Like it or lump it – Tradition rules

Tradition matters to British people, we’re serial sentimentalists when it comes to keeping things going. We wear our poppies in November, a week after we burn rag effigies of a radical Catholic who lived and died four hundred years ago; we set fire to our Christmas puddings; and our ludicrously complicated flag can be upside down without most people realising it. We have the Boat Race, Ascot Ladies’ Day, The Ashes (less said, the better at the moment….), Cowes Week, the Chelsea Flower Show, Pancake Day, Trooping the Colour, the Queen’s Birthday (which isn’t her birthday) and the Last Night at the Proms. We have black taxis and red buses. We like tea with milk, chips dosed with malt vinegar, bubble-and-squeak, toad-in-the-hole and warmish, unfizzy beer. Tradition? We’re built for it.

And amongst British football fans, tradition matters to no-one more than the Arsenal fan. “The Arsenal” is the club of history. We revel in something called “the Arsenal Way”, we speak of class and the correct manner of doing things. When we played that title-deciding fixture at Anfield in May 1989, it was important that we acknowledged Liverpool’s tragic bereavement from the weeks before, so our players each laid a wreath in front of the Liverpool fans. And when we knocked Sheffield United out of the FA Cup with a legitimate but unethical goal, the club immediately gave the Blades an unprecedented and unilateral replay.

To us the past, from which our traditions come, matters. We wear history like a badge of honour. The fact that the directors’ boardroom (which none of us is ever likely to see) is oak-panelled matters; the old art deco masterpiece that is our spiritual home on Avenell Road matters; our Clock matters.

And, however illogical it may be, the requirement that our outfield players all turn out in the same length of shirt sleeve matters. The captain chooses the length of sleeve for each match, and that should be the end of it.

And yet a returning hero, Mathieu Flamini, has snubbed that tradition, not once but twice, by raggedly cutting off the long sleeves on his shirt in the recent games against Manchester United and Marseille. His boss has reacted robustly, openly criticising an otherwise golden boy. But Flamini has defended his decision, saying he’s been playing at the top level for ten years and he chooses to wear short sleeves, regardless of the captain’s choice.

Should we be bothered by that?

In the big scheme of things, even in the self-regarding world of professional football, Flamini’s amateur tailoring seems the most trifling affair. He’s a grown man and a professional, surely he should be able to make the choice, whatever “tradition” dictates?

Well, no, he shouldn’t. However silly this tradition may be, it is part of our identity. It’s like the baggy green cap that Australian cricketers wear, or the haka that the All Blacks perform before their matches, or the jacket presented to the winner of the US Masters in Augusta. Like all of those artefacts, the tradition is an innovation, a creation, but it is nonetheless an acknowledged and accepted facet of the club itself.

These little myths and habits are important, they are glue linking the fans to the club and the players. It’s not just about one player in the team right now, it’s about the hundreds of players over decades who have worn the red and white on our behalf, all subject to the same rules. This silly tradition reaches back into yesterday, it places Mathieu Flamini and his contemporaries alongside all their predecessors, from great, ordinary and bad Arsenal sides. The tradition emphasises the club over any particular player.

That’s why Flamini should literally and metaphorically just roll up his sleeves, accept the rule and get on with doing what he does best.

Written by 26May

166 Responses to Like it or lump it – Tradition rules

  1. LB says:

    What a beautifully crafted post, a joy to read, a gem that deserves a more prestigious show case, the only problem is I disagree with it: if Flamini thinks he will give a better performance in short sleeves then a short sleeved shirt should be made available to him for goodness sake.

  2. James says:

    I can’t understand we he doesn’t just roll is sleeves up. Problem solved.

  3. arnie says:

    Morning all.

    Fantastic post, 26may. Great idea. Superb composition. Two posts on consecutive days as well. Wow!!!!!

    My first reaction is similar to LB: it is a matter of individual choice. If a player feels uncomfortable in long sleeves, provide him short sleeves for ****** sake!!!!! I will revert later with more thoughts.

    Sombre thoughts about Pat Rice this morning. We all wish him well.

  4. LB says:


    I am guessing the answer to that is all to do with body temperature.

    Flamini obviously feels more comfortable with short sleeves which allow air to circulate more freely and keep his body at a temperature that he feels will enable him to give his optimal performance.

    If the sleeves are simply rolled up then air flow is restricted, making him hotter than he would prefer to be and therefore reducing his ability to produce his best.

    Guess who is trying to kill time this morning?

  5. Räsp says:

    That’s a fantastic post 26m, I can see you standing before the jury in your horse hair wig with your thumbs behind your lapels and elbows tight to your chest, swaying from side to side, head tilted backwards as you deliver your speech with Churchillian gusto 🙂

    I’m really torn on this one. I totally agree about the tradition thing but then I also like to champion the rights of the individual. I got it wrong about Flamini, I though he wouldn’t be a successful signing and yet he is probably as responsible for our good form as Ozil.

    I’d like to think the club will come up with some sort of compromise. We have given latitude to our ‘star’ players in the past – TH14, Cesc, God.

    Its such a shame that our victory over OM has been overshadowed by what the idiots on TalkShite have branded ‘sleevegate’.

    Who’s going to back down – the club or Flamini?

  6. Jozicky says:

    To hell with tradition! If Flamini (or anyone else for that matter) prefers short sleeves, let the be made available to them. Why make a player uncomfortable (and pissed) on the pitch for such a trivial matter!

  7. Räsp says:

    Maybe Flamini should go and visit Pat Rice in hospital and then he’ll decide that tradition is important and in the bigger scheme of things, you can just roll your sleeves up.

  8. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Oh 26

    Strewth, I had no idea, this is very serious indeed.

    First up, you are so right about how and why these things matter. Class is never the word I feel right to describe the Modus Operandi of our Club, rather Style.

    I have been fortunate to have been inside the Marble Halls as well as the Directors Box at Highbury. Wow, the place oozed style.

    However, and tragically, times have changed and much of this style has gone forever. I remember taking my seat at the Ems in the early days there and witnessing the full horror before my eyes. The sheer vulgarity of the place was beyond belief. They had painted the years in which every Arsenal success had been achieved along the upper tier. I wept. Style was having all the Trophies discreetly tucked away upstairs in a dusty old cupboard. You simply didn’t boast about these things.

    Now, back to this Flamini Man. I smell a Revolt, and we cannot tolerate revolting elements within, so I say, stick him in a pot and boil him to within an inch of his life.

    26, love this post, as it strikes at the heart of what it really means to be A Gunner.

    Can’t stop as on manoeuvres, but this post begged to be addressed. Have a good day all.

  9. 26may1989 says:


    I like the disagreement that’s brewing here – I confess, I am old fashioned on this sort of stuff, but I do think Flamini ought to tow the line.

    If he is heat sensitive in the way LB suggests, perhaps he could have a special long sleeved shirt made for him, one that’s looser in the sleeve and doesn’t affect him in whatever way he dislikes. It would be a bit like Johan Cruyff’s insistence on not wearing three Adidas stripes on his Dutch team shirt back in the 70s, at which point he was given a special two-striped version. But then he was Johan Cruyff……

    It’s interesting that someone who first joined the club almost ten years ago has taken this line. He must have known of the rule.

  10. Norfolk Gooner says:

    ‘morning AAers,

    A fine post 26 thank you.

    Personally I can’t see what the fuss is all about, if the Flamster wants to wear short sleeves let him, as long as he’s wearing an Arsenal shirt so what.

    Flamini is a “sleeves rolled up” no nonesense “get stuck in” type of player. The type of player we have all been calling demanding for quite a while. He has been an inspiration to the team and is a vital part of it. First name on the team sheet? Very nearly. Now he is castigated for the very image he presents.

    Frankly I’d like to see a bit more of the sleeves rolled up mentality and while we’re at it ditch the gloves this is Southern England not The Arctic Circle.

    Peaches/Rasp, Post e mailed to Arsenal Nuts.

  11. Sebbz joz says:

    Wether flamini’s pro, he should follow club culture

  12. Norfolk Gooner says:

    And another thing, any player who wears a Na€ri style neck warmer should be put in the stocks outside The Armoury. 😀


    Thanks 26

    Little things matter and have a big impact. Well, that’s what I tell the wife, and I believe myself.

    Arsenals traditions are important. They help form the clubs culture and instil an identity from players to supporters alike.

    This should not be underestimated. A successful organisation would not remain so for long if it abandoned its little “quirks” at a whim.

    Arsenal is more than a football club. Its an institution with a rich history and foundations that must be preserved.

  14. Räsp says:

    Thanks Norfolk, it will be a pleasure to publish!

  15. Gööner In Exile says:

    There you go 26 being confrontational again 🙂

    Beautiful post sir and one I am in total agreement with. If anyone wants to see a player that wore long sleeves when he didn’t want to go back to pictures of Nigel, you will see him sporting rolled up sleeves.

    I am glad in recent seasons we have returned to the tradition of walking to the centre circle and acknowledging the 4 sides of the ground, home and away. This was dispensed with when the horrible pre match handshakes were introduced

    The team have recently returned to wearing club suits.

    It is not a question of what he prefers it is a question of being part of a team, a culture, a tradition, and not an individual.

    Flamster has been superb since his re appearance in the red and white but that is not enough to keep him in my good books.

  16. Gööner In Exile says:

    By the way given the thickness of the shirt these days I can’t believe there is any real extra heat from wearing long/short.

  17. GoonerB says:

    It’s been very hectic in GoonerB world over the last week or so I have had an unfortunate enforced absence from all things A.A. Apologies for posts missed and not commented on recently but I shall go back and view them all now I have more time.

    Lovely post this one 26May and fabulously scripted. I, a bit like Rasp, am slightly torn on the issue despite actually agreeing with everything you said. I feel tradition is very important, but historically I guess some traditions will always be subject to change.

    For me I suppose it is about which traditions can be changed, that aren’t really so important. Those ones that will not really change the underlying fabric of the club. There will be some traditions that should remain set in stone for eternity because it will be apparant that any let up in those ones would start to alter the identity of the club.

    It could also be considered that to let one go will lead to a domino effect, where if it is ok to let one tradition lapse, it will then become more acceptable for others to be shoved under the carpet, and before you know it the club no longer resembles the one you really loved. Which bracket does the sleeve thing fall into? Difficult really.

    From a pure footballing point of view I personally don’t think it will be about any heat issue. I think the modern tops are designed to allow air flow and prevent these problems. Probably more significant is the issue of the little innocuous shirt sleeve tugs that happen so frequently in the modern game now. A little pull back on Flaminis shirt that is missed by the ref could be just enough to allow an opposition player to get a foot in and steal possession. Maybe Matty feels that because he is in the heart of the midfield battle, where he will have more regular close contact with opposition players than those in other positions, that he doesn’t want to give even the smallest advantage away.

  18. Norfolk Gooner says:

    How about if the Flamster has “Arsenal sleeves” tattooed on his arms? Will that satisfy the traditionalists?

  19. dandan says:

    Wonderful stuff 26, Tradition is what brings thousands of tourist and millions of pounds to this country, tradition is what makes Great Foreign players love this club and keep coming back long after their playing days are done. They love our tradition of giving them nicknames and revel in our tradition of singing songs to celebrate their belonging. Many of the stars in recent years we have loved and supported have come from Flamini’s country and would be the first to talk of our great traditions. Flamstar we have taken you back into the fold and you have the chance to enter our hall of fame with many of your compatriots. Dont spoil it by accepting all those traditions you enjoy and flouting those you find less acceptable.

    There is a wonderful Arsenal warrior lying in hospital today, who has been rolling his sleeves up for the Arsenal and us fans for 50 years or so, think of him, roll your sleeves up and go out and help bring some trophies home for Pat if nothing else.

  20. Räsp says:

    Does anyone know what Flamini has to say on the issue?

  21. GoonerB says:

    Oh and by the way, as others have said, my best wishes to Pat Rice in his current battle.

  22. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Welcome back GoonerB, to take your argument a stage further, maybe the players should dispense with shirts all together, in fact maybe they should play in the altogether. Grabbing a handful in the box would take on a whole new meaning. 😀

  23. Räsp says:

    Maybe these are the questions we should be asking:

    1. Does Flamini believe that he plays better wearing a short sleeved shirt

    2. If the answer to 1 is yes, what is more important, getting the best out of Flamini or sticking rigidly to tradition?

  24. Räsp says:

    OK, I’ve cracked it. We manufacture shirts specially for Flamster with removable Velcro-attached sleeves. He takes to the pitch with sleeves complete for all the pre-match shaking hands/rituals and just before the whistle blows, he flamboyantly rips of his sleeves in the face of the opposing players and casts them off the pitch 😆 I’m sure the crowd would love this show of bravado and it would really crank up the volume to start the game.

  25. Räsp says:

    ….. maybe Bendy could do the same thing with his shorts …..

  26. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Rasp, I think his problem would be remembering where he left them last time he took them off. 😀

  27. Norfolk Gooner says:

    My thoughts are with Pat Rice and his family.

    Back later.

  28. Gööner In Exile says:

    Actually Rasp you are not far from the answer, manufacture Flamster a long shirt with no cuffs but also a little button and hook that he can roll up.

  29. Räsp says:

    OK, it’s a bit late in the day, but I’ve added a poll – so everyone go to the top of the page and cast your vote please…..

    …. Haha GiE,, not a bad idea, but I still prefer the theatrical version with Flaimini ripping his sleeves off in front of the opposition in gallic Haka style

  30. Räsp says:

    Right that’s helped me make my mind up. I voted ‘Yes’ because if the club make an exception for this one occasion, it would show that we are magnanimous and caring about a player’s comfort and seek to encourage the best performance we can from him.

    This would then not be about Flamini breaking a tradition, it would be the club showing it has a big heart.

  31. Räsp says:

    OK, I’m very much in the minority so far, the ‘No’s’ have it by 5:1 – you’re all a bunch of old farts 😆


    Look, we all have to do things we don’t necessary like in order to tow with convention etc. and Flaminis no different.

    This shouldn’t even be an issue and to be honest paints him in a bad light. It was reported that there was a bust up after the Utd game about the shirt yet he done the same thing again midweek.

    Ok, hes a top player, but what does this trinket of information say about him as an individual? For me, it shows a man who has a certain disregard of authority and is a stubborn git.

    This affair may seem trivial, but it was enough to piss of the manager so theres more to it than meets the eye.

  33. arnie says:

    I have joined you as well, Rasp. 😛

    Once again, fantastic post, 26may, and fantastic discussion so far. In general, I am in favour of tradition and, as Micky put it, style. But in the case of Arsenal, tradition also includes maintaining the club as a fantastic workplace where individuals are allowed to express their freedom, within reason, and where differences are sorted out in a democratic, collegial fashion.

    In the above context, I have a couple of questions. First, Flamster does not have any ulterior motive in displaying his arms, does he? Does he have a tatoo on his arm? Does he wear any advertisements that would be better displayed with a short sleeve. Armbands, etc? I suspect some pics coming our way. 😛

    Second, and this is about dresscodes in the workplace, and I suspect 26m would know. Suppose, this went ballistic, which it has not and will not be, purely speculative, but suppose Flamster took his employers Arsenal to court. Is the position of individual freedom defensible? Remember, a club is a club and can have idiosyncratic club rules for members, but the players are not necessarily members, but employees. So employment laws matter. Takes us into precedence, and the case of the BA woman who insisted on displaying a cross at work comes to mind.


  34. Räsp says:

    Hi Terry, we like him to be stubborn and combative when he tackles the opposition don’t we. I reckon he’s just got a feisty nature and that is why he’s so effective for us on the pitch – do we really want to ‘tame’ him?

  35. Räsp says:

    Thanks arnie, all we need is LB now and we’ll have a massive 3 votes 😕

  36. Räsp says:

    arnie – you lied, it’s 7:1 against now 🙄

  37. arnie says:

    No, Rasp, I dont know what happened. Something wrong, WordPress playing tricks on us!!!! I voted Yes. f*****!!!!!

  38. arnie says:

    Do I have your permission to put two votes on Yes, please Rasp!!!!! 😀 😀

  39. Räsp says:

    I reckon you’re the limp wristed liberal who voted ‘can’t decide’ arnie 😛

  40. Räsp says:

    You can try arnie, but it’s not supposed to be possible?

  41. arnie says:

    Liberal, perhaps yes, but voting ‘cant decide’ was certainly not the intention!!!! 😀 😀


    Greetings Rasp.

    For me its not a question of taming him, its a matter of respect.

    By all accounts he flouted a club tradition in full knowledge of his actions. He disrespected the kit man, Arsene Wenger, and the Club in general.

    I fully understand its not a major thing, and I don’t want to sound like he some authoritarian nut, but if you consider the circumstances it reflects badly on him

  43. arnie says:

    Rasp: 😀 😀 😀

  44. Chas says:

    Cheers, 26.
    Someone posted a photo of him this morning in short sleeves alongside someone in long back in 2007.
    Maybe all of them should wear the same size shirt as the Captain too. 🙂

  45. Jeanette Kliger says:

    First, and most important of all, love and best wishes to Pat Rice.

    I think Flamini is a great acquisition, BUT…
    remember who he is.
    He makes his own rules, always has done.
    Remember how he twisted the rules to join us in from Marseilles the first place, how he shafted us to leave and join his “love”, Milan, and now he thinks he can make his own rules about the sleeves.
    So, show him that the is no different from anyone else. He can roll them up!!!

  46. Räsp says:

    TMHT, do you think this was the manner in which Flamini spoke to the kit man? ….

  47. arnie says:

    Ctching up, Rasp. 8-5 it is, and I swear it is not me!!!! I put in two YES votes, that is all!!!!! 😛

  48. JanMan says:

    Great post and a great topic to be discussed. English tradition….probably one of the most over rated issues in the world that no one other than the English get upset about 🙂 🙂 Nether the less tradition is tradition so I would say it comes down to the individual on how he/she deals with it. Personally, long sleeve, short sleeve, is a pretty silly issue in my opinion. Let the player play in what is most comfortable to him and just get on with the game as surely if the player feels comfortable with what he is wearing then that is all that counts. Tradition goes out of the window in this case (my opinion).
    Also Happy Thanksgiving to those of you that are in lands that celebrate. My family is about to chow down on a 22lb turkey and honey roasted ham.

    Also special thoughts go out to Pat Rice and his family.

  49. Räsp says:

    Aha, a late surge from the infidels – 5 Yes’ now!

  50. Räsp says:

    Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries …. priceless 😆


    hahaha, something like that Rasp

  52. Räsp says:

    Thanks for all the good wishes for Pat Rice, I’m sure we all feel the same way. It’s a shame we can’t find a way of communicating those sentiments to his family.

  53. JanMan says:

    By the way, what the heck is bubble and squeek???



  55. arnie says:

    JanMan: Nice comment. Tradition, yes, is is quite important in England. I like it, within reason, but it is a matter of preference. However, dress codes are culturally perhaps more fundamental. I suppose lawyers in all countries, and priests, and university professors and students, have specific dresscodes for specific occasions.

    Personally, I have rather strong feelings about this. Long time back now, but I was part of a government delegation in a meeting at the IMF. Washington DC in June was sweltering, and I hated the dress codes that I had to follow. Much later I have gone on record saying I am not going to wear a necktie, because (a) it made me feel like a dog on a leash, and (b) I viewed it as a phallic symbol! I did not make too many friends!!!! : razz:

    Happy Thankgiving to friends from across the pond!!!!

  56. Räsp says:

    Happy Thanksgiving JanMan – is that an American tradition? 😆

  57. arnie says:

    Rasp: on Pat Rice, are you sure? Surely, we (and on our behalf, you) can draft a letter and send it to Arsenal requesting it is forwarded to Pat and his family.

  58. Räsp says:

    We’re only 4 votes behind now arnie – vive la revolution!

  59. Räsp says:

    Thanks arnie, we’ll see what we can do re the letter

  60. arnie says:

    Rasp: not bad, not bad at all. 😀

  61. evonne says:

    Jozicky – nay, long sleeves cannot make anyone pissed

  62. Räsp says:

    Why haven’t you voted evonne?

  63. JanMan says:

    Rasp. Spot on 🙂 but I just look at it as another excuse to have a great meal with family and friends. Unfortunately America doe not have much tradition to brag about!

  64. JanMan says:

    Still need someone to tell me what bubble and squeek is!

  65. Räsp says:

    Its a traditional English/London dish made from leftovers –
    Wiki explains bubble and squeak perfectly here …

    In the context of the comment, it was being used as cockney rhyming slang for ‘greek’

  66. David Stewart says:

    Arsenal’s traditions are important and Flamini must follow them just like every other player. Surely when he signed his contract he accepted all the club rules and having already played for Arsenal several years earlier was fully conversant with such a tradition.

    This is not a matter of personal choice and the club have every right to fine Flamini for not following Club rules/traditions.

    Thoughts are with Pat Rice and his family.


    Spot on David

  68. JanMan says:

    So it is just a cockney term for “left overs” No wonder the English are so hard to understand 🙂 🙂 Got to love those traditions, never let go of them as they are for sure very unique 🙂 Got to go as family are now arriving. Looking forward to the game on Saturday and hopefully three points against Cardiff. Come on you Gunners!

  69. Räsp says:

    I’d fine Tevez for refusing to warm up, but fine Flamini for adapting his shirt – I’m not so sure. Traditions evolve all the time. Some people still insist that the old crest was better or that Highbury was better than the Emirates. New traditions are constantly being formed whilst some old ones simply become outdated..

    The basic traditions – respect, fair play etc will never change, surely being an ‘understanding’ club is part of our make up?

  70. Räsp says:

    I’d better not explain what a ‘septic’ is 😕

  71. TMHT says:

    No JanMan. Its a cockney term to describe a Greek. I should know, ive been could it often enough. hahaha

    It originally meant the food stuff. Now it means me when the wifes angry, which is normally everyday. hahaha

  72. arnie says:

    Freedom of individual choice is one of the greatest traditions of modern western society. We do not expect everyone to cover their faces, why should we insist on everyone to wear a full sleeve and cover their arms? Yes, a club can have rules for its members, but players are employees. They are professionals. If Flamini feels wearing a half sleeve allows him better scope to fulfil his professional responsibilities, I would respect him as a top professional (rebel or otherwise). Surely, there has to be a middle ground!!!!

  73. TMHT says:

    There is no middle ground arnie baby, that leads to communism

  74. arnie says:

    TMHT: Communism is no middle ground, socialism perhaps, but more likely liberalism!!!!! 😀 😀 😛

  75. LB says:

    This is funny, I can’t believe we have got so much milage out of this one but I am glad we have.

    The other thing I can’t believe is how many voted that Flamini should follow tradition and wear the long sleeves.

    I think I would understand if one player refused to wear the suit on the bus when every other player was doing so but surely the shirt issue is about Flamini believing he can deliver a better performance wearing a short sleeved shirt.

  76. Räsp says:

    Considering people vote after reading the article and the article comes out in favour of banning him from wearing short sleeves, I think the Luddites are putting up a good fight

  77. TMHT says:

    Thats the problem arnie. Commies try and con you by making out there environmentalists, libertarians, or something, when in reality they secretly plot to force you to don a mustache and eat broccoli.

    They dont fool me

  78. Räsp says:

    I quite like broccoli, I didn’t used to, but I’ve been converted 🙄

    I’d ban managers from wearing track suits in the technical area. A smart Savile Row suit is the only way – but puffer jackets with malfunctioning zips are a definite no-no

  79. arnie says:

    TMHT: ha ha. We celebrate diversity of views, dont we!!!!! Political or otherwise!! Why not diversity of attire!!!! 😀 😀

  80. arnie says:

    Rasp, LB: This is turning out to be hard work!!!! 13-21, we are stll in the race!!!!! Much better than before!!!! 😀 😀

  81. arnie says:

    Rasp: Forgot to say earlier, but this vote idea was fantastastic. Well done!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  82. arnie says:

    I dont know whether I will be disciplined on AA for linking to other websites. But, what the hell! I liked this news item from the Guardian:

  83. RockyLives says:

    Wow 26
    What a wonderfully written piece – a real pleasure to read it.

    (I enjoyed your match report too – you’re on a roll!)

    I voted “don’t know” which is a cop out. I lean towards upholding our club traditions but on the other hand…

    Perhaps we could get him little elastic bands to hold his long sleeves up.

  84. evonne says:

    sorry Rasp, just cherry picking some comments, have not read it all. What are we voting for?

  85. Räsp says:

    evonne – the poll is self explanatory and found at the bottom of the post 🙂

    Rocky, I’m shocked, I never had you down as a ‘can’t decide’ – are you sure you’re not in politics? 😕

  86. Big Raddy says:

    26. Super piece of writing – I loved the first para – reminded me of “home”.

    I am in the Yes camp. AFC pay his wages and have the right to tell him what to wear and how to wear it.

    He wouldn’t get away with it at Macdonalds so why at The Arsenal?

  87. evonne says:

    oh, the sleeves. I am sure there was no voting when I read the original post.

    Yes – let him, but short sleeves rather than the chopped off version.
    26m made a fantastic case for tradition, but he is old school, he would 🙂

    When I first worked at Lloyds of London men were only allowed to wear dark suits and white shirts. Women were not allowed to wear trousers. These days you can see girls wearing shorts and men in pink blazers. So what, it is still one of the biggest financial institutions in the world, tradition or not.

    Letter from AA to Pat Rice – no. Every one of us should write at least one card/letter to Pat, that’s the very least he deserves.

  88. Räsp says:

    arnie, links to other sites are fine unless they’re the type the cockie monster frequents!

  89. evonne says:

    Rasp – can you draw me a picture 🙂

  90. Räsp says:

    Notice to everyone …….. we do know how to contact Pat Rice.

    We are considering whether it would be appropriate to invite bloggers to email us their messages of support which we could then forward to him. Your opinions would be appreciated.

  91. MickyDidIt89 says:

    May I join everyone in wishing all the very best to Pat.

  92. Räsp says:

    Its very interesting. Most of the bloggers who I would consider to be left of centre politically are taking the hard line and saying he should do what he’s told and some of the more right of centre are suggesting leniency …. who’d have thought it!

  93. arnie says:

    Evonne: dont agree on the letter to Pat. The AA represents views (unanimous in this case) of many fans, many (most?) of whom live far away and maybe even would not know how to send a letter to Pat. Why can AA not act on their behalf? Let members who can send a personal letter also send additional ones!!!!

    Rasp: On Flamini’s views on “sleevegate”, see the following (about 2:25)

  94. arnie says:

    Rasp: saw your 3:22 after posting!!!!

  95. MickyDidIt89 says:

    It’s brilliant that we can make such a pleasurable day’s chat out of something like this. Says everything about the site. Quality.

    Looks like I’m alone in the “boil him” camp. Firm line I know 🙂

    I’m imagining having this conversation with a massive tough guy rugby playing chum, and I rather fancy he wouldn’t be quite so girly to say that the cut of his shirt cloth would effect the way he played rugby.

    So stop being a ponce Flamini and follow club tradition 🙂

    Reminds me of that snood wearing bloke we used to have 😦

  96. Hi. I’m french and I voted “No” because tradition doesn’t only matter to the proud inhabitants of Albion but to many people. But I also voted “No” because more than the respect of tradition, this affair was more about the disrespect of tradition ! Yeah, always the smart arse… I mean, even after Arsene told him not to do it again, he did it again. And you can’t help but think that it was more about making a point. What point then ? Is Flamini’s 10 years tradition more important than Arsenal’s 127’s ?! No. Like he can’t just roll them…

    I agree that not all traditions are good (if you wanna know tradition freaks, come live in Japan for a decade). If tradition had been kept, although it was probably not a tradition, Arsene Wenger, a non-British might never have become Arsenal’s coach… But this one is about team spirit and is very important, and apparently not only to the players.

    Victoria Concordia Crescit

    I also suspect that it is a bit of a superstition for Flamini and I hope next time he plays with long sleeves, he gets a tremendous game to get it out of his system.

  97. arnie says:

    Some rubbish coming your way, sorry: “there was dressing room drama as Flamini drew a razor sharp Katana from his locker and told the Arsenal boss he’d rather live an armless life than wear long sleeves. The midfielder had to be talked out of it by Per Mertesacker who reminded him it would make it very difficult for him to blind opponents if he didn’t have any arms.”

  98. LB says:


    You should try long stem broccoli……delicious.

  99. Big Raddy says:

    I am in the boil him camp with Didit.

    The man plays for The Arsenal not some uppity unit like the Chavs.

    Bet you LB’s lycra hat that Flamini will wear the same as all the others at Cardiff

  100. Räsp says:

    There is no doubt that Flamini prefers short sleeves. I remember him in his first Arsenal incarnation constantly rolling his sleeves up during games because they’d work their way down periodically – it must have been very annoying for him. So he had this brilliant idea, why don’t I wear a short sleeved shirt …. not rocket science

  101. Maybe they will all wear short sleeves for him and to show what great funny blokes they are.

  102. Räsp says:

    Thanks LB, I’ll give it a try, its very good for you I know – here’s a few facts from memory….

    ……..•Broccoli can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in broccoli do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw broccoli still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.

    •Broccoli has a strong, positive impact on our body’s detoxification system, and researchers have recently identified one of the key reasons for this detox benefit. Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiian, and glucobrassicin are 3 glucosinolate phytonutrients found in a special combination in broccoli. This dynamic trio is able to support all steps in body’s detox process, including activation, neutralization, and elimination of unwanted contaminants. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) are the detox-regulating molecules made from broccoli’s glucosinolates, and they help control the detox process at a genetic level.

    •Broccoli may help us solve our vitamin D deficiency epidemic. When large supplemental doses of vitamin D are needed to offset deficiency, ample supplies of vitamin K and vitamin A help keep our vitamin D metabolism in balance. Broccoli has an unusually strong combination of both vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and vitamin K. For people faced with the need to rebuild vitamin D stores through vitamin D supplements, broccoli may be an ideal food to include in the diet.

    •Broccoli is a particularly rich source of a flavonoid called kaempferol. Recent research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. This kaempferol connection helps to explain the unique anti-inflammatory benefits of broccoli, and it should also open the door to future research on the benefits of broccoli for a hypoallergenic diet.

  103. arnie says:

    OK, extending the discussion further, in my humble opinion it is Arsene who has made teh mistake by allowing this to become a confrontational issue. Just a little bit of magnaminity would have been nice. In this case, I think there was no need to go public ….. Maybe, its only me …… 😀 😀 😀

  104. 26may1989 says:

    LB’s right, it is amazing how much ink (and keystrokes) can be spilt on this topic. And yet…..

    Yes, Flamini is an individual, he’s not about to be sent to a Stalinist Gulag for getting out of line. But precisely because this is a minor matter, he ought to accept this way of doing things.

    Having lived in France, I do think there is something of the French character showing through here: there is a definite sense of pride, individualism and stubborness in many French people (massive generalisation, I know, but c’est la vie….). I thought it was telling that Flamini’s justification for stepping out of line was that he’s been a pro for more than ten years, so he can choose to do what he wants. I.e., he feels it would be treating him like a kid to force him to comply, and he’s more than that now. But as Exile put it, “It is not a question of what he prefers, it is a question of being part of a team, a culture, a tradition, and not an individual.”

    I’m sure a solution will be found by our manager (who, being Alsatian (no dog jokes, please), is culturally as much German as he is French), and this issue will quickly become tomorrow’s chip paper. But I would like to think Flamini will appreciate that there is an inherent value in the traditional, even (or perhaps especially) when it’s just another nutty Brit thing.

    NB: With my lawyer’s hat on, unless the tradition has actually been put into the players’ contracts (which would be extremely surprising), there is no way the club could actually force him to comply – his contract will include a requirement that he abides by all applicable football regulations, which includes all the stuff on what strips the players should wear. Beyond being contractually obliged to comply with those rules, this tradition is unenforceable in the legal sense.

  105. Räsp says:

    Hi Benjamin @ 3:42, I was wondering whether the players would show solidarity with Flamster by doing that – not to upset AW, but to show MF that the team supports him.

  106. arnie says:

    OK, let the team do a photoshoot in short sleeves, and then take the field in long sleeve, Flamini included.

  107. arnie says:

    26may @ 3:45: Following on, it would seem that the club can also not act in a way that appears to be prejudicial towards Flamster because this issue is now public knowledge. A big hole indeed …. Time to kiss and make up!!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  108. Not necessarily to support MF, but just to show they can have a laugh about it. I can see them all with a big smile while lining on the pitch pressed again each other’s because it’s freaking cold in short sleeves !

  109. Big Raddy says:

    A ship has to have one captain (at least that is what I tell Mrs Raddy) and Mr Wenger is our captain, what he says has to be law no matter how trivial the incident.

    Though my guess is that, like me, AW doesn’t think this “amount to a hill of beans”

  110. Big Raddy says:

    Or there could be 5 with short sleeves and 6 with long …..

  111. I guess the bloggers love to talk about that because they can then talk about something concerning the Arsenal while not knowing anything about the Arsenal. I had a great laugh today, reading about that QPR player who went to cheer Marseille. The writer then mentioned his thing with Gervinho which, I quote ” lead to the expulsion of the Brazilian”… LOL

    Ronaldinho, Robinho, Gervinho

  112. arnie says:

    OK, so here is my take on what happened yesterday (or is it today) in the meeting between Arsene and Flamster.

    Le Boss: Welcome, Mathieu. You know your spirit has been fantastic. You are doing some great stuff out there, thank you.

    Flamster: Thank you, Le Boss. I really am in awe of the fantastic work you are doing here. I really wanted to play for Arsenal again. Thank you for ging me the opportunity.

    Le Boss: My pleasure, Mathieu. You know there is this other issue. Bad publicity, I could not sleep last night. I know I should not have over-reacted. Please can you help me with this.

    Flamster: Oh no, it was I who over-reacted. You know me long enough, I have a bit of a hot head. I need your help.

    Le Boss: OK, I have this all chalked out. You play 20 mins on Saturday (just 20 mins, I promise) with a long sleeve. I promise a new shirt with detachable sleeves has been ordered from our French tailors, and will be ready in time for the next game.

    Flamster: Le Boss, what can I say, you really saved my day. I am so thankful to you. sob …..

  113. Big Raddy says:

    Benjamin 😀 😀

  114. arnie says:

    oh dear, editors …… Please can you change “20 mins on Saturday (just 20 mins, I promise) with a short sleeve” to “20 mins on Saturday (just 20 mins, I promise) with a long sleeve”….

  115. Arnie, imagine your little scenario with the accent of the French knights of the Monty Python’s Holy Grail !

    LeBoss, handing a new long sleeves kit : “C’est un cadeau !”
    Flamster, looking perplex : “A what ?”
    LeBoss : “Un cadeau”
    Flamster : “??!”
    LeBoss : “A present !”
    Flamster : “Oh ! un cadeau !!!”

  116. arnie says:

    Le Boss: And while we are on this, please will you leave your pair of scissors and the kniife away from the dressing room. Health and safety, you know ….

    Flamster: Sure, Boss, will do. sob … sob ….

  117. arnie says:

    Benjamin: 😀 😀

  118. arnie says:

    Benjamin: Christmas gift, yo ho ho!!!! 😀 😀 😀

  119. Norfolk Gooner says:

    The poll is getting to be quite close, if the noes have it, in the tradition of the EU, and we are talking about tradition here, I will demand a re-run of the vote. I will continue to demand re-runs until you all get p****d off and vote to let him wear what he likes. 😀

    Rasp, I’d gladly add my good wishes to any missive you send to Pat.

  120. arnie says:

    Rasp: 27-34 now, shhhhhhhhh …….

  121. arnie says:

    NG: 😀 😀 This seems a bit like the YES campaign here in Scotland. 😀

  122. arnie says:

    34-35? Starting to look interesting now!!!!!!

  123. Oh ! You’re in Scotland Arnie ? Love that country !

  124. arnie says:

    Benjamin: Yes, lovely country. 😀 😀 Give me a buzz next time you are around!!!!

  125. Norfolk Gooner says:

    Arnie, but a lot more important than mere nationalism. 😀 Alec Salmond should be ashamed , trying to break a tradition that goes back to 1760, even older than the Arsenal one about shirt sleeves.

    What is the World coming to?

    Still if he did get his way, Alec Salmond that is, it would finally put the kibosh on Rangers and Celtic joining the English Premiership. Would Old Rednose have to hand his Knighthood back? That’d be a laugh!

  126. arnie says:

    NG: I cannot see any way Alex Salmond can get his way. Probably, he also does not believe he will win. But polls can be ruthless, and I see the YES campaign here is 35-34 ahead!!! Call the inspectors in, I say!!!!!

    RedNose will not have to hand his knighthood back for this reason, because Scotland will still be part of the Commonwealth. But he should be asked to hand it back because of his memoirs. I am serious!!!!

  127. chas says:

    Personally I think the long sleeved version of the home shirt looks ridiculous anyway. Instead of moving the red and blue bands down towards the wrist, they’ve left them on the bicep, so the whole team look like big jessies wearing white lycra underneath a short sleeve shirt.
    No wonder Flamini thinks it impinges on his masculine image!

  128. chas says:

    Pushing the sleeves up looks even sillier.

  129. arnie says:

    For those who wonder who Vic Akers is:

  130. We have great tradition, but is it more important than progress ?. We moved stadium to progress !. Our kits/boots/ balls etc` have progressed !. As a handsome bastard athletic type, I wear as little as possible when running, it may be cold for the first few hundred yards but then I am hot and need to cool down , too many clothes will affect performance . Less is more when it comes to being able to perform better ( apart from sniffer, he likes to perform wearing his Jimmy Savile Onesey ). So if Flamini performs better in a short sleeve shirt, then let him wear it !. Otherwise we might as well move back to Highbury, wear wooden studs kicking a wet leather ball that weighs more than Gervinho`s head !.


    And people like Transplant will rip the scrotum follicles from their head and drive around Tesco`s dogging car park at 1 am in his Triumph Spitfire with his comb over flowing in the breeze !. hahaha

  131. chas says:

    Great photo of Le Boss

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

  132. chas says:

    Now the suits, I think is a fabulous idea.

    Mesut Ozil and Thomas Vermaelen of Arsenal

  133. Nice photos chas, of the boys looking dapper in their traditional suits !. have you got the one of Flamini in the short sleeve jacket ?….I`m sure he took the scissors to the Armani !.

  134. Big Raddy says:

    Must be bloody freezing in Tromso ROLF

  135. arnie says:

    Chas: nice pictures, and I agree on the lycra bit!

    I see the YES votes are above 50% now. 😀

  136. dhakka09 says:

    I think this situation has been made more than it really is. I don’t really care if Flamini wears short-sleeves or pajamas inside his shorts; as long as he plays for Arsenal colors with his hearts out, that’s all we can ask of him. Wenger just answered a question posed by media and one can understand where he’s coming from given his disapproval of the action by Flamini, however, I suspect that not even he thinks it’s something to be overtly be fussed about. However, I’d still prefer if Flamini respects
    boss’s wishes but this overreaction by media and other sectors of fan is truly an excellent example of making mountains out of molehills.

    I’d recommend folks here to read Tim’s recent Arseblog column covering traditions at the club and the way we perceive it.

    Apart from all these things that I was at odds with you on, enjoyable read nonetheless 😉 Keep them coming 26May

    PS: I love it when the only crisis news about Arsenal media can muster is Flamini-sleevegate. Absolutely love it 😀

  137. Shard says:

    I am not against the tradition being changed. I am against the tradition being broken/ignored. At that point it becomes a matter of principle rather than just length of sleeves. Even if the issue in question is actually a non-issue.

    If Arsenal want to change the convention, fair enough, even though I like it. If they don’t want to, players should have to adhere to it.

  138. Disappointing chas……I was expecting cut down trousers as well !. hahaha

  139. evonne says:

    Chas @5:57
    Now we can vote if we prefer Vermaelen with a suit on or off 🙂

  140. arnie says:

    Shard: In this case, I suppose this was not a case of tradition being broken/ignored, but being challenged. There is a subtle difference, and it may make it worse for you and others as well. Personally, I am glad this is happening on a non-issue.

    Yes, clubs often have rules and traditions that are somewhat idiosyncratic. In this case, it cuts against the matter of individual choice and freedom, which is important for society, and this is where the problem arises. A tough call, as the poll I think clearly demonstrates.

  141. arnie says:

    Evonne, dear, what have you done? 😀 😀

  142. arnie says:

    Evonne: I think the easiest is: right click on the picture, open in new tab, then copy the address on this tab, and post on AA.

  143. dhakka09 says:

    Also, thanks to 26May appealing to my sense of inquisitiveness and Google to provide me with answers, I now can confidently discern whether England flag is upright or upside-down (hint: the answer lies in the two diagonals) 🙂

  144. evonne says:

    ha ha ha ha, same thing 🙂

  145. arnie says:

    OMG, Evonne, why me!!!!! where should I hide? 😳

  146. chas says:

    Here you go, girls……

  147. arnie says:

    Slow voting today. 100 votes in. Yes (51) for the motion “Should Flamini be allowed to wear short sleeves?” narrowly leads No (45), with Can’t decide (4). Too close to call. Wow, what a poll!!!! Well done 26may, well done Rasp!!! 😀 😀

  148. Räsp says:

    Thanks arnie, the post promoted the ‘No’ vote so I’m taking the moral victory 😛

    chas, I need the assist for the Marseilles game …. any ideas?

  149. arnie says:

    Yes, Rasp, you, LB and myself retain the lion’s share of the bragging rights!!!! 😀 😀

  150. 26may1989 says:

    I’ve just seen how far north Tromso (or should I say Tromsø) is – it’s further north than bleedin’ Murmansk!

    Hope those Spud fans have long-johns.

  151. chas says:

    Already sent to nuts.
    Sagna and Ozil, though

  152. evonne says:

    thank you monster 🙂

  153. evonne says:

    happy birthday Ryan Giggs? no, not feeling very generous today.

  154. Big Raddy says:

    I have to say I am hugely disappointed with the voting.

    Tradition is vitally important, it defines who we are and where we come from.

    Who knows where it could end – a scissor cut can lead to us being re-branded “The Qatar Arsenal” or the Arsenal Lions. 😀

  155. evonne says:

    now Raddy, that is a bit dramatic 🙂

  156. Big Raddy says:

    Evonne. You must be joking. Wish that treacherous Welsh twat a happy birthday??

    The odious man had an affair with his brother’s wife and yet the football world hold him up as a paragon of virtue and a wonderful example to the kids!

  157. evonne says:

    english girls smash the turks 8:0

    How is that for finishing skills from Duggan?

  158. evonne says:

    Raddy – that was a question I asked myself and then I quickly replied to myself ‘No’
    I completely agree with you, don’t like him even if it is only because of the door mat he grows on his chest, yuk yuk yuk..I am sure he has flees. Exceptional athlete though

  159. Big Raddy says:

    True. He is good at running.

    Not good that Ox is out until after the new year. To miss such an important season in his development is very sad. I though he would really come to the fore for AFC and be an important player for England in Brazil but it seems that is unlikely.

    He will only be 24 at the 2018 WC in Qatar

  160. evonne says:

    there won’t be any WC in Qatar

  161. Räsp says:

    I see the rebels won yesterday by 1 vote 🙂

    ………. New post ……..

  162. chas says:

    Per Mertesacker
    about an hour ago
    Getting ready for Cardiff – good training session today and hope Jack keeps the Cardiff defenders as busy as me today

    Yours / #BFG / Per

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