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Veteran's View - Wenger warning should be heeded by all true Gooners

By Samuel Mowbray

It takes two to tango - but heed this. For anyone living in the London area and who picked up, or who probably didn't pick up, the later editions of the Evening Standard on Thursday night (23rd): be warned.


Now I bemoaned in an earlier column at the pathetic response as our 'kids' thrashed Sheffield United. And I accept that papers distort quotes - but has AW ever sent out such a message to Arsenal fans?

Coded - or uncoded?

I don't necessarily accuse Arsenal Addicts of such behaviour - but we have a responsibility to which I will return. As does the club.

I started supporting Arsenal in 1961. Look up our records for the next nine years. I was living in Australia in 1970 so missed the famous night at Highbury against Anderlecht in April of that year.

AA wanted me to write about my best Tottingham moments. Let me tell you. After ten years supporting the club, and to this day it is the only moment I haven't been able to get into a game, being locked out of the Lane on May 31971 was/is a moment I will never forget.

Ten years. And the fear.

Some people say there were 65,000 people locked outside. No one knows in a pre-multi media age (the game wasn't televised) - but I have never experienced a crush in a crowd like it.

So I won't romanticise/dramatise the moment. But ten pitiful, trophy- less years makes you, experiencing something like that, take nothing for granted

And so I never take a Wenger game for granted. Hence my call to action following the Carling cup game.

Do most of you have any idea how good this is? How could anybody boo at half time last Saturday?

In all the comments following my criticism of Bendtner some weeks back, I took the comment of 'an old man who loves the club' as a badge of honour. Some people know nothing of finishing outside the top four - and even then might take that as failure.......

I write out of love.

Wake up. Because to the twenty year olds that inhabit Emirates - and who know nothing of Gooner life beyond Arsene: you know nothing.

You don't know how good this is. There may not be silverware since 2005 - but in my lifetime there was nothing from 1953 to 1970.

Passion - and Newcastle comes to mind - is admirable but may, and in their case does, win nothing.

However apathy is an attitude that is more disgraceful. Our apathy is a disgrace in the beauty that is generally put on offer in front of us every fortnight.

Lambast me for my comments on Bendtner as many of you did - but I will never leave early. I will never boo. And I pray that we never become the prawn sandwich crowd that Keane railed against in his time as a Manchester United player. But wake up - because we are heading that way.

So. Where does this leave us?

It leaves Arsenal Addicts to take the lead. This probably isn't against you but..... we have a responsibility.

As does the club.

As I said, it takes two to tango. Arsenal still have a massive lesson to learn and should confront it. The crowd is not best dispersed to lend support. I don't care if amplification is used to 'heighten' the silence that surrounds Emirates at the moment.

Something needs to be done to raise the creativity, as I have written before, of our chants. But the club has a responsibility - and lets have us Addicts lead the way. Comments please. Now.

The headline in last night's Standard is a warning.

We should heed it.


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Reader Comments (14)

I blame the mini hitlers that make up the ranks of the stewards, you stand up, your evicted. and honestly who can sing and sit down? i much prefer away games to home for that very reason.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterNick

How sad is it that Le gaff has to come out and say this!! Shameful..and whats more he is right..i sit in club level and seem to be the only one who will sing.. the best atmosphere only arises when we score or are winning..we shud be behind the team from the off! Come on fellow prawn sandwichers and gooners!

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWorried Gooner

Great post - the problem is too many of our fans expect too much, nothing less than a goal fest victory would be good enough for a lot of them, they think Arsenal have a divine right to win. Arsene is spot on but i think the booing is more a reflection of society in general. This collective neutralised passion for the game is a knock on effect of people feeling frustrated with a lot of things in their lives. Football matches have always been a release. Some of our fans are just using them as a negative release. I look forward to every Arsenal game, sure i get upset when we play shite and i will berate the players but i would never boo. I enjoy my matchday therapy sessions and you have to take the lowest of lows (being batterd 6-1 by Manure comes to mind) and the highest of highs (beating Manure in their own backyard). I thank my Dad regularly for taking me to Arsenal rather than down Green Street when I was a boy!

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commentercarloslefpeg

I'm 20 years old and I agree with you (and Wenger) completely. Some people don't know how good they have it. I love supporting and watching this team and can't wait to watch a match at the Emirates one day. It's not just within the stadium that there is an issue though, it's the mentality of fans on blogs etc.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAusGunner

Wenger is right. Its not just Arsenal who have this problem - these days everywhere expectations are too high and there are too many whingers acting like babies wanting quick fixes like we've seen at Chavski with all the russian cash. I'd rather die than see my club take the Chavski route, and I'm proud of the way the club go about their business. We've got easily the most exciting team to watch in the league and given their age what they are doing is remarkable - people fail to realise just how much these players will improve. In years to come we will have our best team ever, better than the invincibles or any of the double winning teams, I have no doubt about that. Truly these are great times, so GET BEHIND THE TEAM, and if you don't like it go support the chavs

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterHadley

i live in belfast and have supported arsenal for 35 years.its almost impossible for me to get a ticket unless i fork out about 200 quid on the internet not including air fairs and accom. last match i went to i seen people intheir hundreds leaving for thier half time cuppa etc. with about 15 minutes to go people were leaving to go home . could not believe my eyes. who are these people. this didnt happen at highbury. as soon as they get up to leave they should be pointed at and bood out and may be they wont come back. its desparate that real supporter cant get a ticket

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjonno

I agree fully Samuel. Great post. My memories as a kid on the North Bank will never be forgotten and i never left early or booed. I am an ordinary bloke who has a phenominal idea and i genuinely believe i will own AFC in 4 years. I hope the lockdown remains inplace until that time. When i do, this club will return to the fans.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjohnny wins

Well said, Samuel. I'm of similar vintage and started watching Arsenal in the mid-50s, a very barren period. So I get very frustrated by people who get angry at a lack of 'success' that has now lasted three years. Especially as there is real success visible to all who have eyes and real football passion. That success is out there on the pitch in the form of beautiful attacking football, and it's on the training pitches as youngsters of amazing ability start to come on stream. The future for Arsenal and Arsenal fans has never looked better. Enjoy it, stop moaning, and support it as Arsene asks.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterjohn simmons

I agree. I live in Cape Town, South Africa-10,000km from the Emirates stadium. i have only been to one match ever -in April of this year when we played Liverpool. i spent close to 500 pounds to be able to watch my team. to realise a dream. what disappointed me most was that the 'Pool supporters were making more noise than we were. i felt like i was shouting the loudest, with some strange looks from fellow gooners next to me. it was all very sad to not see the passion being vocalised. lets raise the volume at the emirates!!

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterraven

Totally agree - good article and very good comments.
I've been a Gooner even longer than Samuel (first game 1956) and I love this club, but don't take anything for granted. The football we're seeing now is better by a country mile than anything we've seen in my 50 years of watching, and I'm loving every minute.
We will win trophies, and until then, as the banner says, 'In Arsene we trust'.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRayB

1. Fight for standing areas near/behind BOTH goals.
2. Train stewards to allow chanting.
3. Drop the dreadful 'Wonder of Pooh' - Elvis IS dead. Get a singer/group who are tru Arsenal fans to play a rousing song and have them on the jumbo during it.
4. Give out free red and white striped scarves with a message to raise them before/when the team comes onto the pitch.
5. There's too long a delay between scoring and saying who scored. That's the time to yell the player's name (not before kick-off).
6. Tell the players to acknowledge US! There is the habit of praising each other and then looking up to the family/friends box. And acknowledge the 'library' areas so players involve them in the game and get them cheering. Ade is the only one who does this.
7. Arsene himself and our bench to show more delight when we score.
8. Players to walk to the EDGES of the pitch on EACH side to clap we fans. Fans not in the RED area (thanks to you there is some atmosphere) feel ignored by the players so is it surprising tha they are quiet?

A great match at Fen, ain't it great to be a Gooner!

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlanesra

totally agree. I never watch any matches apart from arsenal's but there was this one time when i saw liverpool's match on tv when the fans were singin passionately 'u'll never walk alone'. it made the hairs on my back stand up. I wish we cud create dat kind of atmosphere at the emirates.

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteremman_the_king

i was at the everton game at the wkd sat in the top tier above the away supporters i sang as much as i could but was surrounded by people who did nothing but stand up and clap when we scored to these people i would like to say sing ur hearts out or PISS OFF

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterseanyboy

Spot another blog it said we haven't won anything for 4 years and we still turn up...i think that sums it up. If arsene said that then he only said what is blindly obvious anyway

October 24, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterraj johal

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