The Childlike Delusions of the Arsène Haters

Written in June 2012 this post from Rocky has renewed relevance after yesterday’s announcement. Let’s hope that some elements of the Arsenal fanbase fade back into obscurity when Arsene leaves.

There is a strong current of opinion among some Arsenal supporters that our seven year winless streak is a disgrace.

The argument goes like this: “Arsenal are a big club. Big clubs win things. We haven’t won anything for seven years. Therefore… our manager isn’t good enough; our Board of Directors lack ambition; they’re only interested in money. Let’s change everything.”

The flaws in the reasoning are obvious and you really don’t need me to reiterate them.

But what is not often mentioned is that this type of thinking is recognisable to psychologists and is described as “Childlike Behaviour in Adults”.

The symptoms of childlike behaviour in adults are reflective of emotional immaturity and can be grouped under five headings:

  • Egocentrism
  • Uncontrolled Emotion
  • Gratification
  • Attitude
  • Magical Thinking

If you go on some of the more negative Arsenal blogs you will find these symptoms displayed in abundance by both the authors and the commenters. The most important symptom, in the context of Arsenal’s recent history, is gratification, but the others play their part too.


Emotionally immature individuals are self centred and selfish. They have little regard for others and are preoccupied with their own ideas and feelings. They deeply believe that they are somehow special therefore demand constant attention, respect and sympathy.

Well, that certainly describes some Arsenal blog authors. People who are so preoccupied with their own “ideas and feelings” that they are unable to take on board the views and feelings of others. And they acquire an unfounded estimation of their own importance (believing they are “somehow special”). There is no doubt that some Arsenal sites, because they have attracted a modest following of like-minded delusionals, believe they speak for the greater Arsenal community. Further, they believe they are fighting a good fight (against the Triple Threat of Wenger, Kroenke and Gazidis) on behalf of that larger Arsenal community. Let me tell you chaps: you don’t speak for the rest of us and the fight you have embarked on is no more than Don Quixote tilting at windmills.

Uncontrolled Emotion:

Immaturity expresses itself in temper tantrums, prolonged pouts and rapidly changing moods. Emotionally immature individuals get frustrated easily and over-react to perceived criticism. They are unwilling to forgive and are prone to jealousy pangs.”

Ring any bells? Over-reacting to perceived criticism? Like banning perfectly reasonable and well-mannered contributors who post comments at odds with the prevailing orthodoxy? As for the temper tantrums and pouts… well, you can visit any Arsenal blog after a bad result and see evidence of them in their droves.


Children and childish adults often want everything now, and avoid enduring any thing they do not like. Their behaviour is superficial, thoughtless and impulsive.”

This hits straight at the heart of the “no trophies for seven years” issue. People who take that fact as a personal affront (and conveniently ignore the compelling reasons why Arsenal have been unable to win silverware in that period) are behaving like children: “I want twophies now and if I don’t get them I’ll scweam and scweam and scweam.” No matter how many times old stagers pop up to describe periods in our history when we went way more than seven years as Potless Percies, the childlike adults among our fan base just scream louder that they want it, and they want it NOW. If you have had children and remember the toddler phase, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. The idea of “deferred gratification” (seeing the big picture and accepting short term pain for long term gain) is anathema to the childlike adult.


Immature individuals have a hard time with integrity. They avoid and deny money and relationship problems which demand integrity and seek to pass the blame. They avoid reality and attack people when frustrated.”

Attacking people when frustrated – like making up silly names and acronyms for those who have a different viewpoint to your own. Lacking integrity – like never feeling ashamed or embarrassed when your dire predictions and made-up stories turn out to be nonsense.  There are Arsenal commentators and bloggers out there who (apparently) joyfully predicted that we would be in a relegation fight in the season that’s just finished. You won’t see them referring to that now. Instead, as childlike adults, they have simply shifted the goal posts and now predict doom and gloom for next season instead.

Magical Thinking:

The interpreting of two closely occurring events as though one caused the other, without any concern for the causal link. For example, if you believe that crossing your fingers brought you good fortune, you have associated the act of finger-crossing with the subsequent welcome event and imputed a causal link between the two. Magical thinking invests special powers and forces in many things that are seen as symbols.

Among the staunchest opponents of Arsene Wenger, magical thinking, indeed, takes the form of “interpreting two closely occurring events as though one caused the other.” For example, believing that because Arsene looks to achieve the best value when buying players, he must be on a “bonus” to spend less on transfers. There is, of course, not one shred of evidence for this ridiculous notion, but it has not stopped certain authors from repeating it endlessly as fact. Another example of spurious causal connection is the fact that we didn’t sign Xabi Alonso from Liverpool. The childlike adults, with their simple but deeply held world view of all things Arsenal, can only conceive of the idea that Alonso did not come because we were too cheap to pay the asking price. They, and we, have no evidence that that was truly the case.

Magical thinking invests special powers and forces in many things that are seen as symbols,” which, in the case of Arsenal, takes the form of an irrational belief that some flavour-of-the-month player from some other team is the answer to all our problems. Be it Cahill, Samba, Hazard, Mata, M’Vila (even, ludicrously, Joe Cole once upon a time). It doesn’t occur to the childlike adults who champion these causes that it might be the slightest bit inappropriate for them – with their day-jobs as IT workers, local government officials, Post Office sorters, or Sainsburys shelf stackers – to think they know better than a man like Arsene Wenger about which players are needed for Arsenal.

One important caveat: of course I am not suggesting that all criticism of Arsene Wenger and the current running of the club is a manifestation of psychological delusionality.

If you think Arsène should be removed as manager and can present cogent reasons for your opinion – fine, let’s have a debate. We may not change each other’s minds but we can at least respect each other and, through going back and forth, offer each other new perspectives on the issues.

Furthermore we can do so without playground abuse.

If you believe Ivan Gazidis is nothing more than a spin merchant who has overseen repeated failure in our transfer dealings – again, let’s go at it.

It’s not the argument itself that matters, but the way in which it is conducted. This is what separates the emotionally mature adult from the childlike adult and the emotionally mature Arsenal blog site from the childlike sites, of which, sadly, there are several.

That doesn’t mean that the emotionally mature adult is immune from occasional lapses of temper or good manners.

Many regular blog contributors go over the top at times (whether through frustration, a perception that they are being personally attacked or, as in my case, too much Scotch whisky) but if you examine the totality of their contributions you can soon judge their prevailing psychological state.

So what am I saying?

That some Arsenal blog sites and some of the people who contribute to them are psychologically not fully developed? They are, in effect, a bit mad?


And thank goodness for the organisers of this site for keeping its standards high and emotionally mature and allowing wafflers like me to have our thoughts aired in an environment that (most of the time) is 100% sane.


67 Responses to The Childlike Delusions of the Arsène Haters

  1. chas says:

  2. LB says:


    You mentioned a few reasons why now is the right time, I don’t put too much emphasis on the pushed theory.

    Arsene: I think it is time to leave.

    Club: If you are sure then we respect your view.

    Outcome — the club agreed therefore in a way he was pushed?

    Well, not really.

    Personally, I put a little more emphasis on the fear that the cheap seat season tickets might not have all sold out. I don’t believe the waiting list is anywhere near as big as we are told.

    On the big financial picture, I agree they are less important than corporate but they have a greater effect in a shop window sense.

    The more I think about it the more I think it was yet another brilliantly timed more from Arsene.

    We are in the semis, his departure will have a motivating effect on the players to play for their job at the club with the new manager.

    New contract Jack? New manger going to revolve his midfield around someone who is slow, short and injury prone? Never going to happen. We are going to have a totally new midfield.

    Right here, that’s one cheap seat season ticket renewed.

  3. LB says:

    That Rocky fella was in a different league.

  4. VP of Oz says:

    Very timely post. My son laughed at me when he saw I was sad at AW resignation and then proceeded to espouse how sh.t he is and he couldnt win anything. Finally we might get a coach that will win us something… and so on.

    All those immaturity traits described in the post ring true for my son. Unfortunately I’m his role model and I cant believe I havent grown up yet.

    I might write most of them down and work on it

  5. fred1266 says:

    Was hoping this all was a bad dream

    Hopefully like berthy me we have a horrible season next year allow arsene to return

  6. chas says:

    Le Professeur @Welsh_Gooner

    It’s going to be so pathetic, every single win we get will be ‘see what we can do without Wenger’ then when we slip up ‘Manager has slipped into Wengers Ways’ Fans think the absolute c***ery that’s been on show is over… it’s not

  7. VP of Oz says:

    I just had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and feel much better.

    No way Fred, never wish for a bad season, only onwards and upwards

  8. Big Raddy says:

    Wow. Rocky is a superb author.

    Fantastic post and well played chas for re-posting.

  9. Big Raddy says:

    Good to see @Welsh Gooner remains positive 😀

  10. Goonerdom says:

    Great article, as true then as it is now, although I believe the childlike mentality to be quite reflective of 21st century England in a much wider sense, although this is a very enlightening microcosm of that.



    “ARSENE WENGER is a man of principle, honesty and integrity – that is why I am convinced he has been sacked and not resigned.

    For all the vitriol and abuse thrown at him, Arsene has never been a man to walk out before the end of a contract.

    It is a sad situation that it’s come to this and I don’t suppose we will ever find out who is responsible, because they will hide behind each other.

    One day he is doing a Press conference with no hint of this – the next he’s gone. It doesn’t add up.”


    [edit] … Arsene Wenger is upset with Arsenal’s hierarchy for issuing him an ultimatum over his future, according to reports.

    But according to The Times, Wenger was forced to end his 22-year reign after Arsenal’s board told him that he would be sacked at the end of the season if he did not leave on his own terms.


    [edit] … Wenger’s carefully worded statement, coupled with the reticence of the club’s leadership to publicly discuss what precipitated the announcement, pointed to a less than amicable departure amid a backdrop of mounting dissent.

    “I don’t want to get into all the discussions that went on,” chief executive Ivan Gazidis responded, when asked if he wanted Wenger to see out the remaining year on his contract. “The decision is made, I think now it’s time for us to honour him.”


  12. I AM NOT ALONE continued

    by NEIL ASHTON, who is actually a well-respected football journalist, even though he works for a rag.

    [edit] … ARSENE WENGER was sacked by Arsenal after losing the support of owner Stan Kroenke.

    SunSport can reveal that Wenger does not want to leave the club he loves and has been forced out under pressure from the US owners.

    Gazidis would not be drawn on the conversations which led to the Frenchman’s imminent departure.

    But Wenger, 68, is understood to be both unhappy and frustrated at both the speed and timing of the departure with a Champions League place via the Europa League still up for grabs.


    [edit] … it seemed strange the immensely articulate Gazidis chose to deflect questions over the timing of “the decision” to announce Wenger’s departure at the end of this season and to what extent, if any, it had been a mutual agreement.

    After his prepared statement, Gazidis was asked to explain the reasoning and emotion behind the decision for Wenger to go.
    He responded: “I don’t want to get into the private conversations. I don’t think today is the day for that. I want to respect the privacy of the conversations that were had around the decision.


    Arsène Wenger told after 22 years: go or be sacked.

    [edit] … Arsène Wenger has been left saddened at being effectively forced out of Arsenal after 22 years yesterday after indications from the board that he would be sacked at the end of the season if he did not resign. The club allowed Wenger to choose the timing of the announcement regarding his departure…


    [edit] … However, negotiations are well advanced between Arsenal and Luis Enrique – so advanced that Wenger was essentially asked to resign unless he wanted to be sacked to make way for the Spaniard.


  13. Cal Judge says:

    Well said. This is why nobody in senior positions listens to these ‘fans’, until they stop renewing their season tickets… When they stop coming to games they influence things, despite being the last people on the planet that I would want to have any form of influence over AFC.

  14. LB says:

    Can someone point me to where this Welsh Gooner comment is that some have referred to?

  15. Gööner In Exile says:

    Chas at 10:29 LB

  16. Spectrum says:

    I’ve ordered a crate of Dom Perignon. Pop the corks, it’s time to celebrate. At last the decision that should have been made eight years ago has happened. Those who have preferred stagnation and opposed much needed change will now have to face it – it had to happen one day. A new manager brings hope and optimism for better things.

    The club needs a good shake up. We don’t need stability or “a steadying of the ship”, we need rejuvenation, a revolution of ideas. There are plenty of managers out there who can do that for us.

    The Arsenal I love is back, and I can support it with pride and enthusiasm once again. It feels really good to be able to say that.

  17. GunnerN5 says:


    Thank you so much for being a true blue (red & white) supporter – that is just manner in which many of us AAers also support our team.

    I can smell the fried onions from 3,600 miles away.

  18. Big Raddy says:

    “I’ve ordered a crate of Dom Perignon”.

    As if …

  19. GunnerN5 says:

    Frankly I find the whole debate on “did he or didn’t he get pushed” to be very unsavoury.

    Arsenal made a statement so what is wrong with accepting that and letting a great manager leave with his head held proudly high?

    I find it all to be in very poor taste.

  20. Big Raddy says:

    I have taken GIE’s fine comment down to use as a future post.

  21. LB says:

    Wow, Spectrum

    Haven’t seen your name around for a while.

    I suppose with the imminent appointment of a new manager we are all again on the same page.

  22. Gilly says:

    We don’t hate Asène. We hate his stubbornness and his refusal to se reality. We are grateful to him but thank God He is gone at long last. Next…

  23. Gööner In Exile says:

    Well all we can hope Gilly is that reality doesn’t bite back.

  24. chas says:

  25. chas says:

  26. Gööner In Exile says:

    Euurgh I promised myself I’d never click on a PiersM tweet, that’s an image that’ll stay burned in to my retinas for a while.

    In other news saw this and thought it was spot on:

  27. chas says:

  28. chas says:

    Hate seeing the spuds winning but seeing Mourinho suffer softens the blow slightly.

    Sanchez looks a complete tosser with his slicked hair. I can’t believe I actually thought he was OK only a couple of months ago.

    Could do with one of his goals out of the blue, though.

  29. chas says:

    Duck me, just call me Nostradamus.

  30. RA says:

    If you are looking in, RockMaster, that was and is a truly top class article 😀 Kudos.

    If proof was needed about how accurate your observations were, and still are, there are a number of perfect examples still pratting about in the blog world. What did you write? Oh, yes’

    —- “It doesn’t occur to the childlike adults who champion of these various causes, that it might just be the slightest bit inappropriate for them – with their day-jobs as IT workers, local government officials, Post Office sorters, Sainsburys shelf stackers, ‘dole dwellers’ or managers – who think they know better than a man like Arsene Wenger with his wit, intelligence, experience and decency — but enough about Jose Mourhino.

    [Apologies to you great man for twiddling with a bit of your Post.] 😀

  31. chas says:

    Haha, Poxytino with another trophy less year.

  32. chas says:

  33. chas says:

  34. chas says:

  35. chas says:

  36. chas says:

  37. Gööner In Exile says:

    Show me a crying kid there must be one…..and not just Harry Kane and Delle Ali

  38. GunnerN5 says:

    If there is a football priest nearby I have to make an awful confession.

    I just watched a game where I detested both teams but my confession is that when Man U scored what turned out to be the winning goal I cheered!! I must hate Spurs more…………

    Please forgive me, I promise I will never make that sin again.

  39. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 it’s a very hard decision but it’s the only one that makes sense.

  40. Ants says:

    Fantastic (old) post Rocky. This tweet has the same feeling as your eloquent views.

  41. VP of Oz says:

    Daily Mail –
    At the end of a tumultuous weekend in north London, Tottenham Hotspur had a golden chance yesterday to emphasise the shift in power in their rivalry with Arsenal and strengthen the idea that their star continues to rise inexorably. Well, they blew it.

    This 2-1 defeat to Manchester United was their eighth successive defeat in an FA Cup semi-final. Eight tries. Eight failures. All it told us about their progress was that they are finding different ways to lose. This time, they managed to do it at their home ground.

    But here are some facts: Arsenal under Arsene Wenger won the FA Cup three times in the last four seasons and are currently in the semi-finals of the Europa League and yet the Frenchman has just been drummed out of the club by its fans and its owner for failing to maintain the standards to which they had become accustomed.

    The narrative that has been built around Spurs is that they are the coming team and yet the best they have done under Pochettino is lose twice in the semi-finals of the competition. Defeats like this are the kind that prompt reappraisals of managers. Close but no cigar over and over again.

  42. Gööner In Exile says:

    Apparently Poch spoke about Tottenham in his post match interviews rather than us or we. Perhaps we’ve gone and done another Petit

    “hey Poch, did you see how many seasons Arsene had to suffer after the stadium move?”

    “Good news, he is a better manager than you, better news we have a vacancy and the hardest part of the job is over”

    “By the way bring Kane with you”

    I’d laugh my head off if we did that.

  43. PJ says:

    Wenger sacked lol lol lol

  44. Gööner In Exile says:

    Time for your pj’s think you’ve had one too many

  45. VP of Oz says:

    Poch now saying that Spuds need another 4 years to develop a winning mentality but he might not be around for it.

    Says a lot about the quality of Poch as a coach that he has not and cannot instil a winning mentality into a competitive team

  46. wally says:

    Just reading the news after a few days hiking in the desert.

    Thank you Arsene for all you’ve done. You’ve been a great and loyal servant. The greatest, until the next one.
    Don’t care if he was pushed or not. It was the right decision for the club.
    Enrique? I don’t mind that at all. Let’s go win the EL. And I’m really looking forward to next season,

    The King is Dead. Long Live the King

  47. mickydidit89 says:


    Trying to work out what you googled to get that pic, and I’m not doing too well.

    So far got wench and anal. More coffee perhaps

  48. chas says:

    It was from this tweet, but I didn’t much care for the text so I just put up the link to the photo rather than the link for the whole tweet.

  49. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha ha, the original is way better 🙂

    Just been going back over comments from a few days back, as I’ve missed all the action.

    Delighted to read that Transplant plans to apply the same “creepy devotion” to the new boss 🙂

  50. chas says:


  51. chas says:

    I’d like to see how hard it would be for Terry to show creepy devotion to Brendan Rodgers.

  52. chas says:

    Major shareholder Dermot Desmond fuelled speculation when he insisted he wouldn’t stand in his manager’s way if an approach came.

  53. mickydidit89 says:

    My fear is that his sorts (The Transpalnts) have blurred moral boundaries

  54. mickydidit89 says:

    No idea who Mayor DD is or at which club he holds shares, but sounds like he simply doesn’t like his current manager

    More like Eddie’s Daily Mail have unearthed someone with one share and a quote to fuel speculation to fit an agenda

  55. LB says:

    Very unusual situation, the old memory is a bit blurry.

    I am not sure what I am supposed to do today

    When Arsene appears, do I clap, sing, bow?

  56. mickydidit89 says:


    I thought about you yesterday. I was driving back from Gatwick and got diverted away from M23, so ended up passing Box Hill en route back to M25

    Remembered you saying you pedalled there on your bicycle and indeed there were many of your chums around in tight flourescent clothing

    A long bloody way from Little Venice. Blimey

  57. mickydidit89 says:

    Match of the day looks like that Juve Napoli game tonight. 1st v 2nd

  58. chas says:

  59. chas says:


  60. Ants says:

    We’re off

  61. Ants says:

  62. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh dear God……shorts

  64. Eddie says:

    is that your boyfriend/husband?

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