The only colour that matters in an Arsenal team photo is the one on the shirt

THAT Arsenal Women’s team photo by Dan Smith

I can only write about myself but when I watch football, I don’t see colour.

I have never observed my team and noticed how many of certain criteria are being represented.

I find it strange that anyone would view Sport, the whole point being escapism and comfort, and highlight who’s what colour skin, hair, height, etc.

You have to be a certain person for a player’s appearance to be an issue.

I simply care if you are skilful and committed enough to represent the badge.

Not everyone thinks like that though!

Having observed Arsenal ‘s women’s squad photo some have complained that out of the 27 being pictured, there are zero black or ethnic minority players.

That stat seems unlikely for a club based in one of the most diverse cities in the world.

Yet in the UK football is not as popular with young girls as it is boys.

That demographic is growing and the more it does, the increase you will see in the 10 per cent black and 15 percent of Asian talent who participate in the WSL.

The more money invested in any product, the quality then improves, becomes more marketable, garners more viewership, and entices that next generation who suddenly have role models to follow.

It’s that simple.

I’m therefore disappointed by the Gunners trying to defend themselves for the sake of ticking a PR box. For any racial element to even be aimed at the club based on a coincidence deserves instead to be handled with the stupidity it deserves.

This is one of the biggest institutions in England who recruited a who’s who of talent from around the world to make a living.

This is the biggest club in the Capital of England who were one of the first to hire a foreign manager.

Mr Wenger was then the first manager in British history to start an 11 without a single British player (and got criticised for it). Is that not diverse?

Do we not literally have a statue of a Black player outside our spiritual home?

I have been on stadium tours and shown where players pray.

We have fan groups from all around the globe.

Even if I wasn’t a Gooner, the notion that any kind of diversity issue exists at our club is absurd. We literally are one of the most diverse clubs in England.

So, I don’t understand why a club official statement says that increasing diversity is a ‘key priority’.

How do you make that priority a reality?

Ex professional Fern Williams has been quoted in a report as saying the lack of diversity within the women’s game needs to be ‘urgently addressed ‘.

Outside of letting interest be organic what can you do?

Is it the end of the world that currently football is not the chosen hobby for young females?

If they’re content and safe chasing other passions, what’s the issue?

What exactly is the plan here though?

Any scout should judge a prospect based on technique, desire, fitness, etc.

Are we really suggesting that players now get picked to meet a quota?

As a PR move?

No respectable person wants to be employed for any other reason than they are the best for that position.

Because correct me if I’m wrong, if we are starting to be pressured into not giving contracts to women who are white isn’t that racism?

If a club is now being critiqued for having too many individuals of a certain race, isn’t that racism?

It’s funny to me …. UEFA, FIFA, the FA, etc, will pay for lots of adverts, hashtags, shirts, etc where the message is the only colour, we should worry about is the one on our team’s shirt.

I guess that only applies when it suits a certain agenda.


Tags Arsenal Women


  1. Nah, I beg to differ, the team should be a true reflection of the diversity of the sport,
    I do not suspect any form of racism, maybe just a simple oversight.

    1. But how mate ?
      That’s me asking not having a go at you ?
      Do we hire players purely based on race / diversity ?

      1. Surely this will be a problem Dan, somthing am not sure Jonas Eidevall is going to be proud of.

        North London is a very diverse community, So for Arsenal not to have that diversity in the women’s first team is not quite ideal, I would think

  2. Well, losers always complain. If someone said Arsenal is a racist club.. that’s will be a last thing I will believe on earth. Strong club win, soft club accomodiate everyone’s need..

  3. While, naturally, I appalud and obviously concur with EVERY SINGLE WORD of DANS very worthwhile piece,I ask Dan this question:

    How do you reconcile your above piece with your decision – albeit quite some time ago- to write a piece asking us to give our opinions on who have been our BEST BLACK players. AND ALSO WHY?

    That seems to me , unless you can give an explanation I can accept, a contradictory life philosophy.

    It is one I can never share, as I for just one, among what I suspect and believe are VERY MANY of us on JA, REALLY DO NOT AND NEVER HAVE SEEN COLOUR in PEOPLE.
    I DO HOPE you will please give an answer to that important question DAN!

      1. Do you have any examples? I’ve never seen it happen before. Only ever seems to an issue with white people.

  4. I think you’ve somewhat missed the point. That one of the biggest clubs in women’s football doesn’t have a single player of colour symbolises the lack of opportunities that those girls have. Wasn’t the argument of talent being enough used to exclude black male players in the past? Or to justify the underinvestment in the women’s game?
    In answer to the question as to what we should do, the answer is to invest in community programs, after-school programs etc in areas where these girls feel excluded, this expanding our talent pool while giving access to people from diverse backgrounds.

      1. If you can’t see them then I guess that’s your problem. How about we start with the FA study from 2021 that found that only 63 per cent of schools currently offer girls’ football in PE lessons? There are numerous others with similar findings. Now, given that the schools with limited resources tend to have higher than average numbers of minority students, can’t you see how they are effected disproportionately?

        1. If the schools don’t offer football in pe, do they not offer something else? Given how little resources are actually needed to play football (especially if boys are presumably playing it anyway) might it not be that some more ‘privileged’ schools are choosing to focus on different sports for girls?
          Also, might people from culturally different backgrounds have different social pressures that make them less likely to choose to play sports? And is that even a bad thing?

          1. Never said it was Arsenal’s fault. As I’ve said maybe it’s easier to think of this as a symptom rather than the cause.
            I don’t personally think that the club itself is racist, but we need to take this opportunity to self evaluate and change for the better.
            And it’s a positive change for everyone.
            Women and girls get equal access to sports facilities, coaching, etc.
            Girls from minority groups get to see some representation in the team (another point the importance of which I don’t think you have fully considered.)
            It may be very cynical but from a marketing perspective it would improve the image of the club.
            The club has a bigger talent pool to choose from.

    1. “Wasn’t the argument of talent being enough used to exclude black male players in the past?”
      This was certainly due to racism in the past, at least in many cases – are you really saying you think that’s the case here?

      1. No, I’m saying that there is a systemic failure in the provision of access to sports facilities/coaching etc that disproportionally effects women of colour.
        I do not believe that Arsenal is a racist club, but it points to a bigger problem in society as a whole.
        The “if you’re good enough you’ll make it” argument glosses over that. I don’t understand how anyone could disagree with the idea of making it more accessible.

  5. Excellent article, and I am basically in 100% agreement.
    As long as there are absolutely no examples or indications of decisions to hire or sack players being based on skin colour, etnic origin, religion etc. etc., then Arsenal should just dismiss the criticism.
    If we first start to select players based on skin colour etc. in order to achieve certain quotas, it actually becomes a never ending and futile exercise.

    1. I , being a Nigerian , see this wokeism in the west as trully irritating. Most of the noise about blacks no being given enough opportunities is so selective. Basketball is a sport that is predominantly played by black players , no one is complaining that more white players or Arab players or Asian players should be giving more quota. You play based on your ability , dexterity and not skin color. It also boils down to interest. Take a survey of 1000 black girls or 1000 other ethnic minority and ask them where their passion lies, I doubt up to 5% will say “football”. It’s the Americanization of the British sports is the issue i fuelling all this racism/ feminism shenanigans. Is anyone wondering if Todd bohley was trying to buy players at Chelsea based on ” equity/ diversity” judging by the sheer number of black players presently at the club?.

  6. I also agree 100% with this article Dan.
    Look back at The Invincibles and see that that incredible squad was based on, just pure talent and teamwork.
    Anyone who reads anything racial in this photograph have a serious problem of their own.

  7. I think it’s all about the intention, if it’s intentionally done in such a way that they don’t want to recruit black or other color that’s wrong,still am in support of diversity, it brings the best in everything, I saw the post, stop making reference to the boys, we are talking about the girls.

  8. Second rate journalism if a reporter must sink to talking about race.
    Based on this reporter Alex Scott would not be one of Arsenals greats.
    Off your backside and write what’s good about football.

Comments are closed

Top Blog Sponsors