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The 'we' and the 'anybody else'

A good few years back working with the Sales Director of a company based in the City of London I'd sat in on a sales review meeting that he'd chaired. He'd warned me beforehand that he was unlikely to get anything useful himself from it as most of those there would just see it as an opportunity to voice their grievances. The sales staff would have spent all month being told by their clients that their prices are too high, service not as good as their competitors and that their products were poor he mused. I already knew that they were the best performing company in their sector on a number of different criteria but other companies had bigger market share even if in some cases they were making a loss and wouldn't be able to sustain that position indefinitely. That didn't count much for the sales people who felt they weren't maximising their commission because others were pursuing desperate policies of predatory pricing and uncosted service. Most were concerned about their next month's pay packet not what it could be next year or how long it could be sustained. 'We'll spend 45 minutes having to listen to them whine and moan and 15 minutes getting them to focus on the strengths which has brought us the success we do have' the SD told me.

He made a great performance of taking his watch off, pretending to wind it up and laid it out on the meeting table directly in front of him so that everyone knew he was keeping a close watch on the time. Make it count he was signalling. After listening for 45 minutes to all the failings they'd been told by clients that they were compromised by he asked them all individually to name 2 or 3 reasons why, given that things were so bad, people were buying from them at all - after all it wasn't as though sales weren't good - just that there was more to be had. At the end of 15 minutes he'd got from them at least a dozen good reasons which he put up on the white board behind him as to why the company's offer was really quite strong and the sales guys left reassured by the realisation that as they reflected on their strengths they were a pretty good company with some genuinely strong positives after all. They'll be back next month whining and moaning just as strongly the SD told me knowing that he would have to find a way of picking them up all over again.

When things are going well football supporters are fed all sorts of wonderful nonsense about their team, of their superiority, their managerial and tactical genius that their players are true world beaters full of winning mentality who will dominate the game for years. Success can be measured in relative terms and a team achieving 4th place for the first time in an age will be fed the same bullshit that another winning a trophy might expect. If the team is good enough to win a trophy, but not successful in doing so, as expectations fail to be met supporters are fed the same exaggerated guff by the media and opinion formers that the sales staff of the City firm were fed by their customers. Elements of truth are magnified to give the impression that things are irredeemably poor and that total breakdown and failure are inevitable. In consequence we get absurd levels of overreaction with blog posts pronouncing this as the worst season ever experienced and groups of disaffected fans setting up campaigns demanding that some uninformed action be taken to save us from hell and damnation.

Unlike the sales meeting though the internet allows 24/7 discourse to take place and it can't be influenced with anything like the control the SD was able to bring. There is no wrist watch to limit the time spent moaning and allow for rational reflection so for much of the time supporters have only the sound of their own frustration and the scorn of their rivals to feed their thoughts. As positive as free speech is invariably the spiral of depression continues to be fed by its own volume.

But there's a gaping hole in this analogy. The fatal flaw is in the suggestion that supporters are really as much a part of the team as the City firm's sales force was. When Wenger was asked whether the crowd, some of whom had made vocal their dissatisfaction after the Blackburn game, would stick with the team subliminally rather than consciously he drew a distinction between 'we' (the club and team) and 'anybody else' (the crowd).

'That is not our concern, we are responsible for our performances and for our attitude, not for the attitude of anybody else' he responded.

It's an indication of just how much supporters, and it's true of support among all PL teams (lest some of the hypersensitive tendency here see this as a criticism of our support and not just a regret) are being viewed as an audience, more that of a customer and not an integral part of the club as Wenger perhaps unwittingly acknowledged.

When Sky began the process of commoditising football in 1992, encouraging those like Abramovich to distort the sport even further a decade later (what would competition authorities make of any business selling a product at least 40% below the cost of production as Chelsea have done?) they also brought about a gradual change in the relationship between clubs and the basis of its support. Now when a supporter claims that he is not being adequately rewarded for high ticket prices or demands that a minimum amount be spent on transfers he is acting in much the same way that any customer might demand quicker delivery times or an increase in promotional spend in return for his patronage. Those insisting that if nothing is done then support will dwindle away are accepting that supporters will inevitably act as any other customer unhappy with their product would.

In the two decades since Sky bought into the game a whole generation of supporters perhaps now heading towards or into their 30's, and those since, have grown up knowing football more as a commodity. Most would baulk at the suggestion that they are becoming customers preferring to still see themselves as supporters of the faith, keepers of the flame, a genuine part of a club but the reality is slowly, inexorably and against their real instincts supporters are becoming that little bit more detached from the club they support. Hopes and aspirations are being replaced by entitlement and expectations as supporters themselves are becoming complicit in their own divorce while football tries to maintain the pretence for as long as possible that its supporters are anything other than customers. Much has changed about football in the last 20 years.

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The Journalist

Writer: Amos Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday April 4 2011

Time: 12:00PM

Your Comments

It's a very pertinent analogy in that one of the guys I have a season ticket with insists upon describing the more disaffected members of our support as "the consumers." I understand some of the disaffection, even if I don't relate to all of it. But I was speaking with some people the other day and commenting how sad it is that football support has been reduced to numbers on a screen. Transfer monies spent, trophies won. These things are important, I'm not dismissing that. But though football supporters have always have exorcised their right to vent (and it is a right), maybe I'm just being nostalgic, but I'm sure it used to be a lot more fun than this? People used to go to football for entertainment as well didn't they? The bonding experience, the atmosphere? Feeling that a club is a part of the community? All these things seem to have dribbled away from a lot of people and I'm a bit weary of having to explain to people that they are still important to me.
Little Dutch
When you pay what we do we are entitled to voice our dissatisfaction, whether the club or other fans don't like that, tough. As for entitlement, I have never believed we are entitled to anything unreasonable...
100% in agreement with all of that LD. Does the fact that we haven't won the CL make that night against Barca at the Emirates recently less thrilling? Has there really been no joy in a season in which with a few weeks to go we're still in with a slim chance of the title? The single most attractive thing to me is feeling part of the club and sharing the highs and lows with others yet so many seem determined to divorce or allow themselves to be divorced from the club and see it as something to be opposed. Sure there's plenty to complain about - that's part of the attraction too no matter how much or how little you pay - but paying for it should just make you more determined to enjoy the entertainment - it's the ride I'm paying for not the necessarily the destination.
LD - maybe (probably) it's part and parcel of the everything that's changed in the game, from Sky to all-seater stadium to the internet. Going to football when you were able to stand in terraces in a throng of people and really support your team was a totally different experience to what we have now. I don't go to away games, so am only talking about our home ground. I don't see the game in its current state in the PL as being sustainable. If the only way to win trophies is by spending money, then the game is over. I don't know the German model intimately, but I hear it's better than ours and their teams still compete in the CL. Not holding my breath for the FA or PL to change things though.
Arsenal are more responsible than any fan for making the club feel less a part of the community and treating fans as commodities. Arsenal are also one of the main culprits in embracing the money, money, money modern attitude of clubs, it just so happens they are not quite as good as Utd and many other clubs at doing it.
It's true that football is reaping what it has sown. Not true that Arsenal are any more culpable than any other club any more than it is true that it is only Arsenal fans who see themselves as, and behave as consumers.
Yes true Arsenal are more culpable than most, you said we are one of the biggest clubs in the world, how do you think we got that way Amos and a club like Nottingham Forest didn't?
I think Arsenal are pretty good at giving back to the community to an extent, Islington benefits a fair amount both financially and through other schemes, you could argue the working class inhabitants of the borough (of which there are more than Upper St frequenters would like to admit/know of) have been priced out of going. But I'd say AFC give more than say, a certain club up the SS determined to leave their borough. Feeling disenfranchised is something i've felt for about a good 5/6 years now, my first real memories was when in about 92 when I was 6/7, so Sky is all i've known. The reason for me feeling this disenfranchised is down to players acting more and more detached from what I can relate to, imagine having to go out for a pint with Adebayor or Cole? It's money and being thick berk hunts that's done that to them.
Well Cloughy got em relegated, and they've suffered through not being towards the top over the sky years.
Ok then, Everton. True to say they haven't embraced the commercial, sky, money side of the game as well as Arsenal?
I still love going to the football at the weekend. Hence paying my money for a season ticket and a lot more on going away. If Arsenal didn't exist, I'd probably do the same but with Barnet instead (trust me that would take some loyalty)! My main frustration is the inability to make large steps forward with (relatively) small investment. I have never/will never boo an Arsenal team/player (mainly because I can't think of anything less counter-productive), but I do undertand some who do. It's not always easy being a football fan, but would I give it up......... no chance!
We have become one of the biggest clubs in the world because the club has invested in itself and its resources and Wenger has kept us competing for major trophies for all of his 15 years here. Notts Forest had a few seasons in the sun but failed to invest in improving its resources beyond the narrow perspective of the team. Had they been able to invest in top class training facilities, player development and a new stadium they might well be there now.
Sorry not sure of the point! Everton have got fk all to spend and need to sell their best players to tread water, they should've sold Arteta in the summer to free up some capital, they can't make any more cos Goodison is restrictive revenue wise - you can argue that it makes no difference if the gaffer don't wanna spend it but that's a different argument ;)
LD has also only direct experience of the Sky era too but he has invested time and energy in immersing himself in the history of the club pre-Sky beyond just repetition of the trophies we've won. He'd know more than many long standing supporters who scored the goals, the condition of the pitch, the key moments and players in games played long before he was born along with sites and venues important in off pitch achievements. Because of that investment he gets far more out of every considerable pound he spends. It doesn't make him any less fecked off when we don't triumph when we should but I reckon he knows what he's really spending his money on and getting more value for it.
Cos-mic - where did I say I didn't appreciate our past? Think that's the wrong accusation to level at me, I'm not exactly the knowledge, but I aint too bad on our history as has been taught me from a young age/my own research.
Where did I level any accusation against you? I simply pointed out that LD's depth of knowledge of the club adds a dimension that enables him to see a little more than most.
Just me associating your direct response to my post and the content of your response I suppose, re people getting far more out of it. Not sure how you can quantify who gets the most out of things anyway, everyone's different.
You could have associated my post with the content of the article itself which refers to the effect that Sky has had on the game and its support. I suppose you're right though. I guess going by the match thread there are supporters who are happy to get off on the thrill of saying I knew we'd fail! (Don't mean you though!!!!). Just seems such a waste to spend so much money and get such little joy out of it. (Again not you of course!)
How can you force joy upon people? "Just seems such a waste to spend so much money and get such little joy out of it" - I think that's a massive source of frustration for people as well, why should they feel joyous about us capitulating...again....?
Nobody is forcing joy on anyone just asking why anyone would continue to pursue something when they appear not to get much out of it. Whether they do or not is up to them of course. I couldn't give a toss really but if it's ok to have an opinion on players, managers, boards and performances then why not on the nature of some supporters?
No one's said it isn't they've just defended their point of views, as likewise you defend any Arsenal player who isn't Arshavin/Lehmann a lot of supporters defend their points of view. The feeling I get from your posts is that people who go Arsenal must enjoy it, or not go, they're annoyed, they feel detached, how else are they to convey their opinions apart from the anonymity of the interweb? Such a division amongst some fans it really makes me sick, fkcin hate so much about our "support" tbh.
It's seems more logical to me that people go to Arsenal because they'll enjoy it more often than not but if you're insisting that people should be entitled to go to Arsenal and not enjoy it then I can't argue with their entitlement. I don't think you have to worry about our support being prevented from voicing dissatisfaction on the net or elsewhere. Just take a look around that should be enough to reassure you that those who want to complain aren't restricted in any way. I share your dislike of the attitude of much of our 'support' too but we can only be responsible for our own attitudes and not of anybody else.
hehe! Amos. Last line was Wenger's.
...Well, almost. :-)
Maybe he is Wenger
If a club treats its fans as consumers, then that is how they will behave. Fans didn't create Sky or huge transfer budgets or stadiums designed to cater to a priority corporate and family crowd. Fans didn't change the game to cater primarily to people with enuf money to pay high prices. You are focusing on the SYMPTOM (decline of the traditional type of fan) rather than the CAUSE. It is clubs like Arsenal and football in general that decided to chase major money and to deprioritize the traditional fan. The traditional fan base is not a good source for big money. The Grove is a cold, unfriendly stadium because it is designed to cater to people looking for entertainment, to bigwig corporate suits. That is NOT the fans' fault. Sick to death of scapegoating the fans for the choices made by people who hole the REAL POWER in football.
I struggle to understand how people expect an authentic, diehard, committed fanbase to flourish in a football culture that deliberately marginalizes and takes for granted exactly that type of fan. How many times have we heard of older fans giving up on the new corporate commercial football culture, losing interest in their own club, and going back to just attending football from lower leagues where they can enjoy basic football free from all the hype, the millionnaire players with massive egos, the huge prices? How does the diehard, committed fan prosper in a stadium that rigidly controls fan expression, routinely expels fans from the stadium for ridiculous infractions, a stadium designed primarily for people who tell you to "shhh" when you want to cheer your team on?
I don't think the article has really made a claim either way as to whose fault the divorce between clubs and fans is. I think it acknowledges that it's a consequence of decisions made by the people who hold the real power. Just that supporters have become, perhaps unwittingly, become complicit in it too.
Little Dutch
If you want to become a globally followed sport (and club), if you want to make the sport bigger and richer, if you want to expand the reach of your sport (and club) then IT IS INEVITABLE that the local, traditional, diehard supporter with a sense of community, history and modest expectations will become the minority. That supporter will be crowded out by the casual, superficial fan looking to kill a couple of hours and be entertained. That's simple basic fact.
Fair enuf, LD. I was actually responding more to the comments than the article.
Good points Jaelle.
Sounds as though you're pretty well agreeing with the general thrust of the article jaelle. The cause isn't ignored and the symptom regretted. We can all regret some of the changes that the commodification of football has brought about. Still worth keeping the traditional concepts of support among the minority alive for as long as possible even if it is a bit like spitting at Niagara falls.
I think Wenger's really in trouble this summer with PR, we're there pretty much with our current personel, it has to be the attitude towards that final step, or ability I don't know. Our back 5 now is very good, although to be fair they didn't have a long stint before injuries struck. Song is key, he's so important yet is the only player we don't have a replacement for, yet people will cry out about us needing a CB, we need competition for Song, the sale of a striker and then replaced with a strong, pacey one, and ship out likes of Rosicky/Diaby/Denilson who I really feel add not a lot.
I expected our end of season slump and I think so did many other fans. That isn't the source of the negativity we've seen. I think it's mostly down to the Carling Cup. Had we won the Carling Cup there certainly wouldn't have been this level of negativity.
Why would you "expect our end of season slump"? You may as well have saved a lot of fans all the heartache resulting from the yet unfulfiled expectation of a trophy by telling us all early in the season.
Look, I watched Stoke city stand toe-to-toe with the 'mighty Chelsea' and I thought to myself, it could have been worse for us against Rovers. I would rather have a game where I get a relatively upper hand, even if drawing, than one in which there were so many scary moments as Stoke gave Chelsea yesterday. And we thought the Chavs were rejuvenated. Arsenal can get sharper and that is what I expect, fingers crossed.
It was difficult to tell which of the 2 sides were playing for the title; at least, we know what to expect when we visit. I am not looking forward to it too eagerly, though, on that performance.
I don't see what the big problem is? Are you saying fans are more *****ed off/upset now when Arsenal have dropped out of 4 trophies in under 2 months then they would have been 10 years ago? 20 years ago? I'm not sure they would've. Being an Arsenal fan is a rollercoaster ride and anyone who's followed them for even 5 years will be aware of that. We're lucky enough to know that even though we've pretty much dropped the bollock this season we're still in with a chance next season. We are a big club, and we've got a young team who is improving. If we finish 2nd this year that's 4th, 3rd, 2nd respectivly over the last 3 seasons. It's being a crazy season, and their are less and less 'easy' games in the PL. I'm *****ed off that we've failed to win for 5 games, it's completely natural for any real fan because we actually get emotionally invested in the game. Whinging comes naturally with being *****ed off. It's a vent, nothing else, we're not 'divorcing Arsenal' ...just, venting.
I am saying not only that fans expectations are most definitely much greater than they were 20 years or even 10 years ago but that they have developed a growing sense of entitlement. That sense of entitlement has been brought about by the game itself so it's difficult to argue that it isn't entirely justified but nevertheless it's still a regrettable trend that supporters and clubs are becoming more detached. But it's also true that the internet allows all opinion to be heard more readily and periods of discontent can be magnified disproportionally. What Wenger was saying in the quote in the article was that he knew he couldn't count on supporters to lift the team and that anything they achieved would depend on them taking full responsibility for their motivation, in effect he was saying 'They'll only sing when we're winning'.
For me this piece is pot on. AND if im 100% honest i have been a victim of this a little. I have been spoilt by Wenger in the early years and now we havent won anything in a while it frustrates the hell out of me as i know these players are a very good bunch of footballers. But i feel i am more frustrated than ever as SO CALLED FANS from other clubs, namely Cheski, have creeped out of the woodwork but all claim they have gone to ever game since the 70s al 40,000 of them yes!! And it is my inability to deal with the Banter that goes with football that has made me feel like i have fallen victim to what this artical is about. IT IS MY INABILITY TO DEAL WITH IT. I feel i have not been strong enough to deal with lets face it is half the fun of being a football fan. The last few years have not been easy to deal with as we dont have much to throw back at them, but i still enjoy watching this side play footbal 90% of the time nd enjoy all that goes with it, the social side, the hope, the belonging, the great pride i have when i say im an Arsenal fan. Make no mistake about it, we are lucky as supporters, we have a great fan base, a great stadia, a great manager, a great team. We are just alling a little short and that is getting to people, people not strong enough to deal with the banter. Stop reading news papers and disconect your sky boxs, you will feel a lot better about OUR club if you do. Papers say a load of old ***** to sell papers dont listen to al the crap they have to say!! For example 29mill bid from barca for Fab.......DIDNT EVEN HAPPEN!! I can not tell you where this information came from but trust me it didnt even happen!!
OT - Mourinho cracked me up last night. In his post-match interview he was commenting about how being down to 10 men at Champions League level is impossible. He mentioned about him going to Barca twice with Chelsea and Inter and being down to 10 men and made reference to Arsenal. At the end of the interview he said if it was to be Barca he better prepare his team to play with 10 men because its always the same story there! Love or loathe him he is a character and does crack you up. You can watch the interview here -,19528,11945_6854950,00.html
Great post jlowep. The trick has to be to make sure you enjoy the ride and the highs and lows in it while hoping there's something great at the end. It's a disappointment if there isn't but it may still have been a great ride (and for most of last 6 years it has been) and you know there's always another trip to take soon enough. That maybe the ride that takes you to the Land of Narnia but if it doesn't while you still have enough life to breathe there's always another trip to make. Too many forget that it's the ride we're really paying for and what we see, feel and experience along the way. We'll get there soon enough....we always do....and when we do we'll get straight back on again for another trip...what's not to enjoy? These are the good times.
How can you enjoy this? Seriously - how can you enjoy the end of the last 5 seasons? I just can't see it, sure, there's been some amazing games that i've been lucky enough to be at over the last 5 years or so, but in the grand scheme of things, there's ulitimately nothing to show for it. Enjoying coming this close then capitulating every year is bordering on mental. And I have to pull you up on your "20 years ago" statement, 20 years ago we nearly had the first invincibles side.
To be honest, although some of the last 5 seasons have come to a disappointing end, and games like the one against Blackburn are very frustrating, I've reached the point where, although I, of course, would love to see us lift some silverware, I'm more concerned with the performance of our side game-by-game. It's going back a bit to the 'entertaining football vs trophies' argument (which is a flawed one - I think Barcelona have made it very clear that, with the right mentality, both can be achieved), but to be honest if I wanted to see sportsmen lift things all that badly I would just watch weight-lifting. I probably don't actually disagree with most people on here, but for me it's about playing well first, and if the trophies come as a reward of that, it's a great bonus. Having said all that, I won't deny that it's quite painful watching teams with far less talent than ours lift trophies instead of us.
Never realised you guys got Aliadiere back, quite a shocker and really unexpected. Also, I bet a few of you had massive smiles on your face last night.
"I bet a few of you had massive smiles on your face last night." - LOL, yeah, something like that. Tho some of the smiles were tempered by annoyance at the double standards in the media defending & excusing spurs, lamenting that "they don't deserve this", saying the sending off totally influence the outcome - in contrast to the way they trashed us for our game v. Barca. They totally dismissed RVP's sending off - yet we were winning the tie before that sending off, ffs! // On another topic, this excellent article uses objective stats to argue the rebuilding project by AW has failed - it's from an arsenal blog that has no anti-AW agenda at all, quite the opposite in fact Not saying I agree or disagree with the conclusion, just thought the info he provides is unlike I've seen on any other blog.
In what way are you pulling me up on the "20 years ago" statement? I'm absolutely certain that our expectations back then weren't as lofty as they're now. I don't see how any gooner can't enjoy watching this Arsenal side. Sure it's disappointing, painfully so at times, when hopes and aspirations aren't met but it's only painful because we are usually so close to meeting them. It's great to be behind a team that can continue to challenge. That gives us the best chance of hopes being fulfilled.
Interesting link jaelle but like all data you have to join it up with more data to reach a conclusion that is worth anything. Arsenals defense has gotten worse over the period? So has the title winners! All that the data really tells you over that period is that the title winners have been better than Arsenal. Doesn't really need anything more than the league table to tell you that though.
The 20 years ago thing is in relation to your accusations of a sense of entitlement, there's surely a direct causal link between us being told by anyone at the club how much we deserve a trophy etc etc etc, tied in with the glamour and the sheer costs people have to stump up for the pleasure of watching Arsenal, i think, like the cost of living and whatnot, our "sense of entitlement" or expectations as some would describe it, are all relative with the surroundings, and what information we're free to digest (watching the matches) and what we're told - by media outlets such as the club.
There is no 'accusation' of entitlement as I've made it quite clear that football itself is responsible for its creation so a sense of entitlement is understandable and probably to a fair degree even justified. That entitlement didn't exist to anything like the same degree 20 years ago if at all. Expectations weren't so grand 20 years ago either as Arsenal's history of challenging for titles over the previous 20 years isn't anything like it's history in the subsequent 20 years. Finally there should be no causal link between anything you are told and anything you believe. It's entirely your own responsibility to find out for yourself and to then decide whether what you are being told is justified or not. If you take anything said by any media outlet as gospel then you have only yourself to blame if you have been misguided.
Why can't we expect to win things when we're coming to incredibly close? Before this season started, i claimed Arsenal would finish 2nd this season (although i also claimed Chelsea would be first), and win next season. Still think we will! I don't think it's a detachment from the club at all, that we got used to winning things for a little while.
most of us are frustrated here not because we are not winning. the frustration comes from watching the team imploding when it matters most - more often than not against teams that we should be beating. we could accept if the team tried but applying the same tactic for more than 1/2 decade which every other teams know how to get around is insane. it's like someone keep resiting a maths exam and giving the same set of fanciful but wrong solutions year after year & hoping the questions would change to fit his prepared answers each time
Just not true that we've employed the same tactic for the last 5 years. The formation has been adapted through different forms of mainly 4-5-1 and 4-3-3. It's always been an attacking or counter attacking strategy and under Wenger always will be but if every other team knew how to get around it we would be a lot lower in the league and we wouldn't have challenged as consistently as we have done. Nothing wrong with expecting to win things Fuikaka (although the history of any club will tell you that you won't things more often than you do though the Sky years has given a bigger advantage to monied clubs) except when you allow it to become a condition of your support something is lost.
Shewore actually makes quite a good point, the cost of living in this ountry is going up along with tax National insurance just about everything bar our wages, and as our perks come down, ie pensions, redundancey money...etc. My point being that you would hope that life in general would be better as the cost goes up the good old term you get what you pay for. Now the arsenal style could be what we are paying for, or the winning of trophies, at the end of the day with a team of so much promise i dont think it is entitlement to win a trophy more a case of with this team we blo*dy well should be. There are not too many players i would swap with man u as a team and there are not too many players i would swap as a team with chelsea, dont get me wrong id pick a few. Eg Vidic, essien and before this season drogba ( even if it is just to stop him scroing against us, a bit like they have done with torres, lol ). We all know something is missing, we all know we get more injuries than any other team in the league and we all know our squad is not as good or deep as it should be. But these are all things that can and im sure will be improved. The stadium move happened. That was really at the wrong time a few years early, but who was to know that the crash in the market of property was to happen? That with out question has had to focus the clubs attention on development rather than splashing the cash. but we are a finacially sound club, well run, and with the new rules about being run in a sound finacial way, we are one step ahead of chelsea man u liverpool etc.... who will have to drastically adjust they way they run the clu over the next 2 years to ensure they do not fall foul of the 3 year avaerage rule. I also agree with Joe_@** we are frustrated at coming so close year on year and losing it in stupid silly ways at the buisness end of the season. Lets see what AW has in store for us next year. Keep backing the team guys!!
"All that the data really tells you over that period is that the title winners have been better than Arsenal." - actually no, the data tells you more than that - if you have a mind open enuf to see it. The data tells you how this team has not progressed in this rebuilding phase, that the rate of efficiency in front of goal & goals conceded has not improved in these last 4 or 5 seasons. That is what the data tells you, if you want to see it.
It's probably worth your while reading some of the more considered and open minded comments to that data before making that conclusion yourself jaelle but if you've already done so and are happy that's what it tells you then who am I to tell you should think any differently. I'm happy with my view too. :)
I'm sure Amos is a secret PR agent acting on behalf of AFC - or even Arsene himself!
AFC have no need for secret agents, they are more than able to take care of themselves and have so much out in the public domain for those who want or need to seek it out. I am just a humble gooner supporter, much the same as anyone else here, open to persuasive argument, with opinions I'm happy to share but am not overly fussed if they aren't.
Was only jesting Amos :-)
Was only joining in the game Vin :)
You can also be too open minded, with no firm view, everything open to interpretation, everything is grey, sit on the fence, never form a conclusion. The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.
Nothing wrong with thinking outside the box but sometimes the most obvious answers are the right answers
Having an open mind doesn't stop you having firm opinions. If anything it usually enables you to be firmer in your beliefs and more confident of holding an informed opinion. I'm not sure what the benefit of a closed mind could be? The obvious answers have usually been dealt with long before the question arises.
What have Heather Mills and sp*rs got in common Tony?
That's right, neither have a second leg worth a **** :)
Nice of you to lighten the mood Niko :-)
Amos - my expectation has never been a condition of my support. I will support this club through hell and high-water! Although i must admit sometimes immediatley after certain losses (throwing away the 2-0 win to Spuds this season at home) I've made regretful comments such as "I don't know why i keep supporting this f***ing club sometimes!" Haha. I do question why sometimes why we get so emotionally invested into clubs and support, but just one game can make it all clear (The win against Barca) - we all share one thing in common, our love for the club, but showing love whether it be for a club, a women, a man, an animal, is different from person to person. I think the claim of detachment is wrong, support may be different these days, but i don't think it is weaker.
I was talking in general terms referring to those whose support is conditional. It doesn't apply to most but to some it does as was illustrated in the comments to the match report. We've all said 'never again' many, many times before and will do in the future for as long as we support them. Support is different these days and more detached.... you can read it in the subtext of many of the comments here and elsewhere. Football has shaped the type of support it gets so I'm not blaming supporters primarily but at the same time I feel many are losing sight of much of what is really enjoyable about supporting a team through all it's triumphs and disasters.

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