May 062008

Some of what Myles Palmer writes over at ANR makes a lot of sense. More often, what he writes is daft, inflammatory, aimed to provoke a reaction, which is then prevented by the blocking of comments.

I’m not one who generally has an axe to grind, but yesterday Myles went too far, in foisting his opinions on the rest of the Arsenal supporting community:

“If they [the board, and Wenger] get it wrong this summer they will not be playing to 60,000 people throughout  next season.  This is a massive summer because there’s a definite tide of opinion against Arsene now. Fans do not want to watch kids who cannot win trophies. They are tired of watching Eboue and Senderos, they rarely see Rosicky or Van Persie, and they realise that Walcott might never do what Ashley Young is doing at Aston Villa.”

You know what really winds me up? When people tell me what I believe, or what all of us believe. The fans I talk to are not the ‘fans’ Myles talks about here, aside from the dislike of Eboue. They are not fickle minded people who will stop going to games, fairweather supporters who will give up on the club, or, as he suggests later in the piece, people who believe that Wenger has taken the club as far as he can.

The ‘fans’ Myles seems to be talking about do not appear to be fans at all. They are probably those who would sell the club down the river for a couple of glamorous and destabilising signings. With every passing day, Myles appears more like one of these, and less like the Gooner he professes to be.

You simply cannot go around saying ‘Arsenal fans believe this, they will do this, they like player X, and can’t stand player Y’. You can say what you believe, but you can’t make sweeping and wildly inaccurate statements about the whole fanbase.

Especially as fans rarely agree on anything. Eboue seems to connect most, and his is the only name that makes sense in this spiel. Senderos divides opinion – personally, I think he was on a superb run of form before Toure came back from Ghana and took his place. We all know big Phil is a confidence player, so why do so many insist on having a pop at him?

Mentioning Rosicky and Van Persie is just an example of how Myles is trying to add credence to his argument. Rosicky had a perfectly reasonable injury record at Dortmund, while Van Persie had no injury history prior to his arrival. Both will have passed stringent medicals. I’m sure everyone is disappointed that they haven’t played more this season, but they are hardly about to stop supporting the team as a result, and as for blaming Wenger, by the same token should he be criticised for not seeing Eduardo’s leg break coming?

And that is exactly the point. I don’t know how fickle Myles Palmer thinks Arsenal fans are, thinking that the stadium will not be full next season without serious spending this summer, but there is a massive waiting list for season tickets, and no matter what the occasion the stadium is always rammed. Even Sunday’s dull end of season lunchtime game was a sellout.

And then you get lines like this:

“They [Arsenal fans] realise that Walcott might never do what Ashley Young is doing at Aston Villa.”

Ashley Young turns 23 this summer, and has only recently started to shine, while Walcott is still 19 and has already had an impact in the knockout stages of the Champions League. What’s more, I am yet to meet a Gooner who is not excited by Theo’s potential, and the player he could become.

Using him as an example of why Arsenal fans are getting disgruntled, to me, is ridiculous, but everyone’s entitled to their opinion. What I cannot stand is the blanket statement that all of us feel that way. We don’t. At least I don’t.

So Myles, feel free to voice your opinion with your typical tone of self importance. And if you want to, continue to prevent comments so that no-one is allowed to enter into a debate with you. But do not claim to speak for all Arsenal fans, because I can tell you right now that you do NOT speak for me.

  One Response to “Groan’s rants: I hate it when people tell me what ‘Arsenal fans believe’”

  1. hear hear!

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