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Negative Creep

Negative Creep

First things first, apologies for the radio silence from me over the last fortnight, upon arriving back on mainland England after a weekend away with friends a fortnight ago, I arrived back to my flat to find our internet connection had been amputated, a situation that has been without reconcile ever since, hence the intermittent correspondence. Given that I also don`t own a television, the period of solitude mercifully allowed me to escape the furore Ade-pay-me-more transfer somewhat unscathed. The period of relative monastery has allowed time for meditation amongst the uninspiring chatter of transfer news as the dick swinging contest between City and Real Madrid reaches its threshold. It`s given me time to consider some things that have demonstratably changed at the club this summer and some things that have stayed irrevocably the same. The status quo is being observed in terms of the manager`s musings, he continues to affirm faith in his players (why wouldn`t he?) and extol the values of lessons learned. (I have watched back every Arsenal Season Review DVD since 1998 during this summer, the words "exciting young team" have been used in the narrative of each of the last four). We have also lost yet another player to a serious injury only for the manager to diagnose the injury as "not too serious." (In January 2008, he also told us Rosicky would be out for "a matter of days, not weeks"). However, there is one thing that has notably altered.

Whether or not via the initiative of Gazidis it is unclear, but Arsenal seem more concerned with the impressions of supporters more than ever before. Players linked with moves away have instantly rectified the record via the club website and affirmed commitment to the club. The very fact that retraction never emanated from Emmanuel Adebayor seemingly carried the coded message that the club was happy to usher him to the exit door. Gazidis himself has made himself available for interview for Arsenal`s most widely read unofficial supporters website 'Arseblog.` I only recall William Gallas, usually very forthright and garrulous when invited to speak to the press, producing a single utterance to the media since being unceremoniously stripped of the captaincy last November, and that was simply to refute rumours that he was leaving. Whether official or informal, Gallas has clearly been asked to keep schtum by the club. Whatever the intricacies of Arsenal`s new found media savvy, it seems clear that the Arsenal bigwigs have witnessed the deterioration of the relationship between players and supporters which reached something of an unprecedented level last season. With Adebayor`s irritating flirtations with other clubs, Gallas` often misrepresented missives to the press and likewise Bendtner`s press twisted rhetoric has seen the voices in the Emirates gallows become hoarse with dissatisfaction. The rectitude of supporters berating their own players has been debated ad infinitum, and it is right that the club must be apportioned with some of the blame in this, as Robert Plant once wailed, communication breakdown. However, the fact that the club are going to such painstaking lengths to offset the possibility of the boo boys dominating next season proves to me that the players and the manager have identified this de rigeur occurrence as a genuine hubris to them.

In Wenger`s various post mortems of last season, a common theme occurs, he pinpoints external negativity as a factor that vitiated his team in the early stages of the campaign. That the club have moved to protect the sacrosanct reputations of Messrs Fabregas, Sagna and Clichy in the face of this summer`s churning rumour mill, shows that they consider positive relations between supporter and player as an integral bedfellow to success. In his adumbrated approximation of Arsenal`s finances earlier this week, Ferguson is attempting to feed ravenously upon Gooner cynicism in the hope that it will continue to manifest itself in the nebulous practise of Arsenal fans hindering their own side. Is it not fair to say that if our club are moving to eradicate the air of disenfranchisement permeating the atmosphere and our enemies are looking to amplify it, that in verbally chastising our own side we effectively expediate their downfall? We may cluck our tongues and spit, "salary, salary, salary" in riposte, but whilst some footballers means of chasing the pot of gold (*cough* Adebayor *cough*) are incredibly avaricious, a wage packet does not inoculate you from the mental effects of 50,000 acid tongues when trying to break down stubborn opponents. (Besides which, we cling jealously to the notion of pay when criticising footballers, yet top flight football has become a multi billion pound industry. That is because of the players; is it not right that they are recompensed to reflect that within the framework of a capitalist economy? And if the idea offends you so much, answer me this, what have you done for the Socialist party lately?)

The underlying issue here is not to proselytize anyone into thinking that all is rosy in the Arsenal garden. This is not so much a call to arms, I don`t want to teach the world to sing, that would be horrible. (Besides which, singing has become something of a benign practise inside the Emirates anyway). But the upshot here is that the verbal exorcism of our frustrations against our own players is evidently so counter productive as to be, not so much an exercise in futility, as a chink in the armour for our opposition. My personal preference inside the stadium is to store up the frustration for the opposition (though all too often I fall into the mind numbingly repetitive trap of shouting at the referee to such a histrionic extent that I feel pangs of shame for using this poor human being as a voodoo doll for my own sense of helplessness). Whether or not quietly contented or eye gougingly mad at the team`s current state of affairs, there has to be some syncretic solution of uniting the supporters in the aim of common cause. Leave the negativity for the pub, join a blog or site such as this one and spill your guts, but venting spleen at our own players inside the ground is so incredibly counter productive. The fact is, this summer, the club are acknowledging it, our enemies are seizing on it. Heaven knows we all complain about the money we pay to watch, why continue to spend that money hurting the team? Those that counterpose "I pay my money, I have the right" miss the point, the more you boo and scream and whinge, the greater the likelihood that you`ll be given more to boo and scream and whinge about. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that that scenario would be peachy creamy for a lot of our supporters whose sole reason for attending football is just that.LD.



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Writer:Tim Stillman
Date:Thursday July 23 2009
Time: 2:12PM

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Comments

0
LD, I was just thinking that myself. Most recently the clarification of Eduardo's playing status on the official site, which Wenger's confusingly worded statement was widely interpreted in the world of blogs and red-tops as meaning 'back in two months' rather than 'back for those two months'. I credit Ivan for this new-found openness.
elbondo
23/07/2009 14:38:00
0
I think you're absolutely right. There is a recognition in the club that the negative vibes surrounding the club last season made it much tougher to instil the confidence in the team to achieve what we all hope for. Much as we might despair at the sheer futility of fans creating a hostile environment at the Emirates for their own players the reality has to be that if it is to be countered then the club is the only body that stands a chance of doing so. They do seem to have managed affairs a good bit better this summer as you have explained. But feeding the crowd is not too easy. I get the feeling that the appetite for another sacrificial offering in the form of another signing is increasing. Maybe we'll avoid the absurdity of fans waiting up until the early hours desperately craving some deadline day transfer window offering. With the media increasingly hyping the deadline as a major event the club will still have it's work cut out to manage expectations this summer.
Amos.
23/07/2009 14:47:00
0
"dick swinging contest between City and Real Madrid"- LOL
gunnerkid107
23/07/2009 14:58:00
0
Nice piece LD, very thought provoking. I personally have never, nor will ever, boo any Arsenal player. If the new initiative is for the 58,00 of us to get behind the team more consistently, then I am all for it. However, there will be times when I have a 2 minute meltdown/rant at Eboue. Last season I wanted to break into his house and ***** in his kettle. I'm sorry, but it's true.
Cockney Rich
23/07/2009 15:09:00
0
Great headline..the article is pretty good too...
Anon 1
23/07/2009 15:18:00
0
what you are writing about is only half the story,were we better or worse playing away from the emirates?
fran merida
23/07/2009 15:20:00
0
http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/arsenal-s-squad-list-for-austria Another positive going into the new season is that we have our entire squad back for preseason training in Austria. I did think Vela was still playing for Mexico in the Gold Cup, but apparently he has traveled as well.
gunnerkid107
23/07/2009 15:30:00
0
You're right Fran, it's not the reason the team were fallible last season, the behaviour of the crowd isn't half the story, it's not even a quarter. The fact is however, if it is attributable in any way, shape or form, then we as supporters are doing a disservice. Surely we should be part of the reason the team should be doing better? Liverpool after Adepaymemore's sending off was a good example, or Brown's moan about "local pressure" are steps in the right direction in being a hindrance to the other team. Atmosphere is very much an antiquated concept in English football, no ground as it, but that doesn't mean we should go in the opposite direction and create a bad one.
Little Dutch
23/07/2009 15:40:00
0
These 'fans' have frustrated me for a long time. Yes, they pay a lot of money, but would they rather pay to tell their team how cr*p they think they are, or would the rather pay to give them a lift to help them achieve? It's these kind of people who give people the assumption that football fans are idiots, and the worst part is that, with them for evidence, it can sometimes be difficult to deny.
ArsenalRob
23/07/2009 15:42:00
0
Yeah LD that game vs Liverpool had the most electric athmosphere since the opening of the Emirates, and whether we won or not, that made it money well spent.
ArsenalRob
23/07/2009 15:45:00
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