal….! We wanna be Great AGAIN!

  11. Vlad says:

    Here we go again… if it’s not Konstantin Mitov, it’s Viera Lyn. We play bad, it’s Wenger’s fault; we play well, it’s the team effort. Wenger is not without his faults, but to say that he’s not doing his job is ridiculous. Kroenke recently came out and said that he thinks that we (Arsenal FC) are self sustainable. In lame terms, it means that he will not invest a single dollar in the club, and we, or I should say Wenger, has to think of ways to stay relevant as one of the top, and most respected football clubs in the world. What does that mean? It means that if we spend 50mil on one player, we’re better make sure that we sell a few to balance out the books. I, for one, never believed stories about our transfer kitties, and if you think about it, it was never Wenger who said that we have money to spend, but always Gazidis. Of course, neither one can come out and say that we CANNOT compete with clubs like RM, Barca, PSG, City, Chelsea who all have virtually unlimited budgets. But it’s the reality, and we have to live with it. We are what we are until Kroenke is in charge. And it’s time to accept it.

    1. bran99 says:

      Wenger is not at fault at all, that’s your argument.. but what happened to those teams that won titles with a shoe string budget? Just a quality manager and other things set themselves. Atletico Madrid, BVB, Leicester city; only Wenger is affected by lack of money, 13 years of trying and error, if he was good he would have done it atleast once in those 13 years

      “it was never Wenger who said that we have money to spend, but always Gazidis” so if Gaz is the one lying, why didn’t Wenger come out and say otherwise? Why did he keep quiet and make a lot of excuses to backup the having money thing and says he’s busy in the transfer window while he has no any intention of buying anyone?

      Wenger completes the piece of the puzzle, he is involved directly. And in fact he’s the one who takes the largest part of the puzzle.. him and his pathetic clueless followers who wants to see Wenger in charge at the expense of success in our club

      1. Nothing changed says:

        Vlad is a bit confused and probably has a few too many short-circuits as a result of his anger issues. He looks to Kroenke to make up his mind about whether he thinks Wenger maximizes the team, can’t think for himself:

        I quote Vlad who si mad:

        “How is this for an argument from a Pro-Wenger fan:
        When you don’t do your job, what happens to you?
        A: You lose your job.
        B: You get a raise, and a new contract.
        Nuff said. Sick and tired of people saying that Wenger is the problem. If he was, he’d be long gone. Instead, he’s making 8+ million pounds a year, and is sitting on a new 2-year contract extension. Suck on that.”

        People who don’t have an opinion of themselves but look to others to find their own opinion (to Kroenke in Vad’s case, seldome have good arguments in my experience.)

        A: You lose your job.
        B: You get a raise, and a new contract.

        Yet on the other hand he claims Kroenke is to blame and not Wenger

    2. xxnofx says:

      You my friend is why we are in such a crappy state… where were you in the summer when f all was getting done in the transfer market? the season as started all you creepy weidos have come out of your wardrobes and now have sum sh1ty kind of opinion..The club is in the worst state in 15 years ..and all you can do is slag proper fans off who care about the club.look in the mirror and your see whos doing the most damage to the club

  12. Gazza says:

    Arsenal used to play the most exciting football. Now they’re tactically naive , too open , too weak, too cowardly and trailing behind man city , Liverpool and Spurs for entertainment value for a neutral. Each year it’s obvious what we lack but AW just ignores it all and talks about mental strength after every win following defeats. It’s embarrassing for the fan. How and why should they toe the line to mediocrity like Forest under the once great Clough.

  13. Taiwo says:

    Oh! I see so many others have lots of time on their hands. I thought I would see comments complaining about the length of the write up ?.

    I tried but couldn’t just read the thesis ??

  14. Gooner4ever says:

    In Wenger we trust

  15. Yossarian says:

    Lots of valid points and accurate analysis.

    Despite the negatives regarding the board and owner, I still think that a better manager could achieve a lot more with the current squad and transfer budgets.

    1. bran99 says:

      Always try to tell these Wenger followers the exact points, Wenger is old and has lost his magic, with a proper younger hungrier and tactically aware manager, this squad can achieve more than we can all think.

      Wenger can’t even motivate his players when things aren’t going well, always folding his hands between his laps, while the rest of the managers are always on the touch line giving more guidelines to the players.. and still some fans think he’s the only one in this world who should manage Arsenal

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