Does what happens off the pitch matter any more?

Currently the news is ridden with shocking stories featuring famous sportsmen, and of course other celebrities. The doping downfall of Lance Armstrong, the murder inquiry of Oscar Pistorius, Chad Evans jailed for rape – these are the most recent scandals that have rocked the sporting world.

Are we still the classy club we used to be? Are we still above other clubs ridden with scandal, gossip, dubious dealings? We have our fair share of past and present infamous headlines of drink driving, night club striptease, cigar smoking, infidelity and allegations of rape. The latest gossip that hit the headlines was our own Arshavin, recently dumping his wife and 3 gorgeous kids for a model he met in London.

The era of Vieira, Henry and Bergkamp has restored Arsenal’s place amongst proud sporting institutions, a shining example of professionalism, high personal values and integrity. There were few gossips or scandals surrounding our finest, and even Thierry’s divorce hardly hit the headlines. Thierry and Vieira were teetotal, and Viera and Bergkamp devoted family men.

Does it matter to us how the players behave off the pitch? I have recently shared a little story with you about Diaby loitering with intent at the petrol station at 4 in the morning. I was delighted to hear that he was petrified that Le Boss would find out about him being out in the middle of the night. I believe that being a sportsman is a life style, not merely a job. Do you agree?

Written by evonne

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80 Responses to Does what happens off the pitch matter any more?

  1. evonne says:

    I do apologise for mistakes, it was a very rushed post or rather a discussion opener. I will try harder next time, cheers

  2. Gooner In Exile says:

    Loitering with intent to fill up his car? :D

    Evonne thanks for that an interesting discussion piece.

    For me it should matter what these players are doing off the pitch, but so often the football media ignore it. We all now know Giggs is a piece of work off the pitch, and Terry, yet in football terms they are still spoken of in reverential terms.

    Football is an industry that allows Tony Adams to play again, and also Lee Hughes, there is even the possibility that the young Plymouth keeper who drove at ridiculous speed in a tank of a car while many times over the limit killing two children could be allowed to play again. Whilst a young teenager who may have made the mistake of smoking a bit of weed gets a life ban from football.

    Unfortunately ability on the pitch seems to come above any judgement on a moral basis for our sporting teams.

    However, do I think footballers and other sportsman should be judged as role models? No, it’s not what their paid to be.

  3. Manthan says:

    Hi evvone NIce post Mate,
    For me its really matters how you behave off the pitch atleast to maintain the reputation of your club. Gunners are very displined side for this matter.. All because of Le boss he will never tolerate wrong behaviour on or off the pitch.. I am proud to be gooner because of this reason. I start following gunner because of there displince and of course MR. Wenger :)

  4. Merseforever says:

    I definitely still think we are a classy club, albeit one that (to me) has lost a lot of what made it a special club over the past twenty years.

    To this day, Arsenal still put special flower arrangements in the visiting directors box in the colour of their team, and there are countless other small traditions that continue, which in my mind make Arsenal a special club.

    At the moment I don’t think we have any scandalous players in the first team. Jack got into a bit of bother a few years ago, but he was 19. Who doesn’t get into a bit of trouble then. He’s had his injury and had a son, and seems to have matured a little bit so I’m not scared that he will go down the ‘Gazza’ route. Everyone else, for the most part, seems to have their head screwed on.

    But I think THE Arsenal’s status as a truly special club was inextricably linked with Highbury and the history the old girl had. It truly was a special ground. From the marble halls, the Art Deco stand, the old director’s box. The players (Ian Wright Wright Wright Wright Wright!!) hanging out of the windows to wave to the fans. The fact that this majestic ground was there, slap bang in the middle of Islington amongst all those residential streets. When we moved, I think we lost that, and no matter how grand or fantastic the Emirates (I hate that name!) is, we’ll probably never get that back. Anyone else of the same opinion. I know I’ve harped on about it a bit when I’ve posted here other times. Maybe its not so much the ground, but football becoming more commercial and the players becoming more removed, of which our move was just a consequence not a cause. But can you ever imagine a player doing what Wrighty used to do in this era of football?

    But let’s be honest about the history of our club! We have the shady parts of our history. Moving to North London for one! We are the original franchise club! Henry Norris was not a by-the-book geezer. He manipulated, bribed, coerced etc to establish Arsenal in North London. Bribing the league so we got promoted instead of Spurs (still love this part). The club has done countless shady things and had shady characters associated with it. But I still think we remained a classy club because of the way the club conducted itself. Look how supportive we were of Adams and Merse. Charlie George had his difficulties and but he’s back where he belongs. Even Arsene is not whiter than white!!

  5. deejay says:

    ” Arsenal still put special flower arrangements in the visiting directors box in the colour of their team, ”

    Are there brown flowers for yernited and chelsea ?

  6. Simon says:

    Players have a responsibility to act responsibly when out in public but they also have a right to privacy. I mean how many photographer’s literally set up camp on a celebrity’s front lawn? That’s not right. What happens in your own home should stay that way, smoking a shesha pipe in some dodgy club is a bit different though

    Also who actually cares who cheated on who? I couldn’t care less that Terry cheated with Bridge’s missus. It happens all the time to joe public and you don’t see that plastered over the papers.

  7. evonne says:

    Simon – yes, I agree that players and other celebrities have right to privacy, which should be respected by all. Sadly, you know as well as I do that this day and age Big Brother is watching all the time.

    I don’t care who Arshavin is shagging, but the fact that he left his wife and 3 kids (one a baby) for a glamour model casts a doubt over his integrity as a person. Had John Terry had an affair with anybody but his team mates wife, I would not bat an eyelid. What I am questioning is the boundary of respectibility and acceptable behaviour of players whose life style is paid for with our money.

  8. evonne says:

    GiE – I can see that you would not impose your views and prejudices on your children, you’d let them make their own choices in life :)

  9. Gooner In Exile says:

    Merse I tend to agree there was something special about Highbury, but for me that disappeared a little when the old North Bank got taken down and replaced by the all seater.

    Lets be honest it was only the listed status that stopped Arsenal developing it there and then, I do wish they could have kept it in some way, used as a training ground or even the youth/reserves pitch and offices for the club. They could still have developed the North Bank and Clock End, it could have been kept as the Arsenal Museum too. But I also realise its sale and redevelopment was part of the way we could afford to develop the new Stadium.

  10. Gooner In Exile says:

    Evonne he can do what he likes, except support anyone other than Arsenal, and listen to manufactured pop music. :D

  11. Red Arse says:

    Well done, Evonne, a nice, amusing Post. :-)

    It is no surprise, surely, that the sporting world, in general, and the footballing world, in particular, are riddled with peccadilloes, and sometimes serious wrongdoing?

    There are many temptations waiting out there for young, sometimes naive, vigorous and wealthy young men and women.

    Let’s face it, these guys are simply a microcosm of the world at large.

    You asked “are we still the classy club we used to be?” and I feel that question is rather a non sequitur, in that the naughty, off field actions, real or perceived, of some players would not be condoned by the club, and it would not wish to be associated with them in any way.

    Nowadays Arsenal are seen by many as a club with standards and ideals that are not found in all other clubs, so to that extent, yes, they are a classy club, but, historically, there have been eras when the answer may well have been – no – depending on your perspective. :-)

  12. evonne says:

    ha ha ha, you are very funny GiE

  13. evonne says:

    RA – I will get back to you when I finish checking the meaning of your wording :)

  14. Red Arse says:

    Evonne, have a word with the floppy haired, love machine Kelsey, he will explain all!! :-)

  15. Izuchukwu Okosi, Lagos, Nigeria says:

    Its good to have players who are self-disciplined in a team. Arsenal have fairly decent record on players’ conducts

  16. Merseforever says:

    My main issue with club, is more the current custodians and the way they’ve behaved over the last 7-8 years with the fans. It’s like You always here people say ‘I love my country, but hate the government.’

    Swissramble who is the most reliable unbiased source on the matter shows we have vast untapped resources in the bank. Arsenal’s share price has rocketed since Kroenke’s take over, the profit accumulation and the increased revenues from the ground but proper Arsenal fans have seen no benefit.

    I know a lot of people on here buy into the self sustainable model, (and I do too) but what I think is ignored, is how much the old shareholders profited from doing with the club as they pleased. With the guarantees of increased revenues, all the old shareholders cashed in and sold, making a massive profit while promising that the new ground would benefit the supporters. This is why I can’t abide the fact that PHW is in anyway still associated with the club. He sold his shares, made a killing and hence in my opinion killed his family’s relationship with the club. Then he comes out with comments such as ‘thanks for taking an interest in our affairs.’ PHW can do one. Add to that the complete lack of transparency within the club. In terms of how Arsenal has treated its supporters, it has not been very classy in recent years.

    On the pitch, I think we remain quite classy and have been for a while. No really dirty players, and compared to others, our players don’t really get at refs etc. While I consider this classy, I dont really mind it changing though!! If you look at Wenger’s period, there was almost a direct correlation with the number of red cards we got and how successful we were!

  17. Gooner In Exile says:

    Merse I will never understand the perceived lack of transparency that the club is so often accused of. In my opinion it comes under the umbrella of self reflection that as football fans we are all guilty of, I often ask in these situations to show me other clubs more transparent than Arsenal before we take the club to task over it. Can we point to any other PL club and say they are more transparent than us?

    My answer is no, the financial results are there for all to see on the website (although admittedly I can’t guarantee that since the new website was formed). There are very few other clubs who do the same. And as for transfer targets, player wages, transfer fees I would say we are no more or less open than others.

    So I ask what is that we aren’t being told that we think fans of other clubs are?

  18. jnyc says:

    Cool post Evonne. All i need to do is read the online edition of the daily mail to see the disgusting state of humankind. Any day of the year you will find things that will shake your faith in the future of this planet.
    I follow Arsenal which i do see as a classy organization, and i think Arsene tries to keep it that way, and i can only hope it continues with and beyond him. But as far as people and gooners, you just have to check LG to see that there is a low element in every group. Luckily not really a problem on AA, thats why im always happy to visit the group here each day.

  19. evonne says:

    thanks jnyc, but it really was just a gap filler.

    Do you think that certain fans, like those frequenting LG reflect badly on the club they supposedly support? Or do players and managers give clubs bad reputation? Looking at Chelsea now it is not hard to see that the owner and his appointed staff are responsible for all the ridicule surrounding CFC. But in the case of Milwall it is probably the supporters’ fault.

    So why exactly are we calling ourselves classy? Genuine question

  20. Merseforever says:

    GIE,

    The lack of transparency I’m talking about is very much to do with transfers. Firstly we’ve never had a straight answer from the club about whether we have money to spend or we don’t. Add to that, they go back on their own words. Gazidis said, the club is willing to spend big in January. Nacho looks like a good signing (too early to say though) but buying a £7 m left back is not ‘big spending.’

    Moving on to the selling of our best players for the last six years starting with Paddy. Is it because we had to turn a profit or not. No one knows and the club has never given a straight answer.

    Someone asks of the fans on LG reflect badly on us and I guess thats because of the levels of vitriol some of the people on there show to Wenger, and Wenger supporters. That’s their opinion, doesn’t make them not classy. I completely understand why some people actively dislike Arsene now. I don’t, but I can’t condemn those that do. He’s seen as the apologist face for an absentee board and frankly has spouted A LOT of bull for the past 3/4 years.

    Anyone share my opinion on PHW. The Hill-Wood’s were the arsenal family and I bet his old man is twisting in his grave about how his son sold the club out. Now we’ve lost that connection, we’re no longer the ‘Bank of England club.’
    A lot of our fans pride in the ‘Arsenal way’ is very misguided though. I don’t see this new rhetoric of the ‘Arsenal way’ as classy at all. It’s unclassy behaviour from the board trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the clubs loyal supporters.

  21. Merseforever says:

    Another point quickly re Millwall. They have a small segment of knuckleheads that really give their club a bad name, and that minority are truly disgusting people.

    I know I said I hate chelsea for their similar ape like fans but I’ll always have a soft sport for the ‘Wall as I had some family in Bermondsey who supported them. Millwall recently lent their support to and helped organise a march to save the A&E at Lewisham hospital. Is that not classy?

  22. Shard says:

    Merseforever,

    Didn’t Hill-Wood own something like .1% of the club by the time Kronke came on the scene? Also, I believe the board sold to Kroenke only to keep Usmanov at bay. Why? I don’t know. But they seemed to be against Usmanov taking over Arsenal, enough for them to overcome their initial opposition to Kroenke, and the idea of selling. Besides, most of the then board have either left the club, are old, or dead. What after them? By selling to Kroenke, at least they know. They’ve worked with him for a number of years, and in the end they felt confident enough to sell to him, rather than continue the uncertainty, or let Usmanov in (who was offering a higher price)

    As for the ‘Arsenal way’. I’d agree that it is the club selling itself that way. It’s part of our brand image which they try to capitalise on. You could argue that’s immoral, but it’s better than discarding all tradition/history/ethics and try and sell that.

  23. Shard says:

    Evonne,

    I do think it matters, and I believe Wenger and the club really instills that into the players. I feel we are classy. Now how to explain that is tough. Class isn’t really a quantifiable thing. Let;s see. Apparently, we’re very good towards our players. We shield them from the media pressure, provide them the best of facilities and take care of their interests. If a young player doesn’t make it with our academy, we try and find them another club rather than leave them to fend for themselves. The manager, despite his media image, is very restrained in his behaviour, always professional, ready to answer tough questions, is respectful, even in the face of some honestly ugly questions. On the field you very rarely see our players dive, or put in nasty tackles. (Which again is down to the manager not allowing it) We’re not known to tap up players. We keep tradition with our stadium (clock), with the flowers in the boardroom etc.

    basically, not only do we do what we are obliged to, but try and do more for our players, be fair to everybody else (media, opponents) and we get absolutely slated for it at times. Which other club would offer a replay because of winning by a disputed goal?

    I haven’t really described it well enough, but I think Arsenal do have more class than most clubs. If I didn’t feel so, I wouldn’t have become as involved a fan as I did. I have no geographical, or family ties with the club. I found them (or vice-versa) and I chose them over the more popular and successful, but less classy, Manchester United. Do I regret it? Not for even a fleeting instant.

  24. RockyLives says:

    Nice conversation starter evonne :)

    You put it perfectly when you described the difference between John Terry shagging the wife of some poor sap unconnected with the club, and shagging the wife of one of his team mates. He was captain of the club – so it shows moral failings on all sorts of levels.

    We have been lucky not to be tested with a real tricky one for some years (how would we have handled the Suarez racism incident if he played for us? Or a situation where one of our players killed someone in their fast sports car?).

    The law of averages suggests that some moral crisis or challenge will confront us at some point soon. I would hope – and expect – that the club will put doing the right thing ahead of doing the self-interested thing when it happens.

    Incidentally, I wonder what naughty Mr Diaby was up to at 4 in the morning (apart from filling up his car)?

  25. Afternoon all and thanks for the post Evonne, sounds like you were roped into an early bird special post. :)

    Mr Rock – I reckon Diaby was sloping back from a night club and as Wenger is under the impression he doesn’t go to them (or stay out late) he didn’t want word to get back to Le Boss.

    Well that’s my theory, completely unbiased and objective, naturally.

  26. evonne says:

    Ha ha ha Rocky :) Diaby ran out of petrol and was spotted by the cop who told me the story. A big, young fellow lurking at a petrol station at 4am would look suspicious to any London copper. Don’t ask why the police were interviewing me, coz I am not going to tell you about the incident of me punching a pregnant husband in the head

    Chary – writing a post feels a bit like going to a confession – you are relieved of your guilty conscience

  27. Merseforever says:

    I see what you mean Shard about Arsenal being classy, and while it’s something to be proud of, I’m honest enough to say that that our emphasis on it is just another case of football fan partisanship. Just out of curiosity how long have you been supporting us Shard. As said before, Arsenal have had their share of scandals and unsavoury behaviour although it’s fair to say our scandals have declined in the Wenger era.

    Personally, beyond a certain point, I don’t really care how classy we are. I support Arsenal, because my dad supports them and because my family has always lived around Islington and Hackney. But then again, Chelsea are a truly classless club so I see the other extreme. I guess my point is Shard, you may have liked us initially because we were classy, (but if my guess is correct and that was in the glory years of Wenger what did you think of the ridiculous numbers of red cards we used to get?), but now even if we were embroiled in scandal, even if Jack, turns out to be an incredibly dirty player who bullies refs, and we turn back into a hard menacing team who bully all in their paths, would you stop liking us. Of course you wouldn’t! You’re a Gooner, the Arsenal are your team. So that’s what I mean by the ‘classiness’ of a club being irrelevant after a certain point.

    But Shard, my point about the former share holders of the club, is that the way they sold the club as soon as they saw the share price rising was classless (including the often deified Dein in this). They were custodians, not owners. They’ve sold us to a man, who has no interest in helping the club be successful, and no interest in doing anything for the average fan. Now we’re just another club that’s a plaything of a foreigner. I highly doubt Arsenal will ever have English based owners ever again. Now while the latter doesn’t necessarily signify class, it does show some semblance of connection to the local fans and the history and location of the club.

  28. Red Arse says:

    “A pregnant husband” — Evonne have you had the chat with your mum about the birds and the bees? :-)

  29. Haha Evonne, “Forgive me father for I have sinned”….

    I’m curious about this “Pregnant HUSBAND” you whacked on the bonce.

  30. RockyLives says:

    Evonne
    I have just been looking at the early morning comments and I now see where you got your inspiration for a Post about players’ awful behaviour off the pitch: it was that horrible vid of the players doing chants, wasn’t it?

  31. Red Arse says:

    Merse,

    It has nothing to do with me, but I am curious.

    Where did you get your information on who sold what shares, for what price and what does that have to do with class?

    Hill Wood inherited his shares from his father, who in turn bought them from Sir Bracewell Smith who bought them from …. well who cares?

    Football, other than for fans, is a business and the buying and selling of shares in ALL clubs is part and parcel of that business like any other.

    I have a few shares in a Building Society, does that mean I cannot sell them if I want to? Don’t think so.

    Anyway, back to Arsenal ownership, and the sale of Hill Woods family shareholding to David Dein for peanuts.

    Dein allegedly picked up approximately 49% of the shares for less than £500K, and eventually sold many of them to Danny Fizman, his then friend, for a pittance. Lady Nina Bracewell Smith inherited her shares from the Bracewell Smith family.

    Dein sold the remainder of his shares to Usmanov, Fizman sold his shares to Kroenke, as did Lady Nina.

    The fact that Usmanov and Kroenke paid hundreds of millions for the shares they respectively bought has nothing to do with anyone other than the parties involved, anymore than it would if you sold a possession of yours to a third party.

    Eventually both Usman and Kroenke will sell their shareholdings to people not yet on the scene, and so it will go on for the next hundred years, as it has since Arsenal were first formed as a limited company. many Arsenal fans have also bought shares over the years, and many have sold them when they needed the money or saw a good profit on their asset. Are they not classy either?

    What I am trying to discover is why you seem so upset and equate normal business practice, of buying and selling shares, with being a ‘non classy’ act?

    Of course you could tell me to fook off — and I would understand that too!! :-)

  32. evonne says:

    psshhhh RA and chary – you don’t seemed to be shocked I punched someone in the head, but the pregnant husband raised your eyebrows :) Well, my dog was savagely attacked by a dog owned by 2 lesbians. The pregnant one said that I upset her wife, which made me think that she must be the husband, pregnancy aside. Needless to say they called police and I was accused of being homophobic, but got away with violence. I think the cops were on my side, had a cup of tea and seeing some Arsenal paraphernalia told me the Diaby story. Now you know

  33. Reddawn says:

    I think Diarby looked a bit furtive because he had a carboot full of horse meat. He was told it was good for building up thigh muscles.

  34. evonne says:

    Rocky – weren’t they terrible? Completely out of tune :) what was the name of our ex Brazilian guitar player….calm, nice boy…

  35. evonne says:

    Reddawn – and Oscar Piscario hasn’t got a leg to stand on. Who comes up with those lines :)

  36. Merseforever says:

    Red Arse,

    I see your point about the selling of shares. Of course I’m not going to brand you as ‘not classy’ if you sell your building society shares! Maybe it’s me being an emotional fan. PHW had the complete right to sell his shares, but then once he did so he should have been shunted out. The Hill-Woods now no longer have a connection with Arsenal. Lady Nina, sold when she saw the $$’s but now has come out with the ridiculous statement that Kroenke doesn’t care about Arsenal. Didn’t bother her when she saw the money initially.

    My point is linked with how the club’s custodians stressed how everything they were doing was for the clubs benefit. Does no one remember the pledges that the new ground would lead to more tickets at more affordable prices for London fans. How the new ground would allow us to compete on the highest level with the best in europe. None of it’s come true. But forgetting the lack of success (which isn’t actually my main grouse with what happened), what annoys me is how they hoodwinked the fans, and with revenues projected to increase they sold and made a huge profit, while the Arsenal fans have been left to suffer higher prices and see the traditional fan base further alienated (again a point I’ve made many times. I must sound like a broken record!!). But RA you’re right, they were completely entitled to act as they did. I just find it distasteful. Do you kind of get my (no doubt emotional, sentimental, romantic) point of view now haha?

    I’m sure some on here will think, stop whining football’s moved on, but I am deeply upset with how club has treated it’s traditional fan base.

    But my love for the 11 players who happen to be wearing the red and white on the pitch will never end. I just don’t have any respect for the board.

    The King’s of North London, the pride of the south
    We hate the Tottenham cos they are all mouth,
    The cannon will fire and the cockerel will fall
    cos we are the Arsenal the greatest of all!!!

  37. kelsey says:

    I think wenger kept telling diaby that he was always running out of petrol.

  38. Red Arse says:

    Ohh, Evonne — profound and profuse apologies are in order — and I offer them to you.

    Uhh, how did a lesbian get another lesbian pregnant — I think I am missing something there — and so is ‘the husband’! :-)

    I think you are pulling my leg — no — my leg, but it is probably best that I do not know the mechanics of it – you wild child! :-)

  39. Red Arse says:

    I get it, Merse. :-)

    When we get involved as deeply as we all do as fans – unsurprisingly, emotion can grab all of us!

  40. evonne says:

    RA – simple. The taxpayer paid NHS £30k for the 2 lesbians’ IVF treatment. I didn’t really punch anyone, but I wish I did

    Is anyone worried about tomorrow’s game? It is a MUST must must win. I don’t want to preempty the Raddy, but do we know anything about Blackburn?

  41. Red Arse says:

    I knew you were joking, Evonne, Daffy Chas Monster told me you have still not been able to catch him, let alone hit him!! :-)

  42. evonne says:

    Ok, Blackburn are below Brighton in the Championship table. We will win, phew, one worry less for me

  43. Gooner In Exile says:

    Merse you have come to realise my point we as fans hold our club to account because of our emotional involvement in it….but I don’t think we are treated any differently to fans of other clubs.

    I see where you’re coming from and could issue counter points to all but it has been done to death on this blog many times so I will not go over old ground.

  44. Gooner In Exile says:

    Though I will add that Ivan said the club was “willing” to spend big should not have been read as “will” spend big as it was by many fans.

  45. Merseforever says:

    yeah fair enough GIE,

    will try to minimise them, but there’s always a chance when I post on this site that I will go off onto a rant about the commercialisation and death of football, particularly when I’ve had a pint the night before with a pal who can no longer afford to go… Everyone on here will just have to put up with it!!! My apologies!

    On tomorrow, my thinking is what the club appears to be doing. Go all out for the FA cup. Still want Jack rested, because I think he needs a bit of rest and we can’t risk exacerbating the injury, but I think we could really go all the way in the cup this year.

    At the same time am so excited for Bayern. Will of course be there. Anyone else here going? I have a gut feeling that something good may come from the match. Had the same feeling for Barca at home in 2011. Remember we haven’t lost at home in a champo league knockout tie since 2009.

    Another thought, the match will be on ITV. So those watching on the box will have to put up with Townsend (plastic paddy) and Tyldesely’s commentary (I hate to use the word, because they’re so rubbish). An english club against a German one, can you imagine how over the top they are going to be :). Might as well play the Great Escape in the background

  46. Merseforever says:

    also, may make people laugh. Rat face Bentley is on his way back to Blackburn. I bet he’s ‘buzzing’ now.

  47. Big Raddy says:

    evonne. Interesting post. IMO the players represent the club on and off the pitch.

    Therefore I care deeply how they behave.

    I was gutted when George got caught with his hand in the till, not because he got sacked, but because he was the manager of the most moral club in football and he let us down. It was embarrassing.

    When AW insisted upon the FA Cup replay after Kanu scored v Sheff Utd it made me proud. Because it was the right thing to do.

    How would AFC have dealt with the Suarez racism affair? Well, not the way LFC did that is for sure.

  48. Shard says:

    Merseforever.

    You are kind of right about when I became an Arsenal fan. It was 97. Not quite the ‘glory years’ because there had been no glory under Wenger then, but yeah, we won the title in the first season that I started following (I can’t really say watching because I got to see very few, and I mean very few matches)

    As for being classy. Well, as I said, it is hard to define, and I suppose means different things to everybody. I never had a problem with the red cards. We were never a dirty team. Now I’m sure someone will bring up some incidents of dirty play, or red cards such as where Bergkamp elbowed someone in the head, (but that should just count as an act of God :) ) , but the point remains that Arsenal weren’t a dirty team. It was an era of more physicality in the game than exists now, so the general standards were different. Also, although I only started watching the game then, I never really believed the hyperbole about the red cards in the media. I felt they played it up too much. I also felt that a lot of our red cards were undeserved, or harsh (nothing’s changed there, only gotten worse)

    I disagree that it is irrelevant. Will I ever switch clubs? No. Will I stop watching? Perhaps. Even if I have a soft spot for the club, if on the field we’re constantly cheating (I don’t care about surrounding the referee), kicking opponents, and generally being..well..like Mourinho’s Chelsea, then I will lose my connection with the club to some extent. What I want from the club, more than trophies, or even sexy football, is to be able to identify with it.

    And I think that is kind of what you are saying too. Except that the kind of identification you had with the club is of an era long gone. Where clubs were much more localised in their identity. I get that. But I can’t feel you are completely right to feel disenfranchised because of it. (Obviously). I love tradition, and I wouldn’t want Arsenal to lose its local roots, even if I’m not from there. I’ve been there. I’ve seen how people watch the game, the pubs before and after, with those that don’t have tickets staying there. I’ve felt the atmosphere in the stadium and the area. I get it, and I love it. I’ve also known what it’s like to watch from afar, including in the pre-internet days. In my view, Arsenal have handled their global expansion, in terms of their interaction with fans, more than reasonably well. They can always do better, but I think Arsenal do a good job of continuing their links with the community, while making ‘outsiders’ feel welcome. It isn’t just the club of course. The fans do that too. But it is the culture of the club. I actually wouldn’t want Arsenal to be like Barcelona. I used to like them too, but they’ve actually forgotten what they stood for, and of more relevance, they’ve become too insular and provincial. I would hate that to happen to Arsenal. And I say that not just because I’m not a North London local. It’s because I don’t like divisions among people. I get the romance of an Athletic Bilbao. But in every way, the more open/global approach of Arsenal is better.

  49. evonne says:

    Thank you Radddy. I agree re Suarez; Wenger gets rid off potential trouble makers as soon as they emerge. Penant is a prime example of a player that would not be sold if not for his off the pitch shananigans

  50. Sheep Hagger ™ says:

    Hi
    Talking about morals the best player with family morals and a family man has to be David Beckham.
    You English should be proud of him he’s sets a fantastic example and no doubt he will be a sir soon.

    The man is an English icon and I think very highly of him .

    Ps some ex Leeds players has come out
    MUCH LOVE

  51. evonne says:

    old are best

    STUDENT WHO OBTAINED 0% ON AN EXAM
    I would have given him 100%

    Q1. In which battle did Napoleon die? * his last battle

    Q2. Where was the Declaration of Independence signed? * at the bottom of the page

    Q3. River Ravi flows in which state? * liquid

    Q4. What is the main reason for divorce? * marriage

    Q5. What is the main reason for failure? * exams

    Q6. What can you never eat for breakfast? * Lunch & dinner

    Q7. What looks like half an apple? * The other half

    Q8. If you throw a red stone into the blue sea what it will become? * I t will simply become wet

    Q9. How can a man go eight days without sleeping ? * No problem, he sleeps at night.

    Q10. How can you lift an elephant with one hand? * You will never find an elephant that has only one hand..

    Q11. If you had three apples and four oranges in one hand and four apples and three oranges in other hand, what would you have ? * Very large hands

    Q12. If it took eight men ten hours to build a wall, how long would it take four men to build it? * No time at all, the wall is already built.

    Q13. How can u drop a raw egg onto a concrete floor without cracking it? * Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack.

    have a great weekend much love Evonne

  52. Gooner In Exile says:

    Have to love Arsene:

    “Bale has the potential to develop and become the players that you compare him to,” Wenger added.

    “However, Messi has won two or three Champions League, a few championships, scored 95 goals in a year, so let’s not go too quickly.”

  53. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Morning all.
    Evonne and Rocky,
    Thanks for stepping up at the last minute with such fun posts to fill such a deadly week.

  54. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Evonne,
    I really do think there is so much potential to develop the whole “thumping pregnant Lezzos” idea into Brand Arsenal.
    A kind of Red and White Inter-City Hit Squad, the the Booard could wheel out into the public gaze to help mask a bad news day.
    A kind of extra bad news trump card to make everything appear ok really.

  55. Gooner In Exile says:

    People criticise Arsene for saying 4th place is atrophy, why is no one jumping on Mancini?

    “In three years we are always on the top – we have won three trophies, we have the chance to win more this year.”

    Now I was looking at that and thinking FA Cup 2011, PL 2012….that’s two, and I’m pretty sure counting is the same world over, 1,2, 3…..so what was the third? That’s right the Community Shield!!!

  56. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hi GiE,
    Much as I dislike a man who spends as long on his hair as Mankini clearly does (Kelsey is excused. His hair demands attention), his trophy record is not that shabby.

  57. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Matchday. The Magic of the Cup. Marvellous.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. Would you like Mankini at AFC?

    The defence rests ……

  59. Gooner In Exile says:

    No quibble there Micky just questioning the Community Shield as a trophy to be judged by?

  60. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Hello Raddy,
    Indeed, the Magic.
    Funnily enough, I was thinking about that yesterday and wondering why some of its glitter has been lost.
    Some attribute this to the importance of CL football, its growth and money.
    I think much of the magic was lost when they started playing semis and play-offs at Wembley, as it really used to be reserved for finals and internationals

  61. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Raddy,
    Mankini at Arsenal?
    He would be light years ahead of Maureen in my wish list, but still behind Fat Sam :-)

  62. MickyDidIt89 says:

    Fair dinkum GiE

  63. I don’t rate Mancini that much. He’ll be gone in the summer

  64. evonne says:

    Morning all
    Micky – I am speachless :)
    Raddy, ready when you are

    Mankini no. Maureen maybe. Wenger forever defo.

  65. evonne says:

    and Micky – I don’t have anything against gays and lesbians, especially gays who tend to be good fun with lesbians often being angry. It is only when their dogs attack my mob that they become dirty dykes

  66. kelsey says:

    Morning all.
    You can use part of my post which took four and a half hours to write and was then binned :) Raddy.
    We have a trump card in Paul Robinson in goal. Arsenal have scored more goals against him than any other keeper.

  67. Red Arse says:

    Morning dear peeps, much love :-)

    GIE, you linked “Arsene and atrophy” at 7:13 a.m. — are you suggesting that he is wasting away? :-)

    Much bananas!

  68. Red Arse says:

    Hi Hairy Love Machine, :-)

    How can a Post take 4 1/2 hours to write? Did you make your own paper, build a new computer, invent a new language, or lose your dictionary? :D

  69. Rasp says:

    Morning all, thanks for inspiring an interesting day’s blogging yesterday evonne. My view is that if footballers want to accept the huge salaries on offer they have to accept the attention their celebrity also brings and so should conduct themselves in a way that doesn’t reflect badly on their football club.

    Raddy, the graphic for your pm is ready to go.

  70. kelsey says:

    sorry I meant four and a half minutes RA :)

  71. kelsey says:

    By the way David Beckham is an ambassador for sport but he is not squeaky clean, ask rebecca loos

  72. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Where is your post? I could have used some help today but as I woke up a bit antsy following a night on some excellent Chilean Tempranillo, it is a return to the aggressive pre-matches.

    I have been through a period of being gentle to our opposition but B’burn are a step too far for me.

    Found a wonderful explorer today. He made me really proud to be English.

  73. kelsey says:

    It’s in drafts raddy

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. In the Bomb Bay ……

    I am reading The Secret Footballer. Very interesting read – much of which infuriates me

  75. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. Found it. Read it ….. Didn’t help :-D

  76. Rasp says:

    Thanks Raddy :P, its ready to go. I must show you how to maximise the size of graphics – I think you use the thumbnails rather than the full size pic when you import them. I’ve found today’s pic and put the full size version in.

  77. evonne says:

    bring it on BR!!!

  78. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. Always willing to learn

  79. Rasp says:

    Morning all ….

    …. New post ……

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