Does sacking Xhaka as captain mean the bullies have got their way?

I commended Arsenal last week for not feeling obliged to release a statement to the public regarding Xhaka, just to tick a PR box. But I feel the club in general could have done better in not making this drag out and letting the bullies get their wish.

In perspective this is what happened; a grown man swore at other adults who swore at him. There was no reason for so much drama.

In an ideal world the player shouldn’t have done what he did, but he’s not a robot, he’s a human who has feelings. Especially when he went into detail about the length of abuse, he’s been receiving. Now though he has been stripped of the captaincy just to reignite the debate.

We know the dressing room voted for who they wanted to be their skipper, so we know the Swiss international is popular. A few of his peers have come out to support him while rumours were that some of his teammates went around his house, so much was he distressed.

So, it’s hard to believe this is going to make the squad feel anything other than sorry for the midfielder. You could even argue he’s been wrongly done.

There is a debate to be had discussing if this man was the best leader, or even if he should be in the first team. Yet that’s a football debate.

Uni Emery hasn’t made this change based on a football choice, he’s made it because of the behaviour of a few idiots. Just think how humiliating that is to our fan base, that we have to change our captain because he couldn’t tolerate abuse anymore.

What message does it send to those cowards now that they have won? They set out to bully him until he snapped now, we now the bullies have got their way, the same they did with Mustafi. What have the club done to discourage them not to do this again? What’s been the deterrent?

If Auba went three months without scoring is it okay to abuse him because you no longer think he’s a good player?

I think it was progressive that the actions of these supporters were put out for the world to see their true colours.

Threatening his wife?

Wishing Cancer On His Child?

Verbal abuse?

He’s lost his captaincy because for a moment he gave in and responded.

The punishments to those who abused him? They will continue to believe paying to see a football match is the same as a right to say whatever they want.

Perhaps they will only learn their lesson when the likes of Lacca doesn’t extend his contract while they try to preach loyalty.

Emery’s assertion that his DM should have said sorry but hasn’t, is his way of saying he think he’s wrong, perhaps it is the coach’s last attempt to show who’s in charge.

So, this isn’t going to improve the confidence of someone his employers were so concerned about they were offering counselling too.

It’s not going to be popular in the dressing room.

It’s just going to drag this on.

The only ones who win are those bullies who were originally guilty.

Dan Smith


  1. Dan, I’m very sympathetic towards Xhaka’s situation. I would consider a lot of fan criticism to have crossed the line into abuse. However, this is an inescapable condition of celbrityism in today’s world. There is unlikely a single famous person who is not the victim of online abuse. The need for conflict is ever-present in society and, as sad as it is, and as much as we should work towards mitigating it, you really have to be strong enough to deal with it.

    The fans were awful, but that doesn’t justify Xhaka’s reaction, and his subsequent silence does not befit the role that he was given. A team captain is a part-time PR link between the club and the fans, same as the manager, and when he can no longer perform that role, he must step down. Victims are capable of misdemeanours too, which I think is the case here.

    1. I thought bad results forced Arsene out of the club. Nonetheless, if it the bullies who are credited with getting him out, don’t forget to credit the whole of Justarsenal for getting Emery out.

      1. Spot on

        We have successfully forced Wenger out. Now Emery and Xhaka are the next in line

        Ozil is a tough though. Because his compensation is much larger than Emery’s and Xhaka, if Arsenal want to terminate his contract

          1. LOL @ gotanidea 🙂

            Welcome to modern football, where footballers are payed an extortionate amount of cash (Mostly paid by fans) under an umbrella of protection written into a contract that “arguably” they will not fully commit to anyway!

            I’m sorry to say but football in general has a lot to live up to. It’s become the peoples way of getting away from the busy turmoil of life. Living in hypocrisy and a dictatorship era isn’t easy. You can’t just “switch off”. You need something to entertain you. Money helps of course. Footballers know all about that! So when the fans feel a “little ripped” off paying well earned money, after watching another trash performance that isn’t that entertaining, is it any wonder that fans feel the way they do? Are they not entitled to feel upset? Should they just shut up and put up? Yes, blame Emery for his inadequacies and his laboured tactics. He manages them (and makes them captain). Am I a bully for having an opinion, Dan?

            If so, then this really is not a democratic life we live in!

        1. @gotanidea
          You and those who think like you need to cop on and get over yourselves. You had zero to do with AW leaving. Once he didn’t secure CL monies, then his number was up. The board and management, as well as the owners could give a toss about some whiny moany feckless fans. They’re only concerned about revenue… So your soft pats on your own backs, are futile impotent endeavours.✌🏿

          1. Do you know what an sense of humour is, NY_Gunner?

            I’m sure gotanidea knows he wasn’t directly involved in AW leaving. No, It was me! 🙂

        2. QD and gotanidea, so you think you forced AW out?
          Well, perhaps you should be getting the threats and abuse then, just look at what you think your actions have resulted In now.

          Both of you were demanding three years of patience with UE and it’s taken just a few games to realise just how much your knowledge of football management amounts too…zilch.

          As NY Gunner says, get over yourselves…you achieved absolutely nothing, results were the reason AW left and will be the reason UE leaves.

          As with your conceited arrogance regarding AW, so it seems you both carry it on with Ozil…as in both cases completely ignore the majority of fans:
          56,000 giving AW the deserved send off his record required…. and the consistent chanting at home and away matches the fans give to Mesut Ozil – but as it seems neither of you can possibly attend games, (otherwise you wouldnt write such BS) and judge everything via “justarsenal”, your complete lack of knowledge and reality is understandable and to be pitied.

          I think the term “keyboard warriors and supporters” fit you two perfectly.

          One has to just smile and laugh at two guys who think they are better than two men who they cannot hold a candle too, regarding footballing matters.

          1. GunneRay, players these days receive the money they do, not because of “bums on seats”, but because of the TV rights.
            The way social media is today, players would be better avoiding it. At least in the old days if so called fans attacked a player in the pub, they had the option to retaliate. The world is now full of gutless wonders, who wouldn’t dare say the things to Xhaka face to face, that they have via their keyboard.

  2. I’ve probably followed Arsenal longer than most of you – my first match at Highbury was vs Birmingham City in 1948 and I am disgusted with fans attempting to run the team. That is not what fans do, fans support and lift the team when they need lifting, fans do not try to drive players and managers out of the club.
    The problems Arsenal face are mainly at home because they are afraid to show what they can do in case they make a mistake and become the victim of the bully boys.
    Please get behind the team and you’d be surprised how good they are.

    1. 1948 wow I can only imagine all the things you must have witnessed. I kind of agree with you, some arsenal fans are becoming too hostile towards the team. A lot of the blame should go to the management though, they tortured the fans for so many years. All the build-up anger from the Wenger era is just now reflecting in the behaviour of the fans.

    2. But we must criticize them as well. Otherwise complacency will run rampant, as what has been happening at Arsenal in the last decade

    3. Seriously, well done Dave! You’ve seen many years of great football and it’s great to have supporters like yourself!

      As you will appreciate though, Dave. In 1948, most footballers had jobs. Football itself was played by very talented people for a local club they loved! Arsenal were generally soldiers as most of us know. Now, fast forward 70 years. It’s a lot different. I have seen the local youth disappear and an influx of cash and foreign players come in. It’s serious money these players are getting. Ozil on £350,000 a week? and yet he’s not even used!? We know he is fit. Ramsey’s contract was allowed to run down and he left for nothing. Transfer windows left too late to act on! Managers who are tactically inept (in my opinion). It makes no sense!!

      People have changed. We want more and we want it quicker. Football has changed too. Racism is still there, in football and outside. Yes we need perspective on a lot of things. We are on here venting our thoughts and frustrations and I can only imagine how long time supporters like yourself feel, Dave. The fact is, we all feel it but we feel so damn helpless to do anything about it! I will never stop supporting my club though. I will always appreciate everyone’s thoughts and comments though as an Arsenal fan on here or otherwise. COYG!!

    4. Dave, my congratulation to you – what changes you have witnessed and I was only three!!!
      I feel positively young again and just hope I live long enough to match your dedication.

      Would love to see you write an article on your times as a gooner, especially how the club was after the second world war. Of course we have our Arsenal history books, but they never seem to have the right feelings as a true supporter…I’m sure you had a drink or two with some of the players after games as well…so different from today’s world that we live in.

      Through thick and thin – just like a marriage – once a gooner ALWAYS a gooner – feel like I’ve known you all my footballing life!!!

      Your post makes complete sense and I hope two guys in particular grasp exactly what you are saying…with no sense of self importance or praise.

    5. Dave,
      Your comment there is spot on
      I too am under the impression that supporters support.
      I’m not as fortunate as you having only cheered on the Gunners as a 10 year old on the Northbank since 1962 and always going home with a sore throat.
      Today a lot seem to be set on not supporting our Great Club.

    6. 👍 Dave, thank you. There is nothing wrong with banter and constructive criticism, but the level of abuse and the targeting of family are reprehensible.
      What I find particularly disappointing, in the days of supposed equal opportunity, is the disparaging of people like Emery for his communication, in what for him is a third or fourth language, by people who on the face of it, don’t themselves communicate well in their first language English. Similarly, the mocking of the manager of Crystal Palace for his speech impediment. Criticise them on how they do their jobs (team selection, formation, tactics etc), but attacking these other issues is totally lacking in manners and “class”.

    7. The fans have been behind the team all these long yet the team has treated them as though they dont count. Rem Arsenal has the highest price tickets in the Premier yet they still manage to sell all there seasonal tickets and fill the Emirates.
      Can you say they are getting value for there money?
      Xhaka; ones he accepted to play for Arsenal you should know that he is under Public/ Arsenal fan base scrutiny even more is that when he accepts the captains arm band the scrutiny is even high.
      By the way who said or told him the fans must always be happy with him (any other player) more so especially when under performing and he is the team captain.
      Its not the 1st time the guy is having a run in with the fans after a poor game and if he felt threatened why not ask for release if he is that good he would not luck suitors in less that a few hour.
      He should grow up and know he is in a business full of high expectation and emotions, yet fighting the whole bandwagon of fan will only depress you further and affect your game even more.

  3. Personally I think that Xhaka may just want to leave now and that’s why he has lost the Captaincy. Rumours describe him as having his suitcase in hand 🤷‍♂️

    Now many here and elsewhere will no doubt think its no big loss but personally I find it worrying. In just two years we have hounded out Wenger, caused Mustafi to lose all confidence, pushed Xhaka to breaking point and are well on our way to hounding out Emery, not to mention the flack our youngsters are starting to take 🤷‍♂️

    I know I’m ridiculed on here for my positivity and optimism, but honestly ask yourselves what all this negativity actually achieves – do you actually think that the board are listening to all the moaning? I doubt it, they will make their decisions regardless of what we think. Do you think Emery and the players are listening to it? Most likely and it’s not going to be helping matters one little bit. I personally think that Emery may now be losing the dressing room and it’s as much to do with fans ranting and raging as it is to do with any confusion over tactics (stripping Xhaka of the armband probably hasn’t helped here either), and I truly fear what any new manager and the players will have to face going forward.

    As Le Prof once said – “If you do not believe you can do it then you have no chance at all.”

  4. In a footballing sense, I agree Xhaka was really bad both in the offensive and defensive stages of the game. But really someone being abused verbally, family threatened crosses all limits of humanity. No person has the right to intrude into a players personal life. That said, I support the idea of Dave that we should all be behind our team in all circumstances and we will get to see the real Arsenal. After all, our players are also humans.

  5. I think Xhaka could have hired a communications expert to handle all his social media if the abuse was that bad. Oh well, he’s gone and I’d be lying if I said am torn up about it.

  6. “He’s lost his captaincy because for a moment he gave in and responded.” – sadly in life positions of leadership require acting as a leader and this can be difficult if you are a hothead. It seems unfair yet, his actions were as poorly timed as most of his tackles.

    We can only guess from what we hear from the manager what happened behind the scenes but I believe Xhaka didn’t lose his captaincy because of a moment, he lost his captaincy because of how he and the club acted after the moment. You are not human if you have never said or done things in anger, yet you are not a leader or a real man if you don’t immediately stick your hand up and apologize.

    The people that have threatened his wife should be hunted down and dealt with IMO.

    “The punishments to those who abused him? They will continue to believe paying to see a football match is the same as a right to say whatever they want.” We can not take away free speech at any cost. So fans should be able to say whatever they want IMO, no matter how unpleasant. And let’s not be children booing is hardly saying much.

    However, the club has every right to remove fans whose behavior they don’t want to tolerate. If they don’t want fans that boo, remove them from the stadium and or revoke their season tickets.

    But to me, removing booing fans, in this case, would show a complete lack of willingness to deal with the real problem (the way we play) and it would show a very fragile mentality.

    As I said before, and as we all know, not dealing with a problem (Emery) tends to turn into a crisis.
    It says

  7. The fans contribute to Xhaka’s wages, and he’s been dreadful for over 3 years, yet we can’t boo? Booing is now considered bullying under these circumstances?

    1. @ThirdmanJW
      The paltry ticket and shirt sales are barely enough to cover upkeep of the stadium. Get over yiurself…

      1. NYGUNNER, what is a club, any sports club, without its fans . please do not dismiss the fan base.the fans are the club, without them you have no athmosphere, no passion.

        1. @gerryburke
          Misunderstand me right next time. I never dismissed any fans. I simply dismissed the false accusation that ticket and t shirt sales pay player wages. And it definitely doesn’t give them the right to abuse AFC players and staff… ✌🏿

          1. @ NY_Gunner

            Booing isn’t abuse! Next you’ll be wanting to hand out medals just for taking part! Stop pandering to these overpaid, overhyped footballers!

          2. it does give those who pays to watch football the right to voice their opinions, both inside and outside the emirates. if you got bad service in a shop i am pretty certain that you would be the first one to complain, LOUDLY, as you have been known to do on here, for example.,it does not give anybody the right to bully players families, i think we are all agreed on that . where i come from customer is always lets not be hypocritical on this matter, as many others have been.

      2. @NY_Gunner

        Your comments on finances prove how utterly clueless you are.

        Massive income comes from TV deals, but those TV deals wouldn’t even exist unless fans/customers paid for the subscriptions. Football clubs wouldn’t even exist without the fans! No fans, also means no sponsors. So ALL the money comes from fans!

        Think before you comment next time!

        1. TMJW, that is not what NY Gunner is saying though is it?

          He is saying that the sales of the shirts and tickets do not pay the players wages – something I’d thought you would agree with, after dismissing Ozils shirt selling as a mere nothing!!!

          Secondly, sky etc pay for these enormous deals for what reason?…thats right, they charge enormous rates for companies who want to advertise, presumably to influence those billions of people who don’t follow football, to buy their products-thats the idea of advertising after all don’t you think?

          Perhaps we should all read each others posts a little more carefully, all of us, before calking others out.

          1. @Ken1945

            Taken literally you’re almost right, but as I’ve said to you so many times before, not everything is to be taken literally. However small it may be, a percentage of shirt sales and ticket sales would go towards the biggest outgoing costs of wages.

            For me, it looked like he was making a more specific point that the fans financial investments are so insignificant, that it shouldn’t allow us a voice.

            Unless you also think that clubs would exist fine and dandy without any fanbase? If so, I would be extremely interested to find out how clubs would survive, and how new clubs could be created, without any financial input from the fans. As I already pointed out, without any fans/customers, you don’t have the Sky deals. Even if there was a Sky deal, it would be million miles off the size it currently is. Which would easily not be enough to sustain the clubs.

            I think you should take your own advice about thinking carefully before commenting.

          2. Still, TMJW, you do see that NYG’s post was misread which is a good thing.
            Even when he reiterated the point clearly, that wasn’t accepted…anyway, nice to know Ozil the shirtseller is contributing to part of his reported £350,000 a week himself!!!

            It wasn’t so long ago that a club was “re-invented when Wimbledon was recreated as Milton Keynes Dons and their fans vowed to reform and all credit to them.

            However, even with this very vocal and hardworking fanbase, they are still struggling and without major backing from an individual or conglomerate, they will never reach the heights they once had.

            Another example is chelsea and the fact that ken bates reported that they were one hour of going out of business – even with their huge fanbase.
            Along came abramovitch and the rest is history – the same with man city, all “bigger clubs” need more than their fanbase, IF they want to compete in todays market place.

            Now, that is not dismissing what every single fanbase requires, a loyal core of supporters who stay with the club through thick and thin and ACTUALLY spend their money while doing it.

            However, if abramovitch, the sheik or even kronkie decided to withdraw their support, no amount of loyal supporters would keep said clubs in the positions they are now and that is literally the truth.

            Once again, if you had read my post correctly, I did say “ALL OF US” and you just proved my point..

    2. ThirdManJW, what we are discussing here goes beyond booing the player; it is abuse and attacks on family and property.

      1. Abuse outside of football is completely unacceptable, but I’m not talking about that. I’m only making the point the context of footballing matters.

        If we’re expected to cheer, then we should also be expected to jeer when the time is right.

  8. In the recent past under Arsene and Unai, every talent that joins AFC turns to utter rubbish, save Auba & Laca. I fear for Gabriel, he should have gone to City or Pool to learn under Pep/ Klopp. There is something wrong in the training room and the training ground.I feel there is no impetus and focus to fight, to win, to achieve something. Mediocrity is being accepted at all levels, this has lowered the standards of all players. Consider Luiz, has completed his quota of faults in 3 months at AFC then his whole time at Chelsea! Xhaka plays rubbish, but was a club and country captain – he cannot be that bad. Chambers was decent for Fulham. Pepe has his brilliance in set pieces, yet looks dull in open play. Ceballos does well for Spain, looks out of depth for AFC. And the list goes on. As for Xhaka loosing the captaincy, he started it, first by walking off the pitch, second by cupping his ear and finally – the explicit word. He could have ran to the side lines and there would be no drama. Then he plays the victim, no apology, no remorse. If someone threatened him, he should have reported it to the authorities, not use it as an excuse to abuse fans.
    If one cannot handle fan pressure, I suggest he chooses chess.As for me, even if we sign Messi and make him the captain, with Unai, we will certainly find a way to draw with Southampton or Barnsley (if we have an opportunity to play them)

    1. @loose cannon
      Then apply that very same logic to the fans. If one cannot handle players not living up to their perceived expectations, then choose a team who fit your perfect view…

  9. LOOSE CANNON , well written there. you have put your finger directly on the problem. we , the club, are actually rotten from the core. these players that we have are surely not that bad, but yet, they play that badly. there is something very wrong with the entire system here, there has to be !.i wish i knew what it was though, i wish the board and staff knew what it was. because, whatever it is , is ruining our club from the inside. and this is not just a recent thing , it has been going on for the past twelve or fourteen years.even the academy player assembly line dried up, and , when that happens, you know wee are in trouble.the club needs a total overhaul, but how you do that is something else. but i do know that we are only getting worse, this is the stuff of relegation. and dont laugh at that , because we are not immune from relegation, neither do we have the right to say it will never happen to us . stranger things have happened.

    1. Too many overpaid pampered prima donnas and not enough “hard nosed pros” at the Arsenal for some years now.
      The fact that so many players are too involved in social media, taking and publishing selfies, when they haven’t actually won anything, has come back to bite them.
      The whole club needs to toughen up.

  10. NYG I am searching for a team who throws away a 2-0 lead, draws in the 94th minute, invests over 200M and has 1 shot on target in 90 minutes, pays a player 350 grand and never uses his potential to the full, lets players leave for free or peanuts, meekly surrenders to any team without a fight, the captain speaks to the press how they were scared of the 20th place team, and so on….
    please help me in identifying such a team

    1. Loose Cannon, now this scenario cannot be argued with – The Arsenal under UE no less.

      NYG, one doesn’t change clubs because players are underperforming, otherwise every club in the world would have a never ending turnaround of fans – not supporters of course.

  11. ozziegooner, 100% agree with you….especially as some of them can’t even speak or type their mother language properly.

    1. Though Ken, it should be remembered that many on here do not have English as their first language. No excuse for us older Brits who can’t spell or punctuate though. We were made to learn spelling and punctuation as kids at school. Doesn’t happen like that now.I cannot even remember a time when I couldn’t read. I learned to read quite well ages before even starting school. That was common back then! I feel for those who try so hard to make themselves understood on here but just can’t write or speak properly. Not their own fault usually!

  12. Emery buckled, whatever my opinions on Xhaka and Ozil are, in the end it comes to nothing! Do fans believe that if another player wears that armband then the team will function better because of it. Do fans believe we’re so much better when Xhaka is not playing. If you ask me, this didn’t just have an effect on Xhaka, it also affected the manager and the other players, I would love to have been a fly on that wall when they all went round to X’s place.

  13. In this booing , jeering or not to discussion, I usually reserve my worst boos for non tryers who I cannot stand, since they cheat the club, us fans, the manager, their teammates and even themselves. NOT TO MENTION FOOTBALL ITSELF. CAN’T STAND HALF OR NON TRYERS. NEVER COULD, NEVER WILL!

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