Good work, but it is international week so you need to step up. Send you emails to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Why do fans have a right to protest?
Why do fans have the right to protest? Were they promised something when they started supporting their team? Did I miss out? Should I have been promised something all those years ago?
I support Arsenal. I watch our matches and during the matches I support the team. That’s what I thought we were supposed to do. That’s all I thought we were supposed to do. Doesn’t matter who we’re playing, what players are playing or who’s managing. I sit and I support. When things don’t go our way, well, that’s just how she goes, that’s football. When things really don’t go our way, well, that’s still just how she goes. When I chose arsenal to be my team there were no promises made. Nobody said “support us and we’ll win X number of trophies and we’ll sign this player and that player”. I decided. Me. For better or for worse it was entirely my decision. What right do I have to protest that things aren’t going very well? They never said it would go well.
We are spectators, we are not supposed to be this involved. In football sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down and sometimes you stay at the same level. Can this be unpleasant? Yes. If you can’t stomach it then maybe find something else.
There are actual things worth protesting in this world, the football manager of a football team is not one of them. I really hope that the current fan behavior doesn’t put off future managers, it certainly won’t entice them.
Mooreman (AFC, any place, any time)
I’m an Arsenal fan, and Saturday broke me
As an Arsenal fan I think Saturday broke me a bit. I won’t be attending anymore games this season and I won’t attend anymore games while Wenger stays, that includes the FA Cup semi final & if he does stay on with a new contract.
The one exception however, is Everton, as it’s the last game of this season plus If Wenger does go then it will be his last game and I’d like to be there for that to say thanks.
I appreciate other fans will say ‘support your team through thick & thin’ ‘you are fair-weather & not a real fan etc’ but I’m not. I’m a season ticket holder who has been going for the last thirty years.
The whole situation at Arsenal numbs me, I just don’t understand what the point is anymore. We are not competing for trophies & we are roundly humiliated by our rivals.
What is the point of Arsenal? ‘Long term stability is good’ they tell us. Maybe it is but it’s also stale & uninspiring, even a relegation scrap would install some drama.
It seems the whole club in its current incarnation is to there to provide Stan Kroenke with money and capital for his other business interests.
Whatever happens with the Manager, I’m 100% renewing my ticket, I’m not letting that go just because of Wenger & the current state we are in. I appreciate that this might sound odd seeing as I’m long attending while Wenger & Kroenke are in place but I’ll happily sell to let someone else go.
Does that make me a bad fan? I’ll let others decide. I just know that I’m fed up & I’ve lost the love of attending Arsenal games.
I get that this is all sounds ‘first world problems’ and teams like Leyton Orient, Charlton or Coventry are really struggling but it’s how I feel.
I honestly believe things will be better after Wenger goes (if he can take Kroenke with him all the better).
Once you lose your season ticket it’s gone and I’m not prepared to lose it. But I cannot support the club in its current shape. I think I’ll go and give Leyton Orient a few quid, they really need it.
Manchester United really do need to sell Smalling
As I scanned through your latest top ten piece on players who have regressed (a very good one, as always), I was surprised to see no United players in there. And then, at the top (or should that be bottom?) of the pile, Chris “Mike” Smalling. While our overall play has definitely improved this season, and Mourinho clearly has us moving in the right direction, a couple of players have no doubt moved backwards – Smalling being one of the most obvious ones.
And yet, he starts almost every game, even captaining the team most of the time, it’s thoroughly baffling. He almost always looks like he has a mistake in him, often desperately lacks composure, and then needs to have one of his defensive partners mop up the mess he’s made. That Boro scored their first goal in 5 games thanks to an error he made should really say it all.
He was supposed to be a replacement for Rio – cultured, ball-playing defender etc etc. and has no doubt looked the part in flashes. He’s not a bad defender per se, but he’s also not the kind of player we can afford to have as a starter in defence if we want to be challenging for the title. I really hope we’re in the market for a better CB this summer, otherwise it might just end up being a scrap for a CL spot again next season.}
Liverpool’s struggles began at Sunderland
So I’ve thought this for a while, but basically I wonder if our season started to unravelling when Klopp barely changed the team to play Sunderland. Everyone and his dog expected wholesale changes but instead he named nearly the exact same eleven that had beaten Man City two days previous.
Maybe he expected momentum to carry them through but the fatigue was too much and ultimately it cost us two points that game. But maybe the weariness of not getting that break was something their legs just couldn’t get over all through a congested January as a result? Footballers bodies are tweaked and tuned so much so that I could imagine they just never managed to recover. Aside from Burnley, did we really drop that many points against lower league opposition before January?
But this brings me on to my wider thought which I’ve had for much longer. I basically don’t think positive momentum really exists in football. I know managers and players speak of confidence all the time but it’s basically a bunch of rubbish. The big teams who pay the best wages and have the best players tend to win matches. The fact they are stronger, fitter and more talented is why they win and its nothing to do with the confidence gained off the back of their previous wins.
That said, I do think negative momentum is a thing which can take hold of any team or player. Chelsea got into a funk last season as did Man Utd under Moyes. Leicester arguably got stuck in a negative spiral earlier this season too. I know some of you have had Leicester winning the title as your argument against my point but they had the best defensive midfielder in the league, a good striker having the season of his life and a playmaker doing the same – was it really momentum based or did they just have enough talent in all the right places whilst negative momentum took hold of all their competitors?
Even great escapes in football like Wigan can often be explained by a key tactical switch or a change in personnel and new ideas taking hold. So even in those cases I’m not sure it’s positive momentum that saves a team from the drop, but by the same token negative momentum could bring it about.
Does Mourinho even like football?
I’m sorry but I have to vent and this appears to me to be the best platform available.
I have been a football fan for the best part of 30 years during which time I have had numerous jobs with absolutely nothing to do with the sport. Am I happy? Yes. Would I be happier if I worked in some capacity in football? 100%.
I’m a Spurs fan and honestly I have no major grievance with any rival club, but every time I flick on SSN or pick up a paper all I see or hear is Jose Mourinho whinging about something or other. Over the years I’ve witnessed many holier than thou, miserable planks at the helm of some of the greatest clubs in our glorious country but he takes the biscuit.
I understand that most of this is a play for the media and to distract us from yet another average/poor performance but frankly I’m sick of it. He is a talented man but more to the point he’s extremely fortunate to be managing a wonderful club and earning ludicrous sums of money and it is about time that he acted like it. “Poor old me and my team”.
How about a smile for once Jose, you miserable sh*t? If it really is that much of a chore then resign and let someone more appreciative have a crack. Kn*b.
Being a defender has never been so hard
Watching the Man City v Liverpool game over the weekend, it occurred to me that being a defender at the elite level has become more and more difficult. Over the years the game has got faster, the rules have continually been tweaked in favour of attackers, and diving has become so widespread that most people now just accept it as part of the game. If a defender can look good under these conditions then he’s something special. Defenders also tend to have longer careers that are less prone to huge drops in performance due to injury AKA the Owen / Torres effect.
With all that in mind, you’d expect top quality defenders to command massive transfer fees. However of the top 50 most expensive transfers of all time, only 5 are defenders: David Luiz, John Stones, Rio Ferdinand, Thiago Silva, and Shkodran Mustafi. Obviously we know that a premium is placed on players who can score and / or create goals, but unless you have Messi, Suarez and Neymar up front you’re unlikely to outscore your opponents in every game and will need to defend at some point.
My conclusion: If Pep wants to win the league next year he needs to offer Daniel Levy silly money for Toby Alderweireld.
BR (Fully paid-up member of the Defenders’ Union), NCFC
We had a few of these
To Sm, City fan, London on why they booed Milner, I found his argument that “we have grown to expect players not to celebrate versus old clubs as per the example set by several City players” quite funny…
Andrew (No dog in this fight, just felt like contributing)
The struggles of being a goalkeeper
Rob, Leicester is absolutely right that there are many variables that can make a goalkeeper look LIKE A FOOL and leaking a goal at the near post (sounds vaguely unpleasant, that) is just one of the many especially as the Subbuteo example also doesn’t take into account that the keeper is not static but often running like a tit to try to cover the goal.
I played in goal for many years and have been done by the old feinted cross that is then whipped in to the near post, most embarrassing. Mind you, I’ve done all of these as well (and believe it or not I was a fairly decent keeper, getting my fair share of man of the match awards):
– Multiple woodwork rebounds including: post then on to my back and in, crossbar to back of the hand and in and my personal favourite, thunderb45stard that came back off the post, hit my left ear while I was diving and flew in. This was in temperatures near freezing of course so it stung like a b*tch.
– Back-pass hilarity: I’ve done the move that I have now patented so as to prevent further description, the ‘Divot air swing’™. I’ve also got patents pending for the ‘unintentional lob’™ which somehow ends up being the keeper’s fault, the ‘Mis-communication bypass’ ™ which despite a very loud shout of ‘****ing leave it’, ends up being the keeper’s fault when the defender re-directs the ball as you run out and the ‘Duck and assume’ ™ which is a classy move, once famously demonstrated by Laurent Blanc when playing for Man Utd.
– Then of course there are the ones which were my fault: The oh-so-confident ‘It’s going wide’ run across your goal with arms outstretched as a useless shot that is obviously going wide then bounces in off the post and you realise your positioning wasn’t quite where you thought it was. The ‘I’m putting this in row Z’ clearance, which hits the attacker’s foot and flies past you into the net. The ‘That’s going over’ little hop and pull your hand away as you realise it’s got more dip on it than you thought and it goes in off the bar (which is even more annoying when you left it and it looks like an awesome strike).
Actually, I’m not so sure I was such a good keeper after all but I do have sympathy with Valdes for the header and for the slip at the end. It could have been worse though, how are keepers supposed to stay sane when this is the learning curve:
Hopefully this was a little light hearted compared to sad Arsenal fans.
Paul, Man Utd
Wah, wah wah. Why does everyone hate Man United?
Most interesting aspect of the mailboxes on Monday was what no one seemed to comment on, the referee. He got key decisions which could have changed the outcome of the game wrong but no one seemed to be that bothered.
There is nothing wrong with that but I can’t help but wonder how different the reaction would have been if United had been involved. I expect there would have been outrage, allegations of bias, lists of decisions that went in United’s favour (although no mention of those against).
When United equalised against Liverpool fue to an offside goal it was being mentioned weeks later, Wijnaldum’s handball which helped Liverpool to equalise in a subsequent game against swansea was ignored as was Milner’s tackle yesterday.
It shows how much people are influenced by bias, the truth is the standard of officiating is poor and it is a lottery in terms of who profits and who loses from this, officials are guessing and being influenced by circumstance rather than trying to give united a leg up. Who knows maybe the next dodgy decision in United’s favour will be greeted with a shrug, wouldn’t bet on it though.
Hey, being nutmegged is great!
Near-post goals, much like getting nutmegged or failing to dive for a penalty struck (preferably weakly) to either side, are invariably seen as embarrassing to the victim. In theory, these shouldn’t matter; a goalkeeper/defender should focus on the percentages and in every situation take the action least likely to result in the concession of a goal, and calmly accept that occasionally looking like a fool comes with the territory.
Instead of pointing laughing or accusatory fingers, we should laud the victims as heroes; selflessly sacrificing their dignity for the good of the team (at least that’s what I tell myself when I get ‘megged every Wednesday night at 5-a-side).