There’s a strange thing with Arsenal fans historically: they like to have a fight with each other.
The biggest punch up in recent years was the Wenger debate. The IAWT (In Arsene We Trust) v WOB (Wenger Out Brigade) rumbled on for around five years before Arsene vacated the top job. Fans were going at each other in the stadium. Planes flew with banners. ‘Wenger Out’ became a Meme around the world. I still don’t think this has been put to bed as many fans want revenge over their hero being dumped.
The Ozil debate hung around like a bad smell for a long time. Some Arsenal fans thought he was the second coming. Other thought he was a poor man’s Paul Merson. Never the twain shall meet. The confrontation wasn’t as violent as the Wenger version, but it manifested itself online on the Arsenal blogs and social media.
Which is where the latest battle is being fought. The Arsenal Blogs appear to be losing out to other forms of social media, in particular the Fan TV model. Most Arsenal fans have probably viewed Arsenal Fan TV. The channel has generated vast numbers of views and has built up a nice little business for the owner and regular contributors.
Arsenal Fan TV generates most interest on the back of poor Arsenal performances. Coupled with outspoken views from the regulars it’s a combustible mix, which has polarised the Arsenal fan base. Some love the highly emotive style and unusual characters. Others can’t stand them and feel the channel is making a mockery of the Arsenal support.
This is starting to get ugly. A few years ago Arsenal’s ‘Firm’ decided to disrupt filming after a home game. Lately the away supporters have been trying to intimidate Arsenal Fan TV to stop filming at Arsenal away games. ‘Arsenal Fan TV get out of our Club’ has become a regular chant. One of the contributors has accused these fans of racism towards Arsenal Fan TV. Other Arsenal fans accuse the channel of using hate speech towards players and the manager.
It seems that social media, and particularly the Fan TV model, has poured petrol on the flames of Arsenal fans’ opinions. Where it used to be a select few journalists that could broadcast their opinions, now somebody willing to make a crazed minute long video can generate millions of views. There is also an element of jealousy at the success of the Fan TV format. Some Arsenal fans probably think they deserve the notoriety and money that has flowed that way.
There is trouble brewing. I expect there will be a punch up over the next few months played out live on YouTube. Then the Arsenal fans will move on to the next thing that is annoying them…
For the record, my views:
– Wenger Out – He should have left after the 2017 Cup Final victory.
– Ozil – A poor man’s Paul Merson.
– Arsenal Fan TV – Not my cup of tea, but don’t watch if it offends you.
And if you don’t agree with my views, I’ll meet you before the next match for a game of Shove Ha’Penny to settle it!
Pete the Thirst
Thanks for the post, Pete.
Never seen Arsenal Fan TV. ” Crazed …videos”…..seems to sum it up for me!
Seen a few of the nutters at the top of the steps to the North Bridge on occasions. 20 somethings!! Get some football experience before you presume to know better than everyone and about everything.
Give them all some secluded spot in Finsbury Park and let them beat the crap out of each other.
Now Ozil…..get your half pennies ready!😉
At the risk of sounding pretentious, I would say that the increased polarisation among sections of the Arsenal fan base reflects increased polarisation in society generally.
We used to be a lot more tolerant of each other about all sorts of things – whether it was football, politics, religion, way of life or whatever.
Now it seems it’s not good enough to ‘live and let live’ – you have to ‘live and let hate’.
Before the advent of serious organised football fan violence in the 1970s rival fans would often mingle at games. They supported their own teams and wanted to win, but they didn’t hate the opposition fans. There would be banter and p*ss-taking, but all in a good spirit.
I knew old boys who were Arsenal regulars in the 1960s who would go to Tottenham ever other Saturday (when Arsenal were playing away) just to enjoy a game of footy. They were Arsenal fans, but they literally ‘supported’ both Arsenal and Spuds.
It’s no surprise – given the way society is going – that polarisation has now shifted from being between clubs to being within clubs.
I’m not a sociologist or psychologist so I can’t explain why this has happened, but I suspect it’s tied up with the increasing atomisation of society and the veneration of the self above all else.
We used to see ourselves as part of a community (indeed, several communities, from preferred footy team all they way up to national pride).
Now the trend is for us to be entitled individuals encouraged to speak “our truth” regardless of whether it has any relation to realty.
Entitlement, narcissism, fragility and intolerance… a nasty mixture.
Right, after those cheery thoughts it’s time for a cup of tea.
What’s that – you prefer coffee? I HATE YOU!!!
I should have said, excellent Post.
Good morning guys, and especially Pete, with todays eye opening Post subject.
I have never seen Arsenal fan TV, but I have seen a couple of their comments on blogs and they seemed somewhat provocative, but there is a lot of that elsewhere too.
Didn’t bother me — they are entitled to their views.
There are a lot of decent football fans in all clubs who just want to support their teams (but not necessarily the managers, unless they win a lot of competitions, and become treated as fans Gods) but those fans who are probably in a minority, with their own agendas, can cause tensions between the fans.
— Not sure about ‘shovin’ a ha’penny around’ it might win. 😛
(I rather like Paul M, and I think his life story is on BBC iPlayer tonight (??))
Arsene seemed a decent man outside football, and was a great Arsenal manager for some years at the start, but frankly he should have walked away 5 years before the club called time on him.
I don’t mind others not agreeing with the opinions expressed above — freedom of speech is a two way street.🥺
I prefer coffee over tea, Rocket, but in an attempt to garner a better opinion from you, I am reasonably happy with milk free Chinese tea or the Japanese tea ritual.
L By Gum,
Your comments, which are very good, are sometimes appended to the Posts just as a new one is born. 🙃
I too have been wondering what Mikel is doing by somehow convincing himself that fans favourites, Martinelli and Balogun, are not good enough and are disappearing into the gloop at the bottom of the subs benches – or worse.
Martinelli, for example, could have changed our chances of beating Brighton if he had been used when we were being hammered by a very confident BHA.
That’s a deep analysis post. Society definitely seems to be getting angrier at present. Maybe the lockdown gave people too much time to think on everything?
Football violence has always lurked in the background. Thankfully it’s nowhere near some of the crazy anarchy I witnessed in the 80s.
Cup o’ tea for me!
@LBG I used to see the AFTV mob on the North Bank bridge, but haven’t seen them for a while. Generally they’re left to their devices at home games.
I’ve chatted to a few of them in the pubs around Arsenal. They seem pretty sensible in contrast to the characters that get the views. Almost as if it’s an act.
The only one I recognised from years back was Ty. The rest of them I had never seen before they became ‘famous’. I chatted to Claude (RIP) a few times and he came across as a really nice guy, but he clearly had issues.
I know you’re one of the Ozil crew. He had his moments (a few) 😉
@RA yes indeed the vast majority of the Arsenal crowd are a nice bunch. In fact through this period of adversity the atmosphere at the home games has been the best since we moved to the Emirates in my opinion.
Arsene quite simply was a genius manager for the period between ’97 to ’06. After that he didn’t reach the same heights. Judging the right time to walk away must be very hard. Fergie got it right. Arsene hung on too long.
@Rocky that photo you put up is interesting. I had the misfortune of meeting a few of the individuals in the shot after that very game in a pub at Finsbury Park. Not a very sensible bunch…
Good post, Pete – even though I disagree with most of it!
When planning to build the Emirates, the Board asked AW if he could get Champions’ League football two years out of three. He promised to try. He kept us in the top four right up to his last season. He also won us the FA Cup in three years out of four at the end of his tenure. Since 2010, only those clubs doped with oil have won more trophies than us. In 2016, our best chance latterly to win the league, we did the double over the champions, and finished second thanks to some appallingly myopic refereeing.
AW was and is a genius.
As, by the way, was Ozil…
Rocky, I agree with your bleak social analysis. The rise of this cult of self is ineluctably tied to the rise of Social (Anti-social) Media, where everyone believes they have a right to say something, even when they have nothing to say.
I guess that makes me Guilty as charged!
@Maxwell that’s your opinion and that’s fine. Nothing wrong with a healthy debate.
I enjoyed the 2014, 2015 & 2017 FA Cup wins immensely. We have been lucky to win those cups in recent history. Many clubs would bite your hand off to win just one of them. The club up the road would be parading the streets for days if they did it. 1991 was their last FA Cup win…that’s 30 long years ago. We’ve won it 8 times since then!
Maybe Arsene’s problem was being so successful in his first period? Matching that was always going to be tough. He is a human like all of us and not a machine.
No doubt the arrival of the Russian money launderer at Chelsea and the Oilers at Manchester have changed the dynamics of the league. And the Stadium caused funding issues. But it felt like we missed many chances and were in a state of terminal decline in his latter years.
BTW I have a couple of very interesting first hand stories about the money launderer at Chelsea…
Praise be opinions, especially on footie, which us old farts ( not you of course) know nothing about!😁
Ozil not only had his moments, but forgot more about football in his time at Madrid and Arsenal, before Arsene’s departure, than Merson ever knew!!
I have just heard that the Saudi buyout of Newcastle Utd is likely to be signed off today.
That will potentially make them the wealthiest club in the Premier – so ManU, ManCity, Chelsea, ‘Pool will have a bigger club to compete for one of the top four places, but 5 clubs into 4 places is going to upset one of them.
What happened to winning football games on a level playing field and without ridiculous injections of money being the major decider?
Yes, I think you are correct, RA.
The above named, now on the verge of being joined by the Barcodes will form the Premier Top Money League;
Arsenal and 5 others will form the Premier Second League; – Also Rans,
The Spuds, and the other losers, will form the Premier Third League – Relegation Fodder.