The Rules of Being an Arsenal Player

More Rocky – with slightly amended dates but with no removal  of references to Lord Bendtner, catastrophic displays against Burnley and his pink boots! Enjoy.

One thing a new season should bring with it is a clean slate. Before a single player – sorry, ball – has been kicked in the 2018/19 season, every squad member can be a potential hero, every new signing can be the final piece of the jigsaw, every limb and sinew can be strong enough to last a whole campaign without breaking down.

And in that spirit of optimism, I want to humbly make a proposition to the players who will wear our beautiful red and white next year.

Like all supporters, I have strong views about the relative merits of our squad, about who should play where and how they should play, but I do not presume to usurp the role of the manager and coaches. That’s their job. My job is to be a supporter, and it’s in that context that I want to make my proposal:

“Dear Arsenal Players

As representatives of Arsenal FC you are the inheritors of a long and splendid tradition and every time you walk onto the pitch you carry with you the hopes and dreams of a vast community of supporters, from small children to centenarians.

But whether you were scooped up by our scouting network straight from the creche, or whether you are newly arrived among us in a whirlwind of press frenzy and feverish expectation, you need to know about The Rules.

Not just any rules, but The Seven Rules of Being an Arsenal Player.

The Rules were once known by heart by every Arsenal player and they hung on the wall of the home dressing room at Highbury in a metal frame made out of old shell casings from the Woolwich Arsenal.

Somehow, during the move from Highbury to Ashburton Grove The Rules went astray. There are various rumours about what happened to them: that they were lifted by George Graham when he popped in for ‘one last look’ at the old place; that a Sp*ds supporting construction worker grabbed them with the intention of taking them as a trophy to N17, only to find that he couldn’t part with them and now keeps them in a shrine at his smelly one-bedroom flat in T*ttenham where at nights, on his own, he secretly dresses in red and white and watches old videos of the 1971 and 1989 seasons; there’s even a story that a spectral Herbert Chapman took them into the ether with him, ready to return when we are at our most daunted and our enemies are crowding all around.

Whatever the truth we can only hope the original document will one day be found again. But for the time being, you players ought to know what was written on it: a list of Rules based on your responsibilities as players to us, the fans. Here they are:

1. Always Salute the Travelling Support

When we lost at Blackburn in the penultimate game of the 2009/10 season, I heard that only two of our players went over to show their appreciation to the thousands of fans who had made that Godawful journey to the arse end of nowhere on a Bank Holiday Monday. If true, that’s a disgrace. Most supporters earn less in a year than you earn in a week and they forego holidays, new cars and all manner of comforts to support Arsenal. Even if we have lost, even if we have performed dreadfully, there is no excuse for not saluting the travelling fans at the end of a game.

2. Always Salute the Home Support

I know it sounds obvious, but the home fans also deserve your appreciation. I have been at many games at the Grove where the result or performance has not been as we would have wished and half of you have trudged down the tunnel without even a backward glance at the supporters. You may be feeling disappointed, or even embarrassed at your own performance, but believe me, we will still appreciate it if you face us and acknowledge our support. You will be applauded off no matter how badly you have played.

3. Keep Your Agent Under Control

Agents are an unwanted but apparently necessary evil of the modern game. If you have to have one, try and remember that they work for you. So even if you are looking to move away from our beloved club, you should do so in private and not in public. Allowing your agent to tart you around Europe via the back pages of the red tops like some old slapper shows no respect for us, the fans, or your team mates who may be adversely affected by the publicity.

4. Play Up, Play Up for the Arsenal

We understand that your fortunes on the field will vary, that some days it won’t go for you, that you’ll be carrying an injury or you’ll be struggling in an unfamiliar position or your touch will have mysteriously vanished. That’s OK. We also know that on other days you’ll be a world beater and we sincerely hope there will be more of those ones.  But what we can’t forgive is NOT TRYING. Even if you’re having the biggest stinker of a game of your career, we’ll forgive you if you are trying your hardest. Just look at how we applauded Nicki Bendtner during his performance against Burnley, when he missed seven open goals. We didn’t mind because we knew he was still trying and not hiding.

5. Respect the Club and Its Traditions

Do not give interviews saying that one day you might like to play at a ‘bigger’ club: you are already at the world’s biggest club. Do not kiss the badge then angle for a move elsewhere. When you refer to the club in public, refer to it as The Arsenal: that will immediately tell us fans that you know and respect our traditions. If you happen to leave, always speak respectfully of your former home (for evidence of how to do this, look to the words of Henry, Pires, Bergkamp). Do that and you will always be welcomed back.

6. Know That The Club Is Bigger Than You

We live in a footballing age of colossal wages and colossal egos. And as a player surrounded by yes-men and hangers-on it is easy to become self-obsessed. But if you just open your mind you will find it even more rewarding to recognise that you are a part of a great historical project. Take comfort in the fact that you are an actor in a story that also includes Cliff Bastin, Alex James, Ted Drake, Jack Kelsey, Charlie George, Bob Wilson, Liam Brady, Malcolm Macdonald, Ian Wright, Tony Adams, Dennis Bergkamp, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and others too numerous to mention. Embrace that heritage and the heritage will embrace you long after you have hung up your luminous pink boots.

7. Know Your Enemy

You’re a professional. You have to treat every game as it comes, the next game is always the most important etc etc . But never forget that for we supporters, playing the muppets from up the Seven Sisters Road is always something special. That’s the game where, more than any other, you really do have to put heart and soul on the line. For more than a decade we have kept them firmly in their place. Now, after our first PL defeat in such a long time, they are sniffing around us like jackals around a distracted lion. Next season it’s your duty to put them back in their place. Nothing less will do.

Follow these rules and you will help to rebuild a contract between players and supporters, one that has been cracked and creaking these last few years. You still have our support, but, let’s be honest, the relationship has been shaky at times and on both sides we have been guilty of behaving less well than we should.

But if you keep this simple charter close to your heart, you will truly feel the atmosphere change and you will experience a virtuous circle of mutual support and success.

2018/2019 is a fresh start. Let us rediscover the love.”

Written by RockyLives


55 Responses to The Rules of Being an Arsenal Player

  1. chas says:

    November 4th 1909

  2. chas says:

  3. LBG says:

    Thanks Chas
    Rocky still Lives and gives an Arsenal supporter that warm and fuzzy feeling…..if that doesn’t sound a bit pervy.

  4. psoans says:

    Really great article. I’m creating a sports article of the week and this goes directly to that list!! All the best and looking forward to more articles.

  5. Eddie says:

    pony was proud of himself in the end 🙂

  6. […] The Rules of Being an Arsenal Player by […]

  7. Eddie says:

    hold on psoans – there is a charge for using Rocky’s articles, you cannot just ‘use’ them. The IP rights are protected here you know

  8. Eddie says:

    it is all over guys – Kroenke has won the war with the Uzbek

    “Stan Kroenke makes £550m offer for Alisher Usmanov’s share of Arsenal to take complete control of club valued at £1.8bn”

  9. chas says:

    Exactly what difference will that make, Eddie?

    I’ll tell you – absolutely nothing.

    Usmanov has no influence at the moment

  10. LBG says:

    “best coach? Graham……..”best man, to play for? Wenger.
    But I’m pleased they came in that order. I learnt what I needed first from George, the other way round and I would have been like Hector Bellerin is now!

  11. Eddie says:

    competitive edge

    I would like to think that Kroenke woudln’t want to piss off the fans too much in case they turn to Usmanov. I am not sure if a fan revolt would have any impact and if the board would have powers to do anything, but nobody likes to be a public enemy no 1, except for me.

    Rumour has it that Emery is very much Kroenke’s man. Stan was adamant the he wants Unai and he was going to get him. I wonder why?

  12. chas says:

    What I want to know is……..
    how did Gorgeous George know how to defend when he didn’t do any when he was a player……..

    ………and if Arsene was a defender as a player……..

  13. Eddie says:

    fooking ell :
    “Dr Cameron says there has been a rise in the consumption of dog meat in the UK” WHO eats dogs in UK??!!

  14. chas says:

    Selective editing, Eddie, and yet you accuse others of ignoring statistics that don’t fit a pattern.
    Shame on you. 🙂

    Full quote follows.

    Dr Cameron says there has been a rise in the consumption of dog meat in the UK, but two animal welfare organisations that Newsbeat spoke to say that they don’t have evidence for this.

    The World Dog Alliance says it doesn’t know if there are people in the UK who eat dog meat – but still wants it to be made illegal.

    Humane Society International told Newsbeat it has “never come across any evidence to suggest that dog meat is being consumed in the UK”.

  15. Eddie says:

    ha ha ha, im not ashamed at all

    I don’t care who is denying it, but anybody who says it is happening should be taken seriously. And investigated. And eating dogs made illegal.

    I suspect you are partial to an alsatian stew or dalmatian roast

  16. chas says:

    A rump steak off of Chubby ‘s arse would be just the ticket on the barbie. Plenty of meat 🐕🐶

  17. VP of Oz says:

    these comments made me look-up ‘meat eating vegan’ and I was surprised ->
    According to a large study of American dietary habits, 84 percent of vegetarians and vegans eventually go back to eating meat. The study was funded by advocacy group the Humane Research Council, which partnered with Harris Interactive to survey the meat-eating habits of 11,399 adults ages 17 and older.Dec 3, 2014

  18. chas says:

    I just looked up Dr Lisa Cameron, SNP MP for East Kilbride.

    She’s a clinical psychologist and coming from Scotland she probably knows a thing or two about her fellow natives’ desire to eat weird things. 😊

  19. chas says:

    My Geordie mate, Nick, is a flexitarian – he’s tries to stay veggie but likes the occasional kebab or if there’s a Murghi night (lads’ piss up including a curry), he often plumps for a Beef Madras.

  20. VP of Oz says:

    So Kroenke is splashing the cash to get rid of the oligarch and also maybe on a record player signing –

    Mundo Deportivo are reporting that the Gunners are ready to fork out a total of £89M (€100M) to bring Ousmane Dembele in from Barcelona.

    The report states that the deal would see Dembele join the club for a year on loan for a fee of around £9M (€10M), with the club able to make the player’s move permanent for another £80M (€90M).

  21. Eddie says:

    you leave my Chubby and his now skinny arse alone. I need him to cuddle up to at night

  22. chas says:

    Typical Scottish takeaway served in a pizza box

  23. GunnerN5 says:

    Looks more like a throw away Chas,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  24. VP of Oz says:

    in a way I am excited by the approaching starting game with all the new players and Aubameyang
    on the other hand I am emotionally exhausted after the WC and Croatia’s brilliant performance (RC78, france players did not fight for the win, they were outplayed but lucked a win with a greizman dive that led to an own goal, an incorrect penalty decision and a pussy riot pitch invasion that turned the tide of the incessant pressure being applied. And dont get me started on the rest of the myriad of russia/france conspiracies etc. that I can also make up).

    meanwhile at home our private millionaires league of only 10 teams with no promotin and relegation is being reviewed for governance by FIFA (Governance by FIFA!!! FFS).

    yes I am slowly revving the engine for the season ahead, COYG!

    good night

  25. Eddie says:

    ..or throw up

  26. GunnerN5 says:


    Once Kronke has 100% control of Arsenal he can, and most likely will use Arsenal as his personal cash cow and milk it whenever he sees fit – with no independent oversight. – That’s the possible dark side of the deal.

    The (vaguely) possible upside is that he will use any increased value to fund player purchases.

    The biggest upside is that he most certainly will not want to erode the clubs market value.

  27. chas says:

  28. chas says:

  29. Aaron says:

    There goes the neighborhood. sTan the man will use the Arsenal to fund the spiraling costs in lA. All of his franchises suck. Repeat that to yourself. rams included. If you don’t believe me take a look at the rams strength of schedule this year and know they will be fortunate to be knocked out of the playoffs in the 1st round.
    As for the Arsenal, they better get the D sorted in the 1st ten games or it will be a long season. Wanted Mina and hope that the Arsenal do not end up with Vida. Not good enough.
    Still can’t believe Chambers is going out on loan, unless the Arsenal pick up someone else, as Mustafi can be prone to injury, Kos is done for year and, no other inside CB other that Mav-that is gambling big time.
    The Guendouzi and AMN to start the season!

  30. fred1266 says:

    Ok, didn’t realise he can also force people to sell him there shares

  31. fred1266 says:

    Chas you know which games you attending around November / December time yet

  32. Big Raddy says:

    Thanks Chas. One of RL’s finest.

    Aaron. Where did you read that Chambers is going on loan?

    My take on Kroenke is that he has bought a new toy for his son.

  33. fred1266 says:

    Also heard we getting Rodriquez for LB , so that might be limited time for AMN now

  34. GunnerN5 says:

    According to Sky Sports it’s a done deal.

  35. GunnerN5 says:

    Last Updated: 07/08/18 3:41pm

    Alisher Usmanov says he has “decided to sell” his stake in Arsenal to majority owner Stan Kroenke in a deal which values his shares at £550m.

    Kroenke made a cash bid worth more than £550m to buy Usmanov’s 30 per cent stake of the club to take full ownership, receiving an “irrevocable undertaking” from the Russian’s security firm to accept the offer as soon as possible, with a deadline of 3pm on Tuesday set.

    It is understood Uzbekistan-born Usmanov’s decision to sell his stake in Arsenal is unrelated to current political tensions between the UK and Russia.

    Sources close to Usmanov, who has previously tried to buy Arsenal from Kroenke, have told Sky Sports News that he has decided to pursue other opportunities because of the US mogul’s refusal to sell the club.

    However, Sky Sports News understands it is highly unlikely Usmanov will look at other Premier League clubs.

    In a statement, Usmanov said: “I have decided to sell my shares in Arsenal Football Club which could be the best football club in the world.

    “I wish all the best and great success to this wonderful football club and to all those whose lives and careers are entwined in it.”

    Usmanov’s Red and White Securities firm added: “We confirm that Mr Alisher Usmanov has given an irrevocable undertaking to KSE to accept the offer in respect of Red and White Securities’ entire holding of
    18,695 Arsenal shares (representing approximately 30.05 per cent) for an agreed price of £29,419.64 per share in cash valuing Red and White Securities’ stake at just over £550m.”

    The Financial Times reported in July that Usmanov was exploring the sale of his stake in Arsenal to Kroenke after failing in his attempts to take full ownership of the club.

    Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has hit out at Kroenke’s bid to buy the club outright, saying it “marks a dreadful day” for the Gunners.

  36. chas says:

    The reactions of Arsenal online ive seen seem a bit either shit-scared or, couldn’t give a shit.

    No in-between as usual.

    Perhaps I got it completely wrong when thinking it would end up having no effect.

    Nowt anyone can do about it, I suppose.

    This had a tremendous effect.

  37. GunnerN5 says:

    I wonder if this has anything to do with the crack down on Oligrach’s, maybe he wants to free up his money to get it out of the country.

    But whatever the reason it’s very hard to envisage it being good for us supporters.

  38. chas says:

  39. chas says:

  40. GunnerN5 says:

    Here you go Raddy,

    Calum Chambers: Fulham close to signing Arsenal defender on loan

    By David Ornstein

    BBC Sport

    Fulham are close to completing the signing of Arsenal defender Calum Chambers on a season-long loan deal.

    An agreement has been reached between the clubs, but personal terms still need to be finalised.

    The 23-year-old, who joined Arsenal from Southampton in 2014, signed a new four-year contract last month.
    However, the club and player are keen for him to gain regular Premier League playing time, which is not guaranteed at Arsenal this season.
    It follows the signing of defender Alfie Mawson from Swansea in a deal that could cost up to £20m and the arrival of Serbia striker Aleksandar Mitrovic for a reported £22m last week.

    The Cottagers have also signed Spanish goalkeeper Fabri from Besiktas and German forward Andre Schurrle on loan from Borussia Dortmund, as well as Ivory Coast midfielder Jean Michael Seri and French defender Maxime le Marchand from Nice.

    Chambers played 12 times in the Premier League for Arsenal last season, with the Gunners adding defenders Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichtsteiner to their squad this summer.

  41. Big Raddy says:

    I am shocked by the Chambers move, He is one of the very few English players we have at the club and IMO a much better player than Holding.

    How depressing.

  42. chas says:

  43. fred1266 says:

  44. LBG says:

    Wonder if Chambers loan suggests “Dick” still thinks he needs another experienced centre back. Although again right sided, I would be interested in the Boateng rumour. Experienced, ball player. Greek boys may be the future, but Mav very green.

  45. fred1266 says:

    what they actually doing

  46. Aaron says:

    Problem is Rodriquez can’t play D. Just another wingback.
    Need another inside CB or this will end up badly for the Arsenal. Would take Boateng in a second for cheap.

    You are correct, but with a twist, I am scared $h*tle$$ that Stan does not care, and thereby the Arsenal are just left hanging in the wind to cycle back and forth within mediocrity.

  47. fred1266 says:

    Yea boateng with be a good shout, but doubt we could compete with PSG

  48. chas says:


  49. […] The Rules of Being an Arsenal Player by Chaz: I loved the style in which this is written in. The link between the tradition of the past […]

  50. psoans says:

    Just thought I would let you know that I named your article as one of the five best sports articles I came across this week. This will be a weekly feature that I will be doing so feel free to submit articles that you have written during the week.

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